Yesterday marked a very important day in our family’s life. My mom finished with chemo.
About 6 months ago, we discovered my mom had breast cancer. We’re not sure for how long, but she discovered it while doing an exam on herself on vacation. I remember her calling me frantic about the lump she had found, and all I could think is, no way.
We were so lucky she caught it in the early stages and was able to get it removed quickly. But the news about needing chemo and radiation was like being diagnosed all over again. To be honest, I was terrified.
I went to chemo class, googled ‘how to help a patient going through chemo’ and asked anyone I knew affected by the disease how I could best help my mom during this rough time. I learned a few things about supporting a loved one with cancer that I wanted to share with you today.
Share Words of Love
When my mom found out she had cancer, the support poured in. It came in the form of cards, prayers, and hugs. On her fridge hangs the incredibly touching words of encouragement she can reference when she feels weak. On her voicemail she has short bouts of love she can listen to when she’s feeling down. She has texts on her phone that remind her that she is loved and that the pain won’t last for long. She could even feel the prayers from friends and family uplifting her. These things have meant the world to my mom and have lifted her spirits amidst this crisis.
I’m naturally a cheerleader. Not the kind donning a pleated skirt and pompoms, but the kind who loves to encourage others. So this experience was really a test in sometimes putting that aside to really listen. There were times when my mom would feel grumpy and irritated, and my job was not even to understand, but just to listen and be there for her. Let her cry. Let her be upset. Let her get out all the feels.
While it was important to listen, I felt it was also important to stay positive. Each treatment and cap change (more on caps here) was one step closer to being finished! We counted down when her last treatment was over, when we took off her last cap, and even packed little indoor ‘picnics’ for chemo treatment days. The little things go a long away.
Lean on Others Who Have Gone Through It Too
Being able to identify with others who have gone through the same feelings, emotions and experiences helped my mom SO MUCH. She was able to have her concerns validated and glean advice from those who have been down the same path - because one of the biggest issues was the unknown. If you don’t know anyone, there are so many support groups at local treatment centers and hospitals - trust me, it makes a huge difference. The support system is really like a family…everyone just wants to help each other.
Support the Cause
I would love it if articles like this didn’t exist, because that would mean that cancer wouldn’t exist. Support causes that aid in cancer research so we can be done with this thing once and for all!
A few of my favorite causes at the moment:
This card holder from Blair Richie
This Lover and a Fighter tee from Forever 21 (also this blazer)
These Bobbi Brown lip glosses
These OPI nail polishes
The Beauty Blender (I use this every day and LOVE IT)
If you have any other tips, please share in the comments below. We still have radiation to get through, so prayers (and advice!) are always welcome.