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survivors guilt

Posts: 8
Joined: May 2014

Can't seem to get past this issue. I was diagnosed july 2013. Surgery in august followed by chemo starting in september. I remember getting each bit of news and saying ok ok ok. There was always a feeling of disconnect. It still hasnt sunk in that I have cancer and all this is happening to ME. My first brother died in sept of last year while I was just starting chemo. He was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer and had been battling it for 5 years. We didnt have the best relationship, but I did get to tell him I loved him right before he died. I lost my second brother to squamous cell carcinoma in january of this year. By the time they found it, it had spread all over. He ended up in hospice at the local VA. My sisters and I were with him for his final days and minutes. He actually waited for his daughters to leave to get something to eat then he died peacefully. I was caught early. I got through surgery and chemo pretty well. I have no doubt this was the end of my cancer. Why did my brothers and others have to go through what they did and I was spared? I didnt even loose all my hair for petes sake! I'm not looking for pity. Just wanted to "say" some things out loud. Cancer SUCKS SUCKS SUCKS. HATE IT HATE IT HATE IT. Thanks for letting me rant. You think you're handling things well, then bam. Cancer sucks.

marbleotis's picture
Posts: 715
Joined: Mar 2012

try a new perspective.  I am still here because - ?? now answer that question.

I think:  

  • I have work yet to do,
  • I have to help people with their cancer challenges,
  • I have to share my story so someone else goes for that colonoscopy BEFORE 50.
  • I have to really live the life I was given.
  • I need to stop everyday and look at and smell the roses!

This may sound nutty, but it really helped me.

It turns "survivor's guilt" into "survivor's strenth"  Try it and let me know if it helps.

And yes cancer sucks, and another thing I do is I never capitalize "cancer".  It doesn't deserve it!

Posts: 8
Joined: May 2014

Thank you. Seems I'm having a crummy day for no good reason. Tired and my joints hurt and I want to dig in my garden. It's hard to explain things to family and friends sometimes. Thanks again for an understanding ear. 

Posts: 1282
Joined: Apr 2012

We get everything for a reason.  Just think, You woun't recognize your good days if you didn't have some crummy ones to compare them to!!! LOL

Lovekitties's picture
Posts: 3372
Joined: Jan 2010

You and your family have had more to deal with than most when it comes to cancer.  For that I am truely sorry.

But you must not feel guilty for surviving, when others didn't.  Each person is different, even in a family situation such as yours.  While my sister had a different kind of cancer than I did, and was 12 years younger, it took her life and I am still here.

Early warning signs may or may not be present.  The overall general health of the individuals plays a role as well.

I hope that your sisters will be vigilant and have colonoscopies.

We are each left here on earth an unknown amount of time.  For those of us who survive, it is our job to urge others to be tested and support those who are in the fight.

You are welcome to vent here any time.  We all do.  And we of all the people you may know, actually understand.

Wishing you and your sisters the best,

Marie who loves kitties

Posts: 8
Joined: May 2014

I tell myself the same things, but there it always is in the back of my mind. My daughters still have their mother. For this I am grateful. My husband still has the one woman who will put up with him. I remind him he should be grateful (te-he). Thank you Marie

Helen321's picture
Posts: 1428
Joined: May 2012

To me it's just pure dumb luck who lives and who dies.  Some people change how they eat and still die, some never change a thing and live.  It's luck of the draw.  Maybe your emotions are a part of grieving your siblings.  That's a lot of loss in such a short time.  I hope you let go of the guilt.  The whole concept is such a hard one.  It makes us all realize, yes we have control but really how much?  Yes we can make good choices but it may not help in the end.  We're not immortal, we're human and to some extent we have to let life happen and not worry because then we're wasting yet another day.  All we can do is hope our choices work.  Such a roller coaster ride.  I would never want my siblings to feel guilty for living.  Live, laugh, love!  It's the whole point of fighting.  I bet they were so happy when they heard you were okay.  They'd still want you to be okay.

marbleotis's picture
Posts: 715
Joined: Mar 2012

and sometimes allow yourself to have a little bit of a crappy day/minute/second.

ron50's picture
Posts: 1729
Joined: Nov 2001

   The sidewajk, the patio and life. Some of us just fall thru the cracks. Having said that , we don't all land in a bed of roses. Life goes on.. Ron.

Phil64's picture
Posts: 838
Joined: Apr 2012

We don't know the master plan in life. But I believe there is a plan nevertheless. And some how the pieces of the puzzle all fit together.

Enjoy tihe time I am given.  Try to use if for good. And for Love.

These are part of my creed.

Blessings to you.


Posts: 1019
Joined: Aug 2013

My brother had non-hodgkins lymphoma in 2000 and now is battling stage 4 rectal cancer. He is the only boy in a family of four. We all wonder, why him? He is one of the sweetest people I know. I have to believe that God has plans for him. I know his disease has made me vigilant with my family and friends about getting colonoscopies. You have had a lot of loss. I am sorry for your loss. All I can say is there is some master plan out there for each of us. I know I am here to help my dad and brother and to nurture my family. I know it in my heart. Dad and Uncle Buddy could not do this alone. We all play some part in the master plan. You will figure it out.



Sandi1's picture
Posts: 278
Joined: Aug 2008

I know exactly how you feel! although i'm not the one who is sick, my husband is.



Posts: 8
Joined: May 2014

Hi Sandi. So sorry to hear your story. I don't know how I would be as a caregiver. I know how I am with my children when they get sick. But the idea of caring for a loved one going thru cancer and all the uncertainties.....you go ahead and have your mad, angry days. I know after I got my diagnosis, my mindset kinda shifted. Yes I get my poor me or mad as hell days. But I also came to grips with what if my time is short. I'm not afraid as I thought I'd be. I remember reading the book "The Celestine Prophecy" that says we have the life we are given for a reason. Whether it is to change things ourselves or influence someone to do something, we all contribute to the betterment of mankind somehow with our life. Maybe because of what I've gone thru I've altered my daughters path to a better one. Neat thought. Giving you a "mind" hug!!!   Mary

Nana b's picture
Nana b
Posts: 3045
Joined: May 2009

I hope you are done with cancer, and that you won!  Don't feel guilty instead embrace your luck and live.  That's what us survivors want,  to live.   I've lived 6 years with this cancer, and right now I just want to help others and count my blessings for living this long with cancer. 


Don't not ever give up, life is too precious. So sorry for your loss. 

annalexandria's picture
Posts: 2573
Joined: Oct 2011

as my sister died from cancer at the age of 44, just one year after diagnosis.  She left behind her son, who was only 13 at the time.

I got dx'ed at the same age, had a lot of spread just as she did, looked like I would be dying as well...then didn't, largely due to having a couple of great surgeons.  I've been NED for 2 1/2 years, just went to my nephew's college graduation.  My sister should have been there instead of me.

It's so hard trying to wrap our brains around this sort of thing.  It all seems so unfair.  For me, the only way I could handle it was just to leave out the "why" all together.  I stopped asking why I got cancer, why my sister got it, why I lived and she died.  It made things easier.

I don't know how many times I've said "It is what it is" over the last five years.  That has become my new philosophy of life.

Big hugs coming your way, and condolences on the loss of your siblings.


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