Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Supporting a loved one | 12 October 2020
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month – a time dedicated to increasing awareness about the disease. Much of the information we are given about breast cancer is about self-examinations and the associated signs and symptoms. What we might not often see and hear about is advice on how to support a loved one, like a member of family or a friend, who has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
It is in this light that Seychelles NATION spoke to a few locals who have had a loved one diagnosed with breast cancer, to learn more about the ways in which they felt they best supported their loved one through such challenging times. Below, they share their advice to anyone who at this time, finds themselves wanting and needing to support their loved one.
Offer emotional help
Take the time to check in with your loved one. Call, message and visit her regularly to find how she is coping. Be ready to listen to her, to cry and laugh with her. Let her know that you’re available for her to call you, to meet up with her, when she needs someone to talk to. You can even let her know that if she wants, you are ready to accompany her for medical appointments. It’s important to be yourself and not to worry if you don’t know what to say or you don’t have the right advice; the important thing is that she knows she is not alone, that she has someone to listen to her and to support her.
Lend a helping hand
Remember that a cancer diagnosis means that your loved one is probably feeling pre-occupied, stressed and anxious. In turn, it might mean that she has less time for chores. See what you can help her with and offer her a hand where possible. For example, you can offer to go to the shops for her to buy groceries, cook her up homemade meals, drive her to medical appointments, help with any housework, and if she has children, you can offer to babysit or take the children out sometimes.
Buy or make valuable little gifts
Think of what your loved one might need or want and look for things that they can use right away. It is better to give small gifts frequently rather than one big gift once. You can also buy a small gift for the person taking care of your loved one. Ideas for gifts can include a CD or download of your loved one’s favourite music or funny movies, books, journals or notebooks, and hampers of healthy food and beverages.
Engage in therapeutic activities together
Accompany your loved one to different places and take part together in activities which offer ways to relax, de-stress, relieve anxiety and promote happiness. Think of things like going to the beach, going for walks, going for tea or a meal together, doing yoga and meditation classes together, learning a new skill together like drawing, painting or dancing. These will contribute positively to the mental, emotional and physical health of both you and your loved one.