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Topic: How can I support my best friend?

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: Nov 30, 2017 02:20PM

Jennytalia wrote:

My best friend, Mary, was just diagnosed with IDC. She was misdiagnosed (I think) with mastitis, but after the antibotics failed to help, further tests found cancer. She is still in the process of getting an MRI and genetic tests, but doctors have told her to start chemo next week and that she will most likely need mastectomy.


She is only 29 years old and the best person I know. She is the person you call when you need cheering up or just want to laugh. Now it's my turn to help her, I just do not know how. She does not want to talk to, or see anyone besides her parents and boyfriend, which I understand. She is overwhelmed and terrified.

I can't see her in person right now because she lives in Denver and I'm here in DC. What has helped you with your situation? What makes it worse? I want to do something thoughtful but I don't want to push.


So sad and terrified, any advice would help. I really appreciate you all, Jenny

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Nov 30, 2017 03:10PM Moderators wrote:

Dear Jenny, Welcome to the community. We are sorry for your friend's new diagnosis of breast cancer. We are glad that you reached out here for information on how to best support her and perhaps yourself as well. While you are waiting for some responses you might check out these links to information on our main site: Caregivers' Stories and Caregiver Blog. Keep us posted on how you both are doing. The Mods

To send a Private Message to the Mods: community.breastcancer.org/mem...
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Nov 30, 2017 03:20PM Jennytalia wrote:

thank you

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Nov 30, 2017 07:00PM edwards750 wrote:

So sorry Jenny. You are such a good friend.

I think she is still in the state of shock. Understandable. She’s so young. Doctors are aggressive with treatment with younger ladies.

My suggestion would be just be there when she needs a shoulder to cry on. Even though it’s long distance a phone call or text is always appreciated but let her make the first move. She will in time.

We all know how hard this is for her but she will get through it. We are living proof of that.

Keep us posted and keep the faith.

Diane

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Nov 30, 2017 08:08PM Jennytalia wrote:

Diane, thank you for your advice and kind words. I was thinking about sending a care package of books and maybe ginger candies, if chemo gives her nausea. Does it?

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Nov 30, 2017 08:29PM Shellsatthebeach wrote:

I was just going to suggest a care package. That will let her know that you are thinking of her and you care. Ginger candies sound great. Love the book idea! Lotions are also great because during chemo your skin dries out. Lip gloss is great too.

Dx 3/2017, IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIIB, Grade 2, ER+, HER2- Surgery 8/28/2017 Lymph node removal; Mastectomy: Left Dx 9/15/2017, DCIS/IDC, Left, Stage IIIB, Grade 3, 6/10 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Targeted Therapy 9/23/2017 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Radiation Therapy 10/16/2017 Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Chemotherapy AC + T (Taxotere) Targeted Therapy Perjeta (pertuzumab)
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Nov 30, 2017 09:03PM octogirl wrote:

I got several care packages during chemo and loved them all.....and keep calling and texting...

Octogirl

Dx 6/18/2015, IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/16/2015 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Chemotherapy 9/9/2015 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 12/15/2015 Hormonal Therapy 1/15/2016 Arimidex (anastrozole) Hormonal Therapy 4/8/2016 Femara (letrozole)
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Dec 1, 2017 09:32AM Jennytalia wrote:

I will definitely do care package! I made her a Spotify playlist with uplifting, fun music and she said that is helping.


Lipgloss, lotion, good good ! Thank you :)

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Dec 1, 2017 12:55PM Denise-G wrote:

My friend, Linda, sent me a greeting card every week for an entire year during my treatment. I get tears in my eyes 6 years later thinking about her kindness.

I found cards and small gifts to be the most helpful because there is so much facing you, you don't have time to talk to even your best friends. Showing you care in a consistent manner that doesn't involve her repaying your kindnesses at this point will mean the world to her!

So many friends run away when cancer hits! Good for you that you want to support her!

www.denise4health.wordpress.com my BC Blog with over 200 informative posts about all aspects of BC - stop by! Myself, my mom, and sister were all diagnosed with BC within 3 years. What a ride! Dx 10/10/2011, IDC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 9/14 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 11/22/2011 Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left Chemotherapy 12/26/2011 AC + T (Taxol) Targeted Therapy 2/27/2012 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Hormonal Therapy 10/10/2012 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Dec 1, 2017 09:17PM edwards750 wrote:

Sorry I don’t know about chemo. I didn’t have it. Others will know.

Diane

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Dec 1, 2017 10:01PM Lula73 wrote:

Jennytalia- on the nausea, yes ginger often works. There’s also a small vial of an oil you can get at Walmart that you rub behind your ears that helps a lot. Lastly, saturating a cottonball or gauze pad with peppermint oil helps too. (The hospital used it until they could get the IV Zofran up from the pharmacy when l was having nausea from drinking contrast for a CT scan that I couldn’t afford to throw up). l was amazed how much it helped. l haven’t tried peppermint oil in the diffuser but it may work that way too. Some of the other oils in the diffuser can really help with stress too.

My girlfriends put a care package together for me with a soft blanket, fuzzy gripper socks, thermometer, heating pad, hot/cold therapy wraps, gift cards for Barnes & noble to buy ebooks, my favorite teas, etc. Just some ideas for you. You sound like a good friend.

-Lula Dx 1/2017, DCIS/IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/13/2017 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic ovary removal; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap Hormonal Therapy 3/2/2017 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery 11/1/2017 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy 1/2/2018 Femara (letrozole)
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Dec 2, 2017 09:44AM Jennytalia wrote:

Denise, I am sorry to hear good friends checked out. Their loss, I'm sure!


A card every week is such a thoughtful idea. Me and two other friends are forming a super support team for Mary, so I'll tell them about this idea.

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Dec 2, 2017 09:50AM Jennytalia wrote:

lula, this is super helpful! Have you ever heard of nausea bracelets? Me and two friends have formed a little power rangers-eque team, and we are all reaching out to survivors for ideas. Someone mentioned the bracelets.


Also, does everyone lose their hair during chemo? If so, would it be rude or "too much" to buy some pretty head scarves for Mary?


Doing this stuff is giving us a sense of control. I wish I could just take it all away.

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Dec 2, 2017 10:38AM - edited Dec 2, 2017 10:41AM by octogirl

I know some scuba divers who use the bracelets for sea sicknesses....can't hurt, but OTOH, honestly, nausea meds are good enough these days that it might not be a problem. I found that lower GI issues and loss of taste (for a few weeks everything tasted metalic) were much more of a problem than nausea.

Yes, most people will lose hair. However, I'd wait until she loses the hair to send scarves...nothing wrong with multiple care packages, after all. Until that happens, she may not appreciate the reminder...and she may decide to wear a wig anyway. If she tells you she is losing her hair and thinking of scarves, then send them.....


Dx 6/18/2015, IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/16/2015 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Chemotherapy 9/9/2015 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 12/15/2015 Hormonal Therapy 1/15/2016 Arimidex (anastrozole) Hormonal Therapy 4/8/2016 Femara (letrozole)
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Dec 2, 2017 04:33PM Jennytalia wrote:

thanks for the advice! I will definitely wait on the scarves until she gives me some hints.


So lower GI problems? What helped with that, if anything?

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Dec 30, 2017 11:19PM houmom wrote:

Hand cream. I don't know whether I'm having chemo yet but I am constantly washing my hands and using sanitizer while out at all of my appointments and hospital soap is very drying. So I bought myself some really nice hand cream that I wouldn't have normally spent the money on.

Dx 11/20/2017, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC)

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