A guide for being there when it matters most
What can I do to help?” is probably the most common thing we say to a friend who is ill or in need. But despite our best intentions, this may not be the best way to lend a helping hand. When a person is diagnosed with an MPN blood cancer, patients often feel too overwhelmed or too proud to know how to respond. Now, here’s some ways for you to support a sick friend.
- Don’t ask, just do. Offer something specific (big or small) that you can do to help out and suggest a time when you can follow through, such as “How about I come over on Friday at six and make you dinner?” This may help ease any embarrassment or guilt your friend may feel about asking for help.
- Be honest. It can be difficult to find the right words—or any words at all—when a friend is in crisis. Sometimes, simply saying “I don’t know what to say” is the best way to start a conversation.
- Add a personal touch. While an iTunes gift card or a good book is a great gift, personalized presents can be the most meaningful. A baked batch of favorite cookies could be a great comfort. For someone living abroad, make me a short video to tell them that you are thinking of them. You can send dozens of hand-folded origami cranes for good luck.
- Listen. When news of a cancer diagnosis spreads, patients can be inundated by opinions, advice, and information on everything from nutrition to spiritual outlook. Help out a friend by being a sounding board rather than an information dispenser.