23 answers

Have a Friend Who Needs Some Encouraging Words.....

Hello Ladies,
I have a friend,my husband's co-worker,who recently had a brain surgery for a tumor.She had surgery the week of Thanksgiving & the doctors have added chemo to her treatment. This morning, apparently there was more hair in the brush than on her head so she shaved it!
I was just looking to forward her a few good solutions. Helpful hints from someone that has gone thru it before.Encouraging words..... My husband asked if I would do this for her, or find an appropiate card, or gift....But I just don't think even "Hallmark" covers loosing your hair. What can I do for her, or say. I know I can't really make it better, but....we both(my husband & I) want to help in some way.
She has two daughters & is a single mom (even thouh she does have close family) I wondered if we could do something with them to help mom....any suggestions?
I always know where to go now for advice, the mamasource mom's have been so helpful in the past...Please give me a helping hand in helping a friend....
Thanks in advance.....L.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

She probably not going to feel too good over the holidays. Maybe you could offer to bring dinner over for her family on xmas eve. I am assuming with close family, her xmas dinner will be covered. You could also offer to go do some xmas shopping for her if she still has things she needs to buy.

1 mom found this helpful

One of my favorite gift ideas for baby showers, and it applies here too, is a gift card to www.Safeway.com. One less stop to make, and her groceries can be delivered right to her door. You can offer to be available to receive and put away the order(s) when it(they) come, so all she has to do it pick what she wants and Safeway will do the rest. You may want to drive her children to various places, or offer to arrange drivers, (other moms with children in the same activities). If her children need help with homework, offer to be available by phone or in person, if/when she just can't wrap her brain around 'new math'. I believe the gift of friendship and time will be the most meaningful and welcome.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

Ideas to help out a single mom fighting an illness:
~frozen meals
~invite her and her kids to dinner at your house, low-key, comfortable. Dinner and maybe a board game...
~buy a house-cleaning session or two with a local service
~get her a "can't put it down" book for her to read when she feels up to doing a little something and is sick of TV
~order her a subscription to Netflix for 6 months
~ buy her a journal with inspirational quotes
~call her a couple times a week and ask if she is up to coffee/tea and don't talk about the sickness unless she wants to. Sit in the sun if possible.
~ Ginger tea helps with an upset stomach. Buy her some or make it fresh from ginger when you visit
~ Take her out for a pedicure and massage.
~Hug her
~ Ask if she wants to get 2/3 other women together for a book club (choose inspirational books) once a month.
~ Pray for her
~ Tell her you know it might feel weird, but you are happy to come help with laundry, homework, mopping.
~Offer to help her sort through the nightmare of paperwork that comes with this type of illness and insurance
~Offer to go with her to the chemo, bring trashy girl magazines and take the quizzes together while you are waiting

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

http://www.softhats.com/selecting-the-right-cancer-hat.php

My sister is going through chemo now for leukemia. Check out this webpage... I ordered my sister a hat and had it sent to Stanford and she was so grateful. You might want to order her a nice hat and give it to her with a card. I found with my sister than laughter is wonderful so weekly I send her a card or two just to keep her laughing.

Also, I would say just be there for her to talk... that should be a big help.

I wish your friend the best.

1 mom found this helpful

A tie dyed bandana. I make & sell them, actually.
My girlfriend is on her third round-I am so sorry for your husband's co-worker, and no husband support to boot.
Also, it is sometimes difficult to EAT on chemo, so yogurt, pudding mixes (the good ole fashioned kind you make with MILK ON THE STOVE, and boxes of jello, too.
JUST FOR HER.
And prayer, lotsa prayer.
And HUMOR, she needs to laugh.
My sister is living with a brain tumor, she had surg, radiation and chemo-our living miracle. She knows mucho about tumors of the brain.
she runs a support group online. If I can be of any more help, just let me know. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

Why not pick up dinner one night a week? Single mom with nausea and fatigue could really use it.

1 mom found this helpful

You dont say how old her girls are but perhaps you could set up a day with them to cook up a bunch of their favorite recipes and freeze them in single-meal portions for their family, with recipe labeled on top of the ziploc bag (so they can see when it's stacked in the freezer) and cooking directions on the bag. If you do just 6 recipes 4 times each they'll have 24 meals in the freezer.

