In my experience as a cancer survivor, I find that many women desire different levels of friendship during their cancer journey. Here are a few tips I can offer you while supporting a friend with breast cancer… All based on what I can say I needed most during those times.
- JUST BE THERE! We’ve never been a cancer patient before, so we don’t know what to ask of you or exactly what we need, usually not until the very second we need it. We need you! This is the scariest time of our lives. A reliable friend is a great and important asset!
- Just do it! Don’t ask, offer instead. Don’t ask the patient if they want you to clean up or do the dishes. Of course, the person is probably just going to say “no.” Nobody wants to feel as if they can’t care for themselves. I would also suggest offering to assist with transportation because we usually don’t feel like driving after treatment. Nausea, hot flashes and side effects are enough, no need to add road rage.
- Don’t feel obligated to buy us a ton of pink ribbon stuff. Regular, non-breast cancer oriented gifts work just fine. Some women feel as if the influx of pink ribbons are reminders of a time that they wish to forget.
- Take care of your own breast health! Schedule your mammogram. Use your friend’s journey as a personal reminder to stay on top of your breast health. The last thing your survivor friend wants is for you to experience the same fate.
- Nap dates are a real thing! Many of us develop insomnia during treatment and can not sleep throughout the night, so we will sneak a nap whenever time and our bodies allow. So… don’t get offended if your friend falls asleep on you. Who knows? You may need a nap, too!
- Help keep us organized! Thanks to “chemo brain,” tracking papers, appointment notices, bills, mail, prescriptions etc. can easily become overwhelming. A special keepsake box or trays for organization are great gift ideas to help with the paper clutter.
- Wash our hair! Offer to wash your friends hair or bald head. Be gentle and give her scalp a little massage. It absolutely feels amazing! It is also a calm and relaxing environment for girl talk. Designate this as a special time to discuss fears, love and life.
I haven’t listed these tips from a researched journalism viewpoint, I am speaking from my personal experience as a two-time breast cancer survivor BD single parent. I was diagnosed with breast cancer at ages 26 & 36 and the support of my friends and family was instrumental in caring for myself and my daughter.
This month, Uncle Funky’s Daughter is working to support and feature women with breast cancer all over the country and world! On their Instagram platform, you could receive a free, full suite of products just by sharing your story and using the hashtag, #CurlsForACure. Be sure to follow Shay Sharpe’s Pink Wishes on Instagram and Facebook and check out our website for more survivor tips, my personal journey with breast cancer and ways in which you can help make a wish come true!