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How do you cope with family members that don't..

caregiver4all
Posts: 26
Joined: Jun 2010

Hi do you cope with family members that don't seem to care or realized the seriousness of a family member's ilness? My older brother has been diagnosed with stomach cancer and I can't seem to bring my sister and other brother around to even just giving emotional support to this brother.

I am so sad and angry that I am ready to throw in the towel just not communicate with either one in regards to our brother's illness.

I just don't get how people came be raised in the same home yet view the world so differently.

Ellen

damama24
Posts: 175
Joined: Nov 2009

I understand your frustration. I was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer last august. I'm doing ok but not once in the last year have either one of my brothers called to ask how I'm doing. I guess it's their way of dealing with it. If they ignore it,it's not real. I don't hold it against them. I guess they have their own problems. But sometimes it hurts when your family acts as if nothing is wrong and you should just get over it. Just wanted you to know I understand where your coming from. Blessings to you and yours.
Deb

zinniemay's picture
zinniemay
Posts: 534
Joined: Mar 2009

My husband had E.C. last year and it is now in his lungs,T-4 His family knows , but only one sister calls him, my family knows and only one of my brothers call. I think they feel like what they don't know can't hurt them. I have no reason why they are that way. Our only source of help comes from this board. I would really be lost with out the kind people on here.
I should say my husband and I are stay at home people we never were into going places , So our friendships are few and far between. He had to retire from his job to save our health benifits.So we feel very alone.
I think sometimes people are shocked and don't know what to sai . When you some one calls they say "How are you doing" It is a general term used to greet, but when you know that they have cancer you are afraid to asked. So Maybe people are just afraid that they will upset you. That is the best I can figure it. Sad I feel so bad for my brother I want to punch his brother and sister and then I think maybe they are scarded to and don't know what to say.

halsons's picture
halsons
Posts: 76
Joined: Apr 2010

My husband passed away 6 months ago from EC and all our friends but one pretty much disappeared when he was diagnosed and then passed away. His family couldn't face it so they didn't call either. My three boys ages 17,19,and 21 were the most help for me. I still am very upset at most of our friends who still don't call to check on me or the kids. Only one of our friends was there when he was so sick and helped the day he died with my 10 year old daughter. I couldn't even get up and help her say goodby to her dad I was in so much pain and shock. I hear people grieve differently so maybe it might be their way of dealing with your husbands illness. I try not to let it bother me and just go on helping myself and my kids with our loss. You need to be there for your husband and lethe family and friends deal with their issuses. Know we are here for you in anyway we can. Keep strong and I will keep you both in my prayers. Haley

zinniemay's picture
zinniemay
Posts: 534
Joined: Mar 2009

I am so sad and worried, I see nothing left for me. I cry and I cry, I try to do what I can for my husband , and he is trying to do the things he always did, but it is not going so well. This Cancer has tooken over our lifes, we have two adlut children no grandchildren, Our Children call and come by.
I have 5 siblings and my husband has 3 none really bother with calling , My one brother calls about once a month to tell all about his problems and my sister calls , she will start off "How's Greg" Let me tell you about my day, and on and on she goes. His sister that calls it is always about her nose job or something silly.When he told his brother , his brother had his number changed, when he told his older sister she never called him back . All seams so petty to me, . Our "Friends" Only one called to ask if we needed help. They rest are just not there for us. We live 30 miles from any groups that we could be a aprt of. I think maybe we were not good friends, that we were never good enough. So who knows .

halsons's picture
halsons
Posts: 76
Joined: Apr 2010

Your husband is very lucky to have you to take care of him. If there is anything I was thankful for was that my husband and I could tell each other anything. I talked with him two days before he died and we both made arrangements for the both of us when we go. I was happy he was a part of my plans as well as I was in his. Please don't hold back on anything you need to tell him. Both of you have each other so that is all that counts. I feel your pain with the sadness and know there are people in this forum that have been through the same things as you are going through right now. Cancer is horrible and it doesn't care who it affects. My family really didn't do much at all for us before my husband got really sick and then passed away. I have to let those feelings of anger go and concentrate on getting up each morning and help my kids deal with loosing their father. We are here for you so please yell, cry and then be there for your husband. Keeping you both in my thoughts Haley.

