Emotional issues

Cancer can be emotionally draining, but sharing your feelings can help you and others in your situation. Talk about it here.

other people's reactions to cancer.

Posted by

I have been very puzzled, as to why people  rushing in to help makes me feel SO bad.  Could not even  identify the feeling.  they could be trying to help by cajoling me to accept medical treatment I was doubtful or they could be alternative wallahs, one of whom actually  more or less forced me to squirt cannabis oil stuff under my tongue...

With a clinical psychologist as catalyst, looked up naming emotion stuff online, pretty much gobsmacked by this toxic soup, NO WONDER I could not easily identify what I felt :;

Sad, annoyed, angry, worried, scared, embarrassed, ashamed, worn out, frustrated,confused, disgusted, lonely,, guilty, sceptical, overwhelmed , on edge, invisible, disobedient,secretive….

short version of which is maybe :  FEAR elicits MORE FEAR, elicits full-blown PANIC and all that results from that...

Where does it start ?  if I had had a stroke it might actually be worse, more disabling.  Cancer seems to have a disproportionate effect on people's minds?

Well that’s just for starters ….. But of course they have a really good intention to help so you can’t say anything

HOW to deal with this?  don't tell them  you have cancer at all ?  make up some stock  sentence to tell them ever so nicely to just *** the *** off ?

only good thing about this is, health professionals are not quite so bad, they seem to know when to back off....

Posted by

I do so enjoy the questions you ask - even if they are not MEANT to be enjoyed, they get my brain buzzing and really make me think and between Christmas and New Year, I try not to do too much of that.

Why is it that people offering help makes you feel bad? Good question. People NOT offering help may well have also made you feel bad. Hence perhaps it's just the bloody cancer that makes you feel bad and the people are almost irrelevant.  Maybe? Maybe not. 

Perhaps there's an element of "I'm not a person who NEEDS help - I can do it all myself" combined with "Hang on, maybe I DO need help and therefore I've got to face up to that need before I can accept it"

I suspect that offering help is a bit like throwing salt over their shoulder or crossing their fingers. People may be making deposits in the 'good person' account to ward off the devil that is cancer from coming to get them. 

Or - and this is a radical one because I know you believe that nobody cares about you - perhaps they are just really nice people who care and want to help. It's hard to accept something you don't really believe in, but that doesn't mean that it might not be true.

You can have a stock sentence "Thank you for the offer but I'm happy to carry on as I am" or you could let your guard down, hand over a massive basket of ironing and say "Actually, that would be lovely. Perhaps you could polish this off for me whilst I watch the telly and have a cup of tea"

People love to give but sometimes we need to learn to take. They say it's 'better to give than to receive' and maybe you can let people be nice to you to make THEM feel better (and get your ironing done along the way).

(Obviously, other favours are available - not just ironing. Clearing the snow from your path, taking out the rubbish, bringing you a few things from the shop, dropping you off at the doctors, the list could be endless. )

Best wishes


“Scars are tattoos with better stories.” – Anonymous

Posted by

thank you so much for your reply Barbaral - I do feel as if I am swimming against the tide entirely on my own.

As for the 'nobody cares' who exactly is this 'nobody'.  I find that words do not make any sense because people just assume, they think know the meanings but actually they don't.  Sorry to be pain in the butt, probably because I developed the cold heart of an artist /intellectual at an early age in order to survive....."cares" as a mental health carer, I have observed the horrible tphenomenon  of people addicted to caring, adding more fear to the situation, worsening it for all.  ?  Is helping people, if you don't REALLY know what you are doing, the most dangerous thing out there ?

You have hit the nail on the head - people offer the WRONG help.  I have two friends who did offer the right help - one saying, " what can I do for you", the other, slightly more complicated to express, just being there, letting me be as I was.  oh, and a neighbour who lent me  shirts which unbuttoned down the front very useful for aftermath of mastectomy.

tthen there is the thing of they help you too much, they then give up entirely,  leaving you in a state of complete abandonment.  Happened  a bit to me, someone helped me an allotment  then she suddenly got fed up,  and said " I don't want to do it any more".  This kind of thing almost makes it worse, than getting no help at all.  Resentment. 

" offering help is a bit like throwing salt over their shoulder or crossing their fingers. "  yes there is also a lot of truth in this, thanks for that idea.

Having a stock phrase, is also a good idea I am working on that one.  

I'm not very good at writing prose but I think I'm quite good at finding at words/short phrases.

