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What Does One Say.....

October 6th, 2004, 08:38 AM
Hello all, sorry I haven't been here for a while, but my best friend's husband
has a tumor (cancer) in his lung, so I have been with her. Last week (Thursday) Frank had a biopsy on his lymph nodes done, came home Friday, and wasn't feeling well, so he went to the doctor yesterday who said 'you are deteriorating too fast' and sent him back to the hospital. The biopsy result were not in at that time, but last night they came in. There is nothing that can be done. Chrissy asked me "what will I do?". Tell me, what does one say? I said 'you go on day by day'... You see, it's Frank's second marriage, Chrissy's first. They have no children, as there is a considerable gap in age. What does one say, what does one do...I'm numb.

October 6th, 2004, 09:25 AM
I am a volunteer in the palliative floor of our hospital. In the training I took it is said that you should not offer advice or your opinion when such a statement is made. At this stage, your friend is really just emoting out loud. It is really too new for her and him to be at the point of really wondering technically and emotionally what she will do. I would strongly advise that she try a support group at your local hospice centre. People begin the greif stage even prior to a death and having reassurance from others in the same shoes is immensely helpful (even if the person can't see it right away). As for you, really all you can do is be there for her, listen to everything she wants to say, allow her to get her feelings out and listen, listen, listen (did I mention listen?) Eventually, depending on his stage and where he will be (home or hospital) you can just help her out with anything she may need (picking up meds, offering a casserole, driving her somewhere, cheering her with a fresh bouquet of flowers). Unfortunately its all out of our hands which is the hardest thing for we humans to overcome. We really like to be in control.
Best of luck to you and your friend (and of course her husband).

October 6th, 2004, 10:09 AM
It's always so sad to hear of the illnesses that take loved ones too early in their life. To me, anything that takes a person (outside of old age) is too early.

Cflat has awesome advice. Seeing as she's someone who works in an environment where sadness is a way of life, I don't think I could add anything to what she's already said.

The only thing I could possibly think of to say if asked "what will I do?" is: I don't know what will happen, but at least we can face it together, as family should.
That statement, in of itself, could cause a moment where she allows herself to accept help from someone so close to her. Just let her know you're there for her and she'll lean on you when she needs to.

You're a true friend to help her in this great time of need.

My thoughts and prayers to all.

October 6th, 2004, 10:31 AM
That is very sad and cflat offers very sound advice and being there even just as a shoulder to cry on is so important. Just be a good friend and you will be helping. My thought are with you, I've been there and it is tough but having good friends makes the world of difference.

October 6th, 2004, 12:09 PM
My family is going through that right now with my Grandmother, she has a terminal cancer and was diagnosed only a few weeks ago. Her kidneys are already failing so they don't give her long at all. It is such a shock to us all, despite her age because up until a few months ago she was by far the healthiest older person I know. Really there isn't much you can say to news like that and very little you can do to console someone losing their spouse. All you can do is offer your support, your open arms and a good strong shoulder.
We are making the most of this time, as we have always been a large and very close family- Grandma and her cooking being the glue. Although I am also grieving, I am always sure to remind my dad that I love him and give him a hug as often as I can.
It's hard when you can't fix things for someone you love... just make it all better... thats probably why you feel numb, it's overwhelming and you feel so powerless. But just know that your being there for her will be just what she needs.

October 6th, 2004, 01:37 PM
Debanneball and Krdahmer - I really have nothing constructive to say except that I'm so sorry for the both of you. My heart goes out to you and your loved ones. :(

October 6th, 2004, 02:48 PM
Must be the time of year for cancer. A very close friend of the family (only 22) has lung cancer and wasn't given much time. :(
I don't know what to say to anyone, even her. I'm just going to be there for them, that's all you can do and I'm pretty sure that's all they want.

October 6th, 2004, 03:31 PM
Cancer is an EVIL disease. I've lost too many family members (some of whom passed before I was able to meet them) to this, so I can honestly say I know what you're going through. It will truely be a historic day when we find a cure....AND WE WILL!!!

To those living with, or known someone who has this EVIL disease, I can only say how sorry I am and that I'm mentally (and spiritually) sending you every bit of strength I can muster. Hang in there and don't be afraid to fight this alone. Because you're not alone!

