Home Cancer Expert Q&A Hub Managing Day-to-day Life with Cancer

Inner Strength

If this is in the wrong place for this I apologise. I am a survivor, skin cancer, annual checks, all good.

Supporting, caring for my wonderful wife - Breast Cancer 10 year survivor, third time round for her, metastasised onto her lower spine a year ago, didn’t think we’d see last Christmas, now we are talking about next year. Constant round of tablets, treatment, appointments and scans. This is the life changing effect on surviving ‘incurable but treatable’ is how it’s referred to, doesn’t give you any comfort at all. She is the strongest person I have ever met, she doesn’t see it or realise it at all.

I read and hear about all the support some people get, I don’t see it, everything we have had help with has been a battle to secure, how someone does this on their own is beyond me, the whole process is a full time occupation. I can see some being ‘unable to cope’ but what do you do? Give up? No you don’t, somewhere from within there is an inner strength that gets you through the day, the week, the year.

Emotional strength? It comes from the inside, an emotional Adrenalin maybe, keeping you going, at what cost? You are there for them because they need you, and will for (hopefully) a long time to come, our fears are that it won’t be long enough, she doesn’t want to leave me, I don’t want her to go. We talked about this very recently, she knows outwardly i’ll ‘Cope’ regardless of what gets thrown at me, and I will, at what cost though? 

I dont get get a lot of the inward looking and deep meaningful questions like the ‘why am I here’. That Personal trainers and ‘coaches’ make a living of trying to answer.  We are all here for what is really a short period of time, having meaning for one person will be different for another. 

Inner strength comes from different things inside of you. Everyone has it to avarying degree, Mine is simply that ‘I will’. I am not sure where this is all going, I suppose I just wanted to share that We are still here and coping for now. Or are we just kidding ourselves? Who really knows.

thanks for reading



  • RobertARobertA Posts: 1,272 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi Alan
    Thank you for posting your story. You and your wife have had a lot thrown at you and I am full of admiration at the way you are both coping.

    i am also living with incurable but treatable cancer and with the support of my lovely wife, I am coping quite well. The side effects of the treatment can be tough but there is no alternative that is acceptable. The inner strength you speak of is certainly needed for people living with cancer and their partners but a bit of support is always welcome and I am sorry that you have not had it.  Macmillan's have been invaluable to us and I would recommend that you contact them if you have a local branch. Our local office is open every day and you can pop in for a chat, a cuppa or a bit of support. I ‘get’ that you are not keen on the personal trainers and coaches and I was the same, but my treatments altered my chemical balances and caused me some emotional issues. Macmillan's provided me with counselling free of charge and it helped me and my wife to talk through our fears and anxieties to a third party who did not judge or criticise. 

    I think that the worries and concerns of the partners of people living with cancer are often overlooked but they are so important.

    You will find this community to be very friendly and supportive.


  • LouiseJLouiseJ Posts: 770 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi Alan, 
    Thank you so much for posting your story. You are very welcome here in the community, no apologies necessary.
    I was very moved to read your words. The way you describe your wife is beautiful.
    You and your wife have been through so much, I am sorry you haven't had the support to help you both. 
    It is a terrible shame that support services, cancer services can vary so wildly, although I agree with @RobertA, that the Macmillan services are a good place to go to.
    I hope that you find this becomes a place where you feel supported, welcomed, listened to. Whatever path we are on regarding cancer, we all need encouragement and hope to keep going.

  • FitzyFitzy Posts: 2
    Dear Alan, I have just joined this community.
    A breast cancer survivor I like to call myself, had my 'sign off' six weeks ago. Lost a brother to bowel cancer earlier this year and a dearly loved 'baby' sister three years ago. Just to show I know 'the feeling'. 

    Everyone copes in their own way. I'm a 'pretender', always have been, pretend it isn't there, pretend it will go away, pretend I'm only 33 not 83, that last one doesn't work because the body reminds me I can't dig the garden ! But so what ?
    Each season, each year and each day will bring little things to make me smile, to make me forget.
    On Christmas day my youngest grandchild came to visit and her face describing how Father CHristmas ate all the mince pies and drank the milk and the reindeer ate the carrots, with wide bright eyes, will sustain me till next Christmas, when she may have learnt to be a bit cynical, she is 4 and 3/4 at the moment and such a joy.