" infantilisation " a key one.

do not treat me as if I'm a baby I am 70, not 7 !  not appropriate for people I hardly know to hug me.  Do some of these women with  cancer go completely nuts, flinging themselves on all and sundry with gay abandon ? .....some woman with cancer that I know, hugging me and I felt, like I was drowning and expected to save her.... I'm afraid to say anything do not want to hurt someone who has already injured.  Put up with it while gritting my teeth.  Then she flung herself up against me in an  indecent way, (OMG her crothch up against my knee)  don't think she meant it,  but it still freaked me out.  as they used to say when I worked in schools " do not touch people,  it leads to trouble".

being treated as a baby when you are old,  is very scary, babies are cute and will probably always be looked after.  Old people however are not, it does not feel safe to be in that position. and a lot of the time, it isn't.  Not enough money and not enough good enough carers. being helpless, gateway to abuse. Far as I can figure out the dynamic is POWER.  Misuse of.

also is it enough to just lie there and be looked after, even if they DO look after you?  is there any purpose in such a life or any meaning ?  for me, there is not. Have  talked to quite a few older people and I'm not the only one who thinks like that.  not that I would advocate euthanasia, what I object to,  is over- treatment, treatments that cause harm/unacceptable suffering..

best for 2018 to you ,  great to have someone that can have intelligent discussion with !


Posted by

ps. maybe I should correct what I said a bit --  long time ago when I needed help there wasn't any.  Life did not serve me up with, the stable family and a happy home I wanted --  just horrible people, abortions, being abandoned, being rejected, then being accused that it was all my fault.  By peers, family, so-called therapists etc etc.  heaping on  blame and accusation, because other people had done bad stuff to me.....

I'm not sure that the Internet is the place, or the means, to replace what was not there long ago and cannot be fixed now.  I'm not sure that having cancer is any kind of an achievement, to make one worthy of " love" " support" all that stuff that is meant to exist but actually it doesn't, these are just abstract nouns that don't have any real existence. 

LOL after I finished radiotherapy, blow me down,  if one of the technicians didn't shake my hand.  As ifhad done something of value I did not all , I did was just lie there, should have been me shaking their hands : they were taking all that time trouble and expense, to save my worthless life !!!  LOL.

All I have learned from this is that life does not make any sense.............the more you try to make sense of it the madder  it gets....

Posted by

It's not hard to see that life's dealt you a pretty bum deal so it's natural to be wary of people's motives and to set your default to not really trusting people or expecting much from them because that's what life has shown you to be your experience. The internet can't fix 70 years of crap. But you come here without any of that baggage and you get a fresh start. Cancer can be like Christianity - it can let you be 'born again' (if you see what I mean - and I'm not a religious person at all). 

Having cancer is no achievement at all - it's just the roll of the dice. How you deal with it can be an achievement. Now to you and me, we can just say "But what's the alternative to just getting on and dealing with it?" (though it's best not to answer that one too deeply. To people who haven't had it - or people like me who got off pretty lightly - just getting on with it really is seen as an achievement because not everybody does. Some fall apart, some refuse treatment, some simply decide to 'let go'. 

I'm not surprised the tech shook your hand. He or she had probably seen people falling apart, not turning up, crying throughout their treatment. You turned up, lay back, got on with it and you got to the end of the treatment like a trooper. My poor step-father started chemo on the Thursday before Christmas (what a DUMB idea that was!). Thursday and Friday he went to the hospital for drips in his arm, Friday night went back with breathing problems, stayed in until 2 days after Christmas. Went back for the drips on Thursday and Friday - hospitalised Saturday until NYD. Every time he gets up and goes back I'm dead proud of him because I know he hates it. So even when you think you're just doing what's got to be done, people see how strong you have to be to keep going back. 

You don't have to make sense of life, you know. You could just get on and live it and accept that it's bonkers.

I'm looking forward to reading more from you this year. 

Best wishes


“Scars are tattoos with better stories.” – Anonymous

Posted by

read your post with interest -- haa  I do not deserve any congratulations for getting through the radiotherapy, did not feel a thing, zero burning.!!!

Just come back from going to Buddhist centre -- in a lot of pain, not the cancer , but ankle.  I'm a right mess with the osteoarthritis, pain in hands and knees,  neck,  back, hip.  

