Friends, Family, and Co-Workers
Friends, extended family, as well as co-workers, can be a tremendous source of support for the patient. The hardest part is knowing how to offer help so it is accepted. We like to encourage the support team to be pro-active in offering help. Examples of this are: Rather than asking her if you can come over and clean her house, ask her if she is planning to be home at a certain time (get permission first). Once she says yes, arrive at her house with rubber gloves and cleaning supplies. Tell her you are here to clean her house. Invite her to take a nap or sit and visit. Chances are she will visit and your energy will inspire her.
You and your friends are the perfect solution for meal prep on chemo days. Consider making a list of her appointments and then lining up meal delivery with all her friends on her chemo days and the few days following each treatment. Visit with her family ahead of time to find their likes and dislikes to share with the other members of the food patrol. Encourage your helpers to prepare the meals to be as healthy as possible. Even if she doesn’t have the stomach for food, her family still needs to eat. Your thoughtfulness will be well appreciated.
Remember, she is the same person she was before her cancer diagnosis. Her circumstances are different, but she is not. Don’t be afraid of her diagnosis. All too often, we are afraid to say the wrong thing, so we don’t say anything. That is the worst thing we can do. Be there for her.