What can I do to help her?

cricket4x4
cricket4x4 Member Posts: 2
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
A good friend of mine is having a double mastectomy next week and I want to help, but I don't know what to do? Are there things I can make for her to make her life easier? Do certain shaped pillows help rest your arms? She is very independent and doesn't want to ask for things so I always call her and say if you need me to do something just tell me. She's tough and I know all you that are fighting this fight are tough and brave and I hope that soon there will be a cure- or at least a discovery of the cause. Everynight I pray for God to be with my girls- He knows who they are even if i don't - may He bless you all.

Comments

  • taleena
    taleena Member Posts: 1,612 Member
    Cricket.. it is aparent that
    Cricket.. it is aparent that you are a very good friend.. a caring one... I too am an independent person, used to doing not only for myself but for those around me.. The hardest part of this (and all I had was a lumpectomy with lympth node removal) for me was allowing others to help. She will need your help. Just being there to fetch ice water.. make some hot soup... will help. I have also found that a body pillow in my case has worked wonderful in order for me to elevate my arm. For the masectomies, I don't have any personal experience with that other than my mothers and that was years ago,. I was still a little girl..

    I am sure the women here will offer you some wonderful suggestions.. I will keep your friend in my prayers.. Friends like you are truely a rare jewell.

    ~T
  • zahalene
    zahalene Member Posts: 670
    Just do it
    I had 2 mastectomies less than 2 years apart so one had a chance to heal before I had the other, so I had only one 'bad' arm at once. Can't imagine doing both at once, but I know your friend will get through just fine.
    As for being helpful to her, just use common sense about what needs to be done around the house and for her personally and just do it. Don't wait for her to ask.
    In fact, you might just set up a time block (say 2 hours each Saturday for the next month at least) when you let her know you are going to show up and do SOMETHING at her house for 2 hours, so it might as well be what she needs and wants done...lol. Friends can be pushy. It will take some of the worry off of her mind just to know that this or that will get done without fail.
    Also be sensitive to the kinds of 'non-essential' things that will lift her spirits on a daily basis. A small gift on her door step, an envelope filled with cards or notes from co-workers, you get the idea. She will appreciate that people are helping her cope mentally and emotionally as well as with the physical challenges.
    Don't stress. Let your love for her guide you.
    God bless both you and her.
  • zahalene
    zahalene Member Posts: 670
    zahalene said:

    Just do it
    I had 2 mastectomies less than 2 years apart so one had a chance to heal before I had the other, so I had only one 'bad' arm at once. Can't imagine doing both at once, but I know your friend will get through just fine.
    As for being helpful to her, just use common sense about what needs to be done around the house and for her personally and just do it. Don't wait for her to ask.
    In fact, you might just set up a time block (say 2 hours each Saturday for the next month at least) when you let her know you are going to show up and do SOMETHING at her house for 2 hours, so it might as well be what she needs and wants done...lol. Friends can be pushy. It will take some of the worry off of her mind just to know that this or that will get done without fail.
    Also be sensitive to the kinds of 'non-essential' things that will lift her spirits on a daily basis. A small gift on her door step, an envelope filled with cards or notes from co-workers, you get the idea. She will appreciate that people are helping her cope mentally and emotionally as well as with the physical challenges.
    Don't stress. Let your love for her guide you.
    God bless both you and her.

    WHAT???
    so now we can't say g i f t???
  • taleena
    taleena Member Posts: 1,612 Member
    zahalene said:

    WHAT???
    so now we can't say g i f t???

    what's up with that... did
    what's up with that... did you type it that way?? That's just crazy
  • tgf
    tgf Member Posts: 950 Member
    taleena said:

    what's up with that... did
    what's up with that... did you type it that way?? That's just crazy

    friends
    I love Zahalene's idea of telling your friend you will be there as such-and-such a time for so many hours ... and you will be willing to do anything that will help her. Run errands ... just sit and visit ... or whatever. She'll know you are coming ... and maybe have a to-do list for you. What a terrific idea. Of course ... let her know that if she needs you any time in between to let you know.

