Just Found Out About a Friend Having Cancer

Updated on April 07, 2008
B.G. asks from Flower Mound, TX
6 answers

I just found out today that an aquaintance of mine has Cancer. She is by herself and I would like to do something to help her. Her surgery was a few months ago and she called today to tell me. She was very upbeat but wanted to report the news to me since she knows I did not know about it. I feel for her and want to do something nice for her. Any suggestions? I have not been in this siutation before and am not sure what to do. Thanks!

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answers from Dallas on

As a cancer survivor I can tell you that the emotional turmoil that a cancer patient goes through is rough, to say the least. Fortunately, I did not have to go through Chemo or radiation. Since your friend's surgery was a few months ago, she will have probably gone through the worst part of the emotional issues. Now, if she is going to have to undergo chemo or radiation, she will probably be hit with more emotional issues. My suggestion is to do something nice for her that makes her feel whole. Whether it is breast cancer (mine was NOT) or another form of cancer - it robs you of your feelings of being complete and even of being normal. Many cancer patients feel like they have done something to bring this horrible disease on. And to be honest, a lot of times we do. Simple changes in diet can actually greatly reduce your chances of getting canser by reducing or eliminating free radicals within the body. She needs some pampering. To some of us, pampering may mean a full body massage. To others it may mean a night out for dinner and a movie. To others it may mean a night with no kids or other interuptions so we can soak in the tub for a couple of hours and then curl up with a good book. You wuold know better than us what would be pampering for her. I will say that depending on her type and location of cancer and the treatment, a massage may not work for her. It may be too painful. Another thing that just popped into my head is that maybe you could take her to a nice bed and breakfast (or even a more economical hotel) in a place that she has wanted to go, but never found the time for. Maybe she has always wanted to go to New Braunsfel and do some shopping or something along those lines.

I know some of these suggestions can be a bit pricy. My intent is not to have you go out and spend a fortune that you cannot afford on her. I am merely making some suggestions to get you thinking. I know that what I really wanted was to run away from the cancer and forget that I had it. There were times that I really wanted to boo-hoo and carrying on as well. After my surgery, I waws a basket case until I went back and they were able to confirm that they had gotten it all. Now 10 years (this past February 9th - whoo hoo!) later, I am proud that I can say "I BEAT CANCER!!" However, there is always that niggling little thought, "What if it comes back?" So, in light of that and the "freshness" of this for your friend, she also needs to know that you are there for her to talk to. Don't pressure her to talk about it. Just let her know that you care about her and you hope that she knows that you are here for her to talk to about it whenever she feels the need. There is a natural curiosity about it and the effects of it, emotionally as well as physically. However, she may not be at the point that she realizes that. It took me some time before I could really talk about it, even when that was all that I wanted to do. I know that doesn't really make sense. I guess it is just part of the emotion crap cancer puts us through. We do really yearn for someone to talk to about it, but we so want to ignore it and deny it into non-existance, that we just cannot open up about it.

Now that I have that about as clear as mud, I will close and let you ponder my suggestions and come up with your own to fit your friends personality and needs.

I will say a prayer for your friend. She is fortunate to have a friend like you who desires to do something for her.



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answers from Dallas on

Make a donation in her name to Komen or the American Cancer Society. You could also participate in a walk in support of her and cancer research funding. She might also like to walk with you. Those walks can be very uplifting for cancer survivors.

It is very easy to sign up for the walks online.

Is she doing chemo? If so, she may be very sick. You could help clean her house/yard or shop. ALSO, she might need someone to drive her to her appointments as she probably won't be able to drive herself. Or she might like company during the chemo treatments.

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answers from Dallas on

You could send her a weekly card of encouragement, to let her know you are thinking about her. Offer to keep her company during her chemo treatments. Make her some meals that she can freeze and cook for herself on the days that she isnt feeling up to it. Pay for a housekeeper to clean her house. I think the best thing you can do is let her know you care and that you are there for her in case she needs help with the day to day tasks. I will pray for her.

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answers from Dallas on

There are so many things that we can do for our friends fighting battles.

Does she have home care/lawn care/grocery shopping/car maintenance that needs to be done? If she's doing chemo or radiation, it could make her sick and very tired. The smallest errands can seem enormous tasks.

Depending on her transportation needs, perhaps assisting her to and from her appointments? Keeping her company while she's there? Ready to go meals for her freezer would be nice, too.

Talk to her, ask her what her needs may be and offer your help in filling her needs either yourself or making the arrangements for her.

I've also done some Koeman walks and they are, like mentioned earlier an amazing energy and a neat way to honor someone.

You're a good friend, she's lucky to have you based on your kind concern and question.

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answers from Dallas on

You could take a small plant or a nice meal that you make for her or take her out to a nice restaurant. Just being with her will be a lot of comfort during this rough and stressful time for her. I would send a card or get a neat book, maybe a biography of someone who has been thru cancer. You could even get some recommendations from the American Cancer Society or check their website. If she likes to read, she would like that. If not, maybe something on tape or CD/DVD. What does like or enjoy doing? I would think along that line of thinking when picking something out. If she has a dog or cat, maybe you could walk her dog for her,etc.... Maybe she might like to go to a movie or out shopping? Just a few thoughts, I've never had cancer. My Mom has had breast cancer and she is doing great now. Hope your friend gets better. Hope this helps.

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answers from Amarillo on

Just be there for her. Do check on her and let her talk if she wants. Right now, she is in the middle of the forest and can't see the trees on the outside. So many things are going to go on in her life and she may not be ready for them to happen to her. All she will be able to do is to do it now and then react and reflect later (lots of tears and possible emotional meltdowns with outbursts as examples). Let her know it is okay to feel the way she does and she can cry if she wants to. If she had breast cancer surgery, yes, it will feel like she has a basketball under her arm and that too will go away. See if you can contact the Americana Cancer Society to find a support group in the area she lives in and get details for her. You will do fine. If you want any additional info send me a note privately.

1 mom found this helpful
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