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how can I help another sister? how can I help another sister?

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Unread 02-06-2007, 06:31 PM
how can I help another sister?

I had a TAH 3 months ago and am thankfully doing ok. However, a friend of mine just had a TAH due to stage 3 uterine cancer. She starts chemo in two days, and radiation soon after. I plan to visit her in a few days (bringing lunch for fun!). My question is...what do you wish a friend would have done for you? What were some of your favorite things to do/have...etc. I want to be a support for her, but don't know quite what to do. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Blessings and prayers to you all!
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Unread 02-06-2007, 06:52 PM
how can I help another sister?

I have to say I appreciated it the most when friends would just leave messages for me. I wasn't up to talking or visiting much during treatments (the further into them the worse it got), but it was nice to know someone was thinking of me. Sending flowers and such was very nice...but all I would think about was sending the "thank you" cards.

If she has a hubby or kids you may want to make a dinner for them one night...I don't know how moms get through this! Other than that jsut be normal with her, don't look at her with "sad eyes" remember that inside she's still the same...just a little more tired.
Unread 02-06-2007, 08:02 PM
how can I help another sister?

Special lunches are great fun, so is shopping. Do and talk about what you would do and talk about before and don't talk about the cancer except expressing your concern unless she brings it up. My freinds bring flowers for my garden, flower napkins and cards in the winter, do my laundry and ironing, have offered to clean when I am ill, they bring meals and take my children for play time. One friend spends time with me while I teach her to knit. There's numerous things you can do, be creative and enjoy your friendship. My knitting friend also sits with me during my treatments and treats me to a cup of hot soup at noon.
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Unread 02-06-2007, 08:04 PM
how can I help another sister?

What a good friend you are! How nice of you to think of your friend this way.

I can say that after my hyster and diagnosis, I just didn't want to see anyone. I rarely spoke to anyone on the phone, even, so like Vega, I appreciated voicemail messages, emails, and snail-mail cards the most. I appreciated the friend who dropped off a ziti-dinner, complete with salad, and didn't stick around waiting to see me. I appreciated the friend who insisted on dropping by with pizza and spending just a few minutes with me....and ended up helping me in the barn doing chores I couldn't do, despite the fact that I really wanted to. Jeanne, if you ever see this, I loved how you & Danielle came and did clean up for me!
I appreciated the people that watched my kid, so I could rest and when I went to chemo treatments, and those who drove me to my first couple of chemos.

I have to say that the best thing was getting cards of inspiration, hope and cheer and I LOVED getting little 'pick me ups' in the mail. One friend..Thanks Jan...sent me a baseball cap a stranger gave her to give to me upon hearing my story. It said, "BAD HAIR DAY". That cracked me up so much!

What I hated the most?? sympathy. the ole "so how ARE you?" . Just be the same friend you have always been. Just be there for your friend, and let her know you love her.

Unread 02-06-2007, 08:28 PM
how can I help another sister?

One of my best friends gave me a meditation tape on Fighting cancer. It helped make me relax. There are tapes on chemo and radiation as well. If this appeals to you, send me a private message and I will share the website URL with you.

I loved getting funny emails, jokes, silly messages.

And when I was so scared and didn't want to worry my partner, I had a friend that would just let me cry or rant or rage .... When I was through, she would remind me of reality. It was never as bad as I feared.

When I had friends going through breast cancer treatments, I walked their dogs and helped clean litter boxes. They thought I was wonderful.

Your friend is very lucky to have you in her life.

Hope this helps
Unread 02-06-2007, 09:06 PM
how can I help another sister?

Dear Nancy,

How thoughtful of you to ask! And, you were so smart to come to the right place.

Here are some of the things that people did for me or that I WISH they did for me:

My daughter took over my husband's birthday celebration and held it at her house. She also did thanksgiving and hanukah.

My son works with my husband and filled in for a lot of his work duties so my husband could spend more time with me. He also came over and walked the dog whenever I was having chemo.

My sil sent me supportive emails every day.

My bil remembered that my HUSBAND needed support and called him weekly just to talk.

A friend took my little kitty in to be snorfleed since I couldn't take care of that and time was getting very short (till she became fertile).

Another friend came for a regular weekly visit and brought thoughtful little gifts.

My husband did a million things like cooking and cleaning and shopping and working and massaging and bill paying, etc -- he could have used a little more help with all that.

other suggestions:

If you're close, come to the house with food and stay to wash up a sink full of dishes if there are any.

Offer to do a couple loads of laundry.

If there's kids, offer to take them out for fun -- a break for mom AND kids.

Just a few thoughts -- hope it's helpful.
Unread 02-06-2007, 11:26 PM
how can I help another sister?

I didn't have to go through chemo or radiation, but while I was recovering from the hyst, and before I could drive, one friend took me to the Saturday farmer's market, walked slowly through it with me, carried all my purchases, then treated me to Starbucks coffee, where we dawdled away an hour just sitting, talking and people-watching. For me, that was great, as I was feeling "trapped" since I couldn't drive.

Another friend, learning I planned to take a taxi home from the hospital, and then later, to my follow-up appointment, said "ABSOLUTELY NOT", and then arranged to take enough time off work to drive me home from the hospital, and to my appointment. She treated me to an ice cream stop on the way home from the appointment.

I'm a person who has a hard time asking for help, and these two didn't wait for me to ask, they just volunteered.
Unread 02-07-2007, 01:43 AM
how can I help another sister?

I had friends who came to chemo with me and chatted or just sat with me.

One friend gave me a magazine subscription, another sent a card every week, others sent flowers or chocolate or lent books, or popped in to keep me company when my husband was at work, another took me out for lunch and pampering, others emailed or called or left messages on my blog. Others would help in other ways too - they'd cook or run errands etc

All of that meant something - it was really special to be thought of.

I really learned what friendship is.

Z x
Unread 02-07-2007, 03:51 AM
how can I help another sister?

I had my cousin, who offered to take me to chemo, and keep me company (not an easy thing for her either since she has teenagers and her mother died of ovarian cancer).

A girlfriend of mine came and cleaned my house a couple times (very very grateful, since dusting and vaccumming weren't high on my list -- sometimes getting dressed meant a good day).

If you don't have a lot of time:

Offer to pick up a drug store prescription for her.

Make sure if you do cook something for her, that it is bland. Pastas are good and will go down, but with mild sauce, preferably white such as alfredo, or soups.

Offer to drive her to radiation towards the end of the week. At the beginning of the week, I had enough strenghth, but Thursdays and Fridays were tough for me.

When you email, write, send cards, etc., make sure you say that you'd like a response, but you understand if she's just too tired to call etc.

A friend of mine stopped by every week and did my grocery shopping.

It's the little things like that that really count. You are a very thoughtful friend.

Make up a list of things you feel you can do before you visit, ask her to pick a couple things for you to be her designated person for that, and then she will feel she's not asking you to do something you can't accomplish, and you can be a real help.
Unread 02-07-2007, 05:44 AM
how can I help another sister?

Ask her to tell her story to you whenver she wants. Be there later, when others have moved away and she's beginning to truly experience the retroactive fear of what she's been through. Stick around, and tell her to talk at will, basically. That's a great gift to someone others may be shying away from, fearful that talking about it will upset the patient. You're a good friend.

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