    I am also one of those very independent people. Divorced ... old (65) and fairly set in my ways ... used to being alone. Maybe I've been alone so long that there are a LOT of times I do NOT want anyone around ... so try not to be too "pushy." If she has a husband, kids or others there to help maybe having too many people might be too much for her at times. I have a dear friend (since we were 5 years old!) and she wanted to do everything for me. She wanted to go sit with me during chemo ... she thought I needed to be entertained or distracted ... but I told her I did not want her there because I needed to do it alone ... and get into my on "relaxing place." At first she seemed hurt that I didn't "need" her ... but we are such good friends (more like sisters) and after I explained why I needed to do it alone .. she understood. But ... I still know she's there if I need her ... for anything.

    So ... don't be hurt if your friend needs some alone time. She's going to be going through a lot and she may just need time to pull things together and make sense of what is happening. Guess that's why I loved the idea of a "set schedule" (even if it's every day ... or 2-3 times a week) ... so she can plan on you arriving ... and not having people just drop in.

    Your friend is very lucky to have you around ...

    hugs.
    teena
  • tgf
    tgf Member Posts: 950 Member
    tgf said:

    friends
    I love Zahalene's idea of telling your friend you will be there as such-and-such a time for so many hours ... and you will be willing to do anything that will help her. Run errands ... just sit and visit ... or whatever. She'll know you are coming ... and maybe have a to-do list for you. What a terrific idea. Of course ... let her know that if she needs you any time in between to let you know.

    I am also one of those very independent people. Divorced ... old (65) and fairly set in my ways ... used to being alone. Maybe I've been alone so long that there are a LOT of times I do NOT want anyone around ... so try not to be too "pushy." If she has a husband, kids or others there to help maybe having too many people might be too much for her at times. I have a dear friend (since we were 5 years old!) and she wanted to do everything for me. She wanted to go sit with me during chemo ... she thought I needed to be entertained or distracted ... but I told her I did not want her there because I needed to do it alone ... and get into my on "relaxing place." At first she seemed hurt that I didn't "need" her ... but we are such good friends (more like sisters) and after I explained why I needed to do it alone .. she understood. But ... I still know she's there if I need her ... for anything.

    So ... don't be hurt if your friend needs some alone time. She's going to be going through a lot and she may just need time to pull things together and make sense of what is happening. Guess that's why I loved the idea of a "set schedule" (even if it's every day ... or 2-3 times a week) ... so she can plan on you arriving ... and not having people just drop in.

    Your friend is very lucky to have you around ...

    hugs.
    teena

    how to help
    Hi ... I just noticed another thread that Jan wrote ... with a list of things to "help" that was published in Parade Magazine.

    http://www.parade.com/features/inspiration/6-ways-help-cancer-patient

    Check it out.

    hugs.
    teena
  • rjjj
    rjjj Member Posts: 1,822 Member
    My friends
    all got together and prepared meals to be frozen (enough for my whole family) baked goodies, gave me books, cads, gift certificates for gas and local restauants, a few bought me hats, scaves and pink tee-shits. Co-workers donated their vacation and sick time to me. They were absolutely wonderful. I have been very blessed with many offering help.
    Also read Jan's post as mentioned above..very good info for care-givers. Uou ae aleady a good friend just for asking. And i bet your fiend loves and needs you very much right now. jackie
  • Christmas Girl
    Christmas Girl Member Posts: 3,682 Member
    Hi, cricket4x4
    So sorry for your friend's diagnosis, but glad you found us. She is blessed to have you in her life.

    I do sincerely believe one of the hardest parts of all of it is, indeed, having to give up our independence (at least some or much of it, for most of us, depending on many factors). After all, we women folk are master multi-taskers - we do everything!

    Personally, I did not at all like "drop in" visitors. This seemed to happen at the very worst moments. So, I totally endorse the idea of a "set time" - or, simply call ahead.

