M.W. asks from Antrim, NH on August 05, 2008
What to Do for My Friend with Breast Cancer
My friend, who is 38, has breast cancer. she had a double mastectomy a month ago & will start chemotherapy treatment in the early fall. She has 3 young children & a very supportive husband & awesome friends & family. I would really love to do something for her to take her mind off her cancer/let her know I think of her often. It's not easy for me to take her children to give her a break as I have a tough time juggling my four girls at times!! But I want to do/give her something thoughtful that she needs. Any suggestions?
So What Happened?™
Thank you all, there were SO many responses! I really appreciate your time, thoughts, advice, personal stories, & suggestions.
I have already sent a card & little gift to her (wrist bands to help with nausea after chemo). I also offered to take her daughter, who will play well with my daughters while another friend, at the same time, will take her boys. This, she said is a great offer & one I hadn't thought about (splitting her kids up).
I am also going to call her husband to see what, if any foods she may be craving & drop something off every week or so. I'll keep sending her notes, checking up on her & thinking positive thoughts because I know she's going to beat cancer!! =)
Thank you all again for your responses!
A.W. answers from Boston on August 06, 2008
Send her a card in the mail every other day? Could you make some prepared foods for her freezer so it could help her husband with meals?
E.T. answers from Boston on August 06, 2008
Hi M., A group of us are also attempting to support/help a friend dealing with liver cancer. We organized a simple meal support system with each person assigned to provide dinner for that family one time. Everybody selected the week that worked for them and took responsibility to make the meal and deliver it for a specific day - that person also contacted the recipient ahead of time to let them know which day the meal was coming. Most people provide a meal that can actually be used for two days. The recipient can't thank us enough and keeps saying how helpful it is to know that two days a week, neither she nor her husband have to think about preparing supper for the family. We were able to get 10 people involved in doing this, so we are providing this help for 10 weeks. Who knows - once it is done, we may decide to do it another 10 weeks. Anyway, this is just one suggestion - hope it helps. E. Taft
J.P. answers from Portland on August 06, 2008
You could make up food for her to keep in her freezer or bring hot meals over on certain nights that she's going through radiation. She won't want to be around food and cooking/serving it will be hard to do while she's in treatment yet she'll have a family that will be hungry (take-out is expensive). You could also pre-buy groceries for her or do her grocery shopping for her weekly (what a relief that would be that she didn't have to stand in line, bring bags in etc). Another simple way would be to send her little treats/cards etc. for no reason...just to let her know you're thinking of her, how you admire her strength and how beautiful she is. If you can help with getting her some pretty things to wear, or pampering items (lotions, aromatherapy, comfy pretty nighties that would also mean the world to her. When women are going through therapy (and also have lost their breasts) they often times don't feel pretty...try to give her things that help her feel beautiful and brighten her outlook.
H.M. answers from Lewiston on August 06, 2008
When my best friend went through breast cancer, she held a going away party for her breast. The ceremony included her women friends each bringing fruit the size and shape of her own breasts, and then having fruit salad together. We made a boob pinata, filled with "silver nipples" (Hershey's kisses), and gave out Silver Nipple awards for largest, smallest, longest, etc. It was a funny way to say goodbye to her breast. I made her a small scrapbook, and on the front I put in scrap letters "My BrEaST Friends" and the quote "Where there is great love, there are always miracles" (I don't remember who said it...maybe Helen Keller?). I had each of the women attending bring a funny, inspiring, or loving quote, picture, memory, or scripture to glue into the book. I also put in a few pictures I found online of breast cancer survivors and artwork they had created that were beautiful and inspiring. My friend referred to this book many many times during her chemo treatment for encouragement and love during the times we couldn't be physically there for her. And she still has it, and has added things to it. Another of her friends made blank coupons, and we each signed up to do something helpful, like laundry one day, or cleaning, or shopping, or cooking, and she could call us on it anytime. we also all wore pink rubber bracelets, and you can get them fairly cheap custom made, then resell them as a fundraiser. The pink ribbon magnets for cars also sell well (one my friend has on her car says "Long live the Tatas!" haha) Chemo is rough on a body, physically and emotionally. So maybe you could make and freeze some dinners for her family, or arrange a dinner train (friends sign up for a day to bring dinner with an extra one to freeze for later). Another thing Terri did was have a cleaning party, where she wrote down all the things she couldn't get done, and we all came over and spent a couple of hours cleaning for her. She participated as well, so she didn't feel like she was being selfish (she has a hard time asking for help!), but all those little things like the windows and under cupboards, and some holiday gift wrapping, got done, and she felt her home was OK again. She made us some treats, and we had so much fun together it wasn't like work at all!
