Advice needed for a friend who has cancer.......what can I do to help her??

by LyinEyes 16 Replies latest jw friends

  • LyinEyes

    I just found out a friend I have know for 2 years,,,,,,,has cancer in a lymp node under her arm pit. Her blood work came back , with spots in it she said, and irregular.

    She had breast cancer a year ago and some lumps were taken out,,,,,,,,,she was supposed to be well .

    She told me not to cry when she told me the news, and I tried to swollow back the lump , it was on the phone so I could do it not seeing her face. She asked me to met her at the club we go dancing at that night and I said I would.

    When I saw her , I cried, we hugged forever and she cried too,,,,,,,,we talked about it , we said we are not going to let this get her,,,,,,,all I can do is be positive and supportive, but I know how important a positive attitude is. I know there have been some given a very bad prognosis and yet they made it.

    Tuesday we will know more , how far it has gone, where it is, with all kind of test they will do on her.

    When she I first started being friends we started off by dancing with a group of other friends,,,,,,,she and I got close over the last year and she taught me how to do the two step. We just went right out there durning the couples dance and we laughed at how crazy we must have looked,,,,,,,,,,but just ignored everyone there and she taught me. I remember it was to a song called,,,,,,,,,"almost home",,,,,,,,,a country song,,,,,,,,,,,and everysince ,,,,,,,,,,that has been "our" song and we always dance to it together, and of course some of the guys like to rib us in good humor about two gals dancing together.

    The night she told me about the cancer, I went and requested that song, I told them my friend was sick and I really needed them to not forget to play that song for her that nite. They did, and we danced.

    She had been so strong all night,,,,,,,,yeah there were tears in her eyes, as our group of friends talked about her sickness, but she held it together. Until that song came on. She buried her face in my neck and sobbed......I could feel her thin body shaking and I had to keep myself from falling on the floor , so I could be strong for her just at that moment. I mean I let her know how I was hurting for her, but I wanted her to feel that she can turn to me , that I dont want her to be afraid to fall apart when she needs to.

    I dont know much about what kind of cancer she has,,,,,,,,,,,but I have noticed her weight go way down,,,in the last month, I thought it was her man problems and her new job. I felt a stab in my heart the other nite when I saw her cinch up another notch on her belt, when she thought no one was looking. She is really thin anyway, but this is noticeable weight loss so quickly.

    I would appreciate any stories you may have with personal cases of fighting cancer, or that someone you know.......I would like to know what to say,,,,,what to do,,,,even when deep inside I have a bad feeling about all of this. I want to be postive but real, and mainly just a good friend.

    She is scared ,,,,,,,,,she told me just don't leave her. That I will never do.

    Thanks for listening. Dede

  • Beans

    My friend died a few months back of a brain tumor, she was 35 years old. She faught it for 7 years and finally lost the battle after numerous surgeries. Over the seven years she decided to everything she could to win and raise money for this cancer research. She was on television and helped with some legislation here in Ontario for cancer.

    She raised thousands of dollars through golf tournaments and donations, we miss her very much! The medications she was on helped her live a few extra years which gave her the oppourtunity to get married which was a most amazing thing for us all to share together before she departed us.

    Please give you friend all the support and cherish every moment that you have together!


  • morty


    all you can do is "Listen" ...That has been my experience in the past with very sick friends.....Just by you being there for her is the best you can do.....When she needs to be held,Hold her,..When she wants to cry, Wipe her tears,..When she wants you there, be there for her.........I am soooo sorry for your pain, Just be her best friend you can be....sorry I cant give you any more strong for her..I'm thinking about you..


  • reboot

    Dede, i'm so sorry; it's going to be a tough time.

    my friend has cancer- and I supported my mother through it- I'd say the most important part of my cancer journey with my mother as to be there for her- practically is great- but everyone will be aware of mother wanted to talk about things she could'nt say to anyone else..

    Many people are scared of people with cancer as it's such a frightening thing that reminds them of their own mortality - so the sufferer can end up with less friends and concern .I guess it's the day to day little things that mean alot- i'd read ro my mother-wash her hair, listen to what she wanted to happen if she died...that was really important to her- she did'nt want a tree planted in her memory-she was really against it for some reason... don't know why- then one year sfter her death some one wanted to- and I felt at least I could do things like that for her that were important to her- however stupid they silly it seemed to others.

    shes glad to have you; take care of her Dede

    termite x

  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee

    Dede I wouldn't change a thing. So far you have done exactly what she needs. Be supportive in her choices - even if you don't always agree. Listen. And Love. Seems to me you have all bases covered.

    It won't be easy by any menas. There may be times when you feel it is too much and need to walk away. Hang in there. You have been through worse and you CAN do this if you choose to.

    I held a friend's hand as she took her last breaks from metasasized breast cancer. it was painful. But there is no way I regret one moment of being there. I know it helped her and her family. I can never explain what it did for me.

    And be honest. If you can't do this then let her know you love her.

    Somehow I really believe you will be there whatever her prognosis. And believe me - don't count her out yet. As long as she is willing to fight they can be hope.

  • animal

    When I had mine, people generally freeked and avoided me.... same reasons mentioned above. Mine was thyroid and they told me that the next thing, if anything, would/could be lymphoma..... so I am to watch for lumps under the arms.

    I had a friend with lymphoma... he went fast.


