This again is a really hard thing to think about. Sometimes people don’t know what to say, be honest and tell her this.
Sometimes you may say “the wrong thing”. This is inevitable as situations and feelings may be constantly changing. There is no guide to how to deal with everything that cancer throws at you and your loved ones.
No one “gets it right” all of the time, so be kind to yourself. You may need support too.
The information below is again taken from direct quotes from women we support therefore is very individual. There do seem to be common things that a lot of our women can identify with.
- “You’ll be fine because you’re strong and have a positive attitude”– I would rather have people acknowledge that I may not be fine but they will still support me.
- “You’re lucky it’s been caught early”– probably, but I still don’t feel lucky.
- Nothing! Don’t ignore that this awful thing has/is happening to your loved one.
- “It’s only hair, it will grow back”– Yes, but it’s my hair, part of who I am.
- “You’re too young surely for ***** cancer?” No one is too young!
- “So, what’s your prognosis?” Please don’t ask this every time you see them, it’s insensitive.
- “You look great, chemo isn’t what it used to be” – Really, it’s still tough no matter how I look.
- Don’t tell them about someone else you know who didn’t have a good outcome– no horror stories please.
- Don’t assume people will be grateful to be told “I’ll pray for you”, if you don’t know their faith or views around this.
- “You’re so brave”– Not really, I’m scared and would run away if I could, but it’s not an option.
There is help for you. We have a forum specifically for friends and family members as well as one for partners. Please email us if you would like to join or have any other questions.
Other useful links
MacMillan have ‘the source’ which is full of really useful info
Please let us know if there is anything we can add to this list that you found helpful.