Being A Good Friend

When someone you love is diagnosed with ovarian cancer…

Feelings of shock, anger, disbelief, and sadness arise when cancer touches a person close to you. You may be wondering what you can do to help. 

Being there may be the most meaningful thing you can do, but there are a few hands-on things you can do to help provide comfort and support. 

Ask her what she needs.  Don’t give up on giving.  She may turn down your offers of help for awhile, but things can change and they may need some assistance later. 

Take notes.  There are dozens of doctors and staff to meet, terms to learn, things to read, and decisions to make.  This is an overwhelming task after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer.  It is extremely helpful to have an organized person go to every doctor appointment and take notes.  This information can be very valuable and stabilizing. 

Keep records.  New physicians will want copies of all medical records, whether the patient is going to get second opinions or are participating in clinical trials.  It is a wonderful gift to have someone keep a master set and send them there the patient needs them to go.  Knowing these documents can be sent at any time is a huge relief and a tremendous help. 

Research.  Online research can be troublesome for some patients.  Offer to look up and print off information on subjects of interest: medical facilities, diet options, exercise, complementary medicine, support groups, and treatment options, etc.  You are lifting a huge burden by handling the legwork. 

Be There For Her

Fill the house with healthy food.  Leave wholesome cancer-fighting foods in the fridge. A great present is a gift certificate from an organic grocery. Healthy food is expensive and being able to shop freely at the best market can really boost the spirit and add a feeling of empowerment. A market like Whole Foods also will have lots of ready-made choices when she is not up to cooking. Make a donation in her honor. Even a small one lets your friend know that you want to make a difference. Or run a race in her honor. Let something good come from something awful.

Send lots of cards.  Getting a card is an uplifting experience. Getting them repeatedly touches the heart. Kid art is, of course, the best. Bring on the sparkles, glue and macaroni! And who does not love flowers

Be a caretaker of their home.  By offering a little time to help around the house, you are lifting a huge burden.  Little things like mowing the grass, cleaning up the house, getting the car washed, or walking the dog can give them more time to do the things they need to do to fight ovarian cancer

Take her out.  If she’s up to it, enjoy some time out.  Catch a movie, or grab a cocktail,or dinner.  Try to plan things earlier in the evening in case she gets tired early. Staying flexible is essential in case the plans need to change. 

Give blood in her honor.  It saves lives. 

Pray.  For some people, it is the most meaningful thing you can do. 

Give a gift.  Brighten her day with small things like fuzzy slippers, soft robes, nightgowns, or a pretty overnight bad will get alot of use in the hospital and at home. Green tea, red wine, and dark chocolate are all cancer fighters. Good books like “Anti-Cancer, a New Way of Life” by David Servan-Schreiber give practical and positive advice. A pretty overnight bag will get a lot of use. A manicure, pedicure, massage or facial is a luxurious treat, especially for a woman who may not be feeling her most attractive.

Wear teal.  This may seem trivial, but having people show their support every day is like being a part of a big caring team.  It can be as little as a teal wristband or jewelry

Copyright 2012 by CancerDancer