I recently received an invitation to join a group. I receive invitations to join groups often but this one caught my eye. I was intrigued so I checked it out. This is what I found.
Knitted Knockers Knitting Circle for Mastectomy Patients (click to check it out and/or join us)
“Many women cannot afford the upfront cost the government requires to get their mastectomy bra’s,… and when they do, a lot find them too heavy or uncomfortable to wear. Knitted and Crocheted Knockers is an alternative to this problem. This group is looking for men and women who love to knit or crochet to make knitted knockers for women who cannot wear or cannot afford traditional mastectomy bras. If you would like to help or would like one or a pair please join and make someone’s day by giving them their breast(s) back and a smile on their face.”
So one brave woman who is living with breast cancer stepped forward and started this group on Facebook. I joined and I am glad I did. I haven’t crocheted any yet but will gladly give my time to do this. I never even thought about women having to buy these products. They even give these “made with love” items free just for asking. How much better could it be? I am so impressed.
The main page for the knitted knockers is here. It gives more info if you need it. I am hoping that I can find women like me who would love to share their crocheting talent and ability to help these brave women who need us. We can do this! I am so excited. Please check this out.
A MUST READ:
Giving Support When A Loved One Has Cancer by Georgie Hanson
Giving emotional support to a loved one with cancer is not easy. There is just nothing simple about it. Of, course you want to be there for your loved one, but at the same time, it hurts. Keep in mind that your strength will make them even stronger.
Just how do you give support and how do you give it without breaking down?
Listen With You Heart, and Not Your Ears
When your loved one talks about their cancer, listen. Really listen. Sometimes, it is not what you say, it is what you do. Listening is one of the best ways to show you care. If your loved one wants to rant and rave about how unfair life is or whatever is on his or her mind, let it be. We need to have emotional outbursts every once in a while to vent our feelings. Knowing they have a shoulder to cry on is such a comfort.
Don’t Show Any Denial You May Be Feeling
It’s normal to be in disbelief. After all, misdiagnosis’ have been made. Encourage a second opinion, if he or she has just been diagnosed but for the right reasons. Encouraging thoughts that their cancer may not be, allows the patient to go into the mindset they they really don’t have cancer. Many people do not go through treatment as soon as they should because of false hopes.
Limit How Often You Say “It’s Going To Be Alright.”
If you knew how many times a cancer patient hears that in one day, you wouldn’t say it at all. When cancer patients hear phrases like that, one of the first things they ask themselves is, “What if it’s not okay”, or “How do you know?”. Instead of trying to reassure that everything will be fine, reinforce that they will make it through cancer.
Normalcy Is Very Important
Don’t feel like you can’t talk about what is going on in your life, good or bad, in front of your friend or loved one. You may feel like your life is mediocre compared to having cancer, but it’s so important to act as normal as you can. It is common for cancer patients to feel like invalids, even when they are fully functional. People begin treating them differently immediately upon hearing of their diagnosis. But, normalcy is the key to coping.
The secret to supporting is in these tips. There are also 4 L’s to remember when caring for a loved one: Listening, Learning, Loving and most of all Laughter.
For someone living with cancer, the support of family and friends is critical in their journey. Yet, a diagnosis of cancer often catches everyone by surprise, and shifts the roles we are accustomed to playing. Those of us that have not personally struggled with cancer, though well meaning, are unable to understand completely what our loved one is going through emotionally and physically. As we face this new territory, what are some tips we can use to help support our loved one through their often-lonely journey?
1. Consciously Listen
Simply listening to someone with cancer may sound easy, but is often times surprisingly hard. We want to make things better. We want to fix things. But a listening ear is often what “helps” the most. Let your loved one express their feelings, even if those feelings make you uncomfortable. You can be fairly certain that if your loved one brings up a difficult topic, such as dying, they have been thinking about it. Allow them the opportunity to have the comfort of sharing. Don’t judge, don’t interrupt, and listen with your eyes and body, not only your ears.
2. Deal With Your Own Feelings First
As caregivers, we are faced with our own set of difficult emotions and fears. What will happen to my loved one? Will they have pain? Will they live? What will happen to me? How will my life change? Try to face your own fears first, so you are truly able to listen attentively.
3. Say “I Love You” Often
No matter how much your actions express your love, it is not a substitute for hearing it. Affirm them. Praise their efforts. Even if the only thing they can do after a round of chemotherapy is brush their teeth, let them know they are special and valued.
4. Lend a Hand
For those with lung cancer, life goes on despite running for treatment and side effects like fatigue. Bills accumulate. Dust gathers. Something as simple as offering to help clean house for an hour is often deeply appreciated. Offer help and make it specific. “Can I come over Wednesday at 2 PM and wash a few windows?” Don’t wait for your loved one to ask for help.
5. Go With Them to Appointments
Attending appointments with your loved one can express your caring in many ways. Hospitals and clinics can be frightening places and waiting can be excruciating. Bring a notepad. Ask questions. Take notes. But make sure to allow your loved one to make their own decisions.
6. Add a Touch of Humor
Humor can be the best medicine. Be sensitive to the times that your loved one needs to express grief, but be ready to laugh and smile with them as well.
7. Respect Their Need to Be Alone
Sometimes our loved ones with cancer claim they want to be alone so they don’t bother us, but other times, they truly want to be alone. Monitor other visitors as well. Does your loved one feel that he or she has to entertain them, but does not want to offend them and ask them to go? If so, gently let these other visitors know when your loved one appears tired and thank them for visiting.
8. Be a Gatherer – Of Information
Having information appears to ease some of the anxiety those with cancer face. Research your loved ones disease online, ask your cancer center for information, take notes, and ask questions at doctors’ appointments.
9. Don’t Hide Things From Them or Other Loved Ones
Our loved ones with cancer need an honest assessment of their condition to make decisions that best fit their needs – even if that honesty is painful. Be honest with other family members, and especially children. We want to protect our children from the reality of what their parent or grandparent may be facing, but children often imagine the worst. Even if the prognosis is poor, sharing with them honestly gives them the opportunity to begin their grieving and express their love.
10. Help Them Find Support
No matter how much someone without cancer can empathize, talking to someone facing the same challenges can be invaluable for someone facing cancer. Ask your cancer center for information on support groups. Many online support groups are available as well. If your loved one is not interested in a support group, perhaps your oncologist or cancer center can find someone with a similar cancer who would be willing to visit one-on-one.
11. Be Willing to Bend
Family members often have many different opinions when a loved one has cancer, based on their own life experiences. Friction often develops, and hurt and resentment can follow. Your loved one does not want to be the source of family conflict. Try to hear each other’s viewpoints, no matter how dissimilar they may seem. Keep in mind that all of you have a common goal; you all want to support your loved one.
12. Take Care of Yourself
Eating healthy, trying to get enough sleep, and maintaining a balance in your own life, will help you provide the support your loved one needs. Check out further tips for caregivers to nurture yourself as you care for others.