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'Today I am feeling' - managing emotions

Share how you are feeling and swap tips for managing stress with other members and the online team

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Family support or lack of

Started by Anonymous on 01 August 2017 at 01:26

I was diagnosed with Primary breast cancer in March and had a mastectomy on April 7th. Five days later I was admitted to hospital and had emergency surgery to release a blockage in my bowel. The operation showed secondary cancer in my bowel, stomach, bones, ovaries and fallopian tubes. I can round from the operation with a stoma bag and also had kidney stents inserted. Initially I coped well with the diagnosis and treatment - a new targeted drug as opposed to chemotherapy. I returned to work in early July as my sick leave had ended and I couldn't afford not to work. I live with my two children, 22 and 20, one at university and the older one recently graduated. My partner of 4 years moved in last June and his daughter in September. She's 18 and is sleeping on the sofa because we don't have enough bedrooms. My 82 year old mother has also lived with me for the past 9 years. We have 2 dogs aged 2 and 8 months and an ancient cat. We are in the process of moving house so everyone has their own space. To say I am overwhelmed with my home situation would the understatement of all time. 

I recently asked my sister, younger than me and living alone, if she would have my mum to live with her to ease the stress and initially she seemed okay with the idea. However yesterday, having had a couple of days to reflect, she told me that ut would not be a good idea for mum to move in with her as it would upset her too much and she'd be hurt I didn't want her. She basically chucked issue back over the fence to me without any suggestion of how she could help alleviate the stress. Then proceeded to unleash years of pent up complaints about me and the way I've treated her over the last few years. This is someone who in the last 4 months has initiated one phone call and 5 text conversations about how I'm feeling because she 'can't cope' with my illness. I feel devasted and find myself snapping at my partner and his daughter. I don't know what to do next. I'm not sleeping and find it difficult to imagine what the future will be like. My mum hates my step daughter who is lazy and unhelpful and the situation in the house is very tense and unhappy. 

Sorry for length of post I feel I need outside support. Rant over!

Comments (3)

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  • From Anonymous
    08 August 2017 at 10:40
    Edited on: 08 August 2017 at 10:42

    I'm amazed that you've coped so well with a domestic situation that would overwhelm many fit and healthy people. However, your health and wellbeing at this difficult time must be a priority, otherwise you may be at risk of undermining your recovery. Don't be afraid to ask for help from others in the household - they're all adults!

    I think you should start by explaining how you're feeling, in a calm manner, to your partner. Try to get them onboard in helping to find solutions. You shouldn't be trying to do everything yourself.

    Regarding your sister, perhaps she's afraid that she'll be stuck with her mother long-term, so isn't willing to help for that reason. Could she take one of the children instead, on a temporary basis, so that your step-daughter wouldn't then have to sleep on the sofa. Regardless of whether or not she's lazy, it must be very difficult for her coming into this situation. It's not surprising that there are tensions.

    I hope you can quickly resolve these issues, as you deserve better than this.

    Best Wishes

    Keith


  • From Anonymous
    06 August 2017 at 00:55

    its funny how family members 'have other lives to deal with' when you need them most.  Over 17 years ago my mum had breast cancer- I worked full time, my sister part time.  I lived 10 miles away from mum, my sister 5 mins walking. She had a family - I didn't.......so I took mum to appointments...shopping.....stayed with her..........phoned her ETC and at end (when mum passed) I felt sad she had gone, but somehow 'happy' in a loose term, that I had done my best. And that is all ANY of us can do.

    You are doing a brilliant job.......... it seems to me that others are happy to let one person cope.............YET THEY think themselves as strong. WE are the strong ones...........they moan, fuss, stamp their feet   don't 'pull their weight'........... we get on with what is needed to be done in a quiet way.    just remember..........YOU ARE THE BETTER PERSON and YES, they should help and NO, you should not need to ask...............I send you my best wishesXX

    Sue


  • Picture of SusieQ
    From SusieQ  
    01 August 2017 at 10:05
    Edited on: 01 August 2017 at 10:15

    Hello,

    I'm full of admiration, about how you've managed to this point. It sounds as though you're a warm person who opened your doors to welcome everyone...family, different generations, the animals...

    In the midst of this, you have had the trauma of a cancer diagnosis, and all the secondary problems associated with it. This perhaps would have been the point where everyone else rallied round, but perhaps you've always been seen as the strong one? The coper?

    Moving house, holding down a job, and managing the challenging family dynamics would be a handful on its own...but in the background, you have the challenges of living with cancer, and the uncertain future. It sounds a tough time, and I'm not surprised you needed to let off some steam.

    I'm wondering who is there for you? Have you a place you can go, and take time out - people to talk to, where your needs and emotions come first? If you live near one of our Maggie's Centres, you'd be welcome to drop in...talk about your situation, and have support for you. You may also, for example, be able to review your financial situation, and check you're getting all the benefits and allowances you're entiteld to. (We also have Tom, (Tombenefits) here online, who you could message with any queries).

    The household sounds very tense at the moment...and maybe a family 'conference' where everyone has a chance to say how they feel (including you), acknowledging the challenges, and listening to each other...might just help clear the air. Your sister sounds like responsibility overwhelms her. Although it's been hurtful, perhaps it's better to find out now that she wouldnt cope with your mum there, rather than a week or two in.

    If she calms down, maybe she could offer a temporary bed for your mum, whilst the move happens - and relieve the pressure a bit.

    I'll message you to introduce myself - and welcome any of our online visitors input and encouragement for you - in this challenging situation....

    I hope this morning feels a bit easier...

    Warm wishes

    Sue


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