Bereaved family and friends

For anyone who has lost a family member or friend to cancer to share their feelings and support one another.

Physical symptoms of grief

Posted by

I lost my dad just over a month ago, to lung cancer. I think I’m coping as well as can be expected - I’ve been back at work for 3 weeks and I’m trying to get on with life. 

However, I’ve been getting gradually more exhausted, feel like I’m in constant physical aching pain (like fibromyalgia symptoms?) and I’m not really interested in eating. 

Is this the last few months of worry, daily hospital trips, lack of sleep and tremendous grief catching up on me? Has anyone else had this?

I’ve read that fibromyalgia can be triggered by traumatic events but don’t really have time to commit to more doctor appointments to find out at the moment. I will speak to a doctor when I can, but I’m curious to see if anyone else has had a similar experience  

I’m worried I’m burning out and the grief will suddenly become uncontrollable or the exhaustion will stop me being able to work. 

Posted by

Hi Izmoth

Welcome to the community.  I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your dad.

Firstly, well done for going back to work - this will help you to take your mind off your grief during the day.  Does your employer have a HR person that could offer support if you need someone to listen while you talk / get emotional.  Maybe worth asking if they offer this support - many large employers do this now.  Have you gone back too early though?  Maybe ask HR if you could have another week off (go away somewhere quiet where there are no reminders, alone for plenty of R&R) or maybe reduce your hours for a while until you feel better.

Secondly, remember that everyone grieves in their own way and at their own pace.  The main thing is not to bottle it up - if you feel like shedding tears at work or in the supermarket just nip to the toilet for a few minutes to let the tears flow.  Have you thought of visiting one of your dad's favourite places and sit there quietly talking to him and watch / listen for a sign - he will always be around you and will always try to guide and support you as best that he can.

Thirdly, some of your symptoms could be from your grief - anxiety and stress can cause many symptoms but it is hard to find an exact cause.  Have you thought that at this time of year you could be suffering these as part of hay fever which has become a bad summer cold due to your exhaustion / anxiety.  Maybe you could go to a chemist and ask for a private consultation (quicker than a GP appointment) and mention everything - they may suggest trying some over the counter medicine and if your symptoms don't ease after a few weeks then see your GP.  When making the appointment you could speak to the practice manager explaining what you have been through to see if they can get you a sooner appointment.  Below has some links which takes you to pages about symptoms and where to find support in your area.

Please contact the support line free on 0808 808 0000 which is open daily 8 am – 8 pm for a free confidential chat.  You can use this link your area to find support near where you live.  This could be 1-2-1 or group and is also free and confidential.  Also, post as much as you want whenever you want here and someone will always respond to you.

There is some useful information on coping with grief and information on the symptoms of grief.

This link allows you to download the Macmillan book Coping with Bereavement which is full of useful information and has support contact details at the back.  This booklet about bereavement is free and can be downloaded as PDF or as an ebook.

This link takes you to a leaflet called In Memory which is very useful.

Lastly, here are some words which I hope will bring you some comfort -

Death is nothing at all.

I have only slipped away into the next room.

I am I and you are you.

Whatever we were to each other, that we still are.

Call me by my old familiar name, speak to me in the easy way you always used.

Put no difference into your tone, wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.

Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.

Let my name be ever the household word that it always was, let it be spoken without effect, without the shadow of a ghost in it.

Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was; there is unbroken continuity.

Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?

I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just around

the corner .......

All is well.

Hope this helps and sending you a big hug.


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Posted by

Izmoth I think everything your going through is more than likely grief. I lost my dad to lung cancer in June 2018 on father's Day. It was it a short time from him being diagnosed to him dying. So was all really sudden but expected. This past 18 months have been really difficult and a crazy rollercoaster of emotions and anger. Upset. Exhaustion. Ups and downs and confusion. It's been horrible to say the least. But it is all part of grief. I was mentally and physically exhausted. So many dates and things would trigger memories and it would get to me massively but it would be anger and snappyness not crying. Was very frustrating. I got help tho. I went to bereavement counceling and it was such a help. Maybe try that. U also need to take some time out just for you. Take a break and let the tears flow if u need to. Be kind to yourself! That is what I was told over and over again. I've just finished CBT which started after the bereavement counceling. I've also found tho that now the year has passed and the first anniversaries have gone I feel alot better. On the anniversary me and my little girl went out for tea just to remember him. It was a nice day and not full of sadness. 

U definitely just have to take each day as it comes. Remember him in góod ways. Talk about him as much as u can. Go and visit places he liked. Go and sit at the cemetery and talk to him and just sit there for a while. Don't avoid it as it does help the healing process. U will never ever stop grief. Me personally think it will last a life time but I'm learning to live again without him. Definitely feels surreal still but I've accepted he's gone.

Big hugs! Take time for u and try to take some time off work of u need to. Take one step at a time xxxx