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people who dont understand about mood swings

maureengirl's picture
Posts: 24
Joined: Mar 2002

what i am trying to say is that people who dont understand about a person who has cancer and is trying to find their way back to being so called normal . they understand that sure we are human like them but we had this dreadful illness and are trying to get their life back on track so everything around them feels normal and they dont get uptight about certain things in thier life unless rhey have been throught it themself they try to but really dont understands and wounder why we get uptight at things that are happening right now in their life and just maybe the person gets kinda out of sorts and dont feel good at times and try to understand what is happening and why them sometimes I feel like just want to be either left alone or want people to understand and listen to me and what I have to say weather it sound right ir not to other people and not to that person. what would realy help is for them to "listen "tpo that person and what he or she wants to try to tell then and understand that they are sometimes are having a off day.

slickwilly's picture
Posts: 339
Joined: Feb 2007

So I guess you had someone in your life that didn't listen? I would also imagine that people ask how your doing and walk away before you can answer. After going through cancer we learn pretty quickly who really cares and will take the time to talk with us. It is frustrating when people don't understand anything about what we have gone through and are still going through. And it takes years sometimes to get our lives back in order. My own family will never understand what my pain was like or how bad the Chemo and Radiation treatments were. Or the fear of dying and not having any control. And I have come to accept that. All I ask for is a little understanding that I am not the same person as before my cancer. I have good days and painful days and I can't be expected to live by any schedule. My family has learned that if my living room curtains are shut I am having a bad day. The people that understand us are the ones on this discussion board because they have been there. I would suggest that you talk to people here or find someone in your area that has had cancer to talk too. It makes a world of difference and takes a big load off when you find out your frustrations, side effects of drugs and problems in life are the same as theirs. I hope you have a better day tomorrow. Slickwilly

Posts: 19
Joined: Nov 2008

I like your style and delivery. What you said is so true. I haven't been on these boards for months and forgot how helpful they are. People really don't want to know how you are when they ask, and even my wife is tired of the mood swings. I am one year into recovery and keep hoping that it gets better, but the mood swings seem to increase! Combination of self pity, fear, and anger- on the bad days. Tell yourself why you feel that way on the good days, but when the bad days show up no logical thinking helps.

Prime example is the news coverage the last few days- nothing but Michael Jackson. Have you listened to the Farah Fawcett story (she died within a few days of MJ)? An amazing show of strength and courage in her fight with cancer and it is back page info.

Your post really helped, thanks- Jim

RE's picture
Posts: 4643
Joined: Feb 2004

Hi Maureengirl,

Slickwilly is right, no one can truly understand the mindset of a cancer survivor because they have never been there and I hope they never have to be. My oh so supportive husband cannot fully understand the fears I have and the battles I have with the after cancer RE. I don't always tell him how I feel because frankly it upsets him. He pretends it doesn't, but after 31 years I know that it does. There are times I wonder if I will be here for that retirement traveling he talks so much about, I wonder if I will be well enough to go when we get there. Then I grab myself by my boot straps and think of all I have, my family, doctors who care, and my friends and such. I agree if you need someone to listen to you who truly understands you I would check with your local chapter of the ACS to see if they have groups that gather on a regular basis. Of course, we are always just a few clicks away as well.

My Best to You,


lindaprocopio's picture
Posts: 2022
Joined: Oct 2008

My 33 year old son took me to my radiation treatment on Friday for the first time, and I could see his barely-controlled eye-rolling as I talked with the other cancer patients in the waiting room and again later as we waited for his car to be brought around. As soon as we got in the car he said "When radiation is over in July, will you finally stop being so fixated on cancer and not let it dominate your life?" I said, "God, I hope so!" But I can see how little he understands the need of cancer patients to connect with each other. Five days a week I see my 'radiation buddies' that get their treatments at the same time as I do, and the bonding started the first day I started radiotherapy. My son wants my conversations and my thoughts and priorities to revert back to how they were last summer before I started cancer treatment. As deeply as I know he loves me, he is impatient with this process and insensitive to what is happening to me, not just to my body but to my inner being.

Of course he doesn't know about the little shadows on my lung that may not allow me to "be done with all this" in July, as he has almost demanded of me. And contrary to what he thinks, much of the time I am enjoying life, focused on my garden and my work and my grandchildren and my friends and family. But I can't pretend that cancer isn't always there in the background of my mind, as getting well is a full-time job in itself. How can anyone not going through this ever really understand? And that's okay with me.

