Best friend diagnosed today

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Hi, it’s been a whirlwind couple of months since my best friend and neighbour was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer which is a rare and aggressive type. She had her first chemo cycle on Tuesday having only met the oncologist last week. An issue with her picc line resulted in a scan which brought up her pet-ct results resulted in an MRI this morning and the revelation it has spread to multiple parts of the body including her bones and there are lots of spots in the brain. I’ve had to leave her alone, in hospital where she’s been since starting chemo as she has fluid around her lungs that is being drained. They can’t do radiation over the whole head as it’ll devastate the healthy cells, surgery is out but there’s a tiny chance targeted radiation may help. We need to wait for the oncologist to see what he thinks is best. Everything I’ve read suggests the average length of life after diagnosis is 3-6 months which is very scary. Until they do another 1-2 cycles of chemo and another scan to compare against today’s they can’t give a prognosis. I’m the only person who knows how bad she is day to day and what’s happening at the moment. Carrying the knowledge it was terminal since Tuesday has been weighty but thankfully she’s told her brother now. I don’t know what to do. I’ve been very practical in meeting the care needs of her and her 2 children running their home and mine with my child whilst juggling my own disability. She wouldn’t let others know how hard day to day life is so we’ve merged our two families. We live at the opposite ends of the hallway to each other so it’s been easy to do. I’m taking care of informing all relevant organisations and am applying for benefits for her as she can no longer work. She’s been told she’ll never be able to drive again too. I don’t know what to say to her. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do to help her but also myself. Her other friends that know get to go home to their partners and talk about it, have a cuddle and their involvement for the next few days is done. I’m on call 24/7, have my own health battle with fibromyalgia surviving in 1-3 hours sleep a night and as a single mum have no one to talk to about it, be comforted etc. It’s expected that I’m absolutely ok and I’m to carry on being a Carer which is ironic when my 9 year old is my registered young Carer. Im there for her kids, her parents even her other friends but I have no one and I’ve never felt so alone and overwhelmed. And I feel guilty for saying the above because I’m not the one who’s been diagnosed. Is this normal?

  • Hi, You are in a very tough position and although you want to be there for your friend you do have to also put your health and family’s needs first. I think you have to be honest with your friend’s parents and brother and say that you cannot do it all on your own and need their support. You must be exhausted.  If you keep silent they will assume you will continue as you are when they could possibly help lighten the load and give you some respite.I think the way you are feeling is normal and what you are doing to help your friend has become overwhelming.