Bitter feelings

tootsie1
tootsie1 Member Posts: 5,044 Member
edited March 2014 in Colorectal Cancer #1
This might turn out to be a long post. I'll try to be as brief and as pleasant as possible, but I'm having some rather dark feelings right now.

My cancer diagnosis happened so very quickly, and I was immediately drugged up so much, that I didn't really have time to process all my cancer feelings until recently (I was diagnosed last November).

Now that the dust is clearing somewhat, I'm able to sit back and think, "What the heck? Well, that was just unpleasant and scary." And in thinking back on the diagnosis, it came to me how disappointed I am with the reaction of my family at that time (speaking of my husband and two chldren). I suddenly realized one day a couple of weeks ago that not one of them cried while I was in the hospital and told me they were scared for me or worried, or even glad when it was done that things are looking good. They gave me good care, but there was none of the type of gut reaction I might have expected.

I've asked them all what went through their minds and why they didn't express the worry to me. Here's what they said:

My husband: He was trying to be strong for me and cried when he was at home alone. Big whoop-how was I supposed to know he was sad if he was all Mr. Sunshine around me?

My daughter: It all happened so fast nobody had time to get worried. Huh? A loved one gets cancer, and you need time to get worried? How about in the first second you see that look in the doctor's eyes?

My son: He's a radioloy tech getting ready to specialize in radiation oncology. He did have the grace to blink back a couple of tears, but pulled himself together very quickly. He said with his "insider information" he knew I was going to be okay when I told him the full diagnosis. I told him he needs to study more abour colon cancer. It's true it can be cured if caught early, like mine was, but it's still a major killer. And, HELLO, I don't care what you know, if you LOVE the patient, doesn't all that stuff go out the window? Don't I get to just be your mom and not a patient?

Since I've told them this, I've also been quite disappointed that not one of them has said, "Oh, my God. I didn't mean to make you feel like I didn't care. I was (and am) very worried about you. I love you more than anything." Any words to that effect would do.

I thought we'd always been a very close family, but right now I feel like running away from home and just being by myself. Might as well, because I feel really lonely with all my confusion and hurt, anyway.

If anybody feels they need to reply and reassure me that people deal with these things in different ways, blah, blah, blah, PLEASE DON'T! I really, truly couldn't take it right now.

Gail
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Comments

  • Monicaemilia
    Monicaemilia Member Posts: 455
    Hi Gail: It sounds to me that what you are feeling is pretty normal. I had a similar experience when my bowel perforated, my bsby was born c-section, and I was given a 50-50 chance of survival. After the dust settled, I was laying in my hospital bed at 5:00 a.m. when it suddenly occurred to me "what the #?$% just happened here?" and I started crying like I never cried before. My surgeon walked in to check in on me, saw me crying, and made a bee line out of the room. I started laughing hysterically because it was such a typical "man" thing to do. One thing I can tell you for sure, I am battling Stage IV and every time I turn around there is a new challenge, but my family has rarely broken down in front of me, and I, personally, really appreciate it. I sometimes have a hard time keeping it together myself. My mom goes around smiling and telling me things are going to be okay, and my husband likewise. I do have a friend who has gone through the cancer battle, and she is the one that I tend to unload off my more realistic fears, concerns, etc. This board has also been heaven-sent in that I have been able to express what I cannot to my friends and family.

    I guess what I am trying to say is that I believe that although what you are feeling is totally understandable, it is more a reflection of the scare and after effects of treatment than the devotion of your family. Since my diagnosis a lot of people around seem to also be getting diagnosed with cancer, and I hear from family members that they are having a hard time knowing exactly what to do or say. Cancer is hard on everyone, and sometimes, I know that I get so caught up in my own fear and misery that I lose sight of what is happening on the other side. Keep talking, find a support group, and most of all, definitely vent on us. We understand what you are going through. Wishing you the best, Monica
  • impactzone
    impactzone Member Posts: 539 Member
    I'm sorry and I understand your feelings. Often it is like people who have gone to war together. Only they really understand the bond. Cancer seems to be like that where you get that thousand yard stare and you have changed while life goes on. Only from my perspective, most people, even loved ones, do not know how to deal with and act around people with cancer..it is awkward and they honestly don't want to make you feel worse. I just tell them no rain,,,no rainbow... It seems as if it is so ingrained even on sites like this that a positive attitude is critical to success. (Which it is).Perhaps we need to look at ourselves as well.. Oh well...sorry but please welcome back to life
    Impactzone
    stage4
  • msccolon
    msccolon Member Posts: 1,917
    I think we have all been where you are, Gail. The WTF comes when the numbness wears off, it just does. Your loved ones don't want to face their own mortality, much less yours. Their reaction was what it was and i doubt that even they understand it. I would imagine your anger and bitterness is more a stage of your adjustment to your diagnosis than it is a reflection of their love and concern (or the lack thereof as you feel now) for you. Continue talking about it with them, it will help you as well as them. I know my children try to be strong for me, but i know them well enough to see their concern (like when they freak when i don't answer the telephone!). Whenever i have a new symptom i try to let them see when the symptom goes away so they can have definite proof to use in the darkest of night when they worry the most. Keep tough and there will be better days ahead. This is a great place to get those feelings out because as i said before, been there done that, hate to see others suffer in silence.
    Mary
  • KathiM
    KathiM Member Posts: 8,028
    Sprinkle in a bit of 'WHY ME' (remember, I faced the beast 2 times in 19 months), and you have me pegged in your post.

