My husband died in December last year following a diagnosis of terminal cancer . At the same time I was diagnosed with breast cancer just 4 month after my husbands diagnosis. I was so concerned with his deterioration and struggle with his illness that and that I had to attend hospital for to be told I had cancer on my own as it was covid time I just accepted all the treatment and managed quite well. However I feel as if there is a a lot of emotions deep inside me which I cannot let go. I have not cried and feel as if a good cry would help but I am not able to let go .I feel a bit numb and almost guilty that I am not really grieving.
Dear Coralmary, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. My husband also died of cancer and although sceptical at first I found bereavement counselling to be an enormous help. Breast cancer on top of all that is just too much for anyone to handle. Maybe try your GP in the first instance for a referral. This is an awful lot to deal with and a good cry may indeed help a lot. Sometimes I put on a weepy film and let the tears come out that way too - for my late husband, as well as the loss of my breast and my own good health. Let us know how you get on. Sending love and hugs from Tulip xxx P.S. take some time for yourself each day to just sit down, relax and do some deep breathing as this will also soothe your mind.
I’m so very sorry for your loss - grief affects us all differently and in funny ways . My Mum died during Covid and I was diagnosed with BC out of the blue a few months later . There was a part of me that was astonished - like I was watching myself because although I was on an emotional rollercoaster most of the emotions and thoughts were actually about my Mum and not myself . My work offers a crisis helpline and a lovely lady counsellor helped me sort out in my head why I was feeling that way.
I also went to all my appointments on my own because of Covid which was a strange experience because usually people chat to / support each other just to make the time go whilst waiting or for distraction but everyone sat separately and silently.
As @Tulip29 suggested maybe counselling will help you too - if you get some support in place they will probably help you to understand what is going on with you now and support you when those emotions do come to the surface.
It is quite common for people to sail through treatment and for everything to come out later - while you’re having the treatment you just focus on the next bit - for me it felt good to be doing something active about my cancer. I also felt that my body was under quite a bit of stress and that I couldn’t afford / frankly didn’t have the energy to be too emotional. When I did become emotional I found the Moving Forwards course helped me to process and move on .
Please don’t feel bad about yourself / that you aren’t responding appropriately - there’s nothing wrong with you . You have had such a lot to deal with and I’m sure have got in the habit of holding everything in check . You know the emotions are there - you just aren’t in the right place to access them right now.
Thank you for your response. I am sorry that you too have had such a difficult and sad time. I must admit I haven’t considered bereavement counselling but sometimes I just would like to talk to someone not involved and just talk about all the things that go round and round my head. I am inclined to dwell of some particularly upsetting things. I have a lovely supporting family and I am very lucky to have them But I live on my own ( near my daughter and family) but at night when I am alone all these unwanted thoughts and worries invade my mind . I hope I don’t sound pathetic because I do attend exercise classes at the MacMillan Centre and try do do as much as I can to keep fit and healthy. I don’t want to go over everything all the time with my daughter although she would listen and support me but I don’t want to upset her. She was very close to her dad and misses him too. Xx
Thank you for your lovely letter I can see that counselling can be helpful as you say. I will make an effort to look into that. Xxxx
Reading your response to Tulip - I am familiar with those unwanted thoughts and evening seemed to be my worst time. I have found that mindfulness practices can help with those , also I tried to do something nice earlier in the day ( usually an outdoor swim/ walk/ coffee with friends/ ) and then when those thoughts started to creep back in I was able to hang onto that instead and remind myself that there was something to look forward to the next day .
The lady counsellor also sent me a useful guided practice to do to help me relax and sleep - gradual tensing and relaxing of different parts of the body .
I also understand that you don’t want to overburden your daughter - I lost my Dad in April and feel upset at times but I like talking about him with family and friends on the whole . I feel sad that he’s gone but it also helps me to remember how he was before he became unwell rather than just how he was in the last year of his life.
