Jump to content

New poster, relatives w/ cancer, managing emotions


Recommended Posts

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!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I understand everything you just posted from personal experience.

It's overwhelming and care giving and talking about and thinking about cancer can be all consuming when you are faced with the mortality of those your love and care about.

I can't tell you what will help you but I can share what helped me.

Compartmentalize and take things one day (even one moment) at a time.

Aside from anything medical or life threatening-- it's ok to live in denial sometimes. LOL. OK maybe denial isn't the right word- but when you're out with friends...make that time about you, them and enjoying life as a young single adult. When you are working focus on your responsibilities at work.

Sometimes laundry and cleaning house and keeping busy helps your mind not to wander to "what if..." Making sure you carve out time for yourself to do non-cancer care giving related things so that some parts of your life feel "normal"

When you feel overwhelmed and need to talk about your emotions and fears- seek out someone who has walked in your shoes. You can choose a friend or family member or request support from an organization like this who will match you one on one with peer support from someone else who understands.

Some seek medical attention- psychological or chemical- that may help with coping skills or alleviate any extreme anxiety or depression that may exist.

It's important to have relationships with your loved ones outside of just the illness if possible.

Enjoy every moment you can with those you lose.

While none of us are promised a tomorrow, those of us with loved ones with cancer understand how precious life is and how short it can be. Making it the best we can while we are here sometimes can help too.

I hope some of that helped and I hope knowing that you are not alone and there is support for you will help you during the difficult times.

Keep posting. I look forward to getting to know you better.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

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?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.