any suggestions on how to strengthen coping skills

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any suggestions on how to strengthen coping skills

by tricial on Sat Aug 21, 2010 09:45 AM

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I have been so all over the board emotionally since my sister passed away on 4/14/10 and completely distraught and overwhelmed about my brother who is presently struggling with stage 4 kidney and stomach cancer that I feel at times as if I'm losing my mind.  A very good friend bought me the book "on death and dying" in hopes that I would understand some of the emotions I was feeling and realize they were all stages of grief I was experiencing.  I read a couple of chapters and it caused me more anxiety because I was so afraid of how I was going to handle the next phase that I had to stop reading the book.  If I'm this overwhelmed with grief, I can't imagine what my sister, who never complained once, was going through emotionally when she was alone, or how my  brother is dealing with his situation.  I was there for my sister through treatments and hospital stays, etc., and i do the same for my brother now, and i'm happy to do it.  I just wish I had better coping skills.  How do you all deal while going through the motions? i've tried to keep busy, but it's always there, even in my dreams.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. 

RE: any suggestions on how to strengthen coping skills

by brendaj894 on Sat Aug 21, 2010 10:55 PM

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On Aug 21, 2010 9:45 AM tricial wrote:

I have been so all over the board emotionally since my sister passed away on 4/14/10 and completely distraught and overwhelmed about my brother who is presently struggling with stage 4 kidney and stomach cancer that I feel at times as if I'm losing my mind.  A very good friend bought me the book "on death and dying" in hopes that I would understand some of the emotions I was feeling and realize they were all stages of grief I was experiencing.  I read a couple of chapters and it caused me more anxiety because I was so afraid of how I was going to handle the next phase that I had to stop reading the book.  If I'm this overwhelmed with grief, I can't imagine what my sister, who never complained once, was going through emotionally when she was alone, or how my  brother is dealing with his situation.  I was there for my sister through treatments and hospital stays, etc., and i do the same for my brother now, and i'm happy to do it.  I just wish I had better coping skills.  How do you all deal while going through the motions? i've tried to keep busy, but it's always there, even in my dreams.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. 

Hi, I'm sorry I don't have any answers for you because I am looking for answers myself.  My husband was diag w/stage 4 lung cancer on dec. 28 and he is currently taking Alimta. I feel like I am on this huge rollercoaster ride and I don't know how to make it stop.  He doesn't talk to me about his feelings  but I can see the sickness, the fear, the hatred, the denial and all of the other emotions that go along w/the dying process (he doesn't seem to have a peaceful spirit).  And what makes it even worse is that I am going thru this same process.  Things between the 2 of us seemed to be going better before he had his last X-Ment on Aug. 11 but ever since then things have gone down hill rapidly.  He doesn't spend a whole lot of time w/me and when we are together there seems to be this huge elephant in the room (maybe because he can't live in denial when I am around).  He pushes me away and acts like he doesn't even care...I know I'm not the one dying but sometimes I feel as though I am dyiing on the inside.  At times I want him to just get in his truck and leave but then when he is gone things still just don't feel right (I hate this house without him in it) I feel so alone and I have this terrible ache on the inside.  When I am away from home, I feel better but as soon as I head home wether he is here or not I can just feel it in the air and that knot in my stomach returns.  How long does this go on.  I want so desperately for us to enjoy our time left together and I want to do something special for him.  I just don't know what.  I don't know what I am suppose to do with myself.  How do I pick up the pieces.  Where do I go and what do I do? 

Torn to pieces!

RE: any suggestions on how to strengthen coping skills

by tricial on Sun Aug 22, 2010 12:58 AM

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oh brenda, i can relate to a certain degree.  my sister had a persistent cough last spring from april to june and repeatedly went back and forth to dr. and they poo-poo'd her with "oh, its allergies" it's "this" or "that". they finally did an mri and told her she had a touch of pneumonia and gave her antibiotics.  about 2 weeks later she could barely breath, went to emergency room and the mri results were read correctly there and she was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and a completely collapsed left lung.  When they sugested chemo and radiation, she was skeptical because my dad passed 3 years earlier from tongue and throat cancer and that kind of treatment is horrendous to your body.  she agreed reluctantly and the tumor shrunk enough to have it removed.  She did NOT want the surgery, and I sat in the office with her when the chief of surgery told her that given her age (50) and the good shape she was in she had a 95% chance of being cancer free forever.  she said "i don't think i want to be opened up for fear of the cancer goign airborn" he literally convinced her that she was the perfect candidate to survive stage 4.  she did it.  and two months later it spread to her arm and they wanted to amputate.  she did more chemo to hope the tumor shrunk away from the muscle.  It didn't.  She continued to be sick for weeks after the chemo stopped and went back to find out what wrong....and i'll end it at that.  I am so angry with the Dr.  I heard her adamantly tell him no. He said "i'm chief surgeon here, i'm transferring to chicago, but i want to be the one to do this for you".  He's off living his new life in chicago, and..well, let's just say it's probably best for him that I don't have access to have a verbal conversation with him.  That's my shared story about lung cancer.  under a seperate post  I will get more into detail about my experiences as they relate to your other concerns.

