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❤ Relationships through cancer and treatment

Blanka_CBlanka_C Posts: 334 Community Admin
It's Valentine's Day soon, and it got us thinking about relationships - romantic and platonic. The ones that stick with you during treatment, the ones that drift apart, and the ones that get even stronger through the challenges of going through cancer. 

Have you noticed your relationships changing during treatment? Who's been your rock?
Have some people become closer than you expected?
Have you found out who your truest friends are?


  • SmallpSmallp Posts: 10
    Hello. This is my 1st post here... I am 47 and have q stage 4 brain tumour which was diagnosed Feb 2018 and then debulked March 2018. Since then I have had dual raduo/chemo followed by a further 6 cycles of chemo.. I find out This Friday what the results of my recent MRI scan are and the next plans...

     I am single and live alone.. my a.c. partner was supportive initially and even let me stay with him.pist ok, however that soon fell down and all the reasons we split a few years ago came back..so I moved back to my house.. 
     're support, relqti9nshios and friendships... wow.. where to begin... I have had the most AMAZING support from some  (during my fsiky treatment especually) and yet others have distanced themselves which I understand icould be (as an old work colleaguw recwntlt afmutted) was because they have no idea what to say or how to react... what I do know though is it's those "false promises" that's 're so so upsetting..  the "let's catch up soon" or "Oh yeah, I'll come see you soon" or "let's donthat" and then it never happens... it breaks my heart as sometimes I get excited when hear from someone and th3n nothing. I know peoolensre busy and have their own lives but why say it?! 
    As my driving licence wasnrevoked on diagnosis that is also SXTREMELY d8fficikt as to see people they have to come to me.. Nd I even now hate asking xx

  • LouiseJLouiseJ Posts: 650 ✭✭✭✭
    Hi @Smallp

    You have a tremendous lot to contend with, and to do it on your own must be especially hard and sometimes very lonely. 
    I am sorry to hear some of your friends and those who you thought would be supportive have not followed through.
    The empty promises, and embarrassed excuses are not easy to take, I know. Honesty becomes even more important when we live with cancer, there's just no time for empty words and shallowness. 
    And yet sincere friendships mean the world to us, I hope those good friends will continue to support you through this.
    It must be very difficult for you not being able to drive, I can imagine how that loss of freedom to go where you want to can become depressing. How do you manage?
    I will be thinking of you on Friday when you go for your results, I do hope someone will be able to go with you.

    You are very welcome here, and I hope you will find a lot of support, friendship, humour and understanding here.

    Chat again I hope, 

    Lou x
  • SmallpSmallp Posts: 10
    Hi Lou,
    Thank you for your response.. yes, I am VERY lucky yo have amazing people around me..
    My aunt comes to all my apoi7rnments with me as I need someone to help me remember and process what's being said (as these are 2 huge areas affected by my tumour)!
    I also have the local hospice I attend twice weekly (they provide a  volunteer driver) whochbhas been an AMAZING support too.. x
    As for manag8ng.. we just do don't we.. I think the most important message honey and get accr9ss is that I'm still me.. until 1 year ago a practising Social Worker..  and yes, that missing indeoenendncw is HUGE!!!
    MY parents live 300 miles away but visit as often as they can and of course there is face time thank goodness...
    You take care and thank you aga8n xx
  • LouiseJLouiseJ Posts: 650 ✭✭✭✭

    YOU are amazing! not just the support you have. 
    Yes, we do find a way of getting on with what's in front of us, but when your faculties and abilities to process are affected like it is with you, that is just enormous to deal with. I am full of admiration for you. 
    I wanted to send you a huge virtual bouquet of flowers to brighten up your day, but I have no idea how to do that! hahaha.  :#
    I am playing catch up with technology, and some of it is very frustrating, when I know what I want to do but can't, but in the grand scheme of things that is small fry!

    Yes, thank goodness for face time. Being able to speak to family like that, does bridge the miles. It does help us to feel a bit closer than we actually are.

    I hope that today there will be moments of brightness and joy for you.

    Lou x

  • SmallpSmallp Posts: 10
    Hi Lou. Thank you so so much for your beautiful message....  as for technology I know exactly what you mean.. I am learning wvrytda he he.. Sadly my eyesight has also been affwct4d by all of this (sorry I should have said that which is why my spelling and grammar may be a bit odd at times)! I just want to try and remain as indoen2nd2nt as I can but it is a struggle some days and asking still feels hard xx I've been SOOO emotional lateky too.. wad my  birthday Sunday but also with  y revie2w coming up this Friday it's all been a bit too ovwrwhleming.. Thank you again for your m3ssage.. Hope you have a good day too xx  
  • LouiseJLouiseJ Posts: 650 ✭✭✭✭

    Don't worry about your spelling etc,  I fully understand it is connected with how you are affected.  :)

    It was your birthday!
    Well I am sending you birthday greetings, celebrating with you, even though you are in the midst of all of this, you are here, and you are worth celebrating. Your life is special, you are special.
    Is it possible to go for lunch or coffee with your aunt before your appointment on Friday?
    I can understand how overwhelming all of this can become, your emotions will also be in turmoil, do you have any other support apart from medical? Like counsellor, or Macmillans to talk to?
    You are also very welcome to talk here, about anything, you can also message me if it would help you.

