Recently, I received a letter from Brenda in North Carolina. Brenda recently completed chemo, had a double mastectomy less than three weeks ago, and is ready to begin radiation. She hired a cleaning woman to help her clean because her husband isn’t a detail kind of guy. Brenda felt guilty she had to hire someone to clean, but had to give in because she was not capable!
Her words made me ponder this. Why is it so difficult for us to admit we need help even at the most difficult time in our lives, and when we do, we still feel guilty!?! Most women tell me they lose their “cleaning desire” after cancer because they realize it just isn’t that important, so I told Brenda “Enjoy every moment of that AHHH feeling you get when someone else cleans your home!”
Brenda isn’t the first woman who has written me about those issues. Many women have written me after cancer treatment ends and tell me that they wish they would not have been so proud during cancer treatment. They wished they would have asked and received more help when friends and family offered.
Absolutely the toughest lesson I had to learn during treatment was asking for help. It was not easy, but often I had no choice. My sister had been telling me for months, “Let me come and clean your house.” Finally, I had to say yes. Even then, I helped her. It made me feel more capable because I had her help and assistance. I remember that day with so much fondness. It meant so much to me.
My friend, Judy, called and offered to pick up groceries or take me to the grocery store every week. I had no choice to take her up on her offers on several occasions. It was so difficult to say yes, I need help. But I will never forget her kindnesses.
One non-profit organization, Cleaning for a Reason http://www.cleaningforareason.org takes applications from breast cancer patients who need help cleaning their homes. I have heard good reports about this organization who provides services in the United States and Canada.
Never will I forget some words my Oncologist spoke to me after my before my first chemo treatment. He said, “Now is not the time to be a heroine. There will be plenty of time for that once treatment ends. Now is the time to ask for help.”