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A friend has just been diagnosed with breast cancer - what does she need me to say/do?

(5 Posts)
wordsmith Tue 01-Feb-05 20:57:10

A friend of mine, aged 44 with 2 boys aged 6 and 1, has just been diagnosed with breast cancer. She called me this morning to tell me as we were supposed to be meeting for lunch tomorrow. Hopefully they will have caught it in time but it's too early to tell, she's having a biopsy this week. I want to know how I can support her - I know it's sometimes easier not to keep in touch as people often think they don't want to 'intrude', but if it were me I don't think that's what I'd want. We are not 'bosom' pals (a totally inappropriate phrase in the circumstances) but worked on projects together a lot, became good friends, are the same sort of age, our DS1s have the same name, we had our DS2s within a few months of each other, have a lot in common, and meet up every couple of months for lunch and afternoons with our babies. Is/has anyone here living/lived with breast cancer? Am I wrong to want to try and help? What should I do? (apart from count my blessings and regularly check my boobs?) I'm sending her a card and flowers tomorrow but don't know if she'll feel well enough for or even want a visit, she's been told she'll be having 6 months of chemo or radiotheraphy following the lumpectomy/mastectomy (doesn't know what it will be yet.) Should I be full-on or stand-back? Any experiences gratefully received....

tillykins Tue 01-Feb-05 21:05:44

Sorry to hear about your friends bad news wordsmith. I should pitch it half way between full on and standing back - tell her you are there if she needs anything whether its practical or emotional support and also, I think its important to treat her the same, she is still the same person, albeit with a horrid disease, but she still has a life and she will still want to have conversations that don't centre around the cancer and the treatment for it.
I do hope they have caught it in time, are you alright?

wordsmith Tue 01-Feb-05 21:10:46

Yes I'm fine I just feel so bad for my friend, she also had an early miscarriage last summer followed by viral meningitis just before Christmas! So she must feel totally battered.

JanH Tue 01-Feb-05 21:10:59

A new poster called waily is in just this situation; also Fairyfly's mum had surgery just over a week ago and is waiting to hear what further treatment she will need.

I was sort of in your friend's position 4 years ago, aged 49 with 4 kids aged 18-7, and found it impossible to talk about it to anybody except DH and the older kids, so he had to spread the word for me. Your friend may be the same (although maybe not as she managed to talk to you), but anyway I would put on your card something like "I'm here if you want to talk, if not please ask your DH to keep me up to date" or words to that effect.

Mine was the same as hers, lumpectomy followed by 6 months chemo and 4 weeks radio. During the chemo I was mostly OK but for the couple of days after each treatment felt pretty lousy, so if she does have to have it, if you could offer to have her little one, or both of them, on some of those days you would be a real star.

You sound like a great friend (if not bosom ) - wish her luck from me!

tigi Tue 01-Feb-05 21:13:22

Hi, a very close friend of mine found she had breast cancer while breastfeeding her baby, She had a mastectomy, and chemo, and never thought she'd live to see her son grow up. She has! I sent her numerous 'hello' & funny cards to cheer her up, and let her know I was thinking of her. We used to have heart to heart honest chats, rather than pussy footing about, and chatting about the weather, which she appreciated. We always had a hug when saying goodbye, and still do. Afterwards we used to laugh about her prothesis falling out, and her wig, and whether her implants might explode on a plane.She used to hate people telling her to 'keep your chin up', so I did, and we laughed! We are very very close friends now.
I would say just be yourself, give a hug, and chat about what you chat about now.

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