October 6th, 2004, 03:46 PM
It will truely be a historic day when we find a cure....AND WE WILL!!!
I KNOW we will!

October 6th, 2004, 05:03 PM
I find that the avoidance method of dealing is doing wonders for me... I spend most of the day too busy to sit and fester over the enormity of the situation. My mom has taken me out to breakfast, I spent a day cooking, done laundry, reorganized the house, I don't think there is any corner I haven't cleaned, did the windows, visit my brother and his wife, pour over the posts at ;) ....and even my dad came over yesturday to help me move a few things and uninstall the air conditioner! I think the worst part is knowing that there isn't any hope... because I am always a very positive person and a very hopeful person. So it feels like I'm waiting for something, and preparing for it...only I don't ever want it to come to pass. I just hope that everyone who ever has to go through this has the love and support they need and pray one day there will be a cure. (And if they cured asthma & allergies next that'd be great too... :) )

October 8th, 2004, 05:49 AM
Oh Kr, I am so sorry for you. I know houw you feel, as I am there, however, it's not a family member, but Frank is one of the many loves in my life. He gave me sh#$%^&*it yesterday. Ya see, I started to 'weep' at the hospital when he asked a favour of me..he asked if I would take care of Chrissy, and I said till the day I die. Crhissy and her twin sister DO NOT talk, which is sad, and I know Frank is trying to get them together, but it won't work. Words have been said that will never be taken back, no matter what. Oh well, ce la vie. Memories are good aren't they? Take care of yourself, and remember EAT EAT. When my dad died, I forgot to eat..just forgot. Kr, you have to keep up your strength.

Lucky Rescue
October 8th, 2004, 09:40 AM
debanneball, just be there for your friend and let her talk and let her cry. Don't try and cheer her up or pretend anything is o.k.
Don't ask if she wants you to do anything - just do it. Prepare a meal for her, help clean up the house, take her out for dinner.

She needs to talk about her grief and fears and must be allowed to do it. Most hospitals have a group for people who are in her situation. I hope she will join one. It's a relief to talk to people who have been there and makes you realize you are NOT going insane.

Losing a spouse is so different than other losses, because your spouse is everything, including your future and the other half of you. The loss is nearly unbearable. In fact it IS unbearable, but somehow you go on.

I know EXACTLY how she feels. She is lucky to have a friend like you right there for her.

October 8th, 2004, 09:50 AM
Thank you Lucky. I am making Thanksgiving dinner this weekend for her, I do wash her floors, walk her dogs, feed her...comfort her when she needs it. I spend just as much time at her house as at mine, except I sleep at home. :p

October 8th, 2004, 02:59 PM
The advice has all been so good. All I can say, from experience, is that the caregiver has a really rough rough row to hoe. At a time when she needs it most, she feels like she's lost her support system (her hubby). My mom felt like she lost my pop long before he actually died. He actually turned against her at times. You just have to remember that the emotional upsets aren't their fault. The caregiver needs a lot of help and understanding. Hospice is a wonderful support group for both the patient and the caregiver. You sound like a truly caring, wonderful friend! :o

October 9th, 2004, 03:08 AM
Trust me I am having no problem with the EAT EAT part... :rolleyes:

October 9th, 2004, 08:08 PM
Oh Kr, I am so sorry for you. I know houw you feel, as I am there, however, it's not a family member, but Frank is one of the many loves in my life. He gave me sh#$%^&*it yesterday. Ya see, I started to 'weep' at the hospital when he asked a favour of me..he asked if I would take care of Chrissy, and I said till the day I die. Crhissy and her twin sister DO NOT talk, which is sad, and I know Frank is trying to get them together, but it won't work. Words have been said that will never be taken back, no matter what. Oh well, ce la vie. Memories are good aren't they? Take care of yourself, and remember EAT EAT. When my dad died, I forgot to eat..just forgot. Kr, you have to keep up your strength.

During the week of my father's funeral, everyone in the house (there were 11 of us) didn't eat much but bananas. I still eat them, but I think of them as funeral food now.... When we were visiting my father's body at the funeral home, my brother and I were sitting together and weeping quietly, and his stomach growled really loudly. He said, "I guess I need another banana." And I cracked up... It was so inappropriate, and so necessary!

Anyway, Kr and Debanneball, I'm sorry you're both going through this right now. I know it probably doesn't seem like much comfort, but it's nice (although painful to watch) that you have the chance to say good bye. I didn't -- and I think that's why after a year and a half, I still don't believe it happened.

