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Picture of Topic Friends and family


Topic Friends and family

For anyone supporting someone else with cancer

  • 156 conversations

Feeling numb

Started by Anonymous on 18 November 2016 at 10:01
Edited on 18 November 2016 at 10:01

Hi this is my first time here and I don't know what to do! My mum has stage4 lung cancer. She had surgery last December and we were told they caught it all. Then in July we were told it had come back and needed chemo. She had three rounds of palliative chemo out of six and on Wednesday she told the doctor that she doesn't want to have anymore. She has a follow up appointment in four weeks. When we left the hospital I felt as though we were rushed out and now I feel numb. What do we do now? It's as though the cancer has gone away! I know full well it hasn't but that's the best way to describe it! Has anyone else had a relative refuse anymore chemo? If so how did you feel? Are my feelings perfectly normal? How do I manage my feelings? I know I may sound selfish but if I can manage my feelings then I can help mum manage hers. Sorry for such a long post!

Comments (2)

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  • From Anonymous
    18 November 2016 at 15:18


    I'm so sorry to hear about your Mum.  I don't know if my experience will help but I will share it just in case.  I lost my Mum to stage 4 lung cancer and I remember when she was ill being absolutely terrrified all the time of losing her.  She had radiotherapy which helped ease the symptoms (it had spread to her brain and was causing terrible headaches) and then she had 2 of what was supposed to be a cycle of 4 chemotherapy treatments.  We lost her after the 2nd treatment due to side effects caused by the chemotherapy.  We were all so desperate to have her with us for as long as possible, we were terrified of losing her, I am sure I would have felt the same way as you if she had decided to stop treatment.  Looking back if I knew then what I know now I wish she hadn't had the chemotherapy, it made her so ill, the side effects were so bad, the time we had wasn't quality time, maybe without the chemo we would have had a few months with mum to just do some nice things, make memories that would have been a comfort to us now, but instead from the day she she started chemo she was either in hospital or at home mostly sleeping or in bed not feeling well, it was almost as if we had already lost her.  I, like you, wanted to get my emotions under control because I was desperate not to spend whatever time she had crying all the time, I went to see a psychologist at a cancer care centre and she gave me some breathing exercises etc to help me stay calm when I started to panic, which happened a lot at that time.

    A very dear friend who had lost her mum gave me some good advice which I will share with you.  In the time you have now cherish her, love her, drink her in.  I took a little video of my mum on her birthday because my friend said she didn't have any recordings of her mum and missed the sound of her voice.  I couldn't contemplate a world without my mum in it, but that psychologist told me that when I lost her it wouldn't be the end of the relationship, just the end of the psysical relationship, I still talk to my mum, I write things to her a my journal, I knew her so well I usually know what she would say back to me.  I thought the world would end when I lost her but it just kept on spinning, I take it a day at a time.

    Try to stay in the moment, don't think of the past or the future but be in the present with her now.

    Take are and be kind to yourself,


  • Picture of SusieQ
    From SusieQ  
    18 November 2016 at 12:47


    It's been an awful year for you, and having supported your mum throughout her cancer treatment, it may feel like a body blow to know she's now decided not to have any more treatment.

    The feelings she's expressing may be down to the chemotherapy itself...palliative chemotherapy is there to hold things back, and ease symptoms...hopefully to increase the quality of life, but not necessarily the quantity. She may be finding the side effects so unpleasant and wearisome, that she feels she needs to stop.

    Asking her back in a month, when her chemo symptoms may have settled, makes her chance to reflect on her decision. It may be, however,  that she has thought this through very carefully, and decided that for her, being treatment free for whatever time is left, is the way forward.

    As a loving daughter, that can be so hard to hear. From the perspective of someone who feels well, declining treatment may seem very illogical...but from the perspective of someone with cancer that's not getting better, it may make perfect sense.

    What may be hurting very much, in all of this, is the fear of losing her, and that she may not be taking every chance to live as long as possible. Are you and the family able to talk openly with your mum, to hear what she's feeling? It sounds as though you were all bustled out rather quickly from the appointment, when there was still much to be said and discussed.

    I dont know if you live near one of our Maggie's Centres, but this is perhaps a good place to drop in and talk through how you've been left feeling. They'll also be able to give you some strategies to help handle the powerful emotional trumoil you're experiencing. You're not selfish at all...the thought of losing someone we care about, a parent particularly, can be devastating.

    You may fnd it helpful to join our online Family, partners and friends support group, to realise you're not alone in how you're feeling today. (for details of our support groups/courses and workshops simply click here).

    Anyone reading your message, either with cancer, or as a carer, is welcome to add their support and comments to your conversation post - you need to hear you're not on your own..and that others have been where you are today...

    Meanwhile, you might like to message Robyn or myself to talk things through...I'll send you a message to introduce myself...

    Warm wishes


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