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Loneliness, yet again....

I am in my early 40's, caring for my wife with stage 4 breast cancer, which has now spread to the bones. We have kids, one still very small, and not much of the outside support. No family or friends around.

I’ve been reading here about loneliness, some of it is very specific. Like, a person has this very specific type of cancer and wants to ‘hang out' with people from the same cancer category and so on.

So, here I am, with my selfishly specific urge: I would love to (try to) hang out…. virtually, sure …. with young (in their 30’s 40’s) families, with small kids, who are also affected by metastatic cancer. Any stage 4 cancer. How do they manage to live day by day, how do they manage to laugh, to plan things, how much do they tell their children? Or, you know, sometimes, I want to b**** about my wife, but doing so with ”normal” people, who aren’t going through this, would sound horrible.

I feel super lonely, all my friends of our age are still happily married, mostly healthy, nothing super serious, and are of no use.

Finding people who go through the same thing… is it too much to ask?

And, please, no therapists. F.. the therapists. I have had those. Still seeing one. Not helpful.

18 Replies
Brighty
8442 Posts

@from_breakfast_to_madness my heart goes out to you. You can reach out to me any time. I will also the and find others in our age group connect with. I cared for my fiance who had stage esophageal cancer. He was in his 40s. I have no kids but he had a daughter from a previous marriage. I get what you mean, it can be so lonely. Most people our age had seemingly perfect lives, perfect families, talked about their normal lives…, their vacations etc..while I felt so envious. Our lives consisted of hospitals, doctors, feeding tubes, ,the whole thing instead of planning the wedding we were supposed to have. I found out 2 things. Those ‘normal’people with normal lives had their own issues, far from perfect. And if you reach out to them, they wont necessarily understand…(I didnt expect them to or wish it upon anyone) but they will try and be there for you to support you. But ya I get where your coming from. Its devastating and lonely. Im going to tag @LANDSCAPERNF and @klamb . I will try and find others as well.

Brighty
8442 Posts

@from_breakfast_to_madness if you find the right therapist you connect with it can be very beneficial. I went through tons of different ones to find one I connected with. But to find others that truly get it , and are goi g through the same thing, there no connection like it.

Brighty
8442 Posts

@from_breakfast_to_madness with my fiance, he told his daughter the full truth…he was very honest about what was happening. She was a teenager and old enough to understand With a small child, you have to tread more carefully. I hope others who have young kids will chime in to talk about how they told them. Actually I'm going to tag a member we haven't heard from in a bit @MalcolmS . As for finding joy,it was hard. Take things hour by hour if you have to. I found joy in little things.. a latte from Starbucks, funny banter with a coworker, a funny show, a swim, and then I got a cat named Vinnie who brought me back out of the depths of despair.

elle29
1207 Posts

@from_breakfast_to_madness Your request is just as valid ! I felt the same just to do group outdoor things with a friends or few who understood ? I was apprehensive at first what I could do away from home , but I amthe person with the cancer . Feeling under my treatment I can still do activities and function .

So with my extended family , had our same family gatherings in our bubble and telling them how shut in I felt compounded by the pandemic . After all the whirlwind settled in 4 months with supports here on CC I felt more stronger that I could do extra .
This pre Christmas , we went to dinners , theatre 🎭 and out to places nearby with my dog walks and further by across Canada by plane !

And bring in cheer with music as long as she feels understood as can be met online in her own privacy with concerns as a mother , wife or her identity as in fears of the emotional roller coaster .
This is especially hard bc of the pandemic measures for each prov. to adhere to and possibly your spouse being “immune compromised ? “ But with a bit of planning it can be done ✅ Find ask what interests her first . Then have a family chat at home with her present out of bed .
Each member can do something to get her ready to help dress her if needed , provide a beverage to refresh her pallet while talking planning together at home to go out . Bring snacks she likes to nibble on and set a time not too long just short outings . Even if it is to have a picnic in your back yard around a fire or propane fire grill . And with a game as simple as darts 🎯 in winter time keeping her warmly provided for or other needs as toileting .

Be creative allow each family member to think how they can achieve that with their mum . Get her more mobile around her house , then her community and so on who knows what u all can accomplish . There maybe set backs but don’t allow it to build in a cloud over her or you as family . Keep them pumped up and motivated ! It will improve and u will have a new type of family normal . I had cancer as a family with awful scarey side effects not in hospital treated but I still insisted we kept it normal but close to a hospital in case . We went to a Pancake restaurants on Sundays . That was a different time . My spouse had to take on the driving and more in the house coooking besides his work as an employee . Remember despite cancer we are all adjusting to COVID but with Rapid Test Kits , thermometers those extra hassles are beingI overcome , implemented to protect those vulnerable like your wife . Overcoming adjusting listen to the news or know from employment learning new ways of the protocols expected . And making new normals . Just as my daughter with family husband and kids helped when her sister got married . And has had to do to help in a Wedding of her sisters and other events to get together , and to host in their home .Most are willing in families to be accomodating .

