When people want to help, say yes


Nothing can be harder than trying to run a house and children and a job when you have cancer. I can remember being in a fog of disbelief and knowing I had a 1 year old that had to be fed and bathed and played with helped me keep my sanity a much as it did her schedule. But there were times when I was just too sick.But it is very hard to ask for help even if life still has to go on while you are dealing with cancer, and my recommendation is to take friends up on their offers to help. Even when you can't think of a thing for them to do the moment they ask – tell them you will get back with them.First of all you must know that it's all right to ask for help or to accept it when others offer. I don't know what it is about American women that we feel like we have to do it all while we go through cancer -- and that somehow we look weak if we accept help. I'll never forget the husband I talked to when writing my book. His wife was 34 and he was 36 and they had three young daughters ages 7, 4, and 2, and every time someone offered her help, she looked lovingly at him and said, "We have it all under control.""I didn't have it under control. I needed help," he told me. "I wanted the dinners and the offers to pick the girls up from school and all the other wonderful suggestions friends were making." He sat his wife down that night and told her to stop turning down help. She immediately started crying, thinking he was saying he didn't want to take care of her. "It takes two of us now to run the family," he said. "Why do you think it will take only one of us if you are sick." She immediately understood and they made a chart of where he would need help and began making calls. Today there are some great Internet sites to help you. My favorite is lotsahelpinghands, a site where you can organize not only food but every kind of task under the sun, from picking up the kids after school to taking the cleaning to making airport runs. Lotsahelpinghands requires one person to administrate by adding everyone's email address. From then on, tasks and updates go out automatically. The family can ask for certain kinds of food and give direction about where to leave food and what to do with dishes, which tend to mount up. Caringbridge.org is a good site for keeping everyone connected too. I like the logistics of lotsahelpinghands better, but you can check them out yourself. Both offer you a chance to bring everyone in your circle up to date on how you are doing. Other tasks to give people include:? Research on the latest clinical trials for your cancer or finding the top docs in the country and their approach to your cancer.? Dealing with the insurance company. Get a three ring binder and call on every claim to determine that you have the correct information. Get the name of the person you are talking to and always call the same person. Just remember that when you deny people the opportunity to help you during your illness you have denied them a chance to give back

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