    I'm sure there will be times when she'll just need and enjoy your companionship. But, there will also be those occasions where she may need real help with laundry, or other household chores, for example. Especially immediately following surgery, when her physical abilities will be restricted. Another good suggestion is to accompany her to her upcoming appointments (or, arrange for someone else to do so). I often resisted this; but, in the end, always truly appreciated the person waiting for me in the reception area afterwards. And then, as soon as she's recovered enough, you should do the things you've always done together... Have a coffee at a nearby cafe, hit the mall, go out to lunch, whatever may be "normal" and not focused on her cancer. I relied on my family (thank goodness for them!) for real help, and spent time with my friends mostly as an "escape"... However, everyone's needs and circumstances are different - as individual as we all are.

    Allow your own sensitivity and intuition be your guide. Glad you'll be there for her.

    Kind regards, Susan
  • seof
    seof Member Posts: 819 Member
    be available
    For me it was good to know I had people to call on if I needed them. Right now she does not know what help she will need after she gets home. Each person's experience is different. I think the idea of a regularly scheduled visit is good (I would suggest once or twice a week may be good to start with), along with being available at other times if needed. If she has small children, it might help to have someone to help with the kids, or someone to help with housework or laundry till she is able do more. Having meals brought for the family might be great too.

    Speaking of pillows, one of the things I wish I had gotten before my surgery was a "bed chair"...pillow with arms. It was difficult to get up and down from lying down for a while. I needed help with vacuming and laundry too because I could not carry the basket or lean over the edge of the washer to get the clothes out of the bottom of the machine at first. Other than that I really didn't need a lot of help.

    She is blessed to have a friend like you! seof.
  • confused123
    confused123 Member Posts: 251
    seof said:

    be available
    For me it was good to know I had people to call on if I needed them. Right now she does not know what help she will need after she gets home. Each person's experience is different. I think the idea of a regularly scheduled visit is good (I would suggest once or twice a week may be good to start with), along with being available at other times if needed. If she has small children, it might help to have someone to help with the kids, or someone to help with housework or laundry till she is able do more. Having meals brought for the family might be great too.

    Speaking of pillows, one of the things I wish I had gotten before my surgery was a "bed chair"...pillow with arms. It was difficult to get up and down from lying down for a while. I needed help with vacuming and laundry too because I could not carry the basket or lean over the edge of the washer to get the clothes out of the bottom of the machine at first. Other than that I really didn't need a lot of help.

    She is blessed to have a friend like you! seof.

    Hi
    It is so nice of you to

    Hi
    It is so nice of you to want to help your friend. I had double mastectomy also and I have 3 little kids so help with the kids was great and family cooked and froze meals for us so I or my husband just had to pop them in the oven to heat. That was the best! Also I am very independent but found it hard to get dressed. I showered independently and then couldn't always get my shirts on and had to break down and have my mom help. Also needed help with blowdrying my hair since the arms weren't working great. I slept in a recliner chair for two weeks when I got home, hope she has one.
    My thoughts are with you both. She will do fine with a friend like you.
    Kim
  • cricket4x4
    cricket4x4 Member Posts: 2

    Hi
    It is so nice of you to

    Hi
    It is so nice of you to want to help your friend. I had double mastectomy also and I have 3 little kids so help with the kids was great and family cooked and froze meals for us so I or my husband just had to pop them in the oven to heat. That was the best! Also I am very independent but found it hard to get dressed. I showered independently and then couldn't always get my shirts on and had to break down and have my mom help. Also needed help with blowdrying my hair since the arms weren't working great. I slept in a recliner chair for two weeks when I got home, hope she has one.
    My thoughts are with you both. She will do fine with a friend like you.
    Kim

    Thanks to you all!
    Thank you all so much for the ideas and understanding. God Bless and keep you all!
  • zahalene
    zahalene Member Posts: 670
    taleena said:

    what's up with that... did
    what's up with that... did you type it that way?? That's just crazy

    ahem...
    gift....
    gift....
    gift....
    g i f t....
    hey i learned a new 4-letter word!
  • mimivac
    mimivac Member Posts: 2,143

    Thanks to you all!
    Thank you all so much for the ideas and understanding. God Bless and keep you all!

