Monday, April 22, 2013

{guest post} when someone has cancer

Hi there! As you know, I'm currently vacationing with family for the next few days -- my littles are experiencing Disney World for the first time! While I can appreciate a good pair of mouse ears and princess lunches, the smiles upon my kids' faces are priceless. I can't wait to share our experiences with you upon my return. Until then, I have some really wonderful guests submitting posts in my absence. 

I’d like to introduce to you, Amy, author and co-founder of Made for More Ministries, where Amy and her husband share their testimony of God’s faithfulness and their commitment to Him and to each other, during Amy's discovery and journey with breast cancer. The fight against cancer is near to my heart, being a skin cancer survivor myself. Grab a cup of coffee, and be inspired by Amy's message today...


What Do I Do When Someone I Know Has Cancer (besides making a casserole)?

Sooner or later, cancer will smash into your life. It might be a loved one or a close friend. In my case, it was me, Stage II Invasive DuctalCarcinomabreast cancer. We were blessed with an immediate wave of caring friends, family and neighbors wanting to help. The strange thing is, like me before the cancer, many did not have any idea what to do. Their hearts were genuine, they simply did not know what was needed (true confession - neither did we!)
We were lucky that we had some good friends who had been down similar paths. They quickly organized everyone – cranking out schedules and duties for everything from food delivery to doctor visits to kids’ taxiing.
The sad fact is, not everyone has a great support system, or any support system at all. We learned a lot of valuable lessons through the cancer journey (God will grow you through these times, if you will let Him!), and a biggie is to listen to those who have already been there. They know so much and many are so willing to share.

After God got us through the cancer, my husband Tom and I, as survivor and co-survivor, knew that He was calling us to start a ministry that would give encouragement and hope to others walking a similar path.  So we listened and started Made for More Ministries, passing forward His love and grace to others.
So what should you do besides delivering your killer casserole? Here are some practical tips for helping those battling cancer:
6 Practical Tips for Helping Someone With Cancer
1. Casseroles are good, but give them real ‘meat’ that will sustain them through the entire cancer journey and beyond. They need hope, encouragement and current, useful tools. Check out Made for More or other cancer resources for materials, tips and what to expect on the journey. We offer free eBooks for caregivers/co-survivors, an encouraging and informative blog and other unique and useful resources. Please reach out to us on our website, Facebook or Twitter. We’d love to help. Print out links and tape them to the casserole!
2. Pray diligently for them. Be specific – healing, rest, peace, comfort, strength, for family members/care givers and acceptance of His will.
3. Remember that they are still the same person as before, but are going to need special support, whether they ask for it or not. Some may be too proud to ask or to accept. Sometimes it is best not to offer or ask, but to tell…as in I WILL (fill in the blank).
4. Listen, then listen some more. There is nothing worse than having to hear everyone else’s story when you are the one suffering. It is about them so keep the focus on them as long as they want it.
5. On the other hand, don’t assume they want to talk about their cancer/treatment/prognosis. Sometimes they really do just want to talk about the weather. Either way, listen, listen and listen some more.
6. Find out if someone is coordinating meals and other schedules, and then contact THAT person to offer your help – or be that person.
Remember, they are still the same person - your friend or loved one – not a leper, a martyr or a celebrity. They will appreciate you being the same too, only a little more helpful!
If you are a cancer fighter/survivor, what tips might you suggest?

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