• Coping

    Asked by mtnrose on Saturday, November 17, 2018

    Coping

    How do you cope with cancer when you're alone...no support from family, or friends , no nearby resources ?
    Feeling overwhelmed and alone...can't sleep or eat...hopeless.

    25 Answers from the Community

    25 answers
    • GregP_WN's Avatar
      GregP_WN

      Sorry that you find yourself in this position. It's a lonely disease even when you have some people around. You get the feeling that nobody understands, they say "I know how you feel", but they don't. Nobody understands unless they have walked our path. I hope you find a balance in your life.

      about 1 month ago
    • JaneA's Avatar
      JaneA

      Once you get a treatment plan, you'll feel better. Many cancer treatment centers have a social worker who is there to help you with the financial aspects and the logistics of getting to and from treatment.

      If you are on Facebook, there is an awesome Anal Cancer Support group. It's a closed group so no one can see that you are a member allowing you privacy.

      about 1 month ago
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar
      LiveWithCancer

      I think you might cope the same way as if you were surrounded by people ... by taking one minute at a time. Taking the best possible care of yourself. Not worrying about things over which you have no control. Being proactive, like you did by coming here for support and fellowship.

      Do you have family or friends at all? Or, were you living a solitary life prior to your diagnosis? If you only now find yourself without the support of family and friends, maybe you can make the effort to reach out? Possibly they don't know what to say or do? It seems backward, but lots of us, way too many of us, have found friends leaving instead of surrounding us when we need it most.

      Are you involved in a church or a community group?

      If you need help at home after your surgery, your insurance may cover some home health.

      If you are depressed (sounds like you might be and it is understandable if you are), you should discuss your feelings with your doctor. He or she should be able to prescribe some anti-depressants or anti-anxiety drugs to help you cope with your diagnosis.

      Wishing you the best. As Greg says, cancer is a lonely disease, no matter what.

      about 1 month ago
    • carm's Avatar
      carm

      You do what you did... You reach out here and we are your family here to support you. You're not alone anymore.

      about 1 month ago
    • mtnrose's Avatar
      mtnrose

      Being alone gives you way too much time in your head. Then there's the questions about things like what to do about pet care, where to park your vehicle while you're in the hospital so it won't get towed after a snowstorm (which is what the apartment complex will do if it's not moved for plowing), how to manage simple activities after surgery when your home alone without any support, etc. My insurance does not cover in-home care, it's out-of-pocket which I can't afford, unfortunately. I'm already on an anti-anxiety med which helps some but not enough. No resources or support groups in my area , unfortunately again. No family that lives nearby and some just seem to avoid calling since my diagnosis. I'm sure they just don't know what to say. Friends have been the same.
      I hate being weak, dependent, needy! I'm usually able to deal with difficult circumstances in my life but this is way different than other crises I've had to deal with. Plus, I'm new at this. Guess I just haven't been able to adapt yet.
      Waiting to speak to a surgeon and begin the process...and that may take some time as Thanksgiving is this coming week.
      Meanwhile, I'm in pain and sleep deprived. So my outlook sucks.

      about 1 month ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar
      BarbarainBham

      mtnrose, I live alone also, and I've been able to work things out. First and foremost, tell your doctor how you feel. He/she may know of resources that you don't, including financial ways for you get low-cost or charity help for afterwards. Make a list of topics for when you talk to him, and include the fact that you badly need a support group. If he doesn't know of one, maybe his office could start one with your help. He could post a sign at his registration desk for anyone interested to let him or someone know, and then you could meet once a month to talk about problems and solutions, invite speakers to teach you, plus make new friends who are in a similar situation. Sometimes people go out to eat after a meeting and send emails, and new friends can make a big difference in your life. It's worth it to drive to the next town if they have a support group, since it's just once a month.

      If you are on a tight budget, ask your doctor's office if they have a social worker or financial counseling office to discuss what financial assistance is available. You might have an option to go to a rehab center for recovery if the doctor prescribes it.(?)

      When all else fails, you can always call the American Cancer Society. They have an answer for everything, including lists of organizations who help cancer patients financially and in many other ways. They have support group lists and usually some type of buddy system where volunteers call you to chat. They may offer volunteers who can check on you after surgery or whatever you need. I know they provide free wigs and equipment like walkers, so they could have a fund for home health, too.

      Be calm. Make a list of your concerns and make phone calls, and you'll feel less overwhelmed. There's lots of help available, and we all are here with our two cents!! Best wishes.

      about 1 month ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar
      BarbarainBham

      Just a thought---maybe if you reach out to your family, you could say you need help and to please let you know if they could come for a few days, (or whatever you need). Same thing with your friends.

