7 Tips to support a friend with breast cancer
Cancer. What a difficult word to pronounce. More difficult than talking is dealing with the changes that it causes in our routine, regardless of being patient or knowing someone who lives with him. At first contact, cancer makes us believe that the sand of the hourglass of life is falling faster and the time thereafter is short. But is it so for everyone? Or is it that this fear that causes discomfort even in pronouncing the word is not due to our lack of preparation to talk about the disease?
Jussara Del Moral is one of those people who is not afraid to talk about cancer. She even talks about it bearing her trademark: the grin on her face and the malemolence of life. She is a patient with metastatic breast cancer and has been living with the disease for about 10 years.
During her treatment she met and became friends with other women who also had cancer treatment. With a long experience accumulated throughout the treatments that she performed, she also learned to be an affectionate shoulder for women who received a diagnosis of cancer or metastasis. She talked to My Life and gave some tips on how to talk about it and help a friend who has breast cancer.
Welcome and caring make a difference when the world goes down
When a person discovers a cancer, emotions can overflow, so having a close friend can help ease the whirlwind of emotions. Jussara says she does not need to come up with ready-made phrases.
So avoid phrases such as "will everything be okay," "hair grows," "did you forget to take your exams," " I know a person who had the same cancer as you and healed himself, " you have to be strong. "
Psycho-Oncologist Luciana Holtz and Oncoguia President explains that, unfortunately, it is common to leave when a friend is diagnosed with cancer. "Sometimes she is unconscious and because she does not know what to do, because she has difficulty dealing with the news or she is afraid of losing her friend, people end up moving away," she says. According to Luciana, many of the women who attend Oncoguia say they are hurt because their friends are gone.
It is okay not to know what to say or not to know what to do. It is best to be truthful and to welcome your friend, whether with a care, a true embrace, a loving look; a gesture that shows how important she is to you. If you feel like crying, cry. Do you know that famous slang "tamo junto"? It is good for both joy and sadness.
Offering help in theory is good, in practice it is even better
In addition to dealing with the emotional burden of breast cancer, cancer patients need to deal with a lot of new information. This change often causes a mess in the routine. And that's where you can offer your friend help. Practical solutions such as picking up children at school, making purchases in the market, paying bills, attending appointments or chemotherapy can bring lightness to the routine of a woman who has cancer. If you can not help that way, you can also help with homework at the weekend or be the person who will help you to get disconnected from the cancer.
Sensitivity is a genuine feeling, do not
O Oncology treatment has ups and downs and each patient deals with it in a way, it is not possible to generalize. But one thing no patient wants, according to Jussara, is that they feel sorry for her. "We already have so much to deal with, so many new things that we need to get used to. The last thing we need from someone close is that they feel sorry for us," he warned. Being sad about your friend's illness is normal, giving a strength is key, but do not think that your friend's being cancer causes her to be less.
Luciana quotes a phrase from many patients: "I have cancer, but I'm not sick." Many patients diagnosed with cancer, within their means, continue to work and carry out a routine similar to the one they had before cancer.
Finding information makes a difference in the lives of all people
Nowadays there is a lot of information on the internet about breast cancer that can clarify the most diverse doubts. Jussara even has a YouTube channel with information on cancer: SuperVivente.
Jussara explains that it is important for a breast cancer patient to have knowledgeable friends about the subject because they can help to better understand what is happening , can help by asking questions in the consultations and helping the patient to have a better quality of life. The psycho-oncologist Luciana explains that researching on the subject also gives more security to contribute to her friend's routine of treatment.
Friendship between patients: a different warmth
Jussara has been living with cancer for about 10 years. During this period she formed a network of friends who also coexist with breast cancer, some with metastatic cancer, some not. It is normal and necessary for the cancer patient to befriend other patients. She even told me that before the interview with My Life, she was in a restaurant celebrating with her friends the result of the examination of one of them. "If you do not have cancer, no matter how you put yourself in our shoes, you will never understand what you are going through," she explains.
As a way to support others patients with metastatic cancer, Jussara works as a volunteer at Oncoguia Rede Mais Vida. The project aims to help patients with metastatic breast cancer cope with the new stage in treatment. ? When the patient discovers a metastasis she gets lost and often does not know what to do with so much information. In the Mais Vida Network, we try to demystify that metastatic cancer is not a death sentence. "
Girlfriends are also caregivers
Often the cancer patient may feel a deep sadness and not notice that that feeling may indicate a In this situation, Luciana explains that friends can make a big difference and warn, for example, the doctor that something is not right. In other situations typical of cancer treatment, such as hair loss, having a friend around to learn to tie the scarf or choose a wig makes the time less painful.
Always remember that your presence is critical for your friend to move on
Cancer changes many things in a woman's life, including feelings. physical and psychological pain, but he does not define anyone.His friend is still there, trying to deal with the situation as best as he can.Working with loved ones is the remedy that softens the pains of the routine and have no side effect.
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I just read a book I'd like to recommend to everyone who likes to dig deeper into personal issues: "The Immoral Soul," by Nilton Bonder. Compulsory reading for those who are questioning their relationships, who do not know what to do when they recognize themselves in a marriage that is worn and unpleasant.