Don't avoid her, talk with her, laugh with her, cry with her. Each person is different, some need to laugh more, some need more shoulders to cry on, but everyone needs to be acknowledged and cared about. They don't say humor is the best medicine for nothing, just make sure it "fits" her (as she may still be mourning or angry)

Just a corny idea I just had. Maybe everyone could "donate" one lock from your heads (guys, girls, long, short, various colors!) and put them all together and say something how you all wanted to help so you all gave her a lock of your own hairs and look what we got you! (long, short, dark, light, all mixed together!)

1 mom found this helpful

HI L.-
That is a tough one. FIrst, really be proud of your friend and her true beauty. Shaving your head, especially for a woman where the culture is hair driven, is a really difficult thing. Make her a card that says Bald is Beautiful. Because it really is. Want to have some fun, do a girls make-over day with her and her daughters- and focus all your efforts on the eyes and lips. Forget the hair, your own included. Paint her nails, rub soothing oils into her skis (head, neck, etc). Just spend time with her and love on her. OUr outer appearance is so frail and ever changing, but the eyes, the windows to our soul, can change even the shabbiest person to gorgeous in no time. If she is really focused on her hair being gone, perhaps take her out and do some scarf or fun hat shopping. And encourage her with words and actions alike. Also, let her know that while you can't possible comprehend what she is going through, you are there for her. And tell her how beautiful she is and help her girls to tell her, too. True beauty is on the inside anyway! If she gets to where the jokes are ok, you can just say that at least now she has cut down her morning prep time and you are totally jealous that she no longer has to blow dry or worry about shampoo.... I think the overall message is to let her know that losing her hair does not change her beauty nor who she is. It's just like getting a make-over after so many years. It's a new look. And keep her heart as light as you can. That will encourage her to be strong as she goes through all of this.
Hope this helps
-E.

1 mom found this helpful

I have a friend who died of cancer not too long ago. when she lost her hair, she used to wear wigs. I was at her home one day and she walked downstairs without the wig or a scarf and was embarrassed. I wear my hair very short and told her how beautiful she was without her hair. Hair does not make the woman. I tried to convince her to wear her shaved head but, she wasn't having it. I even told her that I would shave my head bald in support. She laughed and refused. However, when her hair started growing back after that round of chemo, she did wear her very thin short boy cut and showed me with pride. One thing that I learned from her was that when she was ready to talk about her chemo or baldness or anything related to the cancer, then she talked. Other than that, I was just a normal friend dealing with her as I always did. I did not let the cancer rule our interactions. If you are friends, then maybe you could do a day out shopping for "hair accessories" that would help her feel more beautiful. It could be scarves, earrings, makeup, wigs, etc.

1 mom found this helpful

Hello L.

You are such a great human being for reaching out to her and may God Bless you for it.

I just recently had a hysterectomy and even though I am married I had no support whatsoever with husband, but that's another story. What I want to tell you is ways you can help your husband's co-worker.

Some friends/co-workers cooked meals for us and some even came to help with the household chores. It was so wonderful to know that there are people out there that really care and are willing to help.

My surgery was nowhere close to what she may be going thru, but I really appreciated the help and just the fact of knowing that people cared about me made me feel better.

Let her know you are there for her and her kids, she may be shy in asking, you may want to bring a dish to start up with and then offer, taxi services (this one was a big one for me, needed help transporting my kids), grocery shopping, or just plain old company with a good cup of tea/coffee.

God Bless and have a great holiday season.

1 mom found this helpful

Since she's not a close friend and more of a co-worker/friend, I wouldnt get too deeply involved. You do say she has family to help her and you dont want to interfere in that arena.
I think a nice card with a few words convincing her that you are reliable if needed (include ph# and email address). Maybe include some gift certificates for Pizza, Mcdonalds, KFC. She will be tired, weak and moody. Maybe go to the bookstore and see what's on the shelf, find her something inspirational to read. Just being an EAR is usually the best gift you can give anyone.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi L.!!!
I wanted to share with you about what happened to one of my best friends when she lost all her hair to her cancer treatments. I personally wasn't there because she lived in Texas and I am in California. Anyway, a group of her friends got together and threw her a surprise hat and scarf party!!! They gave her very creative, beautiful hats and scarves and she was totally blessed!!! There were hats for all occasions and they were not only very attractive, but looked beautiful on her. Maybe you could speak to one of your husband's coworkers about planning something like that. When my friend came to visit us (a group of us "girls" get together once a year for a week - we've known each other for over 50 years) she told us what had happened and had us all in tears!!! It was a beautiful expression of love and compassion, plus they had a lot of fun at the party!
I hope this helps a little....I know for my friend it absolutely meant the world to her - she was so blessed by the love and support she felt.
I hope this helps you!
Sincerely,
G. M.

