So you want to support a woman with breast cancer, but don’t know what to do? We asked breast cancer survivors to give us the 411 on how to help out without overstepping. Listen up—love, laughter and respecting boundaries are at the top of the list.
1. Make her laugh.
Tell her a joke, rent a comedy, be silly. Embrace the healing powers of friendship and laughter.
2. Book it.
Plan a special night out for when she’s feeling better. In the meantime, arm her with books you know she’ll love.
3. Love her kids.
Take them to the movies, pick them up from school or host a sleepover. Chances are, mom and the kids could use a little breather.
Whether it’s a professional massage or just a foot massage from the hubby, a little R&R is really restorative.
5. Play her a song.
Create a personal playlist with soothing or upbeat tunes. Music and noise-cancelling headphones are just what she needs to block out the less-than-restful sounds of the treatment room.
6. Indulge her every wish.
Is the laundry done? Start folding. She wants ginger ale at 2 a.m.? Get going. Now more than ever she deserves a little extra love.
7. Food from the heart.
Pick up her favorite groceries (or set up groceries to be delivered), drop off a homemade meal, send over takeout or freeze a few meals for later. Even if she doesn’t feel like eating, it takes the pressure off of her to put dinner on the table. And always ask first, food odors and special diets need to be considered. This is for her, so make a few suggestions, then respect her wishes.
8. Game plan.
A tablet or phone loaded with games is a welcome distraction in the waiting room, during chemotherapy, and late at night when everyone else is asleep. Playing games with her online is an easy way to keep her spirits up and stay connected.
9. Hear her story.
Call her and listen without giving advice. If she wants to talk about cancer, go with it. If she doesn’t, don’t. Sometimes just being there is enough. Hear what she’s saying without comparing her to other people.
10. Tell her you love her.
Leave an uplifting message or send a text. Send a love note or funny card. Remind her of her strengths. Tell her she’s beautiful.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Support someone you love. For more information on how you can help, or to get support, visit Living Beyond Breast Cancer at lbbc.org.