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Topic: How to ask for help

Forum: Stage IV/Metastatic Breast Cancer ONLY —

Please respect that this forum is for members with stage IV/metastatic breast cancer only. There is a separate forum for caregivers and friends: Caring for Someone with Stage 4 or Mets.

Metastatic breast cancer (MBC; also called stage IV) is breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, most commonly the bones, liver, brain, or lungs. Metastatic breast cancer can be treated but not cured. Metastatic disease is NOT hopeless. There are a wide variety of treatment options for metastatic breast cancer, and new medicines are being tested every day. More and more people are living life to the fullest while being treated for metastatic breast cancer.

Note: Please contact your doctor for any specific concerns about symptoms you are experiencing or your course of treatment.

Learn more about living with MBC.

Intro medically reviewed by: Brian Wojciechowski, M.D.
Last review date: November 22, 2020

Posted on: Aug 14, 2019 01:46PM

Moderators wrote:

Did you ever find it difficult to ask for help with household chores, work-related tasks, or emotional support? Who did you rely on for different kinds of support? What advice do you have for accepting that you need help, or building a support network? Did you find support from unexpected people in your life? Thanks for sharing your insights!

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Aug 14, 2019 03:38PM Anotherone wrote:

I find it difficult to come to terms with it let alone ask for help. My partner and daughter stepped up a bit but I feel it is like 20% of what would need to be done. I came home from hospital appointments at 11 PM last night after leaving home before 7 am (long journey, a few appointments ) , my daughter cooked ( it was her cooking day) and loaded dishwasher. The thing is as she loaded dishwasher late there was a lot of dirty dishes still everywhere. My partner was away as well, he came home about 8 PM. This morning I went to play squash/gym/sauna at 10 as my game is at that time , came home after a support worker picked my dad for a walk at 11. My partner was cleaning the kitchen then and he unhappily said that it was embarrassing this morning- a tip in the kitchen to which I responded that if he has done them last night it would not have happened. He said it was not his dishwasher day (we have a rota for dishwasher) , I said it was mine but I came home at 11.

Am I unreasonable to think he is not pulling his weight ?

He is soon to be ex anyway , 3 weeks before diagnosis it was established we are splitting but I still would want to have your take on it for the future relationships (may be I will have them) as I am honestly confused now.

I did tell one of my friends about diagnosis today as it was the first time that we met since it happened and I was disappointed with her reaction - it was as if I said that I was going to parents evening tomorrow, very matter of fact nondescript reaction. I do not know what reaction I expect to be honest and I do not know what is wrong with this one. Sitting here having pity party crying , I feel not great and I do not feel I could talk to anyone about it and may be the reason for it is that I do not know what I would say that anyone.

Primary in 2006, metastasis 2019. Sorry can lot log in diagnosis and treatment info properly - it gets jumbled. Dx 10/10/2006, IDC, Left, Stage IIIC, metastasized to lungs, Grade 3, 4/9 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+ Dx 7/1/2019, IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to lungs Chemotherapy 9/17/2019 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel) Surgery Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Radiation Therapy External: Chest wall Targeted Therapy Herceptin (trastuzumab)
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Aug 14, 2019 08:22PM Survivinginfaith wrote:

I've gone through two harrowing treatments for MBC, with two very different experiences with getting/asking for help. During & after the first diagnosis / treatments, I was working in the Corp world, my parents were still living (although they lived 1,200 miles away), and I was in a relationship with a Boyfriend. I had the best friends and co-workers anyone could ask for during that first journey. My boss told me to take as much time as I needed and he guaranteed my job would be waiting for me. Everyone rallied around me, gave me parties to celebrate milestones, supported me physically and mentally. My Parents drove from Indiana to California. I told them I had support and I was going to get through this, but they wanted to see me and do whatever they could while they visited. I had a frank talk with the boyfriend and told him if he couldn't go through this journey, he could leave and there would be no hard feelings. He didn't leave, took me to treatments and made sure I have food. Sadly, he left the relationship about a year after my last treatment. I didn't have nausea, but I was extremely fatigued and my bones became so brittle that when I coughed during a bout with Bronchitis, 3 ribs broke. I'd say the fatigue was the hardest side effect.