  • patio34

    Hi Dede,

    I agree with Lady Lee and think you're doing the best things, supporting her. It seems important to continue to do that, even when she's negative, just let her cope with it her way. Sorry she--and you--have to deal with it.



  • TheSilence

    Hi, Lyin,

    I understand what you're going through and it's hard. Both of my grandmothers and my mom have had breast cancer. Also both of my grandfathers have had other various forms of cancer. I know that one day I will have cancer as well. It's a frightening thing. But here are the things I have learned in dealing with it and those who have to go through it...

    First of all they need to cry and grieve... let her do that and get it out of her system. If she holds it in she will start doing more physical damage to herself by focussing on that pain rather than doing what needs to be done to beat it. The hard part is knowing when enough is enough. Yes, she needs to grieve, but when she has been crying and it gets to a point that she just needs to get her mind off of it it's your job to find a way to do that. Not only is it hard to know when that point is, but also knowing how to do it... and I think that mainly comes down to how you and your friend normally relate to each other.

    One thing that helped my mom was telling her about my dad's mom going through it and some of the outlooks I learned from her. My grandma is an amazing woman and rather than focussing on the negative decided to look at it in a positive light and take advantage of what she called her "cancer perks". When she called with problems about her computer and would get ther run around she would put on her sweet old lady voice and just casually say, "Well, you know, I just get so confused from day to day, I think it's all the chemo-therapy." And you know what? They would bend over backwards to help her out and get whatever she needed done done. I suppose to some people that sounds crass... but honestly seeing a few good points come from it and getting a few things done for them really amused my grandma and mom and helped them keep a positive outlook. In fact, my mom just had her last radiation treatment friday and was wondering how long she could still take advantage of her cancer perks.

    The last thing I would suggest is giving your friend something to look forward to afterwards. When my grandma was in the hospital I asked her what she needed me to bring her and she asked for some books. When asked what kind she wanted she said that she knew it was silly, but she liked those romance novels because they were set in the renassaince and she just loved that period of time. I asked her if she had ever been to a renassaince fair and she had never heard of one. So I told her that in the spring when she was done with all her treatments and had her energy back I would take her. It gave her something to look forward to past the treatments... and now we go every year as a celebration that she beat it. Whenever she would start to get down we would talk about the fair and what things she would see there and such. When my mom was diagnosed I applied the same principle... she loves golf and has always wanted me to learn and play with her. So I offered that while she was suffering through treatments I would suffer through golf lessons. Again, whenever we would get down we talked about those lessons and the mother/daughter tournament that she wants to play in next year. She never missed a single one of my lessons and if gave us much to laugh about through her rough periods.

    The main thing is just instinct. You know your friend better than we do... what feels right to you to do and say? What would you want her to do and say for you? It's a hard situation and she needs your support. There will be points that she will need to talk and you just can't stand to hear any more details about every little part of her treatment... and you will bite the bullet and listen and ask questions because that's what she needs.

    Let her know how important she is to you and that you'll be there for her... and then follow through... that's the best thing you can do.

    I know it's tough... if ever you need to chat or even just vent feel free to pm or email me at [email protected]

    Good Luck,


  • LyinEyes

    Animal, I know your survival of your cancer was on my mind,and how you delt with it all. I am sure what you went thru , the facing of your own mortality,,,,,,has helped you to be the strong person that you are know I admire your outlook on alot of things..........and your saying DILLIGAF,,,,,always makes me smile.

    Beans, my friend is only 30, and she has fought cancer before , I know she is scared,,,,,,,,and I feel that aI can do this,,,,,,,,standing by her,,,,,,thru it all,,,,,,,thanks for the encouragement.

    Thank you all for telling me I am doing the right things. I will not leave her and I know I have it in me to go all the way thru her illness if I it gets to that point.

    On a side note,,,,,,,, I wasnt there when my mother took her last all know it was by her own hands and I had no choice and I dont think my mom thought things out , but I still wish would have had the chance to tell her I loved her.

    I would count it as a precious moment if Melissa feels comfortable to have me hold her hand if she does lose this battle. I know that may sound weird, but Lady Lee, said it beautifully. I don't think I would want to be alone in my last hours on earth.

    It kind of reminds me of the line Sally Field said in Steel Magnolia's, when they decided to take her daughter off of life support.and her daughter passed away quietly ........."as a woman I feel lucky......... I was there when this beautiful creature drifted in my life and I was there when she left, it was the most precious moment of my life"......something like that. I guess I feel the same way.

    Thank you all for just listening to me,,,,,,,,I just needed to talk about it,,,,,,,,get prepared for what might come on Tuesday.



    Just be a good someone else mentioned, Listen to her. I'm 11 months C-Free. Mine was in the arm pit area...the doc took it without getting into the lymph nodes...barely. It was size of a golf ball. It was malignant big time. Had another removed from my chest...smaller, pre-cancer. Got two more in other lymph node areas they're "watching" for growth.

    Just be there to listen and help. Lance Armstrong's book helped me a lot with my outlook. He was really bad off and came stormin' back. It's not the automatic death sentence it used to be years ago. Being involved in the Cancer Walk was really helpful...and talking with other survivors. I wish her and you the very best. When you learn you have IT everything becomes a's great to have someone help you with the day-to-day stuff. Please give her my best and if you wish, PM me.


    And for Gawd's sake keep her away from all JW's if she knows any. They tend to be the most negative people on earth and they say great things like, "Oh well, it's a quick trip to Paradise"....they're sick!!

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