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

Ellen,

When other family members fail to respond in the way we would like, it is only because they fear for their own health. You've heard the expression, "There, but for the grace of God, go I." Not everyone was immediately responsive when I was diagnosed in 1980, but some, eventually, came around. The same thing will happen for your brother. Anyone who doesn't has already made an unfortunate and ill-informed choice.

Love, Courage, and Peace of Mind!

Rick

ruthelizabeth
Posts: 146
Joined: May 2009

I seriously think that the two younger girls (22+ and 29+) are not able to form compassionate or loving relationships with anyone. The facade wasn't bad (usually), but it's difficult when a daughter says that she expects her father to die -- he's old. Well, he was 69. But the tone was matter of fact and almost impersonal.

And, no, it isn't easy to cope. He deserved better. All you can do is give him as much love and care and comfort as you can. It doesn't cure the hurt, but it helps.

ketziah35
Posts: 1154
Joined: Jun 2010

My family has effectively started calling me the general. We had a family member whowas elderly come down for a vacation while my mom was recuperating from surgery. One thing led to another. She was inconsiderate and rude so I told her to get the f*ck out of my parents house or I would whip her GD a** becuase I had asked her not to come as my mom didn't need any overnight guests at this time. Was this overkill maybe, but sometimes I finf I must speak to people in a language they understand and then there are those I leave alone. My aunt was doing a whole bunch of crazy stuff sooooo.

Ktz

ms.sunshine
Posts: 710
Joined: Mar 2010

I have 2 sisters 1 brother and we are all so different.
People can't give what's not inside of them. You may feel compassion, but some people are void of that feeling. Don't waste your time or energy on those that do not want to be a part of your life or your brothers. There are those in tough times that run and hide, and those that step up. Thank God for the ones that step up.
Come here for support we are here.
hugs 2 u
Jennifer

Betsy13
Posts: 186
Joined: May 2010

As uncaring as they seem, they probably just don't know how to help or communicate themselves. Offer ideas...

I went through the same thing with my family when I cared for my mom.

Please remember, the only person you can control is yourself.

Hang in there,
Betsy

zinniemay's picture
zinniemay
Posts: 534
Joined: Mar 2009

After I wrote , I thought of my older brother Kenny he was very sick , he he was in the hospital for weeks before he died. He was my #2 of 5 brothers. My #3 brother and Kenny was very close but He Tom could not brang himself to go to the hospital , he made it to the drive way of the hospital but could not go in to say goodbye to his brother, They were born one year to the day apart. My mother who was sick (i think she was more house bound) She could not go either. I think Looking back, it is like some one said What you don't know , see or smell will not hurt you. I know that my brother Tom (#3) I know he loved my brother , he was just to scared. I did not realize this till my mother was sick and in the hospital, Tom could not even go there. I personal never had a problem going to the hospital. I know that he feels guilty and I feel sorry for Tom because he will live with this the rest of his life.
I do get angry but I am trying to figure out a way to live a life without this . Just figure if they love you they will come does not always work.

Curlz's picture
Curlz
Posts: 42
Joined: Aug 2010

My brother and I have always been very close, yet he's been a bit MIA as far as I'm concerned over the last couple of months. His personal and professional lives are non-stop and I know that, but I also know that he loves me. After becoming frustrated by the fact that he was only communicating if I emailed or called first, I took a step back--and a full week passed with nothing at all. Then he threw a "How's it going?" email and I told him honestly that I've been shocked not to hear from him more often. His response was that he felt he was getting "updates" from me (via email) and from my mom, so felt he was in the loop. He went on to say that he's better for practical needs, knows that if I *really* need him I'll let him know, etc.

I shared that response with my (male) therapist, whose opinion I greatly value. He said that it's a pretty standard guy reaction, but we both agree that it was good that we had the 'conversation' and at least my brother can admit to who he is/isn't. Doesn't make it right, and it doesn't make me feel any better, but I guess the truth is that IN GENERAL, men have a really tough time dealing with emotion. My thought is that most people have trouble with emotion, but I think guys may be worse--that's all.

So I guess we're at a bit of an impass; I'm not going to throw a tantrum. We're adults, I've said more than once that I'm having a rough time, and he has said that unless I need something specific that he doesn't really know what to do. I guess I'll just have to wait until I'm feeling like myself again and we'll go back to our previously scheduled relationship. I think it's sad and immature, but even for my brother, I can't spend time helping HIM right now.