Posts: 92
Joined: Mar 2009

i've came to understand that cancer has altered my life, has some control of my time due to appointments. cancer has changed my outlook. but cancer will never be my life. i refuse to let it be my life. i am still new at this and i'm still learning. linda your an inspiration. tony

ambientbeats's picture
Posts: 15
Joined: Jun 2009

As a mother of a 23-year-old son, I felt for you when I read your post. But you have the right attitude though. Your son will never understand and neither will mine. My son, (outside of the initial announcement of my having cancer and his crying his heart out, clinging to me like there's no tomorrow) has never been involved in my treatment. He basically has kept his distance and he doesn't even check on me after I have my chemo sessions. One of the most amusingly profound things that happened recently was on Mother's Day, we all gathered for dinner and, as my son walked into the restaurant waiting area, his question was "What's with the headwrap thingie, mom?" So, I answered "Erm....chemo renders one's head bald???" He was floored, since everytime I'd called him after chemo to check in I would say I'm doing fine. I guess that meant no hair loss or something. Then, at dinner, I stayed away from spicey or start entrees (which I love!) and he asked why, so I told him about the sores in my mouth. And he was almost in tears. But, that was the end of that. No contact again after that. Oh well...

I just wanted to say that you have my admiration for dealing with your situation like you do and that I can relate.


Posts: 92
Joined: Mar 2009

after i got out of the hospital i went 4 months being "normal". then i found myself snapping at people, fighting those mood swings, not wanting to work and a few other things, including just wanting to be left alone. the hospital i was at gives the patients and caregivers on going care including psyic care. when i got to this snapping point my councelor was smart enough to give me this site. he realizes that some things can only be dealt with on an experince to experince level. my wife the caregiver has come to accept the fact that she will never know what i am fighting and going through no more than i will know what she went through as the caregiver. so i feel comfortable coming here to express myself and get ideas on how to deal with "myself." i now look at peoples eyes when they ask how i am doing. i know some are being nice and others really care. so i answer accordingly. i now realize that unless they've been where we have been as cancer survivors, regardless of the true care and love they have, they can only understand on a limited level. linda has her garden, i am trying to garden lol. i do go fishing to get away from it all. by the way linda, i sent a reply about the garden. anyway, marueen you'll find this a is a great family of people who have been there, or are there. love and prayer in adjusting to the new life. tony

Posts: 27
Joined: Jun 2009

As I read all of the posts I am amazed at the courage you all have shown and continue to show. I am a 33 year old caregiver of my husband. He has gone through several surgeries and chemo treatments over the last 5 years. He has stage IV kidney cancer and now takes Nexevar daily. I will never even to begin to know or understand what he goes through on a daily basis. I watch him struggle every day with his emotions and mood swings. As a caregiver I struggle because a lot of the anger is thrown towards me. I'm not saying I've never made mistakes, but much of the anger is unjustly put on my shoulders. I know deep down that many times he's not angry at me, but it still hurts. I have and will continue to support him in every way I can-it's just really hard being the verbal punching bag sometimes. I find it hard to support him and at the same time take care of my emotional health. I have a lot of supports (family, friends, therapy, interests...) to help cope, but some days they don't seem to be enough. Just thought I'd give you a caregivers perspective. Any caregivers out there feel this strain?


seanslove's picture
Posts: 71
Joined: Jul 2009

For those who have never read any of my posts I will do a quick highlight,hubby in stage four mestatic adenocrasinomia,diagnosised May 22,started chemo July 14th,2 1/2 hour puch at short stay,doing last 48 hour drip with CAD pUmp at home. Went to ER thinking worse case pheominia came home with chest tube,out a month now,and enough tests preformed during and after hospital stay to scare and hurt the devil.
9 years ago I beat tube cancer,so I know the fears and worries of my husband. Been there once before myself. I believe as a caregiver having already been there I can be more understanding of the cycle of emotions and being a psych major doesn't hurt either. My hubby,when frustrated,in pain,or just down in general will also use me as his emotional punching bag,and that's ok,as I know how much he loves me because within a few minutes after his emotional episode he calls to me to tell me how much he loves me and how sorry for everything he is.
So hang in there and remeber,cancer takes away everything that once was and bring a whole new meaning to what now is,for every time the one you love strikes out return with more love as love is the most powerful thing we have to offer another at this time. It will be ok and get better.

