Help Your Friends Help You, Part Two

Our friends want to help us, but sometimes they don’t know how. This article is part 2 in sharing how I believe friends can support me in my cancer journey (be sure to check out part 1 here.) I encourage you to share this with the people in your lives.

If possible, become a project manager

One of my greatest challenges is keeping track of everything in my life related to cancer - and simply living a good life. It is compounded by my days of chemo brain when I am plainly unable to think clearly nor remember anything. My life is filled with appointments, scans, blood work, chemo sessions, radiation, and the other calendar dates we planned in the past. Plus, we have to keep track of prescriptions and the timing of distributing my pills throughout the day.

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Providing tools to help us stay organized

When my friend Kathy was going through her treatments, a close friend known for her organizational skills created and maintained a calendar system for all the import appointments so that nothing was missed. She created an excel spreadsheet of all the medications, their dosage, and when they should be taken throughout the day. There was also a place to check when, what, and how much medication was taken. A highly organized person can greatly assist my wife and me as we navigate our cancer journey.

Friends support my cancer journey by spreading positivity

My wife and I need exercise. We need rest, and we need opportunities to escape our daily cancer experience. We are too busy to think of much beyond cancer. A good project manager can make sure those moments happen. Plus, they can reach out to friends and family to encourage them to invite us to events and outings so that we can escape for only a moment. The more positive activities we have outside of cancer, the easier it is for us to handle our cancer journey.

Engage, invite, and include

It feels like we aren't invited to as many social gatherings or travel opportunities as we once were. I asked a couple of people close to me why this was happening. The gist of their answers was that they did not want me to feel bad that I could not make it or was not physically or emotionally up for the experience.

If you send the invite, then I can decide my RSVP!

Staying engaged after the novelty of the initial diagnosis
Life goes on for all of us. When I was first diagnosed, I was overwhelmed by the love and support from people throughout our community. Food trains, calls, cards, small gifts, and words of encouragement flooded into us and made us feel special. As time passed, my cancer journey went on, and people continued with their lives. Fewer and fewer friends remained present.

Friends: Don't forget about us, we need you

We are now in our fifth year of treatment. I have chemo treatment number 69 tomorrow. While we continue to have great support from a close group of friends, the support from others has dried up. Please continue to think of us, drop us a note, send a card, or do whatever makes you feel helpful. I have one friend who has sent me a card every week since I was diagnosed. The smallest of gestures feels enormous to us. We appreciate any and all gestures.

Read more about the importance of caregiver support in "Help Your Friends Help You, Part Three".

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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