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friend diagnosed with cancer. How to help.

(10 Posts)
childrensservant Fri 26-Jun-09 13:18:44

Anybody help here? This is not a best best friend, but don't know whether to carry on as normal or to try and help out. Don't want to interfere, but want to help.

whomovedmychocolate Fri 26-Jun-09 13:20:06

Go along to the cancerbacup site - there is lots of info there on what to say. I'd just be there let her talk if she wants to and be practical in your support (eg offers of looking after kids for an hour when she's knackered because of the treatment).

OhBling Fri 26-Jun-09 14:07:19

I had a colleague who's mother had cancer and she said that the best help was when people just got on with helping ie they'd turn up with food, leave it and go but not ring to ask if they wanted food etc. Things like that.

She also said that for her personally (and of course it's different as she wasn't the one sick) it was also nice when friends "made" her do stuff - eg they'd drag her to a movie or something, just to get her out and about and to stop "wallowing" (her word, not mine).

AnitaBlake Fri 26-Jun-09 18:34:50

Carry on as normal with her, if she wants to chat, let her, but just be you, food and practical gifts will be appreciated, spend time with her, offer to go out and don't treat her with kid gloves. With my friend I would write her letters, just everyday stuff, normal life, if she is having chemo, it can be exhausting, conversations are difficult and exhausting, text messages easily forgotten. Letters are easily digestable and really make a difference!

abermum Fri 26-Jun-09 18:44:43

do spontaneous stuff- take round chocs/ good book/ hypo-allergenic toiletries etc, BUT the key to it is drop the stuff and leave unless she specifically asks you to stay.

I had two very good friends who were great during my last chemo- but one would insist on making a cuppa (she did it!!) and sitting down for a chat- usualy just as i was feeling at my worst. The other friend used to leave a plastic storage box on the doorstep with 'stuff' in it and a note saying- get some rest, ring me sometime and i will pop in at your convenience. DH nearly broke his neck falling over it a few times grin

The little things really help!

childrensservant Fri 26-Jun-09 20:58:00

Thanks. Some good stuff to know. I think the summer hols are going to be bad. I'll prob take the kids and dogs to the park or something.

pinotmonster Fri 26-Jun-09 22:47:03

Hi Sorry to hear about your friend. I second the just doing things rather than offering.

My dh is on chemo and has incurable cancer. Loads of people have said to call them if I need anything but of course I never would! However, if someone just turned up with meal or took kids out I would be over the moon!

smallchange Fri 26-Jun-09 22:51:07

I bought a copy of What can I do to help? by Deborah Hutton when my mum was diagnosed and I (even though it was my mum and I felt I should just know what to do) was feeling confused and helpless.

It was really useful in all sorts of ways and has loads of insights from people with cancer which makes you understand that everyone is different and different things will help them.

It's also great on the whole journey from diagnosis onwards. I'd really recommend it.

Fruitbeard Fri 26-Jun-09 23:22:20

Everyone has already said what I was going to, one thing I would mention though is that when DH had his lymphoma, what really hurt him was the number of people (some relatives too) who just 'disappeared' off our radar - his illness obviously made them very uncomfortable/awkward to be around him, but it left him feeling like a leper. Since his recovery those people have drifted back, but it's not the same.

You sound like a lovely person, very sorry to hear about your friend.

Pinotmonster, so sorry about your DH

childrensservant Sat 27-Jun-09 13:11:31

It's so hard. My heart goes out to every one effected by illness. I've been lucky enough not to be effected by it before, but it's really hit home knowing someone, and knowing the children. Our kids are the same age and see each other regulary.
Good luck to everyone and thanks for your advice. x

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