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bythebay's avatar

What to do for a friend having a Double Mastectomy?

Asked by bythebay (7999 points ) February 27th, 2009

We’re casual friends, not particularly close. She’s 44 and her husband works from home so her 2 children (10 & 12) will be cared for (and her Mother is now staying with them). There are already meals scheduled for the next three weeks. I’d like to make a gesture that will be specifically for her well being and care, although I am not clear on what her mobility or pain level will be like. Does anyone have any insight and/or suggestions? Thanks!

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19 Answers

Triiiple's avatar

Find out her hobbies/interests maybe you can find something outdoors she likes to do and bring it in doors for her?

Lightlyseared's avatar

Vouchers for a facial at a spa.

edit Even better the two of you could go to the spa and have a facial together giving you the opportunity to have a chat with your friend over some healthy food or whatever and it will give her the chance to relax and do something different.

wundayatta's avatar

Be her friend? Visit a little? Keep her company and talk about things she doesn’t usually talk about with her family?

Adina1968's avatar

How about a gift certificate to a local video store in her area.

zephyr826's avatar

I recommend the spa (lurve to @Lightlyseared ). When my Aunt finished Chemo we had a “day of beauty” to commemorate it, with facials, manis, and haircuts. It was hard for me to sit still that long, but I know it meant a lot for her to get back in touch with her femininity. And if at all possible, you should go with her – maybe even get a group together.

elijah's avatar

A few good books, some flowers, and a splurge item such as chocolates, a great tea or coffee, cheesecake.
Maybe a small gift for the kids such as an art project or movie tickets could help her get a few hours of peace and quiet.

nebule's avatar

“Love…Love…Love…all you need is love….”

Blondesjon's avatar

I agree with daloon. Just let her know that you are willing to help out and that she isn’t alone.

Sometimes the smallest gestures are the grandest.

gailcalled's avatar

A double mastectomy is serious surgery, both physically and psychologically. Now is not the time for gift certificates or a day at a spa. She is dealing with either cancer or the fear of cancer and a double amputation.

Follow her lead; visit with her (briefly); she will tire very easily. As she starts to mend, ask her if any of the above ideas (or any others) would be something she would enjoy.
Perhaps making some meals or amusing the kids after the first three weeks.

cdwccrn's avatar

She will need to cough and deep breathe. The hospital will give her an ugly little pillow.
YOU get her a squishy soft teddy bear to use instead.
Give her special get well pillow cases for the pillows she will need to prop her arms up with.

Blondesjon's avatar

@cdwccrn…I had to use a “coughing pillow” a few years back myself. It was a snowman’s head with a very soft “carrot” nose jutting from it. My kids named him snowy.

yeah…the little pillow sucks

cdwccrn's avatar

@Blondesjon, you remember the pain you had when you used it. But it was a bit nicer than a cheap little pillow, right?

bythebay's avatar

Thanks to all of you for the great suggestions. I’m heading out today to put together something for her and you all gave me some fantastic ideas. Thank you…again!

Blondesjon's avatar

@cdwccrn…I’m sorry. I meant the cheap little pillow sucked. I love snowy. I still have him.

and a crazy, wicked incision scar

bythebay's avatar

**Follow Up**
I visited with my friend yesterday. She is exhausted and so looking forward to getting the drains out. It was Stage 2-A, so lymph nodes were removed, but they found clear margins. Her treatment wont be decided until next week.

I took a bright pink squishy pillow as @cdwccrn suggested, a glorious bunch of spring flowers, and lunch. We had a wonderful visit where she talked about her illness for about 5 minutes and everything under the sun for the other 55 minutes. I left after an hour in despite of her protest, knowing she must be exhausted. I promised her a spa day when she’s feeling up to it.

Thank you all for your great ideas.

elijah's avatar

@bythebay you are a wonderful friend.

gailcalled's avatar

@bythebay; Perfect. Just try to touch bases after the throngs of helpers have left. One really nice gift is to offer to drive her to chemo and/or radiation, should she not have enough drivers, if that will be part of the treatment. Today you get an anti-nausea pill before you get out of the infusion chair, so there is no or little vomiting, just great fatigue.

bythebay's avatar

@gailcalled & @elijahsuicide: Thanks. Very good idea about the driving, Gail. That can be a very long ride to & from treatments – no matter the actual driving distance.

gailcalled's avatar

@bythebay: When I had radiation therapy, it was every weekday for 5 weeks. Driving, parking, undressing and the reverse took one hour. The treatment took two minutes. I paid a woman to drive M, W, F and I did T and Th. Chemo sessions, if she has to do them as an outpatient, may take several hours. Personally, I hated to chat, and brought music, but I usually meditated. If you do drive, you might want to bring some work to do.

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