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Living alone with cancer

Strawgirl
Posts: 9
Joined: Nov 2005

Would like to hear from other people who are dealing with cancer alone. I have talked with people who have a spouse, kids or just have a room mate. I am alone and would love to get some new ideas how do deal with this.

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

You are not alone. Let's start there.

We are all here for you, we really are.

You are NOT alone.

Take care,

Joe

RE's picture
RE
Posts: 4606
Joined: Feb 2004

Dear Strawgirl,

Joe is absolutely right, we may not be in your home with you but we are here for you. We will listen, advise, laugh (yes there are times we laugh) and even cry with you. We are here to celebrate your triumphs and hold you up during your weaker moments. Please do not stay away if you need support this site has some of the most amazing, caring and supportive people you may ever meet.

Hugs,

RE

zahalene's picture
zahalene
Posts: 624
Joined: Nov 2005

you have just received responses from two of the most loving, supportive people I have ever met. Just because we are online here does not mean that we are any less 'with you' in your process.
Tell us what kind of cancer, what treatment you are undergoing, how you are feeling (both physically and emotionally), and what your most immediate needs and concerns are. We offer advice, comfort, good vibes and/or prayers, laughs (really!), and hugs.
In addition, I would suggest that you look for a support group in your area (contact your local American Cancer Society). Perhaps a religious-oriented group would answer your need for 'up close and personal' contact. If you work there may be a networking option there.
The idea is to REFUSE to isolate. Which is a big temptation for some of us when we are in crisis mode. Coming here is a great first step.
God bless.

terato's picture
terato
Posts: 384
Joined: Apr 2002

I have been cancer-free (I am knocking on wood with one hand while I type with the other) for some time now, but have lived alone for years, since my diagnosis and divorce. Dealing with things by myself has made me a stronger more interesting person. I don't shut others out, you understand, I have a number of cousins and a few friends that I see occasionally and work five days a week, providing more than enough human contact.

Developing a support network that you can call when you need help is essential to managing your life when things happen that you can't handle. Having a list of phone numbers available provides a sense of security and emotional safety valve during times of stress. Of course, visiting this site is a great first step towards renewed sanity.

Love and Courage!

Rick

Strawgirl
Posts: 9
Joined: Nov 2005

Thank you to all who have commented on my post.
Hit by a truck (broken back, pelvis, ribs lost a kidney 4 ½ month in hosp) 1991
Ovarian cancer in 1992 (13 months of chemo)
Breast cancer 1998 - 1999 (mastectomy and 8 month of chemo, radiation, reconstruction 2000
Back to work Aug 2001, plant closed 2005 where I had worked for 11 years.
2006 stage 3-lung cancer. Chemo & radiation.
A friend did come and stay with me because I wasn't going to do any treatment as I
was completely alone, he came and stayed with me in my country home to look after dog, my
bird, & myself took me to the hospital for treatment when I wasn't able to take myself.
I have been out of treatment for 2 years but have to go to the cancer clinic every 6
months. For the most part I am always alone for the cat scan and then 2 weeks later to get
the results. I would get sick from the worry that the cancer has started to grow and I just
can't do it any more. Since the doctors told me there is nothing more they can do when it
starts to grow I have made the choice not to go every 6 months. The things that are making
me even more crazy at this present time is my best friend who lives in BC was diagnosed with
the same cancer as me & she will not see the end of summer. I lost Pepsi (my 14 yr Maltese)
just weeks ago. And here I sit in this house. ALONE!!

terato's picture
terato
Posts: 384
Joined: Apr 2002

Strawgirl,

If you have not already done so, please check out this link to support services with the BC Cancer Agency.
http://www.bccancer.bc.ca/HPI/CancerManagementGuidelines/Genitourinary/SupportServices.htm

Support groups and counseling got me through cancer, divorce, my brother's suicide, and my parents' deaths.

Believe me, many of us know what it is like to go for tests with no one "on our team" in the waiting room. When we appreciate that our lives are valuable to "us", regardless of who else might be in our lives, these difficult circumstances become more tolerable.

Love and Courage!

Rick

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

You have had a tough row to hoe, Strawgirl! I admire your courage and determination. You have been through too much to hang up that hoe just yet!

