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After the results...

(13 Posts)
downtoearth Thu 18-Aug-16 14:00:01

I am hoping someone can give me some ideas how to support my 74 year old neighbour whilst waiting for her biopsy results for breast cancer.She is estranged from her family and is alone ....I will be taking her for the results and go in with her...I sat with her last night for a couple of hours talking as the process from telling doctor to biopsy was 24 hours and she was obviously dazed shocked and in pain she wanted a cuddle which I quite happily supplied....guess I am a bit she'll shocked myself as she is a healthy lady.I am willing to support her despite only having known her for a few months....I think I also an a bit apprehensive also...although I have a brilliant partner who will support me...I am trying to clear my head regarding practical and emotional support for her if she has cancer and needs surgery can I best help her....I know lots of you have and still are dealing with breast cancer may have some advice after diagnosis ....thank you x

franjess2000 Thu 18-Aug-16 14:05:46

I'd get her in touch with Macmillen nurses - they will have loads of advise and support mechanisms in place

Well done you for being such a good neighbour

f77ms Thu 18-Aug-16 14:08:13

What a wonderful neighbour you are , so nice to hear there are such good , kind people willing to help others . I think you are doing a great job of supporting this lady as it is but am sure others will come along who have experience of this illness xx

downtoearth Thu 18-Aug-16 14:12:51

Thank you franjess and f77ms I know the GNS are very supportive which in turn will help me to help her if the going gets rough....if you know what I

KatyK Thu 18-Aug-16 14:24:58

How kind you are downtoearth When my DH was being treated for prostate cancer, the Macmillan nurses were very good. After he had been successfully treated, he wanted to give something back and became a sort of 'buddy' to cancer patients who had no support. He drives them to and from appointments and may also be asked to just sit and chat to someone who is alone. It is run by a charity in our area. There may be some charities in your area which may be able to help. Perhaps Google will throw up some assistance.

annsixty Thu 18-Aug-16 15:08:00

The first thing DTE is just be there. The second is that while no-one must ever say " you will be alright", the worst words to a cancer sufferer, I think you can say in all truth that the type of cancer and her age are very much in her favour. If you check statistics you will see I am right. She has a hard few days or months as the case may be but if you support her and listen to her, as a friend, she will be very grateful . Then get help for her and for you from the experts. Knowledge is power.

Luckygirl Thu 18-Aug-16 16:29:26

Just knowing you are there and that she has such a kind neighbour will help her through - well done. She will know where to turn and that means a lot in this situation.

BlueBelle Thu 18-Aug-16 16:47:07

All the advise you ve been given is great, keeping her company, staying very positive but also don't assume because she had a quick biopsy it has to be bad news until she gets the results it could be positive news or it could be found in good time news still positive it could be, found but needs good quick treatment again fairly positive If it's not good news yes Macmillon are brilliant

Mt 90 year old Dad was told all on his own that he had inoperable cancer I will never forgive the consultant for that stark message with not a sole with him He was terrified and lasted three weeks I am convinced rightly or wrongly that if he hadn't been given that piece of news in the manner it was given he may have had a few more weeks or months and that would have meant he would have seemn his grandson and family that he had paid their fare to come and visit so BEING THERE with your friend is the biggest gift you can give

Judthepud2 Thu 18-Aug-16 22:23:15

When I went to my GP with a breast lump he said to me 'Don't panic until someone tells you to'....and then they did. So the first thing I will say is that it may not be breast cancer.
If this is the diagnosis, she will probably feel shocked and scared and a hand to hold will be very reassuring. She is likely to be told what the suggested treatment could be. Depends on what size and where, but the options for surgery are a lumpectomy (part of the breast containing the cancer is taken away) or a mastectomy where the whole breast is removed. There will probably at the same time be a sentinel node biopsy, where a few of the lymph glands under the arm are removed at the same time as the surgery. If there is a sign of spread, they will mostly or all be removed.

After surgery she will get physiotherapy and exercises to do to get the arm moving again. Then there is about a 10 day wait to get the results as to the type and extent of spread, if any. This all determines the next stage of treatments: chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy and possibly hormone treatment for about 5 years.

The key person she will have to help her, and that you can relate to, is the breast care nurse who will be there to support and guide her through the process. You may meet her tomorrow. Mine was brilliant, holding my hand physically and emotionally through the whole process.

As for your role, having someone with her both at the crucial times of test results and treatments is so important. She may feel rubbish at times, and will likely be scared of what is in front of her. Just listen and show that you care. Encourage her to be open about her fears, but also help her to work with treatments and think as positively as possible. Be guided by the BC nurse. Also, as other people have said Macmillan have lots of information and support systems to help as well. Do encourage her to find out about these.

In my own experience, I was too busy getting through the rigours of the treatment to initially feel wobbly emotionally, but about 6 months down the line I really needed someone to be there with emotional support as I felt washed out.

Your friend is so lucky to have you. It is good of you to be taking the trouble to find out as much as you can. I'm sure other GNers can give you more of their experiences. I know there are several who have been through BC treatment.

Good luck for tomorrow.

downtoearth Fri 19-Aug-16 07:32:40

Thank you for taking time to reply ....results day is next Thursday from the biopsy....I am worried that my life is quite hectic with a teenager just starting a first job who will need support and I seem to be the go to person when anyone needs help...neighbours and family...I am willing to do what I can for anyone...I am worried that there may be days that I am unable to be available so want to get some support systems in place ....she is a very private lady......and always puts a brave face on

Judthepud2 Fri 19-Aug-16 09:20:28

Hopefully waiting a week for biopsy results is a good sign. I was told within 3 hours. On the operating table in 4 days!

Hope all is well.

Ana Fri 19-Aug-16 09:56:47

Were you a private patient, Judthepud? A week is the usual waiting time between biopsy and results in the NHS breast clinic in my area, with surgery if needed arranged for as soon as possible - mine was about a fortnight I think.

Judthepud2 Fri 19-Aug-16 10:02:43

No. NHS patient. Depends on where you live perhaps.