Girlfriendology was founded partly because of two girlfriends dealing with cancer. I needed to be around my friends – not just them but my other female friends. I needed them for comfort and support. I knew that women do that – and we should celebrate girlfriendship.
Cancer is way too common. It happens to ourselves and our friends and family, WAY too frequently. As women, we want to take care of others and sometimes aren’t sure what to do. Guest blogger STACY RANDALL shares her insight into Ten Tips for Helping a Friend with Breast Cancer:
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Finding out that a friend has breast cancer can be one of the hardest things in life. After the initial feelings of fear, confusion, and anger, you’re probably going to wonder how you can help. And although there’s no formula for how to act or what to do when you find out a friend has cancer, here are a few suggestions:
1. Don’t Compare
Although you might think it’s comforting to tell your friend about someone else you know who survived cancer, you might come across as insensitive. Your friend’s situation is very unique so don’t take that away from her.
2. Keep the Gossip on the DL (Down Low)
This one may sound obvious but if your friend is telling you about what she’s going through, don’t automatically think she’s telling everyone that information.
3. Say Anything
Sometimes when you are at a complete loss for words a simple, “I’m praying for you,” or “I’m thinking about you,” goes a long way.
4. Bring Flowers
Flowers can brighten your friend’s day. And sometimes cancer patients can lose their apatite so food isn’t always the best option.
5. Make Crafts
Depending on what stage of cancer your friend is in, making crafts together is a low key activity you can both enjoy. If she’s not up for it, making her something special will help you get your mind off what’s going on and make you feel better that you’re small gesture will brighten her day (because it will).
6. Water her Plants and Feed her Fish
Simply saying, “Let me know if there is anything I can do to help,” is too vague and winds up being unhelpful. Take the initiative by mowing her lawn, doing her laundry, watering her plans, and even feeding her goldfish.
7. Make her Laugh
Your friend will look to you to give her the funny details of life outside the hospital. If you’re not much of story teller, show her a funny e-mail, YouTube video, or card.
8. Give Distance
When your friend says she needs time to be alone, respect her. It’s nothing personal and it’s not a cry for attention either. She simply needs alone time, like we all do.
9. Take Care of yourself
Dealing with your own emotions and feelings in a healthy way will help you be the rock that she needs.
10. Shave your head
Shave your head to show support for your friend. Just like her hair will grow back so will yours.
In addition to being a great friend by supporting your friend who has breast cancer, you can also help raise awareness and help raise money to cure breast cancer every October (or year round for that matter). Participate in walks, fashion shows, marathons, pink ribbons or do any other outward act you want to support breast cancer.
STACY RANDALL is a writer for the Nebraska Medical Center. She enjoys writing on topics in the health field. The Nebraska Medical Center is the largest healthcare facility in Nebraska and is known for its cancer (leukemia, lymphoma, etc.) and heart treatment units as well as being the designated trauma unit three days a week.
What are your tips for supporting a girlfriend who has been diagnosed with breast cancer?
- Losing the Girls – Anne Day’s battle with cancer and thoughts on losing her breasts
- Breast Cancer and Friendship – Shasta Nelson’s beautiful girlfriend insights on breast cancer
- Remembering Elizabeth Edwards and my dear friend Dana
- Ode to Denial – Genae Girard shares her girlfriend insights
- Be a Better Friend – Supporting a friend affected by cancer
- 10 ways to be a better friend to a friend dealing with cancer
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