MANY of us that have walked through breast cancer and have been in the trenches of healing, DO NOT LOVE the whole "PINKTOBER" fest that happens every year - for lots of reasons.
We need research that matters.
We need research for those with late stage disease.
We need money to go to those trying to use ALL means of healing.
A cancer journey is exhausting - on every front, financially, emotionally, physically. It's difficult for not jsut the person walking through it first-hand, but also for the families that walk through it as well.
MANY of us that have walked through breast cancer and have been in the trenches of healing, DO NOT LOVE the whole "PINKTOBER" fest that happens every year - for lots of reasons. BUT - we can sure take the momentum and make something amazing with it and support those that need it most as well as foundations that are TRULY using the funds to do the research needed and are not spending so much on administration.
- We need research that matters.
- We need research for those with late stage disease.
- We need money to go to those trying to use ALL means of healing.
A cancer journey is exhausting - on every front, financially, emotionally, physically. It's difficult for not just the person walking through it first-hand, but also for the families that walk through it as well.
CAN YOU HELP?
I have been in the trench and I am telling you, the small things matter a great deal for both the person healing and the family because it is all felt by the whole family and it directly impacts the whole family. Don't shy away from helping because you think something small or a gesture of love will not really matter. IT MATTERS more than ever!
How YOU CAN support someone in the healing trenches:
Your LOCAL Area, family and friends:
- Take an organic meal in, ask them what dietary ingredients they are following and though it might be a learning curve, it is incredibly stressful to change your food in the face of extra appointments and the all that healing entails. This can be incredibly helpful. Honor their food lists - food changes are very stressful at the start. I had a family member research some of my foods and make special a special meal for me after my surgery and I was so grateful - soooooo very grateful. Food matters a great deal when healing and it is also a really challenging thing to change in the face of a world that is saturated with foods that are NOT on a healing journey food list.
- Take a "regular" healthy meal into the "rest of the family". I had family do this for me after my surgery and I cannot tell you how much I appreciated that gesture as well as my kids and husband.
- Take meals in not just around surgeries or treatment days. There is usually LOTS of help aroud those time, but it’s the "aftermath" that additional support is also needed and so welcomed and appreciated. There is a LOT of "aftermath" in healing and often times the "deeper healing" really begins when the aggressive treatments end.
- Check in on the person. Ask them how it's going. How they are. Can you do anything. Most of the time people will say "nothing" - don't believe it. Anyone walking through this journey is NOT fine and I have found also struggle with asking what is needed. Offer to get them OUT of their space for a movie, or go grab a meal at a restaurant that they "can" eat at that is clean. Or - just get them OUT for anything fun. Our lives get overrun with a new normal and we crave feeling some kind of 'normal'.
- Take them to a movie.
- Go shopping with them.
- Go get an organic cup of tea or coffee - if that is apart of their journey.
- Go for a walk with them.
- Look for local events that might be fun to get their mind off the deep work of healing.
- Listen to them talk - this can be hugely healing. You won't understand it all because you may not have gone through it, but holding space for someone to express some of the hard emotions is a gift.
- Send a card and let them know you are thinking of them and believe in them and love them.
- Send flowers, if that resonates. They are cheery and can make someone feel special.
- Send Amazon or other gift cards that are easily used. This journey is ridiculously expensive and there are so many things that add up to financial devastation quickly. Everything helps.
- Send or Do anything that FILLS THEIR HOPE TANK. There are some great books, like radical remission or many others, that focus on what is POSSIBLE with cancer, vs the dismal information that is so often perpetuated in our culture with a cancer diagnoses.
- As them if there is anything they use monthly that you could "sponsor" for them. Often we use repetivie supplements or foods that are outside of a normal budget and it would be a blessing to have them sponsored.
- Ask if there are any doctor visits you could help get them to or help cover the cost of.
- Ask if there are any tests you could help sponsor.
- Help coordinate a fundraiser. Money is often the difference in accessing some of the integrated tools and helping the body shift.
- Support WHAT EVER PATH someone has chosen to heal. That may be strictly conventional, or it may be integrative (using tools from each healing camp) - or it may be from a more alternative approach. They are ALL VALILD and what matters is what someone believes it. Support the human.
- Offer to help with research - it is OVERWHELMING for some.
- Offer to help come in and clean their home. They may say no - but I am telling you I know firsthand what goes by the 'way side' when you are actively healing. House work is low on the list, but also contributes to stress. Offer to hire someone to come in once a month or even one time. It ALL helps. The less stress the person has around them, the more their nervous system can heal. It matters.
- Donate money. Again - money honestly is the difference between SO MANY supportive tools. I wish I could say that insurance covered the necessities but they do absolutely do NOT and I don't know anyone, in all my work, that was not devastated by the costs of healing.
- Offer to help with outside chores, like lawn mowing. I know in our home, my husband took on so much stress in having to watch me walk through what I did. It was, and is, so hard on those supporting the person healing for different reasons. Mundane chores often add an extra layer of stress and is a GODSEND. Not everyone can afford to pay for mowing services, cleaning services, etc. No when money is tight and it could go toward a therapy, but I am telling you - they are and can be a HUGE blessing.
- Check in on someone. A cancer diagnoses isn't an event, it is a LIFELONG detour of everything normal in your life. If you are addressing some of the root causes, it overhauls your spirit, mind, body, finances, sometimes relationships, jobs, and not much is left standing that "was normal". Testing will go on for many, many, many years. Testing is incredibly stressful, emotional and just hard. Healing has to be maintained and so going back to the old way of living isn't an option if you want to sustain healing. Cancer can recur and year 2-5 are often the hardest for those on the journey, but cancer alters your life forever as we all know it can also revisit many years later. Many people assume they "rang the bell" and treatments are done, but I am telling you - this is where the wreckage and deeper healing often really BEGINS. So check in and know that the person isn't really ever "done" and could use some love and support as they do ongoing tests and excavate deeper root issues and address some of the emotional and physical challenges that happen after treatments.
- Your love and support matters and is healing - more than anyone realizes I think. It's a HUGE GIFT. Don't be afraid to reach out and know people hate asking - it's also VERY hard to be on the receiving end and to "need" help. So - do it anyway. Slather love on them in anyway you can. For many - this is deeply healing all on its own. Small things matter and help. It ALL helps.
- Help someone that doesn't live close:
- SEND MONEY. Donate to their GoFundMe if you can, but they DO take a portion and so if you know the person well, send a check so they get all the funds. If you see someone online that you feel connected to and like you want to send money, know that it is a GIFT. In my GoFundMe, I had people donate I didn't even know and I cannot tell you how many times I sat and sobbed at the generosity. I was one of those people that struggled with receiving help. It's been part of my journey and a humbling one. The funds raised in my fundraiser by my family and my GoFundMe LITERALLY made the difference between getting the help I needed or not. I cannot empathize that enough. Nor can I express in mere words the gratitude for having people reach out and love on me and my family and help at a time when we were at rock bottom in so many ways.
- If you are worried about how the funds are going to be used, reach out and ask if you can "sponsor" or send something they need. A doctor visit, a test, a supplement, food, seriously…..the list is LONG and expensive.
- Send a card.
- Pay for cleaning service.
- Send a gift card for something fun.
- Send something funny to just get them out of their daily healing journey. This is SUCH a gift.
- Send a book that will focus on the HOPE.
- Text them often and just say you love them and ask if there is anything they need and don't believe them when they say NO.
Know that your support matters.
Know that your LOVE matters.
Know that your generosity - small or large - is an incredible gift to someone struggling to get what is needed to heal.
Some REAL Faces of PINK