My hugs to both of you, and to your friend too Debanneball.

October 12th, 2004, 05:39 AM
debanneball.....I know exactly how you feel and all the best advice has been given here, hospice is the best place to seek support for you and your friend, your friend is feeling the loss already and you are there to support her , which is already a god send, you may not feel like you are doing much, by not knowing what to say, but like like lucky said.....just being there to listen, does your friend a world of good although it may not seem like it now. You are a very kind and considerate friend to have, she is very very lucky to have you!!!

krdahmer.....Loosing a grandmother is also a great loss, if I was you I would be spending all my spare time with her to say good-bye and get to know her real well, talking about her full life, at least thats what I would have done given the chance again with my own grandmother :(

My sympathies to both families at such a difficult time

October 12th, 2004, 01:00 PM
Well...although she fought long and hard (an amazingly strong lady), she passed away last evening while me and my dad sat with her. Up until last week she was alert and conversational, but this last week she got really bad and yesturday was struggling for every breath, you could hear the fluid gurgling in her lungs. I had a few moments alone with her (finally) about an hour before she died and said all the things I wanted her to know, how thankful I was to have each moment I did with her, and how much I loved her and that I was sure God had made a wonderful place for her. At the time that she passed away, when my dad ran to get a nurse, I stroked her forehead and told her it was ok, she could go and rest, that we all loved her and that God would take care of her now. It was so strange to see that wonderful lady, so small in stature but so large in presence, just slip away so peacefully. I was so grief stricken and yet felt so blessed to have been with her at such a profound moment. It was in a way almost a beautiful thing, knowing that in passing she would be relieved of all the pain and suffering of these last few months.

This next week will be hard, especially seeing my dad and his three brothers, all undoubtedly 'momma's boys'. But I really think that we should indeed celebrate her life because when she was with us, she was always such a positive and loving person and I think she would have wanted us to do that.

So, I just wanted to thank you all for your support and kind words. And Deanneball....hang in there, {{{{HUG}}}}, your friend is blessed to have someone as caring as you to help her at a time like this.

October 12th, 2004, 02:49 PM
Oh KRD, so many people care deeply about what you're going thourgh, though no one can truly understand all that you feel...BUT, please remember how much you mean to everyone in your family, and know you are surrounded by warm, supportive thoughts and wishes for strength and peace. Deepest sympathy KRD.....Debi

October 12th, 2004, 03:22 PM
KRD, I'm so sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you.

October 12th, 2004, 08:07 PM
Me too, so sorry :(

October 12th, 2004, 08:14 PM
KRD, {{{{{{HUGS}}}}} to you and your family! It's wonderful that you were with her. Your "pets" family is here for you. :o

October 13th, 2004, 12:01 AM
Ya, it's great to know so many nice people, and I am blessed with a large and very supportive family... who were all there at the hospital. It was so funny, my parents and I were not even supposed to be there Monday. But my mom and dad decided last minute to go up and relieve the group that had spent Sunday night at the hospital so they could go and eat a turkey dinner my cousin's wife had prepared. I thought I should stay home and later regretted it, crying in the early afternoon, and when Chase saw that I was crying, all he said was "I can have you there in 2 hours."(He had to be there that night anyhow for a delivery, and knew that I felt I should have gone too.) He knows me so well! And it seemed that she waited until only my father and I were there, to pass on. Like in some way she knew we were the ones strong enough to see that. The nurses there were so great and the one said that very often it almost seems that the sick person waits for their spouse to leave, as if they don't want them to see that moment knowing how devastating it would be for them. It's interesting to know that even in our last moments we do our best to protect those that love us.

October 15th, 2004, 01:12 PM
An update....Frank is home, when he was in the hospital, they said there was nothing they could do, but, then the oncologist decided to try kemo; if he stayed in the hospital, the wait would have been 3 week, but as an outpatient, could start next Monday. So, he's at home, with hospital bed, bed pan, walker, wheel chair, everthing one would need. The nurse comes daily. He can't talk as they think his lymph nodes are so enlarged, they are pushing on his vocal cords/chatty cathy box. It's so sad, he has gotten so weak so fast. I'm on my way to see him, that is once it has stopped raining. :p