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Unsupportive family

Posts: 10
Joined: Aug 2010

My 38 year old husband is having surgery next weeks for Kidney Cancer. We have 2 children, one who just turned 9 and a 4 year old. I have 5 brothers and sisters and not one of them has called or emailed me since this whole thing started 5 weeks ago. My Mom has told them what is happening so I know they know what is going on but I cannot believe they have not offered a little support or even kind works. What is wrong with them? I should say that my SIL has emailed me once to see how things are so that was nice. Don't they wonder how we are doing or how their niece and nephew are? My mom is going to watch the kids for during the surgery for me, but I have nobody to sit with me during the surgery so I guess I will be all alone. My husband's brother already said he wouldn't make it for the surgery and his parents also won't bother to come. We still have to tell the kids about all of this but wanted to wait until after my son's B Day which is today. I know my 4 year old won't understand much, but what do you think we should say to the 9 year old? I am also assuming they should just stay in school and not be at the hospital for the surgery, does that seem right?

davexx's picture
Posts: 55
Joined: Sep 2010

PB,Just a few words to let you know someone is listening. I,m new to this caregiver so I,m not to experienced. All I can tell you is we feel your pain and believe things will get better.I,m sure someone will be along on the board shortly to offer help but I just wanted to let you know someone hears you. God Bless you all. Dave

Posts: 1852
Joined: Aug 2010

Let me echo the welcome you have already received, pb. I'm sorry you find yourself here but there are many supportive individuals who post here regularly.

As a mom, I agree your young children will be better off at school than at the hospital, which we all know can start out as a four hour event and turn into an all day one. Not a good place for little ones. You will have less to worry about if you know they are sticking to their schedule with your mom backing you up.

As to what you tell your children: the truth. Their dad is sick and is going to the hospital where the doctors will try to make him better. They don't need lots of details right now and, frankly, that would be a moving target. Things and plans for treatment can change so much in the course of a single day that I don't even explain a lot of things to my friends who ask. Just the minimum to satisfy their curiousity and to be polite.

Why your family and your husband's are not being supportive - can't answer that one for you. Perhaps they are terrified of cancer or hospitals or sickness in general? Perhaps they have always been insensitive and you are just now having to face it? In any event, it will not affect the outcome of your day or what you will do.

I do wish someone could be with you for support - try to think of a friend or your minister or somebody who can sit with you - hopefully, you will be in a surgical waiting room surrounded by lots of people, some of whom will also be alone. Look for them.

If you have a laptop, take it with you.

That way, we can all be with you!

Posts: 829
Joined: Aug 2010

PB, I can't believe how none of your brothers & sisters have contacted you. Don't know why people are so uncaring. My husband passed away in March & he had a weird family. His brother never asked how I was at the funeral and hasn't called me since. Wish I was there to sit with you during the surgery. Think positive, okay? What exactly are they doing? My brother had kidney cancer about 6 years ago and had 1 kidney removed. He's doing fine so hope that will encourage you a little. As for what to tell your nine year old, wait & see how your hubby is doing. Even at 9 it's a scarey thing for kids. Keep posting okay?

grandmafay's picture
Posts: 1639
Joined: Aug 2009

I can only echo others' thoughts and welcome. I agree that the children should be told the truth. They do worry especially when they know something is wrong and don't know what it is. I also agree that school is the best place for them during surgery. Do ask a friend to come sit with you during surgery if you can think of someone you are comfortable with. I am sorry that the relatives are not being supportive. Sometimes people don't know what to say, so they stay silent. Are any of your brother and sisters nearby? Have you asked if one of them will come be with you during surgery?Sometimes you just need to ask. People have strange ideas about cancer at times and think that they are invading your privacy if they comment on it. You say that your mother has relayed information, maybe they are waiting for you to talk to them. I am also guessing that they don' have any idea how scared you are. Those here do understand that. Even when we are given the best prognosis those first few weeks after hearing the word cancer are just plain scary. All those what ifs are floating around in your head. For now, take this one day at a time, and don't be afraid to as for help. Most people want to help, they often just don't know how. Take care, Fay

Posts: 146
Joined: May 2009

Not now--you have enough on your plate--but at some point you may want to alert the guidance counselors in our children's schools to the situation. Teachers (those who care) will be glad to know about it so they can be supportive if the children need it.

If you don't have a minister available, every hospital has a chaplain's office. If you tell them your situation, I would think they would gladly come and sit with you for at least a little while.

Also, if you don't have a home church, be sure to contact a church in your area. They should be able to put you on the prayer chain. The pastor there may be able to come and sit with you or visit for a few minutes. (Pastors can get overwhelmed with work, but most who really care will make the effort to help total strangers as much as they can.)

Speaking for myself, take a coat since waiting rooms always have a lot of a/c.

No matter how your family reacts (I've been there), remember that there are people here who care and understand.

zinniemay's picture
Posts: 534
Joined: Mar 2009

I am in the same boat I have four brothers and one sister . The brother don't bother and my sister calls to tell me how bad she has it. I have decided with all that is going on , Maybe it is better to just not think about them. The ones that care will be there .We are older 57 years , none of either of our families live near. My husband have cane the first time Chemo and Rads was march 2009 till May now this time Still no one there. He has a brother two sisters only one has called him. So I know how you are feeling . Seams the people we need the most are the ones that care the least.
I would try not to worry about them .I know easier said than done. But it is a waste to let them get you down. I know that is hard .
Your Childred. My husband was 9 when his mother died of cancer. They did not let him see her . For him that has hurt him all his life. At nine they have some understanding of what is going on. So I would talk you him and see how you can work on this with him as part of the process. I am only saying this going bu things my husband has said over our 37 years of marriage. He needed to be there . But you will have to decide for your self how much you can and should tell him. My husband still even at his age does not understand why he could not go see his mom. So if nothing else I would talk to him about what is going on. My two cents.

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