1 mom found this helpful

My advice it to do what you can. I brought dinner to a mom from my daughter's school who was going through chemo. Maybe you have the time to babysit or can help by driving her kids to school? Be creative, I'm sure she would appreciate anything.
D.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi dear,

I know of a great doctor that help enormesly with a friend that had a brain tumor her name is Dr Dickey and is 7 generations of Tibetan doctor she is remarkable.
My friend gives the credits of her healings to her although she did a number of radiations and Q too.

Dr. Dickey works with the side effects of the conventional treatments. I recommend her very much she is our family doctor too. Her Web site is www.clavan.net

I recommend for her friends to buy her beautiful scarves of gorgeous colors or bandanas to make her look gorgeous too.

There is certain beauty in a shave head too, bring out more the eyes and the features of the face.

If you need more details about Dr Dickey let me know.

A.

1 mom found this helpful

L.,

I had a friend who had cancer and she had a "beauty party" where her friends came and got all dressed up, they did their makeup and then each one in memory of her hair going away, gave up something. Some said they wouldn't drink any coffee anymore, or get their nails done etc. They each gave up something to support their friend. They even had a ceremony for her hair loss-- because it is such a part of who you are as woman- it is very traumatic and can make you feel like your not feminine anymore. Maybe if she had some close friends around who encouraged her and showed her that she is still just as beautiful without hair, it would help her. One thing that you could do as her friend is to offer her help and support by just listening. Maybe she needs to talk about it or take her out for a night of fun when she's feeling up to it. Offer to take her children overnight to give her a break-- make dinners for them etc. You sound like a wonderful friend-- she is very lucky to have you.

Take care and hope this helps.

M.

1 mom found this helpful

Consider checking with locks of love. They make wigs from hair that people have donated for cancer patients. :) Or you could be brave and shave your head too!

1 mom found this helpful

L.,

My bestfriend's husband had brain surgery about 10 years ago. He remains cancer free! From experience I know that providing meals and practical things like that is very helpful and appreciated. I'm not sure how old her daughters are but helping out with carpool, housework, errands and the like can be extrememly helpful and appreciated. Maybe you can take the kids ice skating or take them all out to look at the beautiful lights. Maybe help the girls do something for mom for the holidays like build a gingerbread house. It's very important that you keep in mind that it's hard for most people to accept help (can you imagine someone else doing YOUR laundry or cleaning YOUR toilet?) so try to find a way to make it easier for her to be comfortable with it.

As to her hair, would you consider shaving your head? If not (and it would be hard for most women so if you can't, don't feel badly), how about getting pictures of BEAUTIFUL people with no or little hair. Get her some fabulous ear rings?

Whatever you do, I know it will be good b/c it's from your heart and whatever you do from the heart is good. If you don't know what to say to her, tell her that and tell her how much you love her and ask her what she is thinking and feeling.

God bless you and guide you as you love and help your friend and her daughters!

K.

1 mom found this helpful

She probably not going to feel too good over the holidays. Maybe you could offer to bring dinner over for her family on xmas eve. I am assuming with close family, her xmas dinner will be covered. You could also offer to go do some xmas shopping for her if she still has things she needs to buy.

