My sister was operated on for a growth near her sacrum last year. The operation was successful but after biopsy it identified her cancer as a Squamous Cell Carcinoma. This is usually a skin cancer but hers was internal. She then had a course of chemo and radium therapy. She reacted very badly to this and a second course of chemo was abandoned. I suffer from an anxiety disorder and she is very cautious about sharing information ab out her condition. About a month ago she told me she had to have another major operation on her liver for growths. She said it might not be cance but cycts or inflammations. But this may not be true. I have been awaiting results of biopsy for some weeks now. As a result of a monumental stuff up by my cousins they said my sister needed more chemo. This upset me and my family badly as we knew nothing about it. Turned out they had made wrong assumptions simply on basis my sister had an oncologist appointment. It was very stressful but my sister has now confessed she has more scans and blood tests in mid July before decision on any further treatment. This was so distressing to find out as we'd hoped liver growths would be benign. I am not handling this very well as I imagine the worst particularly after last weekends stuff ups. How does one maintain a positive attitude in face of such uncertainty? My sister is very positive but I feel even she is denying the reality as she told me the liver growths may not be cancer but as things have turned out this seems very unlikely. My own doctor said it is likely her cancer is mestastizing throughout her body. I don't have a specific question but any copying thoughts welcome. My sister is protecting me but I feel anxious for lack of knowledge.
It's really difficult to wrap your head around what's happening with the cancer diagnosis of someone else - particularly when you are not directly involved in the appointments or discussions and when it's not something you've ever had experience with before. I'll send you a private message with some suggestions of how to get some support from Cancer Council in dealing with your sister's diagnosis. Trying to be positive is always a challenge - maybe think about being hopeful instead - that might be easier. Bear in mind too, there will be a lot of stress and high emotion at this time and you, your sister and family will be experiencing it in their own ways. Focus on what will be helpful for you and then you will be better placed to reach out for your sister. Take care
Dear Gab. Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I have received your private message thank you. I like your suggestion to think of the word hopeful rather than the word positive. Positive is such a loaded word and carries with it such a weight of expectations that you'll always be up that you should never be down (and when you are you feel guilty) whereas hopeful is gentler and more realistic. You're right about the different responses of family members. My sister and her husband are a tight knit support group of 2. No negatives ever seen there. Same with my brother. My dad worries but he draws strength from my sister. Whereas as I am the one with the anxiety disorder I'm the one who is constantly worrying, imagining the worst and feeling guilty for letting the side down. Always being told I have to be "up" for my sister no negative vibes allowed. I will continue to use the services of my psychiatrist treating my disorder to develop hopeful strategies for coping myself and therefore being better placed to be there for my sister. Thanks again
Be part of this supportive community