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Picture of Topic Friends and family


Topic Friends and family

For anyone supporting someone else with cancer

  • 156 conversations

Feeling useless

Started by Anonymous on 02 November 2016 at 13:43

One of my closest friend overcame breast cancer 4 years ago, only to be diagnosed now with multiple brain tumours of one of the worse kind(leptomengial spread). She has been told pallative care is all that can be offered and whilst she hasnt been given a life expectancy she knows she hasnt got long. She is 44 years old , married with 2 children. Always a strong person whos mindset has always been 'what will be will be' , this has knocked her for six and she is extremely emotional. I am completely devastated and finding it hard to come to terms with her diagnosis. It is like I am mourning her already and I only want to mourn when its time to. I feel useless that I am unable to make it better for her. Is this normal? What have you used as a coping mechanism? I dont want to be crying all the time, yet I am. : (

Comments (1)

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  • Picture of SusieQ
    From SusieQ  
    02 November 2016 at 14:21


    First of all, please don't be hard on yourself. The news about your friend sounds devastating, and a great deal for you to absorb.

    She clearly values your friendship, and it's natural that you'll want to support her. You'll be absorbing her emotional pain at the moment, and perhaps putting yourself in her shoes, imagining how awful this is for her.

    Something people do experience at times like this is 'anticipatory grief' - grieving for losses yet to come, and those that are already happening, particularly as your friend may be experiencing symptoms. (You may find the blog 'cancer and anticipatory grief' helpful to read).

    Sometimes, there are things in life that we can't fix...and this creates an understandable sense of helplesslessness. Crying sounds a natural response to the sad nature of what your friend is having to deal with. Admit to your friend that you're feeling upset on her behalf, but you'll help in whatever way you can.

    Give yourself space and time to work through the intense set of emotions you're feeling. Simply by being her friend, you're already providing support (andd therefore not useless in any way).

    If you'd like to talk anything through more privately, I'll be in touch by personal message. I don't know if you live near one of our Maggie's Centres - you'd be welcome to drop in and meet with people who will understand what you're going through too...

    Warm wishes



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