Feelings of guilt

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Sadly a friend of mine recently lost her husband from Cancer. Sadly the treatments they tried on him didn’t work. 1 of the treatments that he had was a Stem Cell Transplant. As I also had a Stem Cell Transplant to fight my AML and it worked I am elated and feel so lucky but I also have an element of guilt as it worked for me and not him and it makes me question why?. I know she is happy for me but I don’t know how to talk to her as I worry I’m a reminder. 

  • Hi again  and welcome across to this corner of the site.

    Survivors Guilt is a real thing!!! “Why did I survive and my friends husband did not?”….. it’s a valid question but a question that has no real answer and because of this we can turn in on ourselves and in doing this get robbed of the joy that comes when treatment works.

    I lost a few very good friends to their type of cancer, I was diagnosed many years before they were and they only lived a few years out after their diagnosis and here I am living as normal a life that any 66 year old can live 5 years after they died.

    Survivors guilt kicked in, but I very quickly realised that I needed to talk this through, not with a family member but a stranger so I had a few sessions with a support worker at our local Maggie's Centre where we unpacked the fact that although it was understandable to feel like this, the reality is that a cancer diagnosis and successful treatment journey is random and there are no guarantees. I was reminded that one night I sat with the other two lads and we sat with a drink talking about the future…… we eventually agreed that the ‘last man standing’ had to live a full life in celebration of the others who had went before….. and this is what I do and both their wives appreciate that au do this and in doing this it comforts them.

    SCT is such an unpredictable process and it is well explained that there are risks in the process so everyone goes into the process understanding these risks…… families can’t go into this with regrets, it has to be all or nothing.

    You may want to look at getting some support so do check to see if you have any Local Macmillan Support in your area, do also check for a local Maggie's Centre. The Macmillan Support Line is open 8am-8pm (timings may differ across services) 7 days a week on 0808 808 00 00. These services provide practical information, emotional support or just a listening ear.

    Always around to chat more ((hugs))

    Mike (Thehighlander)

    It always seems impossible until its done - Nelson Mandela

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