It is all very sickening having googled it comes from having anterior pelvic tilt, internally rotated knees, etc.  I saw my mother die most horribly, 20 years sitting in a chair stuck in front of the TV, abandoned, doped up with valium, etc,  to shut her up,  by the GP.

so I'm trying to think, may be a blessing to die of cancer ?  at least with cancer people take a bit of notice, with arthritis you're just ignored and left to rot, as there isn't really any effective treatment.  They do operations, but looking at my mother didn't do the slightest good and she still couldn't walk.

extremely worried at effect cancer treatment has had on my mind -- so terrified, by all the graphic descriptions of the horrors of chemo, that I have been on teetering on the  edge of psychosis.  And I haven't even had it !!  just unable to stop reading about it !  OMG. 

no easy answers have just been told I should not be angry.  But I am, and FURIOUS.

oh, the money that is wasted, spent on pharmaceuticals and operations.  If only, people knew when they were young, that exercise and posture are important, diet is important, trying to control your mind is important.

Cannot bear the number of hugely fat people, depressed people, crazy people -- all of this could have been fixed if only something had been done earlier.  Simply by following good diet, exercise, meditation.  trouble is difficult to do all of these they require effort, easier to just swallow pills.........

I think it is all about money.  Pharmaceuticals, rubbish mental health diagnosis, rubbish therapists --  all of this is a money machine.

What can I personally do about it now at this late age -- probably not much.  Hard enough not to to cause damage, let alone doing any good.

oh well, I did right not to do the hormone therapy, cancer wise it's bad, but any more joint pain, I would be better off dead that's for sure.. So will just have to take my chances.



Posted by

sorry about your relative how old is he?

I would like to say more discussion on these pages, about how suitable is it ,to put older people through these horrible treatments.

just not the same thing, when you're 30 you have a lot of years left, so it could be worth the suffering.  When you are 70 -- do you really want to spend the little time you have left, dealing with the misery of chemo, especially when your body is weaker, your mind probably too, and you do not have the resources to cope with it ?

Also, older people may not have any younger relatives who can look after them, not much point people caring about you if they're more decrepit than  you are,  can't do anything...

Posted by

Hi Hun again,

You know the answer to your worrying about what tomorrow or later might bring- stop reading all these awful stories published about how awful any treatment may be! We might be better reading horoscopes - after all they only cover a million people under each star sign LOL!

Easy done I know but there is an awful load of crap out there if you just scratch the surface - it's enough to make you just wanna curl up an die!!

SO pleased you managed to get away to the Buddhist Centre again - good for your soul I'm certain!

I've always been in awe of the Buddhist state of mind - the calmness, acceptance and joy in life itself, without doing/thinking harm to anybody. Oh that life could be like that??! Instead it seems just when you've got your calm head on somebody or someone comes along to disrupt the thinking. No justice there at all methinks. 

You're so right tho that if we all had realized just how much looking after ourselves in younger times would impact on how age would deal with us later. SO true - I'm terrified for the dear old NHS dealing with so many overweight/unhealthy young people these days. I often look at overweight people (trying not to judge) and wonder that each and every one of them was probably a 6lb baby at birth & how they got that way?? 

I totally understand that many have health problems which have caused the problem but it makes life so difficult in later years. Also, as you say, getting your head in a good place gives you such a better chance to deal with whatever life throws you. However, so many of our mental health problems are caused or exacerbated by people or environment & we have no control over those things. 

No wonder we - the human race- are in such a mess & certainly a worry when people are stupid enough to elect the likes of Trump into power!! Scared to death we should all be.

Sorry - seem to have gone off on a rant - not the time or place is it?? I just thank whoever, that at 70 I won't be around to see the results of what we, as the human race in total, have wreaked on ourselves in future generations.

Meanwhile back to trying to embrace Buddhist thinking breathe breathe breathe !!!

Diz xx

"You Never Know How Strong You Are Until Being Strong Is The Only Choice You Have "

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Posted by

thanks for your post,

Maybe there is no absolute answer,  there are just different opinions.  For the moment I'm betting on " first do no harm".  I guess with cancer or any serious illness, we have to coexist with the " don't know", all the while pondering the ultimate " don't know" which we all come to in the end.  consider it an adventure ??

Terrible result with my son, ended up in a care home, age 40 could there be anything worse ?  he's not leading a life, just marking time, I'm hoping I don't live long enough to see him die of cancer -- impossible to stop the binge smoking, I've now given up.was a student at Oxford,  now living at the level of a stupid five-year-old.it is terrible to think, that  it might have been better if he had died, for him and everyone else.  so many thoughts  you just MUST not say to keep within oneself !