    This is a huge hug, can you feel it?  <3

    Lou xx
  • SmallpSmallp Posts: 10
    Hi Lou,
    Thank you.. yes we tend to do something after my appointments Nd this one especially as I will be g8nding out what the next step.is going to be...g9od or bad!!
     As for additional support my l9csl hospice had been AMAZING!! I go twice weekly once for pikated and once for artsn crafys gtoup..and also start counselling tomorrow through ther4 too..  I honestly do not know what I would have done without it... I've recently also been star5wd with reflexology through there too...altwrnw5e weeks.. I feel.so.so.lucky and can not thank th3m enough f9r all.their support..  a fr82nd and I r3v3ntly raised over £3,000 for them and I.am hoping that maybe at s8ne point I may even be able to perhaps volunteer there as I would love to give something back if I can xx

    And thank yo7 so so much for tj3 hug.. received and sending 1 back to you too xx
  • LouiseJLouiseJ Posts: 650 ✭✭✭✭

    That is an amazing amount of money you and your friend have raised, a fantastic achievement.
    What sort of things did you do to fundraise?
    I am so glad you have somewhere so special and helpful to go to regularly.

    Thanks for the hug too!  :)

    Lou x
  • LadyblueLadyblue Posts: 6
    Hi there @smallp - so very sorry you are having such a difficult time - what sort of tumour do you have? Sending you a gentle hug ((((x))))
  • SmallpSmallp Posts: 10
    Hi Louise and ladyblue.
    I have a grade4 glioblastoma multiforme tumour..

    Fornfubdraising my friend ran a half marathon... and I donated my birthday etc..  am also looking for ways to raise money too..  giving donations etc...any ways we can r3alky..

    Sending huge hugs back thank you x
  • RobertARobertA Posts: 1,159 Community Admin
    edited February 2019
    Good evening @Smallp

    What a lovely kind and generous person you are.

    It must be difficult enough coping with cancer on your own, but you are out there raising funds for your local Hospice. 
    My wife, Mary is a volunteer at Jersey Hospice. She organises quizzes and arts and crafts and loves chatting with the patients. They have little discussion groups on Thursdays and as a cancer survivor, I sometimes attend. We have tea and cakes and I may play a few tunes on the piano. 
    I also do a bit of voluntary work with MacMillans, an organisation which has been a massive support to me, especially through the support of a counsellor  who guided me through a very difficult emotional time. 
    I am delighted you have found our group. We are a friendly bunch and love chatting together and sometimes having a bit of fun. 

    I am well aware of the sums required to fund Hospice and MacMillans and the generosity and support of people like yourself is just so invaluable. You are amazing. 

    Rob x 
  • SmallpSmallp Posts: 10
    Hi R8b and all.
    Thank you for the beautiful and kind words..
    The hospice has been such a tremendous support that I just feel if I can give anything back then I will endeavour to do so...
    I am a Social Worker however at pr3sent it is all being reviewed whether I can return to work but if I cannot (which is looking likely  sadly) the  I will certainly look to perhaps volunteer there too if they will have me....

    It is the work of people like your wife that help kerpnthede invaluable resourced going...

    Thank you again and lovely to "meet you .

    Best wishes,
  • debbiegdebbieg Posts: 3
    My relationship with my husband has become more like patient and carer. Although I am now recovering well, it is difficult to get back to what we had. 
  • Hi this is my first post. Sometimes I think our partners forget we are still the same person they fell in love with. We may look different on the outside but still the same person on the inside. I think this is what is so hurtful to me. My husband said he's seen so much of the ugly side of this disease that he needs time. But I feel alone and deprived of love. But it's nice to and comforting to know that you guys are there and am not alone.

  • SunshinedaffSunshinedaff Posts: 1,282 ✭✭✭✭✭



    Your post is so sad and heart-breaking to hear, you have been through so much already.

    I am truly sorry to hear of your husband saying these things. Will he talk with you? Would you be able to share with him what you have shared with us? You said it so poignantly, does he not realise or understand?

    Cancer takes so much out of us, it does take time for us all to comprehend and process everything that has occurred. It's life-changing, but as you say, you are still you, you haven't gone anywhere.

    The fact is cancer is ugly, there is no pretty side to it, but you are not! You sound as though you are beautiful, inside and out! Don't believe anything different.

