I feel I've let him down....

Hi ladies. I feel I need to talk to someone who understands how I feel. Even though I have an excellent prognosis, I still live in constant fear, and can’t shake it off. My 15 year old son has picked up on this, and I desperately want to help him, but don’t know how. He’s had a rough ride; his dad walked out when he was 8, and he doesn’t even know where he is. He doesn’t know what to do with himself, he’s always out, he never smiles, and he’s even been in trouble with the law. He has very low self esteem - he wears glasses (which he hates), has spots (which he hates), and I feel he’s hit rock bottom. There was a time I could reassure him, and tell him that he was loved and valued - he still is - but I find it so difficult to reassure him now, when I live in a state of constant fear. I look at him - tall, thin, glasses, spots, a look of constant worry on his face - and I just feel like crying and never stopping. His dad walked out on him, and he thought he’d always have his mum - but now this! What has the poor little bugger done to deserve it? I know there’s not much you can do, but I just needed to offload to someone. Thank you.

LynB1 - sorry to hear you and your son are feeling down and can quite understand why. My advice is to see your GP for some medical help and believe me you will feel better and be able to reassure your son. It might also be worth asking your doctor to explain to your son your predicament. You say you have an excellent prognosis so if it is any encouragement I am into my 19th year since my original diagnosis and am still here for all my children and grandchildren. Please let us know how you get on but do not try and sit this out. I send you a big hug.

Hi Lyn

I am sorry to read that you are so worried about your Son at the moment and would suggest that you call our helpline for some ideas of ways in which he can gain support. There are various websites which are aimed at teenagers where he can chat to others with parents who have had cancer, one such website is called ‘Rip rap’ and if you call the helpline on 0808 800 6000 our team will be able to refer you to other forms of support for him too.

It sounds as though you could do with some support for yourself and you are welcome to talk to our team about ways in which you can be better supported, which in turn may help you to support your Son. The line is open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm and Sat 9am-2pm.

Our ‘Peer support’ service may be of interest to you too, here you are able to make contact with one of our trained supporters and you will be matched by age and diagnosis as closely as possible so that you can speak to someone who has an understanding of how you are feeling.

Best wishes
Breast Cancer Care

Hi LynnB1

I just want to say that I have two sons, both now at uni but they did go through similar to your son on the looks and confidence front, especially one. He would sit around look miserable and would not talk, he was covered in acne and was a gangly etc, I really worried that he was depressed. I did seek help from a doctor, my son would not discuss his feelings, but after a while he came round and an appointment was made for him to see a consultant to help with the spots, these completely cleared within 4 months of medication, his confidence grew. Re the glasses, maybe contact lenses.

Teenage boys can be deep and do find illnesses, especially with Mum hard, my son still has not discussed my BC with his friends, he told noone, the only time he talked to me was after the mastectomy and he wanted to know if my hair would fall out, when i explained that the outlook was excellent (like you) he burst into tears and and never discussed it again.

Also my 13 year old daughter acted very strange towards me after I was dx and it was only recently when I asked her why she was being rude to me and I explained it was ok, she said she was fed up cos I could not drive her around - I know this was an excuse, but I told her that was fine to feel angry and upset. Since then she has been fine.

All our children have different ways of reacting, they are scared, especially in situations where there is only one parent. Also I know how you feel trying to come to terms with this dreaded nasty invasion. Give you son time, keep trying to talk to him and hopefully he will come through it. Perhaps the school could help!

Good advice from Moderator and Olivia07. Advice from me is just keep talking to everyone, it helps everyone needs support.

This is a great place to vent your feelings too. Keep us posted.

Good luck, loads of cyber hugs and wishes xxx

Hi LynB1,

I have a 15-year-old daughter and even though she is still very much in the bosom of the family…ie my husband and I are still togethter and totally support her, has you do your son, I did find, that she found my BC scare very hard to deal with.
She seemed to bury her head in the sand.
She wouldn’t look at me or talk about it.

I tried to get her to open up and told her that - like you - my prognosis is good, but she didn’t want to know.
I think she was very angry.

She became very demanding and slightly withdrawn. She would go to friends after school rather than come home.

