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Hi, I have a "friend" (wife of someone who works for my DH). We aren't close, but I'd say are good friends. Anyway, she's been dealing with Breast Cancer since last fall. A couple weeks ago, she finally had her masectomy. They've apparently gotten the report back and it's not good. She's back on Chemo. post-op but I don't know too many other details. The couple are pretty private and the only reason we know much is my DH is his boss.
They have pretty steadfastedly refused all offers of help or support. I've sent cards about once a month to let her know I'm here. I'd like to do something more but want to respect their wishes as well.
Anyway. I'm thinking of putting together a gift basket or something for her. Do you all have any suggestions of things you particularly needed at this stage but didn't want to ask for? Something somebody did for/ or gave you that was particularly appreciated or thoughtful.
I'm still in recovery from my hyster and not allowed to drive yet. But can get something put together with the few other wives who know, I just need ideas.
You sound like a great friend to have. I had a mastectomy 5 years ago and I am trying to think back to what would have been helpful for me. To be honest, the biggest help would have been a web-site as wonderful and supportive as this one has been for me but that was geared for breast cancer. Since that would probably be hard for you to come up with on short notice for your friend, I think my other suggestions to consider would be 1)some beautiful hats or head coverings to wear when her hair falls out
2)to have someone bring some meals over for her and her husband to eat when she is tired from chemo and doesn't feel like cooking.
You sound like such a kind person that I'm sure your cards are a big encouragement to her. I hope you continue to feel better yourself.
I have made purchases for cancer patients at a website called choosehope.com. They sell just about any cancer awareness thing you could think of. They have teddy bears for different types of cancer, pretty crystal earrings, great magnets with funny sayings relating to chemo. I bought stuff for my mom who has lung cancer and a friend who has lymphoma, and both of them liked the stuff. I bought myself 3 pair of pretty awareness earrings that don't scream awareness the way the "ribbon" products do. This site also has inspirational books, if you are so inclined. I found this site by doing a Google search for lung cancer awareness products.
Additionally I agree with the post above about bringing in meals. My mom really appreciated people bringing in food so she did not have to bother.
Thanks Ellen and Aurwhe.
We've been trying for months (since this first came up) to get the couple to accept meals. We're Air Force and one things AF spouses do almost obsessively is make meals for other spouses in need. She's refused them. I even tried setting up a grocery delivery service for her. That's why I'm at my wits end on how to help her.
I'll certainly look into the choosehope website. For myself as well. Her and I got closer because we both ended up almost in the same boat at the same time. When she found her lump, I was also being evaluated for microcalcifications and later atypical hyperplasia. Mine thankfully for now ended up being benign pre-cancerous growth and radial scarring. But I understand that puts me at a much higher risk for cancer later. So I'll want a site like that for myself in case.
One site I found in my searches last fall was from JohnHopkins in Baltimore. They have an excellent breast cancer site with a section "Ask the Expert" that's answered by a volunteer oncology PRN and I think has a support link too. I passed this on to my friend as soon as I found it.
I was thinking some more about your friend after reading your response. One thing came to mind in case it might help. I do remember after I had been going through chemo for awhile that I was getting to the point where I was tired of being seen as a "cancer" patient and appreciated being seen as the same person I'd always been who just happened to be going through chemo for cancer. What I am trying to say is that possibly would she enjoy going out and doing something fun with her husband or you when she is able and just forgetting about the cancer for awhile. Obviously that would have to wait for awhile til you can be out and around more too. That's just an idea I had in case it helped. By the way thank you very much for writing about the John Hopkins breast cancer web site. I am going to take a look at it myself. I hope you are having a good day today. Take care!
When I was first diagnosed and out of the hospital from my first mastectomy, I was bed and housebound for about 3 months. I was coaching at the local high school. All the other coaches got together and put a basket together with small items individually wrapped and the people who delivered it told me that I could open one thing each day. Some of the items were lotions and shower gels from bath and body works, paperback books, writing paper, dvd's, novels on tapes, candies, cookies, word search books, each gift came with a note from the coach that bought it.
Also a web site breastcancer.org has a discussion site similar (not as good) as this that she may be interested in joining. They also have IM capabilities where you can get to know some other members and IM with them on a daily basis. Its nice to go through treatment and discuss the problems with others going through the same thing as you. Hope this helps. Lynn