Talia Miller, M.Ed., D.S.S.

Article Summary:

Support for the families of breast cancer survivors.

Breast Cancer Support for the Family

Breast Cancer affects the lives of everyone in the survivor's immediate family. Chemotherapy treatment can create tremendous hardship. It can cause havoc with the woman's sense of well-being and her ability to perform routine tasks. The family is often in upheaval because she is unable to fulfill her usual roles as primary caretaker. How can you help a family that is dealing with breast cancer? Here are the ways to make her life, and her family's life, easier.

1. Rent funny movies.
Laughter is a wonderful way for a family to play and stay together. It also is known to provide healing energy. So borrow some classic funny movies from the library, bring them over, and be sure to arrange pick-up to return them on time.

2. Take over the carpool.
The children need to feel supported too. They'll miss their mom. They need the security which comes from continuity. Offer to take over the driving during the week. Be their confidante and substitute mom. Offer emotional support.

3. Do the dishes.
Frequently the family can throw together meals, but, what about the dishes? It's a chore which most family members avoid. By morning, there also are the breakfast dishes. Everyone is stretched to the limit just to get the routines handled. So offer to come over in the mornings and do the dinner and breakfast dishes. It'll put a smile on her face.

4. Provide nourishing meals.
Pizza is fast and easy, but it is not nourishing! Cook a home-made healthy meal, or order one from a health food store. Bring over the food, plates and utensils. Include a note saying that you will pick up the used items in the morning. Nothing for the family to do but enjoy the meal!

5. Provide survivor treats.
Women taking chemo treatments often lose their appetites or can't keep food in their bodies. Find out what the survivor's favorites are and prepare them. Avoid heavy sauces, dairy, sugar and wheat. Provide these "treats" in attractive packaging for the first few days after chemo begins.

6. Clean.
Homes get neglected when the family's attention is on getting through the treatments. When the house is relatively empty, surprise the family by vacuuming, dusting, and quietly bring order back to their home. Be sure to find a time which would not be disturbing to the survivor.

7. Handle the laundry.
Pick up the family's dirty laundry. Bring it to your home to wash, dry and fold. Return it neatly folded and organized. Everyone will feel deeply nurtured.


8. Run errands.
Moms do so much to keep a family running smoothly. Who will do the errands while she's in treatment? Offer to pick up a "to do" list, and take care of all the items on it. While you're out, pick up a video for the kids or books on tape for the mom!

9. Handy Hands.
Grab your toolbox and arrange to fix the little things which have gone unattended to, inside or outside the family home.

10. Help with homework.
When mom is ill, the children need someone to help with their homework assignments. Offer to come over after school to supervise and assist the children with their assignments. Make sure someone has notified the teachers about the mom's illness.

Dr. Talia Miller, M.Ed., D.S.S., Holistic Breast Cancer Coach, is a speaker, published author, trainer, and a long-term breast cancer survivor. Her phenomenal program, From Survivor to Thriver The Breakthrough Program for Beating Breast Cancer helps women use their body-mind-spirit connection to heal from breast cancer and prevent breast cancer recurrence. She works by phone, with survivors throughout the world. She coaches survivors to become thrivers! Visit her website www.breastcancer coach.com.

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