As I remember from my navigating days, the breast clinics and chemo rooms got rather empty from before the holidays until a week or two into the new year.
It was, as if, most patients said, “I need a time out from breast cancer. I need a time to get away from talking about and thinking about breast cancer. I need to have a time when no one is examining me; a time to be free of being poked and stuck. I need a time not be nauseous and exhausted. I need just a little while to do things I enjoy, no matter how small, with out feeling sick or angry or sad.”
Many people don’t know what to say or do for a friend or loved one going through breast cancer treatment. If you are the patient, make it easier on them by telling them how they can help you have a time out from all things breast cancer, even if it is just for a few hours.
The best gift to receive, at any time, is the gift of sharing time with loved ones when going through breast cancer treatment.
As a patient, let friends a family know you would enjoy the normalizing gift of a breast cancer time out by doing something you enjoy that will not be taxing when you have limited energy. Going to a movie, taking a ride around town, visiting with friends, or just playing a board game together might just be what is needed to lift your spirits.
If you celebrate Christmas, help with decorating, making cookies, or wrapping presents are some great ways to get things done that need doing, as well as being a great time out. So ask for help!
If you are the friend or family member, ask about doing some things that would be an escape from thinking about breast cancer. Sometimes, just having companionship, doing the ordinary things one did before beginning breast cancer treatment can be a welcome treat, and a much appreciated “time out.”
If you are a patient, don’t reserve “time outs” for the holiday season; take them whenever you can during breast cancer treatment. They will make a difference in how you feel, and how you weather the treatment experience.
If you are family or friends, know that a call, suggesting a time out together, will make all the difference to someone going through treatment. Companionship when you are feeling physically and emotionally low is a much needed and appreciated gift.