She even had another outdoor spot outside set up with a propane fireside who had not been vaxed or location in the house , To keep them distanced from me . It can be done , so we have had many family times with adjustments her husband and her did for all of us to enjoy .Before u know it your family and you as a parents will have a new routine . Ask anyone here or read their posts . One family got in their car all packed with itinerary and made a trip out west to Banff , Lake Louise area and back home to ON . ……{Does anyone recall who that was if your reading this ? )

The other right online place to be directed towards is Wellspring 🦩 of another place of numerous programs that may start the wheels in motion with personal peer support for your wife by phone talking to someone then online . That she is matched not alone , to contact , and for you as a spouse caregiver with normal family care responsibilities feeling alone in this too . There are even with your same objectives to live life as normal as possible with a young family too ! And caregiving your spouse to get out the house , maybe on the way home from appointments to visit places of interest ? Just like where I live to walk the dog by a lake stop for a treat ? . That she can do it too takes a bit of time and action in , when she is ready . Try check out Wellspring programs for families meanwhile .

Whitelilies
2272 Posts

@from_breakfast_to_madness Hello…..I am hopeful this link will be something you can look in to

You Belong Here

Are You

Feeling Lonely?

Get Support

Attend our Survivng Breast Cancer Peer-to-Peer Thursday Night Thrivers Support Group

View the Schedule

Whitelilies
2272 Posts

@from_breakfast_to_madness


899e85_4084f0ba2e2f4947af95c60d0320013a~
Thursday Nights Thrivers MBC Meetup

Thursday Nights Thrivers MBC Meetup

Thu, Jan 13

Virtual

Jan 13, 7:00 PM EST

Virtual

Join us for our signature Thursday Night Thrivers Meetup! On the second Thursday of every month, we will have a special breakout room for the MBC community. This space will be hosted by the incredible Dawn Oswald, a woman living with MBC.

RSVP

899e85_4b962b2d71ca4c40abf61114be4fab4d~

RSVP

899e85_4084f0ba2e2f4947af95c60d0320013a~

Multiple Dates

Thursday Nights Thrivers MBC Meetup (1)

Feb 10, 7:00 PM EST – Feb 11, 8:00 PM EST

Virtual

Join us for our signature Thursday Night Thrivers Meetup! On the second Thursday of every month, we will have a special breakout room for the MBC community. This space will be hosted by the incredible Dawn Oswald, a woman living with MBC.

Boby1511
1037 Posts

@from_breakfast_to_madness

Happy New Year.

I love your comment.. “sometime I want to b*** about my wife”.

lol. Its true, cancer should not consume everything we do. It's good to have some normalize.

Sending both you and your wife hugs.

You are not in this alone.


@Whitelilies

Thank you very much for the links! Normally my wife doesn't want to hear anything about any groups, or talk to anyone about that, or see anyone… but I will show her the info. Hopefully, she can connect.

Whitelilies
2272 Posts
from_breakfast_to_madness‍ Hello......you cannot "make" someone join.....but you can show them options.....I hope she will reach out......Truth of the matter.....is that I was sending the links for you! (One was for caregiver of MBC)......Of course....show your wife the links.....I thought maybe you could find connections/needed, as well.
When I face/faced loneliness......I found that an outdoor walk....could lift my spirits, quickly.....it was healthy too..... Perhaps make a routine/same time daily, for a brisk walk....just you.....walk on a route you create (pass a Starbucks??) and that is your time....to think.....to enjoy nature....to burn off stress/calories too.....just "be"..... With young children, it is difficult.....I understand, to keep things "normal".....They need/crave routine......
Perhaps when possible, head out to Dollarama, buy a bunch of stuff; crayons, markers, felt, glue etc.....and place in to small bags; like a Loot Bag.....
SO: when mom (or dad) is exhausted, and not able to participate in fun/play.....bring OUT the "bags" for the kids......and say "Mom/Dad are thinking of you"....Play! You can rest nearby....they can draw, or paint.....You can catch your breath......
You mentioned "Poet"......perhaps write some poems, express yourself there, in your words, your writing.....may help with the loneliness....
Please know....we are all here,,,,Lean On Us.
Whitelilies

Hello @from_breakfast_to_madness and welcome to the community. Thank you for your post and your candor. You make a good point, that there are more similarities than differences often, despite the cancer type. The emotions that go along with a cancer diagnosis, especially a stage 4 diagnosis is shared by many ( most actually ).

Have you called our Cancer Information Helpline? They may be able to point you to some support resources. They are at 1-888-939-3333.