      I've bought frozen dinners to microwave, so you don't have to cook when you're sick. Let us know what you need to solve.

      about 1 month ago
    • mtnrose's Avatar
      mtnrose

      I live an hour and a half away from this doctor's office so it'd be too far for me to drive for a support group, unfortunately.
      Haven't found his office to be much help in communicating as I'm usually redirected to someone's voicemail when I call and they haven't been very quick to respond. I know they have many other patients but it's frustrating trying to get an answer to a simple question, I've found.
      My family lives a few hours out of town and they're busy with their own lives. Living in a one bedroom apartment prevents anyone from staying even if they wanted to.
      I've spoken with someone from the American Cancer Society already in regards to finding support nearby but there is nothing in this area. This area is geared more to tourists and healthy people, unfortunately. When I moved here after retirement, never thought it would be so lacking in resources, support. But, then I never expected to be in the position of needing help.

      about 1 month ago
    • SandiA's Avatar
      SandiA

      Hi! I haven’t read all the replies so I am sorry if this is a repeat. But have you reached out to any local churches. Our church has a care team. They help with needs for people fighting cancer and other illnesses. They may be able to help with some basic things like moving your car, pet care etc. I found a young lady through a neighbor who comes to my house and stays when I am out of town. She takes care of my two dogs and loves them like I would. Really helped when I had my hip replaced. I hope you find some good support. But please reach out to us anytime. Sometimes the only people that truly understand are those that have been there.

      about 1 month ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      mtnrose, I'm glad you found us (I love your screen name, as it conjures up a pretty scene). I have no advice to add to BarbarainBham's, except to say that everyone needs help at some time in life (and usually at several times). Our society's emphasis on being independent and self-sufficient is detrimental to many of us. I hope you feel comfortable letting your friends and family know how you're feeling and how you could use their emotional and even physical support at this very tough time in your life. I understand that your family doesn't live close to you, but your friends might. And they may be eager to help you if they know your situation.

      Sending you hugs from Brooklyn -

      about 1 month ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar
      BarbarainBham

      Mtnrose, I have to second the suggestions from Carool about asking friends and family to help and suggestions from SandiA about calling local churches. Even if they don't have a volunteer to help you, you could ask if they have a reliable church member who is a Sitter you could pay to check on you or grocery shop for you. If not, ask if there is a teenage babysitter who can do that. Nowadays we also can use a delivery service (like Shipt.com). Do you know a neighbor you could ask to grocery shop and move your car during a snowstorm?

      Since we don't know what surgery you are having, I meant to ask what are the simple activities after surgery you need somebody to do, and for how long? I stayed alone after a hysterectomy and after a lumpectomy. I microwaved frozen dinners and laid on my sofa. You may be glad you're alone if you get your groceries taken care of, although it would be best if you have a one day surgery if somebody stays with you till your anesthetic wears off, in case you fall, etc. (Mtnrose, family or friends don't mind sleeping on your sofa or an airbed for a day or so.)

      If your doctor's office has support groups, maybe you could schedule your return doctor appointments on the same day the support group meets. The benefits of a support group are worth the drive since they just meet once a month.

      Since you're already retired, have you considered moving back to where your family is, even if it's temporary? Then you'd have people to help you, which would be reassuring mentally. As we get older, we sometimes need to change our plans if we have a major illness like cancer. Plan for the worst, and hope for the best. Best wishes.

      about 1 month ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      Do you have a YMCA near you? My YMCA local YMCA has several programs for cancer survivors.
      Does New Hampshire have a Counsel on Aging you can get referrals for such services as housekeeping and some home health to help you after surgery.
      We do sometimes have to hire caretakers They often become very good friends

      about 1 month ago
    • KB2013's Avatar
      KB2013

      Experts say the physical effect of isolation on a person is equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes an hour, I would argue it’s closer to a full pack. I totally relate to your situation with loss of support from family and friends and how awful life is when completely alone. I stopped trying to contact mine after they repeatedly failed to return my calls. I have no solution to offer you as my situation is on par with yours however, you say you live in an apartment, is it part of a complex that allows for a park or stores within walking distance? If so and walking isn’t painful and the neighborhood is safe, force yourself to walk around the block. I’m not much help here because I live very remote, rural woods, no neighbors and I doubt even Paul Bunyon could tolerate the darkness of this forest but I want you to know that you are not alone with being alone, it’s tough. Best to you.

      about 1 month ago
    • mtnrose's Avatar
      mtnrose

      KB2013, I'm pretty much in a similar position as far as my apartment goes...though I'm not out in the woods. I have neighbors but none I know we'll enough to trust them to have the keys to my car so they could move it after snowstorms. The stores closest to me are about 3 miles away. I did a lot of walking before this, but not sure how I'll feel after surgery. May take a while to get back to walking. It depends on the surgery that's done, I guess.
      Maybe some people either don't know what to say to someone with cancer or they're dealing with their own feelings about their family member having cancer. Or they're busy with their own lives.
      I'm reluctant to ask for help because I know already what some family members will say....and then I feel worse for having asked.
      I guess I'm a heavy smoker then if being isolated equals 15+cigarettes an hour!
      I have read that not having support during cancer affects the survival rate. At least, we all have this community for support. :)

      about 1 month ago
    • KB2013's Avatar
      KB2013

      mtnrose, holidays are here and I will be thinking of you, wishing for some joy to come your way!

      about 1 month ago
    • mtnrose's Avatar
      mtnrose

      Thank you, KB2013. ♡

      about 1 month ago
    • Bug's Avatar
      Bug

      People have already given you a lot of really good suggestions - I just love this community! - so I don't think I can add anything. But I do want to say that we are here for you. Knowing your treatment plan will help. And you aren't weak, dependent or needy if you ask for help. I remember well one time after college when I was out on my own for the first time and I was very low on funds. I called my mother asking to borrow some money to get me through to the end of the month. I was sobbing because I felt like a failure. She said, "Dear, everyone needs a little help sometimes." And my mom was right! And she wasn't just talking about financially - she was talking about emotionally, physically, all of it. It's okay to ask for help. Thinking of you and sending you a big hug. Please stay in touch as you feel up to it.

      about 1 month ago
    • mtnrose's Avatar
      mtnrose

      Thank you for your encouraging words, Bug.

