A NEWSLETTER FOR BREAST CANCER SURVIVORS
Beaumont Cancer CenterMailing Address:
3577 W. Thirteen MileRoyal Oak, MI 48073-6710
You can make a difference
Sharing & Caring is a non-profit
organization devoted to the education and support of
breast cancer survivors. Donations support
programs for others who follow in the same
footsteps and can be made by a check payable
to Sharing & Caring at the above address.
What People With Cancer Wish Those Without Cancer Knew
SharingOctober, November, December 2015
A cancer diagnosis brings despair not only to the one who has cancer but also to friends and family who want to help, but are unsure of what to do or say. Many women who are newly diagnosed experience overwhelming feelings, emotions and fears. Friends and family really want to assist by providing support and comfort to their loved ones but often struggle when trying to think of the best thing to do. Each individual will have different reactions and needs as they progress though their treatment. Here are some thoughts from our survivors at Sharing & Caring on what they felt was most helpful to them.
1. Dont wait for me to call you if I need anything. Please call me every once in a while and set up a date and time to come over. I know you told me to call if I ever needed anything, but its weird asking others to spend time with me or help me with stuff I used to be able to do on my own. It makes me feel weak and needy, and Im also afraid youll say no.
I needed people to come and take charge. When I was going through chemo, I didnt have the energy to change the linens on the bed! What I needed was for someone to look around and then just take charge of what needed to be done. Dont be afraid or embarrassed to ask because I wasnt embarrassed to receive the help. My neighbor brought me a basket with pillows, lavender lotion, a journal, etc. It was so kind and thoughtful and very much appreciated. Just help the person find small joys
2. CANCER doesnt always end when treatment does. The new normal can be a hard and scary place. After finishing treatment, there can be lingering physical and emotional side effects. Many patients
deal with the fear of recurrence, fatigue and other treatment related concerns years after treatment has ended.
Dont tell me I dont look like I have cancer because you have no idea of what cancer looks like! You are not the same person after a cancer diagnosis. It changes your being. You have to learn patience and be kind to yourself because cancer changes your whole world. It changes relationships, health, friendships, income, everything. You never feel normal, your life changes forever and you have to find your new normal.
3. Forgive me. There will be times when the illness and its treatment make me not myself. I may be forgetful, abrupt or hurtful. None of this is deliberate. Please dont take it personally if I dont call you back or want to visit with you right now, please forgive me. I was grumpy and in a lot of pain after my surgery. It all happened so fast, learning I had cancer and then starting treatment. I just needed some time. I needed some kindness despite my bad attitude, until I started to get back to feeling like myself again.
4. Learn to Listen. Our first thought is to give advice, however what I really need might be for someone to just listen. Just be there with me without interrupting, judging or having to respond. Be present and available. Talk less and listen more.
I had radiation. I took a leave of absence from work. People seemed to be surprised that I looked good while I was going through my treatment. They would often question me and I would simply respond by saying that Im radiant!
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5. Come along and be my note taker. It is hard for me to take all this new medical information in. A lot of it just goes right over my head. Educate yourself, read up on treatments and do some research for me. The information is overwhelming and it is helpful to have someone who has some knowledge about the treatments and disease process. I always remember the people that were there for me. I had a friend who I called when I got disturbing news. I remember calling her and telling her when I found out that I had lymph node involvement. She would be there to hear me and the fear in my words. Then she would research. She would go on-line and read up on what I told her. She really helped me move forward. There were so many decisions to be made. I wrote some things down and would re-read them over and over just to let all the information sink in. There were many things that I dont remember hearing the doctor tell me. Later, I wasnt sure if it was because she didnt say it or if I just didnt hear it.
6. I dont want to hear about your friend who died of cancer! I am interested in hearing about others who have gone through similar experiences. It is nice to talk to other breast cancer survivors who are doing well, but I want your success stories, not your horror stories. I need hope right now. What Im trying to tell you is that I need to hear positive stories right now. I dont know what is coming next. Im telling you this because Im fearful and just want someone who will listen when I need to talk.
It is important to remember that everyones needs are different. Just being present is sometimes one of the greatest gifts you can offer.
We want to know your thoughts. Have we left out something important?
Join us on facebook and leave your comments on how others helped to support you through a breast cancer diagnosis.
NOV 12, 2015WHAT CAN
PHYSICAL THERAPY DO FOR YOU?Interactive Workshop Hosted by
Oakland University Physical Therapy
Welcoming Ovarian and Breast Cancer support group members, and their caregivers. Come share an informational (and fun!) evening
featuring specialized nutrition information and exercise tips to improve your quality of life after diagnosis.
Monday, November 12, 6-8 pmCall by November 1st to reserve your spot. Space is limited!
248-689-1146 or 248-551-8585Beaumont Medical Center Family Medicine Building, 44250 Dequindre Rd.
Sterling Heights, MI. Enter through door labeled ATRIUM
Thanks to Beaumont Cancer Clinical Trial
Never doubt that
a small group of
citizens can change the
world; indeed, it is the
only thing that ever
- Margaret Mead
We would like to thank Beaumont Cancer Clinical Trials for partnering with us to host some amazing events this past year. Every year we strive to introduce you to new programs that both educate and inspire, and thanks to their ongoing support, we were able to present some stimulating and impressive programs. Some of the projects that we were able to bring you with the generous support of the clinical trials department included The Evening of Shared Awareness, Annie Parker and her film Decoding Annie Parker and Painting with a Twist.
The goal of our collaboration is to increase awareness about the clinical trials process, allow patients to ask questions, and increase understanding of the key roles that patients play in discovering better treatments for the future. We would also like to thank our survivors for their interest and participation in clinical trials. Your role in furthering the body of knowledge in cancer research is of value to breast cancer patients and survivors. We really appreciate the partnership and generous help in putting on quality programs, as well as
bringing new and improved treatments here to Beaumont. Our hope is that our patients remain aware of the trials that they are eligible for and continue to have positive experiences with the Cancer Clinical Trials department. If youre interested in learning more or finding an open and enrolling clinical trial, call 248-551-7695.