Topic: Just found out that a friend has cancer

Dang.....just found out that a friend has terminal lung cancer....found when she fell and broke a rib....diagnosed from the chest xray.  Tests have been run and she is now too weak for chemo...has been told she has 4 months to live.  She's widowed and staying with her widowed best friend (friends since early adulthood) who is caring for her until she has to go to Hospice.  Next week, she is going to fly to Colorado to visit one of her children and see a new great grandchild and then back here again.  These ladies are part of a group I belong to....WWA...Women With Attitude.  We use to all belong to a Business Womens' Association, but all eventually dropped out and decided that we still wanted to get together to see each other and catch up...so we have lunch monthly.  Believe it or not, at 62, I'm the baby of the group.  Ages go upward to 90.  I'm not quite sure how to approach my friends...we don't usually see each other except for the lunches...more of a casual relationship.  But, maybe on one of my "better" weeks, I can make some goodie for them.....or offer to pick them up for a more intimate lunch.  I personally love flowers....but they seem sort of "im"personnal at this juncture.  Any other suggestions. 

Julie T.

Just for today, I can get through anything.  "Never let fear decide your fate."  (from the band, Awoination.)

Re: Just found out that a friend has cancer

Julie, so sorry about your friend. Cookies are always good or perhaps a fruit bowl. Even a pot of homemade soup. Love the name of your group, WWA!

Teddy ~In our hearts forever~ATTITUDE is EVERYTHING
Any suggestion I offer is intended as friendly advice based solely on my own experience. Please consult your doctor for professional guidance.

Re: Just found out that a friend has cancer

Julie....your friend may very well enjoy a conversation.  You have plenty of background and knowledge to share and the wisdom to understand her thoughts. 
Hugs,
Marion

THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED NOR IMPLIED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF YOUR PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTH CARE PROVIDER

Re: Just found out that a friend has cancer

Lainy...thanks for the suggestions.  I think that I'll try to whip up a batch of cookies.  Both of the ladies could enjoy that    I think she has a sweet tooth...even though she's a little bug of a thing....barely weighs a 100 pounds.  Another of our group makes a great chicken noodle soup, so I think I'll leave that to her.  Hmmm.....after I got home from Mayo, a friend gave us one of those Fruit arrangements....(instead of flowers) and everyone enjoyed it...kind of fun to pull out the stick and eat off the fruit...some of it dipped in chocolate.   OH...I know...it was called, "Edible Arrangements."  I was surprised  and impressed at the quality of the fruit....because it was ALL fresh and full flavor...even though some was not in season. 

Julie T.

Just for today, I can get through anything.  "Never let fear decide your fate."  (from the band, Awoination.)

Re: Just found out that a friend has cancer

Marian....thanks for the vote of confidence.  I just didn't know if I could talk with her without crying (you know me by now).  And....it just doesn't seem like the best situation if I can't hold it together myself.  If I weren't dealing with my own cancer issues....I might still let a few tears fall....but things are still too raw for me right now.  I guess when I take over the cookies....or fruit....I could just play it by ear and see what happens.  Time to pull up the big girl panties. 

Julie T.

Just for today, I can get through anything.  "Never let fear decide your fate."  (from the band, Awoination.)

Re: Just found out that a friend has cancer

Julie.....This is a great subject and something that has been discussed frequently over the years.  How do we address someone with terminal cancer?  I believe that it is of most importance to listen, be present and to let the other person speak.  Refraining from pleasantries such as: this must be awful/gratifying/painful/frustrating/wonderful is mandatory.

Hoping for others to chime in and share their wisdom with us as well.
Hugs,
Marion

THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED NOR IMPLIED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF YOUR PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTH CARE PROVIDER

Re: Just found out that a friend has cancer

Marian....thanks for the head's up on the buzz words to avoid.  Geeze....it's so simple....why didn't I think of it....just listen.  I think I'm just afraid that when I get to their house, I will find myself in the situation of nobody saying ANYthing and it always makes me uncomfortable...so I start talking to fill in the silence.  Is it okay to ask, "How are you doing?"  I don't want to offer her help I'm not going to be able to fulfill due to my chemo.....but I want her to know how much I've appreciated her friendship over the last years too. 

