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Topic: How do you deal with all the offers of help?

Forum: Family and Family Planning Matters —

A comforting place to discuss planning a family, fertility concerns, parenting children, or relationship issues with partners, siblings, or parents following a diagnosis.

Posted on: Mar 11, 2019 09:39AM

bam320 wrote:

Hi all,

I am wondering how you all graciously handle friends and family offers of help with food, house stuff, etc when you don't really need it. You see, I refuse to accept the persona of a sick person and if I can do for me and my family I want to do that. Part of it is because I want to keep life as normal for our 16 and 13 yr old kids and it is not normal to have people bringing food when their mom or dad are capable of doing it. Right after my surgery it was welcomed assistance but right now it is not and after I start chemo and see how that plays out, it may be welcomed again.

I am going to be stopping in to work this week and they have been after me to start bringing food over etc and I need a way to graciously tell them we are okay right now but will let them know when and if we are not. I so appreciate the offers and don't want to seem ungrateful at all so any advice on how you handle this would be appreciated.

Thanks!

Dx 12/3/2018, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 1, 8/33 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): Free TRAM flap
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Mar 11, 2019 09:50AM Fritzmylove wrote:

Tell them exactly what you said here. "We are okay right now, but I will let you know when we need help and what you can do. We're trying to keep life as normal as possible for our kids." Maybe have a close co-worker or friend be the go-to person that will set up a meal train if there ever comes a time where you feel like you'd want people to help. My SIL set one up for me while I went through chemo. 2 meals per week. While it helped during chemo weeks, on the off weeks I felt guilty and that it was a bit overkill as I could have easily cooked myself. But people want to help, and it allowed us to spend time as a family, so I sucked it up and accepted the help. I know how hard it can be!

CHEK2+ Dx 9/19/2018, IDC, Right, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 9/30/2018 TAC Surgery 2/20/2019 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Hormonal Therapy 3/4/2019 Femara (letrozole), Zoladex (goserelin) Radiation Therapy 4/22/2019 Whole-breast: Lymph nodes, Chest wall
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Mar 11, 2019 10:28AM Runrcrb wrote:

exactly what Fritzmylove said. People want to help. You want to retain as much normalcy as possible. Don’t feel guilty for saying no thanks but don’t feel guilty for accepting a meal or two - that could be time spent with your kids or simply reading the paper after a long day at work.


Dx 6/27/2016, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IIB, Grade 1, 4/10 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 6/27/2016, ILC/IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 1, 4/10 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/22/2016 Lymph node removal: Right; Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 10/31/2016 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 2/9/2017 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy 4/23/2017 Aromasin (exemestane) Surgery 12/13/2017 Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap
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Mar 11, 2019 11:14AM santabarbarian wrote:

With random offers of help I said, "can I put you on my list of helpers and call you when i need something?" And then I did call!

pCR after neoadjuvant chemo w/ integrative practices; Proton rads. Dx 7/13/2018, IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Chemotherapy 8/12/2018 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 12/27/2018 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 2/10/2019 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Mar 11, 2019 11:29AM kber wrote:

I set up a meal train site while I'm in chemo for 2 meals a week.  Otherwise I'd have 10 meals a week and we'd be throwing out more food than we ate!  I'll take a break when I'm done with chemo and probably start it up again when I have surgery.

It's weird to accept so much help, but also people seem to really want to do it.  At first I felt really guilty, like I didn't deserve it.  Still not sure I "deserve" it, but will work on paying it back, or forward, or something, when I'm able.

Dx 11/2018, IDC, Left, 5cm, Stage IIB, ER-/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 12/6/2018 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxol (paclitaxel) Surgery 5/27/2019 Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right Radiation Therapy 7/16/2019 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall
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Mar 11, 2019 11:31AM santabarbarian wrote:

Having a very close friend who was diagnosed with lung cancer prior to my diagnosis, I can attest to the fact that someone you care about letting you help makes you feel a lot better. It's actually generous to let people in.

pCR after neoadjuvant chemo w/ integrative practices; Proton rads. Dx 7/13/2018, IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Chemotherapy 8/12/2018 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 12/27/2018 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 2/10/2019 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Mar 12, 2019 05:37AM Notodayjunior wrote:

Hi. I dont know if this works but I had 2 great helps. First, co workers paid for a maid service in lieu of food. This was awesome. It was just once a week for 3 hours. Second, I asked for foods to be frozen. Send them favorite recipes of your kids. Kids love it and it's easy to prepare when you need.

Good luck.

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Mar 12, 2019 02:30PM bam320 wrote:

Thanks everyone. I guess instead of holding people off I just need to set something up with parameters to feel like I am in control of it all. I know my issues and control is a big one for me especially when there are so many things out of my control right now! Thanks again for the great advice.

Betsy

Dx 12/3/2018, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 1, 8/33 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): Free TRAM flap
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Mar 12, 2019 02:59PM santabarbarian wrote:

Betsy,

I will say there is a huge gift inside learning to let people help you. There was a lady in my Pilates class who offered like 5 times -- call if I needed anything, any help. She is someone I have never socialized with but who I have sweated next to for about 8 years and she's a sweet person and I like her. But certainly not the first person I'd call, as I don't *really* know her. Well, a few weeks ago I was about to travel for rads the next day and I went to pilates... she offered once again.... and so I said, "Hey, how about giving me a ride to the airporter bus tomorrow at 5:30?" She agreed immediately. And then in further convo, it became clear she thought I was asking for 5:30 am!! (OMG, I would NEVER!-- it was pm!). But what a lovely lovely feeling to have someone be so kind, even just thinking it was 5:30 am and immediately agreeing to help!! It was so sweet. People can be absolutely incredible, and you are about to find that out.... one of the silver linings of this disease, realizing how many people care and are there for you.



pCR after neoadjuvant chemo w/ integrative practices; Proton rads. Dx 7/13/2018, IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Chemotherapy 8/12/2018 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 12/27/2018 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 2/10/2019 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes

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