Recently, a friend of mine said we were going through having a mammogram, a biopsy and finding out the results at the same time. That diagnosis was over 6 years ago, she found out she didn’t have cancer and I found out I did. A few days ago, she confessed to me how badly she felt for me. Impossibly, she admitted, she felt like she didn’t know what to say to me as I began my cancer journey.

My Wish
If I had my druthers, I wouldn’t want this to happen to anybody else. I didn’t know then she felt guilty about having a clean bill of health. You can’t predict what’s going to happen with someone else and you can’t feel guilty about what happens to you. Good things and bad things happen to us all the time. Sometimes what we thought was bad was really an unexpected opportunity. Additionally, that good thing may open up a door that we later wish we had not walked through.

What are some of the first things you could do when someone finds out they have breast cancer?

Pray (that’s just me)
Send a card or write a note
Suggest they check out a second option clinic.
You could ask how the person feels about the diagnosis, or express your wish this had not happened to them.  Simply  asking “What do you want me to do to help you?” or “How can I help?” are also options. There are lots of ways people can help. Happiness is someone calling and saying, “I’m going by the store, do you want me to pick up something for you?”  My answer “Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes! Thank you.

Then There’s Soup
My friend & neighbor, Denise asked if she could cook some soup for me. That was a lifesaver! I didn’t have enough energy to clap my hands to the music at church (day 3 or 4) after chemotherapy. I was thankful for any and everything anyone did for me. Except I couldn’t take long phone calls, because I did not have energy to be my bubbly self (I’m a bit animated when I talk, yep, even on the phone) and I so wanted to be the old Harriette! But, I reluctantly told people I did not have a lot of energy and to tell the truth, I was happy for people to call and check on me.

And a Village
I had a village too that was near and far away; I pray that everyone who goes through this adventure does not hesitate to ask for help. This is NOT the time to say “I don’t want anyone going out of their way to help me.” If they offer – accept the help. You don’t need to be hard on yourself because you don’t know what to do or say, Be kind to yourself- Try a Little Tenderness.

Please post other ways you have helped folks or ways you have received help. See you next Thursday!


2 Replies to “Try a Little Tenderness”

  1. Your blog is a wonderful way to help people know how to reach out to others going through the healing process of cancer surgery. Thank you Harriet!

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