Some of us may need treatment for cancer or another illness.  Each of us will, at some time, many times, be called upon to support another.

I spoke with a friend who was going through a great deal of heart-break about the illness of her good friend.  She was so passionate in her desire to help and her frustration at the limitations in what she could do that I asked her to write down what she was feeling.

This is what she wrote.

I am a breast cancer patient who has completed treatment.  Presently, I have some friends with various forms of cancer who lean on me for support because I have a medical background, and was first to be diagnosed and treated.  However, friendship can quickly turn into care giving and inevitably frustration and sadness creep in.  My genuine desire is to “be there” for my friends, and support them during their journey.  The reality is that care giving must be non-judgmental.  It should be empowering and loving, but  your friends need to experience their own individual journey’s.

We all come to our cancer experiences with various life events and abilities to cope.  We soon learn that extending ourselves to dear friends can be exhausting and challenging.  But with these problems, comes a sense of peace knowing you might have made a difference for just one person.

My favorite quote (a dear friend sent me during treatment) is by Eleanor Roosevelt.  It reads “you gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face…do the thing you think you cannot do”.  This helps me focus when I feel overwhelmed with worry for my friends.