    You are, of course as far as we are concerned, not alone, and you are very welcome here. Come and chat anytime.

    I love your username, it brings to mind a serene royal princess, who deserves the best tiara, who walks with grace and beauty.

    I hope to chat with you again.

    Lou x

  • Hi. Thank you for your beautiful words and encouragement. I did share with him my feelings and that's his answer. He's not ready. So I decided to give him his space. But it's tough to wait on someone who is so emotionally cut off and unavailable. He's a good provider and takes care of all my basic needs. But I would trade that in any day for a hug on the really bad days. I hope I don't sound superficial but love is so important especially during this time. But I will let you guys know how it goes,as I remain a lady in waiting.

  • RobertARobertA Posts: 1,159 Community Admin
    edited February 2019


    Your situation sounds very like the one that close friends of ours went through a few years ago. The male friend found himself in a situation he was unable to manage or control and he struggled to cope. His wife's breast cancer diagnosis was the last thing he expected and he was completely overwhelmed. He was sleeping badly, wan't eating properly and his work performance and social life nosedived. 

    He admitted that he was initially reluctant even to see his wife's changed appearance, and above all, he was scared he might lose her to the cancer. 

    Eventually, they sat down together and talked honestly and openly about how each of them really felt about the cancer and the situation they were in. It was the starting point of a mutual understanding and they are now closer than ever. 

    I do believe that a lot of us men find it more difficult than women do to speak openly about our feelings and we tend to tough things out rather than admit to fear or anxiety. The Cancer is devastating for both of you and your husband most definitely has emotional feelings just as we all do. I do not think that you should give him too much space though. He needs to talk and I firmly believe that you should both visit your local MacMillans for couples support. During a difficult time for both of us, my wife and I took advantage of the free counselling offered by MacMillans. We realised that my cancer had not just affected me physically but that it had affected both of us mentally and that we were not telling each other the truth about how we really felt. We were both frightened and we needed to admit that so that we could move forward and face this thing together. These days, we often hold hands and have a cuddle and I saw a young couple smiling in our direction when I kissed my wife in the supermarket last week. I am 73😀

    I now post exactly what is on my mind and I am happy knowing that the people in this community will listen kindly and without judging me. I think that you have shown a lot of courage in telling us your story and hope that you will keep in touch. 

    Good luck.

    Rob X 

  • RobertARobertA Posts: 1,159 Community Admin


    Hi Debbie

    I am sorry to hear that you feel your relationship is now more like patient and carer. Life after cancer needs adjusting to and you have both been through a huge upheaval and may not be quite the same people you were before. Have you talked about it?

    Tomorrow is a great day to change things. Bring out your romantic side and go for it. Candlelit dinner, chocolates, champagne. The list is endless.

    If you do feel thst you are struggling and you have a MacMillans near you, it is worth popping in and having a chat. They are very helpful and supportive and usually have access to a counsellor who can be a great help to cancer survivors. 

    Delighted you have joined us. Keep in touch and let us know how you get on.

    Rob x

  • SunshinedaffSunshinedaff Posts: 1,282 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Valentine's Day? How did yours go?

    I was reminded this morning as I cilit-banged the kitchen sink (!) of when I first met my husband.

    He was the first person to send me a Valentines card ever! haha, yes, yes, feel sorry for me! Not! 🤣I was such a geek when I was growing up hahaha 😂. Only ever known as a slang version of my surname, never my name! That or carrot top, or freckle face 😁.

    We have never really celebrated Valentines Day, because it was two weeks after that we first went on a date. So if anything that is what is remembered. The Valentines of that year I had been hoovering at midnight, and he had been working. If you want to know the story I'll tell you, otherwise I won't! That would be boring for many I am sure! 😜

    We were chatting about it yesterday, there is so much hype over this one day. It is so hard for single people, or those on their own.

    If any of you have ever seen Parks and Recreation, you will see Lesley Knope (character), do Gallantynes Day, a fantastic idea, where she celebrated with all her girls friends together. My daughter and her friends have adopted this approach, I think it is brilliant.

    If you haven't seen it, DO SO!! It is so very funny.

    You may be getting used to me by now, I love to laugh, my sense of humour ranges from downright childish and silly, to dry and satirical and anything inbetween!

    Have a lovely sunshiny day!

    Lou x

  • RobertARobertA Posts: 1,159 Community Admin

    Hi Lou

    I bet your story is fun and not at all boring. I think that it is great to be childish and silly. After we worked through my cancer thing, Mary and I decided to have fun and enjoy life the best we can and we do that.

    Sadly, my Mum died on Valentine's Day 22 years ago and we have never really celebrated it since then. Anyway, as you say, there is so much hype about it and it is cheaper to eat out and buy flowers on other days. (I am revealing my Northern tightness here).

    Have a great weekend.

    Rob X

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