    Now, 2 years after treatment on the breast cancer, I realize that cancer is a solitary journey...no one understands/can relate completely. Not even other survivors, although our advantage is we have taken that journey before you, and can offer guidance and sympathy.

    Nuff said.

    Hugs, Kathi
  • jams67
    jams67 Member Posts: 925
    I remember feeling the same way. I wanted a closer relationship with my husband. More hugs and instead he went on with life. I made sure when he had cancer this spring that I was there in a way that maybe he couldn't be for me. We all try to be positive, but cancer sucks.
    I'm glad that I could rely on prayer when I was at my lowest.
    Jo Ann
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  • kmygil
    kmygil Member Posts: 876
    Hah! Gail, when I was in the hospital recouperating from my 2nd abdominal cancer surgery last year, my husband called my room one night and here is what he said. "I know it's going to come back, and you're going to be dead within 2 years. What am I going to do without you? (the "poor me" implied)." After I cried at his complete unfeelingness and the fact that my disease seemed to be all about HIM, then I started laughing. I have a lot of fun with it to this day. For instance, when he asks me if we need to do so-and-so for next year, I just answer, "It's up to you, Baby. Remember, I'll be dead!" OK. It's childish, but it sure makes me feel better.... I think the people around us have a harder time. We are occupied with the battle, but they can only do so much and spend the rest of the time wringing their hands and imagining the worst. So forgive. I forgave, but I still use the "Huh? I don't know. I'll be dead." line. LOL!!!
    Kirsten
  • cjf2006
    cjf2006 Member Posts: 83
    I was disappointed with my two sons' reaction to my cancer. They both said, in their own way, "you'll be fine Mom". That was it. Neither of them has ever been the type to open up about what's inside. I got more tears from a deacon at my church whom I hardly knew (I suspect he has had a past experience that caused him to react openly). Over the years, I have realized that it is not because my sons don't care. I have gotten over my disappointment. And I realize that only those who go through the fire understand the struggle. Just don't hold on to bitterness. It will only hurt you more. Forgive them and find someone you can talk to who understands. You're not alone. Many in this forum can relate to what you are experiencing.
  • brn2ride
    brn2ride Member Posts: 32
    it would seem you need to get serenity in your life if for nothing more than your continued good health and recovery. don't ya suppose most people do the best that they can even if it isn't exactly what someone else thinks is the best they can do
    best wishes
  • nowonderwoman
    nowonderwoman Member Posts: 8
    I am glad that I am not the only one with bitter feelings. My mother stormed out of my hospital room right after after my resection because she was not the center of attention. She later told me that she had posted prayer requests on the chat line she goes to and I had people all over the country praying for me. This after she never listened to me and knew very little about my condition. I felt like she was using my illness to get attention for herself. She has not supported me at all in the 18 months I have been battling cancer. I have really been scarred by this but I hope that it will make me more sensitive to others who are going through the same. Thanks for letting me vent.
  • TY2HC
    TY2HC Member Posts: 46
    I think we have all had our life goes on moments and you are just a part of it. When I was in the hospital after surgery, my wife, whom I love very much, had our 1 1/2 year old at home and was teaching all day. Needless to say my cancer sort of got in the way of our lives. Anyway, we were refinancing our house during that time, so I was on the phone with the mortgage company from my hospital bed because that is part of my role in our lives. In fact, she would yell at me about the whole thing while I was there.

