I had someone contact me recently after finding out that a friend of hers was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. While she knew she was going to pray for her friend, she wanted to do something more. How could she really help and support her friend?
I have a few suggestions on that topic from my own personal experience. First off, praying is the best thing you can do. Believe me, your friend will feel those prayers. Don't ever think that's not enough.
The other thing you can do, especially as time goes on through her treatment, is to treat her NORMALLY. Depending on what she has to deal with, if it's surgery, radiation and/or chemo, there will be a point where she is sick and tired of dealing with her treatments, and she's going to want something "normal," -- like just going out to lunch, or having lunch brought to her, or bringing her a Starbucks, watching a movie or something.
She's going to want to be just who she is, and not always identified by her breasts or by her cancer. She still wants to feel like a real person.
With her initial diagnosis, and during surgery, she'll get a swell of support from folks. The hard part is in the middle of chemo treatments or in the middle of radiation. People tend to drift away a little bit, but she's obviously still dealing with her illness. So, when things have calmed down, and everyone else has returned to "normal" life, that's the time to drop her a card and let her know you're still thinking of her and still praying for her. Don't make a big deal about it, but a simple card and a few words can mean so much!
One more thing, one of the neatest things I received as I was going into the hospital for surgery was a gift basket filled with silly, wonderful things. It was filled with magazines, sudoku puzzles, a roll of quarters for my husband (for vending machines at the hospital if needed), and a couple of pairs of funny, brightly colored socks. They made me laugh. The pink fuzzy ones especially, and you can bet I wore them with a smile.
Just remember simple, little things can sometimes bring the most joy.
How about you? What are your suggestions for supporting someone in need?