Here are some other possibilities for support to add to the one suggested by Rick:

Cancer Care, a non-profit org., offers free support and counseling for cancer patients by oncology social workers. They have face-to-face counseling and counceling on the phone. Support groups on the phone are available too and are moderated by an oncology social worker. Call 800-813-HOPE. Check their website: www.cancercare.org

Gilda's Club - www.gildasclub.org - they offer free social and emotional support.

Live Strong - www.livestrong.org - offers one-on-one support.

American Cancer Society (here) can also give you support, etc. information available in different cities.

Via the ACS, you may also discover other, local, organizations in your community, established via churches or in honor of cancer victims or survivors that offer visits, transport, and such.

Best of wishes.

Take care,

Joe

green50
Posts: 318
Joined: Feb 2008

You have been there and back and are now cancer free. You say the CT scans and waiting make you anxious. But not knowing would make me nervous. All have to have those checkups for 5 years. I know you have been thru a lot but the test would confirm. As you know dedected early you will beat it. But after 2 years I will bet you are cured. Whatever you do I hope you have a piece of mind and yes these wonderful people have the best advice talk to names given. You have been thru so much and beat it. God Bless
Have a good weekend
Prayers and Hugs
Sandy

blueroses's picture
blueroses
Posts: 527
Joined: Jul 2008

I too live on my own and go through many after effects of my cancer treatment each and everyday by myself. I go to all my own doctor's appointments and all my tests and procedures on my own as well and I have gotten used to it. Most times I don't want to chat and make small talk before a procedure so it has started to work for me actually. I lost my marriage about 7 years ago now, he was really just another big kid I had to take care of and I was the decision maker anyways so not too much of a loss but it was nice to think someone would be home soon from work just to help me with this and that. All in all though I am better off on my own, for now anywho. I have many days when I can bearly get out of bed due to pain and it's nice not to have to explain that the dishes aren't done by dinnertime sometimes. He always used to look at me doubtingly, making me feel that gee maybe it is just me being too weak and that was definitely a wrong assumption. I feel better off on my own in my case. If someone comes along who is understanding and caring I am open to that but I am alright as it is right now.

I have 2 cats which are a great source of comfort to me and are amazing therapy for me and I know alot of people on this board have pets and feel the same way. Like others have said here you could consider a support group, people who like you deal with cancer in one way or another each day and truly will understand and validate you. You have received great advice here already so the only thing that I might add to it all is that if I were you I would seriously consider getting another pet. If a dog is too much for you to take care of then 2 cats from the same litter might be easier. I don't know if you are into cats but whatever your choice for a pet I would certainly do that as soon as you can. The loss of a pet when you are alone is a doubly difficult situation as you miss the pet and when it is gone you feel so much more alone when it was just you and the pet. Think about it. You may want to adopt an older dog, not too old but not a puppy, from a shelter and give it a second chance at life as you have had after your cancers.

I hope you think about this and let me know if you do go ahead and get another dog. Cats are amazing too, they don't get enough credit - they are easier to care for as well as you don't have to walk them if you aren't feeling well - they take care of themselves. They can be real little comedians, lots of personality, and you can train them to do all kinds of things, just like a dog - only difference is that they will give you attitude all along the way, lol. They are way more independant than dogs and I like that about them.

You have the site here whenever you feel poorly as well and remember that there is a chatroom on this site too if you want live feedback sometimes. Take care, Blueroses.

Strawgirl
Posts: 9
Joined: Nov 2005

Thanks for your comment.

blueroses's picture
blueroses
Posts: 527
Joined: Jul 2008

Oh I am so glad to hear that. The sooner you find a new pet the better you will feel, I know I have lost pets and unless I jumped right into another I spent alot of time grieving when I could have been enjoying a new pet and they were wasting time somewhere else when the best place they could be was with me, lol. Looking forward to you sharing a pic of your new 'little lady' when you get her.

Hope today finds you feeling better than yesterday. Blessings, Blueroses

Eil4186's picture
Eil4186
Posts: 967
Joined: Dec 2007

Straw girl, I can't add much to all of the wonderful advise the others have given. I just want you to know I am pulling for you and you are in my prayers. You have been through so much, you are a true survivor. Tc, Eil

RE's picture
RE
Posts: 4606
Joined: Feb 2004

Hi Strawgirl,

Just wanted to check in with you, I have been thinking of you. You certainly have been through a lot and I truly hope and pray better days are coming your way. Many people have chimed in with very good suggestions for sources of support. I hope that as you research them you will find some relief. I am truly sorry to hear of the loss of your loving pet Pepsi, if you are like me your pets are like family.

