How You Can Help by Kelsey Smith

This pretty much sums up the entire process of dealing with cancer:

I know, I know, I’m only two months into this thing. I’ve been doing my best to stay positive, and really grab this thing by the horns and take it on. Today was one of those days where I couldn’t win the fight against insurance. Spending all morning on the phone is exhausting.
You see, insurance sometimes doesn’t want to pay for things that could prove to be beneficial in the future. In my case, it’s a PET scan. While I was approved for a CT scan, a PET scan would give me a better idea of how the rest of my body is doing, whereas the CT scan focuses only on my chest and abdomen. Personally, I’d feel safer having the PET scan done due to early detection. While it will set me back nearly $1,500, I feel that it’s going to be money well spent.
With this being said, one constant question that has come up during this time is, “How can I help?” As a fiercely independent chick, I’ve replied that I’m able to handle this all on my own. Then, I later realize kitty litter weighs roughly 25 lbs. and I can only lift up to 10 lbs. at the moment. The truth is, I HATE asking for help and take pride in doing things on my own. It’s time for me to step back, and let you all in a little bit more. After some thinking, here is how you can help me or anyone who is going through something similar:
1. Offer to help clean house, fold laundry, or other chores around their house. For me, it took a few days just to be able to lift my arms above my head. It was nearly a month until I was completely able to get out of bed without support. It sucks as much as you’re imagining it would. I’ve been instructed to stop working out, and the house gets messy quickly.
2. Help with grocery shopping and meals. I’ve been blessed with some wonderful friends who have kept my fridge stocked and have also taken me out or just cooked for me. It’s truly alleviated a lot of stress. And truthfully, you all are WAY better cooks than I will ever be!
3. It’s amazing how many people decide they’re a doctor when something like this happens. DO NOT tell me what I should do for treatment unless I want your advice, and do not get judgy over my decision for treatment, either. I’ve been inundated with information as it is, and it only causes more stress. Cancer is much, much more complex than most people realize. I’m fully capable of going over everything with my doctor, thank you very much!
4. Speaking of being inundated with information, feel free to research resources for me. I’ve been told there are resources out there to help, but haven’t had the time to look. For instance, Cleaning for a Reason helps women undergoing treatment by offering free, monthly cleaning services. These kinds of things are helpful! Actually, I’d love to put together a list in another entry, so please send me any legitimate links you’ve got.
5. Don’t discount your life, or feel that your issues are all of a sudden irrelevant because I’m going through something major. I care about you. I WANT to know! Cancer sucks talking about after a while. Tell me all about your shitty boss, your new cookie recipe, anything that’s on your mind.
6. After consulting with a few friends, I’ve decided to accept donations via PayPal. Cancer is expensive, dammit! The link is located on the right side of the page. I considered using GoFundMe; however, GoFundMe makes their money by taking a 7% cut of each donation. I genuinely appreciate and welcome any help you’re able to offer.
7. Please, PLEASE go to the doctor. Get a physical, do self-exams, get smeared, anything! So many people love you and want you around, especially me. It’s such a relief to have an answer and a plan if it’s necessary. Don’t live in fear and worry over that ailment that’s bugging you. Do what you can to take the best care of you!
8. Be a positive force. It’s natural to worry, but we’re in an age where advancements in technology are better than ever and continue to improve. But don’t make me laugh too hard, because these tissue expanders are uncomfortable as hell.
9. Forgive me if I’m unable to make it to your event. Those that know me know that I’m the ultimate social butterfly and always had weekends full. I love people and doing all sorts of things! I’m just so tired right now, and that’s not going to change for the next seven months at least. It’s the ultimate bummer. On the flipside, don’t feel guilty if you have to back out of plans at the last minute. Life happens. Take care of you, too!
10. Listen. Let me vent every so often. Let me feel what I feel, because I feel it all. I can’t be “on” all the time. I’ll get back to normal, I promise 🙂
That’s about all I can think of at the moment. How have you helped someone in my situation that proved to be beneficial? If you’ve been in my shoes, what worked for you? Sound off and let me know what you think!

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