When you have cancer, people want to help. They don’t know what to do to make your pain go away, but they want to try. Some try in big ways; others in small ways. But, in the end, all of the things people do for you are important, and all say the same thing. "I care about you. I know you're hurting. I want to help."
Your inclination may be to say, "No thank you." You're tough. You can handle it. You don't need help. My advice to you is this. Get over it. Say yes. You won't regret your decision.
Saying yes is good for two reasons. It helps you, and it helps them. The helping you part is obvious, but the helping them part … maybe not so much. When you are going through cancer, you are suffering in so many ways. There may be physical, emotional and/or mental pain plaguing you every day. But understand this. Those who care about you are hurting, too. In some ways, it's even harder for them, because they are on the outside looking in and often feel quite defenseless. If you let them help, they begin to feel they are contributing to your recovery in some small way. And you just might be surprised how much their little gestures make your days feel so much richer.
When I had cancer, people were constantly offering to help. At first, I resisted, but after talking to someone about how much it meant to her to be able to help, I said yes. What happened after that was simply amazing. Let me share some of my favorite memories with you.
- A coworker shaved his head as I began chemotherapy. He made it okay for people at work to talk about the effects of chemotherapy, and we all had a few chuckles along the way.
- Each person in my department purchased their favorite book and presented me with a basket of books. I got to sample some new authors and styles of writing.
- Friends picked up my children and took them to their house. They had picnic food, jumped on the trampoline and acted like kids for one glorious evening.
- My children wrote me a song, bought a cake and flowers with their dad, and sang to me on my birthday. It went from being a birthday I dreaded to the favorite birthday of my life.
- On the day of my last radiation treatment, when I thought everyone had forgotten I was battling cancer, a friend showed up at my house with a bouquet of balloons.
The list goes on and on, but the point in this. Nearly two decades later, I still glow when I tell these stories, because they made such a difference in my life at a time when I most needed it.
So, if you're going through cancer, just say yes. If you are trying to help someone going through cancer, be inventive and think of small gestures that will lighten the load and the spirit.
Share Your Thoughts
How did others help you through your cancer diagnosis and treatment? Did you resist accepting help at first? Share your comments below.