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Words as Weapons

Fay A.

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I've been a caregiver to someone who lived with, and eventually died from Lung Cancer. (The real thing, folks. And those of you who are doing it and have done it know what I'm talking about.)

I know how tired we get....how angry we get....how hurt we are....how hard it is when our loved ones strike out at the disease, but the blows are directed towards us.

I want to remind you that every hateful or hurtful thing you may say in a moment of frustration and anger and hurt and bewilderment is going to come back to you, whether you are the caregiver or the person with lung cancer. I didn't "lose" it with my Mother, even though she lost it with me many times. I was her "safe" person...the one she could vent on and to, the one who was going to love her no matter what. And one of the things that has been of consolation to me since her death is that I didn't use words as a weapon against her.

This is tough.....no matter which side of the Lung Cancer fence you sit. But the truth is as the person who has Lung Cancer (now) I'm probably going to die....and others will be left to remember the harsh words, be they heard or spoken. Best not to be the one left to remember and regret having said unkind things. There were plenty of those folks around after my Mother died, and they still feel badly for having acted the way they did. And even though she would have done so in a heartbeat, she is no longer around to tell them "I forgive you and I love you".

As my Grandfather used to say "If I don't say it, I don't have to be sorry for it later."

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Thank you Fay

That is some of the best advice I have seen so far. Often the disease or drugs cause people to say terrible things to the ones they love. They don't mean it but sometimes they come out that way. It is important to remember that it is the disease you are angry and frustrated at not the one who is sick. Remember too that when someone with cancer stikes out it is because they feel the same anger and fear and frustration that you do. As for being the one your mother struck out at it all goes back to the old saying about hurting the ones you love. It is so very true. If we did not love the person their words couldn't cause so much pain.

I really admire you for being so open with your thoughts. I know that you too must feel all of the things that we speak of. Bless you and hang in there the cure is there somewhere. I hope to see everyone on this board hold on until it is available. Happy holidays to you and yours. Lillian

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Good point, but it is not the whole story. Each situation has to be taken in its own context. I have been angry as the caregiver but my anger is not at the patient but at the situation, and my wife knows that. The anger has to be expressed somewhere or it eats you up inside. That is why a caregiver and a patient needs someone to vent to. Also, one of the major things we are here on earth for is to learn to love and to forgive. I agree that not everything should be said at a particular time, but it probably should be said somewhere to someone at an appropriate time so the anger can be released and we move on. To stifle it is not the answer either. Just my two cents. I have been the patient and the caregiver both also. Don

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Bravo, I could not agree more. My mother did not have lung cancer but was very ill in her last years and I never ever lashed out at her although I wanted to many times. When she passed on all I felt was peace, I had no guilt feelings at all, I did everything humanly possible for her and never lost it. I know how difficult it can be for caregivers, I was one for both my parents, but at least the caregivers can be thankful that they are not the ones with the disease

Bess B

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You are a beautiful person. I agree with you so much....Don't let your words add to your pain...

"Watch your thoughts for they will become your words... watch your words for they will becojme your actions... watch your actions for they will affect your morals... live with integrity and put love first for your own sake..."

Altough it is so hard.... Let a higher power guide us...

The message boards are a place for all to vent the messages are medicinal and powerful...the words are of hope and comfort...sorrow and encouragement....

God Bless us all in this battle

Wishing you all the best Fay and happy holidays


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Dear Fay,

Not that I'll ever forget all the reasons we cherish you so much, but this post beautifully underscores your "2-way" compassion & empathy, as well as a very healthy level of self-control.

"A word once spoken can never be recalled."

"The person who holdeth their tongue spareth their life."

In the end, there actually is NO justifiable reason or "excuse" for treating ANY one badly, and much less someone who is battling illness, which would actually be a sort of mutant "bullying".

The experience of illness can evoke many emotions, from the horrible to the magnificent. Illness tends to magnify our own unique set of behavioral "coping skills", multiplying the intensity of how we tend to react to stress, and we're all different...but still similar in many of our feelings.

Where we can differ the most is what we do with these feelings, and whether we deal with them in a healthy, or unhealthy way. While it's certainly good to "vent" cancer-related anger , it is NOT a good or healthy thing to direct the anger, directly or indirectly, in the direction of the person with cancer, NOR a loved one battling the cancer alongside you. (If this were to be a recurring theme in a household, professional intervention is indicated.)

A milestone in the development of adult maturity occurs whenever we can pause to consider the consequences of our words, BEFORE they have left our mouths.

Not one of us is perfect, and God has infinite mercy...but inherent within Fay's wonderful message is: "Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you"...remember? Fay is simply urging us all to live in such a way as to avoid regrets later.

A timely message of: Peace.


Press on, our gentle, determined warrior!! Lead the way, Fay!

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Guest Karen C

Well, I totally agree with what Fay is saying - hard to argue with that (you sound like my mother!!!) but I have to say that I totally UNDERSTAND where Don is coming from. I had a big blow up with Dave last week, screamed my head off, and said one big fat ugly thing that has been boiling inside me for eight long months, but we're not the worse for it, we're now TALKING better, and he seems to understand. And I think he understands that I'm mostly mad at the disease, not at him (although I wa a little bit mad at him!).

It's really hard to be the caregiver. And it's hard to be the caregiver when you're also a cancer patient as well (you must be my "soul dad" or something, Don!) and we all are, after all, human.

You know, even Jesus got angry at times. That was the human side of him coming through. And He doesn't expect us to be perfect, but to realize our imperfections, seek forgiveness, and use them to do better.

I may have that one big blow up, but I will not treat my cancer stricken spouse poorly. He gets my love, affection, support, and sacrifice, 24/7, and he knows it.

Good thing to bring up, though.

Karen C. (Dave C's wife)

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You state very well that words can hurt and for a long time,

but looks and facial or body expression are sometimes as bad.

As caregiver we have to always have a smile and a welcome in our voice.

As a cancer sufferer, I remember very well that the words really hurt

but any other expression is as bad.

I have been on both side and as I had cancer first, it did help me to

be a caregiver later.

There is hardly a limit to what is asked from a caregiver and sometime

there is no reward except knowing deep down, that we did all we could.

Good luck


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