But then... (Merkel Cell)

Occasional Visitor

But then... (Merkel Cell)

This seems to be the narrative in recent years.  I'm far from new from the cancer community. I have just gotten to a point where I need to either unload to random stranger who aren't my family and friends, or I'll explode. It's that simple. I just need to put thoughts down in word, because that's how I work and need to just do something I hope will be cathartic enough to get me through the rest of this bullshit. This is a super long post so please skip if that's not your style - this is more for me than anything else.


I'm 29 years old. I'm was recently appointed Head of Department for Social Science at a local high school. In years long ago I had 2 grandfathers, and one grandmother die of cancer. 12 Years ago I watched my close grandmother die of bowel cancer while living with my family (mum, dad, me).


10.5 Years ago I met the love of my life (we're getting married finally next April - he waited for 'all to be well' but it never seemed to be the right time) but then...


6 years ago I had stage 1 bladder cancer at 23 years old but then... 5 years ago my close aunt (my dad's twin) got diagnosed with stage IV melanoma that spread to the brain, and died within 8 months but then...[you get the picture, I won't repeat that]


4 years ago my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer - cue 2 months of panic. It was a misdiagnosis. He has a history of melanoma himself so we were all worried.


1 year ago dad had a number of assumed melanomas cut out.


8 months ago I finally got engaged and set a 2020 date.


4 months ago dad was diagnosed with Stave IV Merkel cell cancer. 


2 months ago he started Avelumab and at a recent scan actually showed significant shrinking of tumors in his lymph nodes and spine. Last week dad was admitted to hospital because of a chest infection - not pneumonia - and they don't know what the hell it is. He is spritely, and acting 100% himself - no coughing up of gunk and his breathing test was at 92%...they just don't know what. If they can't find out soon they want to pause his treatment...that is working...on stage IV cancer.


In the meantime I broke my ankle and find it hard to travel in to see him in hospital, and will be pretty immobile for at least another two weeks, and am struggling to maintain my calm at work while I stress about real life issues (my philosophy is that I work to live, not live to work - so please don't think here I'm putting my work above my family).


The balance is hard keeping a strong face at work when I need to lead 35 other teachers under me. I need to be the problem solver, strong. Even in my family I need to be this person. Dad is getting a test tomorrow (local, down the throat into the lungs to see what is going on). No results for 3 days following. I know people have it far worse, I know that. I know my story is among thousands with families or even on their own, going through nightmares either with the disease or with their families. Cancer sucks.


I just needed to share because if I don't, I'm going to go crazy. I just can't believe I can't shake my life of it - and I know so many are in this situation. It just...sucks. Sometimes these days I feel like I can't even breathe properly. If you read this long thank you. I needed this and thank you. I just needed a virtual ear - thank you. I'm going to implode or explode otherwise. 

Super Contributor

Re: But then... (Merkel Cell)

I hear you.
Frequent Contributor

Re: But then... (Merkel Cell)

Hi nicole, Bl00dy h311. The blows just keep coming don't they? Did someone in your family history disturb a pharaoh's tomb or something? It is exhausting trying to be the pillar of strength for everyone all of the time. You need to find yourself an outlet where yo can let go to unload every now and then, and even have a cry if you need, just for sanity sake. Do you have an affectionate pet? They can be great therapy. Feel free to unload here anytime that you need it. We are here for everyone 🙂 Big hugs, Rick

Re: But then... (Merkel Cell)

It is as though you have the big sea constantly crashing on your shoreline hun. That you are still standing upright....buggered ankle not withstanding...is such a testament to your resilience. 


I am glad that you sought the forum out to bring voice to your ongoing challenges...thank you. What you have done is akin to writing in a journal and if it has helped in any way I am glad of it for your sake.


I encourage you to continue keeping us updated and also checking in with us as to your own well being. Does that sound okay to you?



New Contributor

Re: But then... (Merkel Cell)

Hello Nicole

Absolutely explode away! You deserve it. Wow what a load you are carrying. You seem to be doing so well with your load and your strength in your ability to cope is feeding that as I see it but we are all vessels and at some stage a vessel can become empty. Hence I do hope that at some point you are doing some things that nurture you. It is really important for you to take that time for yourself if you want to maintain your strong self. I feel for you. 

My partner has stage 4 rectal cancer and we dont know from kne week to the next if he will be around much longer. He has fought it for 5 and half years and is still going. It metastisized to the lymph and liver and he has had so many chemo doses that he has been in hospital twice now with UTI's which really knocked him about. Yeh, as you say Nicole, it sucks. Good on you for 'exploding' Ha! We all need to do that when under such emotional strain. 


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