      30 days ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar
      BarbarainBham

      mtnrose, I agree with what Bug said about everybody needing help sometimes. As we get older, things change, so don't be shy about asking. It may be a time to mend fences if needed with your family. They may think you already have help where you live and don't need them.

      Just five years ago, after I had major surgery for stomach cancer and was in the hospital six days, I stayed with my elderly parents for a week before I went home alone. I was able to walk to the kitchen and watch TV with them like I did in the hospital, so I wasn't any extra work for them. I'm grateful for spending that week of leisure time with them before they both died two years ago. It was a blessing in the disguise of cancer.

      Best wishes.

      30 days ago
    • beachbum5817's Avatar
      beachbum5817

      I have nothing to add to all the good advice that has been given to you. Just know that you do have friends at WhatNext. We may not all have had exactly what is happening to you, but we have had a similar journey. Lean on us for advice and lean on us when you need to vent. Keep us posted. Good luck. Take care.

      30 days ago
    • BuckeyeShelby's Avatar
      BuckeyeShelby

      Depending on how intensive your surgery is, it is doable on your own. I had a total hysterectomy. I stayed w/a friend for 2 days after surgery, then went home. I had stocked my fridge w/frozen dinners, lunch meat, things I didn't have to worry about, lots of soup & canned spaghetti on my shelves. I did my own laundry & grocery shopping. I had a 10 lb lifting limit, so I did lots of sliding my hamper around, including down steps. I asked the bagger at the grocery to back lightly and I took no more than 2 plastic bags into the house at a time. I would be bored at home, wondering if I can sit and stare at my tv here, why can't I go back to work and stare at my computer? Then I'd do laundry or grocery and have to take a nap! That's why! I was off work for 6 weeks. And I went back to work and worked through chemo. No friends dropping off dinners or offering help. I was pretty much on my own. I was so glad to have this site through treatment.

      29 days ago
    • mtnrose's Avatar
      mtnrose

      BuckeyeShelby, I'm hoping for a one-day surgery. But, it may be more than that. It's hard waiting for my first appointment with the surgeon. I won't know until I've spoken with him what stage it is. I'm thinking T2 because of the size of the tumor, but of course, not sure.
      I just want to be done with this. Tired already of exercising my patience. (haha)
      I may have to do chemo-radiation therapy. Ugh!
      Having Thanksgiving coming up and Christmas right around the corner slows things down.
      I'm hoping I can manage alone during this. ...guess I'll have to try. Thinking of having some healthy juices on hand as they'll be easy to ingest. Maybe some soups.
      I'm thankful...very thankful...for this site and every one of you brave people !

      29 days ago
    • catlillie's Avatar
      catlillie

      Hi Mtnrose. I was reading your many responses looking to see if anyone else answered like I would've... Well, no... So here goes!
      I had surgery very soon after being diagnosed with stage 4 Colo/rectal cancer. Lucky for me I didn't have to do the colostomy ordeal but that didn't mean I didn't have issues!
      I live in teeny tiny village in rural Alaska so the ANMC (Alaska Native Medical Center) set me and my husband up in a hotel in Anchorage, almost 400 miles away. Well, I couldn't leave my son (14) at home and my daughter wanted to come too (19). We were all in a hotel room while I began 30 radiation treatments and Xeloda.
      I managed to maintain a good narcotic buzz the first week or so then they had to go! It was so nice not having to worry about anyone else but me and my brother lives there so I wasn't alone if I didn't want to be. I was alone when I pooped myself... Thank God.. When I was grumpy... Thank God.. I didn't have to clean up after anyone but me... I tell ya', It was nice! I slept when I needed to, hung out in bathroom as long as I wanted/needed to... *sigh* It turned out to be the easiest part of my treatment to date.
      Please know that I'm not saying it doesn't suck to feel alone as you are going through all of this... then again, ...you could have teenagers! Thank goodness for the internet, huh? Hang in there mtnrose.. fight a good fight!

      27 days ago
    • mtnrose's Avatar
      mtnrose

      Cstlillie, love your "name"! I'm a cat-lover.
      I HAD teenagers at one time. It was challenging at times.
      Great that you had that time with your family before treatment.
      Yeah...it does suck bring alone, but at least it limits the disappointments that come when family are uncomfortable about talking about "it", pretend that nothings going on, tell you "everything is going to be fine".
      I'm taking a break from fighting for a few days.

      27 days ago
    • mtnrose's Avatar
      mtnrose

      I meant Catlillie. ☺

      27 days ago

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