The turning point came when I went in hospital for my mastectomy and she came to visit me. During visiting time a young girl in a bed opposite me started being sick - poor lass was a drug addict - so I rushed to help her, as the nurses were all busy with other patients. My daughter had to hold onto my drain bags whilst I got sick bowls and cloths to help this girl.

When it was all over, we both sat down on my bed and just laughed and cried.

I think it took that to make her see that I was still me…daft old mum… and would still be me forever and ever.

We love our kids and always want what’s best for them, but sometimes there are things that they just can’t handle.

Take care and I hope all works out well for you and your son.

Linda xx

Thank you so much, ladies, for your compassionate replies. It’s reassuring to know my son is not alone in his feelings. There is one male teacher at his school who has bent over backwards to help him, and he is very easy to talk to, but no school counsellor, sadly. I think there should be, personally, for kids like my son.

I told my son the other day that he looks like Harry Potter - a lot of people have commented on it - and he was not impressed at first, until I told him that Harry Potter is a hero, and he should be pleased that people mention them in the same sentence! Then he said ‘Well, I wish I had his money!’. Mercenary little sod!

I had terrible spots from 12 onwards until 38 so I can sympathise. Nowadays there’s no need to suffer from them. go to the doctors and get help. There’s also an acne support group on the web which let’s you know the latest treatment. I remember also a good website on people with skin diseases who are famous e.g. Posh spice has really bad skin. Somehow makes you feel slightly better if you know no one is spared. Being 15 is a bad stage of life whether or not your mum has had breast cancer so I wouldn’t blame it all on that, or divorce for that matter. Being a teenager is a pain. Lots of hormones banging about, not allowed to do anything much, wanting to get laid. Oh what fun it all was.

After 23 years of acne I was finally cured by roaccutane - via a skin specialist. It wasn’t all that brilliant from the point of view it dried up my lips/nasal passages etc so I had to put on vaseline every four hours to counteract this, but it saved me - can’t thank them enough. NB I believe all the bad press about roaccutane is because acne is very bad psychologically. Roaccutane rather than the acne gets blamed when any problems occur. As mentioned, it was great for me.

Dear Lyn - Not really much to add, as you have already had some brilliant replies which I hope will help a bit. My son is now 16, and already coming out of that dreadful bit that boys go through as they come out of childhood and approach manhood. All they seem to do is sleep, eat, grow and grunt - OK perhaps not quite that bad but you get the picture! I think a lot of what your son is feeling now is normal teenage stuff, but of course with this extra worry thrown in. You say you have an excellent prognosis. Have you actually told him that? Have you told him “in all likelyhood after my treatment this is all going to be behind us”. None of us know for sure, but if that is the probability, then tell him so! Hopefully the more you say it the more you will believe it as well. You are feeling frightened, but you probably don’t need to! If you can just manage to replace a little bit of that fear with a little bit more hopefulness every day I am sure your outlook will feel brighter, and your son will pick up on that as well. By the way, for my spotty, son with glasses ,wearing contacts was a total turning point and he has oodles more confidence now! Good luck and do get the help you need. Love Sarah

Just thought I’d add, my daughter had a course of Roaccutane this year when she was 17. We put it off for a long time because of all the bad press. Now we wish we’d done it sooner. The results are amazing, she had no problems other than dry lips. My 15 year old son is now getting spotty. I will have no hesitiation in asking for roaccutane if the antibiotics don’t work

I took my son to our GP yesterday, and he prescribed a course of antibiotics, and some cream, so hopefully that will clear his spots up. Fingers crossed!

there is a website with famous actors with skin problems (edited by moderator)
and the acne support group website (edited by moderator)

Thank you, Mole. I would have looked at thoses sites, if the sodding links hadn’t been removed!

This is so sad!!! I think this censorship that is going on is going to frustrate and upset people who are just trying to help each other.


Sorry for the expletive, ladies, but I am so frustrated at the moment!

Don’t be sorry - the moderators are being so narrow-minded. We are not school girls just very unfortunate adults who are trying to help our fellow sufferers but being prevented by reasons which are on the whole unacceptable.

I think it is censorship gone mad too. all i can say is that the one about actors combines part of the word cinema with a word for the biggest organ in the body . you can google acne support group to get the website for that one

good luck