The more unbelieveable piece is that 2.5 years ago he had a major skin cancer surgery (it was fully contained--no spread, no treatment, no worries) and I was the one who was there for him every step of the way because his (now ex-) wife couldn't deal with it.

webozo's picture
webozo
Posts: 82
Joined: Feb 2010

this is not uncommon. it is sad to say but most people do not handle illness in others as well as they handle it in themselves. when jackie was dx my sister in law ( who i thought was also my best friend) cut me right off we were i.ming and she just disconnected from me and i have not heard from her scence. i did expect this cuz i have had other family members die of cancers but it hurts. even thogh my education says that people must be loved no matter what. i find myself letting the hate get in. there are two kinds of people those who do and those who don't. they don't even realize how much time gose by between calls and or visits. it is hard for those who are care givers and we do feel alone. we feel that there is no one who knows what we are going though. i found what i needed right here. while jackie was going though the worse of all of it i found my support here we all know what it feels like no need to explain. i have made friends here that i will hold more dear than some in my family.

Betsy13
Posts: 186
Joined: May 2010

While I was/am going through this, everyone was MIA (friends, family, co-workers). My husband and kids did a good job. Unfortunately, I am starting over with new friends and family. There was no help nor support. I have found that as we grow older, it is more difficult to make friends. It seems people are already "hooked up" and there is no more room for new friends. I'm not giving up, though. I know God is in control and He will see me through.

Hang in there,
Betsy

zinniemay's picture
zinniemay
Posts: 534
Joined: Mar 2009

Betsy you are so right. It is hard to fit in. I want to just give up.

Betsy13
Posts: 186
Joined: May 2010

Zinnie~

All my life I have felt that I never "fit in". During this time in my life, I have been seeing a therapist and realize that I have issues that go back to childhood and feeling abandoned and emotionally abused.

I signed up for beginning yoga that meets on a Saturday morning. I am reaching out and making new friends. It is very difficult.

Also, I am practicing different level of communications. I am trying very hard not to let myself go below level 2. Level 1: Hi, how are you? Level 2: talk about things in general, how is the weather, did you see "title of movie or tv show" last night? What did you think about... Level 3: I think telling people what you think. Level 4: Personal conversations that you share with people you trust and who trust you, in other words, sharing your secrects that knowing that person will not tell anyone else. Level 5: those deep dark secrets that we either don't share ever or share with 1 person.

I read the book "The Present" by Spencer Johnson. It was a very insightful book. Talking about living in the present, using the past to problem solve and using the future to create goals. I am using this in my life and will be using it as I go back to teach 8th grade math/science soon.

I have wanted to give up many times, also. Have you checked with your doctor to see if you have a chemical inbalance? I found out that after my radiation, I have a chemical inbalance. I am now on an anti-depressant and it is helping. I'm not completely without depression, but definately better than I was. Sometimes life is rough and we're not prepared to handle it. That's what this site is for. Come here and vent. I have felt wonderful support from these people.

If you want to e-mail me, I can be reached at dcissurvivor@hotmail.com.

Take care of yourself,
Betsy

zinniemay's picture
zinniemay
Posts: 534
Joined: Mar 2009

I think I fix in but not the way I would like to. People like me but it is like when they want to do fun things , well they pick someone else. When they want to cry or spill their guts they come to me.
I like to talk I have no problem with that . I just have no one to talk to! My husband and I have always done pretty much everything together. I have never when grocery shopping or anything like that by myself. As I look back except for working in a factory I have never done things by myself. Heck I don't even know how to pump gas for the car. and Yes I did work and drive back and forth. But I made sure the car was filled up . I am a bad woman's Lib.
I just have got into a rut and don't seam to know how to get out of it. I do take meds for depression. My friends moved on and I did not.
Now with my husband being sick It is hard to figure out what to do and how to do it. What is best for him . Very hard for me to put into words. Itis about me but more about fixing what I messed up so I can better help him. I really suck at this cause I really do not want to make it sound like memememe. I am just lonely.

angiecarol's picture
angiecarol
Posts: 8
Joined: Aug 2010

No matter what age you are,when people get a serious illness.."friends" or family disappear. My dad was diagnosed when he was 52 years old. Our family was there for him, but many friends he thought would be there for him,weren't. I saw how upset this made him. knowing these people his whole life & all of a sudden they're MIA.
I was just diagnosed last year at the age of 19. At first,friends were around but once I really became ill and wasn't sure if I would survive, they were gone. I would try texting them,emailing,etc.. no response. It's never easy to be let down. especially when you feel like your world is crashing down. I guess it's some people's way of coping. Even though in my opinion they aren't coping at all. They're ignoring reality.
I believe when I got sick and even now,I've realized who will be there for me through thick and thin. And to those who won't,see ya.