1 mom found this helpful

One of my favorite gift ideas for baby showers, and it applies here too, is a gift card to www.Safeway.com. One less stop to make, and her groceries can be delivered right to her door. You can offer to be available to receive and put away the order(s) when it(they) come, so all she has to do it pick what she wants and Safeway will do the rest. You may want to drive her children to various places, or offer to arrange drivers, (other moms with children in the same activities). If her children need help with homework, offer to be available by phone or in person, if/when she just can't wrap her brain around 'new math'. I believe the gift of friendship and time will be the most meaningful and welcome.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi L.,
Thankfully, I have not had cancer, but I do have a different disease, and I thought I would post some advice based on my experience. My illness, multiple sclerosis, is in a stage right now (and I plan to keep it this way) where it is what people call an invisible illness. I feel pretty crappy a decent amount of the time, but I look fine on the outside. However, when I was first diagnosed, some people avoided me simply because they didn't know what to say or do. The fact that you want to be there for your friend, in and of itself, will be a huge comfort to her. Having a serious illness definitely lets you know who your real friends are, and finding out who is not a real friend can really sting (though at least you can stop wasting time and energy on them). You don't have to ignore that she is losing her hair or avoid the topic of her cancer, etc. It sounds like you already know this. You also don't need to figure out the "right" thing to do or say because there isn't any one right thing. Being there and caring is right enough. I think the most important thing I can say, though, is to see your friend as a person who happens to have cancer as opposed to "Cancer Patient." I remember flying east for a family event and seeing cousins who had not seen me since my diagnosis. Several people said, while looking me up and down, "Wow, you really look good!" I looked pretty much as I always had, and it took me a minute to realize that they were really saying, "Wow, you don't look sick." I so wish they had just been honest with me about their feelings and fears, such as saying, "I'm so glad to see you looking like yourself. I didn't know what to expect, and I was afraid you would look really sick or frail." Sometimes I have to remind people that I am still me. I am a person who happens to have MS; I am not MS and do not wish to have it define me. Of course having a serious illness, such as cancer, will change someone's perspective, and I can only imagine how hard it would be to have your hair fall out. When I first read your post, I considered suggesting some nice scarves, but then I thought that your friend might interpret them as saying that bald is not beautiful. Then I realized that suggesting anything like that would be doing to your friend exactly what I don't want people to do to me. Talk to your friend about losing her hair. Ask how she is feeling. Ask her if she wants to shave the rest off (then she is taking control of when she goes completely bald), and if she wants you to help. Let her know how beautiful she is with or without hair, and also let her know that, while you don't think she needs anything to cover her head, you can certainly understand that she might want to do so. Depending on how she responds, yu can offer to buy her some scarves (or not!). This way, you will be treating her like the same person, the same competent adult, she has always been instead of as Cancer Patient. You acknowledge both the person she still is and the fact that she has cancer and is losing her hair. One of the nicest things a friend did for me during my first bad MS flare was just to come over, give me a foot rub, and talk -- not specifically about MS and not purposefully ignoring it, just a normal conversation.

1 mom found this helpful

My mom had breast cancer 2 years ago (she's cancer free now :). When she started losing her hair we promptly went down there and shaved her head. She was able to feel in control of how she looked so it made her feel better. She then went and ordered a wig, thinking it would make her feel "prettier" during her chemo time. She ended up wearing that wig for about 1 hour when she said screw it, and took it off. Hats were nice, she had a few, but the best thing were earrings! My mother is VERY CONSERVATIVE, but she started shopping for great big flashy dangly earrings. The flashier the better :). It made her feel womanly and sexy.

Hope this helps!

~S. in Petaluma

1 mom found this helpful

More than a card, I'll bet she needs a pair of helping hands. Being a single mom is a lot of work, even when you're not facing a life threatening illness. Spend a little time just helping out with chores, or fix a bunch of meals and put them in her freezer. Run an errand or two for her. Anything that lessens her burden. Cards are a nice thought, but really what she needs right now is practical help to get through a very challenging time.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi first of all my heart goes out to you and your friend. Here's an idea that I had for a card and a couple of other nice gestures. If she has a sense of humor you could make her a card off of the computer with tons of hilarious pictures of people having really "bad hair" days and put something sweet and funny on there like, "who needs hair anyways", or "just think of all the time you'll save", or "you won't be looking like this for a while"!
This also sounds like a good opportunity for a spa day with the gals and fresh new make over, makeup and clothes if affordable.
Also I have heard of husbands, freinds, and families shaving their own heads too in efforts to show their support that they are not alone in the fight. You might want to feel that one out first though.
Good luck to you. I will be thinking of you and your friend I hope the holidays bring you both the peace and comfort of good company, great memories, many laughs, and lots of love. Merry christmas.

1 mom found this helpful

L.,
You could take her some hats and scarves, bandana style.
A lot of people who have no hair shop where I work and they wear them to keep the heat in. In this weather she will need them. Also, get her a get well card...I have seen some that are not to sad, they are usually uplifting, and sometimes even funny. Maybe a potted plant also. W.

You are you with little or no hair now we can see all of your beauty and you are here for us to enjoy for many years to come. Buy her some cute hats.

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