Bereaved and living with cancer

Hi,

My lovely little sister died from bowel cancer at the end of last year. She was only 48 and was diagnosed 3 years before. A year after her diagnosis I was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma. This, in theory is incurable, but I was able to have surgery which went well and gave me a better long term prognosis. My sister and I lived a long way from each other but were very close. Just after her death I found great solace in sharing memories of her with family and thinking about the good times. However, my most recent scans have shown evidence of the mesothelioma returning, and whist I feel well and my oncologist has reassured me that I have time before the disease progresses significantly, I find I am dwelling on my sister's last few months rather than the good times. It scares me a bit to know what is ahead and what it will be like for our family. I worry particularly for our parents who will lose both of their children.

Is anyone else facing a similar situation? 

  • Hello Green pea

    Welcome to the forum, I am sorry to read that your sister passed at the end of last year, from bowel cancer, and that you are dealing with your own cancer concerns that for a time seem to have been treated well, but are currently showing some concern. It is usual I think for us to think of other's experience at a time when we are feeling vulnerable.  That is our only knowledge to base our potential personal up and coming experiences on. 

    It is great though that although you have known your cancer is incurable, that there has been such positive results and better long term prognosis, this is where I hope you will soon be able to re-direct your focus.

    Unfortunately my Brother in Law was diagnosed some years ago with ocular cancer, this was treated and he had great results from it, but one of the known secondaries for this is delayed liver cancer, this was being monitored up until the start of the Covid19 pandemic when regular six monthly scans were put on hold, although he was doing really well, they were no longer monitoring him for the potential of a secondary spread, in fact he did not seem to have any cancer concerns at all.  In May of 2020 my Husband (his brother) was diagnosed with Oesophageal Cancer with several secondaries, he was not given a great prognosis, and like yourself his cancer was deamed incurable and he was advised that with treatment he probably had 4 to 12 months to live.  

    Out of the blue, in March 2021, his brother became quite ill, he was scanned and diagnosed with secondary liver cancer, aggressive, and sadly he was taken from us in May - just over a year since my husband had been given his original prognosis.  (also in this time span my Dad had been diagnosed with a stomach ulcer Dec 2020, which turned out to be more sinister and we lost him in April 21) 

    My husband, who is now 21 months on from his original prognosis is doing really well.. far better than anyone could have expected. 

    I have written all of this because I wanted you to know that although you are bound to think of everything that your sister went through, you are different, you are reacting and bouncing back well, and for as long as you can focus on the positives, celebrate life and enjoy another day, memories are still worth sharing... your experience will only ever be your own, I can never know fully how my husband feels after the loss of his brother, or how my mother in law copes with losing one son, and knowing her other son is ill, she has already lost her husband to cancer, but she does cope, she smiles, she is involved and she carries on... we have too... and I really hope that you can find a way to carry on, knowing that your oncologist will take the best possible care of you, as you need to do. 

    Stay strong, 

    Lowe' 

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