RE: any suggestions on how to strengthen coping skills

by tricial on Sun Aug 22, 2010 01:14 AM

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hi again.  I can see that its a rollercoaster ride for you and i'm so sorry.  With my sister, she was alot like your husband.  She didn't want to anyone to treat her special, she would go to chemo and radiation at 6am and then go to work after.  She didn't talk about it. She wouldn't let anyone do anything extra for her like her laundry or grocery shopping. I believe she felt that if she stopped her routine, in her mind, she would be letting it in.  I am the type of person that wanted to sleep over her house with her and always go where she went and she was very independant.  I was told by my siblings that it's not about me, it's about her. even though i am trying to be helpful, she's not ready to take it.  I suspect from your post that your husband is feeling the same way.  one of the stages is guilt.  he may be feeling like he's doing wrong by you if does not survive.  my sister never spoke of her illness. if she was not feeling well, she didn't answer her phone, didn't want to put anyone out. I say this with compassion, so please read it that way. just as my siblings said to me 'it's not about you, it's about her" and i'm afraid that i have to try to help you understand that.  as much as u want to be there and have him share his feelings, it's such an overwhelming illness that he may be so afraid to talk about it.  do you think he really wants to say to you "i don't want to....."  i don't think that would be an easy thing to say to your wife.  i know you are suffering for him and feel like you're losing the emotional connection, but I truly believe its his way of coping. i will suggest that you read the book "on grief and grieving" as i stated in my post, i coudln't handle it as it made me anxious knowing what my next emotions were going to be but you may find comfort.  I will be more than happy to send it to you.  As hard as it is for you, and I'm sorry, I know you're in pain too, but it's happening to him, and he's not rejecting you, he's learning to cope with it in his own mind before he can open up.  I see that in my brother every day.  he was diagnosed on jan 5th and yesterday was the first time he spoke to me about his cancer. 7 months.  albeit a wife is different than a sibling, but their situation is the same.  they have to accept it themselves before allowing outward emotion.  My suggestion to you is to please not take it personally, i truly don't believe he's excluding you, he's learning to deal and when he does accept it, he will then reach the acceptance stage and he will be reaching out to you.  i hope i have helped you in some small way, speaking from personally experiencing it with  both sibling this year.  it's hard because i wanted to just sit by her side, and now his, but i can't.  and it hurts, but things are now on their terms.  If you would like to email privately, i would be more than happy to help you when you're down, and in turn that will help me feel better.  take care brenda, and i'm only an email away. 

 

RE: any suggestions on how to strengthen coping skills

by Roselvr on Wed Aug 25, 2010 11:51 PM

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On Aug 21, 2010 10:55 PM brendaj894 wrote:

On Aug 21, 2010 9:45 AM tricial wrote:

I have been so all over the board emotionally since my sister passed away on 4/14/10 and completely distraught and overwhelmed about my brother who is presently struggling with stage 4 kidney and stomach cancer that I feel at times as if I'm losing my mind.  A very good friend bought me the book "on death and dying" in hopes that I would understand some of the emotions I was feeling and realize they were all stages of grief I was experiencing.  I read a couple of chapters and it caused me more anxiety because I was so afraid of how I was going to handle the next phase that I had to stop reading the book.  If I'm this overwhelmed with grief, I can't imagine what my sister, who never complained once, was going through emotionally when she was alone, or how my  brother is dealing with his situation.  I was there for my sister through treatments and hospital stays, etc., and i do the same for my brother now, and i'm happy to do it.  I just wish I had better coping skills.  How do you all deal while going through the motions? i've tried to keep busy, but it's always there, even in my dreams.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. 

Hi, I'm sorry I don't have any answers for you because I am looking for answers myself.  My husband was diag w/stage 4 lung cancer on dec. 28 and he is currently taking Alimta. I feel like I am on this huge rollercoaster ride and I don't know how to make it stop.  He doesn't talk to me about his feelings  but I can see the sickness, the fear, the hatred, the denial and all of the other emotions that go along w/the dying process (he doesn't seem to have a peaceful spirit).  And what makes it even worse is that I am going thru this same process.  Things between the 2 of us seemed to be going better before he had his last X-Ment on Aug. 11 but ever since then things have gone down hill rapidly.  He doesn't spend a whole lot of time w/me and when we are together there seems to be this huge elephant in the room (maybe because he can't live in denial when I am around).  He pushes me away and acts like he doesn't even care...I know I'm not the one dying but sometimes I feel as though I am dyiing on the inside.  At times I want him to just get in his truck and leave but then when he is gone things still just don't feel right (I hate this house without him in it) I feel so alone and I have this terrible ache on the inside.  When I am away from home, I feel better but as soon as I head home wether he is here or not I can just feel it in the air and that knot in my stomach returns.  How long does this go on.  I want so desperately for us to enjoy our time left together and I want to do something special for him.  I just don't know what.  I don't know what I am suppose to do with myself.  How do I pick up the pieces.  Where do I go and what do I do? 