So I absolutely hate these pharmaceuticals which have so badly let us down, with a violent passion.  Strange that I should end up being confronted with one of the worst, chemotherapy etc.  no matter how much I stretch my imagination, and however nicely they do it,. However competent they are,  no way can I consider chemo to not be harmful.  maybe I am just too nervous  a personality to cope with it, no point in me going batsh** crazy with sheer terror,  and ending up banged up & forcibly sedated as well.

there was a thing on TV about turmeric did you see that ?  not that I'm immediately going to rush out and buy it is  expensive. But some woman who was terminal, appears to have been miraculously helped by it, and it is being tested by some universities or other can't remember which one - think it was one of the London colleges.

having given up the hormone therapy I bet the house on exercise -- now done my ankle in . pretty much in despair. 

. I'm dreading meeting with the medical oncologogist probably should not even be in the same room as her, her only interested in pharmaceuticals, my only interest is in all other things apart from pharmaceuticals.....

LOL , Phrase "f *** off and die"  which she might say to me,  if she  gets annoyed at me  daring to question her,  takes on a whole new meaning............

as for being control fight for your life, maybe it is the next life ?  heard the phrase " Free Spirit" which can be taken to mean, that's what we will become and we will then be happy for ever.......... wishful thinking maybe but, I can dream can't I?"

if a spirituality doesn't work, morphine, and all the other stuff they've derived from that, will serve very well as a backup --so I'd better not disagree too much with the oncologist, just in case it comes to that.  now THOSE kind of drugs, taking away the pain and leading to blissful oblivion, perchance to dream,  I could find interesting.. Even if just the idea of it. so am staying off all painkillers as far as possible, even though quite a bit of pain with ankle, better not build up any tolerance, just in case.

Hope you are bearing up as well as you can, you never know , sometimes people get lucky

Best wishes,  


Posted by

Hi tropicof. I think I’ve replied to you on another post but just wanted to say I understand your fear of chemo - I was really scared about having it as I have a terrible vomit phobia and the common image of people on chemo is that they’re constantly sick. But it’s moved on so much from the old ingrained image that proliferates everywhere and anti-sickness drugs are excellent now. I wasn’t sick or even nauseous during my six months of chemo and I was pleasantly surprised to find not only was it tolerable, I didn’t suffer many side effects and if one reared it’s head, it was quickly dealt with. Don’t read horror stories - most people who have chemo cope with it really well and wouldn’t bother saying so because it’s not interesting like a good horror tale!

Your oncologist won’t berate you if you are adamant you don’t want chemo (or if she does, she’s not following protocol and should be reported). Only you can make the decision about which treatment (or not) that you have. No one will force you! Your doctor should take you through all the options and then you decide what you’ll do. I didn’t even have to have chemo as the surgery removed all my cancer but as the risk of recurrence is high (I had pancreatic cancer), I chose to have it as an insurance as I wanted to make sure I’d done everything in my power to get rid of it. It’s still no guarantee it won’t come back but I’m not ready to die yet.

As far as I know the jury is out on turmeric. One of my Indian friends swears by it as it’s her mum’s go-to cure all (for colds and minor illnesses) but even she baulked at saying it would help cancer. It certainly won’t hurt to take it if you want to. The compound in turmeric, curcumin, is being researched but I’ve not seen any results anywhere yet myself. I personally am not a believer in alternative medicine and cancer for me is too serious to muck around with things that are not scientifically proven. Using complementary therapies such as acupuncture or massage alongside conventional treatment is good though as it helps you deal with physical and mental issues that may come up - I’ve used them myself and they’re encouraged at my hospital. 

Good luck with everything. You sound like you’re really struggling with this so please keep using the support on here.

Posted by

thank you for your reply.  Sorry but I don't believe you about the chemo --- .  I was in a workshop, somebody was there who had had it and she was in an absolutely dreadful state.  This was a person who had family who cared about her I have no one, mental health garbage son who hates me, and vice versa. 

I am extremely unhappy about the terrible suffering, and it seems to be random -- caused by the treatments.

Kind of a bit better to put numbers on it, I'm not willing to do any treatment where the risk of serious side-effects is more than one in 100.

everybody has to die some time I'm nearly 70, damned oncologist, telling me " it wouldn't be slow" how I hate that woman !!!!!

if only I hadn't known ............ technology is a Pandora's box which it is hard to close.  Too many choices, fear multiplying exponentially without limit............aaaargh just want it to end... And it will one day,  I should be happy with that. 

Posted by

ps I have learned to be very careful who you tell that you have cancer.  Whichever side they are on, medical, or alternative, they seem to have a kind of fit -- freak out, get violently emotional,  assume they know better than anyone, tell me what to do,  increasing my panic-- do I need that ?  nearly as bad as bursting into tears, hugging me (yukkkkk, don't they know,  I HATE being touched by people I only met two minutes ago.  )

then after a bit of a they seem to shut up, not to mention it any more.  Evidently these outbursts are the first reaction, they then either get more sensible,  or don't give a ***.  

