MIL Breast Cancer

Updated on December 14, 2012
S.G. asks from Beverly Hills, CA
9 answers

My mother-in-law dropped by to visit my husband today and told him she has breast cancer. I don't have any details except that she got the results from her mamagram and that her doctor wants her to see the cancer doctor right away. I really don't know much about breast cancer because I've never had anyone close to me who has had it. Anyway, we haven't bought her a Christmas gift yet and I was wondering if there is something we can get that would be particularly useful/helpful to someone who has this diagnosis? We don't know what the treatment will be at this point. Has anyone got any experience with this here and some suggestions for us?

So I just talked to her. She had the mamagram and three biopsies. She is seeing the doctor tomorrow. She hasn't officially been diagnosed yet.

What can I do next?

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answers from Redding on

I dont think it wise to base her Christmas gift on cancer.
Get her something that you normally would....

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Austin on

Just give her a regular Christmas gift.. Jewelry, handbag, gift card to a spa.

Or we like to give gift cards to super nice restaurants..

She is not breast cancer. She never will be. When she survives you will all celebrate, but it should not be how she is first identified.. First and foremost she is mom, grandma... Whatever her passion is.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Redding on

I'm so sorry for your news.

I have a lot of experience with cancer patients and the thing they appreciate most is just having things as normal as possible. They don't want people freaking out or basically emotionally putting them in the grave.

They want hope, positivity, they want life to go on as normally as possible.
If you hadn't received this news, what would you have bought her? I would do that. It's Christmas. Make it joyful for her, don't make it about cancer.
She doesn't need a reminder, just do what you would normally do.

As you get more information or she starts treatments, then you can give her comfort things. When my dad was going through chemo, I sent him a throw that he could cover up with and a portable CD player with headphones and music he could listen to. I found songs that we loved and he sang to me when I was a kid. It was so relaxing for him and it was my way of being there.

Really, for now, in my opinion, just do what you would normally do. Offer your love and support. Give her time to let her know what she wants or needs as she goes through this journey.

Best wishes.

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answers from Austin on

My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer about 4 years ago, I think... (she was and still is in her 80's)..... they were able to do a lumpectomy, so recovery was much easier. She then went for radiation therapy for 5-6 weeks. I don't live near her, so I don't really know how that affected her, sorry.

My sister was just diagnosed with breast cancer a couple of weeks ago.... she just had an MRI to see if there was any spread, so I don't have any details yet. They are recommending a lumpectomy, unless the MRI shows anything else. However, she is 60... (this is getting a bit scary for me, now... I need to get in for an annual exam and mammogram... my last one was 1 1/2 years ago.)

Anyway, you will find out more details as it goes.... usually they don't diagnose from the mammogram, but from a biopsy on the lump. I'm sure she will have follow-up appointments to create a treatment plan. I'm sure a surgery will be in the future, as will radiation and/or chemotherapy, depending on the type and state of the cancer.

No matter WHAT the treatment is, give her something that you expect her to use in the future...... this tells her that you also believe she will be around to enjoy a future... (in other words, don't treat her as if she won't be around in a year.... when my father was having bypass surgery, I remember hearing that he had made a comment when he and my M. were looking at coats... he said something like "I don't know that I need to get one.... I don't know if I will be around much longer" .... that kind of thought process kind of scared us... granted it was his second by-pass operation in 4 months, but he did very well, and lived many years after that.)

I really would focus on what you would have given her for Christmas had you not heard this news yet....... I'm not saying ignore the diagnosis, just treat her as normally as possible.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

If she is going to have any kind of surgery she will need something that zips up the front. My suggestion is to get her a really nice hoodie with matching pants. One that is cute enough to wear out to treatments, appts or whatever. THe jacket should be a little bigger to hide the drains. Make sure that it is cozy too. I got mine for this purpose from Nordstrom-the Zella brand is wonderful. IF she is a little older Talbots has a nice velour one. Additionally a nice blanket and fleece lined shoes or slippers.

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answers from Peoria on

My mom has Brighton jewlery and charm bracelet. I bought her the pink ribbon charm for that and told her it's because she will need a reminder of her victory over breast cancer, that she has won, in fact.

Make plans for the future. Take her out to do things as she feels able - movies, shows, meals etc.

My mom had early stage 2 that had not spread at all, so she never missed a step. Radiation made her tired, but other than that she was good to go.

All my best!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

Can't go wrong with a Pandora bracelet and Breast Cancer charm

(they do have other breast cancer charms - this is just one). My mom has breast cancer and had her second masectomy in October. I got the bracelet above as part of their Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October) deal to show my support for her. The family got one for her too! She loves it. And she's not a pink wearing kind of gal.

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answers from Amarillo on

ETA Always have her think in positive terms and mean what she says to her core. This will help her get through her procedure and treatment. If she believes in a higher being this is the time to get to know that side of her personality to give her the strength that she needs. Positive people have a better success rate of being healed and cured.

Give her the gift of your love and being normal not worrying or hovering over her. You can get her a nice diary or journal so that she can write down her inner most feelings.

Until you know the stage of cancer and treatment there is not much you can really do but be there. You are all on a rollercoaster ride that is just beginning. Get in touch with the local cancer society and talk with people there. They will get someone your MIL's age to talk with her but they usually like to wait until the procedure has been completed (PM if you wish more info).

When treatment starts accompany her if you can at least once a week. It is comfort to have someone drive you to and from the treatment. It is also company so that you are not alone for the period of the treatments (weeks or months with radiation or chemo or a combination of both). Her dietary habits may change due to the treatment but this is normal. She will also become tired and need to rest. If you can contact a local cancer center at a hospital and get the radiation and chemo diet booklets. They have a lot of info on what to eat to help you stay healthy. This is not the time to think about a diet so ice cream and nuts are part of the diet.

Your MIL's priorities in life will change as she goes through treatment and she may become emotional (hence the writing or crying).

You will all be in my thoughts and prayers over this holiday season.

the other S.
Breast Cancer Survivor 15 years

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

well if its not a for sure positive-I guess I wouldn't include it into Christmas-I know id be pretty upset to get a cancer gift instead of something normal -get her something fun..i hope all turns out well..

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