402 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 77 PART 3 MAY 2019
memorable lines I heard the year I was getting treatment was “It is better to
give than receive—and it is easier too.” Just keep this in mind.
Apart from offering companionship at the clinic, be aware that chemo
treatment is not something that a body gets used to and therefore gets easier.
It’s the opposite—the body gets more worn down with each treatment,
and chemo gets tougher and tougher. A friend’s support and encouragement,
especially over the long haul, is a real gift.
Once radiation treatment is started, the patient receives the treatment
every day, usually for some weeks. The more positive aspect of this treatment
is that it takes only a few minutes to receive each time and is usually
easy to tolerate. But, like chemo, it gets harder as the regime progresses,
and it saps the patient’s energy enormously as the treatments go on.
I Am So Busy But I Do Want to Help …
There are many things people can do to help along the way.
If your friend has children, the possibilities are abundant. Driving kids to
and from school, sports, lessons and so on can be a godsend, especially
when radiation has drained the energy such activities require. Just taking
the kids out for a while on the weekend so that your friend can nap can
really help. Once again, the pride factor can pop up, so just doing it, rather
than asking “Would you like me to …” can be good.
Delivering a ready-to-eat meal at dinnertime, especially if your friend has
children to care for, is wonderful. Again—an organizer/point person to oversee
meals is the best plan. They can find out about any allergies or strong
dislikes and pass that info along to those bringing meals, and they can coordinate
deliveries so that only one meal arrives each night.
Another alternative is to prepare a main course that can be stored in the
freezer and heated up on “a bad day”. Be sure to label the dish, indicating
what is in it and what temperature and time are required to heat it up.
As well, home-baked snacks, like muffins and cookies, are a great treat.
They can always be frozen for the future too.
Important Tip: Be sure to put the food in dishes that don’t need to be
returned! I think I still have some people’s dishes; it got to be such a task
trying to figure out who each dish belonged to.
If cooking isn’t your thing, there may be take-out places that serve good,
ready-to-serve meals, which you could deliver at a time when your friend is
What not to do: phone your friend and ask, “What can I do to help?” Chances
are very strong that the person either can’t think of what will help or doesn’t
feel comfortable asking for specific help. If you are particularly close to the