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Let's Discuss...talking about cancer

Re: Let's Discuss...talking about cancer

Posted by Jazzfan on Feb 4, 2018 3:08 pm

Merry, I love your post regarding responses. Gee, I just may use some of them. smiley

Re: Let's Discuss...talking about cancer

Posted by naturelover on Feb 4, 2018 6:21 pm

Hi……..for me I rarely talk about cancer as it usually isn’t well accepted amongst the general public or even family. I find that most people fear death and see those with cancer as dying. There are exceptions……..for example if you were cured of cancer and are a success story than you will be looked at in a more positive light. Being a facilitator I have tried to start a cancer support group with little success as most patients fear discrimination and rejection. I am glad to be an part of this forum……..thank you for the opportunity to discuss sensitive topics…….and I wish you all good health and a happy life……Arnie

Re: Let's Discuss...talking about cancer

Posted by Mellybean on Feb 6, 2018 11:25 pm

I've been very very open about my diagnosis, I use social media a lot for keeping up with friends and family and there was just no way I could possibly hide it and I didn't want to have to try.  It was hard at times telling people, some got really upset and I really REALLY dislike comforting someone else because I'm sick, but it's been worth it.  It's allowed me to enjoy the support of my entire extended network, which has benefitted my husband and children more than anything.  It also lets me just be myself and not worry about appearances.  If we get a cute family picture I'll share it without worrying if I've got a hat or wig on. 

I also knew someone who kept their diagnosis a secret, I didn't find out she was sick until she passed.  I wish I had been allowed the opportunity to be a better friend to her, so by telling everyone and being open I'm trying to give my friends and family that chance.

Re: Let's Discuss...talking about cancer

Posted by ACH2015 on Feb 7, 2018 9:20 am

I agree with what Mellybean‍ said about it not being my job / responsibility to comfort others because I have cancer. I tell people straight up what is going on. Some "exit stage left" and others actually care and have offered their support to both me and my family. The best ones are those that have chipped in by looking after the dogs or shovel the driveway during our many trips to Toronto for consults / tests etc... They are truly the best in my book.

​I actually don't talk much about my situation anymore with friends and family - given my current circumstances. Some extended family aren't aware of the recurrence and after round one was done, they have been off the radar. I am tired of hitting "replay" and have simply said to many that I am in the midst of more interventions and will fill them in once I know what is going on myself.

I did not expect fighting cancer to become my second career, but it is. So be it.

​ACH2015 - Andy.


Re: Let's Discuss...talking about cancer

Posted by WendyC on May 5, 2018 1:15 am

I appartently have no trouble speaking about cancer and my journey.  When I was diagnosed I was at the hospital alone and had a long drive to get home.  Before I started the drive I pulled over and called my friend, I think it was 3 am their time, I just had to talk to someone.  I went to work the next day, it was a new job, and told everyone there.  They were very supportive and such a great bunch of people, I hated to quit but had decided to return to Calgary to deal with the cancer.  It was very hard to tell my mom, she had been given a year to live (COPD) 6 months earlier and  I had just moved back home to Ontario to be with her and help her out.  We talk about it openly now but she had told me she wished I had just never told her.  That thought never crossed my mind.  My mother has always been like that though, she had COPD for 20 yrs and never told any of us until they told her she was on limited time.  That actually upsets me, for the last 10 yrs I did not go home due issues I had with my stepfather, that would have been different had she been honest about her health, now we have no time to catch up those yrs.
The hardest person to tell was my 18 yr old son, he just clammed up and I handled it very poorly.  I was very shocked by his lack of reaction and tried to get him to talk to me when I probably should have given him some time to process it.  I think I wanted him to be more mature and know what to say but he had never experienced anything like this with in our family or friends.  It wasnt till much later that he told me that he had actually been mad at me that night for telling everyone else before him. So it ended up with me crying and him mad, oops. 
I did go through a problem with bottling things up at one point.  I still live with my sons father but we are separated and though he's been supportive, it's awkward.   I didn't want to ask him for help or burden him with my problems.  He took me to most of my appts and brought me drinks and food when I wasn't able to get up and I was feeling so guilty.  I was trying to come to terms with the fact that I'm going to die and thinking I'm going to need more care in the future and who will that be from.   Then one day I had a melt down and he comforted me, I felt so much better after letting everything out.  It's still an awkward situation but we plug along.
in the begining, I found not knowing what to expect very difficult, I very much wanted to talk to people who had been through what I was going through but I was over whelmed by everything that was happening and didnt find the resourses like this site and Wellspring until  later. Today I had an opportunity to speak to someone recently diagnosed and starting of treatment, I found it very easy to talk to her about cancer treatments and the emotional toll it takes and I hope that I was able to ease her mind about what's ahead. 

Re: Let's Discuss...talking about cancer

Posted by Lianne_adminCCS on May 5, 2018 7:42 pm

Thank you for sharing WendyC‍ 
I too was very open all through my diagnosis and treatment. I actually did email updatesregularly so that when I did get to visit with people, we could do a 5 minute recap of the email update and then move on with "regular" conversation. It worked well for me and many people thanked me for being so open and honest as some had family members going through cancer who wouldn't talk and they had no idea what they were going through.

