Let me start off by saying that I am no expert on the subject and am just speaking from my personal experience. Think of it as one of those "legal disclaimers". You know when you see one of those print ads and at the very bottom is that very fine print in Arial point size 4 so you can't read it.
Or, how about those lovely commercials for various
Soothing music plays in the background.
Two people hold hands as they walk along the beach.
They are both having good hair days.
Their rolled up linen pants have no wrinkles.
Waves crashing, seagulls flying, and the sun is shining.
All is well in the world.
Then BAM!!! The music stops and the professional voiceover goes on to say all of the awful side effects! OK, you get the picture.
(1) How do you "help" someone that is independent and doesn't like to ask for help or put anyone out of there way?
I can certainly relate as I am one that doesn't like to ask for help.
If I could stand on my head without having to ask someone for help, I would. My advice on this topic is for the patient as much as it is for the friend or family member looking to help. For the "patient", my advice is this...if people want to help, LET them help. My husband gave me those pearls of wisdom when I was going through my cancer ordeal. And, I followed his advice. If family members wanted to accompany to me to treatment, doctor appointments, etc., I let them. If friends wanted to visit and I was feeling up to it, I let them.
As for the "helper", remember that while your loved one has cancer, they are still the same person. And, just as they are the same person, so are you. So just be yourself. If you are a Hallmark card type of person, send a card. If you can cook, cook their favorite meal. If you are good company, sit with them during a chemo treatment. If you have faith, pray with them. If you are funny, make them laugh!
Now my two cents of what NOT to do.
Don't pity, have empathy.
Don't dig into the details, let them share the details they wish to share.
Don't give them one of those head-to-toe "once over" looks expecting to see something different. I used to find it amusing when I would get those type of looks. Since I didn't lose my hair, I would get that perplexed look from many as if to say...hmmm, she doesn't "look" sick. She's not wearing a hat or scarf around her head? Perhaps, that is a wig she is wearing?
To sum it up, just be real. There is nothing better than the real deal.
In my next blog entry, I will address the second question of what I did nutritionally.