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Feeling useless

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Member

Re: Feeling useless

very hard what to do to help. 

Member

Re: Feeling useless

Thank you these things are never easy and I definitely don’t want to make it about me.  It’s good to have a forum like this to get ideas from so I’m thankful for the tips xx

Member

Re: Feeling useless

You will do her proud as you are being so caring ( and sensible)  in your approach. She is a very lucky lady to have you at her side. Sincerely tip my hat to you. Hug x

Member

Re: Feeling useless

Could not agree more - there are a lot of people who seem to want to make it about them or self validation!  I want to be useful but not in your face and I certainly don’t want the accolade!  I struggle with needles etc but I’m trying to help with practical things.  I’m looking into engaging with local organisations who can help with benefits etc so the PA role may come into play lol.  Xx

Member

Re: Feeling useless

Hi Jaxjo

 

I can’t improve on the advice here but I can add a bit. All my friends respected my space. For the first few months I went almost numb and just wanted to hibernate. No one tried to chivvy me out of it. But I also needed to feel sure my close friends were still there for me, at the end of the phone, ready to take me to appointments when I couldn’t make it on my own. One friend came in with me and took notes, knowing we wouldn’t take things in. She would read it back in a matter of fact voice and express no opinion or judgment. She did the same when picking me up after my op. It was like having a PA lol. No one tried to talk to me about it or tell me I was being brave (ugh - hate that - as if we have a choice!) - they took the lead from me. The laughs came later, trying on wigs, teasing the squeamish ones who had to leave when the needles appeared.

 

I got a lot of pleasure eventually from the little cards and notes, often saying they didn’t know what to say but giving me contact details. I had a veritable fleet of chauffeurs through the whole thing. I’ve learnt a lot about good friendship during the past year.

 

I hope it goes well for your friend. Maybe you could suggest the PA role for appointments if you want to be involved but don’t see it as rejection if your offer is declined. Whatever you do, don’t let her know how distressed you are (just share her distress - there’s a difference). She will have enough to deal with without feeling responsible for her friends’ emotions - that’s their problem, not hers. Take care - you’ve made a great start x

Community Champion

Re: Feeling useless

I  think it's always ok to say I really want to help but don't know how or I don't know what to say when people get bad news and give them a hug , I personally valued that honesty a lot more than platitudes about being positive and staying strong !!! 

Member

Re: Feeling useless

Thank you Jill I think your right about the other people cancer stuff and the being positive etc it’s not helpful is it.  I also find lots of random people who want to be experts coming out of the wood work!  It’s good to hear from someone who’s lived it so thank you for the reply it’s much appreciated xx

Member

Re: Feeling useless

Thank you these are great ideas that I will definitely take on board.  I’m scared for her and what she’s facing but at least if I know what’s helped others in her situation I can be mindful.  Thank you xx

Community Champion

Re: Feeling useless

For me the things that helped were - nice home made food brought round .Offers of transport /company to appointments .People who were just happy to  do " normal things " with me but not be bothered if I was a bit out of it /got tearful .What didn't help (it's all personal obviously ) was people telling me it would be alright ( they didn't know that and I was having to get my head around the fact that it might not be ) ,people telling me to stay " positive " when I felt like I'd been run over by a bus and was terrified - that infuriated me ,oh and people telling me stories about other people's cancer stories .Wonky has also given some great advice .Your friend is lucky to have you - just be prepared for a lot of ups and downs and times when she wants to talk about what's going on and others when she just wants " normality " .

Member

Re: Feeling useless

Hi Jaxjo. What an amazing friend you are being! Everyone with BC is unique in how they feel and cope. But this is my perspective as someone recently through diagnosis/treatment/ the emotions:-

1. Stay away from 'popular cancer language', such as "fighting", unless she is clearly taking something from that sort of thing. If she isn't there is nothing worse than being encouraged to " fight" when it is the last thing on your mind.

2. Try to encourage humour, be it slapstick or dark. Take your cue from her on this.

3. Try not to go into obvious overdrive with practical help, she may feel she has just lost entire control of her life and she needs time to think things through. My advice is simply say "once you figure out what will help best, tell me". Her answer may be far away from what you are considering.

4. Keep away from Doctor Google.

5. She may feel 'disconnected' from life; hold her hand.

6. Hold off on the urge to send flowers, chocolates etc. Regular tiny gestures over the months to come will add up to more for her than extravagance at the start.

7. Don't nag. Fussing about diet, exercise for instance. Yes later you can support on such, but she has enough challenges without adding more.

 

Hope this helps. 

Member

Feeling useless

Hi

 

my best friend has been diagnosed with breast cancer all I know is she has 2 lumps and is having a mastectomy in next week or so.  Im finding it very hard what to do to help.  The thought of loosing her petrifies me but I don’t want to transfer that on to her. We are very close and have been through a lot but this is another level I feel I can’t solve this problem and it’s making me so sad. Any tips on what I can do would be helpful.  Thank you