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So many doing it alone in this forum

AussieMaddie's picture
AussieMaddie
Posts: 345
Joined: May 2011

Hi,

not sure where 'senior' starts but figure from the ages of others here that I'm on solid ground, since I am 61.

I notice that so many here are surviving their journey alone or with little support, oftentimes perhaps because loved ones have passed on or relationships have gone by the wayside as we've grown older.

I was given my diagnosis of cancer of the peritoneum around November with a sombre prediction of my prognosis, but so far I'm not only surviving chemo very well, with no side-effects, but my cancer marker has come down drastically without a hitch. Too much to expect it to continue, but nevetheless, time is on my side to make preparations which are important to me.

One thing I hadn't read in all my reviewing of posts (at least for my type of cancer) is the experience of going it alone, or almost.

I have a kind and gentle family, but a family who found it hard to be with me from when I was young because I had mental disturbance that was hard to empathize with. When I was found to have cancer only last year, they quickly rallied to my support. Then, as it looked like I was settled in nicely with a routine of chemo that clearly I was handling very well, I do not see them again. Life continues as usual.

I'm used to being alone. I'm used to handling, first mental illness, and now cancer (on the whole) alone. Seems only natural for me, but my heart goes out to those for whom being alone isn't so natural - people who have shared most of their lives with partners often for decades, no longer with them, and seen children go in different directions. I've preferred to be alone on the whole, but if I had had children or, at our age, grandchildren coming into the world I'm sure it would have been a much harder time for me. Perhaps I might have been more suported by more immediate family, but as we have seen, that isn't always the way it works.

I wanted by writing this to hold out a hand to all those who are doing it alone for any reason. I personally draw strength from my spiritual beliefs and also from the strength which I gained from surviving mental illness for so long, with conviction and belief in myself. Both hold well now too.

I sincerely hope that that those who find themselves alone now in their journey, find strength in friends, in their beliefs, in the companionship of others who share, in such forums as these. The sharing here is lovely, like a family :)

AussieMaddie

ron50's picture
ron50
Posts: 1279
Joined: Nov 2001

I too am 61.My frst wife left me and took my two little kids twenty five years ago. Funny she was not bad mother just could not get her head around being monogomous. I lived alone for ten years during which I cared for and watched both my parents die.I rarely see my children just a few minutes on birthdays and christmas. My second wife ,whom I still adore,was raped by her father when she was 14. When I got cancer and went thru hell with chemo and constant illness she could not take it and asked me to leave. I did but we remain friends. She recently said she would take me back one day if I would come. I don't know if I can any more. I live alone and have for five years. I don't socialise. I don't follow any faith. The only belief I have is self belief. It has been my rock in difficult times. During ca I was constantly told by my medicos that I would not survive ,too aggressive,too many lymph nodes. I on the other hand knew I would survive,not thought,knew.
It is a powerful force knowing something so clearly and I cannot adequately describe it. My friends and doctors mistook it for denial. So on I go alone ,I seem to get ill all the time but nothing stops me,mentally I am stronger than ever,I even like alone.
Wishing you a speedy recovery,Ron.

AussieMaddie's picture
AussieMaddie
Posts: 345
Joined: May 2011

Hi Ron :)

thank you for your reply. My heart goes out to you and also my understanding of what it feels to prefer to be alone - though, unlike me, you have experienced, *twice*, having loved ones turn from you. And not having contact with your children must be hard. They would be at an age when they might be able to visit you by themselves, or perhaps there are other factors involved. Do they know you are ill? Perhaps you lost touch with them too long ago.

Much strength to you :)

AussieMaddie

ddpekks's picture
ddpekks
Posts: 162
Joined: Sep 2011

I am a caregiver to a wonderful man who is "alone" for the most part, in his own little world. I have very long stories that I would give any thing in the world if I could tell them as eloguently and beautifully as you tell your story. You touch me because you have an interesting story to tell, but more importantly, you know how to tell it. If I am blabbering, please forgive me.

I just had to tell you how much I enjoy reading your words.

D

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5717
Joined: Apr 2009

I would have died if it was not for my caregiver wife at my side to keep me positive and moving forward. There were times I just could not see beyond the shadow of reality or if there was any kind of future in life. Also my connection to my Lord and savior was all part of me not being alone. I feel for all who must walk that path alone as I know myself I could not do it.

Hondo

navwife
Posts: 4
Joined: Oct 2011

Hondo, you said what I wanted to say. Without my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I couldn't get out of bed in the morning...I just got the bad news yesterday. Mucoepidermoid Carcenoma....

I have already survived Lung Cancer 13 yrs ago. Been so blessed that I was cancer free that long.

I do have a support system headed by my husband of 51 yrs and sons and friends. But the strength I have comes from the Holy Spirit. I feel so badly for those of you who are alone, and I am happy for you that you have found it within yourselves to conquer this disease or live with it. I guarantee that the Lord is doing these things for you whether you know it or not. I'm not being a bible pounder here...just telling you that with God all things are possible.

lbinmsp's picture
lbinmsp
Posts: 266
Joined: Jun 2006

but not lonely. I'm mid-60's and have been alone for over 25 years (divorce long long ago) and do have family but they are not 'there', if you follow me. My cancers turn into their dramas ('now I won't be able to sleep for a week' - 'oh great - one more thing I have to put on my medical record!'). I stopped telling them about recurrances - preferring to deal with it alone. I do have some wonderful friends - but they are not close by but support me by telephone. Sometimes going it alone is tough -but most times I find I prefer it. I don't have to explain my decisions to anyone. I don't have to listen to anyone's advice or stories ('a friend in my workout class - her MIL had the same thing and she went through blah blah blah').

In many ways I'm really happy about being alone now. I've had to face some serious decisions already and am facing more right now - and I don't need anyone second-guessing me. I actually think it would be more difficult having a spouse or SO or children - because then their feelings and wishes have to be factored into any decision you make.

Thanks for starting this one - very thought provoking.

tweey
Posts: 2
Joined: Aug 2011

Very cute picture....so we are cancer victims....so what??? Doesnt mean that you cant do the best you can. So you know, I have had 3 diff. cancers and I am still kicking. Would sure like to meet peeps who could understand that I dont need pity just friendship

tweey
Posts: 2
Joined: Aug 2011

Only comment I would make......just live your life and dont dwell on the bad times,,,,think happiness

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5717
Joined: Apr 2009

So very true and positive thinking and positive faith is the driving force to being well

Hondo

StarWish624
Posts: 7
Joined: Feb 2008

I share the experiences of going it alone (family wise). But I have found great comfort, community, and wisdom from forums like this. I just consider you all my surrogate family. I find acceptance, familiar experiences, and answers to most of the questions that come up throughout my "journey". This a bond deeper than mere "blood". With this understanding, comes a feeling of safety. I am less frightened, when I share with my peer community family. Thank You for giving of yourselves. It matters.

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