When my friend @LindsBiel posted this fabulous video to Instagram, I KNEW we had to share it with our Balm Box audience. Lindsey was gracious enough to give us permission to share her story on TheBalmBox.com blog. Without further adieu, below find Lindsay's excellent advice regarding what to say when a friend tells you she has Breast Cancer.
#1: Do not under any circumstance tell her about someone you now who died from the disease (not helpful nor uplifting).
She wants to hear about the 30, 40, 50 year SURVIVOR not the person who passed away from the disease.
#2: Don’t ask what her stage is - this is a very personal question
Most of the time she won’t know (unless she is stage 0) until her surgery and pathology come back. Also, unless your are an oncologist or a survivor would you understand what staging actually means? Instead, see if she needs help with dinners, play dates for her kids, cleanings, driving to appts. (depending on he treatment). Taking something off her plate without asking her what she needs is wonderful.
#3: I know this one comes from a good place, but telling someone God only gives us what we can handle is really hard to stomach.
Believing that God intervened and gave us cancer is not ok (even if you believe it or that your friend is stronger for it).There was never a time before my diagnosis that I thought I could handle these treatments or these surgeries, but looking at my kids and my husband inspired me to FIGHT LIKE HELL!. What meant the world to me was knowing my friends were praying, meditating, surrounding me in love and support.
#4: Lastly, do not compare a double mastectomy to a boob job.
A double mastectomy is a serious surgery; it is NOT ELECTIVE! It is complicated and most women have complications with it. It is a medical procedure and should not be talked about lightly. The recovery and reconstruction can be painful and long. Asking how your friend feels about her decision and educating yourself on they procedure is a gift. A lot of exercise becomes difficult after this procedure, so offering to walk with her during recovery or do an approved workout would be a great comfort.
I hope this helps. Feel free to ask questions if you are supporting someone with breast cancer right now or send a message. Remember, all breast cancers are different and all decisions are personal. What your friend needs right now is unconditional support.
Lindsey Beil is a Pilates instructor, wellness consultant and breast cancer survivor from Leawood, KS. Connect with Lindsey on Instagram at @lindsbiel