What attitude should they have ?  acknowledge my feelings, which they never do......... women are worse at this,  they can't tolerate anybody feeling bad, anybody feeling angry -- so the feelings get buried,  and of course, grow to monstrous proportions...

as for crying ... I think laughing is better... Is not crying just for babies ?  I don't take kindly to being treated like a stupid baby when I'm not....I feel more like tyrannosaurus rex, quite likely to rip everyone to pieces,  who keeps telling me I shouldn't be what I am....

Posted by

Hi again,

I'm feeling very sorry for myself just now - got the flu!! If that's death then - no thanks!

Spotted the piece about turmeric & just had to reply. An Indian friend of mine first used this on a bad burn of mine & WOW it was wonderful - took the heat out and healed much faster than normal. 

I was up for using it in any way & looked into taking it by mouth. 

Apparently very dangerous for anybody taking any type of blood thinners !! I'm having to inject daily with Daltaparin -so not for me. It is a blood thinner itself so can make you bleed like a "stuck pig", however one of those bleed??

However, there are many many natural herbs that help us out so much more than drugs. I take a colloidal silver which is supposed to ward off bugs - whoops didn't hold this one at bay??!! 

Hope the ankle is better??

Diz xx

"You Never Know How Strong You Are Until Being Strong Is The Only Choice You Have "

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Posted by

thanks for reply, sorry about flu.  Hopefully that will pass though.

Yes you are right one should be cautious about combinations of drugs - even vitamin pills - found some 10-year-old calcium and vitamin D things in my cupboard. Should I take them ?  thing about calcium etc is I think you can overload kidneys and liver or something. 

That must be awful having to inject yourself every day, how on earth did you manage it ?  I couldn't even bear putting contact lenses in, gave them up.....I'm about to look up the word " squeamish" not sure what that actually means...maybe as the French say, one can get used to anything?

as for ankle am lucky to have got physio appointment really quickly, cancellation.  At the extremely weird time of 6:30 PM..... Well you cannot accuse them of not trying to please the customers...

Doesn't have to be cancer that ruins your life, you don't realise that happens to you, something like a leg,  a foot, hands not working, and everything falls apart................we never appreciate how our bodies work until they stop working...

I am so lucky, to have discovered Dragon software, otherwise I could not even type, due to age,  I suppose, very bad carpal tunnel.

ANYTHING non-invasive has to be better than operations, poisonous chemicals, et cetera.  Well at least be tried as first line of defence !

I still think more money should be spent into research on preventing cancer, than waiting until it's too late.  why on earth I wasn't told that I had that BRCA gene, BEFORE I got cancer, don't know.  It might have made me check my breasts, or have more frequent mammograms, or something.

They didn't find it  until I was stage III, dammit, apparently stage one is really easy to treat, 90% success rate, no-brainer that would be better than the horrors of chemotherapy etc, as well as one hell of a lot less of a burden on NHS.

I keep going on at people in the jazz pub, not to burn candles ( carcinogenic hydrocarbons) but they refuse to believe me, will not use electronic ones.

All the best,


Posted by

Hi tropicof read your posts and feel I'd like to reply.

A lot of what you say rings true with me, I feel I can speak frankly with you so I would say  ' I've been there, done that and certainly got the **** T shirt'.

I've been doing the cancer thing for over 7 years and have experienced much of what you talk about. Some so called good friends and family are no longer a part of my life.  When the cancer returned for the 1st time a good friend said to me " really I have to do this all over again". At the time I said nothing and was very hurt thinking no actually it's me who has to do it all over again. I became hardened to this sort of thing and now I've let it go. And life is easier. 

Now I am in a much better place and I got here by putting myself first and stopped gritting my teeth. And that would be my advice to you. Whether it's family, friends or medical staff I tell them what I need and want and if it upsets them or hurts their ego or offends them in some way,  that is their issue not mine. I need to look after me.

I very to sorry to hear you say your worthless life, (even with the added LOL) personally I don't think any life is worthless and I work at loving the life i now have.

I wish you a peaceful heart and mind and the courage to tell people like the woman who hugged you to just stop. You sound to me like an intelligent person who has a massive load to carry. I don't think the fear ever goes away but it can be handled in a way that makes you feel better. Less exhausted and less like everything is a battle.

Take care of you