    I know you've probably been told or read or heard, look for the brightest star.., the prettiest flower,,  the best temperature... the finest meals... the kindest smile and think it sounds so cheesy. but when you are down it does help.

     I live alone and have to cope. My Macmillan service is within the hospital confines which means parking, if I can manage to drive my old Nissan that far. that is expensive and isn't the sort of place to be able to 'drop in'. But there are groups to interest us. We have to search.
     I have found a writers group which has been my life saver. Because I pretend so much I can write fine stories... The U3A covers many subjects and may meet near you. 
    My heartfelt blessings for the New Year to you and all you who look for comfort here. 
    'Life is a bitch and we must put up with her,' my grandfather used to say, and i think he's right, But we can make her a jolly, beautiful bitch if we put our minds to it.
    Best Wishes, Fran. 

  • RobertARobertA Posts: 1,272 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Hi Fran

    Thank you for telling us your story. You are so positive and upbeat and I am delighted that you have joined the community. I absolutely agree that a hobby/interest is a great way to put your worries and fears to one side for a while. 

    I am am lucky that I love music and I have a electronic keyboard which I play regularly. I am a mere stripling at 73 but I have just written my first song and I am quite excited about it.  I asked my very honest brother-in-law what he thought of it and he said 'Well, it's better than I expected'.  I think that was a compliment!!  Perhaps you can write me a poem or story which I can put to music! 

    We we are a friendly group and welcome aboard.

    Rob X 

  • LouiseJLouiseJ Posts: 770 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi Fran, 
    It was so lovely to read your post, it is very uplifting, funny and encouraging. Thank you so much for sharing your story.
    Wonderful news to hear you have had a 'sign off' from the Dr's. I hope you are making a good recovery from all your treatment etc. It is great that you have found a writing group to be a part of, it sounds wonderful. Do you get to share your stories with others? Since the bulk of my treatment ended I found swimming (long story, for another time!), and it has made a real difference to me.  I also had breast cancer, found in 2015, I am now on medication to help prevent its return. 
    Welcome to the community, I hope you find it a friendly, supportive group. I look forward to hearing more from you, and who knows perhaps a song or two from yourself and Rob!  :)@RobertA.

    Merry Christmas and every good wish for 2019.

    Lou x

  • gloden02gloden02 Posts: 51 ✭✭
    Hi Fran. Loved reading your post. I am 79 and got T cell NHL. Had radiotherapy and Chemo and lost my hair. I too live on my own, lost my lovely husband 12 years ago. Like you though I have family. Don’t know what I’d do without them. You sound so strong and positive you have made me feel bit better today. I’m hoping to get some strength back to tend my garden in the spring. Hugs . Glo xx

  • FitzyFitzy Posts: 2
    Hi Everyone, 
    Thanks for your enthusiastic welcome. I just wrote a long piece on here and it disappeared. I am useless recovering things!!!
     I Was just saying I found a step counting thingy on my phone and apparently I have walked 1.4 km today. and over the last three years while I was ill, I stopped walking and now with arthritis etc I find it difficult so .....
    New Year Resolution... I am going to count my steps each day and try to increase my mileage (or should that be 'metre-age') each day so that by the end of the month I can walk into town again!! Too ambitious? Ok, I can monitor it each week I suppose.
    Any one else got any New Year Resolutions ? I don't mean losing weight, everyone does that ! Something different.!
     Oh Gloden I am longing to get out there again to do something positive. I got some cyclamen to put under my acer and they are glowing down there already.
    And Lou ...Oh to swim again, I lived in Cornwall for four years and loved the freedom to swim from April to October, too old now. But can dream of it!! Enjoy.
    And Rob, have some silly poems I wrote for my grand daughter will look them out, for now.... I had to make up some 'collective' nouns for an exercise... can you do anything with these;-
     a shimmering of fairies; a fidget of elves; a grumbling of gnomes; and a thumping of trolls  !!!!     

    Keep smiling, spring is coming   (Winter is going) !  love Fran

  • RobertARobertA Posts: 1,272 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Hi Fran
    I would stick to miles if I were you - at least we know how far that is. 😀
    I have decided to smile at strangers for my New Year's resolution. Mostly they smile back and it feels rather nice. I can see some of them wondering 'Now where have I met him before?' 

    Rather like your your collective nouns and look forward to reading some of the poems. I am sure we will have a hit! 

    Rob x 

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