What has become increasingly obvious to me is when people say, " I am here for you", it doesn't always ring true. Since my Mum's diagnosis I have found myself having to ignore more people than I thought I would. When I recently went on holiday, a family member accused me of "abandoning my Mum". When I expressed online the grief I was feeling another person said, "you are making your Mum's cancer all about you" I have been accused of not caring or not caring enough. Or not providing enough financial assistance. They cannot understand when I really don't want to discuss my Mum's will with them or make funeral plans ( my Mum isn't dead yet). When talking to my Mum her feelings are the opposite. She feels I am supportive and am handling everything with dignity and respect. I take her to appointments, take care of her when she's sick with chemo and even shave her legs( cancer in her spine makes it hard to bend). Did not think I would be under so much scrutiny and people would think their advice would be helpful. I have a small group of people that I have come to rely on. They don't judge or give advice and they listen when I need to talk. However, it's not to say that people's comments and advice don't hurt. Especially on days when it's heartbreaking. When my Mum was told that the damage in her spine may require surgery which means she may lose the use of her legs. The day I found out an insensitive soul had a go at me because I hadn't offered to my Mum that she should move in with me. First of all, my Mum would hate it and loves that she still lives in her own home and secondly, its none of their business. Has anyone else found this kind of insensitivity in their battles with cancer or in caring for their loved ones? How do you resist the urge to punch them?
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Super Contributor
I've found it to be quite a common experience that people just fall away, are really insensitive, or really don't understand. One of my friends compared my husband's cancer diagnosis, and her continuing singless as equally traumatic ("everyone has problems"); one friend responded to the news of the diagnoses with 'oh well' and hanging up the phone, and even my in-laws reacted with "well, life is a terminal disease" (the only reason they got away with that unbruised was because we were Skyping them in England) I think that cancer is just something so terrible to think about that a lot of people respond flippantly, as a defense. I think also that a lot of people want to help, but don't know what to do, so they give any advice they can think of (usually disasterous!) The urge to punch 'helpful' or hurtful idiots never really goes away, so I usually find it best to keep my distance from them. I'm really sorry to hear that you have been hurt on this forum. I've always found venting on here to be good, as everyone has a first hand experience of cancer. But I guess that also means that everyone on here is in a certain amount of pain and fatigue, so is possibly less sensitive than they usually would be. I'm glad you perserved though. I wish you strength for the journey. Sending hugs too! love Emily
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Thanks so much for the advice. The comments are from friends and family, not this forum. I joined this forum because I knew I wouldnt get comments like that. Thanks again x
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I'm the one with the cancer ,not the caregiver ,but people's reactions are similar . I have seen others finding the same ,not always , but often . It just goes to show that we ought not judge others as we are not them and we don't know the whole picture . People need to learn to keep unkind or unhelpful opinions to themselves .
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I am sorry to hear that you are going through the fight yourself. I cannot believe people can be so insensitive. I know it sounds bad but I'm glad I'm not the only one that has had to put up with people's insensitivity. All my prayers are with you x
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Please just hang in there. Protect your marriage and, especially, look after yourself and your expected child. I've found that people, especially friends and family, can be so selfish at times like this. On the positive side, we find out who we can rely on in the family, and who are our real friends. I've ridden this cancer roller coaster for 7 months, plus lost my much-loved aunt [for whom I was guardian, executor, MEPOA - everything really} and had to bury her, all whilst coping with my husband's very aggressive cancer. Just about everyone tells me "You're so strong" but what they actually mean is "I'm glad you're doing this, so I don't have to". It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks - just you and your mother and, to a lesser extent, your husband and kids. What you are doing, if it's what your mother wants, is 100% right; what anyone else says is rubbish. Just ignore it. I wish it could be otherwise, but I speak from experience. You come across as a strong woman. We women are strong. You'll get support on this website. I got it here when no-one would listen to me. Hang tough. I send you my prayers and hugs. Lynne xxx
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Thankyou Lynne, Sounds like you are an incredibly strong woman yourself. I like your honesty which is what I need right now. Thankyou so much for your kind thoughts x
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Sadly I too have been amazed at peoples insensitivity and flippant approach to my diagnosis. I went in for a biopsy just before Christmas and everyone kept saying 'it will be ok, its nothing'. Two days after Christmas I got the phone call to tell me it wasn't 'nothing', it was cancer. The first friend I told didn't believe me and asked me if they were sure. A couple of weeks later after my first meeting with the oncologist when I told her I feel like I could fall apart she asked 'why, what do you have to fall apart about? The prognosis is good'. I seriously wanted to slap her. People that are not going through it seriously don't understand. My advice, don't let anyone belittle what you and your Mum are going through. They will never understand what its like as everyones journey is different. I found I had to educate people when they would say things that hurt me. When I heard 'your strong, you will be fine' I told them that my tears didn't make me weak, it just made them uncomfortable. When I told them I won't be able to have kids after my surgery and they replied with 'you can always adopt' or 'at least you have nieces and nephews', I told them that I wasn't looking to them to fix it, just to listen and hold me if and when I cried. Alot of what I say is ignored as they put it down to my being emotional due to the treatment, but I still keep hoping some of it may get through. I hope the same for you and your situation. And in the meantime, do what I call the Ally McBeal and bitch slap those fools in your head while smiling ever so politely. Sending you strength, patience and endurance for your journey.
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Super Contributor
I can relate to some of what you said but as my diagnosis is close to three years ago the memory and the impact of responses has faded . When it is still new it seems shocking and thoughtless AND it is ! In time you may forgive and even forget .People in general mean well but somehow often end up doing more harm than good by making inane comments . I think it springs from ignorance because they have not really listened well . As you say ,in time some may learn to understand .
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