Our Sister has stage 3 Non Hodgkin Lymphoma

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Our Sister has stage 3 Non Hodgkin Lymphoma

We lost our Beautiful Mum 3 years ago in October, our Grandfather (Mum's Dad) a year later. Our 90 year old Grandmother (Mum's Mum) has been having health issues and now our Sister has been diagnosed with Stage 3 NH Lymphoma and is having chemo so death is on my mind a lot.

I don't live back in our hometown (where all of the above lived/lived) so I saw my Sister for the first time in months on the weekend and she looked terrible (like death, which really scared me).

She is being extremely positive about it all which is amazing however; me, not so much. Trying to stay positive, of course but my body is struggling with the emotional stress.

Vomiting, feeling anxious and quite lethargic fairly regularly. I'm trying to take care of myself and eat as best I can whilst I find myself waiting for expecting those dreaded, bad news phone calls.

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Re: Our Sister has stage 3 Non Hodgkin Lymphoma

Hi kareh84,


Sorry to hear about your situation, No wonder you are having problems trying to exist across 4 emotional universes - that of your grandmother, your sister, the "healthy" members of your family and yourself.


In my experience, the "healthy" members of your familly usiverse is fairly simple to work out - you need to be everyone's rock. Be realistically positive and open minded. But let them know what you need from them, and this may change day by day.


But what you need from others might not be what your grandmother needs from you, which might be different to what your sister needs from you and which might be different for what you need from yourself.


So first of all, you need to look out for your own needs. If you end up curled up in a ball in the corner of the room crying, then you aren't able to help anyone. Take charge of what you can control. Given the occurences of ill-health in your family, start out by getting yourself a thorough medical examination. Once you know that you are physically fine, then you can get on with getting mentally prepared to support your sister and grandmother.


Then speak with each of your sister and grandmother to find out what they really want or need from you. If you try second guessing what they need, then you are sure to get it wrong and, with emotions on a knite-edge, regrets will ensue.


I was lucky with early diagnosis, so talking about my condition presents an opportunity to educate others. But I do have a cousin who has cancer and he would rather not talk about anything medical at all. With him, I just behave like nothing medical is happening to either of us.


So you might not be the one with a bad diagnosis, but you still have to find a way to live with it. Help yourself to help others, whether it is in the form of a shoulder to cry on or a kick up the bum (ie, that might be for you or for them).


Best wishes and let us know how you get on.


Warm regards,



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Re: Our Sister has stage 3 Non Hodgkin Lymphoma

I just thought I'd offer a word of encouragement- My husband was diagnosed with stage 4 non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma in 2011, has been in remission for 7 years and has never been healthier.  He cycles about 500 km a week, including his commute to and from work, and when the weather is fine he cycles up mountains with his friends for fun! (!!!!crazy, I know!)


One of the things I have learned is that there are many different types of cancer, which have many different health implications, and many different individual responses to it.  You've had a hellish three years, so I can understand your mindset, but your sister will not necessarily follow the same trajectory as the other family members you have lost.  It may be helpful to get some professional advice about dealing with the amount of stress you are under- I found conselling gave me additional coping tools that are still useful today.   Your GP may be a good place to start, particularly if you are vomiting regularly.   I wish you many, many good things. love and hugs, Emily

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