Maybe talking to someone outside the situation would help you, I know that MacMillan also have free counselling available .
We’re thinking of you @Coralmary. There is absolutely nothing to feel guilty about in how you are feeling. We all cope in different ways at different times.
Here’s a link Macmillan’s free service that @JoanneN suggested: https://www.macmillan.org.uk/cancer-information-and-support/get-help/emotional-help/bupa-counselling-and-emotional-well-being-support
Please know that our nurses are also here to talk things through 0808 800 6000.
Sending our warmest,
Thank you for your comforting words. Yes it is nice to think about the lovely times we all spent together. My daughter and I talk about him a lot and the grandchildren often say things like ‘ oh grandad would have liked that and we comment that he would loved to see their achievements and milestones. We do have lovely memories and love to think about them. It is just at times such as getting into bed alone after so many years together that it hits me. I will look into some help. Thanks for the advice. Xxxx
Thank you so much . I will look into all the things you mentioned . Xxxx
Yes losing a parent is hard but losing a partner - that’s something else entirely . I’m not sure I could find them but I know there are people on this forum who have had similar experiences - losing a partner whilst dealing with their own cancer . Maybe the Someone Like Me service might be able to match you with someone similar.
My heart goes out to you Coralmary
Thank you JoanneN for your kind words . I will look at Someone like Me service. I am feeling better already as you and others are so caring. Xxxx
Hi @Coralmary im so sorry for your loss. I relate totally to how you feel. I got diagnosed with breast cancer last December and had a lumpectomy in February. I was simply all over the place, I feared the worst and I’m an over thinker. My husband was my rock, he helped me through those days and made me feel safe and protected and he said whatever the outcome we will deal with it together. My results were good and the cancer had not spread, it was caught early. I had my radiotherapy in April and so far so good, my yearly mammo is in March and yes, I am dreading it because now I have to face it without him. My husband died on 3 October, he had an existing lung disease, ILD, but apart from being out of breath on an incline you wouldn’t really have known he was ill. Then in early August he got pneumonia and struggled to walk a few yards without getting out of breath. He was hospitalised, put on oxygen and a CT scan found that he had cancer on the lung wall of the other lung. I had him home on oxygen for a few days and not long after he had received his biopsy results to put his cancer treatment in place, I had to call an ambulance, was blue lighted to hospital and he died the next morning, he was 62. The grief is unbearable, I cry every day, I have never felt grief like it, we were together 34 years and life is lonely. I have family and friends that are close by and see them quite regularly but it is the evenings and night times that are particularly worse. I just want you to know, you are not alone, there are many people on this forum that have been through similar experiences and we are always here to listen, please feel free to reach out whenever you need to. Sending love and hugs your way
Hugs and much love
Please tell your GP and breast team if they don’t already know as both will be able to provide you with support and direct you to professional counsellors
Grief is a tough one at the best of times and you’re dealing with a lot
You’ve been brave to share on here so be brave again and reach out
Well done, small step but knowing you need supporting is the first step
Its not going to be easy but every day will be a little lighter and when waves of grief and emotions hit you’ll have someone you can turn to
Blessings and good thoughts sent your way
Please get some help ,I watched my mum dying it was like torture she cried out in pain .
I had a counselling couldn’t see what she could do for me ,but it helped me .
I’m a survivor of 23 yrs cancer .
Dear Coralmary. You have had a truly awful time so it is hardly surprising you are feeling low. My husband was ill for several years so his death was not unexpected. What took me by surprise was my devastation and how I felt utterly unable to cope. I just felt fearful all the time.
To put this in perspective, I had just retired from a demanding job and I think most people would regard me as capable and a bit no-nonsense so the fact that I was floundering around was unprecedented. My advice to you is to seek help from CRUSE or similar organisations. I was sceptical at first but a year of monthly visits from a wonderful lady counsellor certainly kick-started the process of getting back to life. Do try it.
