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What to say/expect to hear from a good friend starting chemo?

CaptDunselCaptDunsel Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
edited February 2011 in Parent Cafe
I'm about to visit a friend who started the first of 16 chemo sessions for lymphoma. We're "pick up our conversation where we left off even if it's been months since we talked friends." (We used to be closer, but I moved 2 hours away.) She has 2 daughters in their 20s who are close, but no other family to talk to. We're about the same age and circumstances (DWF). Insights appreciated.
Post edited by CaptDunsel on

Replies to: What to say/expect to hear from a good friend starting chemo?

  • ellebudellebud Registered User Posts: 2,328 Senior Member
    Start with How are You? And listen for the answer. She may be ok physically, not mentally. Her body may feel ok...but her soul may be in turmoil. Ask her what she needs. Sometimes it is a friend to talk with, a meal (or two) so that she can eat. (Please be aware that some people can't eat certain things during chemo. I became violently sick with chicken...the sight and smell caused violent vomiting. But my doctor permitted me to eat salad and sushi..which is usually banned. My body craved both.)

    In general talking is a good thing: about the news, future plans, politics, fashion, children. Whatever makes her feel normal and optimistic for the future. And sometimes, sharing a cup of tea (should you be able to visit) and silence is comforting.
  • dmd77dmd77 Registered User Posts: 8,663 Senior Member
    Take candied ginger. Every single person I've known on chemo (an alarmingly large number) has enjoyed it. It's supposedly a remedy for nausea, too.
  • mafoolmafool Registered User Posts: 6,453 Senior Member
    She may or may not want to chat. She may like just knowing that you are there. She may not know yet what she needs on chemo days. So try to be open and flexible.
  • CaptDunselCaptDunsel Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    Thanks for your thoughts. It was a great visit; we've always shared our problems, so we just had more to talk about. But it wasn't any different than the other things we've seen each other through. She has a positive attitude about her treatments and we made a date to go wig shopping in March. I hope she's feeling as well as she seemed to be.
  • MissouriGalMissouriGal Registered User Posts: 129 Junior Member
    My two cents: Just be her good friend, like normal, and be prepared to listen. It sounds like this is what you have already discovered.

    One small point to consider. Sometimes people who are frightened with cancer can't really share their fears with close family members. The family members have to be strong for the person with cancer, but most people don't realize that sometimes the person with cancer is also having to "be strong" for their loved ones.

    If she wants to talk about her fears, you don't have to do anything but listen. Don't think you have to solve it, because you can't. She knows there is nothing you can do to make the fear disappear. You can keep a generally upbeat attitude while at the same time allowing her to share some of her darker moments with you. Having cancer can be very lonely.
  • rhyrhy Registered User Posts: 100 Junior Member
    My wife went through chemo treatments a year and a half ago. She was very tired and really didn't want visitors. Her treatments were 3 weeks apart and she was only feeling OK for the last few days of the cycle. Another thing to keep in mind is that the effects are cumulative and got worse and longer as her treatment went on. We are now over a year out of treatment and everything is good so far.
  • ellebudellebud Registered User Posts: 2,328 Senior Member
    rhy: Congratulations to you and your wife. May you both have many healthy and happy years ahead of you.
This discussion has been closed.