Events

10 Ways to Help A Loved One Cope with Breast Cancer

Hey Cuties,

We are now ten days into October and the world has been painted pink.  October is a month of many things, for example, eight more days until my birthday #1018. Among-st all of the other causes Breast Cancer Awareness is the most popular. The NFL rocks their pink in support as well, you know because real men wear pink. MimiCuteLips boldly and proudly supports the efforts to finding the cure. My mother and mother-in-law are both breast cancer survivors. Last year I shared information on BRCA testing and how and why one would consider it. I shared my Mom’s Cancer diagnosis story back in 2011 and I gave you the truth and raw emotion that came with her diagnosis. This will help you understand why I ride so damn hard for this woman. 

On Sunday, October 3rd thousands of people gathered at the Washington Monument in Washington, DC. The day before my boo {The Style Medic} tags me in an Instagram post. The post is talking about said walk taking place the next day.  A group of natural hair bloggers partnered with Creme of Nature and have a team walking. She was down and I was down too, her Mom and sister are also a breast cancer survivors.  Just like that it was a plan, now what to wear? Pink is my favorite color but as it turns out I don’t have many pink clothes.

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I ran into Mommy soon as I arrived.

I looked up a little bit of information about the walk after I was already on board. I come to find out that the American Cancer Society host the Making Strides against Breast Cancer walk is a celebration of survivorship.  So I dial up my Mother and I ask her if she is participating in said event and she says yes. REALLY WOMAN!  My mother is an ambassador for the American Cancer Society and was participating in an event she didn’t tell her family about. Do you see her cute Survivor sash? She is 5 years strong in his survivor game.

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T. Espi & Mi

Tip #1: Everyone with breast cancer should have support. Breast cancer isn’t a one person thing, it is a family thing. When my mother was diagnosed, my sister and I took over her life on her behalf with her consent. I mean seriously took over. We called everyone and told them the news, emotionally my Mom was wrestling with her own feelings, and she couldn’t deal with anyone else. She didn’t want people asking her a bunch of questions she didn’t even have answers for. Her world had been rocked!

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T. and I with Mommy

Tip #2: Have a special contact list.  My sister and I worked with Mom to come up with a contact list. This was a list of people she wanted us to notify and update as she battled breast cancer. Email was easiest for us so we sent out emails that would say when she was having surgery, how long it was expected to last and most importantly DO NOT CALL HER, you can ONLY call us. Now if your family is like mine they will challenge you on this but trust my sister and I are about that life. We plays no games when it comes to our Mom and had no problems setting folks straight. Remember you are the first line of defense, you can’t be weak. We had a smaller contact list that we would text to say she was going into surgery and then again once she was out and in recovery.

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And we’re off…

Tip #3: Limit Visitors. The world is built on good intentions, but we all know people who have good intentions but are annoying. This said intention is magnified when you are battling for your life. The first couple of weeks after surgery were rough on Mom. Hell, it was rough on us too. Not only did my mom have her cancer removed she had a full on mastectomy and lymph-nodes removed under her arm.  When she came home she was bandaged up and had drain bulbs. These drain bulbs had to be drained around the clock as they would fill with liquid. Mom was uncomfortable, she didn’t feel cute and she couldn’t shower the way she wanted. Doctors’ orders. She didn’t want visitors. Remember your loved ones needs and wants come before visitors.

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Taking in the sights: Washington Monument & Thomas Jefferson Memorial

Tip #4: Celebrate ALL Victories: When battling breast cancer victories can be fleeting. So celebrate them as they come. When Mom got her drain bubbles removed that was a victory. That was a step towards her recovery. When she felt good enough to out we took her out, because victory. Once she started chemo her energy was even more fleeting. She would spend days in the bed unable to get up or eat. When we found food she liked, we ran out to get it for her. This journey has peaks and valleys which is why it is so important to celebrate the victories when you can because they may not last long.

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Creme of Nature is a Proud Supporter of Making Strides

Tip #5 Schedule Everything: My sister and I had our own homes to manage on-top of taking care of our mom. Scheduling was essential; I had a six year old child and a man at home. I had to make sure they were eating, homework was getting done, our home was clean and their needs were being met as well. My sister had a teenager at home and she had to make sure she was taken care of as well. Coupled with the fact that both of us had jobs. It was a lot going on, so scheduling everything was a life saver. We made sure we had all of Mom’s appointments and chemo treatments on the calendar. We scheduled visitors and food drop offs.