Hugs,

RE

tasha_111's picture
tasha_111
Posts: 2041
Joined: Oct 2008

I think I would have been better off alone than what I had to carry. Hy husband was a complete tosser, he just didn't GET IT! Every chemo, he took me to the hospital (Usually after us sleeping apart after some horrible row) dropped me off there, moaned about how long it took. AND Charged me for the lift!... then he moaned all the way home about just how inconvenient it was for him. For Radiation, i enlisted the help of the Canadian Cancer Society, he never had to take me once, He still moaned that I was out most of the day and not much use with the housework.
He even walked out on me for over a week when I was halfway through chemo. Then the day I finished radiation he laced into me about "When are you going to get a JOB?"

Hey... Think yourself lucky, you at least have good friends.

Good Luck. Hugs Jxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

terato's picture
terato
Posts: 384
Joined: Apr 2002

Just because someone happens to be in your life, does not mean you are not still alone. True soul-mates are rare treasures. To tell you the truth, when my wife left me, it was like having another tumor removed!

When I was younger, I had four piranhas in an aquarium. One day, there were three piranhas and the chewed-up corpse of the fourth. A month later, two guilty-looking piranhas were swimming around their partially consumed tank-mate. I was going to say that the remaining two both slept with one eye open, but fish never close their eyes when they sleep anyway. The moral of my "fish tale" is that you can live with someone, yet never really know him/her.

I would rather swim alone in my own aquarium than share it with "piranhas".

Love and Courage!

Rick

tasha_111's picture
tasha_111
Posts: 2041
Joined: Oct 2008

I breed Fancy Guppies and Swordtails.

THEY EAT THEIR YOUNG!

Horrible Gits.

Rick, you just said it all, and right. Thank you.

SIRENAF42's picture
SIRENAF42
Posts: 204
Joined: Oct 2008

I am a divorced mother of two, who understands you. When I am sick I normally want to be left alone,just bring me juice and crackers and let me be. However.. cancer changed it and I really wanted someone to be there for me, to hold my hand and tell me he loved me no matter how sick I was...... My kids 15 and 10 were my loving support and so were my parents, but even though I had my immediate family, I still felt very alone or maybe its the fear of dying alone... either way, I felt alone. Maybe its the romantic need in us woman who dream of the hero on a white horse..... the fantasy of never ending happiness and love... then reality slaps you right in the face...

Once I came back home (had to go out of town for treatments) my horse riding hero, decided that he couldnt handle the cancer thing and rode right out of town. When that happened, I had that feeling again of... noone wants the cancer girl. again I had my pity party for one, realized it was his loss and just stopped worrying about it.

I have love and support from all sorts of people, just becuase none of them have a 2ct + diamond and are on one knee, doesnt mean they love me any less......

Now mind you, if any of you have a 2 ct + diamond ring that you just want to donate... size 8 please :)

You are not alone... I am not alone.. we are all in this together.

Sirena

Strawgirl
Posts: 9
Joined: Nov 2005

I lost my closest and dearest friend two weeks ago (Tanya). She was diagnosed last October with the exact cancer I am dealing with right now! We knew she didn't have long but we were hoping for another year. She was my angel, when I got hit by the truck her and hubby cancelled their holiday and came to Winnipeg, they came up to the hospital everyday for two weeks. When I was going through the chemo for ovarian cancer she came to give my mother a break from taking care of me. The one that sticks in my mind even more is the day I was told about the breast cancer and that I needed to have a mastectomy, she called from BC and said "be at the airport tomorrow at 3:15. We talked every Sunday and often during the week. Please don't tell me I was lucky to have her friendship and that should help me through this, that’s what people are telling me at work. I can't understand how they think that should help me through this. I used to have lots of friends before I got sick, and every time I got another illness more friends drifted away. Tanya was the one who came to my side for over 30 yrs.

When I say alone, I am not just talking about a husband.

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

From personal experience, I can advise that there are at least two ways to consider this 'alone' thing. One is to consider loneliness, and the other is to consider 'aloneness'.

