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Just Not Feeling?!

AshleyWF's picture
Posts: 46
Joined: Aug 2011

I’m not sure what’s struck me, but the past week, being hit with more news, It’s as though I’m just not feeling.

I have posted many times on the Brain Cancer discussion board, sharing and gathering information for my boyfriend and for myself with his grade II Oligodendroglioma at 29 years of age. When this all started I was very emotional, very angry, it would hit me in waves! Then as I would learn, I became more calm, but it was still always with me. Now I have received the call that my grandpa has colon cancer. No one had wanted to tell me (they all knew for a while) but in fear of how I would react because of my boyfriend’s cancer, they left me out of the loop. I cried for a few minutes and then…. Nothing.

I have been able to speak of my boyfriend’s cancer the past few days as though it does not affect me, I have been able to speak of my grandpa like nothing is happening. Just serious, to the point and on I go without a thought in mind. I’m not sure I can explain it right without sounding as though I’m heartless. I feel nothing. I’m not upset. I’m not emotional. I’m not angry. I’m not sad… I am nothing!

Have I finally cracked? I do know, I can speak of everything involving it, everything surrounding it, but the word cancer is like vomit out of my mouth. I feel sick every time I have to say it.

Not sure there is even a way to respond to this. Just felt the need to vent. When does it stop?!

How can I be the type of support needed for both the loved ones in my life if I'm unable to even show care or concern? It's there, but somthing has been so different since the news of my grandpa.

palmyrafan's picture
Posts: 397
Joined: Mar 2011


I am a brain cancer patient and you are experiencing what many caregivers go through. You are not abnormal, uncaring or unfeeling. What you are is human and you are setting limits and boundaries you didn't know you needed or had. There is nothing wrong with that. You are also starting to accept that which you can not change. Again, a normal part of the process.

Make sure you take time for yourself and do "normal" things. Just because the patients have lost their "normal" doesn't mean you have to as well. And just because you may choose to do something that doesn't require you to be a caregiver 24/7 doesn't mean you don't care. You do care, you are just protecting yourself and acknowledging that you have limitations too.

Hang in there sweetheart. Am praying for you.


Posts: 1846
Joined: Aug 2010

Welcome to the world of survival, Ashley. You must visit here if you hope to maintain your sanity and your ability to help these two men you love.

You are okay. You are learning to compartmentalize some important things in your life.

And cancer is just an awful thief, robbing you of a "normal" relationship with your boyfriend, one untainted by the care and concern cancer has brought. It is costing you peace of mind regarding your grandfather.

Feel what you feel, let go of what you need to and just realize you are not alone in feeling this way.

Hugs, Ashley.

ddpekks's picture
Posts: 162
Joined: Sep 2011

I, too, went through the feelings you are going through. My emotional rollercoaster even flew off the tracks a few times. When I became unemotional, business like, my children thought I had gone off the deep end, finally. I tried to tell them not to worry but then, I really didn't care if they worried or not. (I didn't tell them that, but that's how I felt). I came here and started screaming, crying, venting, whatever you want to call it and found that I, too, was normal. That there are so many ways to sort things out.

You are dealing with it however you can and that is O.K. Based on my experience that will change, but don't push it. Let it happen and while your boyfriend and your granpa adjust to their new normal, so will you. By you asking the question of how can you be their support shows that you want to and you will.


Posts: 120
Joined: Aug 2011


Funny you should post this topic. I have felt this way so often - somedays I joke with people that I can now fully understand schizophrenia because of how often the emotional 'light switch' is turned off adn I compartmentalize. I go from being a caregiver to my 37 year old husband with stage IV esophageal cancer to making snacks and doing homework with our 8 and 12 year old. It is NOT that I am an uncaring person, it is totaly about survival. I MUST put one foot in front of the other and keep moving through life. My children still need their mother to function fully and completely and my husband requires SO much - with only more to come in the very near future. It is all about survival. I have gotten frustrated at times when people have commented about how 'strong' I am - as though I have a choice on strength - no, I am surviving. I am doing what needs to be done.

Two nights ago I found a lump in my right breast - small, hard, immobile - I barely flinched at the discovery. I, too, have nothing emotional to give to that. As my husband nears the end of his life and will pass on, my children will be one hearbeat away from being orphans and I feel nothing about the highly suspicious lump. I will get it looked at soon, but i feel nothing - no sadness, no fear, no anger - nothin'

So, Ashley - as this sight is appropriately named, you are a survivor - you may not be the one with cancer, but you are surviving every single day and doing what you need to do.

Whitney wife of Kevin
stage IVb EC

jimwins's picture
Posts: 2111
Joined: Aug 2011

Hi Whitney,

Please get those checked out!
'Nuff said :).



jimwins's picture
Posts: 2111
Joined: Aug 2011

I pretty much agree with what everyone has shared.
Sometimes you just go on "auto pilot" to get through
everything. It's normal I think.

I wish you and yours well and send big hugs,


LivinginNH's picture
Posts: 1456
Joined: Apr 2010

You know, I really wish I had started reading the discussions on this board sooner than two weeks ago. After reading your posts I feel that my emotions are a bit more normal now - I thought that I was simply losing my mind. I have so many emotional ups and downs that I just feel numb on most days. I don't really care about much anymore, except for my Rick of course, and couldn't care less if I live or die(a sign of depression I suppose). I'm sure my co-workers have noticed a change too, but they stay away from me now too. It's as if people think that cancer is contagious or maybe I remind them of their own mortality. I've also lost five formally good friends since Rick's diagnosis. Two I've known since High School, and three from college. They disappeared from my life when I needed them the most. Now I only have one long distance friend and my elderly mother, and no one else for support. Has anyone else experienced this kind of abandonment by people you thought were your lifelong friends? I have to admit that I feel rather hurt, but I try to dismiss the thoughts since these "friends" shouldn't matter anymore. Well, anyway, thanks for listening...have to get back to living life in "auto-pilot" mode. Hugs to all, Cynthia

AshleyWF's picture
Posts: 46
Joined: Aug 2011

Sorry it took so long to reply here.

Thank you so much for validating my seemingly lack of emotion, I truly felt like I had finally snapped.

I am going to be more gentle with myself, allow myself to feel the 1000 emotions are brought my way during a 30 second period at times. You are right, just as those around me who have been diagnosed are adjusting to new normal, I am as well. I have a 7 year old son I need to stay strong for as well, I guess I am just in survival mode, protector mode, caregiver mode… EVERYTHING AT ONCE mode. It’s amazing what your mind and body can do just to survive.

My heart goes out to you all. I wish in a way we all never had to meet, none of us never had to search for this discussion board, but here we are. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your families. Thank you for taking the time to respond and support me. It means the world.

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