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Photos are it didn’t happen. We walked, talked and took pictures. (The Target Team is behind us doing the same.)

Tip #6 Food: You know food is my ministry so turn with me to the book of 50 Cent; and it reads “I love you like a fat kid loves cake.” I’m not into community food, by community I mean food prepared by others. In a time of crisis people like to bring food over to the big house so you have one less thing to worry about while life is happening. I appreciate that gesture and so a box of Popeye’s chicken would be amazing. A fruit basket is nice and Edible Arrangements are my absolute favorite. If I don’t know you well and haven’t had your food before people don’t drop off your green bean casserole. *vomit* Don’t get me wrong, I’m appreciative for the kind gesture but I don’t want to trash food. Off topic: You ever see Aunt Patty show up to Thanksgiving with her prized casserole and everyone starts giggling, whispering and frowning up their face? This is what I mean. Everyone knows Aunt Patty can’t cook, but she insist on bringing a dish. Someone needs to permanently assign beverages to Aunt Patty so nobody has to have their stomach pumped.

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Because mature.

Tip #7: Take care of the caregiver. Taking care of someone is the easiest way to experience burnout. Keep in my mind that although my sister and I are taking care of our Mom, she is our Mom. We are hurting, we are feeling some type of way but we have to be strong for her. That doesn’t mean that we don’t need time to process our own emotions. You have to make time to deal with your hurt. Go to the spa, get your nails done, and roam the aisles of Target for a couple of hours. Whatever your thing is, do that thing. You have to recharge or you won’t be any help to your loved one.

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Hanging with our Creme of Nature Captains.

Tip #8: Have your own tribe. Don’t forget your girls; they will be the ones that will keep you going. They will send you the inappropriate meme that will have you cracking up. They will spill some tea to take your mind off what you are dealing with. They will have the cocktails and #FatSnacks ready and waiting the minute you get a chance to get away.  Grab your favorite onesie pajama and meet up on the sofa for girl chat.

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Creme of Nature shared our journey with their 57.7k followers.

Tip #9: Give your Pity Party a going away party. The day the doctors confirmed my mom’s lump was cancer was the longest quietest car ride ever. Everyone’s mind was racing a mile a minute. In seconds our world was forever changed and turned upside down. I gave Mom a few days to come to terms with her diagnosis. She could shut off the world, crawl in a hole or cry her eyes dry. After her few days are up that was it. We fight, we don’t pity ourselves, we have a positive mindset and we go forth and concur. Period!

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Mommy and LittleCuteLips at her last Chemo Appointment. May 2012

Tip #10: RUB YOUR BOOBIES! It might save your life. My mom found her lump by rubbing her breast. She felt something firm and my sister and I urged her to get it checked out immediately.  She was getting her mammograms annually but that isn’t enough. The very life you might save could be your own.

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Do you have any tips you would add? Chat with me in the comment below or FB, IG or Twitter.

mimicutelips

Article written by:

Mimi Green is the Lifestyle Media Correspondent and editor behind MimiCuteLips®. She is a mother of two and a girlfriend to one. You can find Mimi working media at your favorite events, traveling and trying out new adventures, or working on a dope DIY project.

Join the discussion

  1. Jacqui @TradesofJacqui

    Yes yes yes to every point here. It is important to have your support, but to also know when to tell them you need to be alone. Supporters will be able to appreciate that. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Alli Smith

    These are probably the best tips I’ve ever seen. I love how you keep it real. Congrats to your mom for being a breast cancer survivor. She sure does have an awesome support team and I know it really helps when you’re going through so many emotions.

  3. Jenn @ EngineerMommy

    Breast cancer affects so many women these days. These are great tips to make an impact in someone’s life. I think having a great support network is crucial for healing.

  4. lisa

    These are fantastic tips. I have a number of friends that are survivors (and some that didn’t make it) but support and love are so important for them.

  5. Christy Maurer

    Thank you so much for all of these wonderful tips and ideas. I hate all cancer! A dear friend of mine lost her daughter to cancer almost a year ago. She definitely needed cared for herself.

  6. Pam

    My aunt had breast cancer. It’s a terrible disease. Your tips are spot on. Especially celebrating the little victories.

  7. Daria

    This is an awesome post! Very encouraging to one that is a caregiver! Having a support system is important. This post highlights important tips…Thanks for sharing!

  8. Sarah

    I haven’t been in a position to have to help a loved one with breast cancer and get through it, but I have seen so many friends deal with this with their loved ones. I love how you are sharing tips because when going through a life changing, life threatening time – we all need someone there for us to help uplift us and ensure we remain strong!