And not sure if you have come across it yet on the site, but we have a forum for caregivers called Caring for Someone with cancer: https://cancerconnection.ca/discussions/viewcategory/35

Ontario also has an organization called Wellspring that has a lot of different support programs. This is the link:

https://wellspring.ca/locations/

Their programs run at different times so hopefully you can find something that will resonate with you.

Continue to reach out here as you need and we will try our best to support you in anyway we can.

Lianne

klamb
56 Posts

@from_breakfast_to_madness hi! I'm in my late 30's and i'm a caregiver to my husband who has stage 4 cancer. I don't have any kids (I have three cats). it's hard. I'm pretty ostracized from my family and we don't have many friends. It is incredibly lonely. I cry almost every day. The friends we do have are full of toxic positivity, which isn't helpful. To be completely honest, I've just been suffering alone, without any support, while working full time. Stage 4 cancer during this pandemic has been pretty horrific. I try to find joy in something, and take one day at a time. If you ever want to chat, I'm happy to!

Nina2723
5 Posts

I would love to connect and chat. I have three teenaged children and a grandson on the way in 7 weeks. I have stage 4 metestic breast cancer that is in both my lungs and liver. I need all the friends and people to talk to as i can get. This is a very lonely journey and everyone needs other people in their lives

Brighty
8442 Posts

Welcome @Nina2723 you have come to the right place for friends and support. Id like you to meet @Mammabear who has stage 4 breast cancer…as well as @Beespecial . Wonderful ladies.

elle29
1207 Posts

It’s going to help to be welcome here on CC . So that some of us can understand your Mets cancer and spread in liver and lungs , to keep you company perhaps lift this loneliness in cancer here .

I too have had this diagnosis MBC & spread to just lungs . Being in my first year of treatment in AI therapy and the cancer shrinking is a blessing as a grandmother . Hoping your next grandchild will give you hope soon as you get a treatment plan going with possibilities of joining others here similar to find ways to be strengthened in your spirit too. Like found ways to be more then just cancer bc we had a life as u expressed being a grandmother .
Today I went to a ski resort where my grandkids are that age testing their muscles skills downhill skiing . Recalling how I enjoyed this too , but to be outdoors and to walk different terrain . Just on the packed 4 ft snow being in different scenery of that lifestyle . Invest in that recreation . Where I could of tanned in the strong sun on the mountain read a book like lounging on the beach .

It was in my mind excited to be driven their by my family and to overcome but activate my muscles too . Just walking up a minor hill with two sticks to get to view property . I had to chuckle inside knowing other cancer patients had said to walk stairs or a hill was a challenge . And bc what I thought would be natural to do .But at least I was proud I did do it , having to stop to rest after only a few steps sometimes and replenish my cells to breath deep get rich oxygen . You think I was climbing Kilimonjaro just to try to walk a small incline .Where others are just skiing up and down slopes of the mountain . Once u get past the intial cancer rollercoaster agenda . You will find living who you were once again before the cancer !

Mammabear
292 Posts

@from_breakfast_to_madness @Nina2723 Cancer sucks. I have triple positive BC which spread to my liver in Aug 2019. I did more chemo and now have treatments every 3 weeks with 2 well tolerated drugs. I am not the same as I was. I do get tired. I need to rest. We can't do what we used to but do live our modified lives. I work FT. Do yoga, walk the dog and hunt. Can't hoof it through the bush all day but I can last an hour and then sit in a blind and got a nice 4 point white tail this past season. Life isn't over, but it is modified. If we ever get rid of this pandemic we will travel again. With spread to bones your wife probably has pain so she should make sure she sees the pain and symptom management specialists to support that.

As the person with metastatic cancer I think we have it easier than the spouses. You can't fix this and husbands are ‘fixers’. My husband struggles with anticipatory grief. When I was diagnosed with Cancer 1.0 we had some good friends disappear. Then when Cancer spread to my liver more disappeared. One of his best buddies just stopped calling. Fastest way to clear a room is to talk about dying.

What I do know is that she is not dying today. And probably not tomorrow either. Easy to say try to be normal. Live your new normal life. It is okay to b*^&# about your wife.

There are new treatments every day and google has old data so stay away from it. I have treatment every 3 weeks (for life) and I am stable. I have been in this state - no tumours growing or shrinking - for about a year. New treatments coming on the market all the time and while there may not be a cure (yet) I expect to live a LOT longer.

Here is a short narrated slide show I did about living with advanced cancer for CCS.

Reach out any time.

Boby1511
1037 Posts

@Mammabear

Great video! Really enjoyed it. You have a lovely southing voice!

Such a positive message. Hugs.

I will echo a previous post about WellSpring - there is an Ontario and Alberta branch and right now all of the programs are being offered virtually, and they have programs specifically for Caregivers, in addition to caregivers being welcomed in most of the other sessions.

Both myself (Stage 4 breast cancer) and my partner are members of the Calgary branch and find their programs beneficial - the majority are peer support with others going through similar journeys.

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