Mostly, she will need your encouragement and love. Ask her what she needs, and talk to her. Just call to say you're thinking about her, and stop by to give her a hug. Ginger lollipops can help with the nausea of chemo, as well as real ginger candies, and some teas like ginger, peppermint, and teas for morning sickness. I can tell you where you get some if you wanted. Maybe a little gift basket with some in it and a few treats for the kids would be nice.
Many blessings to you, your friend, and your families!
1 mom found this helpful
N.B. answers from Boston on August 06, 2008
As you know yourself, just getting everyday tasks done is a challenge with young kids (and the more children, the greater the challenge). What if you do any of the following (or something like it):
1. Offer to grocery shop for her
2. Offer to cook meals
3. Offer to clean in ways that work for her (it is not uncommon for each of us to have a preferred way which is why each of us often ends of not delegating cleaning tasks)
4. Offer to run errands for her
5. Ask her what is the hardest task(s) for her to get to that she wants done and offer to done one or more
Any of these could also be done by a group of people - especially in the Fall when she might need the help more (set up a dinner delivery schedule).
Also, you might find out if she likes any kind of music that relaxes her, calms her and get her a CD.
Just a few thoughts
1 mom found this helpful
J.E. answers from Boston on August 06, 2008
I am not sure if this is a possibility but maybe you could take her out for a "spa" day of some sort. Or maybe even out to lunch kid free.
I am sorry that your friend has to go through such an awful ordeal but it's great that she has a wonderful support system. Keep up the great work. :)
M.O. answers from Boston on August 06, 2008
You can do this solo or with a group of your friends that know your friend who want to lend a hand. Get her some meals together that she can have in her freezer to pull out for her family... I'm not all that creative in the kitchen so I've done this for friends at DreamDinners, SuperSuppers, Gathering Kitchen and places like that. If you are so inspired you can just do it at home. You could also plan a time for her kids to come over if you have the help from a "babysitter in training" from the neighborhood... helpful to her and a little bit less stressful for you. Best wishes to your friend, she's lucky to have you!
C.F. answers from Boston on August 06, 2008
I agree with the organizing food suggestions, as well as gas cards. Also, there is an organization out there called Chemo Angels. Let her know of this, it is free, she will get a card angel and a gift angel while she is in treatment. They are awesome at buoying patients spirits.
M.F. answers from Pittsfield on August 05, 2008
My mom went through cancer treatment and what she wanted most was scarfs and kercheifs for her head. the wigs she got were hot and "picky" feeling. but she really loved the stretchy fabric headcoverings called Hadits (from rosie o'donnell).
she also would never ask for a ride to the radiologists office.(she couldn't drive herself & had to be there everyday for 23 days I think.)
also if you can, just visit with her and let her talk it out. it really helps her to sort out her feelings and fears about having cancer.
P.S. answers from Portland on August 06, 2008
Thank you M. for asking this question! I have been struggling with the same questions... as my 37 year old co-worker/friend has just had surgury to remove a cancerous lump. She will undergo chemo and radiation... and plans to go back to full time teaching in the Fall. I am at a lost as to what to do for her... what to say... how to help. I am hoping the responses you receive will help me too! Thank you again.
C.H. answers from Boston on August 06, 2008
If you can afford it, a massage, or a spa pedicure & manicure, things like these make anyone feel great... I work in a salon, of course, lol, the thing is, everyone leaves with a smile, and comes back smiling, because they know theyll feel good when they leave. Good luck to you and your friend!