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Topic: My close friend and neighbor is having surgery - how do I help?

Forum: Caring for Someone with Breast cancer —

A place to share your struggles and concerns about supporting and caring for a person you love diagnosed with breast cancer with others who understand.

Posted on: Dec 20, 2015 12:54AM

aokcrl wrote:

My neighbor and close friend is having surgery this week - left breast removed - and she is so scared. She has been very private about her diagnosis so not many people know who can also be supportive. We talk every week about what's happening and her fears, her family (she has 5 kids), and what she's going through. I try not to be overly fake-positive, acknowledge her feelings, support her emotionally, recognize that it's scary and it sucks, and just listen. I will be helping her with meals and the kids and errands, etc, but what do I say? How do I help her envision a future? I don't know what kind of chemo or treatment she'll need, but she's very anxious and extremely nervous. I just need advice on how to be helpful and supportive friend, I've never been through this before. Thank you for any advice!

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Dec 20, 2015 01:35AM ShetlandPony wrote:

It sounds like you are doing great. I'd say continue to take your cues from her. Sometimes she may want to talk about it, and other times she may want to take a mental break and forget about it for a while and talk about "normal" things.

2011 Stage I ILC 1.5cm grade1 ITCs sn Lumpectomy,radiation,tamoxifen. 2014 Stage IV ILC mets breast,liver. TaxolNEAD. Ibrance+letrozole 2yrs. Fas+afinitor nope. XelodaNEAD 2yrs. Eribulin,Doxil nope. SUMMIT FaslodexHerceptinNeratinib for Her2mut NEAD
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Dec 20, 2015 03:13AM Smurfette26 wrote:

Your neighbour is very lucky to have a friend like you. My neighbour has been amazing too. I appreciate it so much.

Dx 9/12/2015, ILC, Right, Grade 1, 1/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 10/9/2015 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 11/8/2015 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 1/14/2016 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Dec 20, 2015 08:07PM Moderators wrote:

Aokcrl-

What a wonderful friend you are! Just continue to be there as she needs; sometimes, people keep the scary things to themselves so as not to scare their loved ones, so being a sounding board for her is probably so helpful right now. Here is some info on mastectomy recovery that might help, as she gets ready for her surgery: http://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/surgery/mast....

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Dec 20, 2015 09:21PM MN_Sunshine wrote:

I think you are doing great and I am so thankful she has you. Have continued patience with her. She is on a roller coaster ride. We all try to be strong but this diagnosis, surgery and treatment can rip you apart emotional and physically. We try to be strong for our family and try to show people we are strong and that we can do it all and reality is.......we can't and it is hard to ask for help.

If you accidentally say something that does not come out of your mouth right......just say a sincere "sorry" and let her know sometimes you do not have the right words. This has happened to me and I was over tired and over sensitive.

If she likes a glass of wine or a beer. Let her know when she needs some "girl friend" time to let you know. I emailed my close girl friends to let them know when we get together that I don't want to talk about it (cancer). I want girl time and act like everything is normal. Those "girl friend" days feel AMAZING!! We did a Aveda Institute spa day (facials and make up) and a situation happened before we left and I laughed so hard I fell off the couch. That memory is PRICELESS!! :)

Take care and suggest her to visit breastcancer.org. I do not post much but I read a lot which has helped me. There is so much information on this site.

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Dec 21, 2015 12:44AM Smurfette26 wrote:

My dear neighbour just popped over for a coffee. I surprised her with a thank you gift. A lovely basket of goodies my daughter helped me put together. I know it was neither expected or needed but made me feel good to do something nice for her as she has been so kind to me. Happy

Dx 9/12/2015, ILC, Right, Grade 1, 1/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 10/9/2015 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 11/8/2015 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 1/14/2016 Arimidex (anastrozole)

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