M.S. asks from Spencer, WI on January 20, 2009
Best Friend Has Breast Cancer
My 42-year old best friend found out the day after Christmas she has breast cancer. She had the lumpectomy today. They found the cancer has spread to her lymph nodes. She will need aggressive treatment. She is a single mom of a 8 year old girl. I live in a different town but am only 30 minutes away. I am wondering what I can do to help in this situation. I know she will have a long road ahead of her with radiation and chemo. I want to help anyway I can. Also, does anyone have any suggestions I can pass along to her to help her cope with this situation too?
1 mom found this helpful
R.B. answers from La Crosse on January 21, 2009
just be with her! laugh with her, cry with her. offer rides to and from treatments (she will need them as she wont be able to drive after the treatments). on weekends go over and help with house work. take her daughter for a night or two so she can sleep. make some meals that all she will have to do is heat it up. make sure you respect her wishes and don't take offense to them.
my grandfather is going threw the same thing right now. he has cancer of the lung and lymph nodes. at times he wants to be alone (expectally after he lost all his hair that he was very proud of) then would get mad cause nobody was there when he didn't want to be alone. its an emotional ride for all involved trying to guess thier mood swings! he isn't too bad with just the radiation 5 days a week, but when he has to go in for the chemo shots he is wiped out and bearly wants to eat or do anything but sleep. one good thing he hasn't gotten sick once with the chemo shots.
good luck and she is lucky to have you as a friend. it may be draining on you and your family doing all the extra stuff for her but she will apprecate it so much in the end!
1 mom found this helpful
K.V. answers from Des Moines on January 23, 2009
I know you have lots of responses, but I thought I could give you a little of advice. My mom was diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer and also had to have an aggressive treatment. One thing she said was the most helpful was when she had chemo treatments I would go along, picking lunch up before or while they did some inital work, and we would sit together and have lunch. So even though she was getting chemo she still looked forward to our time together. Also my mom totally lost interest in cooking food and even if she hadn't she was usually too tired or sick to make dinner, so I think the idea of having food that could easily be heated for her daughter is a great idea. And I know everyone is different- but we would make fun of the situation. She always had rather large breast so we would joke about how much weight she would lose after having them removed, or how much better her back would feel. Cancer can be so serious and sometimes its nice to give it a "lighter" side.
J.C. answers from Des Moines on January 21, 2009
I am a 8 year survivor and there are lots of things you can do! Depending on her personality, I guess I would say try to find the humor in all of it. It can be hard to do, but it makes it more bearable. When it came time to lose my hair, we had a hair shaving party and made funny haircuts along the way (I was 28 when dx). If she has longer hair now, have her get it cut shorter so when it does start to fall out it isn't so traumatic. I agree about the meals and cleaning - she will find that very helpful. There are also some funny t-shirts or mugs you can get her at cafepress.com. Just search out funny cancer tshirts and lots of things will pop up. Go to chemo with her if you can - at least her first one. that's the worst one when you don't know what to expect. Personally, it wasn't too bad for me. Get her the Susan Love's Breast Cancer book - it is very helpful for all phases of treatment. Send her funny cards. Maybe take her daughter when she has chemo so she can get some rest. You usually feel the worst 2 -3 days after chemo. And most importantly just be a good listener for her. Some days will be good. Some will be bad. But she will get through it. Good luck! She is lucky to have a friend like you!
R.J. answers from Omaha on January 21, 2009
Today my friend is celebrating her one year anniversary of being cancer free. She has a very close network of family and friends, and even tho most of us were not able to physically go through this with her, she kept a journal of her doctors visits, her thoughts and feelings, and everything she was going through on a website called caringbridge. We were notified every time she made a journal entry and were able to read everything that was happening, which kinda made me feel as if I were going through it with her. We were able to send words of encouragement and offer her prayers. It was a wonderful way to keep everyone up to date. It was wonderful for my friend to spend her time reading the notes that people had sent her. If your friend has a network of friends and family this will most likely help her out alot.
L.S. answers from Minneapolis on January 21, 2009
I am a 5 year Survivior of Breast Cancer,I had a very aggressive Breast Cancer, (lobular ) vascular invasive also. My friends and family made meals for my whole family for a whole week, the chemo was very hard and any smell made me sick. Any support with helping cleaning her house running errands will help. My name is L. Johnstone, you can give her my number if she wants to talk about it with a survivor, my number is ###-###-####.
Sincerely, L. Soj-Johnstone
I will keep her in my prayers.
L.B. answers from Minneapolis on January 21, 2009
Sorry to hear about your friend, M.! You can do so many things for her...and the best thing you can do is to be with her and encourage her. Remind her how much doctors know about this kind of cancer and how many people get well. Remind her with your presence that she's not alone. Go with her to get a wig BEFORE her hair falls out. Find a source for scarves so she can have a soft alternative, and help her pick one out. When my friend was going through this, we'd meet for coffee (sometimes out, sometimes at my house). I'd pick her up when she couldn't drive; take her out sometimes just to get her out of the house. Sometimes she was very weak, and we'd just sit; sometimes she'd want to walk a little...I'd so whatever. Be so positive for her and with her. Cry with her; laugh with her. Take food to her (we'd take something frozen so she could use whenever, or sometimes I'd make a little more for our dinner and take the other half to her already prepared) so she doesn't have to think about what her 8 year old will eat. Get groceries for her when she's sick. Maybe your girls can make cards to cheer her. Or sun catchers to brighten her day. Listen to what she tell you she wants or needs and respond the best way you can.
Since you're already thinking about her, you will be a great source of encouragement for her. You guys will grow closer through this, too.
I think the best thing you can do is stay positive...even when you don't feel like it. Good luck!
M.L. answers from Appleton on January 21, 2009
Hello - I recently found this website to be really inspiring: http://www.circusofcancer.org/
There is a great video on it, and the book the speaker wrote sounds like it's amazing. It might be great for you and your friend!
Good luck to you and your friend - I'm sure she values your friendship!
K.K. answers from Appleton on January 21, 2009
I just found out last week my 29 year old friend who also lives far away has stage II breast cancer. First thing I did was send her a flower arrangement to brighten her day. I know there isn't much that can be done from out of town and figured this would brighten her day since I was not there to give her a hug. From what I have read online best thing to do is be there for her. If she is going to have any more procedures such as chemo or radiation offer to go, if possible, to her first appointment with her and just keep an open line of communication so she knows you are there. Best wishes!