“First we eat, then we do everything else.”
― M.F.K. Fisher
I doubt there is ever a ‘best’ time to learn you have cancer. For one of my dearest friends, the news came for her just before Christmas. She called me on Boxing Day to share her diagnosis. Stoic and amazing in her acceptance of what breast cancer might bring, I on the other hand proceeded to go to pieces. Helpful. I was absolutely devastated for her and my initial stab of fear was palpable.
Like a lot people and many of my friends, my life has been touched by cancer several times. I lost an uncle to melanoma in 2001 and my mum was also diagnosed with lymphoma in 2007. She received her diagnosis at Easter. Typical of my mum who always put others first, she waited until after the long weekend to tell me the news so as not to ruin my holiday. What a mum!
The treatment was successful and she has been in remission since. However, the experience of cancer stays with you long afterwards and has a way of jolting you into a sharp reality check on your own mortality and that of the ones you love.
My friend has been ‘lucky’. The cancer has been successfully removed and hasn’t spread to anywhere else, but now the awful business of chemo begins just to be sure its entirely gone. There is up side in all of this though she says, she will finally get the long hair she’s always wanted and is even excited about going shopping for a wig– and that’s her in a nutshell. Finding strength and the positive in the most difficult of times. She also got thrown an awesome party.
With her full enthusiasm behind me, I proposed holding a PINK themed party to take her mind off things as the guest of honour on the eve of the chemo. I invited close friends and family and stipulated that everyone was to wear pink – even the dog and no one disappointed! I also knew I wanted as much pink food as possible, which was a bit more of a challenge.
Everyone contributed their own wonderful dishes for the night as follows;
Beetroot, Walnut and Goats Cheese Salad
Pink Cous Cous
Strawberry and Pinenut Salad
Babotie (South African) Curry
Raspberry Brandysnap Crunch Cheesecake
Pink Pom Poms
Fairy Lights and Pink Balloons
Pink Tissue Paper
My friend loved her PINK party and seeing her enjoying herself over the course of the night as we stuffed our faces was all we could ask for.
Watching a loved one go through the journey can often make you feel powerless to help, bar curing them of their cancer. However, by offering your friendship, your time, your words of support and the gift of food made with love, you can offer another type of healing for the mind and the body that can never be underestimated and surpasses any of the health benefits resulting of chemotherapy.
For more strategies in helping a friend through breast cancer read The Breast Cancer Network Australia’s brochure here;