• Family/Friend Support

    Asked by KateMarie on Tuesday, March 12, 2013

    Family/Friend Support

    Does anybody else find that when you are going through “decision time” for the next step of treatment you spend time justifying to family/friends why you are leaning toward one treatment option over another instead of just getting their support? When I told people I felt I was leaning toward having additional surgery to have lymph nodes removed many people grilled me about it – really. They weren’t just asking questions so they could understand better what was going on, it’s more like “was I making the “RIGHT” choice?” I was just wondering whether others have experienced that?

    7 Answers from the Community

    7 answers
    • bbay65's Avatar

      I get that feeling too. I know they mean well. Many times people will have a little knowledge and feel compelled to advise. On Friday I will consult w/ dr after cat scan on Wed. There is a chance he will suggest radiation. Already people are doubting this course of action (Zometa has been successful thus far). I'll try to take notes so I can explain myself better. Also you can remind people that everyone's cancer is different. You and your dr have made this decision based on your situation. Good luck. Try not to second-guess your choice. You need a determined mind-set to handle any surgery or treatment.

      over 7 years ago
    • Clyde's Avatar

      Yes. Its another reason I don't share my story with anyone near me (I watched this happen to a close friend a couple of years ago, and I was just as guilty as anyone else in trying to help and actually making things worse. He called me out on it at a later date when I asked him why he had cut me out. I won't make that mistake again.). They mean well, but its a hard enough decision to make without all the criticism and doubting. I get that now.

      over 7 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      I think that anytime you tell someone you are "leaning" towards something, the implication is that you are asking for second opinions. It doesn't have to have anything to do with cancer. If I say to my husband, I'm leaning towards making chicken for dinner instead of pork, he understands that as me asking which would he prefer. But if I say I am making chicken for dinner, it is a statement, not a question. So if you really don't want their input, don't offer it up for discussion. Wait until you have made your decision and then let them know what you have decided.

      over 7 years ago
    • AlizaMLS's Avatar

      Hi, I'm Aliza. I'm a breast cancer patient and I'm also a Medical Librarian (retired), but still very active in researching for people including on this site. I was very lucky with my family for the most part-my fiance, daughter (a Paramedic who's in Nursing School earning her RN/BSN and considering pre-med) and brother were all supportive of my decision to have a mastectomy over a lumpectomy (though both were possibilities). I was lucky, I had Stage I cancer.

      However my aunt (who's 80 and doesn't visit doctors) was very critical of my decision and whenever she phones me, I'm usually on my way to an M.D. appointment of one kind or another (forgot to mention - I'm also a Lupus patient), so she's a bit unhappy that I'm not going on ski trips, cruises, snorkeling, etc...;) I'm happy that I managed to escape both chemo (had an Oncotype that ruled it out for me) and radiation, and all I need to do for now is take Tamoxifen and lose some weight (and regain my lost energy). I never learned to ski...;)

      People who haven't dealt with this and who have only seen it from a distance (i.e., paying a brief visit to a friend in a hospital and bringing them candy or a plant) or reading the tabloids about - take your pick - Carly Simon, Fran Drescher [uterine cancer], Olivia Newton John, Suzanne Somers, etc. cannot understand why you (underline you) would do things perhaps differently than they would (at least according to the tabloids (and we know what reputable sources they are for medical information!)

      My best advice-keep your conversations with the judgemental people short. I've learned how to do this gracefully. You can always say you hear a call coming in from your doctor that you must answer or that someone is at your door or that you have something in the oven that's ready (kind of like the "Seinfeld rolodex of excuses"...;, if you were a fan...;)

      Don't let the naysayers get you down. Do what you believe is in your best interests without worrying whether Aunt Sadie (not my aunt's name) thinks it's right or good for you.

      Best wishes,

      over 7 years ago
    • SMT4's Avatar

      I think it is natural when people invest time and concern into your care you want to make them part of the decision process, even if it is simply letting them know what you have chosen to do. However, when we do open up and let people into the process some people take ownership of making sure we make "their" right choices, and I know it comes from a place of love, and wanting us to stick around longer. I know with me it was at times a battle to let people know what my choices were because I didn't always feel like I wanted to do the treatments, or have the surgery, and just expressing those choices can scare people into thinking were giving up or not taking the best care of ourselves when that is not the case. I think the important thing is to remember its your journey and others may walk with you on the path but you must walk it for yourself and make the choices that are right for you and well researched. But remember their concern comes from a place of wanting you around for a long long time!:o)

      over 7 years ago
    • CAS1's Avatar

      Ditto Clyde..Went through the exact same situation with my sister. I learned a valuable lesson.
      I only talk to my husband aout my treatment options and even then I don't ask him for his opinion because thisis too much responsibility to put on his shoulders. Its me and my Onc. who make the decisions.

      over 7 years ago
    • KateMarie's Avatar

      Thank you for all the great responses. At the time I was "leaning" we didn't have all the test results, so I couldn’t be sure yet what my final decision for treatment was going to be, and maybe that did open the door for people to give their own strong opinions too much. I am someone who doesn’t usually discuss politics or religion with people – not because I don’t have opinions, but because I am not great at stacking up arguments to support my opinions the way some people are, and I don’t tend to be eloquent under pressure. And I am feeling pretty vulnerable right now anyway, so I haven’t yet taken the strong stance of “this is a personal decision that is right for me based on a lot of variables that might not be right for anyone else.” But I’m working on it now! I don’t have very many people to actually talk to about what I am going through. Because of that, I may have talked about some details I didn’t need to with some people. Lesson learned.

      over 7 years ago

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