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mickeymedic
12-09-2006, 10:28 PM
One of my co-workers is battling cancer. She is a very private person and has only told me and a couple other people about her illness. I believe that she's receiving chemo now, but she doesn't really talk about her treatment - and I don't push. I want to be supportive and I want her to know that I care, but I also want to be careful to protect her privacy.

Those of you who have been through this - do you have any suggestions for little things that I could do to help her out and/or brighten her day? Is there anything that someone did for you that you really appreciated?

safetymom
12-10-2006, 07:02 AM
Just offer to be there to listen if she ever wants to talk. Don't ask if she needs anything, telll her what you would like to do for her. Lot's of times people hate to ask but will take help if offered.

That is wonderful that you are asking. Too many people are uncomfortable and then don't bother.

Pea-n-Me
12-10-2006, 10:52 AM
There were lots of things that people did for me that made a difference in my life when I was undergoing chemo. Like bringing over meals or homemade soup. Or sending cards and emails. Sending my kids little packages in the mail for no reason. Taking my kids out for the day. Bringing flowers, nice lotions, books, religious and prayer items, relaxation CDs, and lots of other "little things" that brightened my days.

My coworkers offered to wrap presents for me (I'd just had surgery during this time of year) and took me out for lunches, and offered their support in the way of hugs and opportunity for discussion if I wanted (I was open about it). Some people I didn't see much of were good about emails and it was nice to know I was in their thoughts.

(Some people simply "couldn't deal" with it and that was ok too. Others surprised me with their caring, some whom I didn't even know very well but just wanted to help.)

Trouble is, you feel very alone going through things like this, it's nice to know people don't forget you. She may feel differently, not sure. Give her the opportunity to talk about it by saying something simple like "how are you doing?"; "I'd really like to help you", etc and see what she says. Offer to take her out for coffee so she can open up if she wants to. You may be the only person she does this with, depending on her circumstances. Maybe look up support groups in her area and offer to go to the first one with her if she's shy (may not feel comfortable doing this but it could be life changing for you, also; I know it was for my friend who came with me to some meetings).

Thank you for being such a caring person. :thumbsup2

mickeymedic
12-10-2006, 07:52 PM
Thank you so much for your suggestions! I was able to talk to her a little bit today and she seemed to appreciate that I noticed that she wasn't feeling so well again. I am one of the only people she will talk to about her illness. When she first was diagnosed, she attended a support group and she seemed to like going to it. But, she won't go anymore - I'm not sure why, but I have my guesses.

Wrapping Christmas presents - now that's something I would have never thought of on my own. She mentioned that her neighbor offered to come over and help her finish putting up the Christmas decorations. She pulled out the Christmas stuff a couple weeks ago, then lost steam and never regained enough energy to finish the job.

Thanks again for your help!

Shugardrawers
12-12-2006, 04:39 PM
Just offer to be there to listen if she ever wants to talk. Don't ask if she needs anything, telll her what you would like to do for her. Lot's of times people hate to ask but will take help if offered.

That is wonderful that you are asking. Too many people are uncomfortable and then don't bother.

I'm a little late here but just wanted to say I second this! I always told people I was doing fine and they'd say call if I needed anything but I never did. I mean, I needed someone to take the garbage out, change the sheets, make me soup, watch tv with me but I wasn't going to call and ask anyone to do that. My sister would call me up and tell me not to fix dinner because meals on wheels was coming and then about an hour later one of her family would show up with a complete meal :moped: One night, after feeling so lousy for so long and being pretty much housebound for weeks, I managed to get in the car and she took me to Walmart. Neither of us needed anything but it was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. :rotfl: She pushed me up and down the aisles for a couple of hours. It's the little things :teeth:

Take your cue from your friend. Respect her privacy at all costs. And don't treat her like an invalid. The best thing you can do is just be her friend

Mackey Mouse
12-12-2006, 05:18 PM
I am the caretaker in the cancer situation in our house......this is what I want for my husband and for my family. I do not want people to back away from us like we have an illness that will infect them, I do want the support and phone calls, sometimes I feel alone in this, my children are around me, but the day to day of it can get lonely....

So call her, find out how she is doing, ask if she needs any errands run, you would be happy to assist her in any way that you can. If she chooses to open up to you about her cancer, she will.. If not, just calling and showing her that you care enough to call may do the trick for her..

Anyway, I personally think you care enough to even ask this question. Bravo to you..