helping friends with cancer tami boehmerIt’s October – Breast Cancer Awareness Month – and we’ve got some great girlfriend advice inspired by the Beatles. (:

In February 2008, TAMI BOEHMER was diagnosed with a metastatic breast cancer recurrence – months after celebrating her five-year, cancer-free anniversary. Unwilling to accept a grim prognosis, she decided to interview survivors nationwide who have lived far beyond what was predicted. Tami compiled these amazing stories into her book, From Incurable to Incredible: Cancer Survivors Who Beat the Odds.

Tami shares her girlfriend insights below on breast cancer …

In August, my husband and I saw Paul McCartney in concert. It was an awe-inspiring, fabulous night! He played dozens of Beatles favorites, and for three hours, I was captivated and in the moment. One song he didn’t play was Help. You know the lyrics: “Help, I need somebody…

Help is such a simple word, but many of us with a cancer diagnosis, it can be one of the most difficult to say. It seems to be a common theme these days. I’ve had several girlfriends/fellow survivors who have been in terrible shape, but reticent to ask for help.

Yes, I, too, have trouble asking for support. When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, I had lots of offers from people who said, “Let me know if I can do anything for you.” I wanted to do everything myself, until I landed in the hospital ER with no one to watch my then-three-year-old daughter. Luckily, I had learned a thing or two by then and had compiled a list of people who had agreed to watch Chrissy if needed. A coworker, whose daughter attended the same preschool, came to the rescue.

So why do some people, when faced with the biggest challenge of their lives, hesitate to make their needs known? For me, it was a sense of pride. I wanted to show everyone that I could do it all by myself, that I could kick cancer’s butt, and bring home the bacon and fry it in a pan. I was pretty good at it, too, until my white blood count plummeted, resulting in a week in the hospital hooked up to an IV pole.

To be fair, I think it’s hard to respond to an open-ended comment like, “Let me know if there is anything I can do for you.” People often ask me how they can assist someone who’s diagnosed with cancer. I recommend offering ways you can help. For instance, “Let me watch your kids for you so you can go out on a date.” Or “I’m bringing a meal over tonight. Will you be around?” That takes the pressure off us, so we don’t have to do the asking. It gives us one less thing to figure out.

Unfortunately, people tend to forget after the initial diagnosis that their loved ones still need help. Physical and emotional effects from chemo can last months, even years after treatment. And metastatic cancer survivors are often continuously on treatment. So don’t assume everything is fine and dandy after chemo is done.

Let your friend know that it is a blessing to you to be able to help. The Beatles may say, “All you need is love.” But those of us with cancer may need a little more.

Recently, From Incurable to Incredible: Cancer Survivors Who Beat the Odds. was named the winner of the Health-Medical category of the 2011 Readers Favorite Awards and award-winning finalist in the “Health: Cancer” category of the 2011 International Book Awards. Tami shares these stories, as well as valuable information on healing the body, mind and spirit; on her Web site and blog, (NOTE: Through November Tami is donating 10% of her proceeds to the National Breast Cancer Coalition to help them achieve their 2020 deadline to end breast cancer. This is in addition to the 10% she already gives to LIVESTRONG.)

How have you been there for a friend who needed some ‘help?’

October is International Breast Cancer Awareness month and we’re looking out for our sisters who have, or have friends dealing with all forms of cancer. Here are a few inspirations you don’t want to miss:

[Tweet “Helping our Girlfriends with Cancer | Tami Boehmer’s Girlfriend Advice”]

That’s why we’re here – to inspire you to BE A BETTER FRIEND – even, and especially, when life hands you or a girlfriend tough situations.

COMFORTING GIFTS FOR FRIENDS: HEALING BASKETS provides gifts to comfort and support the broken hearted. From sympathy, and loss to cancer, get well, divorce and caregiving. These gifts encourage, comfort and inspire.

What other tough situations would you like us to cover on Girlfriendology? PLEASE SHARE below!

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