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double mastectomy for step-mom

Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2010

My Dad's wife (53 y/o) will be having a double mastectomy this Monday. She has stage 3 "triple negative" breast cancer, has finished her 8th round of chemo, and the tumor has visibly returned. I will be flying to where they live; mostly to support my dad. Any adviceon what to/ not to say to either/ both of them would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

soccerfreaks's picture
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

The title of my response is a good one to start with, bchiarot, if asked sincerely.

Dad and his wife are in the midst of a maelstrom, likely, so even mundane sorts of tasks you might help with can be of enormous benefit to both dad and his wife.

Beyond that I would simply suggest that you be yourself.

Ask questions about the disease, ask how dad's wife is dealing with it, ask dad how HE is dealing with it. Believe it or not, once we are diagnosed, it is not embarrassing in the least to most of us. It's not that we become proud of it, certainly, but we do, in most cases I think, become prouder of ourselves, if that makes any sense, probably because while it is not embarrassing, it IS frightful, and we are amazed by our ability to move past that fear and to fight.

That is not to say that dad and his wife will want to talk exclusively about cancer. No. That gets tiring, frankly.

Be yourself.

(You would do well, I suspect, to post this in the Breast Cancer board as well. Those folks deal directly and confidently with this matter and typically give great advice.)

You will be fine.

Take care,


grandmafay's picture
Posts: 1639
Joined: Aug 2009

I am in agreement with Joe. Just be yourself. Ask how they're doing and let them know that you are there to help and don't expect to be treated as a guest. Suggest some areas that you can be of help like cooking, cleaning, washing clothes. I really appreciated the woman from church who named specific things she was willing to do. That was easier to respond to than the question,"How can I help?" During the surgery be with your Dad. Waiting is very hard. One or both of our sons were always with me when my husband had surgery. That was probably the biggest help. Fay

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