Metastatic Breast Cancer - What You Can Do
I always said from the beginning of this journey that I would be open, honest and help others perspectives when it comes to cancer.
I wanted to lovingly address this topic because many do not know or understand it. Clearly, I am learning myself.
Metastatic means the initial cancer has spread to another part of the body (usually a vital organ or bones). This cancer cannot be swept away and made cancer free (unless God deems it so).
This means treatment for life. Usually a treatment will work for some time, but then it will stop working and you go to plan b, so on and so forth for the rest of the patients life.
I know it is hard to find words or know what to do when you find out someone has cancer, especially metastatic.
We don’t always want words. We want presence. We want friends and family to show up. To give a hug, help with laundry, love on our kids, have lunch or tea or coffee or wine with.
Stop trying to find the words. Just show up.
For those looking to help, don’t ask just do it. The person going through cancer can hardly think, being told you might not live that much longer is difficult to process. We need help but we are fuzzy and might not be able to articulate what we need.
What is always helpful:
A coffee/chai tea/ hot tea
A bag of groceries
A cozy robe
A Healthy meal
Help with laundry
Help with keeping up the house
Many of these things can be done without being there. If it’s hard emotionally or if you’re not in close proximity.
Please keep checking in on the warrior. Try to avoid asking “How are you?” It is a loaded question and we usually aren’t that great.
Other questions to ask would be:
How is your mental space today?
How have you found joy in your day?
How can I pray for you today?
What has been your favorite part of today?
What can I grab from the store for you?
Don’t assume the warrior wants to talk about cancer all the time either. Let them bring it up if they want to and go from there.
The most important thing is to show up.
Don’t let your fear of their diagnosis keep you from being a friend. Don’t let your fear of death keep you from showing up. We didn’t choose this path, and it’s heartbreaking when friends and loved ones can’t handle it and walk away.
We don’t get to walk away.
We don’t get to have a break.
It is a constant. So shake off those feelings and be there.
That’s the greatest gift you can give.