Sending you love and support.
Dear Teddy Thank you so much for your lovely response to my message. It is appreciated. I am sorry that you were so affected by your husband’s death. I will certainly look into CRUSE as I would just like to talk to someone who would just listen. I want to tell someone what my husband went through as I think that upsets me more than all the other issues. He was such an independent strong man and I found it so hard to see him not like that at all. Xxxxxx
Me too I feel the same way! I have metastatic cancer and just keep living like I dont. I didn’t tell nobody, I don’t cry, I don’t talk about, other than here. I have a 3 year old kid and we love each other too much. But still I rarely cry, all though I feel like I really should…and almost feel in fault myself…I almost wanted to go to a psicologist…may be with time I will learn to accept it snd let it go…
I’m so sorry for your loss and your diagnosis, I hope with time your soul will cry, let go, and than be strong and happy again, may be in a different way, but still in peace.
Dear Amel. Thank you for your nice message. I am sorry you are feeling like this. It is horrible. It is feeling as if you would just like to let go and cry and cry and perhaps scream to get some release. . I also feel for you and your diagnosis with having such a young child . It must be difficult but I hope what you hope for that you will accept things as they are and then go from there to a much happier place and feel more at peace. Hearing your story helps me and I just hope that we both find this happier space soon. Xxxxxx
Dear Lyndy thank you for your message. It is like torture to see your loved one suffering which I find difficult to get out of my mind. I will look into seeing a counsellor as so many say that it helps. Well done to you a 23 year cancer survivor. I am only just over a one year survivor but I cope well with that aspect of my situation xxxxxx
I am so sad to read your story and have a great deal of empathy for you.
My story has some similarities. Back in 2019 I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, a month after whilst having a mastectomy, my sister in law was in another part of the same hospital being told she had Small Cell Lung Cancer.
At first she was told she could only have Chemotherapy, and although we were both treatment hers was at a different hospital.
About the same time my Cousin was diagnosed with the same breast cancer as myself…it all felt totally surreal. Because my sister in law lived five minutes away, from us and my wife’s family, my cancer was rarely discussed. We all knew SIL cancer was very serious, and a year later it got worse, with a 6 month diagnosis, when treatment stopped working.
We were very close, and did share our journeys together, but I knew hers was about to end. It destroyed me, and her death caused so much upset in the wider family. Me and my wife visited SIL everyday. My wife supported her with personal care while her husband (wife’s brother worked) my wife’s two other sisters didn’t know what or how to do things and visited more towards the end of her life…but hiding their guilt and grief, pointed fingers at my wife saying she had taken over ……it was awful. My wife to this day not spoken to one of her sisters, 3 years on.
Then in 2022 my wife’s Father was diagnosed with Mesothelioma a lung cancer caused by asbestos and was given 12 months to live.
In June this year I was told my breast cancer had returned and gone to my lungs. Once again as my FIL diagnosis imminent my cancer diagnosis went into hiding again, my wife cared for her dad along with the sister she talks to….he passed away this September …… I could hardly breathe whilst reading a poem at his funeral.
Because all I could think was, my wife and adult sons will have to go through this all over again in the future…
Back when my SIL passed away I had Counselling at my local Maggies Centre, and I realised I was suffering then with survivor guilt. Currently I keep most things in a vault inside my head….on the whole I’m ok, occasionally I cry but that’s new medication I think…
Talking really does help, and psychology can be very helpful. We don’t realise that a diagnosis of Cancer is indeed a Traumatic Event, and if not accepted it will fester inside….I tend to talk to those who walk this same path, because they understand, or strangers.
I lost most of my male friends from original cancer diagnosis, and now with this most people just don’t understand. ( they still can’t get I had breast cancer as a bloke )
And I no longer have the strength to keep explaining.
Take the greatest care of YOU, and try to acknowledge your own loss grief and inner hurt, because it all matters 100%