    Friends
    Cricket, you are a good friend. I like many of the suggestions here, and you know your friend well enough to pick and choose the things that she would really appreciate. As for me, I would not have wanted anyone dropping by or insisting on a set schedule of visits. I didn't even have my parents come by during all my months of chemo. I'm someone who likes a spotless house and the fact that things fell by the wayside while I was sick embarrassed me. I didn't want anyone to help clean or do my laundry. Honestly, it would have felt as though everyone was gawking at me in my underwear. I wanted the state of my house and my body to be private. I walked around in the same bathrobe for days and would have been mortified if anyone but my husband saw me like that. I wanted the visits on my own terms. Also, I would not have wanted the frozen meals. I'm very particular about what I eat and wouldn't want good food to go to waste. I guess I'm just contrary that way! What I wanted was people to call and let me know they were thinking of me. My best friends kept calling even when I didn't pick up. They didn't gradually stop contracting me or fade away after a week. They called and emailed all the time. I could choose to answer or not. They were never offended. Those were good friends in my book.

    Mimi
  • sausageroll
    sausageroll Member Posts: 415
    mimivac said:

    Friends
    Cricket, you are a good friend. I like many of the suggestions here, and you know your friend well enough to pick and choose the things that she would really appreciate. As for me, I would not have wanted anyone dropping by or insisting on a set schedule of visits. I didn't even have my parents come by during all my months of chemo. I'm someone who likes a spotless house and the fact that things fell by the wayside while I was sick embarrassed me. I didn't want anyone to help clean or do my laundry. Honestly, it would have felt as though everyone was gawking at me in my underwear. I wanted the state of my house and my body to be private. I walked around in the same bathrobe for days and would have been mortified if anyone but my husband saw me like that. I wanted the visits on my own terms. Also, I would not have wanted the frozen meals. I'm very particular about what I eat and wouldn't want good food to go to waste. I guess I'm just contrary that way! What I wanted was people to call and let me know they were thinking of me. My best friends kept calling even when I didn't pick up. They didn't gradually stop contracting me or fade away after a week. They called and emailed all the time. I could choose to answer or not. They were never offended. Those were good friends in my book.

    Mimi

    Cricket
    Cricket, it sounds as though you are a wonderful friend and will therefore be able to sense what she needs.

    I am so like Mimi. My house looks awful right now and I dress in tee shirts and shorts. The last thing I want is people dropping in. I had wonderful friends..or so I thought..who called when they found out and then dropped out of sight. I think some people are just afraid. Then again, I had other friends..many of them I did not know that well..who have called and sent cards all the time. I know these are people I can count on if needed and I keep all their notes in a box to cheer me up.

    I have 2 friends who have been through really hard times. One lost her husband and the other went through torture when her husband was in hospital for a year. I would call both at about 8 a.m. and just let them unwind. They both have told me since that it was a saving grace. Might not work for everyone..but as Mimi said they could pick up the phone or just listen to the message.

    I really hope your friend does well..she is lucky to have you. Let us know how things go.
  • sausageroll
    sausageroll Member Posts: 415
    mimivac said:

    Friends
    Cricket, you are a good friend. I like many of the suggestions here, and you know your friend well enough to pick and choose the things that she would really appreciate. As for me, I would not have wanted anyone dropping by or insisting on a set schedule of visits. I didn't even have my parents come by during all my months of chemo. I'm someone who likes a spotless house and the fact that things fell by the wayside while I was sick embarrassed me. I didn't want anyone to help clean or do my laundry. Honestly, it would have felt as though everyone was gawking at me in my underwear. I wanted the state of my house and my body to be private. I walked around in the same bathrobe for days and would have been mortified if anyone but my husband saw me like that. I wanted the visits on my own terms. Also, I would not have wanted the frozen meals. I'm very particular about what I eat and wouldn't want good food to go to waste. I guess I'm just contrary that way! What I wanted was people to call and let me know they were thinking of me. My best friends kept calling even when I didn't pick up. They didn't gradually stop contracting me or fade away after a week. They called and emailed all the time. I could choose to answer or not. They were never offended. Those were good friends in my book.

