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How best to support someone with breast cancer?

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by hoodedbrowser, May 27, 2011.

  1. Just being around is so much help, even though it may not seem it at the time. Also, when my mam had breast cancer 20 years ago, sense of humour was key. My mam found the hair loss from the chemo emotionally difficult but used to make jokes when she was out and about, things like passing a hairdresser and suggesting she go in for a wash and blow dry and imagining their faces when her wig fell off!
    It's a tough time for any family, keep talking together, laughing together and crying together. Keep life as normal as possible but make sure your sister is careful about exposure to germs during the chemo. One of the best tips my mam got was to suck on pineapple cubes to take away the bad taste from the chemo. Her nurse told her this and it worked for my mam, two of my friends and a friend of the family.
    Most of all, remember the excellent recovery rates! My mam is a testament to this and is still a picture of health 20 years on.
  2. Thankyou to all who have replied, especially to those with good outcomes that they have shared. It means a lot to hear that it can go well.
    It hasn't felt as if I've done much yet, so today I put together a hamper of goodies . Some practical bits that I had read up about (unscented moisturiser, high spf suncream, a couple of lovely headscarves, borocca and lucozade, ginger biscuits for nausea, corsodyl for the sore mouth and a lovely assortment of luxury lolipops from her favourite sweet shop to suck on when needed- nicely gift wrapped ) and some frivolous things like choccies and magazines. She liked it and I hope there will be a few times down the line when some of the things I included will come in handy. Her husband thanked me for the 'practical and awesome' present. And I packaged it all up in a fab fluffy pink basket that I know will be claimed by her little girl before too long (something for my neice was on my list, along with something to put everything in and when I saw it I knew that it ticked both boxes....a few extra lollipops went in too).
    She's booked an appt to have her head shaved when it starts to thin and I'm going along to hold her hand and keep her spirits up. Not looking forward to it, as then it will really hit home hard....although not perhaps as difficult as hearing her reception aged daughter saying that her mum had "Breast Cancer....a nasty lump, but chem- o- the- rapy will make it go away."

  3. Positive thinking! My best friend discovered she had breast cancer at 34. She was determined that life would be as normal as possible for her for as long as possible. She had some grim grim days, but she remained positive through the 7 rounds of chemo, the radiotherapy+ then just before she had the all clear, the discovery that it had moved to her bones. She fought for 2 long years and passed away in January this year. I don't mean this post to be sad! EVery single day she lived life to the full. Encourage your sister to believe she is going to get better. Get her family and friends to tell her she is going to get better. I know a number of women who have had this dreadful illness. Those who have been positive have had a better 'experience' through it. I think the idea of having her hair shaved is a good one. Encourage her to try on completely different wigs to her own hair as well as similar ones. My friend had blond bouncy hair usually and she ended up with a beautiful, sleek dark bob which she wore most of the time. People did a double take at the different hair colour and style and often didn't notice the drawn on eye brows and the sallow skin.
    It will be hard on you too, so don't be afraid to have a cry and a shout out loud too.
  4. Well, the dreaded head-shaving appointment was today...and it was difficult but not devastating.
    My sister's hair had started to come out every time she ran her fingers through her hair and was the right decision for her. A few other friends came to the appointment for moral support, and they sat in the waiting area. I went and held my sisters hand and shed a tear with her when she got emotional.
    She had a fab wig which the hairdresser also trimmed to suit her face. She walked out looking like she's just had a fab hair appointment.
    She said she was going to show her little one (reception age, but has been told in a gentle way that Mummy is poorly and some of the issues that she will face so they wouldn't come as a shock.....in fact she's been asking my sister on a regular basis whether she still has 'her' hair) tomorrow, but I advised she told her tonight so if she got upset about it it wouldn't be just before school.
    Bless her.

    And thanks again for people's advice and well wishes.

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