friend with cancer

  1. A friend was recently diagnosed with cancer. I am not that close with him, and I'm not sure how advanced, but I do know that immediately family members have come into town to be with him.

    Any suggestions on how I can be of help? I want to do something, but the only thing that comes to mind is bringing over some food for everyone, like a dinner. any other suggestions? thanks.
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    About birdie22, BSN

    Joined: Jun '10; Posts: 230; Likes: 150


  3. by   TheCareerStudent
    I have had a few family members and friends who have had cancer. Some of them really just needed a shoulder to cry on or someone to just listen. Others wanted to be strong and did not want to talk about it with anyone. So I guess that aspect depends on the person.

    You could always ask the family members who are staying with the friend how you can help them. Maybe by running to get groceries, showing them where things are in town, making some casseroles, etc. you would be greatly helping them out. The family is probably so involved in spending time with your friend that they may need help with the everyday stuff.
  4. by   OCNRN63
    Agree with the above poster. Since you're not particularly close to this friend, offering to bring a meal or run an errand would probably be more appropriate.
  5. by   canesdukegirl
    Offer to take your friend and his family to appointments. You can also offer to start a daily journal for him regarding symptoms, what interventions made him feel better, what his energy level was that day. You can make a spreadsheet of meds he must take and when so that the family knows when/how to administer meds. These are practical things that go a long way when the family is overwhelmed.

    Hugs to you. Heartfelt best wishes to your friend.
  6. by   birdie22
    thanks for the suggestions. i think at this point, i'm more focused on helping the family rather than my friend. (i realize that sounds terrible as just as i'm a typing it out, but he has so many people helping him already that i would kind of feel in the way since we arent that close). i appreciate all your kind words. thanks!
  7. by   TheCareerStudent
    I think you are doing the right thing. I have noticed a lot of people do not want to be smothered or to feel like people are sitting around feeling bad for them. You will be a big help by helping his family out and stopping by to say hi to the friend. Sorry for what you are going through!
  8. by   AnnieOaklyRN
    If you can afford to maybe buy them some gas cards or gift cards?
  9. by   Salamandrina
    I work with oncology patients. They always say that the thing they appreciate the most is when people

    1) Volunteer to take care of the small children (because they don't understand and don't like being at the hospital all the time)

    2) Make and bring over dinner for the family

    3) Just offer them your prayers, if they are religious.

    Just my two cents.
  10. by   birdie22
    thanks salamandrina! those things were exactly what i was thinking of doing...thanks for the confirmation.
  11. by   OrionQuiltsRN
    Last year while I was going through cancer, I had many close friends ask what they could do. I told them "I don't know right now, but when something comes up I will call you." My daughter began writing down names/numbers of everyone that volunteered to help. Friends brought over meals for my children, but after awhile the fridge and freezer couldn't hold any more. Then they began helping my kids grocery shop, clean house, do laundry, chauffeur kids, etc.

    The family might appreciate the gift cards, gas cards as was mentioned earlier. Maybe even a respite so they could leave the house for a brief time. Perhaps you could help organize all the "volunteers". There might be yard work that could be tackled. For me, it was amazing to have a crew come to my home to mow the lawn and rake leaves and so on. Bless you for wanting to help your friend and his family. My prayers are with them..
  12. by   neuroms
    If you're friend has lots of family with him, just send a note saying you're there if he needs anything. Then, after diagnosis stage has passed and having cancer really begins, really be there for him. There will be times post-op and/or mid-therapy when your friend won't want to leave home, won't want a casserole, won't want to call anyone. The best thing you can do at that point is just show up with some tea and movie/book/time. The biggest adverse effects of cancer treatment is depression and loneliness. Let him know he's not alone when that happens.