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Cancerous mind-set.... please help

On my dad's side I lost both my grandparents to cancer years ago. My great Aunt had it, 1 of my other aunt's had it. I think at least 1 of my uncle's had it. My 1 cousin just had a cancerous mole removed, then my other cousin had non-hodgkins lymphoma, beat it, then just had a double masectomy. & My dad had prostate & skin cancer.

On my mom's side, my grandma had breast cancer. My Aunt just had a lumpectomy. My other aunt had stomach cancer, was in remission, & they found a large mass in her hip/ leg. It was just too much for her, & she ended up passing away earlier this week. (heartbreaking loss. She was truly a wonderful person & will be missed dearly)

My problem is, that the cousin on my dad's side who had the non-hodgkins lymphoma, & then just had the double masectomy, is really struggling. She has convinced herself that she will get cancer again, & will die at a young age. Normally she is a very up-beat positive person, but in this instance she is completly stuck in this mind-set. On top of everything else, her husband just divorced her, & she was left trying to find a place to live, (which she did. She's renting my Uncle's house) & trying to find a job, (she's got 2 school aged girls) Taking care of her girls, & her ginormaous dog. And recovering from the mastectomy.

I have no idea what she's going through, though I've been surrounded by loved ones w/ cancer, I've never had it myself. We've struggled $$$ wise, but I've never faced that burdon on my own, or had to worry about my Uncle selling the house i"m renting, & leaving me virtually homeless. Dh have had our problems, & were on the verge of divorce years ago, but we worked it out & things are better now. And though my kids are a handful, all 4 of them put together are not quite as energetic as her 2 girls.

I don't know how to comfort her. I'm afraid she's going to sink into a depression, & I just want to help her, but don't know where to start. Is there any way, that I can slowly encourage her to be positive about the future. And help restore her confidence, other than just being there for her? I'm not exactly an optimist myself, & I don't want to annoy her w/ continuous positivity, especially when I've never been where she is, but I don't want to see her give up either!! Any idea's on how I can help her?

Answer Question
 
HappyEndings

Asked by HappyEndings at 10:31 AM on May. 3, 2013 in Health

Level 18 (6,438 Credits)
Answers (4)
  • I say just be there for her however she needs you to be....Be honest and yeah I agree being overly positive can be very annoying but being negative can be bad too for someone in this situation.Talk about whatever she wants to talk about let her get her feelings out sometimes a person needs someone to be there and just listen. They dont need advice or need you to say anything. Try doing things like taking the girls off her hands if you can from time to time. Running errands for her stuff like that but dont get too the point where yr doing everything for her and maybe doing stuff like say yr gonna try a healthy diet together and do some walking together those are positive things without being too positive.Sometimes you get let people ride it out but try to put yr self in her shoes she is scared would you be. Maybe going to the doc with her to find out how you can help her cope.prayers going up for you ladies :D
    Fairymom32

    Answer by Fairymom32 at 10:53 AM on May. 3, 2013

  • Thanks Fairymom. Luckily her dh, takes the girls for her every other weekend, so she gets some time to herself. I love her dearly & her girls, & I know it sounds selfish, but I just can't handle them along w/ my 4. I totally understand that she's scared, I def. would be too, I just hate seeing her consumed by the I'm going to die before my time, way of thinking. She deserves to be happy & she has so much going on. The scary part is, that she is 99% healthier than I am! She eats really good, & is always running, & training for tri-athalons, & 26 mile marathons. So to see her end up w/ cancer, twice, is totally surprising. But I will def. continue to be there for her, listen when she needs me, & try to be encouraging w/ out going overboard. Thanks so much for the prayers!!
    HappyEndings

    Comment by HappyEndings (original poster) at 11:06 AM on May. 3, 2013

  • Your cousin is in my thoughts and prayers, as are you for the loss of your aunt. The thing is, I think, to keep in mind that you can't fix your cousin or the situation. You can't say anything that will bring back her confidence or help her shake off her fears. It's not up to you, it's up to her. So all you can do is be there for her, let her talk, let her be afraid if she needs to. If she's a healthy eater and dedicated with her exercise, the fear will probably pass on its own fairly soon. I can't even imagine facing cancer like that--I'd probably be freaked out for a while, too, and I wouldn't want someone telling me not to be.
    Ballad

    Answer by Ballad at 7:48 PM on May. 3, 2013

  • Thanks for the thoughts & prayers Ballad! Truly appreciate them! I totally see what you are saying, & agree that it's not my place to try to change her mind set. I can't even begin to imagine how she must feel! I just hate to see someone who has always been so positive & up-beat, feeling so defeated. She truly has so much going on in her life, I can see where she would feel this way, & be totally overwhelmed right now. I guess the mother in me, just wants to make it all better, & I know that it's not up to me to do that. so I guess the best course of action is what you & Fairymom said, just be there for her, & at least she'll know that someone is there to vent to, & support her through this difficult time.. Thanks again!!
    HappyEndings

    Comment by HappyEndings (original poster) at 10:10 AM on May. 6, 2013

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