How to avoid being stuck in the middle?
Having been sworn to local silence, this is the only place I can air my concerns. So:
A dear friend of mine, aged 88, looks like she's getting sucked into the breast cancer vortex. She's been called back for an ultrasound after a self diagnosed lump showed up on a mammogram. It's a lump.
This lady is aging with all the panache of a well bred terrier. She's fit and spry and though she's a little grey around the muzzle, it's only when the light hits her eyes at certain angles that you really see her senior status. She is a relentless traveler who has just come home from an off the grid trek through Iran and Turkey "What ever you do, Marg, don't go anywhere you have to wear a hijab if it's over 35 degrees"
So, she's fronted up here and told me what is going on. As far as she can figure it, anyway. The shutters have come down and she is hugely insulted that her exceptional body seems to have turned against her.
I've drawn her a bit of a flow chart that shows the basic progression between having a lump and being told you have cancer and what may happen after that. Who's who in the zoo stuff. She was fine with that. A glass of wine on a cold afternoon with yes/no responses where 'no' meant not cancer and lead to the box that said 'have more wine'. It went down well. I've offered to put her in contact with the local breast care nurses. She says not yet. Her GP is a decent sort who I think will support what ever decisions she makes.
She's seen what I have gone through in the last 12 months and all the way has said "I'm not doing that if I ever end up in your position." Of course, she's in not in my position, but she is nobody's fool and has outlived many of her contemporaries.
Enter the daughter. Only the two of us know what may be going on.
If the daughter was a dog she would be one of those overbred ones who suffers every complication known to science. Her response to her mum's possible, and I'm still saying possible, situation is "You have to do everything, I can't bear to lose you". Every pragmatic bone in my body aches when I hear stuff like that.
So, potentially stuck in the middle. I don't want to withdraw support for what ever decisions my friend may make, and I have a fair idea what she is likely to do. I also don't want to get involved with family stuff that is none of my business.
There's not much I can do but advocate for my friend to be able to make her own choices, but I don't want to interfere either.
This is a shit of a disease. Marg