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The Fine Line Between Helping and Not Helping

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When you’re up at 4am the sky is beautiful.

I started writing this last week, wanted to edit it a bit so it just kind of sat here. But it is a subject I want to address without the slightest intention of insulting anyone!

It’s getting close to noon and I have been up and around since 4 am. I am a usually an early riser, but 4 am is kind of early even for me. So I read, watch TV, knit and it is actually quite relaxing. The reason I can’t sleep well is because with chemotherapy comes the inevitable nausea.

It’s not too bad, but having an upset stomach most of the time does interfere with my life. And ya-there are good meds, and I take them , but the problem is that when I do feel better and eat something, I get sick. Not always sick to vomiting , but sick with stomach cramps and more nausea. But I do realize that it’s to be expected so the best is to take it one step at a time.

I am thinking about it as kind of a diet and I am happy that I have those few extra pounds I will gladly give up!

But that is not what I wanted to address today. I am going to do my best to explain how little it sometimes take to step over that fine line that exists between people helping and actually not helping. Fully realizing that it is difficult to know for people around a person like me to know what to say and what to do I am still going to give it a shot. And I would really like to know if I am the only one who feels that way hopefully, I am not.

There are so many incredible people in this world, my family for one, so strong and there every minute of day and night. And my friends tons of the ones I have known for years and a whole bunch of new ones. Very very comforting and gratifying.
So for all of you, here are a few points to consider:

DO NOT be afraid or sensitive to ask questions. If I don’t want to tell you, I will tell you that I don’t want to tell you

DO NOT try to help me walk – if I land on my butt it will be my fault and I will live with it. This is one of those little things that makes people act and feel sick

DO plan a visit just like you always did in the past -company is good but only if the purpose is right

DO go out for lunch or dinner -I do eat and there is always something on the menu that is suitable. Oh -and I have never thrown up in public -I consider that activity to be reserved for the hospital or home

DO NOT (and this is something hard to believe) when you see a person who is obviously sans hair, STOP STARING! Yes, the logical assumption is that they are fighting cancer and have lost their hair. The reason for wearing couple of hats or a scarf and a hat on their head is that an unbelievable amount of heat is usually protected by your hair and when it’s not there-well -your body gets pretty cold . But then -the person could just be making a fashion statement -I usually am. So-take a look and move on. Because any day now you could be the one who will be honored by my person to person inquiry because I really wanna know what it is you are wondering about!

DO NOT feel obligated to give me endless advice on what I should be doing. Rest assured that I am backed up by an extensive support team of doctors and then some. And I am not going to start examining my options at this point in time just because something else worked for someone else. I am following medical advice to every detail PLUS making logical changes to my diet. Thanks to my son and good friend Jonnie who owns Thrive Juice Bar in Kitchener , I now own a great juicer and get fresh supplies or wheat grass and sprouts. I will write more about juicing and the benefits of it soon -that is because I know just how beneficial and healthy it is.

DO feel free to put me in touch with someone you know who is fighting cancer -there is something very special and helpful to be talking to people who are in a same boat

And one more:

DO treat me like always. Do not tell me that I am sick and DO NOT explain that I have cancer to others in front of me -I know what I have and I do deal with it -calling me sick makes me feel sick and that is forcing me or anyone else for that matter to take a step back in the emotional state of mind.

Am I the only one who has this list? Can you add to it or defend something? Please do share, it will help everyone!

About the author

Hanna Trafford

Hanna is the mother of two grown sons Dan and Dusan Nedelko, step mother to Abbie Gateman and is also a brand new Grandmother. She is the lead editor of Mama Knows and is hoping to create an exchange of communications with other grandmothers, mothers and daughters - giving everyone the opportunity to learn and share about everything that is "Mama"

10 comments
Nancy Willmott - February 22, 2013

Well said Hanna…great that you explain how things are for you. We found the same things with Rob…and he expressed the same points to friends. Knowledge is the best thing ! Bless you! Xxx

Reply
Kathy Whyte - February 22, 2013

Hanna…..once again you hit the nail right on the head………i know it is difficult for people to know what to do or say….and I know that they are only trying to help…but….treating me as if I am sick when I am still more than capable of doing something, or talking about my cancer in front of me as though I am not there……only hinders my fight!!!
I know I have cancer,BUT OTHER THAN BEING BALD, you would NEVER know it!!! I look and feel good and I am fighting this is my own way. Never presume that you know what I should or shouldn’t do……as I like to say, ” I’m not sick…..I just have Cancer”
Hugs to you xoxo

Reply
Germaine - February 22, 2013

My heart goes out to you. My own family is going through our own battle if cancer, my sister in law is fighting has been for the past two years, she lost both breast to cancer in 2011 and we thought she won the fight, until this past fall it came back. Its gotten worse. She travels to china in the days to come, I will go visit her Sunday, it may be my last visit with her. I don’t know the reason or all what is behind her choice to go back to china, you see that is her home and where she was when she found d out she had breast cancer, it was where her journey started and where she may end it also, but I pray it will not be. You are in my prayers and thoughts. Best wishes and I will stay in touch to let you know any news I get

Germaine

Reply
    Hanna Trafford - February 26, 2013

    Thank you so much Germaine for your story! My prayers are with your sister in law and with your family. Fully recognizing just how difficult it is not only for the one who is fighting the batle but for all those close, I am sending you positive thoughts and strength! Hope you will stay in touch and maybe, maybe there will be something I can offer in a way of help. Hope your sister in law downst ive up treatment and keeps fighting – it is tough but it is the only way.
    Hope to hear from you again – my best regards,
    Mama Hanna

    Reply
setting up your own business from home - April 10, 2013

Hey! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering which blog
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Reply
    Hanna Trafford - April 11, 2013

    Thanks for your comment – I am using Word Press and don’t have many problems – sorry I can’t help more.

    Reply
Tinyurl.com - April 14, 2013

Whatever really inspired you to compose “Breast
Cancer : The Fine Line Between Helping & Not Helping | Mama Knows”?
Igenuinely enjoyed the post! Thanks for your time ,Erwin

Reply
Ben - April 17, 2013

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Reply
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