Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Biotheranostics, Inc. (Breast Cancer Index TM). Thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.
Over the past few months, I’ve been sharing my partnership with the maker of Breast Cancer Index and how valuable this resource is for those facing a breast cancer diagnosis.
Through this journey as a brand ambassador, I’ve learned so much about the importance of being your own best advocate when facing this or any other type of diagnosis.
I’ve also learned more about what we can all do to support others who might find themselves in a situation like this.
It is such a helpless feeling to watch a loved one go through a hardship like cancer. This campaign couldn’t have been more timely for me because around this time last year, my sweet friend Tina was diagnosed with breast cancer.
With her permission, I’m sharing a bit of her story with you. Warning: she’s a beautiful and brave warrior woman who will blow you away with that smile.
Watching her go through the process of tackling and facing this diagnosis head on was very eye opening to those of us who love her. Her community rallied around her but if I am honest – there were many times I wasn’t quite sure what to do or say.
It was a very helpless feeling, because the reality is that no matter what you do, you can’t make the cancer go away. However, I did come to realize that when someone you love is dealing with this kind of struggle, there are things you can do to make the road ahead less rough.
This is my beautiful friend Tina and her husband Ryan before her cancer diagnosis. They are dear friends and of course, her diagnosis came as a shock to everyone.
They are so loved and it was no surprise that friends rallied around them to offer assistance. Since our boys play sports together, we were in many of the same parent groups and everyone wanted to know what they could do to help. Us included. It’s a very helpless feeling.
Ways to Support a Friend Through a Cancer Diagnosis
One thing that I’ve learned is that you can’t over support. While it might feel uncomfortable, don’t be shy about offering up your assistance. Just be considerate and thoughtful in your approach.
I’m no expert, so I’ve relied on advice from friends who have experienced this themselves.
I highly recommend first educating yourself on the specific cancer diagnosis. Depending on the amount of information that your friend wants to share, you can do some research to see what the road ahead might look like and how you can help.
I’ve learned that some people are an open book and others prefer to keep their health struggles more private. It’s important to respect your friend’s wishes, and respond accordingly.
If you feel comfortable, talk to their spouse or other loved ones to get input and advice on ways to be of assistance.
Tina’s husband Ryan was right by her side through the whole thing and he even created a Facebook page where he kept everyone updated during appointments, treatments and her chemotherapy.
That was very helpful and an easy way to keep everyone informed as we prayed and wondered how to help.
I also want to mention that I feel so honored to be Tina’s friend and to have her in my life – and especially honored that she is allowing me to share her story.
She truly is a WARRIOR and has fought with so much fierce courage and grace. We’ve laughed because of course 2020 had to come along and be all annoying, but that was nothing compared to what she has been through.
Her cancer journey has definitely put things in perspective for me, and I’ve learned a lot about how I want to live, just by watching her.
Tips for How to Support a Friend Through Cancer Treatment
Of course, I think there is no better person to share tips for helping a friend during cancer treatment than the patient themselves and that’s why I’m so thankful that my friend Tina was willing to give these bits of advice to help us all should we find ourselves wanting to support a friend in the future:
I think the biggest help for me and my family was providing meals for us. As a mom my first concern was me not feeling like cooking, or making sure my kids were eating healthy meals and not just fast food. My husband was consumed with helping me and taking care of my emotional and physical health so having those meals dropped off, or even gift cards for take out, took some stress off of me.
People volunteering to drive my kids to school or practices helped a ton.
During chemo, having my friends/family there with me made the long chemo hours doable. I always took things to do, but I never had any down time during chemo. I always had friends or family there with me, actually making it like a little party. Chemo is scary but my friends made it more of a social get together.
Also, I had friends go with me to the doctor appointments and record everything the doctor said so we could go back and listen to them. When you are there it is all so overwhelming and they are giving you so much information that you just can’t comprehend it all. So it’s good to have the recording for future reference.
On the days I couldn’t get out of bed, friends dropped by to see me. Cancer is very isolating and on most days you feel very alone, so my friends/family made sure I was not alone, which was very important to me because your mind can wander into dark places when you are by yourself.
Friends would come over and walk with me so I was getting out and exercising, but never alone.
There is a free house cleaning service for people with cancer. Take advantage of that. The last thing you need to be doing is cleaning your house or stressing out over a dirty house.
I’m so thankful for this input and advice from Tina on how to support a friend through cancer and cancer treatments, because while we all want to help, sometimes it really is hard to know what to do.
As you can see from these photos, my friend is a ray of sunshine and light, and she has fought this cancer like a true warrior woman – and I’m very proud to call her my friend.
The Breast Cancer Index Test and Why It’s Important
If you know someone facing a breast cancer diagnosis, please refer to the Breast Cancer Index website for more information.
Through this process and through speaking with those who have been through cancer treatments, I’ve learned that knowledge truly is power.
Not only can this test provide women with more knowledge but also can help direct the course of their treatment and the choices that they and their oncologists may have along that journey.
Breast Cancer Index is the only commercially available genomic test that can:
1) predict whether a breast cancer patient is likely to benefit from antiestrogen therapy beyond 5 years and
2) provide the patient’s individual risk of recurrence after 5 years.
So please, remember this information should you or anyone you love ever find themselves in a position where this might be useful.
(*more information here *bit.ly/IntendedUseAndLimitations )
Team Pink Package Giveaway
If you know someone who has fought or is fighting breast cancer, make sure to enter to win a wonderful little prize package of goodies from Team Pink Package. These carefully curated boxes are created by breast cancer survivors for cancer patients because they know the struggle and they also know that these women need to be pampered and celebrated for the true warriors that they are. Such a great way to support a friend through cancer by letting her know you are thinking of her!
One lucky She Saved reader (US only) will win their choice of a Team Pink Package for themselves or to send to a friend.
I will leave this giveaway open through September 30th, 2020 at midnight (mnt time) … once closed, I will select one winner who will have 48 hours to respond to claim their prize! GOOD LUCK!!