Its hard to know what to do when someone you know is hit with a breast cancer diagnosis. Remember that your friend is in a whirlwind and may not know yet how you can help, or she might be uncomfortable asking. Instead of saying, Let me know if you need anything or asking What can I do? here are a few things you can do that will definitely be of help:
Hire a cleaning service for your friend, or come over and do chores yourself. While its never fun, housekeeping becomes a huge burden when youre exhausted from chemo.
If shes a close friend, offer to serve as her information distribution contact. She may grow tired of explaining her diagnosis and progress repeatedly, and it can be overwhelming coming out of surgery and treatment while simultaneously keeping family and friends updated. If you offer to send out group emails and answer questions post-first surgery or chemo, friends will quickly learn to look to you, rather than her, for information, thereby taking a burden off of her.
Offer to go for walks or exercise with her. Some light exercise is often recommended during chemo. Dont push it, but she may enjoy the company on days when shes up to it.
Avoid giving bath or beauty products. Since strong scents be nauseating during chemo, using a favorite scent can ruin the smell for her, recalling the nausea of chemo whenever she catches a whiff.
When you come to visit, bring food, but make it bland. Treating her to her favorites seems like a great idea, but the nausea and negative associations apply here, too.
Baby-sit or take her kids for a day.
Offer to drive and/or accompany her to and from chemo treatment and doctors appointments. Take notes while shes at the doctor its just too much to remember sometimes.
Offer to take her shopping for hats and scarves, as opposed to just buying them for her. She will probably want to choose her own.