Supporting a Friend

Last week I inadvertently learned that someone I care about got a bad result from a mammogram. I know of several people dealing with or victims of breast cancer. The very suggestion can strike a bolt of fear straight into your heart. My dear friend, Linda, from California died from it a couple years ago. My friend, Jane, is a survivor but still at risk. My friend Anita is fighting it right now – just had her last of 6 chemo treatments. The sweet voice of an angel, Lari White, went to sing with the rest of the angels today because of it. Cancer sucks.

My friend was trying to be cavalier about it, saying she was sure it was a mistake and that the next round of tests would surely prove that she is OK. But let me tell you, those several days between hearing that bad news and waiting to go to the next appointment are hell. It is on your mind every minute, and the drive to the radiologist for over an hour, by yourself, can be excruciating. Sitting in the waiting room looking at the other women there, some with a scarf or ballcap instead of hair, a lady with her husband grasping each other’s hands tightly and looking upset, the young girl with her mom, both staring at their cellphones because talking is too embarrassing…..your own worried thoughts…..it is HARD.

I wish I could have gone on that drive with her. She has literally no one else in her life to go with her and help. But I am several states away and I’m not driving because of my own health issues.

I knew she was supposed to go for the next test Monday and asked her to call me when she got back home or even from the radiologist office if she needed to talk. But she didn’t call. So THAT worried me. I waited a long time but finally called, as worrying accomplishes nothing. We ended up talking for a very long time. She really needed someone to talk to and I’m glad I could be supportive. It was hard, tho. I wish I could have been there to give her a big hug. I wish I could have been there to drive her to that appointment. It really sucks to face all of that alone.

Altho some people truly don’t like dealing with such personal things with other people around – they want their privacy, they want their dignity, they say they don’t want to worry anyone – some people really do need a friend with them. It may not seem like much to you, to go see the doctor – no big deal. But if you know of someone facing cancer or a serious illness, PLEASE reach out to them. Don’t just say, “If there is anything I can do….” Tell them that you will drive with them to the doctor or lab or whatever appointment they may have. Don’t let them go alone. And if you just can’t make time or be nearby to go with them, call them and let them talk for 3 hours. And call them again a couple days later, as often as you can. It is important.