Monday, June 6, 2011

What to do when: a friend has the misfortune of going through chemotherapy

In my last post, I mentioned that now I have a better understanding of how to deal with chemotherapy, and some of you asked what they can do if they have a friend going through the same thing. I should say first that these are all specific to me. While some of them can be transposed, I just want to make sure that if you try this on a friend of yours and she throws you off a cliff for it (and if she is that strong with cancer, YOU GO GIRL!), just….don’t let it come back to me.
That being said, this is not me asking for a handout. Most of these are things that someone has already helped me with, and things I am thinking theoretically, not trying to hint at for everyone to start doing this for me. I’m being very well taken care of! But I’m always accepting chocolate.
  • “Chemotherapy” is basically synonymous with “constant nausea.” If you can, find out what foods help with chemo specifically, and bring some over. Popular choices are: popsicles (something about chemo sickness beginning with the roof of your mouth – the cold numbs it, and it seriously works), ginger ale, sour patch kids, jolly ranchers, as well as any food you know they like anyway. ‘Cause when the nausea goes away, they are going to be on that like a rainbow on Skittles.
  • If you know they’ll have some time off and to themselves, maybe offer to stop by with an activity or treat or something. Then, they can feel like you want to see them; they know they can tell you “no” if it’s not a huge thing and they want to be alone; it gives you something to do instead of asking them how they are feeling. It’s a win-win-win situation!
  • Just be honest. If you don’t know what to say or what to do, tell them that. Then you’re not trying to fake anything but still suggesting that you’re open to help however you can, and they can choose how they want you too! Lots of times it’s just friendship.
  • Drop by their house, work, etc, even just to say hi for a few minutes. This would be great for all friendships, but especially for those going through so much pain.
  • Also, if you can get them talking, just listen. It’s easy to feel alone, especially when none of your friends have gone through something like this. Let them express themselves and really try to just understand what they’re saying and possibly going through. I personally just want to feel validated and know that people don’t think I’m just a big whiner and faker. Which, if you read my last few consecutive posts, that’s exactly how I sound. It’s the chemo talking?
  • When they start losing their hair, I think it’s only fair that their best friends, close family, church leaders, professors, doctors, children, pets and ESPECIALLY their enemies should also have to shave their heads. It’s the only fair thing to do. Wouldn’t you agree, Alison?

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