The second diagnosis/treatment couldn't have been more opposite from the first experience. Parents had passed away. The company I worked for moved to Washington D.C. I had started a small business, which required a lot of walking and physical work. The chemo that was prescribed disabled me. I had EXTREME bone pain from Taxol. The pain lasted 8-9 days. Just when the pain began to dissipate, it was time for another infusion :-(. The Infusion Nurses said they had never seen anyone have the degree of bone pain that I had. My Oncologist couldn't order any drugs to protect my bones as these drugs also caused bone pain. I couldn't sit, stand, walk, crawl, sleep, eat. I would roll around on the floor writhing and screaming in pain. I kept thinking it would get better, but it didn't so I asked my Oncologist to help me. His way of 'helping' me was to prescribe Hydrocodone. Highly addictive. I did NOT want to take this drug, but after crying and writhing in pain until 2AM I took one pill. Didn't help at all and made me feel disoriented and woozy. I was afraid I would fall and my bones were brittle from the chemo so that was not an option. I reported this to my Oncologist and what did he do? He called in another prescription to the drugstore of the same drug. He was not going to help me. My Platelet count went down to 2. It's supposed to be between 200-400. I had to beg BEG! my Oncologist for help. He finally ordered transfusions. I was getting sicker and weaker. I couldn't work, I couldn't cook, I couldn't clean my house, I was too sick to drive, and I had a hard time bathing/dressing. I called every organization I could think of: American Cancer Society, Susan G Komen Org (they were horrible and unhelpful and should be ashamed), etc. I didn't have money for a Caregiver. I finally found some help with my church. Some helpful women set up a Meal Train and meals were delivered to my door on the days that I could eat. I've lived alone most of my life so it is really hard for me to feel so helpless and ask for help. I shared my struggles with a few neighbors and their response was, "You'll figure it out." I talked to Social Worker at the Hospital and she gave me a list of people and organizations and said I should call them. I was in so much pain, weak, scared, depressed and no one would life a freaking finger to help me - even when I asked. Not getting the help when I asked only added to my depression. There were many times I contemplated taking all three bottles of Hydrocodone. I've realized if you don't have a family member or friend who is willing to step in and actually help, if you are unable to call hundreds of organizations and beg for help (and they may tell you you don't qualify) you are alone in this Hell.

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Aug 15, 2019 01:45AM jensgotthis wrote:

Accept that people don’t necessarily do things they say you do. What matters is the end result, not how one gets there.

Secondly, I have had good success starting off by saying....I’m not that good at asking for help, but I wanted to ask you if...or, it’s hard for me to ask for help’s somewhat disarming and it allows me to say what I’m already thinking so I can just get it all out.

Dx 12/3/2015, IDC: Tubular, Left, 2cm, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, Grade 1, 0/12 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 1/5/2016 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 5/2/2016 External: Bone Hormonal Therapy 5/24/2016 Surgery 5/25/2016 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left Targeted Therapy 9/14/2016 Ibrance (palbociclib) Hormonal Therapy 9/14/2016 Femara (letrozole) Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Targeted Therapy
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Aug 15, 2019 01:53AM santabarbarian wrote:

A lot of people offered to help me. So I would accept and say, "Great, can I put you on my helper list of people to call if something comes up?" Then, i called them. I never needed to call anyone twice. And people were happy to do a one-shot help like drive me to Dr or bring me some groceries. or pick up some cat litter.

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 8/13/2018 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 12/27/2018 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 2/11/2019 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Aug 27, 2019 01:08PM Moderators wrote:

These are great! Anyone want to add anything more?

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Oct 1, 2019 03:26PM ZZZAAAZZZAAA wrote:

  • i found ca15 now for my mother is 778 ,,,,,,the doctor say to us it will be high and reduce high and reduce you don t have information about that
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Oct 2, 2019 12:08PM 3-16-2011 wrote:

I have this amazing village of friends who have proved themselves over and over again and others in my life who showed they have difficulty facing illness. The helpers continue to help and I try to show my gratitude the best I can. I do try to say yes to these people myself as often as I can. I recently had to set a limit with one of them and it was so hard, but like everything else she took it with Grace.

I am blessed


3-16-2011 Dx 3/16/2011, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 1/15 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 5/3/2011 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 10/18/2011 Prophylactic ovary removal Radiation Therapy 11/10/2011 Surgery 10/10/2012 Reconstruction (left): Free TRAM flap; Reconstruction (right): Free TRAM flap Dx 11/5/2014, Stage IV, ER+/PR+ Hormonal Therapy 1/1/2015 Aromasin (exemestane) Targeted Therapy 10/15/2015 Afinitor (everolimus)

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