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How best to support my friend?

shock
Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2005

One of my best friends *just* found out he has lymphoma (probably Hodgkins, although it hasn't yet been confirmed). He took it hard.

I was hoping people here might be able to give me advice on things I can do to support him through this as a friend. What types of things might he need but be hesitant to ask for? What are the *wrong* things to do/say? etc.

If it matters, he's 29 years old and is extremely smart. He has already done a bunch of research and knows the ins and outs of lymphoma. But he's still very stressed out by the potential road that he knows is ahead. (He also is very uncomfortable around doctors and in hospitals, and doesn't have very good insuraance, all of which make things worse.)

Personally I'm very worried that they didn't catch it soon enough, as he's had symptoms (night sweats, cough and weight loss) for over 2 years and what finally prompted him to get checked is that he's been falling down due to numbness in his leg. (But the mass/tumor they found came in a chest xray and CT scan. They haven't imaged his brain yet, as far as I know.)

Anyway, any advice people here could give me on how best to be a good friend to him would be much appreciated.

Thank!

kiren
Posts: 40
Joined: Jul 2004

I am a hodgkins survivor 7yrs. The best thing my doc told me about Hodgkins is that it is very curable. So stay positive. I used to worry about chemo and all too prior to my treatment but it didn't turn out as scary as I had imagined. I had stage 11B and was treated with surgery, 6months chemo and then radiation. My advice is to stay positive and just focus on getting well i.e. by eating healthy foods and educating yourself. Also don't be afraid to ask questions from your doc you'll learn that it is better to be aware than to be ignorant. Also advice your friend to take second opinions..it never hurts. No matter what always have the will to survive and believe in yourself....I am sure you can make it by staying positive. Good luck to your friend.

stepet
Posts: 69
Joined: Dec 2003

Hi, So sorry to hear about your friend. Any cancer is a hard word to say. And yes they say Hodgkins is the most curable,and tell you you are lucky to have the "good" cancer Hodgkins. But I say it is STILL CANCER! My best advise is to just be there for your friend in the same ways you were before. The worst is when you feel people are treating you with pity and already have you in the grave. Another great thing is to have a great sense of humor. During my treatment I only wanted to be with people who could laugh at me, with me,and for me. Any negative energy is not a good thing at this time. Good Luck and stay Happy

Racht's picture
Racht
Posts: 40
Joined: Nov 2005

its a great question and one I can answer only because I have great friends that knew how to support me through my very recent battle with stage 2b hodgkins. one of the best things you can do is listen. don't try to talk him in or out of feeling any certain way. validate his feelings. offer to help with any paperwork (insurance or otherwise) that he is likely too overwhelmed to think about. Let him do what he feels he can do...part of what makes a journey like this so hard is a patient loses control of their life in very practical ways. the healing process though necessary is going to weaken him, make him sick at times and there will be times he can't do much for days at a time. so when he's feeling well enough to do something..anything, give him the freedom to do it. Let him keep what control he does have where he can have it.
Let me put your mind at ease about the brain scan. They did one on me too because one of the things that was happening to me was I was blacking out- or nearly blacking out. drs STILL haven't been able to figure out how that tied to hodgkins but ruled out any tumors in the brain after a brain mri. I know the waiting between tests and biopsies is also one of the HARDEST parts of hodgkins..so hang in there with your friend, reminding him that speculatives are a waste of time and energy, to only rely on facts, to consider that one person's fate may not necessarily be the same as his. but try not to overwhelm him with statistics or anything either because what he hears from drs is going to cause info overload as it is...I hope this helps. I'll be praying for you both. if you need anything else feel free to write me.

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