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Does your loved one pull away?

If you smoked when your were diagnosed, do you continue to smoke?  

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  1. 1. If you smoked when your were diagnosed, do you continue to smoke?

    • yes
    • no

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My mom is sick with SCLC, she's been really sick just recently. One thing that has been bothering me is that she seems to not want to be bothered by anyone. She doesn't want to talk to anyone that calls her on the phone (she doesn't even answer it anymore). When I used to go and visit with her 4 month old grandson, she would light up, now she seems to care less and just seems to prefer not to be visited or bothered at all.

Yesterday I gave her a hug and she sat there motionless, not hugging back.

Has anyone else experienced this with their loved one who is sick? How did you handle it? I'm not sure what to do. I want to see her everyday or everyother day, but don't want to feel like I'm bothering her.

Thanks for your input.


P.S. I added a poll question to this post. It's a question that my mom actually posed to me. She continues to smoke after her diagnosis and wondered how many people are actually able to quit after their diagnosis. It isn't meant to be offensive, just a curiosity.

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Hi Anne,

My mom definitely does NOT want to talk to people, she never answers her phone. She is so sick of everyone asking about the cancer and thinks it would be better just not to talk to them. I try to encourage her to talk with them and ask about their lives, to take the focus off her, but she has a hard time doing that.

I hope this helps.


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I quilt smoking three years before my diagnosis and now cannot stand to be around smokers. Try and get her to take the patch or gum or Zyban, I know the Zyban put me on the path to quit. I had no desire to smoke when I took them for just a short time.

I can understand her not wanting to talk to people in a way. I love seeing my family and friends, however I really don't want to talk about my condition. I usually just say I am doing fine, which most of the time I am. If I were to go into any detail they get alarmed and then I have to make them feel better, it is just too exhausting. I have enough to worry about without worrying about their feelings concerning my illness. People really only want to hear the good part, not the bad. They want pat answers and exact dates as to when I will be "Cured", don't I wish I had those answers, don't we all! I sometimes wish people would just send cards expressing their thoughts. I think we patients just want to have our old normal lives back and don't want to be constantly reminded about our illness.

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I quit smoking the day they told me I had cancer. No drugs, no patches, cold turkey. I think what got me through the first days was the fact I was in the hospital for chemo because they started that right away. I won't tell you that there are days I wouldn't love to have another cig. but I look at my 4 year old grandson and would rather spend a few more days with him! I have also become a RABID, in your face, EX smoker, lol. Light up close to me someplace you aren't supposed to and you will get BOTH barrels!!!!! I would rather pis_ off a couple people in the hopes of getting 1 person to stop than have to welcome 100's more to this site!

God Bless,


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I can't speak about parents who have cancer, but my wife and I are closer because of the disease. She has definitely not pulled away! And I am grateful. However, when she was going through treatments, she often did not want to talk with or see other people. I had to screen her calls. Now she is fine with that. Don

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Anne -

Your mom may be feeling such a mulitude of things:

> Hopelessness

> Helplessness

> Frustration

> Fear

> Guilt

She may be distancing herself to reduce HER pain, or she may be doing it thinking it will reduce YOUR pain and your sons'.

All you can do is talk to her. Ask her what she's feeling/thinking. And maybe carve out a time you can go by yourself, without the baby, so she can really talk and have YOUR attention.

And I could be totally wrong - just some thoughts....

Hugs and prayers,


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It sounds to me that your Mom is suffering from Depression. A valid reaction of course, but one that can be addressed with medication to help. Talk to your Oncologist, just like with pain and nausea, she shouldn't have to deal with something that is treatable! I have had Depression and sometimes the only way to deal with it is with meds.

I wish her luck and I will pray for you both.


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My husband acted the very same way. He was on an antidepressant at the time but the doctor changed him to a different one and he got much better. If your mother is not taking an antidepressant maybe she should. And the first one she tries might not be the one, you may have to try more than one.


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I can understand NOT wanting to talk about with everyone, with "cancer" being the topic of conversation for EVERYONE that calls and having to deal with the demon in the dark of night as well as the light of day. I KNOW the cancer can come back, it scares the hell out of me, but if a ringing of the phone can make me think "So-and-so is calling and I can change my thought process for the time I'm on the phone" and then the first question is something to throw the demon back up and into my face....well, that's no real "escape" from my private tormentor....

Kinda like trying to watch a movie and ignore the popcorn that's burning in the microwave because you just don't want to deal with it....and then the gol-dang smoke detector has to make some huge deal about it and all you remember is the trouble in the kitchen, NOT who got the girl/what ATE the girl/how EXACTLY that plane ended up only able to fly upside down... (Geesh, me and the food visions....)

Maybe were your mother to talk to her friends individually and let them know that when there IS news, she'll share, otherwise she's to be considered "doing fine" and the subject is off limits?? Maybe THEN she'd be more apt to reach out of her little cave of comfort?

Yes, it DOES sound like depression, and if it continues she may need medical help...but for right now, she may just need some space, too. I thought a cancer diagnosis to be devastating and NO ONE would let me spend just a day or two laying like a lump in bed, someone was always there to get me going. In some ways, I appreciate that, but in others, I wonder if I would have been able to handle it better had I given in some to the blackness that was always on the edge, come to terms with it and then pulled myself out...

I wish you all well,


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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi. My Mom also became depressed and I spoke to her Dr about it and he put on antidepressants and anxiety meds. Her depression did not last long. Sometimes it helps to not say anything, my Mom just enjoyed it if I would lay around and just be there being quiet. Just knowing someone is there helps. Other times I encourged to talk about it, or to get angry to yell. She never did, but I would have. Anything that goes on with your Mom you should call her dr and/or his nurses. My mom's oncologists nurses were the best and were always always there for me no matter how many times I called them or went to see them.

Good Bless you sweetheart and your Mom. Good Luck

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