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My neighbour might be having chemo

(8 Posts)
NextDoorButOne Mon 22-Oct-12 16:17:23

Not sure where to put this and have namechanged as well, but seeking advice..

My neighbour is a mother of two DDs and has lost all of her hair. I know there can be other reasons for this, but obviously one possible cause would be undergoing chemo.

We've been on nodding hello terms with the family since we moved in - a few cross words about parking, some pleasant co-operation about fences, taking in parcels for each other etc - but are not friends with them as such. But clearly if they are going through cancer treatment I'd like to support them if I can. We have two under 2 ourselves, and I have some ongoing work issues, and DH is away a fair bit, so there's a limit to what we could do, but I'd like them to know that they could knock on our door and ask - if they ever needed someone to watch the DDs for a bit, or a lift to hospital etc.

What do you think we should do/say?

NotQuintAtAllOhNo Mon 22-Oct-12 16:22:46

Trying to strike up a friendship without any mention of her hair, or any illness, would be the way to go. This would be natural, seeing as you are new neighbours. Try inviting her over for a cup of tea and for your kids to play?

Does it look like the family is not coping? If you are new neighbours, you really know nothing about them, and they could be totally fine in all respects.

mumblechum1 Mon 22-Oct-12 16:22:52

Having been through chemo myself, the main thing was feeling absolutely knackered and needing to sleep after work (from 4pm). If the neighbours' kids or dogs were making a racket I couldn't sleep.

So number one thing you can do would be to try to minimise unnecessary noise.

I'd also be inclined to think of an excuse to see her, and not actually ask if she's having chemo (it could be something else which is making her lose her hair),but try to ask if she's ok, and just ask whether she'd like to ever park her kids with you to give her a break. If she then mentions being ill, you can offer lifts to hospital etc

cafebistro Mon 22-Oct-12 16:25:54

I would try and strike up a conversation with her when the chance arises. Just some small talk - isn't the weather awful or something about the kids or Christmas. If she wants to talk it will come up in the conversation.
It's tricky because if you don't know what's wrong then you can't really just come out and ask her. Tricky one.

NextDoorButOne Mon 22-Oct-12 16:46:35

We're not new neighbours really, we've been here around 2 years. When we first moved in they knocked on our door to say hello and because her DD wanted to see our puppy. All friendly but wasn't the most relaxed chat as puppy was going mad and her DD kept trying to unpack boxes! Then our paths didn't really cross - her DDs are older than mine so havent seen her at playgroups etc and we're not on the school run. So just 'hello's and neighbour stuff!

They seem to be coping fine, but I don't know how many local friends they have - they're not a house with people constantly popping in and out, hence I wondered if we could be of any support.

Might ask her about bonfire night if i see her this week - her older kids will presumably go and i don't know where they're held here, just to strike up a conversation.

NextDoorButOne Mon 22-Oct-12 16:48:40

Oh and noted about the noise mumble, but we're detached so i doubt my two disturb them, will bear it in mind though.

Thanks all.

mumblechum1 Mon 22-Oct-12 17:08:05

That's a good idea, about bonfire night. btw we're also detached but next doors kids and dogs are extremely loud!

smee Tue 23-Oct-12 10:07:30

Might be just me, but when I was on chemo it drove me mad that people didn't ask. It wasn't that I especially wanted to talk about it, but there's a certain way people look at you when you lose your hair (usually with their heads sympathetically tilted to one side!). You feel as though everyone's staring at you anyway, so when people you know don't ask it's just odd. What I appreciated most was a matter of fact question, so say someone said to me 'Hope you don't mind me asking, but are you okay?' that was much better than it being ignored.

I also found it hard to just drop into conversation, so she might too. It's like having a huge elephant in the room, which you both talk about the weather round. Just ask her in a friendly, non head tilted way. Am sure she'll find it refreshing!

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