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Friend is giving up

smfreia's picture
Posts: 22
Joined: Apr 2002

I am a six year survivor of ovarian cancer. I was treated with carboplatin and taxol. My teacher's aide was diagnosed with very aggressive breast cancer and is receiving chemotherapy. One type of chemo she is receiving has the nickname "red devil". She has also been started on taxol which she says is the worse. The problem is: She is giving up. She plans to tell the doctor she will no longer take this. When I said to her, "Do you know what happens if you don't take chemo?", she said, "yes, I will die." We were just putting into words the obvious. I am very distressed because she is giving up, and I don't know how to help her. Any help with this will be appreciated.

Posts: 98
Joined: Apr 2002

Hi! The 'red devil' you speak of is adriamyacin. That was one part of my chemo cocktail. My onc wanted to give me an additional 4 months of taxol after the intital 6 months of a/c/f. I opted not to go that route. As hard as it is for you to accept a decision like this from your friend, you have to remember that it is her decision to make. At some point, we as patients, have to exercise some level of control over our treatment and then accept the outcome whatever it may be. I think it is much harder for the friends and loved ones to sit back and watch these things happen. I think the only thing you can do is tell her how much you love her and only want the best for her, but support whatever decision she makes. Also, remember this, she may change her mind. There were many days that I wanted to give up, and said I was giving up, but somehow found the will power to keep going. She is very blessed to have a friend that cares about her the way you obviously do. I will keep you both in my prayers. Good luck to her and you and God bless you both. angie

Posts: 162
Joined: Feb 2002

Hi, I 2 am a survivor, but only 6 mo. and still taking chemo.after by first treatment
of (red devil) and citoxin i was ready to guit and told the Dr. and nurses, fam. and friends, no more, would rather die than be this sick, but the Dr talked to me and a very special who is also a survivor talked me into continuing treatment, Dr. gave me a different kind of anti-nausea med. and was was lots better. I have 3 more taxetere and will be done(I pray).
Have your friend talk to the Dr. first.
they have come a long way in treatments now.
but above all, stand by her in whatever she decides to do.
will keep you both in my prayers.
love and God Bless---Flo

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Posts: 1416
Joined: Mar 2001

It is difficult to watch others give into their fears rather than fight this out. I am sorry you are the friend who is just suppose to understand he wishes, not so easy after everything we have been through to get thus far.
My father is emphasemic and if he smokes he will get infections and not live a life with much quality to it. After everything I have been through it is hard to watch him not do the things he can to help himself be around for his family and grand kids. But I do know it isn't easy doing all the treatments and things that are needed to give ourselves fighting chances.
I guess the only thing I would do is remind myself that I am her friend and therefore love her unconditionally and that is what I have to remind myself of because I love my father so much.
I had red devil and it is the one that makes the hair fall out for sure. Remind your friend that our hair grows back and there is plenty left to experience after fighting cancer is done.
Your friend is blessed to have you by her side I hope she listens and fills the love inside and begins to wish for life beyond the disease. I am 5 year survivor who has lots of problems but if I had to do it all again I would choose to live, once again.
Best wishes for you and your friend,

Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2002

I am so sorry about your friend. It is hard to make a decision to continue or stop therapy. I am a 4 year survivor. I didn't think it possible to complete the chemo, but I did. I did it with the help of a loving husband and a group of ladies known as Bosom Buddies. That is a support group. I also had a visit from the ACS Reach To Recovery. They provided me with a lot of information. These volunteers are all breast cancer survivors. Do you know if she was contacted? If not she should be visited. I am a cedrtified Reach To Recovery volunteer. If she needs to talk I am available. Also, if you need info or want to talk I am here for you too. I will keep you and your friend in my prayers and hope it helps.


smfreia's picture
Posts: 22
Joined: Apr 2002

We do not have this program in our area of South Louisiana but I would like to find out more about it.

Posts: 321
Joined: May 2002

Hi I am a 4 year survivor and also had "Red Devil" in my chemo treatment. Yes there are times I wanted to give up but kept going somehow.You are a good friend, support her and let her know she is loved and it will get better. It is a long road and all of us made it this far. Her Doctor should help her also, some counseling may be needed, maybe she just needs to talk to people who have been through this also, I am a certified Reach to Recovery volunteer and would like to help also. We all have bad days and need someone to lean on. At present I am having chemo again, yes it is lousy , I get sick but I want to live and that is why I take it. I hope she will listen to you and talk to her doctor, maybe you can go with her??
I wish you the best and keep you both in my prayers. Love Emmi

Posts: 270
Joined: Jul 2001

My cancer was aggressive but not to far along yet ... I took the Red Devil for 4 treatments and Taxotere for 4 treatments and radiation and Tamoxifen. It all started when I was 42 and after all was done I felt so out of shape and just down right old! I fell a into depression that got worse and worse and I didn't even see how bad it was. My family finally told me I needed to get help. When I went to the Phyciatrist I was asked if I had suicidal thoughts ... my answer was no BUT I had already decided that if I got the cancer back I wouldn't have treatment. I was so low and tired that I just didn't want to struggle through it again. I was prescribed Zoloft and within a few days I was less tearful and within weeks I felt better and within a month I felt better and more in control than before my cancer treatments. So...my suggestion is to get your friend to tell her doctor and get on an anti-depressant. It can't hurt and it will help her deal with the treatment ... and hopefully give her the will to continue. This desease is so tricky ... most of the time you don't feel bad or have any symptoms ... a lump is found and the treatment is what makes one feel so bad. Tell your friend she can't let the cancer win. You made it through a hell of a battle ... challenge her. I'd like to think that if I could make it through treatment anyone can because I'm a wimp!!! Good luck to you and good luck to your friend. Jamie

pamtriggs's picture
Posts: 407
Joined: Sep 2000

Sometimes the treatment is worse than the disease. It's very easy then to say "I'd rather die'. Believe me I have been there. I especially can sympathize with the Taxol. It is the worst. Try to get her to have a reduced dose with an increase in steroid pre & post medication. That really helped get me through it. If none of this works then we have to respect their decision & say to them if this is what you truly want then it is alright to go. Try to get her to read the books by Bernie Seagal called Love Medecine & Miracles & Love Peace & Healing. I know I am pushing these books but they have made me turn my life around & I am healing from stage 4 metastatic disease.
Good luck to you & your friend
Love & hugs

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