    When I got home she told me that she didn't get a vacation, during one of our discussions. I remember at the time I was like WTF is going on. Do you really think I took a CANCER vacation from our lives? But I took a step back and looked at is her response due to the stress of the situation and the answer was yes. I tried not to make a big deal about the what ifs and to be strong and in turn so did she. Maybe that was the wrong approach because I didn't give her the chance to feel and deal with the situation. If you can't tell my wife does not deal with stress well, and this was the biggest stress we could have in our lives.

    Gail, what you are feeling is what you are feeling for right now. You haven't had time to process what has happened because of all of your health concerns. You need to be able to deal with it before your family can. I believe our families/friends try to take cues from us. You get to be angry about the cancer, you get to have the feel sorry for myself moments. This is about you right now. If you would like to vent this is the best place to do it. I hope things get better for you soon and I am here for you.

    Chris
  • pamness
    pamness Member Posts: 519 Member
    Gail - if I remember correctly, you were diagnosed stage I. I wish that had been my diagnoses. I was Stage IIIA, not so horrible, but worse than yours. However, all that aside, I understand how you feel. My whole family rallied around and my relationship with my husband is better than ever before.

    Just the word cancer is so scary that I think it is hard for many to deal with. Perhaps your family took comfort in the fact you diagnoses was the best it could be (cancer wise). Have you thought about seeing a therapist to deal with your feelings? I have been ned for a year, and I notice a difference in concern. My husband just asked what I was responding to, and I told him, his response was "life has to return to normal at some point." What I am trying to say is unless you have been here you haven't done that.

    I totally understand.

    Pam
  • tootsie1
    tootsie1 Member Posts: 5,044 Member
    Thanks, guys! My son got home from a trip tonight, and we ended up having a good talk. I had a pretty good one with my husband, as well. My daughter is the tough nut to crack, because she does NOT like to show her feelings. All I'm looking for is a statement like, "I'm so glad you're okay. Life wouldn't be the same without you." Oh, well. Sounds like a lot of you have had some odd reactions from people as well. I don't think I've ever reacted like that to anyone before my diagnosis, and I sure hope I won't in the future. I took a long walk tonight and cleared my head a bit.

    As I told my son tonight, I grew up in an era when cancer was an automatic death sentence, and people were stunned at a cancer diagnosis, so maybe it's a little different for me than my children. Progress has been made, thank goodness!

    *hugs* to all of you!

    Gail
  • Limey
    Limey Member Posts: 446
    tootsie1 said:

    Thanks, guys! My son got home from a trip tonight, and we ended up having a good talk. I had a pretty good one with my husband, as well. My daughter is the tough nut to crack, because she does NOT like to show her feelings. All I'm looking for is a statement like, "I'm so glad you're okay. Life wouldn't be the same without you." Oh, well. Sounds like a lot of you have had some odd reactions from people as well. I don't think I've ever reacted like that to anyone before my diagnosis, and I sure hope I won't in the future. I took a long walk tonight and cleared my head a bit.

    As I told my son tonight, I grew up in an era when cancer was an automatic death sentence, and people were stunned at a cancer diagnosis, so maybe it's a little different for me than my children. Progress has been made, thank goodness!

    *hugs* to all of you!

    Gail

    Gail, I am glad you are communicating with your family. when i was first dx. My daughter was 17. If I remember correctly, her reaction was hi, get better soon, who is cooking for us when your in hospital. then we moved into the can I still go to so and so's next week? bit unnerving for me.

    today, she is great. Caring, loving and wants to help out. She was trying to deal with the whole package of my daddy is going to die and i can't let him know I am sad.

    I find if I focus on the good in my day, the good in my day becomes my focus.
    I wish you happiness today.
    Mark
  • dn220
    dn220 Member Posts: 79
    Gail, i know esactly how you feel. But only one of my kids has done that. He was in Iraq when I found out I had colorectal cancer but he was not the first time when I found out I had kidney cancer. He never came to see me in the hospital and rarely called. Well that was a year ago this july, then when i got the diagnosis of colon cancer last nov, he was in iraq. I had surgery in march, he got home in April, came to see me for about 2 hours, then I have not seen him since, until this weekend! He lives about 2 hours away but to me, that shouldnt matter. I have cried more over him than anything else so believe me, I know what u mean. Its definitely tough to deal with.
    Deb
  • Moesimo
    Moesimo Member Posts: 1,072
    This whole cancer thing is tough on everyone. I was lucky because my husband, children and family rallied around me. Both of my husbands parents died from cancer. As a nurse I see how sick everyone gets from treatment. My world was turned upside down.

