Thursday, October 1, 2009

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: My Story

(Continuing in my week of autumn colors, today is brown.)

Feels like October, doesn't it? If you're reading via a reader or email, click in if you'd like to see October's banner - a still and quiet one this month.

Today marks the beginning of breast cancer awareness month. In recognition of this, a few things I'd like to pass on from my experiences with breast cancer. (More about my breast cancer history here.)

After my diagnosis, I had a friend say to me, "I can provide a place for your relatives to stay. I can bring meals. I can provide frequent flyer miles for people to use to come see you." I really appreciated the offer of specific help. I had lots of general offers of "let me know if there is anything I can do", but found it hard to ask for what I might need. Or even think of ways that people who wanted to could be supportive.

Check in again and again and again. Chemotherapy usually lasts six months or more.

I hated going to chemotherapy alone. Not everyone feels this way, but consider offering to accompany a friend or loved one to chemotherapy, radiation or a doctor's appointment.

You don't need to be really close to someone to be really helpful. Someone I didn't know well at all - had only met her a couple of times prior - brought me a week's worth of meals a couple times a month for most of my chemotherapy.

Thanks for listening! xoxo

26 comments:

nicola said...

lecia, a few things...
1) i think i took your name off my corner view list, but i bet it ended up back on when i updated with new names. soooo funny about the "wrong color" comment!
2) lovely new banner!
3) most importantly, thank you for this post. i am not sure i fully realized you are a breast cancer survivor. a friend of mine, with children my age was recently diagnosed. i check in with her often, she started a blog to share her journey, but the reminder is good. my father in law died of cancer and my mom is in "remission" from abdominal cancer (with likely return at some unknown time). my friend's 5 year old has leukemia.
it does not discriminate and it can touch lives over and over. i will add you to the list of people i hold close in my thoughts.
nicola
http://whichname.blogspot.com

baballa said...

Thank you for this post... the uncle of a friend just passed yesterday!! Cancer is.....

kks said...

thanks for the good advice! and so glad you are a survivor, and can help those who have gone through it or are going through it....i will always remember...don't ask, just do....
xo

kks said...

p.s. you look beautiful bald.....

nurseknitsalot said...

thank you for sharing your experiences and passing on some wonderful advice for friends of people undergoing cancer treatment. So glad you are a survivor and able to share your beautiful art with all of us.

pve design said...

I am so thankful for your first hand experience to give guidance to us all to be there for our friends. I think that is most important, that one knows they are not alone in this battle.
pve

Jess said...

What a brave woman you are.
Thank you for sharing your story
and great advice.

Francesca said...

You gave the best possible advice: specific help, and again and again.
Thank you for sharing your story. Happy October to you and your family.

Joyce said...

A wonderful post my friend. I am glad you are survivor. It is so true to just do for a friend that needs a lift. For most of us it is hard to ask even for a simple request. Have a GOLDEN day. xoxo

Ruth said...

I absolutely love this photo! Cows in a field are just so peaceful and calm. And your new banner is spectacular.

Ina in Alaska said...

Great advice about the chemo. Ron's late wife passed at age 39 from breast cancer. We talked about having a friend with you during chemo. He said his late wife had people "lined up" ready to go with her to her treatments. So glad you are a survivor...every day is a gift. xoxoxo

Anna said...

lecia, thank you so much for sharing. this is a really meaningful post and i am so grateful for your honesty and openness.

KPiep said...

Blessings, and my love, to you this month.

Barbara said...

Inspiring post. You are a brave woman and have given wonderful advice.

alice c said...

I had no idea but now I understand your fierce determination to be present in each and every day.

Thank you for the advice - I shall remember it but hope that I never have to use it.

Jessica said...

Great suggestions and advice which I think carry through into most situations where people may need help or support: having a baby, ill, surgery, death, etc.

Paige said...

Just clicked over and read your post from last year - thanks for sharing your story, and your advice of offering specific types of help is a good one indeed. All the best to you and your's from me and mine.

Visible Voice said...

Wow I had no idea! Loved this post! Thanks for sharing your story.

Karena said...

You are very brave, and a very poignant story of a most difficult time for you.. many of us never knows what woman has dealt with this!

Lyndsay said...

Oh my gosh! I didn't even know this about you. Thank you for sharing. I try to remember to check myself regularly. This will definitely encourage that!

Your co photo is stunning.

trinsch said...

beautiful post! just as it can be hard to ask for help, it is for some reason also hard to give or offer. not really sure why. you made it so clear and simple: just say what you can do and offer your assistance when ever possible. i am happy to hear you had some good and understanding friends at the time when you needed it.

RID said...

Oh! Lecia I didn't know your story...Thanks for sharing with us. You are so brave!
Big kiss from Barcelona!

Tammie said...

i love these "tips." especially the one about offering specific help. its common sense i know, but i definitely fall into the trap of saying "let me know if there is anything i can do."

such a great, simple, to the point post.

constant gina said...

This month always brings a tear to my eye...

Valerie said...

Lecia -- it was very interesting to read your point of view as for interaction with /from the others when you were ... sick.
I had to deal several times with this cr*p because of people, some very very dear to my heart, suffering from it and it's not easy to know what to do, what to say.
I tended to be very honest & open about the situation and to offer whatever I could think of, until it was of some interest/help.
No need to tell you once again the respect I have for you about this, I think you know...
A big virtual hug to you

Mel said...

thank you for sharing your story and these helpful tips.