    Mimi

    Cricket
    Cricket, it sounds as though you are a wonderful friend and will therefore be able to sense what she needs.

    I am so like Mimi. My house looks awful right now and I dress in tee shirts and shorts. The last thing I want is people dropping in. I had wonderful friends..or so I thought..who called when they found out and then dropped out of sight. I think some people are just afraid. Then again, I had other friends..many of them I did not know that well..who have called and sent cards all the time. I know these are people I can count on if needed and I keep all their notes in a box to cheer me up.

    I have 2 friends who have been through really hard times. One lost her husband and the other went through torture when her husband was in hospital for a year. I would call both at about 8 a.m. and just let them unwind. They both have told me since that it was a saving grace. Might not work for everyone..but as Mimi said they could pick up the phone or just listen to the message.

    I really hope your friend does well..she is lucky to have you. Let us know how things go.
  • chenheart
    chenheart Member Posts: 5,159
    zahalene said:

    WHAT???
    so now we can't say g i f t???

    G~ Whiz
    I know Zah~ I have been noticing for a few days now that we can't say G I F T...I think I am pretty vulgar-savvy ( huh?) but I have NO idea what is offensive about that word! I am positive that the auto-censor is keeping me from getting Alzheimers; my brain continues to be taxed by trying to keep one step ahead of the Powers That Be!

    Hugs,
    Claudia
  • chenheart
    chenheart Member Posts: 5,159
    What You Can Do
    Bless you for being such a concerned and caring friend~ you are a blessing, indeed!

    Most of the sisters in here would say the same thing about ourselves or our female friends~ we are independent and don't want to ask for help. It is because, generally speaking, women nurture! WE are the ones taking care of ourselves, our husbands, our families, our children. We are the soccer-moms, the room mothers, the fundraisers, the church-goers, the party planners, the greeting card senders, the lst makers, the phone callers ,etc etc. This is absolutely NOT to say that men don't do anything, and I mean them no disrespect. However, when we women are on the receiving end, oftentimes we feel "less than" and don't know how to ask.

    So, just DO! Make a casserole, be silly, rent a movie to watch together, and actually, be honest! Tell her you don't know exactly what to do, but that you are going to make a pest of yourself! Don't wait for her to tell you what she needs, think of things and just do them!

    Feel free to come in here any time..as your friend makes progress on her road to recovery we can help you/her with each part of the journey.

    Thanks again for your concern and friendship!

    Hugs,
    Claudia
  • jgridley
    jgridley Member Posts: 169
    cricket
    criket, I don't know of anything sorry..but you are an awesome friend. the only advice I would give is just be there even if she says no! I am very independent and I hate to ask for help. set in my ways and feel if I can't do it, then it won't be done. you are a great friend and I am sure she will appreciate all your help and support.

    take care

    Julie
  • Kat11
    Kat11 Member Posts: 1,931 Member
    jgridley said:

    cricket
    criket, I don't know of anything sorry..but you are an awesome friend. the only advice I would give is just be there even if she says no! I am very independent and I hate to ask for help. set in my ways and feel if I can't do it, then it won't be done. you are a great friend and I am sure she will appreciate all your help and support.

    take care

    Julie

    Criket, I have a very good
    Criket, I have a very good friend, and I think that my dx might be harder for her to deal with then me. She is always there for me and knows me well enough that I won't ask for help. She will just call and say that when she made dinner for her family she made enough for my family as well and when would be a good time to bring it by. Just be there for her.
  • ladybug22
    ladybug22 Member Posts: 646
    MY sister came in for a week
    MY sister came in for a week to stay with me that was a blessing for me. your frind will need your help she will not be able to use her arms much. good luck to your frind and i want to thank you for being there for her