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New poster, relatives w/ cancer, managing emotions

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Hello everyone-

I am new here and very glad I found this board. Everyone truly seems to care.

I'm here because 3 family members (mom, dad, and uncle) have all been diagnosed with some form of cancer or other serious illness since 2011. Complicating matters is that I am 34, single, still live at home, and use a wheelchair due to a diagnosis of cerebral palsy at birth. I want to move out eventually, but it's just not in the cards right now. Everyone is still alive, thankfully.

My mother was just told that her lung cancer has returned after staying the same size for a year thanks to surgery. It only went up a centimeter, but she will need to re-start chemo again with different drugs. She meets with the doctor on Friday.

All things considered, though, I'm very lucky. I graduated from college, have a job that genuinely cares about ME and lets me work from home, friends who are there when I need them, and PCA's who assist me with what I can't do and have become like family to me.

I am feeling so many different emotions right now. (Sorry for the list, but it helps me)

1. I don't know if I can go through this again. Living day to day and feeling every single emotion with my parents was extremely hard for me. They tell me to just not focus on it, but it's hard to block out when it's in literally EVERY conversation for 3 years, or affects everything I try to do. At least this time we have PCA's which will make a huge difference. But I was JUST starting to adjust to "normalcy" again. (My dad is also in the medical field, and very methodical/ matter-of-fact, which doesn't always help.)

2. I'm angry that my parents have to worry about me because I'm not "settled" (on my own) yet.

3. I'm scared because I have a better relationship with my mom than my dad.

4. I feel anxious about talking to longtime friends because one beat cancer and one lost her father to it. I know that means I SHOULD talk to them, but I don't want to bring up bad memories.

5. I feel guilty for wanting to focus on other things.

6. I feel like trying to date is impossible because I don't want to bring someone new into my life with all this going on.

7. I'm envious of my siblings because they don't have to deal with this every day. (We have a good relationship, but they both have 2 kids, so visiting outside of holidays can be tough.

8. The uncle that I mentioned above is also my co-worker, so when I do go there, people ask about him. They are amazingly supportive, but there are times when I just want to scream because it feels like I can't ever get away from this. (He also may not make it through this year)

9. Being with friends helps, and I have a pretty active social life. But it's hard because I don't WANT to talk about this w/ them, but they are usually the only ones I CAN talk to about it.

10. I'm usually seen as the "emotional" one, so I really don't want to lose it and prove them right.

I know this is a lot, but anybody with thoughts, suggestions, advice (and good music downloads), please share them :) I think coming here will be very helpful.

Thanks for reading!

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Thanks Katie, I really appreciate your response.

Compartmentalizing and taking things one day at a time has always been tough for me. I know it would help and is the right advice, but it seems almost impossible. Part of this is just because I'm a detail-oriented person by nature, but the other part is because scheduling is pretty essential for me to thrive

Since I don't drive for example, I always need to know when someone is planning to come by so I can get ready.

Or, if my parents are going out for the night, I need to know approx. when they will leave/ how long they will be gone so I can give a PCA advance notice if I need them for extra shifts.

I know these are random examples, but they happen to me constantly.

Work is actually easier for me right now because it's our busiest time of year.

Any ideas on how to make compartmentalizing more effective?

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Hi RedSoxFan1,

Do you have an office calendar? Maybe writing down your goals for the day would help to distract your mind from everything. I use one in my office, I put things on it like 8-9 online, 9 refill water bottle, 9-11:30 phone calls, 11:30 lunch, 12-2 phone calls, 2 refill water bottle...I know it probably sounds silly to write down "refill water bottle" however, it helps me to stay hydrated. I could stay at my desk all day and not drink if I didn't have it down. If not on a calendar, maybe even just a post it note where you would see it most often.

What are your thoughts on that?

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