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Aug 23, 2018 11:02AM
Georgia1 hit the nail on the head about respecting her feelings. One of the worst things you can do is tell her to be positive when she needs time to come to terms with everything. When she's having a rough day, just hold her and tell her that you love her and are there for her. It usually takes a few months to wrap your head around everything. They would typically do another scan after chemo is completed and hopefully it will tell them one way or another, until then she's going to be very scared, and rightly so. Once she knows one way or the other she can start to move forward. If she is Stage IV, it's not uncommon for doctor to prescribe an anti-depressant at least for a few months. The emotions are real and valid and it's very damaging to tell someone to deny them. She needs to go through the stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance).
The best cheerleading that my sisters did for me was to send me care packages every other week or so (my family all lives on the other coast). My family knows that I'm not the type to ask for help, so they just did things without being asked. Just getting something in the mail was enough to let me know that someone cared and put a smile on my face even on my worst days. It doesn't have to be anything big - chemo is very drying to the entire body so lotion, lip balm, foot lotion, biotene (for dry mouth) are very much appreciated, a pretty scarf for her head, a gift certificate to a food delivery service, a cute cancer warrior t-shirt, a coffee mug, my favorite food treats, essential oils for aromatherapy...it all really meant the world to me and kept me going through my darkest days.
If you live close to her, making meals is one of the most helpful things you can do. My sisters flew out here and spent 3 days cooking and filling my freezer and I can't tell you how much of a blessing that was (and then they continued to have meals shipped to me). Offer to go with her to her doctor appointments and take notes for her because it's hard to remember everything and ask the right questions. Maybe she would like company during her chemo sessions (I prefer to nap!). Do the grocery shopping for her, if she has kids offer to play taxi service or take the kids out for a day. Helping with practical things is the best thing you can do for her so she doesn't feel overwhelmed.
IBC Stage IV de novo - mets throughout skeleton (bones & now bone marrow), liver, dozens of distant nodes, chest wall/pec muscle, skin, tumor in brachial nerves, thyroid, polycythemia from bone marrow involvement
9/8/2017, IBC, Right, Stage IV, metastasized to bone/liver/other, Grade 3, ER+/PR-, HER2+ (IHC)
9/25/2017 Taxol (paclitaxel)
2/5/2018 Perjeta (pertuzumab)
2/5/2018 Herceptin (trastuzumab)
11/25/2018 Taxol (paclitaxel)
1/29/2019 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall
Kadcyla (T-DM1, ado-trastuzumab)