When women are faced with a breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and breast reconstruction, their friends and family may feel at a loss for what they can do to help. Whether the patient is communicative about her needs or keeps her feelings to herself, loved ones can still find ways to offer their support during this difficult time.
Make Her a Priority
I encourage friends and family members of my breast reconstruction patients to take some time to prioritize her comfort and happiness. Husbands can help during breast reconstruction by taking time off work, while friends and family can do odd chores around the house to keep her to-do list as light as possible.
Be There for Her
At least one close friend or family member should make an effort to be fully involved in the treatment and reconstruction process. Do your research to learn exactly what breast reconstruction involves, and talk to the surgeon to gain a deeper understanding of her individual needs. Clear your schedule on appointment days so that nothing gets in the way of driving her to and from the hospital and dealing with anything that could come up in the meantime.
Put Criticism Aside
Some women may decide to undergo immediate breast reconstruction, while others may choose to wait. Regardless of her decision, support her needs and don’t judge if you feel that an alternate choice would be better.
In addition to providing support for her medical needs, her cosmetic needs will also play a role. Women should be encouraged to make the choice that’s right for them with regard to reconstruction, even if that means forgoing reconstructive breast surgery completely right now.