The first is something typically experienced by those without a significant other, without close family and friends, that sort of thing, that experience, that melancholy experience of having no one to touch, to talk to, to be touched by, and it can be experienced even by those WITH family and friends and loved ones.

It happens when we are unhappy with our relationships, I suppose, to generalize.

The second, the 'aloneness', is a bit harder to explain, but it really has nothing to do with anyone around us; it is, instead, oddly enough, I believe, something inside of us.

If your suffering is of the first variety, I would suggest communicating more with those you love and who love you. And if none such are available, for whatever reason, I would advise that you get out into the community, that you make new friends, that you volunteer in areas where you can talk to others, perhaps; that you talk to others during your treatments and while waiting to see doctors; and that you attend group sessions associated with your cancer(s), strawgirl.

If it is the second, I would advise that the cure for this is probably either religion or therapy or both. You may be suffering from depression, strawgirl, and it is not uncommon, particularly with all that you have endured. Without your friends, including Tanya, you feel isolated, and cancer certainly does not promote an alternate view.

Seek therapy. Get some counseling, whether it is a psychologist/psychiatrist, or a clergyman/clergywoman, or wherever you can find that healthful ear to speak into, expecting a kind, considered response.

You have lived in physical and emotional pain, now strawgirl, for some time, it seems. Cancer can do that. It is not genetically predisposed, however, to inflict emotional pain. We do that to ourselves, and it is up to us not to let it have that.

You know?

Take care,

Joe

RE's picture
RE
Posts: 4606
Joined: Feb 2004

I am so very sorry for your loss, I know that friends like Tanya are rare and a true jewel. I too had bunch of "friends", cancer weeds them out and you are left with the true blue ones, it is just the way that it is. I am glad you had someone like Tanya in your life to give you such love and support. It is however true that you were lucky to have her and I speak from experience, you see my Mom was my best bud and she too was a breast cancer survivor. The other person I had in my corner to help me through breast cancer was my eldest sister who had breast cancer and pancreatic cancer. I assisted with the care giving/love giving of both and now they are gone. I do miss them tremendously, but I am grateful to have had them in my life. My sister died while my hair was still growing back from my chemo as did my mom. I talked to my mom each night and my sister was unique and certainly not replaceable.

I do have a husband who is wonderfully supportive, that however does not replace my mother or my sister who I will miss for the rest of my days on this earth. I could choose to be sad and unravel or I could do my best to live a life with as much zest as I can muster in their honor. I do not want people to see me as RE the breast cancer girl, I want them to see me as RE the gal who lives life to its fullest and just happens to have breast cancer.

Now you mention your alone so I wish to extend an invitation to the breast cancer board on this site since you are a breast cancer survivor. If you choose to go there and introduce yourself you will find a host of some of the most wonderful, caring and supportive people you can imagine. If you keep coming there you will begin to feel less alone as they are such a loving group. I hope to see you there.

RE

hollyberry's picture
hollyberry
Posts: 176
Joined: Nov 2008

RE,
You are sooo right!! I have never viewed you as the breast cancer girl or Joe as the head and neck cancer guy or myself as the melanoma girl. We are a loving, caring, supportive family that probably get along better than any family that I know!
Strawgirl, we may not be able to fly in to comfort you like your friend Tanya, but, we will be here to lend a shoulder to cry on and a pat on the back for encouragement. We are here for you and you can count on us. It is my mission to help any cancer survivor that I can; I have been blessed with a partial remission and hope to spend that time , not only with my family, but with my online family, as well. Believe me when I tell you- I CARE!!!
You may not be able to control your immediate circumstances as well as you'd like, but you can come here and find friendship and comfort in abundance. Please know that we truly do care and will help in any way that we can. If you need to vent, we're here to listen; if you need to share a victory, we're here to applaud. Just don't give up! Life is too precious to spend it feeling so alone when you don't have to be. Our hearts are open- please feel free to talk to any of us anytime you need to; we're more than happy to be of assistance. We've all "been there" , feeling alone, isolated and thinking no one understands us. Then we found this site; what a Godsend it is!
Hang in there and know that you are never alone!
With much love,
Hollyberry

ambientbeats's picture
ambientbeats
Posts: 15
Joined: Jun 2009

I'm new to the site, but thankd goodness I found it. Hang in there, Srawgirl! If you need a listening ear, please do avail of this. Distance doesn't mean anything nowadays. I understnad the importance of physical presence sometimes, but I've found the psychic (and I mean that in the best way) presence can be just as strong. My two best friends live on eithe rside of me (one in NYC and one in Portland), but I feel their support more sometimes, than those who live in the same house with me. So, I'm here and we're here. Process it through. It sounds trite, but you're really not alone. I do understand the loneliness though. But, you've done the right thing in seeking "kindred spirit" here. I certainly have.

