• How do you deal with the emotional toll that your cancer takes on your loved ones?

    Asked by mollycreighton on Sunday, October 16, 2011

    How do you deal with the emotional toll that your cancer takes on your loved ones?

    7 Answers from the Community

    7 answers
    • WifeDonna's Avatar

      We are just getting started. My husband's surgery is next Tuesday. So far his family has been very supportive and that has helped. His daughters and his mother all live an hour and a half away---but they are planning to come up today and are planning on regular visits.

      Has your loved ones joined this site, or another support group?

      I want to be helpful. I think connecting here will help both patient and loved ones.

      Much Peace--

      about 5 years ago
    • Indyeastside's Avatar

      Wish I could help with this one. My wife is a good soldier, but I do see the worry and stress on her face now-all I know of doing is to not whine too much about my situation and remember not to focus so hard on me and the battle that I forget she needs support as well.

      Advice is welcome, this is a good question.

      about 5 years ago
    • mamajltc's Avatar

      Hi..my husband was diagnosed over 2 years ago for colon cancer and is in his 3rd round of chemo, has had 2 surgeries (one to remove the tumor which at the present is gone), one due to a massive infection (which resulted in a colostomy bag). He has also had a round of radiation and several 'scares." His cancer is now in his lungs and being treated, thus far, successfuly with chemo. He has also had conjestive heart failure, we believe, atleast in part to avastin. He is 67 I am 51. He had to stop working and I currently work 60 hours a week. We have 2 teens.
      OK...that being said...and being on the 'loved one' end of it...what we want most is for you to take care of yourself the best way possible. Because we love you, we want the best. We love you through thick and thin, and love is a 2 way street. Please rest when you are tired, eat well, go to your appointments. Please ask for help when you need it and please always find time for each other. Hug and hold hands and never forget to say I Love You..all the time. I am most stressed when he does not feel well...but there is something to this..the fact that I love him so much to feel these emotions are a nice thing because there is love. We get out when we can (we live in Massachusetts and will still go to the beach). We do simple things...watch TV, go out for icecream. On the way home from chemo, we often make a stop for a bagel.
      I must say, that your post touches me so much...to even think about this, is emotional.
      I always tell my husband that he has chosen to be treated, even with some of the nasty side affects, because he has chosen life. And life, with love in it, even with the emotional things, is what is most important. Even when you feel at your absolute crappiest, please hold hands, give a kiss and again, always say I Love You....

      about 5 years ago
    • MAGNUM1's Avatar

      I was diagnosed with cancer, over 7 years ago. My response to my diagnosis, is probably unique from most other people?

      ** I attempted to "shield" loved ones, from knowing about my initial diagnosis. To minimize the emotional "toll", that it might take on them unnecessarily, I believed at that time.

      Initially, I confided in only two people: my wife, and one sister.
      I didn't tell my daughters, family members, or friends. At the initial stages, it was unknown the course that the cancer would take?
      I was opting for the robotic prostatectomy; maybe the cancer would be completely removed, and I would be declared cured?
      So, I personally saw no purpose, at that stage, to create anxiety for other people. Other than the two people, no one else knew about my cancer, for first 4 years. I was aware that if my family friends knew of my cancer, what could they do??? I knew they would "shower"me with greeting cards, and other forms of support. I KNEW THAT, AND I DIDN'T NEED SUPPORT, AT THAT STAGE.

      People are different; some people facing the cancer "challenge" are benefited by support, from their diagnosis on. I didn't need or want that.

      But as my cancer progressed, my view about my cancer disclosure changed.

      * My wife has been my "rock", throughout this ordeal. Everything has been focused on me, by HER, for the last 7 years. I have experienced all ranges of emotion; anger, depression, etc.
      My prognosis has gone from: hoping I would be initially "cured",
      to the years later realization that, the cancer is active, and can't be stopped. This "journey" has been a long, and winding road.
      If my wife was not beside me, I don't know if I would have "stayed on course?"

      I honestly do not know, how my wife has coped, all these years.

      ** For me, the key to such a supportive relationship is:

      I disclose ALL information about my health, to my wife. I provide open, frank, honest information, so we can make MUTUAL decisions.

      That's what marriage should be, I think.
      *** To answer the question directly, I myself do not have THE
      answer, for minimizing the "toll" on loved ones. I prevented them from knowing about the existence of the cancer, for as long as I could.

      I will say this: I believe that my wife "copes" because of her
      strong belief in God. Anytime, I am experiencing a difficult stage in my "journey", she will ALWAYS reference to her religious
      beliefs. It has been an emotional "roller coaster" for me, and
      I am comforted by her unswaying belief that: "God has a plan."
      Without having TRUST in someone, something, for your well being; I think that it would seem like your life is "out of control?"

      So, my wife shares the burden of this 7 year toll, with God;
      HE takes some of the load off of her, I believe.

      about 5 years ago
    • mysecondchance's Avatar

      I had days where I was overcome with guilt that my family and friends had to deal with this situation. I felt that because I had cancer, everyone around me had it too. I expressed my feelings about it and was always reassured that it was okay. They wanted to be part of my treatment. They did not look at it as a burden and only wanted me to get well.

      about 5 years ago
    • Afterglow's Avatar

      As soon as I had confirmed diagnosis (prostate cancer), I have made every effort to keep family and close friends up-to-date on all aspects of my condition and treatment. That way, while they are still concerned, they know the status, and that I’m doing everything possible. My wife has been totally involved in all aspects of diagnosis and treatment, including attending all doctor visits with me, both urologist and radiation oncologist. All decisions have been joint decisions so we agree the best course of action is being taken. I support her by letting her know how I feel and making sure she understands how I need to know how and what she is feeling. In this regard, there have been many caring conversations and crying sessions. Keeping family and friends involved and updated helps remove the ‘fear of the unknown’ that can lead to unwarranted anxiety.

      about 5 years ago
    • kimjx6's Avatar

      I think this is a trick question. The emotional toll on your loved ones all depends on how involved they are. If they're very involved, the toll is much greater. From my perspective, the best thing you can do for others is to do for yourself. The more you take care of yourself--and by that i don't mean NOT asking for help...not at all what i mean---the more you nurture and help yourself, by asking for support, asking for help when you need it, resting when you need to...the better off your loved ones will be. I know my husband suffers in different ways than my parents do...my children, different from my husband...it's all in the perspective and what they see you doing. What you're capable of doing. Everyone wants to help...so let them. If they're too "emotional" to help you, then let that be ok. I'm not expressing myself the way i'd like to...i guess what i really mean to say is that their battle is sort of their battle. You have to be selfish and take care of yourself in whatever way you can. Involve them in your life, in your struggles, in whatever you need to. But know that you need to focus on you, not worry as much on how "you" are impacting them. And it's not about being selfish...it's just that right now, you can't worry about everyone else. Allowing them to help out is probably the best way to acknowledge their feelings.

      almost 5 years ago

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