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I just got an email from an old friend that I haven't seen in a while that has been diagnosed with a possibly terminal illness. I am so wrapped up in all the drama with my mother ( I see a psychiatrist and a psychologist, diagnosed with PTSD and also on antidepressant and antianxiety meds). I think I just had compassion burnout. I am an old retired nurse but I just emotionally just don't think I have anything left to give. I am exhausted just getting thru the day with mother. What do I tell this poor woman? I don't think she has good health insurance and also a marriage she isn't happy in.I feel awful for her but at the present all my emotions are tied up with my mother who lives with me and I never know what each day is going to bring. Will it be a good day or a bad day? Any advice would be appreciated.

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Yeah, promises to pray and then do it, and just a heartfelt "OMG that sucks! That's awful about your diagnosis!!" and an invite to come over and visit you if she feels up to it and yeah, make a girl's night of it. Sometimes people with a bad diagnosis find friends shy away from them, while the thing they may want most is to do as much nice normal stuff with people who won't act scared of them or what they've got.
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Hmm, I wouldn't blame this lady for not understanding what Tex is going through if she hasn't been a caregiver herself. Which of us knew the half of what it was like before we saw it from the inside?

But, Tex, you really have got enough on your plate, and one more dam' thing to lose sleep over..?

Also, "possibly" terminal. How possibly? Does that mean possibly not terminal? I'm just thinking, could it be an idea to help her cross her bridges when she comes to them?

Still. It's bad news for you to have had from an old friend, and it's natural to want to respond. Be clear with her that you are emotionally hard-pressed, and can't be the kind of friend she can take for granted. That you want to know how she's getting on, that you're keeping your fingers crossed for her, that it would be good to catch up properly (maybe she can bring pizzas round and you can have a girls' night in?) - anything, in short that will lighten both of your hearts. But NO HEAVY LIFTING.

And - narrowing my eyes a bit - just check back in your memories of her that she's not the kind of 'friend' who only ever turns up to lean on you. Not having seen her in a while is okay. Not having seen her in a while because - I'm being suspicious, here - you haven't been as useful to her as she requires… Hm. She'd better not be that type - there are a few around.
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yea , blannie , give as much as you feel youve gotten . if the girl didnt sympathise with your heart tearing situation , f her with a light bulb.. life aint pretty , dont be used by anyone..
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Sometimes there is nothing that you need to give, only friendship to share. It depends so much on how good of friends you were. If you were once close, you may find it refreshing to rekindle an old friendship. I remember when my friend learned her breast cancer had returned. She reached out to me and came to visit. She was not ill. She was just determined to live the life that she had left. I am glad she reached out to me. She is one of my fondest memories. Although we lived miles apart, I still consider her my favorite friend. I would have missed that if she had not reached out to me.

You never know where these things will go. I would say to use your best judgment based on how you feel about her.
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I would just write her back and tell her you are so sorry to hear about her situation and offer her condolences and sympathy. Then send her some cards on occasion, so she knows you care. If your friend understands your situation, she should know that you've got your hands full.

If she's a really good friend, maybe you can go out and cry into your beer together and listen to each other. But since you're concerned about how she will react to you and your lack of bandwidth for her situation, it would seem to me she maybe hasn't been as supportive of you (and your caregiver situation)as she could have been? I may be reading that wrong, that's for sure. Offer what you can - that's all you can do.
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