    I am sorry that you are having such a tough time right now.

    Maureen
  • tootsie1
    tootsie1 Member Posts: 5,044 Member
    brn2ride said:

    it would seem you need to get serenity in your life if for nothing more than your continued good health and recovery. don't ya suppose most people do the best that they can even if it isn't exactly what someone else thinks is the best they can do
    best wishes

    Just so you know, I'm NOT bitter all the time. Most people find me amazingly okay with what's happened. I think I'm allowed to be down once in awhile. And I thought this was a good place to vent More power to you, brn2ride, if you can be positive all the time.
  • msccolon
    msccolon Member Posts: 1,917
    Limey said:

    Gail, I am glad you are communicating with your family. when i was first dx. My daughter was 17. If I remember correctly, her reaction was hi, get better soon, who is cooking for us when your in hospital. then we moved into the can I still go to so and so's next week? bit unnerving for me.

    today, she is great. Caring, loving and wants to help out. She was trying to deal with the whole package of my daddy is going to die and i can't let him know I am sad.

    I find if I focus on the good in my day, the good in my day becomes my focus.
    I wish you happiness today.
    Mark

    Mark, my youngest daughter was 17 as well when i was first diagnosed. On top of that, i had just separated from my husband and we were struggling to make house payments while we waited for our home to sell. She had always been a bit spoiled and had been acting up since her father left. But once i was diagnosed, she really stepped up to the plate. My mother was still alive then and was able to come and help care for me, but my daughter did a wonderful job of helping as well. A bad way to grow up, but i am thankful for her maturity in all of it. In fact, when i had the recurrence and both my children came to care for me (my mother passed while i was recovering), they had arguments because my youngest daughter felt she had taken care of me the first time and could darn well do it again! We worked everything out, but it was good to see that the beast had brought us all together rather than pulling us apart.
    Mary
  • JMARIE66
    JMARIE66 Member Posts: 55
    Gail
    I read your post with much interest. My husband was diagnosed w/cc 11/07~stage3b. I remember the doctor saying to keep a positive attitude, so he probably thought I was unsympathetic walking @ like Mary Poppins. Then, when I did ask what was wrong...I would get a reply like, "I have frickin cancer, what do you think is wrong." We have 3 kids and tried to make life at this time as usual as normal. I was trying to not make the cancer the center of our life and keep our usuall schedule as to not revolve everything aound it. Now, don't get me wrong, I took care of everything @the house, with the kids, meals, yard work, and warming his car in the am for him. I wanted him to just focus on getting better. I am going to talk with him and make sure that he is not hurt by our/my actions. It was hard on me too-more emotionally. I cried allot when by myself and prayed and found myself here on this message board. I did not want him to see that side though as I wanted to be strong for him. I am not making excuses for others, but I can tell you~sometimes you don't know what to say and do. I am sure in your families own way, they are all hurt and concerned~sometimes we all just don't know how to show it without breaking down.
  • tootsie1
    tootsie1 Member Posts: 5,044 Member
    JMARIE66 said:

    Gail
    I read your post with much interest. My husband was diagnosed w/cc 11/07~stage3b. I remember the doctor saying to keep a positive attitude, so he probably thought I was unsympathetic walking @ like Mary Poppins. Then, when I did ask what was wrong...I would get a reply like, "I have frickin cancer, what do you think is wrong." We have 3 kids and tried to make life at this time as usual as normal. I was trying to not make the cancer the center of our life and keep our usuall schedule as to not revolve everything aound it. Now, don't get me wrong, I took care of everything @the house, with the kids, meals, yard work, and warming his car in the am for him. I wanted him to just focus on getting better. I am going to talk with him and make sure that he is not hurt by our/my actions. It was hard on me too-more emotionally. I cried allot when by myself and prayed and found myself here on this message board. I did not want him to see that side though as I wanted to be strong for him. I am not making excuses for others, but I can tell you~sometimes you don't know what to say and do. I am sure in your families own way, they are all hurt and concerned~sometimes we all just don't know how to show it without breaking down.

    Your husband was diagnosed the same month I was. Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas, too! I'm sure it was hard on you. I think it would be nice for you to talk to him now, though, just to be sure he knows that you were being strong, but that you're AWFULLY glad he's still around.
    *hugs*