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As a friend I want to help

wants2help
Posts: 3
Joined: Nov 2006

My close friend was recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She had hysterectomy and has now started chemo with radiation to follow. She is very discourged and I don't know what to do to help her. What do I say to her when she cries and says that she doesn't believe the fight is worth it? The radiologist told her the treatments would result in lots of strange reactions, none of which she wants to face. She won't talk to a support group because "who wants to talk to someone else who is in pain and feels like dying?". What can I do to help her???

mopar
Posts: 1954
Joined: Apr 2003

How fortunate your friend is to have someone as dear as you! And that's the best you can be - a friend. First of all, just lend an ear. Those of us who have been through it know that sometimes it helps just to say what's on our mind to someone willing to listen. How old is your friend? Does she have children, a family? What stage of OVCA does she have? I personally found a great deal of hope and solace on this website. Even though she doesn't want to go to a support group you might want to introduce her to this site. She can share with others, but also get a great deal of information on how to handle at the unpleasant things she might experience. I personally feel that knowledge helps me get through things. When you know what to be prepared for it sometimes makes the journey a little easier. However, I'm not saying she look too far ahead.

For example, she can come to website and post a message entitled 'loss of hair'. I guarantee she'll get lots of responses on how to deal with losing your hair, wigs, hats, etc.

Please keep us informed and let her know about this site. I believe it will help her as it has helped ALL of us.
Hugs and Prayers,
Monika

wants2help
Posts: 3
Joined: Nov 2006

Thank you. I will let her know of this web site and her ability to chat with others who have similar experiences. Her cancer is stage 3, she does have a supportive husband and older son at home, another son lives several hours distant, she also has friends in the area as well as her church. Unfortunately I live 1 1/2 hours away at this time of year (in summer we are next door neighbors on a lake). I feel like I want to do so much more to help her but don't know what it is.

mopar
Posts: 1954
Joined: Apr 2003

You're off to a wonderful start! Since you don't live nearby right now, maybe just send a 'care' package now and then. You can fill it with things like books (if she likes to read) or crossword puzzles, etc., mints or hard candy to suck on when she might not feel like eating, snacks like nuts or dried fruit to keep up some nutrition, bath salts to soak with when she gets body aches from the chemo, an ACS catalog with ideas for hats, wigs, etc., a special throw or coverup to cuddle with for when the cold weather hits (she might also feel chilled once the chemo takes hold). Well, that's just a little idea. Keep in touch, okay?
Monika

wants2help
Posts: 3
Joined: Nov 2006

More great ideasa, thank you. Yes she reads and is also into sudoku puzzles.

winnipogo's picture
winnipogo
Posts: 11
Joined: Sep 2005

It is early times and your friend has mixed emotions with so much going on at this point. My friends supported me with the care pkgs., cards, books, visits, phone calls. Maybe a time out, for an outing or something she would enjoy to take the focus away from all these appointments and give her some refreshment, a new perspective. I found the website chat rooms and message boards to be helpful too as a means of meeting other people while I was confined. You have been a big help to her by listening and caring. She is lucky to have a good friend as you are.

rolland72's picture
rolland72
Posts: 12
Joined: Oct 2006

I have been thru the chemo and the radiation and the hysterectomy. It is very scary and she will have her good days and her bad days. You really can't force her to get support if she is adament she does not want it. Be there for her, be willing to listen and encourage. Above all instill in her that this is the fight of her life and that it is indeed worth it. I am 19 mos. in remission so encourage her to be strong. Without family and friends I would never have had the strength I did.

groundeffect
Posts: 651
Joined: Mar 2003

If you can find a woman who had a similar diagnosis for her to talk to, I think it would help. I draw a lot of hope and inspiration from the other women in my support group, who are quite willing to share their stories and therapies. I'm the only one who's done a little crying during my first meeting - because I was SCARED.

The CSN board is great, as is the chat room, but I think there's a great deal of comfort that can be had from looking into the faces of fellow survivors. If you can get her to this site, she could see those of us and read our stories-we have had her experience, and are willing to "talk"!

You're a good friend, and I know she'll appreciate what you do for her.

If you sew, you could look up the Nancy's Notions site. There are free patterns (look under "Free Projects", then "Creative Kindness" for chemo turbans and (my favorite) chemo berets. I made four or five berets for myself, and have made them for friends. If they're made in fleece, they're soft and can be worn to bed. I live in an area that's noted for it's snow, and wore my berets around the house all the time! This would be a good thing to show you're thinking about her and the things she likes, because fleece comes in a lot of prints with different themes now. I would suggest three, as the turban pattern suggest, for "one to wash, one to wear, and a spare". I found out just how oily a bald head can be, and had to have more than one.

I did a lot of reading and listening to my c.d. player when I had chemo; if I had known there were so many "books on c.d." available, I would've tuned into them, too. Maybe you could help hook her up with a library that handles them. It can be really difficult to concentrate and work on puzzles while having treatment.

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