  9. Maureen @Scoops of Joy

    Bravo to you for doing this! Thank you for sharing these tips. My aunt died from breast cancer and it is very important to have all these that you mentioned. Bless your heart, friend!

  10. Stephen

    Thank you for sharing your story and these tips, all for such a great cause – keep up the incredible and inspiring work 🙂

  11. Kimberly Sessions

    Congratulations to your mom for 5 years cancer free! I love everything that you’ve shared here, these are great tips to help keep people sane when they’re dealing with cancer. I especially love tip #6!

  12. Dawn McAlexander

    My mother-in-law had breast cancer. She would have appreciated a lot of these tips. Fortunately, they caught hers in time and she has been cancer free for over 15 years now.

  13. Annemarie LeBlanc

    Thank you for these tips. October is such a special month for my family. My two cousins are both breast cancer survivors. Sadly though, I lost an aunt to complications of the disease. I wish your mom speedy recovery and good health. Your mom is so lucky to have all your love and support!

  14. Rebecca Swenor

    These are all great tips for helping a loved one through breast cancer. I love the one that says “Give your pity party a going away party”. This is an awesome idea and it is so important to remember to take care of your self as well. Thanks for sharing the tips.

  15. Tiffani G

    You know I’m an advocate for feeling yourself up! I wish we had these 10 tips when my aunt was going through her battle with breast cancer. (I was in the area of the walk that day! It was great to see so many women in their pink.)

  16. Melissa Dixon

    IT is hard when someone you love is diagnosed with any type of cancer. My mom had Hodgkins Lymphoma and it was difficult for many years but now she is in remission!

  17. Tanya Barnett

    This touched me so much! The tip I love the most is the one about the contact list. That is important to field intrusive calls. I did that race a few years ago and I loved it.

    • MimiCuteLips

      Awww, thanks Tanya. Yeah, the contact list was a huge help. I knew some of the people she would want to contact but I certainly didn’t know everyone she wanted to be notified.

  18. Antoinette

    Breast cancer has impacted so many of us. We definitely have to push for more research and, in the meantime, love on our survivors and those who are fighting the fight.

  19. CJ from Thirty30Courtney

    Lord, Number 7 is so important. You really cannot pour from an empty cup and have to be rejuvenated frequently as a caregiver. I also didn’t even think about the organization piece, but thankfully technology allows us to integrate and share calendars. Thank you for sharing your testimony and Go, Mom, Go!

  20. Bonnie @wemake7

    These are really great tips. I’m glad your mom and mother and law are doing okay now.

  21. jennifer

    yes this is such a good list! most of these are true of anyone battling cancer. rub the boobies is a good tip to remember too…

  22. Adeola Naomi

    It is so great what you and your sister are doing for your mum, I am sure you are also very scared.
    Your strength is inspiring!

    • MimiCuteLips

      Adeola, we certainly felt afraid but we had to tuck those in a bit to take care of Mom. I’m so thankful we had a positive outcome.

  23. Ty

    These are really good tips, especially taking care of the caregiver. That person is often overlooked in the scheme of things.
    I have never had to deal with anyone close to me having cancer but should that ever happen, these tips will most definitely come in handy.

  24. Kiwi

    Great post and recap of the Breast Cancer Awareness event. I love the DMV blogger beauties yay! I actually got a little package from Creme of Nature to support Breast Cancer awareness month and I love how the brand involved themselves in the initiative. So many people are still dying from this disease, my cousin passed 3 years ago from it so its close to my heart. So happy to see your mom is an ambassador and survivor. Go mom!!!

    • MimiCuteLips

      Oh nice Kiwi, I love that. Sorry to hear about your cousin. Cancer is taking out our loved ones left and right. That is why I wanted to participate in the walk, to do something to help the cause.

  25. Gwendolyn Mulholland

    These tips are right on point. It is important to provide support while also allowing them space. It is okay if they do not want visitors.

  26. krystal

    Having a supportive tribe is so important. I am glad to hear your story and that your family had a lot of support. That is awesome that your mom is a 5 year survivor!

  27. Holly

    Great tips. I haven’t been in a position to get to help anyone, but in the event I can. I have been supporting and donating.

  28. Camesha | Mama Motivator

    So happy both your mom and mother in law are survivors! My mother in law was diagnosed last year about the same time as one of my oldest friends. They are both thriving and I’m just praying for more good days ahead.

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