Friendly list for cancer patients


In keeping with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the following is a "friendly" list.

With one in eight women being diagnosed with breast cancer, surely there is someone you know who has been affected by the disease. Personally, I have gone through this journey for the past year and have found that many times during an illness, people want to help but just aren't sure what would be appropriate. I would like to share this list of the simplest things that can make the most impact on someone else's life:

1. There are many opportunities for a friend to hold your hand -- waiting on diagnosis, office visits, surgery, treatment plans, etc.; but the best of friends can hold your hand and make you laugh through chemo treatments.

2. A true friend will shave your head; but the best of friends will turn the razor on himself.

3. An honest friend will tell you how that scarf or wig really looks and help you pick out the most flattering one.

4. A good friend will cook your family dinner; but the best of friends will also clean up afterwards.

5. A loyal friend will take your child for a few hours to let you be alone with yourself because the best of friends understands that you have to sort out the layers by yourself sometimes.

6. A real friend can see the beauty in scars and baldness because the best of friends accept you just as you are -- a living being of God.

7. The best of friends will offer help with the housework, knowing how much it bugs you to see it pile up and understanding that going to work and raising a 5-year old during chemo and radiation is enough to do.

My husband, Kevin, actually has done every one of these thoughtful acts of kindness and has experienced every emotion along the way, also. God has given him a love that has pulled me through the tough times. He has been my true best friend.

8. Co-workers can put together a pampering basket that includes everything from plush PJs, sox, scarfs, lotions, make-up, toothpaste/brushes, gas money, jewelry, puzzles, books, words of encouragement and my favorite -- chocolate!

Once a basket like this is started, the love starts pouring in. My co-workers did this for me and the love that went into action was overwhelming! It was a spiritual booster pampering myself from the basket during chemo and it will never be forgotten.

9. Together, we can pass on the kindness. By being a friend to someone in need. It feels good to give and our children can certainly learn from our actions. After going through cancer, you know who your real friends are. One act of kindness can spark a friendship forever.

My hope is that these suggestions will spark something inside you to pass it on to other women going through breast cancer.

God gives us the hope, love and encouragement to be alive -- with purpose.

Phyllis Knight Bachtel