- Question from JoAnna: How does a mother cope with her only daughter having breast cancer? What do I say when she is not feeling well?
- Answers - Rosalind Kleban A very difficult question. A very painful question. A psychiatrist who works with cancer patients has often said, "Hurry up and do nothing." The important thing is to be there, to be with, to care and support.
- Mitch Golant Just to add, I like to say that "we will get through this together."
- Rosalind Kleban But I don't want Mom to think there's a magic word, answer, or wisdom that will make this better. As Mitch said, we will get through this together. The thing that I would strongly caution against is falling into the trap of saying things like "You'll be fine," "There's nothing to worry about," "It'll be okay," and worst of all, "You have to be positive." You need to accept the feelings (which are just feelings, not reality) and just be there to support. There is an organization, by the way, Mothers Supporting Daughters with Breast Cancer, that provides information and support and can match you with a mother volunteer who has a daughter with a similar diagnosis.
- Mitch Golant A thing I would add as well: it would be very reasonable to ask your daughter how she would like you to help her. One of the challenges of having a child with cancer is finding her more dependent on you, and that goes against the grain. As children become young adults become women, the natural order is for them to move away. These questions around boundaries and limits, and how to be supportive, become very, very important questions. It's ideal if you can talk to each other about it.
- Rosalind Kleban I would add that's a very critical point that Mitch has suggested. Whenever a caregiver asks "What can I do?" the answer is to ask the patient what they would find helpful.
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