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Topic: Help me Help My Sister

Forum: Triple-Negative Breast Cancer —

Share with others who have ER-/PR-/HER2- breast cancer.

Posted on: Dec 30, 2010 11:43AM

ssn40 wrote:

My Sister has been diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer that has metastised (sp) to the bone, liver and maybe her marrow.  I am in Chicago, my mother lives in Dallas where my sister resides.  We are having a very tough time helping her. She is in complete denial a year into the treatments.  We (my mother and I) understand her anger and we can deal with that aspect of it.  But it is if she is living in this other reality where she believes things happen or conversations occur that did not.  She is also isolating herself.  She will not accept a phone call, email or any other contact.  She has told me and my mother to not call her or email her.  She does allow my mother to go with her to the weekly doctor visits and or treatments.  She has a child that she needs to plan for and refuses to do this.  We ask her what she wants from us, how we can help, expectations; she responds with she does not know.  We never know what to say to her, do for her, nor do we know what she wants us to do.  She believes that she is getting better.  My mother does attend the doctor appointments with her, which generally is weekly.  She is not getting better, she is getting worse.  

Should we respect her no contact requests?  We want to respect her boundries, however we worry and want to know how she is doing.  We want to help her through this illness but honestly we do not know what to do, say.  We are at a loss and frustrated. 

Any insight that anyone can offer would be greatly appreciated.



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Dec 30, 2010 01:23PM Cathy-CA wrote:

It sounds like your sister may be suffering from depression.  It's very common in her situation.  As a fellow Stage IV, triple neg, I know how discouraging the diagnosis can be.  If she's feeling overwhelmed, may be doing something for her rather than asking her if she needs help would be the way to go.  Since your mother is local, may be she could call and say "I'm at the store.  Do you want me to pick up milk, eggs, bread, etc. for you?"  or go to the post office or stop by and do the laundry for her.  Some of those errands are so hard to do if you're feeling exhausted, achy and nauseated. 

As far as not wanting to talk about things.  I do understand that. I don't want cancer to be the focus of whatever time I have left.  I would much rather be in the present, but that's just me.

I don't know if my ramblings helped, but I think it's great that you're here trying to help.

Dx 10/24/2007, IDC, 2cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, mets, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Dec 30, 2010 04:26PM ssn40 wrote:

Thanks so much for your input.  God bless you.


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Dec 30, 2010 07:16PM LRM216 wrote:

Oh this is so sad, I am so sorry that you and Mom have this wall to climb in order to help your sister.  I agree with Cathy and am so glad she responded. I also want to suggest that you also post this on the Stage IV forum, if you have not already done so, as they are a wonder with suggestions and in offering help.  I want to say can you call her doctor, but with all the Hippa rules and laws, I don't even know if you would get through to the doctor.  I would give it a try anyway, if for nothing else but to let them know how she is blocking everyone from trying to assist her in any way.  I wish you all the best in breaking through to her and I wish for your sister that she can embrace your love and concern.  Good luck and god bless,


Life isn't about waiting for the storm to end, it's about learning to dance in the rain ... Age 62 at diagnose Dx 2/23/2009, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 3/7/2009 Lumpectomy: Right Chemotherapy 4/25/2009 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxol (paclitaxel), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 10/21/2009 Breast

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