I just found out my sister/best friend has cervical cancer. I'm very shocked and heart broken over this news. We are both scared because I just lost my Mother-in-law to cancer so the word alone is so scary to me. I told my sister and she knows I'll be there for her through it all but I just want to know what I can do for her? What should I say to her?
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As one who has been a survivor of the Big C for a few years I can tell you that for me the best thing people could do was just act like normal. After the initial 'how are you' at every visit my friends and I would discuss the tulips and the nice rain for the crops and the kids and most of all THE HUSBANDS!
We just had our regular visits. My mother remarked that I always seemed so up when she called. I asked her how often she would call if I was down every time! I appreciated calls before people went shopping to see if I needed anything. I appreciated being included in outings even when I knew they tried to tone it down to suit my physical strength. I wanted to be "normal" and my friends knew that and did their best to treat me that way.
I guess bottom line for me would be act normal. Most people don't want to considered different or sick...even if they are. Another important part that often gets pushed aside (because it upsets people I guess) is to let her say whatever she wants.. She's entitled to feel bad and sad and mad and scared. Telling her all the time that it's ok and not to feel this way or the other is not the right thing. If she's married she may not want to burden her husband with all the fears. Let her dump on you. You don't really have to have any answers. Mostly just listen. I know you're scared too but remember, people DO survive and prayer does help. I should know!
April, I haven't been in your shoes, but I know that I'd feel the same way if it were my sister. I would want to do anything I could to lighten her burden. I agree with Glenn'smom, listening would be very important for your sister.
I lost my mom to cervical cancer. I had an aunt that was a 2 year survivor of cancer when just given a month to live. And her secret, was a positive attitude. Stay as active and a normal life style as possible, and stay positive. Yes, the chemo has it's ups and downs, but, with a good supportive family, hey, thats the best thing in the world to have! My aunt use to buy cute ribbons and scarves for her disappearing hair.
She had a fun, "coffee time" in the morning, where all of us girls gathered to drink coffee, snack, and talk, gossip, and laugh. My aunt was a joy to be around. She really enjoyed our time together. One morning, I did not feel like going over for "coffee time" and she called, saying, "hey, where are ya! get over here", and would not take no for an answer, but, I did feel a lot better getting out of the house later.
With the birth of my first child, my aunt made it her personal project to have a "silent shower" for me, and raised enough money to buy a really nice new crib. She was really a lot of fun to be around. She also discovered while going through chemo, she LOVED tomatoes! And would eat a bushel a week! My mom at that time would help her with a little mini tomato garden in the front yard. And they made a whole project out of it. My aunt always had to have a project going, it was her life line to staying out of the "blues" I think. Good family support, happy times, and projects to participate in, to what you feel up to of course.
I've known lonely, empty people with more dark lives, than a person diagnosed with cancer! Plus, my aunt was a Christian, and that alone is a BIG PLUS! On the other side of the positive, enjoyable times I had with my aunt, was my mom, very negative, and "give up" they gave her 3 months to live, and that's exactly how long she lived. Please enjoy life, none of us are promised more than today.
I also agree with Glenn'sMom. I personally never had cancer (although I just went through a breast cancer scare this month -- I was blessed with my biopsy results). I do have, however, the experience of caring for my Mom for four years while she struggled with colon cancer. You BOTH need to be honest with each other. Talk and listen; cry and laugh. Make the best of a good day. My mistake was to try to be strong for my Mom and never let her think it may beat her (although I knew otherwise from her Dr.). We both tried to be too strong for each other and were never able to open up to our true feelings -- I turned to my boyfriend and family/friends.
REMEMBER -- TO ALWAYS HAVE HOPE; NEVER SAY NEVER; AND PRAY IN THE BEST WAY YOU KNOW. GOD CAN WORK MIRACLES!!
Don't forget to take care of yourself as well! The stronger you are, the stronger you'll be for her.
All the best to you and your family. You're in my prayers.
I am a survivor of endometrial cancer. There was an excellent resource in an online Yahoo group called GynGals, now called Women Conquering Cancer (http://www.geoc onqueringcancer/).
Please check it out.
The other thing I wanted to say was keep visiting your friend, and trying to do normal stuff like craft or cook or shop or whatnot. And listen. These things were very helpful in my support system and I encourage everyone I know to do the same - the worst thing I could think of then were the times when I absolutely had to be myself.
When I lost my son, (not to cancer), everyone wanted to say something to me. I know they very much wanted to make me feel better, but most would say something that didn't, and sometimes say things that made me feel worse, even though they didn't mean to. A dear friend simply said, "I can't possibly know what you're feeling right now, and I don't know anything I could say to make you feel better. Just know that I'm here to listen to anything you want to say, anytime you want to say it, without judgement. and without sharing with you the stories I know about pain and loss. And now I'm going to go clean up the kitchen and put a load into the washing machine." It was the kindest thing anyone could have said and done.
I, too was diagnosed with cervical cancer at the age of 29. I was a single mom of four small kids and when I heard the C word, assumed it was an absolute death sentence. However, I was very fortunate. I had made it a point to have yearly PAP smears and the cancer was detected at a treatable stage. The cancer had not metastasized and I was given an abdominal hysterectomy. Twenty- seven (yes 27) years later, I am still cancer free. ( The hysterectomy has caused several health related issues in the ensuing yrs, but I am very grateful)
Ladies, please have a yearly PAP test and mammogram!! There are programs that will cover the costs for women who do not have insurance or who have inadequate insurance and cannot afford the exams. Please do it for yourself and those who love you.
I agree with the above posts. You don't have to say anything profound to your sister. Tell her you love her and are there for her. Sometimes a person just needs someone to listen to their fears and to know they care.
Thank You so much every one for all the kind words and suggestions.
I definatly will always be there for her.
And will never stop praying.
Thank you all and God bless.
God has given us amazing bodies that will heal itself if it is given the nutrition it needs and has enought time. If your sister would consider looking into some altermative treatments check out this site http://www.ashnow.com/974407 God bless you and your sister!
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