Posts: 266
Joined: Jun 2009

Hi everyone,

My husband was dx 5/25 with Stage IV Colorectal with over 11 mets to the liver. He had not been sick, had always had check-ups, screenings, etc. so we were completely shocked. It has been devastating and life altering - NOTHING will ever be the same. Although I have been right there by his side and always will be, it is still he who has to go through all of this - the surgery, the chemo, the physical and emotional aspects of cancer. I am astounded and humbled at the courage, strength, fortitude, compassion and generousity of the cancer survivors I have talked to here.

As a caregiver, I have also found that people don't understand. A few do, and actually want to know details when they ask "..how are you, how is he..", but sometimes it seems that people want me to be my old self again - and that will never, ever be. I keep getting told to do this or do that to take care of myself, or to take a break from thinking about it, and I wonder how someone could actually think that I could put it on the back burner and be carefree. I read another post here where someone was advising a caregiver not to "..circle the wagons with yourself in the middle..", and I fully understand that I need to take care of myself too, but right now all I want to do is be any kind of help and comfort that I can be to my husband.

Cancer makes us different - caregivers too. I am trying not to let it define my family or steal any more of our joy. But none of us - my husband, myself, my daughters - will ever look at things as we did before.


soccerfreaks's picture
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

You quoted me.

I stand by that quote, and offer it to you as well. I am a survivor, twice now. I am also the son of a woman who died from cancer, and the brother of another woman who has survived breast cancer.

I do not claim to be a caregiver, not in the way that you are, not in the way that my wife was and is. But I am perceptive. I have seen the toll on my wife. I know that her friends did a large service to her by draggin her out of my hospital room to take her to lunch or dinner on occasion, even when it seemed petrifying to me, and yes it did, on occasion, I had become so used to her presence in my room.

I recognize now that she needed that. I recognize now that her very sanity was dependent, perhaps, upon those moments of 'freedom' as you aptly describe them.

I do not begrudge her those moments. In fact, I applaud her dear friends for understanding, even if it was an instinctive thing, that she needed to get away from me, from the cancer, if only for a brief period of time.

I've said it many times before and I'll say it again: to be a good caregiver, you need to take good care of the giver.

That said, I agree with you that cancer makes us different, all of us involved; not just the survivors, but the close-at-hand caregivers such as yourself and your daughters as well. There is no doubt about that.

I am a champion of the idea that you, the loving caregiver, have it harder than us survivors, in fact. I truly believe that. I would not want to change places with my wife.

I understand that you want to do whatever you can to help. I do. My wife spent every single night of my last incarceration, I mean hospital stay, in my room. Every single night! I understand. I do.

I still must insist, and this is clearly only one person's opinion, that you find time to take care of yourself. AND THE KIDS! You will almost certainly be a better caregiver if you are a caregiver that is better cared for.

Best wishes to you and your husband and your family and friends.

Take care,


Posts: 266
Joined: Jun 2009

Hi Joe,

First, let me say that I'm sorry you and your family have been touched by this brutal, vicious disease. I cannot imagine how much you have been through.

Second, I know you are right. Thank you for your kind words. We are surrounded by loving, caring, supportive family and friends and they are all saying the same thing to me - including my husband. My daughters are 21 and 19 and are a huge help, and also want me to get out a little. I guess I will eventually; I just haven't had the desire to do anything other than be with my husband (and my daughters too - although we are encouraging them to go out with friends and trying to make things as normal as possible for them). After the shock of all this, two hospital stays, etc., home - with him and the girls - feels so good and safe. I know we are only at the beginning - his first chemo was Monday - and I know I will need to "recharge", so to speak, so that I can be a good caregiver.

Like your wife, I stayed on a cot for a week in the hospital with him for his first hospitalization when he was dx. We were devastated and terrified, and I could not leave him. I would've stayed at Fox Chase Cancer Center where he had his surgery also, but he wouldn't let me, so I drove back and forth everyday. I didn't want him to be alone, scared, in pain, need something, etc.

I have read several of your posts and think you are a very wise and generous man. When my husband was first dx, someone, referring to other cancer patients, nurses, docs, etc., told my mother "...Donna will now meet some of the most wonderful people ...". It was very true. All of the people we've met, and all the people on these discussion boards, especially you survivors, have been so compassionate and helpful to me.

Nice to meet you. You and your family will be in my prayers Joe.

Be well,

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