"How can I help?" my friend asks me this every time she calls. I love her so much for that, but I really don't know what to tell her. Today I heard such helplessness in her voice. She wants to do something, but doesn't want to do the wrong thing. Again and again she says the loving words I have used myself at funerals and hospital beds.
"If there is anything I can do, please let me know."
I say it because I mean it. I was raised by a man who would drop everything for a friend in need. My dad would have been the man in the parable of the Samaritan who stopped and helped. Also, I was born under the sign of Leo the Lion. I am fiercely protective of the people in my circle. I know that my friend feels the same way about me.
Trouble is, I don't know what the hell to tell her. I can't make decisions these days. Asking me what I want for supper can send me into a rage of tearful frustration. I don't know what I want. All I know is how grateful I am when anyone reaches out to help, no matter what they do. A note, a blog comment, a facebook message, a phone call. Yesterday, someone brought a basket of food that we can prepare later. A friend from college showed up with a gallon of soup. A woman I have known since elementary school had a yard sale and sent us a check. An old acting buddy and five year survivor stopped by to share his own cancer stories. My neighbor, with whom I have probably exchanged 200 words in 10 years mows our lawn every week.
Some of these things are huge. Some are very small. But all of them share one thing in common. They remind me that I am alive. That I matter. That someone cares.
I'm so grateful for that.
What follows is not a wish list. Please, don't take it like that. These are links to resources I have found to help people who want to help. I'm probably not the only person you know who is surviving cancer. I sure won't be the last. Or maybe you and your family have lived through cancer treatment, too. Leave a comment on what helped (or didn't.) Together, maybe we can help the next family.
My Friend Has Cancer. How Can I Help?
Your friend has been diagnosed with cancer but you're the one freaking out: What can I do? How should I act? Is it OK to talk about it? What's "normal" now?
Things You Need to Know About Cancer, But Don't Really Want to Ask.
So just what are people supposed to do or say around people who are in the process of undergoing treatment to battle cancer, or to someone who has recently survived cancer? I certainly can't speak for everyone but here are a few things that people did for me, or things I wish they would have done or said, during treatment and after (in no particular order).
Helping a Friend Through Cancer- Lori Hope
- "It's okay to say or do the 'wrong' thing."
- "I like to hear success stories, not horror stories."
- "I need to forget and laugh."
- "I need to feel hope."
- "Telling me to think positively can make me feel worse."
My Friend Has Been Diagnosed With Sarcoma - How Can I Help?
Patients and their families often have a hard time answering the question: "What can I do?" If they answer with a specific need, they feel as if they are imposing or asking too much. So take the guilt out of a gift by choosing something yourself. Here are some useful gift ideas that were developed by a group of sarcoma patients and survivors.
How to Talk to a Friend With Cancer
You are confronted with the possibility of death, and you are afraid. And, in a way, you are relieved it's not you. It brings up so many fears.
How to Help a Friend With Cancer
Remember, most of us don't look good in yellow. Lance Armstrong can trigger feelings of inadequacy in the best of us. Even his heroic name, straight from a Dickens novel, can make a girl feel puny and defenseless. Although I enjoyed reading about his ordeal and all those yellow jerseys after my treatment was over, early mentions of him made me wonder if I really had what it took to conquer the beast, or even if I deserved to win.
mrs p Cancer running lifting weights LIVESTRONG at the YMCA treadmill weight nutrition depression God Living Strong at the Y injury YMCA dogs mom walking radiation Weight Lifting cardio friends program theatre body fat long slow run love One for the Five aches elliptical race resistance bands stretching 5K Acting Jeff Galloway chemo doctor family mental health Church Pittsburgh Marathon bluegrass fundraising inspiration patience personal trainer recovery Flying Pig Marathon Jesus Johns Striders Race Report Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon bipolar frustration kentucky knees measurements morning promatx yoga Christmas Marathon Pennsy's Greatest Hits cats clothes heart rate hope lance armstrong life molly poetry rest side effects steelers swimming 10K Actors' Guild of Lexington Blog CT Scan Coach Carrie PET Scan cross training exercise fear feeling good groin healing ice cream livestrong nausea powerlifting run/walk/run stair climber surgery Cancer Fighter Cold Gear Hills Iron Horse Half-marathon Job LSR Mum Nike+ Shamrock Shuffle 3K achilles advent arboretum bmi bodyweight exercises changes charity circuit training cycling dad deadlift diabetes encouragement experts give up goals horses interval training jake kettlebells lean body mass new rules of lifting pacing personal best plateau prayer recumbent bike research shoes sleep strength teeth therapist toe video Blood Easter Endurance Funeral Garmin 405 Homecoming House Insurance Juicing Keeneland Legacy Night PR Pennsyltucky Pittsburgh Relapse Run This Town TRX Training Values aflac arnold ben-gay bench press chafing christian compression shorts dentist dreams faith fat fatigue foreclosure good day half marathon hospitality javarunner john's run/walk shop lou schuler new year nurse pains peg tube powercage progressive resistance. racing rain rapture reboot runners world squat sun block supplements team pennsy tired weather will rogers work #3rightThings 9-11 ACSM AIDS Aquaphor Blessings Bluegrass 10K CSN Cancer Boy Cedar Hill Charles Dickens Class of 82 Classes Colby Road College Compassion Courage Crowdrise Cystoscopy Dee Diet EFM Epiphany Fall Fartlek Fat Man Fat Sick and Nearly Dead Frankfort Gadgets Gramma Grampa Gratitude Grete Waitz Guest HITT HIV Hell Holding Hands Holy Saturday Homer Horse Capital Marathon IVP Ice bath Jacuzzi James Taylor Jesus wept Joe Cross John Izzo Joy KY LaDonna Leg Day Lent Lessons Lexington Little Pennsy Mental hospital Midsummer Night's Run Mindfulness MobileFit Negative Splits Old Frankfort Pike Pilates Podrunner Pre-race Priorities RICE Railrunner 10 Miler Random thoughts Resurrection Reunion Run Bob Run Run Report Run Review Run for the Gold 3K Running Form Running for Sabrina STUPID Shakespeare Skip Brown Speed Spinning Summer Of Speed Sunrise Supersets Tao Te Ching Thank You The Wall Three Right Things Toxic Passenger UK UK basketball Urine Urologist Victory Walk of Shame Warrior Westminster Whole Foods Wind Words Zumba ace bandages addicted agony alwyn cosgrove america anger antibiotic anxiety awake back baseball blood clots blood pressure body glide bonhoeffer books brad calories chinup colonoscopy consistency crazy cycles dentures dip dr. google dumbbells elevation facebook failure farts feet fight for life fitness forgiveness frankenpennsy fun getting started glucosamine glutes goal gremlin grenz grumpy hair hamstrings hiccups high school hot ice incarnation indian food jogging john lennon joint legacy trail liniment lunges machines maker's mark mapmyrun.com medicine ball meds mercy motivation motley fool music nature neighborhood new balance nike noah numbers pennsyltuckian periodization persistence phlebitis postmodern prison professional boundaries progress psychiatrist pullups pushups quads ramble rememberance renewal road running ronnie coleman rowing safety sauna scan-ziety sexy shopping shorts shower sick sleepless snow socks spandex star trek statistics steam room steroids stiff strained muscle strap strength training supination support surgeon survive swackett swiss balls table technology tempo terry bradshaw testicular torsion text thai food that's fit the five thighs walk breaks warm up water fitness water jogging weak wedding ring wellness wife winter workout writing yardwork