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Offers of practical support from friends

Morning Ladies!

I just wanted to run something by all of you and get your thoughts. Do many of you have friends who offer to accompany you to appointments? If so, do you take them up on it? Over the past (almost) year my husband has come with me to most appointments, but there have been a few I wanted to go to on my own (blood tests, complementary therapy etc).

I've only had one friend come with me so far. She had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and understood the nerves we often feel, so she drove. I have recently accepted an offer from another friend to drive me to my next infusion treatment appointment in February. Another friend has also offered to come with me in future, but she will expect me to drive. I'm not a nervous driver, but my point is that when I have an appointment for treatment or to see my oncologist I just feel that I need someone else to support me by driving. I have a lot to think about on the way to hospital, so need time to gather my thoughts. I hope this makes sense! Does anyone else feel this way?

Thanks for listening to my ramblings!

Sophie ❤

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Morning Sophie

I’m the opposite..I prefer to go on my own but at the moment I’m physically capable of most things and the cancer clinic I attend is only 30 minute drive..I’m lucky in that respect..I’m so independent and hate to feel a burden

My hubby does come if I ask him especially if it’s a scan result that I’m scared about however I can tell that he hates it all..the waiting about etc ..it gets on my nerves a bit..I don’t have a choice!!!.. I always just take a book and read etc

Things could change in the future but I just like to be in control...I’m trying to hang on to the old me for as long as possible

Barb xx

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Hi Barb,

I'm pretty independent too and like to get on with things without burdening others. I just feel that if I accept an offer from someone to accompany me that it would be kind and thoughtful of them to drive. I'm sure they wouldn't expect me to drive if I was having chemotherapy.

It is hard for my husband at times too. He got bored during my second infusion treatment (I had him drop me off for my first and pick me up afterwards). I'm not sure what he was expecting really! I must admit I was a bit disappointed with how I was offered a cup of tea and he wasn't. Friends and relatives should also be shown consideration when they come with us. They are not invisible. I like to take a book or my tablet to help pass the time.

I'm glad you are able to carry on with things as before. That's my goal too. I suppose I just expect more from people if they say they want to help. Otherwise I just prefer to get on with things on my own.

Sophie ❤

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Sophie,

I agree that if a friend offers, that friend should drive. The friend should do everything possible to reduce YOUR stress.

I prefer to go to appointments alone (I am fortunate that I am well enough right now to do it alone). I feel more stress when someone comes especially if the appointment is running late. I don't mind waiting (I always bring a book or something to do).

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Afternoon Sophie. I like to go to my appointments on my own. It gives me the opportunity to think things over in my head. But I do understand it’s a very personal thing.

If you like having some company, it’s great that your friends want to go with you. However, I think it’s very unfair that one friend expects you to drive. Remember, it’s the support that YOU need and not the support that someone is only willing to offer. I think we’re all in a position to expect nothing less, don’t you?

FYI, you’re not rambling xxx

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Hi Moon and Stars,

Thanks for your response. Yes, that's what I was getting at. I can physically drive. I just appreciate it if someone has offered to go with me to drive me there and back. To me, that is showing support.

Sophie ❤

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Hi Sophie,

I agree with Moon and Stars, I also think it’s very unfair that one friend expects you to drive, it’s the support that YOU need and not the support that someone is only willing to offer!

xo Jade

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Hi Jade,

Thank you! I look normal and feel great, so I don't think people always see that I sometimes need little things like a ride so I can concentrate on my upcoming appointment than the road ahead. I don't like being a bother, which is why I have only had one friend accompany me to an appointment since last year. I don't find it easy asking for help.

Sophie ❤

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Hi Sophie,

I totally get it! I don't look sick either and I'm fiercely independent. I I have a tight circle that of friends and family that know I'm sick and it is very hard for me to ask for help. I feel I can only let my guard down with my husband and I feel bad as I don't want him to have to bear this all. I'm slowly branching out to make sure I have other supports in place for my physical and emotional well-being.

I don't think I ever answered your question about France. We are flying into Paris and then meeting two of my closest friends on the Il de Re. My daughters have never been out of the country and I have not seen my friends in a couple of years, so we are super excited.

When are you headed to Iceland? How do you protect yourself from germs when traveling?

xo Jade

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Hi Jade,

Thank you! It's good to know you understand how I feel. I can talk to my husband too, but like you I don't like to always burden him. When this all started I went to my mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy on my own, as I didn't want my husband to worry. Then after all that when I got my diagnosis he was with me. I have been working on branching out more too and trying to ask for help when needed.

Have a good time in France. I have been about a dozen times. I have lost count! I am off to Iceland this Thursday. I don't have to worry about my neutrophils, as I am not on Ibrance.

Sophie x

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I hope you have a lovely time in Iceland! It is on my bucket list!

Can't wait to hear about your adventures when you return.

xo Jade

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Thank you! I have a few trips booked. One is a tour of Reykjavik, another is a trip to the south shore and I also have a trip booked to the Blue Lagoon, where I plan to lounge around and be lazy all day!

Sophie x

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SophSP, Iceland! Wow! That has been on my list for so long, I really need to get there, either as a stand alone or en route to someplace else! Have a WONDERFUL time! :)

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Thank you, Lynn! I hope you get to go someday. ❤

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Your friend means well. If (s)he is truly a friend, (s)he should understand if you explain to them that you need someone who will do the driving.

If they truly are a friend, they will neither be upset nor offended. However, they may be embarrassed that you had to explain yourself. But people will be people, and if you haven’t walked this road (crumby cancer), you can be oblivious to the needs and wants of the individual.