Hang in there and remember,things DO get better.

Thinking of you.

zinniemay's picture
zinniemay
Posts: 534
Joined: Mar 2009

I wish I knew all the words to say just how sad it makes me about people. I think it is they are afraid or not sure what to say or do. Some are afraid if they ask you "what do you need" you will tell them. I just need to know that they are there. I am going to try to go to a Gilda Club meeting and se how to deal with all this. Maybe they will have some answers , if not at least I will know.
I hope it gets better.

Jennie

Betsy13
Posts: 186
Joined: May 2010

Zinnie ~

How are you? Hanging in there? I have to go back to work on Monday (I'm a teacher) and they did not support me. I have been dealing with this and it has caused me to be more depressed than usual. Don't know if I said it in another post, but I'm on anti-depressants.

I decided that I can do nothing about them. I see them 15 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes inbetween classes. That's it. I'm there to teach and this is my focus.

To get myself out of my rut, I signed up for a 45 minute yoga class on Saturday mornings starting 9/18. Those that went MIA will remain there. Life is too short to allow people that type of control over you.

I don't know if you can join a yoga class, pilates class, book club, something...but it may be helpful. You can go by yourself even though it is difficult because most of the other people there won't know anyone either. Go and keep it at level 2 conversation.

Start slow and easy building new friendships, keep things casual...hi, how are you; did you see the news last night and this happened; what are the popular tv/movies in your area and talk about that.

Hope this helps. PLEASE know that you are not alone in what you are feeling. If you would like to e-mail me, I can be reached at dcissurvivor@hotmail.com.

Hugs and prayers,
Betsy

zinniemay's picture
zinniemay
Posts: 534
Joined: Mar 2009

Besty I emailed you, I am not phyiscally able to do yoga, I have a leg peg and my family calls it.
I think we expectt our friends to jump on braod and ride this with us. The people you work with you will find that if they had to go to another place to work or things like that, they would move on. I don't care if you knew them one year or 20. Very few people are true friends. They are at most co workers. They care but they don't.
I figured this out over many years. In 1985 my best friend died if Cancer. She was only 35, We spent almost always together , New Years everything, when she died the funeral there was over 300 people there, all crying and going on. It was not a funeral like I had seen it was a social hour. My friend would have laughted her head off. She knew. None of them really cared so much as they were oblagated to go. Yet she spend so much time around me? cause we were friends and she would say none of them would help her like my husband and I. She kidded my husband about when she died he better not drop her coffin (She was not a small lady). Trust me he was scared as he carried her to her resting place. We talked about open coffin closed, she would say "Hell Yes I want my coffin open so I can laugh at everyine who walk by". She was wonderiful and to this day I still miss her.
Now when my mother died at age 88 she had 8 children 27 grandchildren 40 g-grandchildren and a few gggrandchildren. How many showed up to her funeral 30 people. I know she touched helpped and loved so many people. But that was it. Not even all her grandchildren came. she had one cousin come no friends nothing. Her family is like hugh Now that was sad to me.
I am not a social climber, I don't have a fancy house, I don't go to fancy meals. I go to enjoy what few friends I have.
My husband and I plan on being creamated cause we know we could not find six people to carried our caskets. But we always planned tha. Which ever one goes first when time for the second our ashes together forever in Arkansas , Wisconsin and Michigan our home states.
It is hard to understand people . If you go to Church you have your Church friends (we don't) If to go dranking (we don't) . We met a man in Ann Arbor who was a preacher , his phone rang every second with well wishers. Our phone ranf twice one for each of or children.
Life is what you make it.

Betsy13
Posts: 186
Joined: May 2010

I couldn't agree more. Life is what you make it. I am making choices that are good and healthy for me, whether anyone likes it or not. They went MIA, still haven't come around. Oh well. Their choice.

I am moving on.

I didn't get your e-mail. I don't know when you sent it but I just checked and it wasn't there. Maybe I wrote it down wrong. It's dcissurvivor@hotmail.com.

Is there a book club or maybe take up knitting or crochet? Sewing? I'm trying to think of things...