Torn to pieces!

I don't know how much replying I can do in the 15 minutes left of my computer time (we both shut down @ 8pm - spend an hour watching TV).

I know how you feel. My hub was about a month out of treatment, it was also the 4 year anniversary of losing my dad & he flipped out, telling me he was leaving me to die alone. You would not believe the anger he's had (well, maybe you would). He is so different then my dad who was thankful for each day & never once complained or gave up.

We had the same holidays after my hub's diagnosis as I did after my dad - Thanksgiving, Christmas (plus our anniversary) - I did Thanksgiving 10 days early for hub because he was getting mouth sores & was losing his taste buds - he was mad because we did it early. Then on Thanksgiving he was released after having thrush - we came home to him throwing up all over from morphine. NOT happy memories if they would be our last holidays.

Try to hang in there. You are not alone.

~Hugs

RE: any suggestions on how to strengthen coping skills

by Roselvr on Wed Aug 25, 2010 11:55 PM

Quote | Reply

On Aug 22, 2010 12:58 AM tricial wrote:

oh brenda, i can relate to a certain degree.  my sister had a persistent cough last spring from april to june and repeatedly went back and forth to dr. and they poo-poo'd her with "oh, its allergies" it's "this" or "that". they finally did an mri and told her she had a touch of pneumonia and gave her antibiotics.  about 2 weeks later she could barely breath, went to emergency room and the mri results were read correctly there and she was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and a completely collapsed left lung.  When they sugested chemo and radiation, she was skeptical because my dad passed 3 years earlier from tongue and throat cancer and that kind of treatment is horrendous to your body.  she agreed reluctantly and the tumor shrunk enough to have it removed.  She did NOT want the surgery, and I sat in the office with her when the chief of surgery told her that given her age (50) and the good shape she was in she had a 95% chance of being cancer free forever.  she said "i don't think i want to be opened up for fear of the cancer goign airborn" he literally convinced her that she was the perfect candidate to survive stage 4.  she did it.  and two months later it spread to her arm and they wanted to amputate.  she did more chemo to hope the tumor shrunk away from the muscle.  It didn't.  She continued to be sick for weeks after the chemo stopped and went back to find out what wrong....and i'll end it at that.  I am so angry with the Dr.  I heard her adamantly tell him no. He said "i'm chief surgeon here, i'm transferring to chicago, but i want to be the one to do this for you".  He's off living his new life in chicago, and..well, let's just say it's probably best for him that I don't have access to have a verbal conversation with him.  That's my shared story about lung cancer.  under a seperate post  I will get more into detail about my experiences as they relate to your other concerns.

Once again, I'm sorry for what your sister went through.

The same thing happened with my father in law - he was complaining for almoat a year when he landed in the ER, they thought he had menengitis - well surprise - it was brain cancer that was also in his spine & nervous system - he lasted 6 weeks from the day of the ER visit & had the actual diagnosis the day after he passed - it was so rare they had to send it to John Hopkins.

Doctors stink.

~Hugs

RE: any suggestions on how to strengthen coping skills

by Oudave83 on Sun Sep 05, 2010 07:59 AM

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Coping with pain and suffering and death,

As a cancer patient-I think it is equally hard but different for the caregiver than the patient...

...sometimes the cancer patient  lives and then dies a tough grueling death we need to forget(I would want my family to remember our best of times) (may take months or years in our grieving to transition to happier times and special memories) and remember the good happy times in our grief progression and the cancer caregiver (I have been their too as I have lost 5 friends while a cancer patient here and at home in Ohio) so we must deal with the "guilt of living and missing" and having one's heart  torn and ripped to shreds watching a loved one or close friend die as we watch helplessly on sometimes.....as Mother Teresa said: "God has allot of explaining  to do when I go to heaven"...even in this greatest of mysteries, she bore faith and hope in her heart that God has a special plan for each of us...a unique life that only we each can live and die for once.....may angels have been at their and our loved ones' side at he hour of their death as we remember and honor their memories each day by helping those in need and those less fortunate than us...

We must each go through the grieving process personally an sometimes with those we love and best fiends to console us.......in our own way-and in a healthy way...if we need counseling-that is great-if we need help with anxiety or depression there are great meds for that.....

And for me, we must pray without ceasing and know that our God is an All-Loving, All-Knowing, All-caring God who will never leave our sides from diagnosis to the hour of our death, that he truly feels our pain as he bore the Cross for you and out of of love(so these are great mysteries)  and He wants to grace us with his strength, comfort and peace during these most difficult of times, and has prepared a home in heaven for each of us.

May God Bless and strengthen each of us each morning and may we feel gratitude for his love each evening as we pray for our loved ones and the strength to carry on one day at a time hoping, in faith, that the next day will always be just a bit better than the day before...even though it often comes in sporadic tidal waves.....our Lord can handle that as well for us.....

Dave

oudave83

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