bless you,
c

mauveb2k
Posts: 11
Joined: Jul 2009

me too am alone fighting this battle, i'd appreciate having support in any form
hang in tight and god bless

bluerose's picture
bluerose
Posts: 1089
Joined: Jul 2009

I'm not sure I read that right but did you say you are from Winnipeg? I was born there and lived there most of my young life. Gotta love those mosquitoes eh? lol.

On a more somber note I am so sorry to hear about losing your friend and hope that by the time you get this response to your postings you have gotten yourself another pet, like I said before I can't tell you how much my two cats have meant to me - so much more healing than I'm sure 3/4 of my medications.

I too am alone and worrying right now about a possible new cancer but so far the doctors are optimistic so I am trying to be too. Please keep using the boards, and the chatroom if you feel like more immediate input, sometimes it takes awhile for people to come into the chatroom especially during the day but if you wait I'm sure someone will be in to chat with you.

Remember that you really aren't alone when you have this site. You have the boards to vent on and to add support to others when you can, it's a wonderful place and you have heard already I see from many of the most sincere and supportive members around.

All the best and talk to you soon. Blessings, Bluerose

Strawgirl
Posts: 9
Joined: Nov 2005

I live just west of Winnipeg, I work in Elie about 5 mins from my home.

What part of Wpg are you from. I was a North End girl, West Kildonan mostly. Are you still in Can?

I did get myself a little girl (yorkshire terrier). Because I work at a Marine & ATV dealership Suzuki Outboards and ATVs I named her Zuki.....I thought it was cute. I will take some pictures and post them.

I'm very sorry you also are alone in this battle. I have been fighting alone since 1991 and very tired of it.

I will keep my fingers,crossed that your news from the Docs, will be good news.

Hope you don't mind I added you to my friends list

bluerose's picture
bluerose
Posts: 1089
Joined: Jul 2009

Don't worry Tasha I know that Karma will take 'good' care of your ex. lol. Muah - ha - ha. lol.
Let's hear it for karma. HE CHARGED YOU FOR A RIDE TO CHEMO? Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. The Canadian Cancer Society was very good with rides to and from treatments for me and not only that but you got to talk to the volunteer drivers who often were survivors themselves. I found my trips made so much easier by chatting with them, they knew what we were going through. Yup, you certainly are better off on your own by the sounds of your ex. A pox on his butt, and other parts too. hee hee hee. Take care kiddo. Bluerose

tiny one
Posts: 467
Joined: Jan 2009

I'm one of the lucky ones in that my husband has been very supportive of me from the beginning. He didn't even bat an eye when I woke up with an ostomy bag. I occasionally have bad days when I'm in pain and have mental pain. On these days I feel alone, even though he's with me. He doesn't know how to help me and I have trouble expressing what I need. Sometimes on these days I want the old me back and I mourn the loss of how my body use to be. You really do find out who your friends are when you fight cancer or an illness. Most people don't realize once your a survivor it's always somehow a part of your life. Also sometimes there are issues from our past that we need to address. Unanswered questions of what have been. People that we need to see and haven't seen for awhile.

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

Mauve, strawgirl, tiny one, whomever, let me advise that if you overlooked Blueroses' suggestion about checking out the Chat Room on this site, you have another look at that possibility.

While the discussion board and other areas of this site do a great job of providing valuable services to us, the Chat Room is immediate: people are there (hopefully, and, when it is working :)) to exchange thoughts and information with you NOW.

Not so surprisingly, once you get used to the idea, much of the discussion is not about cancer at all, but life's issues and events. There is much talk of food for some odd reason, and a lot of joking and bantering, talk of children and parents and grandchildren and husbands and wives: LIFE.

And, Mauve, all that was said for strawgirl above applies to you as well, of course. We are indeed here for you.

Take care, folks, and enjoy the day!

Joe

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