I am glad your friend was able to take your call despite the time :)

Re: Let's Discuss...talking about cancer

Posted by Cynthia Mac on May 6, 2018 8:42 am

WendyC‍ , yours is a classic tale of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”

At a time like yours, it’s important to do what’s right for you. If other people don’t take it well, it’s a “them problem”, not a “you problem.”  

Your Mom did what was right for her, and when you found out, you learned something you couldn’t change — the loss of time you might have been able to spend together. IMO, it’s very appropriate that you have the liberty to do what’s right for you, too.

Re: Let's Discuss...talking about cancer

Posted by Karen1962 on Aug 13, 2018 11:02 am

I have been diagnosed with melanoma.  It is quite deep and will require 2-3 rounds of Chemotherapy. I have developed a cough which is of some concern and the incision where they removed the mass his not healing - also a concern. I am waiting for a CT scan to see if it has spread and then they will provide me with a whole course of treatment.  I understand that it is early in the process but I felt that my family needed to know so we can deal with this together.  My parents - 78 & 83 - believe that if I say I have it I will - so stop talking about it.  My common-law spouse is no better - he gets angry if I talk about anything of my health & in fact he now has more back and leg pain than ever before, sleeps all day and leaves everything for me to do. My gut tells met to ignore my parents and only contact them when it is the last option. As for the spouse - I do not have time to waste on him. Obviously NO LOVE THERE!  I am going to consider asking him to leave.
 My Sons are better and are just starting to come to terms.  My oldest is encouraging.  He wants me to do what I need to do to make myself better.  He encourages me to keep organized and stay on top of appointments and to keep making plans....  My youngest says he is sorry that this is happening and has offered to do what ever I need him to do for me but told me he is at a loss as how to handle this.  I asked him just to keep loving me....
I am afraid that I am over reacting and yet I feel that they should at least be trying to understand.  I am not at home whining about how unfair life is.  I continue to work 60 hours a week, do all my own housework, laundry& groceries.  I have handled many situations in my life alone and I can do this but right now I am just ANGRY!

Re: Let's Discuss...talking about cancer

Posted by princessmaura on Aug 13, 2018 12:11 pm

Karen1962‍, I am sorry to hear that you have been diagnosed with melanoma...it was three years ago that I had to deal with CAT scans and the PET scan, when I was diagnosed with cancer...
I am glad that you have cancer connection.ca to express and vent your feelings...I believe that it is therapeutic to talk about your feelings, thoughts, and emotions...
I think that it is wonderful that your sons are responding to your situation in a caring and compassionate way...I was fortunate to have a couple of caring friends and a sister who was willing to help me with my cancer...
please do not fear that you are overreacting to your medical situation...a cancer diagnosis is wrought with multiple emotions and conflicting feelings...I wish you the best in your cancer treatment to come...

Re: Let's Discuss...talking about cancer

Posted by Lianne_adminCCS on Aug 13, 2018 12:49 pm

Hi Karen1962‍ 
Thank you for sharing. I have no doubt you are not alone in how your family has responded.  It is news none of us can prepare for - whether you are the patient or those around them. I am not making excuses for them. As adults ( excluding your sons as I don't know their ages ) one would hope they had the capacity to handle this a little better. On the flip side we all have those around us that smother us or are over dramatic and that is not always helpful either. It is a delicate balance that I recognize having been both a patient and a caregiver.
Regardless of what is happening around you, your priority right now is to your self and your treatment

There are discussions on here for Skin cancer  as well as The emotional roller coaster  that you may find helpful.

Do you have friends or coworkers you can lean on and have those conversations with that your immediate family can't?


Re: Let's Discuss...talking about cancer

Posted by Karen1962 on Aug 13, 2018 5:01 pm

Thank you so much for letting me vent.  It comes down to this:  I raised my boys, alone for the most part, and they are wonderful men ages 35 and 25.  They are strong, compassionate, take charge kind of men and I never had any doubt that they would react open and honestly and that neither would run from the fear of the unknown.  As for my parents, my brother and my "not so significant" other, I should have expected this response.  My circumstances do not DIRECTLY effect them and besides that,  there is something happening to them that is worse I am sure.   I love my family and have spent my entire life trying to be the type of person they wanted.  I know I can't and after my husband of 17 years moved on because my parents were just too much, I have stopped trying. 4 years after my divorce, I found a man who seemed to be able to handle my family but I now see he is just one of them. I think this is my chance to separate myself from the toxic people and embrace the supportive.  I have no idea how much time I have left but I am not going to spend it feeling guilty because my illness is messing up their lives.  I am sure my boys will support my decision


Re: Let's Discuss...talking about cancer

Posted by Jimmi on Aug 13, 2018 9:12 pm

Karen1962‍ Hi, sounds like you have raised two great men :) You must have played a big roll in that. 
I am lucky to have 2 great kids too. A 36 yr old Daughter & a 42 yr old Son. They have been wonderful support for me both physically & emotinally.  They lost their Father 13 yrs ago to cancer, he & I were estranged at the time & didn't live in our area but came to visit after his treatments & I did my best to help him & our children with his illness. Feel free to vent most of us do from time to time,  take good  care of yourself.