Take care of yourself,
Betsy

Pam M's picture
Pam M
Posts: 2194
Joined: Nov 2009

Around here, we have a group called "Wellness Community" - it's a support group setting for cancer patients and their caregivers. Some are caregivers, some survivors. There are some social activities people can participate in, some seminars, some yoga, visualization, etc. classes. I haven't been yet, but keep telling myself I'm going to. I know that in some areas, Gilda's Club serves the same function. Maybe you could ask docs about what's available in your area - they may or may not have info. A "work friend" (ownerof cleaning servicein my old office building - I was a workaholic whowould usually still be in the office when the crew camein to clean), let me know that his wife loved the group, and had joined a sub group of people who were longer term survivors - groups were set up so that people would be surrounded by folks with similar issues/interests - this sub group has some meetings that are cancer-related, and some that are strictly social.

kimmygarland's picture
kimmygarland
Posts: 313
Joined: Aug 2009

I found this thread. I THOUGHT we had lots of friends... since Bobs original diagnosis and ongoing treatment/recovery/recurrence they have mostly all disappeared. Oh once in a while they might call or email, but I think it is just curiosity. Some dont even know about the recurrence because they haven't bothered to call and I will not be bothered to reach out to them. If i sound bitter, I AM. My dad once told me if you are lucky in life, you will have enough friends to count on two hands instead of just one. I thought he was crazy as I thought I had all these friends. Now I understand what he meant. When this is all over, I will not be reestablishing those relationships. I will probably be lonely (hell, I already am lonely) but that is just life i guess.

Then there are family members. I am so disappointed in my husband's daughter I could just scream. She lives about a 14 hour drive from us, and he insists that she not come for the surgery. I disagree. She needs to be here. Our son who lives with us (just graduated college) will my main helper in caregiving after hubby's surgery. Guess I can't depend on anyone else. My parents will help, but my mother only wants to do what is convenient for her. When he was in chemo/rads, she did nothing, but sent my dad to help with driving Bob to rads every day. She is too busy with her social life. Continues to ask me to accompany her to outings - and I am like DUH... do you see what is going on here?? Ugh.

It is amazing what you learn about people during adversity. Of course,I have changed to, and I must say some bitterness has crept in (obviously, from this post) and I am not proud of that.

I guess I am rambling... sorry about that!

Pennymac02's picture
Pennymac02
Posts: 336
Joined: Aug 2010

No need to be sorry. The bitterness just seems to creep in, although I try like heck not to let it. Some days I have tons of compassion, for my husband, his family, myself, and the ignorant "others"; sometimes I just don't. I wanted to tell some one off at the grocery store the other day for being chippy and asking "How are you?". I wanted to yell CANCER; and then I wanted to ask, why are you asking that question when you obviously don't want to know the answer? And I went to a BBQ the other day, Mike was supposed to come, but he didn't feel well. So I went alone. They were very nice and cordial, but I could tell that they were relieved when I left, too. What was that about? On the other hand, our roof had a small leak from all of the rain the other day, and a friend came over immediately and helped us clean off the roof. That's the way my new normal is, I suppose. Up and down, down and up; my moods swing that way too, just to keep things interesting. I used to blame it on menopause; now I can blame something else.

Betsy13
Posts: 186
Joined: May 2010

While going through this wonderful cancer, I found the only people I could count on was my husband, two teenagers, and one friend 3 hours away. That's it. Cousin and in-laws live 10 minutes from me. Friends? MIA. Co-workers? MIA

I have started working again on Monday (I teach) and everyone is "so concerned". Where were you during radiation and I went without dinner because I was too tired to get something for myself and no family was home? You couldn't call or send a card? Was it too much?

I was severely depressed and am on anti-depressants. I have to get through this school year and next...that will give me 5 years in an urban school teaching math/science and I will receive $17,000 towards my student loan. If I didn't have this goal, I would be gone.

I am starting a yoga class on 9/18. I am starting my life over again and making new friends. I don't know how close they will be, but hopefully someone who wants to go to dinner and a movie every now and then. Maybe a couple that my husband and I can do something with every now and then.

I will be bringing my pillow and sleeping bag to work so I can sleep during plan time. I am strong, I will survive cancer, and I will become the person God has meant for me to be...because of and in spite of the people in my life.

Yes, I ramble also!

Nana b's picture
Nana b
Posts: 3041
Joined: May 2009

We have a lot of fiends on the colorectal board, come visit us and chat! We would love to have you all...... you are not alone!

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