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Supporting someone with terminal cancer ?

(11 Posts)
Lilyloooohhhh Fri 30-Oct-09 20:41:02

My best friend has recently found out her mum (50) has terminal cancer.
How do you support someone through this ...

ellieloooooooooooooween Fri 30-Oct-09 20:57:21

Hi Lily I dont think there is a right or wrong way, just spend time with them and be there for them when they need you, Hopefully someone with more helpful advice will be along soon, my best friend has cancer but I am not sure which stage it is at she has had it for a while now and initially we thought it was invasive (vulval cancer) and was told it was a stage 4 and she had secondries but then we were told they had made a mistake and it wasnt as bad as they first thought. She had surgery and has been ok for a while now but I have just found out today she has to go back in for more biopsies as they have found a new growth. I try and stay positive and I know her sense of humour, so we do have a laugh about it at times but it is heartbreaking seeing her and her family go through this.

Lilyloooohhhh Fri 30-Oct-09 21:46:24

Thanks Ellie it's so hard the line between staying positive and the reality is so fragile sad
So sorry to hear about your friend too...

LilRedWG Fri 30-Oct-09 21:53:00

With regards to supporting your friend, just try to treat her as normally as possible. Let her talk/cry/rant about the situation as she wants and let her talk about the weather/dinner/anything as she wants.

My parents died earlier this year, one of them following a terminal cancer diagnosis, and the person I found it easiest to be around (and still do) is the one who just called and said, "Do you fancy a coffee?". She didn't call and say, "Oh, poor you" or try to jolly me along she treated me as ME and I found/find that invaluable.

I hope this makes some sense to you. Treat your friend as you normally would - let her know that you are there to talk or help practically, but also let her know that you are there just to do normal stuff too. Let her know that she can be as she needs to be when she is around you and not put any kind of front on.

That's what helps me anyway.

LilRedWG Fri 30-Oct-09 21:56:56

Oh and don't ever say the following:

"Well maybe she'll just pull through it and it's not terminal after all." Well-meant but bloody hard to hear when you know damned well that it is terminal.

False hope is crucifyingly painful.

Lilyloooohhhh Fri 30-Oct-09 22:06:41

Lilred no worrys with that she has enough family in denial at the minute.

LilRedWG Fri 30-Oct-09 22:10:03

Just be as normal as you can with her. Let her know that you are there as and when she needs you.

I felt it hard to just be me and not the grieving daughter for a long time - some people always wanted to talk about "it" when sometimes I wanted to talk about something else and forget for a while. Other people tried to jolly me out of it and made me want to smack them in the teeth.

It is a tricky balance but I'm sure you'll be fine getting it right - after all you have started this thread and obviously care a lot about your friend and her mum.

LoveBeingAMummy Fri 30-Oct-09 22:15:14

She needs to know that you are there for her whenever she needs you (if you can do that). I helped a friend through this (including calls at 4am), and now she's helping me through the same.

Try to take notice of when she is down, she might not want to bother you but will be glad that someone has noticed.

There's nothing wrong in asking how her mum is, as long as you focus on your friend.

She'll probably be being strong for her mum/family so be the one she doesn't have to keep it all in too.

You are a very good friend and she probably knows that already smile

Lilyloooohhhh Fri 30-Oct-09 22:23:10

Thanks i just don't want to get it wrong...
I am still in shock and upset at the diagnosis tbh
i just find the trying to be upbeat whilst trying not to be patronising or giving false hope a difficult thing.
Obviously nothing like she is going through i know.

ellieloooooooooooooween Fri 30-Oct-09 23:10:11

Lily, I think I worded my post wrong what I meant was I try and stay positive for my friend, I keep things light hearted and she knows if she wants to talk to me about it she can but I have learned to read the cues as sometimes she does want to talk about her cancer and other times she doesnt. I know its very different when its a terminal diagnosis.

I agree with Lovebeingamummy she probably does know she can rely on you, thing is no-one really knows how to deal with a situation like this until they are in it. I also agree with Lilred just be easy to be around she may want to think about something else and enjoy a coffee then the oppertunity is there if she wants to talk she can.

2shoescreepingthroughblood Fri 30-Oct-09 23:12:30

the things I found most helpfull was people accepting my moods and just listening to me if I whinged.
also offers of help(I never took the person up on it, but i meant a lot)

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