I have been diagnosed with breast cancer, but found supporting a good friend through the cancer diagnosis for her husband far more challenging.
I am currently reading What Can I Do to Help? 75 Practical Ideas for Family and Friends from Cancer's Frontline - written by Deborah Hutton. I am only half way through but have changed some of my support of this lady to be less demanding on her time, yet still offer help / support and care as and when she wishes to take it.
For me personally having experienced my child having a sudden life threatening illness with unknown outcomes the worst had already happened to me. A cancer diagnosis is hard, but my childs illness was tougher, I felt so helpless at that time - thankfully she made a good recovery, and I intend to do the same.
Hi there. Just want to say that I can relate to your shock and fears. My mum was diagnosed on 9th January. It was a complete shock. She went for her regular breast screening and thanks goodness she did as they found abnormalities - things she thought weren't too bad such as discharge.
She's due for her op on Thursday to have the lump removed. I live quite far away from my family and it's tough. I am trying to be there as much as I can. I want you to know that I'm scared and falling apart too. I hear all the positive statistics and how cancer isn't necessarily a death sentence but that doesn't always sink in. I'm no expert. Like you I'm starting out in something I never wanted to be part of. All I can say and advise is to make sure you're taking good care of yourself. I can advise this from knowing after the sudden death of my brother how we can sometimes focus so much on looking after our parents and family that we neglect our own needs. This can be catastrophic.
It's okay to seek help as you're doing here. Speak to friends about your feelings and fears. Phone support lines such as Macmillan if you need someone to give you more info. I am finding my feet with this too so I hope something in there helps. It's not selfish to look after yourself. You will be doing your mum a great service by doing so, so that you may be in the best place you can be to support her. If it helps, I told my mum today that I felt useless in helping her. I then felt guilty about laying my issues on her at such a difficult time but it opened up a good conversation.
My thoughts are with you as you negotiate this difficult path and I hope for a good future for you all.
I'm sorry to hear about your mum.
I think most of us who have experienced cancer are able to identify with that sense of helplessness. I would suggest focusing on the time you have with your mum now. I know it's difficult not to worry about the future and thinking about loosing your mum but try and focus on having her now if you can. Breast cancer is an uncertain disease but with treatment your mum has every chance of being around for longer. There are also many ways of being strong, so dont be afraid to let your mum know how you are feeling. It is possible to be sad and be strong together.
I'm sorry to read of your Mum's diagnosis, I'm sure some of the other users will be a long soon to offer your their support. In the meantime if you need to talk through how you are feeling do give the BCC helpline a call on 0808 800 6000. Here you can share your thoughts and concerns with a member of staff who will offer you a listening ear as well as emotional support and practical information. Lines are open Monday to Friday 9 to 5pm and Saturday 10 to 2pm.
Best wishes Sam, BCC Facilitator