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Breast cancer support

Updated on October 2, 2013

The call....

   It's amazing how a routine day can be abruptly halted by the ring of the phone. When my mom told me she had been to the surgeon due to a poor mammogram time seemed to stop. The roller coaster ride of doctor appointments and hospital visits began.

    I remember the rush of emotion and the wish for a misdiagnosis. I prayed that God would allow this cup to pass from my mom. However, I quickly realized that it is the trial in life that forces the true test of our faith. Suddenly my faith had to manifest as sincere and authentic or fake. 

   In the Garden of Gesthemene Jesus prayed that "this cup", the impending cross, would pass from him. However, he also prayed, "not my will but yours be done." I believed I had a right to pray for this cup to pass but I needed the faith to stand. 

   My simple prayer went something like: Oh God if there is anyway this cup can pass us by then please let it. But if this cup does not pass us by then show me your glory! Just as Moses refused to take another step so do I if your glory doesn't go with us.

   Something powerful happened in that moment of release. There was nothing  I could do to cure cancer or heal my mom. However I could bend my knees and pray and call out to the One Who is the great Healer. 

Be Normal

   The outpouring of love and concern that can pour out into a cancer patient's life is sustaining. However what many people won't tell you is that the problem is cancer has almost become their life. The first six months of cancer treatment is intense. It seems that every day is filled with some doctor appointment, test, or treatment. If the person with cancer hasn't been to the doctor it is probably because they are resting or recovering from a recent procedure. 

   Even though you care it is best to have normal conversation. Instead of talking about their cancer or treatment remember that they did have a life before cancer. Being able to have normal conversation becomes refreshing. Make an effort to reflect on a special memory or hobby that you share. 

   Perhaps the most important thing I can share is that not all cancer treatments are alike. So just because you know someone who...doesn't mean the person you are sharing with has all of the same variables. Sometimes having cancer can be like being pregnant. I found in pregnancy people,strangers even, felt like they could make comments or give advice. The same is true for cancer paitients. Everybody is so touched by this tragic disease that someone has a story to tell. Caution...the person with cancer may not want to hear it! 

Breast Cancer Survivors

The Care Giver

   Behind every breast cancer survivor is the care giver. The person who is primary. They were at the doctor visits and hospital. They were there in the middle of the night when the side effects of treatment kicked in. With so much focus on the patient don't forget the caregiver needs support too! 

   My stepfather has seen it all and been steadfast. But I know he appreciates the moments when a friend or family member steps in and he can take time to be refreshed. I do not think those in the position of care giver seek to be appreciated but I do know they need time to renew their strength too. 

   Often times diets change during chemo and what the survivor can eat or wants to eat is much different from what the caretaker may want. If planning to take a meal you may consider asking if there are any diet restrictions;as well as surprising the caregiver with a special treat!

Card Shower!!!

You want to do something special? Instead of calling contact a list of people who know the cancer patient. Provide them with their address. Then select a week where everyone agrees to mail a card!

Often times a day at the doctor leaves little energy for talking on the phone. Even sitting at a computer and doing email can be exhausting. However, receiving a mailbox full of cards can work wonders. Don't under estimate the power of a card! 

Organizing a card shower:

1. Get the address of the person to whom you want cards sent.

2. Create a list of friends you have in common.

3. Select a week you want the card to arrive. (hint during chemo is always good.)

4. Contact the people on your list via phone, email or in person. Give them the week to mail the card & the address.


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