I guess I could always ask about her upcoming trip to Colorado to visit family?  Or ask to see pictures of those great grandchildren.....?

If she doesn't want to talk....I'll honor that...and with her friend there we can always chat instead. 

Does that sound reasonable?

Any help I can get with this is appreciated.  If she were a super close friend or relative,  or if I weren't doing chemo, it wouldn't be an issue....but this is a little different situation.  I can't believe I'm at a loss on how to deal with this.

Hmmm...maybe I will email her friend who is taking care of her and ask her what she thinks....what our mutual friend might be good with. 

Geeze...never thought I'd be dealing with this situation any time soon. 

Julie T.

Just for today, I can get through anything.  "Never let fear decide your fate."  (from the band, Awoination.)

Re: Just found out that a friend has cancer

Really sorry to hear about your friend Julie. I think Lainy's idea of cookies is a good one, especially if your friend has a sweet tooth. If she doesn't feel like eating a whole one then she can nibble on them and eat them at her leisure as well. Plus if everyone else is having some of them she can join in and have even just a little bit of one.

As to being with your friend, I would say just be there for her and let her do the talking or move the conversation in a way that she wants to. I am sure that she will appreciate you just being there for her. Here's a few links and hopefully some of them will be of use to you.

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-livin … t-20047491

http://www.mariecurie.org.uk/en-GB/pati … s/support/

Hugs,

Gavin

Any advice or comments I give are based on personal experiences and knowledge and are my opinions only, they are not to be substituted for professional medical advice. Please seek professional advice from a qualified doctor or medical professional.

Re: Just found out that a friend has cancer

Here are books I read to better understand what was going through the mind of my husband when he was sick. They shed light on the comments of people at the end of life, with suggestions on how to talk with the terminally ill. Wish I'd had them sooner when my husband was still alive:

http://www.amazon.com/Final-Gifts-Under … 1451667256

and

http://www.amazon.com/May-Walk-You-Home … 159471214X

Margaret

Re: Just found out that a friend has cancer

Those are good reading suggestions. Thanks.

Willow

Re: Just found out that a friend has cancer

You know what?  You might be surprised at what she wants to talk about. Just spending time with her one on one and listening is important. Just as I was diagnosed with cc, a friend I grew up with found out she had stage 4 mesothelioma and conventional western medicine said they couldn't do anything for her.

We got together one Sunday afternoon and yes, there were some tears, but we had a great talk about both our situations and well, just life.

Impatient patient.

Re: Just found out that a friend has cancer

Going off on a tangent from one of the earlier posts:

A few people who know about the cancer have attitudes that seem a little strange.  They look at me and say they can't believe I've got cancer - physically I look good and my attitude is great.  Almost like I look too healthy to have cancer.  We had a couple cases at work over the last three years where people looked really bad - gaunt and exhausted.  (Like I did in August when I was 139 pounds.  [At 5' 10'' that was a little light.  Back up to 173 pounds this morning.])  Most people don't even suspect anything.  People have these ideas how cancer patients should look and if you don't match their expectations, something is wrong.  It's really strange. 

In their defense, unless they have had cancer or know someone close who's had cancer, they really don't know how to react.  There are no classes in social etiquette on this.  So they try the best they can.  If you are upbeat, they may try to match that.  And while not gratifying or wonderful, I have learned a lot about myself and my family and friends that I would not have learned otherwise.  A high price but valuable lessons.  We need to pass those lessons along so that others can learn from them.

On to happier things.  It was over 90 in northeast Ohio yesterday.  Daffs are mostly gone, tulips are fading, hyacinths are hanging in there.  With all the rain, mowing twice a week.  Iris should be up soon, followd by lillies.

Fighting with dignity, not desperation.

Live, Laugh, Love