General Question

sharpwriter's avatar

I just found out my aunt has breast cancer. What is the best way to show my support?

Asked by sharpwriter (175points) October 26th, 2007 from iPhone
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

8 Answers

sjg102379's avatar

Tell her you’re thinking about her, and that you’re there for her if there’s anything you can do. Don’t tell her it will be all right—you can’t guarantee that. Don’t tell her that you know what she’s feeling if you haven’t had breast cancer yourself. And keep the support coming. A lot of people say that in the immediate aftermath of a trauma (like a diagnosis or a death in the family), there’s a lot of support, but then everyone moves on with their life and the person winds up feeling abandoned at a time when they really need support.

gailcalled's avatar

I’ve been there. Personally, I was thrilled to have someone listen to me when I went over and over the story and the treatments, past and impending. Find out what kind of breast cancer ( there are several different kinds and stages, including lymph node involvement) treatments she has chosen and pattern your support. If she is having a mastectomy, for example, meals on wheels is wonderful….A lumpectomy I found physically not bad, just scary. I then had chemo and radiation; and I would have loved some help w. driving back and forth to hospital.

This is assuming you are nearby. If not, call regularly, send silly gifts, books if she is a reader. Find out about restaurants that might deliver. Above all, talk w. her. Sjg is right about immediate support; then most people get on w. their lives.

I joined a women’s support group for a while. That was a VERY GOOD THING.

susanc's avatar

Food says love. Visitors need to be fed, and frozen homemade meals fortify.
If you aren’t near, you might be able to send edible treats from catalogues.
Williams-Sonoma has a lot of fancy stuff.

Listen carefully and often to the medical story, so that you can check on details with her from conversation to conversation. This will help her to keep it sorted out. Good luck.

joli's avatar

Get on your computer and find Breast Cancer websites with concise information and people with the disease expressing their emotion and issues. If you learn a little you can more easily talk to your Aunt and help her sort out what she needs to. Refer her to these sites as well. One friend of mine was the best support in this way for me, and being a guy it was easier for him to be there for me by getting scientific about it. Others listened when I complained and cried. Check in often just to let her know you care.

Jill_E's avatar

Listen and hug. Also later on chat like old times. If you live nearby, you can help provide transportation to the hospital (and if chemotheraphy is needed, hang out with her if she wants company and chat..the time goes by fast chatting during chemotherapy). Run errands or such.

I am sorry to hear about that. My childhood friend was diagnosed almost 5 years ago and it seems like yesterday when first heard about her being diagnosed. I remember we were all so shocked and saddened.

For the first 2 years, I would send her a get well card once a month. And dropped off meals and chat.

I remember the feeling….shock, denial, anger or frustration of why, then grief and acceptance. Take time in each phase for her, you and rest of family and friends.

A mutual friend walked 39 miles for Susan Koman breast cancer walk recently in honor of her and the mutual friend’s mother who was also affected by cancer. We were all so touched by her tribute.

If she needed a break from the hospital and at home, take her to a little day trip to the coast or (lake or river) or restaurant with a view or her favorite places, it could be a book store or restaurant.

Will send a little prayer to all those affected by cancer.

sharpwriter's avatar

Thank you all for your answers. They’ve helped a lot.

gailcalled's avatar

How’s she doing? What kind of treatment did she opt for? Chemo is getting less onerous (better anti-nausea pills, for example.)

Again from my own experience, I apreciated being asked what would help. During radiation, for example, I was too exhausted to enjoy any day trips…preferred food and driving, having people take my stuff to the dump, shop, dust, vacuum, etc. However, some folks love social events and trips more than I.

sharpwriter's avatar

Followup: She went through surgery and treatment, both went well. The cancer is gone. From what she’s told, it has an extremely low chance of returning. Reading back, you have no clue how good it feels to write that. Thanks again.

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