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Cancer and Relatives

Posts: 289
Joined: Jun 2012

Re: Cancer and Relatives

Just wondering whether anyone has experienced this. I have close relatives who would help me in a bad situation. However, they always seem to "hang tough" when it comes to illness; play it down. One is busy with family and children; the others retired and busy. They do not live nearby and we do not talk often. I informed them of my situation with lymphoma and Rituxan infusions and told them that things seem to be going quite well. My "beef" is that I rarely hear from them and thought I would hear more often, considering my situation. They do not seem to realize that going through this, we need some regular support, i.e., on the telephone. My husband is my support. Must branch out.


allmost60's picture
Posts: 3184
Joined: Jul 2010

Hi Nancy,
When I was diagnosed in June of 2010, my immediate and extended family came together and supported me beyond belief. Close friends,in-laws and past co-workers called regularly and offered help in anyway needed. But...as time went by and my first line chemo (CVP-R) was completed the concern started to dwindle. I have 7 sisters spread out all over the country and the calls from them (in the beginning) came on a daily basis. Not now though...once they realized I wasn't going to kick the bucket they went back to their own lives and now call sporadically. My immediate family, hubby, sons and my closest friends have stood by me from day one and still do. I think what happens is once we show signs of improvement and as we get back to a somewhat normal life ourselves, it automatically sends a sign that all is going to be well, so others then go back to their daily lives, thinking we don't need them anymore. The immediate crisis is over, so life goes on....I assume is what they think. My past co-workers rarely call and my sisters have gone back to just calling on Birthdays, Christmas, etc. I'm ok with it and I don't take it personally. It is what it is, and I understand that people don't want to think about cancer on a daily basis. I think as a rule we can count on one hand the folks that truely "get it", and if those few people are family members, then we just need to count our blessings that they are still standing with us. I truely believe that only someone that has had, or is still dealing with cancer, can truely understand what we are going through. They have been there and done that, and "get it". Support groups like this are a huge help because everyone "gets it". Take care Nancy, and try not to take things too personally...it's hard not to, but as long as our spouses and children hang in there for us, we will be fine. Love...Sue

Posts: 289
Joined: Jun 2012


Thanks for the thoughtful post. I think you are right. I cannot change things re the family, and as you say, "it is what it is." I am not one to talk about cancer much; have known about it since early May of this year. My husband and I have become somewhat isolated, and have never been on the phone with the family frequently. I thought things would change. Nope. At this point, he is my support. I have thought recently that I need a sister, but you have seven...............! I have one brother who checks in about once a month.

I have been lucky thus far with the Rituxan and blood tests, so I should not complain.

Lucky to have a support group like this where people know what we are talking about.


jimwins's picture
Posts: 2111
Joined: Aug 2011

Hi Nancy,

I agree with Sue. My experience has been similar.



Posts: 289
Joined: Jun 2012

Hi Jim:

Good to hear from you.

You and Sue are right I think.


anliperez915's picture
Posts: 772
Joined: Sep 2011

Everything Sue said is so true, As long as my hubby, kids, and brothers are there for me I don't care if I don't hear from aunts or cousins.
Hang in there sweetie and you know that we're always here for you!


Posts: 289
Joined: Jun 2012

Hello Liz:

I am hanging in there.

Was in a state of denial through tests earlier this year until I got my diagnosis, but am doing well thus far with Rituxan. I should not complain. (Knock on Wood!)

Thank you for your note.


Anonymous user (not verified)

My family experience has been "passively supportive". I have not lost my hair and you cannot see the pain I have and I try to never complain. If I am asked to go fishing I simply say I am busy if I don't feel like going. I get up and keep up my grooming. It makes some people think I am not even sick. And thats good. I doubt any of us wants pity but shows of concern are comforting. I have noticed my neices and nephews seem to feel very ill at ease around me. I used to get happy hugs from them, now they seem more somber. Never let 'em see you sweat! Especially not at 2 AM! My feeling is that "We gotta walk that lonesome valley" alone. That is best because we show people we love how strong people behave in difficult situations. That will help others, especially younger people, deal with their own challenges better. Didn't mean to make this about me but I hope it gives you one of what I am sure are many different ways to deal with these things.

Posts: 289
Joined: Jun 2012


Thanks for your note.

I do not talk much about Lymphoma. It sometimes seems like a "Don't ask. Don't tell." situation. Actually, thus far I am doing OK. Hope it lasts.

Sounds as if you are very uncomfortable and putting up a brave, silent front. I think that possibly to remain silent too much might not be good. For many people, I think that it helps to talk. Just a thought from my perspective.

I hope things improve for you.


Gina 1009's picture
Gina 1009
Posts: 14
Joined: Aug 2012

Hi Nancy:

I was reading your comments and I have found similar situations. My husband and daughter have been so loyal, going to the treatments with me every time, and I never asked them to. My daughter took off work every three weeks to be with us that day. My last treatment was October 30th and my daughter brought flowers to celebrate that day. I so appreciate them but I do find not everyone is going to be like this. I have been very careful who I tell that I went through this because, as my bio says, I felt like the subject would be the "elephant in the room". I have some wonderful friends through church and they have been supportive. My cousin is a20 year breast cancer survivor and we are closer than ever-we find humour to be a wonderful interaction with each other.

I find that the most surprising thing is that the people I thought would be the most supportive kind of backed off the whole situation. I do believe it is very hard, and understandably so, for individuals to understand the situation we are in physically, emotionally, and every other way too. I have a friend since grade school I am still friends with and I only recently wrote her what was going on. Her reply was "I feel bad you didn't tell me sooner" and that has been about it since I gave her the news. I feel some people are afraid to bring it up, some love us and can't deal with it, and others just have the busy life to deal with and it isn't a priority. My son and I had a long talk about his real feelings and he told me he had asked a breast cancer survivor what should he do? She told him not to treat me like a patient and she was very correct about that.

I agree with you about the remaining silent too much might not be good and talking helps. I go to a therapist anyway and she already had experience with cancer survivors so I believe this helped me enormously.

I wish you well and hope everything will be looking up for you!

diazr1's picture
Posts: 101
Joined: Mar 2012

The ones that cant handle it will shy away. My brother hasnt talk to me in 3 years

Posts: 289
Joined: Jun 2012

Hello Gina:

I do not know as many people as you do, just a small number. I think you are right, some people do not understand and do not quite know what to say. As I guess I posted, I am not in close contact with my relatives and they live at a distance. But I did hope that they would check in more frequently now. I have tried to put on a very positive front; maybe I have been too upbeat, but things have been going well thus far with Rituxan. (knocking on wood, again). The breast cancer survivor who told your son not to treat you like a patient was right, I think.

I go to a psychologist, and it is very helpful just to talk. Just to get stuff off your chest, even if you solve nothing. And it is great to know that we can speak to folks here, too.

I hope everything goes well for you.


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