Managing relationships

Reaching out to others can help.
Here’s how to connect.

Your network also includes your friends, family, and support team who all want to help you. It might be hard to accept help. But be open to it, and accept it on your own terms. People mean well, even if you might find their questions and offers to help overwhelming at times.

I say yes to anybody that offers help. Even if you don't think you need something, take advantage of it anyway. You might be surprised, and it might just add to your life that's already taxed by what you're dealing with.”

— Jamil
Angie's Story
Watch her story

It might be hard sometimes to know what to say to people or how to answer their questions. Here are some ideas for handling conversations:

Talking to children about an metastatic breast cancer diagnosis

Kid gloves for your kids?

When talking to your children, it might seem like you want to protect them from the truth. But it may be better to be honest and reassuring. Younger children might not understand all the details, but they may sense your stress. Older children may be more able to understand your MBC diagnosis, but may struggle (as you will, too) with the question, “Why?”

  • Set up a family meeting to talk about your diagnosis
  • Discuss what may change as you go through treatments
  • Anticipate their questions
  • Allow them to come to terms in their own way. Some children may take a while to process the new reality, or accept changes as they occur
  • With adult children, be open with the details about your treatment plans and honest about your goals. Discuss how they may be able to help, or plan for spending time together
Leaning on your life partner

Lean on your life partner

Your partner will undoubtedly—and understandably—be concerned, anxious, and uncertain about the future. It may take time for them to accept your diagnosis, and what that means for your life together. But most of all, they will be worried about you.

  • Be open and honest with each other. You may need space as you each deal with your diagnosis, and what it means for your everyday reality, as well as for your future
  • MBC impacts you physically and emotionally. You may need time when you just feel the need to be alone. Communicate this to your partner in a thoughtful way
  • Let your partner have time alone, too. They need to take care of themselves and manage their own emotions and feelings of stress. Encourage them to still go to the gym, do yoga, and reach out to friends
  • MBC can affect intimacy. Talk openly about it and how it affects your relationship
  • Involve your partner in your treatment. Have them accompany you to your doctor visits, take notes, and ask questions
Let your friends show their support

Let your friends show their support

Your friends will be worried about you and want to help. But it might feel overwhelming to try to respond to all their emails and calls. Though it’s important to know they’re there for you, you should decide how often you want to see or talk to them.

  • Set boundaries. Maybe there are certain times of day you feel like connecting with others, or maybe you can request that people send you emails or texts you can answer on your own time instead of calling you
  • Consider having your caregiver handle communications, sharing them with you so you can focus on feeling well or responding when you feel ready
  • People may not know how to handle your diagnosis and may say things that they feel will help you, like “You look great,” “You can beat this,” or “Have you tried (name of some treatment)?” Know that these people mean well. If you have that kind of relationship, you can coach them to find other ways to express their concern for you
  • Some people with MBC notice that some friendships taper off over time. This may be due to people not knowing what to say or feeling uncomfortable talking about your disease

You don't have to do this alone

Connect with support, your way, with the Facing MBC Together app.

Learn more
Create your very own personalized support team

When I feel down, that's when I talk to my friends. Some of them can't deal with the 'emotional stuff.' But some of them just listen—and that helps a lot.”

— Kathleen

Your own support team, on your terms

The Facing MBC Together app makes it easy to share information with your entire support network, all in one place.

Ask people to reach you through the app, which lets you and your friends easily send and share messages and updates, photos, video-chat, and more.

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