Monday, October 26, 2009

Breast Cancer Support: Being There With Food

By Brit Winfield

Sharing food is a central act in life. It has a power that extends beyond providing for nutrition and physical survival. The offering of bread is central to so many of the world's religious celebrations' it obviously feeds the soul along with the body. There is a healing power in these food traditions which is rooted in the heart of community.

Hearing of a friend's breast cancer diagnosis sets the mind in motion and if you have received such a phone call recently, you are most likely mulling over the best possible way to help support your friend over the coming months of her treatment. It wouldn't be at all unusual for you to think about providing food for her or her family. This idea is often one of the most immediate and beneficial. But it is essential that you first ensure that your efforts do not become burdensome for your friend. Otherwise, your good intentions will get in the way of the help you had hoped to offer.

If you want to remain a welcome sight on her doorstep during the arduous months of her treatment, there are a few thoughtful considerations you should make before taking on any action. The first would be to determine if cooking help is indeed something that would be welcomed. Sometimes there is another family member who was counting on this assignment to help keep themselves focused during this challenging time. Maybe laundry, cleaning or running various errands would be more helpful to the household in that case. These are often tasks that are overlooked by those offering regular assistance.

If meal provision still appears a viable way to really contribute, ask your friend or her spouse to be up front about food preferences and allergies. Perhaps they can name some favorite dishes or recipes the family would enjoy. Ask what days of the week would be best for delivery of hot meals. Avoid cooking rich foods that would cause the family to suffer from the same after affects of being on a cruise liner. Remember to respect the dietary guidelines of vegetarians or religious dictates.

Deliver food in containers that do not require returning. Individual sized portions prepared for the freezer is often an excellent idea for a busy family or a sick person whose appetite is unpredictable. The breast cancer patient will have dietary ups and downs with her chemotherapy, so be sensitive to any food requirement that may help her.

Enlisting mutual friends to help with the cooking and delivery schedule can make this a beneficial community experience for everyone. You can get friends together for a cooking party, making numerous casseroles or self-contained meals to stock a freezer. This can be a fun-packed event bringing everyone closer while fulfilling an important need. Ensure that your friend and her family know you do not want them to be weighed down by any notion of Thank-you notes. Her return to wellness is the best thanks anyone could receive.

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