Six Ways to Show Up for your Friend with Breast Cancer

I remember it like it was yesterday. Last November, Nina, my very best friend was diagnosed with breast cancer. I couldn’t believe it, she’s young, healthy and beautiful. How could she have breast cancer? The year following her diagnoses was full of ups and downs. I watched her battle this disease with grace and strength. I sometimes struggled with finding the rights things to say or the right things to do. 
I’m sharing six ways to show up for your friend with breast cancer.
1.    Understand that you don’t understand – You can empathize and sympathize but unless you have had to tackle this disease head on, you really don’t know what she’s going through. 
2.     Not all talk is cancer talk-  Do you know who doesn’t want to talk about cancer all the time? A cancer patient that’s who. Of course, cancer will be a topic of conversation, but be mindful it’s not the only topic of conversation. We talked about the newest episode of ratchet TV, makeup palettes, home decor, our wanderlust list, current events, nonsense on social media. You know, all the stuff we talked about before. 
3.    Laughter is truly the best medicine – I remember when Nina had a really tough day. I mean anything that could go wrong went wrong. I could hear the frustration and anger through the phone. After talking about her day, she says “then my last three eyelashes fell off”. There was silence on the phone and I could hear her crying. I replied, “so the eyelashes did you in today?”  After a brief pause, we both laughed. Remember sometimes you gotta make light of a thought situation.
4.    Encourage her to make new friends – Hear me out. I know she’s your friend and you really don’t want to share .  She will need to make friends that can offer her tips on how to manage her new normal. 
5.    Ensure she minds her mental health- I’m a very strong advocate for mental health. The oncologist and the plastic surgeon can only take care of the physical. Nina is as mentally strong as they come but losing your breast and hair can break the best of us. Encourage her to seek a therapist that can help process the wide range of raw new emotions. 
6.    Be there! Listen. Laugh. Cry. Talk

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