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How to help a dear friend cope.

A dear friend of mine was just told that she may have breast cancer, and is really struggling with the wait for the testing process to be completed. She's really beating herself up because she didn't get it checked out sooner. I am a cancer survivor and I know that fear, I just don't know how to talk to her about it, and how to help calm her anxiety.

3 Replies
Whitelilies
2343 Posts

@CraigHorning Hello Craig and welcome from ON! So glad you connected here with us.

It is wonderful to hear, you are a Survivor! (9 years ! terrific)

Please know you have found a caring community…..we are here to listen and share and support one another.

What a kind friend you are, seeking ideas/tips, to help your friend, even more.

Suggestions:

The most important one is simple: ASK her….."how can I best support you?" Let her guide you….and listen….perhaps you can offer to drive/pick up to any appt….pick up any prescription she may get…..help with any household task/cut grass/shovel snow/car upkeep….so she can focus on her next steps……

Try to not over-google (her as well)…..it is NOT up to date….it does not “know” her particular situation…..best to support/help with questions, to ask HER Doctor……

If she feels anxiety….join her for a walk….make some tea….watch a movie together…..she can Journal her thoughts…..she can join here too/we can support her too

Please meet @Trillium (Also from ONT) Thank you so much, if you could share some care giving/supportive/ideas, here, to support our new member (@CraigHorning ) Also from ONT…..(not only a 9 yr Survivor)….also seeking ideas, on how to support a dear friend, awaiting a diagnosis…..much appreciation. Let's Support One Another, in ONT!

Welcome Craig!

Whitelilies

#welcome

Trillium
2045 Posts

@CraigHorning - so glad you found us here! What a great question and @Whitelilies has already suggested so many great things you can do. I really like this article (link below) by the CCS which talks about how to help a friend who has been diagnosed with cancer. Your friend is very lucky to have you for support with all of your personal experience to share.

One of the easiest and most important things we can do for anyone is to just listen. Unless someone asks for advice it is best to just let them talk . Tell them that you are there anytime they want to just talk about whats going on for them. It is amazing how helpful just listening to someone can be.

There is also a few links at the beginning of the article and the one for the “newly diagnosed” would be good for you to share with them so they can read it.

https://cancer.ca/en/about-us/stories/2020/5-ways-to-support-a-friend-with-cancer

Thanks for joining us and all the best for your friend.

Trillium

Cynthia Mac
3929 Posts
CraigHorning‍ , you have all the tools you need to help her because you’ve walked the walk.

First of all you mention that she doesn’t even have a diagnosis yet, so perhaps suggest that she try and focus only on what she knows for 100% certain: that there’s something going on, and that she’s getting it checked out. Encourage her to take this day-by-day or even hour-by-hour for a while. At least until she knows more.

Second, maybe remind her to be kind to herself. Beating herself up for not getting it checked sooner won’t help her feel better. (If she’s really being hard on herself, I can advise that flowers are always a mood booster.)

Depending on how close you are to her, you can help her channel some of her anxious energy into some positive things - have a cooking afternoon to prepare some meals ahead, check on her smoke detectors or fix a leaky faucet so her house is ready for her in case she has a period of recovery or just needs a “day off” from housekeeping. Sitting and watching a good movie or a walk in a park can be good diversions, too.

As Whitelilies‍ Says, you pretty much have to let her guide you about what her needs are, but these are some things that will help both of you feel proactive.
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