I have had similar conversations (about them calling and texting constantly and not giving me a chance to breath . . . I explained how I was feeling suffocated. They were very apologetic) with one or two friends so I appreciate it can be difficult. But it all worked out well in the end for us and I am very lucky to have the friends I do.

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Thank you! Yes, you are right. I need to be more specific if someone offers to come with me. I just have to let them know that an offer to come with me to an appointment means they are also offering to drive me there and back, as I can't mentally cope with picking people up, and taking them on "day trips" when I am trying to focus on my health on those days.

It is a tricky balance, isn't it? You get some people who seem to fall off the face of the earth and other friendships are cultivated. You sound like you have some great friends!

Sophie x

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Hi Sophie. My husband accompanies me to all my appointments with the exception of labs as it's only 5 minutes away and yes he is the driver as well. Honestly we have always done everything together so this is no different. My husband is very patient and never complains about wait times etc and since I worked for a long time at the hospital where I now get my treatments and appointments I usually always meet someone who knows me and usually get moved quickly in so I don't have to wait in the main waiting areas. The few work friends I have told about my diagnosis have offered but honestly realistically they work and my appointments are always during work days so I don't think it would work anyway. I know they would take the day off if required.

Like others have said I think if someone is offering to accompany you to your appointment that offer should include them being the driver.

Sandra

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Hi Sandra,

Thank you for your support. That's great you get treated so well where you used to work, but where you are now being treated. My husband would come with me to every appointment if I told him I wanted him there, but I told him it isn't always necessary. His colleague at work is very supportive and understanding, as she had a daughter who died from a heart condition. She was about 30, so if anything comes up with me she is the first to tell my husband to take the time off and accompany me.

Sophie x

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Sophie we are lucky too. My husbands boss since he first found out (knows it's cancer but not the extent) has always been clear to my hubby that family must always come first. Take care.

Sandra

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That's great! I think having people like that at work makes all the difference. It just goes to show that they really care. One lady at my husband's work once told his colleague (who is also a supervisor) that she didn't know what stress was! I think having a daughter die makes her very well aware of what stress is all about! I do wonder at some people. They go about their everyday lives and do not have serious health issues to worry about, whereas we carry on and do not make a fuss.

Take care,

Sophie

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I totally feel that way. I don't have any friends here except my 82yr. Old next door neighbor. I don't have a car so I depend on the senior center medical transport or Interfaith transportation. Having someone drive is vital for me going to the cancer center. Even if I drove I would need someone to drive. I panic everytime I have an appt. Or scan or even a blood test!

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Hi Marianne,

I can understand the nerves before appointments. I'm glad you have a way of getting to your appointments. That must make such a difference! When a friend took me to an appointment last April my stomach was in knots. I could not have driven that day! So if someone had offered to come along, but had expected me to drive I would have declined. Where I live, we can use hospital transport to pick us up and drop us off if we have no other way of getting to hospital. I don't qualify as I drive, and so does my husband.

Sophie x

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My friends alawys tell me if i ever need them ..just call and i have done it a few times ..we need the support to get us tru. But i generally go to my appointments on my own as long as i am able to. As my Daugther lives 2.5 hrs away and my Son has 2 small boys ..and his wife works so far downtown. It hard to have my kids to get to all my appointments but they have been there . I just try not to bother my friends but if i ever need them they would come with me .

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Hi Nana,

You sound like you have a supportive network of friends and family you can call on if you need them. I'm glad to hear that!

Take care,

Sophie x

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I sure understand! If somebody offered to accompany me, I'd want them to drive, too! And I think it is okay for you to say that to friend who expects you to drive. Not having to drive would feel like support and having to drive would feel like a burden. My husband went to my first several appts and drove me to middle of the night MRIs at a hospital over 100 miles away! He still comes to appts that are not routine, everything going well, treatment is the same. But when something big is happening, he comes with me. My grown daughter went to a couple of my early appts and my brother went with me when he was visiting from out of state. I want my family to know that they can ask questions. My mother died from lung cancer in 1985 and it was sure comforting to me to meet her doctors and to be able to be there for her.

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Hi PJB,

Thank you! The more I have been able to talk this through on here with you wonderful ladies the more sense this has made. Sometimes I can't tell if I am being unreasonable in my expectations of other people or if it is normal to feel the way I do.

I know what you mean about being there for family too. Your mum must have really appreciated your support. My mum died from non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma in 2004. I went with her to her appointments and treatments and so did my dad. I'm glad I had a share in that, although it was such a traumatic experience that I found it hard when I had to go back to that same hospital in 2018 when I was diagnosed and had to retrace my mum's steps.

Take care,

Sophie x

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I am adamant that I go alone to my appointments. I feel like I have to entertain them or something. This was particularly hard when my treatments were 6-7 hours long and I wanted to nap. Alone I can read, catch up on email etc

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Thanks for sharing your point of view, Collswims.

Sophie ❤

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I am that chronically lost person. Put me in the big city for treatment and it is even worse. So, if I offered to go with you, I might not realize you prefer me to drive. In fact, I would assume you don't want me to drive. :-D If a friend does offer to go with you, just ask if they can drive. If they say no, you have the option to tell them thank you for the offer, but it is mentally and physically tiring for you to drive.

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Thank you! I will do that from now on.

Sophie ❤

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I'm grateful when anybody offers any help. I try to remember that they are doing their best. If, for some reason, it is not what I need, I am grateful but pass. If I need something, I do ask. This is a tricky situation for everybody involved. So I don't read anything else into it and take all offers at face value. I remind myself that it is not anybody who's given me this awful disease, they owe me nothing, so any help is icing on the cake. It's much, much easier on me to think of it that way -- it enables me to concentrate on positive things.

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Thanks for your response.

Sophie x

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