Karin Sieger - Ask The Cancer Counsellor

KarinSiegerKarinSieger Posts: 61 Cancer Counselling Specialist
Karin Sieger, Cancer Counselling Specialist
Joins the Community to Answer your Questions

Karin Sieger is a psychotherapist, writer and podcast host based in London, UK. She specialises in support with the emotional and mental impact of cancer and offers help locally and globally. Karin has been diagnosed with breast cancer twice, and has also lost relatives and friends to the illness. The combination of her professional training and varied personal experiences makes Karin well placed to understand and assist others affected by cancer (including relatives, friends, colleagues and medical professionals). Karin offers support through all stages of the cancer experience (diagnosis, treatment, remission, recurrence, living with cancer, terminal cancer, loss and grief). She writes self help articles on many topics, including coping with cancer, and has 2 podcasts "Cancer and You" and "Soul Cravings" as well as a YouTube channel.

Karin holds an MA and is a registered and accredited member of the British Association for Counselling Psychotherapy (BACP). She trained and worked in the NHS, has a private practice in West London and also offers support online. Prior to her training she spent some 25 years in consumer and media research (at AOL, the BBC and others). You can follow Karin on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn and Instagram For more information visit KarinSieger.com

Ask your Questions Now

Karin Sieger
Psychotherapist | Writer | Podcaster | MA, BA (Hons) | Reg. MBACP (Accred)
Helping you create new possibilities!
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Comments

  • RobertARobertA Posts: 700 ✭✭✭✭
    edited July 19
    @KarinSieger

    Good evening Karin

    I am so pleased that you have joined our community to answer questions on the emotional and mental impact of cancer.
    I found coping with cancer a lonely business and for me, the emotional reaction came after treatments when life was supposed to go back to normal. I felt that family and friends wanted me to be my old self, but I was still on hormonal treatments and regular check ups. Putting on a brave face was wearing me down and I became depressed.
    I was lucky as my doctor advised me to checkout MacMillan Cancer Support. They were very helpful and supportive and gave me access to a counsellor who gives her time free of charge, and slowly but surely she has helped me to find a way through.
    Finding friends and support in this community was also a big help. 

    I think the work you do is invaluable  and I am looking forward to reading your articles, listening to your podcasts and reading your answers to our questions. 

    Thank you so much for giving us your time and support.
    Rob




  • Midd5Midd5 Posts: 2
    Hi Karin.i was diagnosed  with aged breast cancer in February  this year and before they could operate  they found a tumour  on my lung that was diagnosed  this month as adenocarcinoma large cell my consultant has said repeated times if I keep getting  chest infections I wont be able to have radiotherapy.   chemotherapy  is out of the question as is an operation I have copd I'm  constantly getting infected and in hospital I feel I'm sliding  on a banana skin  and there's  only one way to go xxx
  • KarinSiegerKarinSieger Posts: 61 Cancer Counselling Specialist
    Hello @Midd5  

    Sorry for the delay in you seeing my response. I answered straight back and tried again yesterday, but still figuring out why it's not pinging you. Anyway, I hope this works. Please below! K

    Thanks for getting in touch. I am sorry to hear all this. It sounds like on top of the diagnosis, there is one thing after the other. And you feel like sliding downhill. 

    Cancer treatment is rarely straight forward and our bodies don't always play along. If we don't feel well enough (even for reasons not related to the cancer), then treatment is impacted, has to be delayed etc. This in itself causes additional uncertainty, fear, anger and frustration - as if we did not have enough to deal with. And all of it can start dragging us down - like your banana skin analogy. Then we may do the most obvious and natural thing - we worry and negative thoughts start to grow.

    But the is one area we can try and work on. If you do notice (understandable) worries and negativity building up and the mind wondering, then try not to give in to that frame of mind. I always believe it is extra hard for our physical health to improve, if our minds keep pulling us down. It drains us of energy.

    Your consultant is stressing the importance of you being well enough to start radiotherapy. This may cause some stress and frustration, because getting infections or not is not something we can easily control. And all the while, the cancer is present. This is very hard.

    However, as I said, try do things that can help uplift and sooth you and bring the stress levels down. You may know what works for you. Being in hospital can limit what we can do - reading or listening to music or audio books, some people like meditating. There may be some wellbeing Apps which can assist you. Writing down how you feel and much more.

    You also might be interested in the following:
    An article I wrote for BreastCancerCare.org.uk on mindfulness, which contains some resources HERE
    Episodes of my podcast 'Cancer and You' HERE 
    My article on 'How to turn hopelessness in hope' HERE

    I hope to have been able to help you in some way. Fingers crossed the infections resolve and treatment can commence.

    With best wishes.

    Karin
    Karin Sieger
    Psychotherapist | Writer | Podcaster | MA, BA (Hons) | Reg. MBACP (Accred)
    Helping you create new possibilities!
  • KarinSiegerKarinSieger Posts: 61 Cancer Counselling Specialist
    Hello @RobertA

    I just realised that you may have not seen my response. I answered straight back, but still figuring out why it's not pinging you. Anyway, I hope this works. Please below! K

    Thank you for the kind welcome.

    I am very pleased to join livebetterwith.com and to share my knowledge with the cancer community here. 

    You mention some important experiences which many will identify with. And it is good to know that you have found a way to address these and work your way through it. No doubt this will be of great benefit.

    With best wishes.

    Karin
    Karin Sieger
    Psychotherapist | Writer | Podcaster | MA, BA (Hons) | Reg. MBACP (Accred)
    Helping you create new possibilities!
  • RobertARobertA Posts: 700 ✭✭✭✭
    @KarinSieger
    Hi Karin
    Yes, I did receive your message the first time. Thank you very much.

    Kind regards
    Rob
  • KarinSiegerKarinSieger Posts: 61 Cancer Counselling Specialist


    I am glad you did, Robert. Thanks for letting me know.

    Very best. Karin

    Karin Sieger
    Psychotherapist | Writer | Podcaster | MA, BA (Hons) | Reg. MBACP (Accred)
    Helping you create new possibilities!
  • KitKatKitKat Posts: 42 ✭✭

    @KarinSieger

    Hi Karin

    Good to have you on this site + only joined myself a few weeks ago.

    I got diagnosed with breast cancer a couple of weeks ago and it is my lymph nodes.

    This is my 4th cancer and I am really struggling to come to terms with it. All I seem to do is cry - it's really affected me mentally yet I don't remember feeling this low before with with my other cancers. I just keep thinking that I can't go through it all again.

    I'm not scared of the surgery or radiotherapy but just feel so lonely. I'm just about to retire and was so looking forward to it and now feel like my world is upside down.

    It wouldn't be so bad if I wasn't already under a different oncologist for a different cancer.

    I've got a great supportive partner and lot's of friends but feel so alone at times.

    Thanks for reading and apologies for moaning.

  • KarinSiegerKarinSieger Posts: 61 Cancer Counselling Specialist

    Dear @KitKat,

    Thanks for getting in touch. You are totally justified in feeling the way you do! And it's good to get it out.

    I am sorry to hear that you have had a 4th diagnosis. It sounds like a different cancer, and you are under the care of a different oncologist for a different cancer still. You have not mentioned the stage and prognosis. Therefore, I am keeping my answer a bit general.

    In a way it makes sense that with every further diagnosis we feel different and often worse than previously. Because each time it does take it out of us physically, emotionally and mentally. And each time (if we have enough time) we try and pick up the pieces.

    With each set back (side effects, uncertainty from feeling unwell, a new diagnosis) we are thrown back. And each time it gets a harder - but not impossible.

    It also depends on the nature of the diagnosis / prognosis / treatment, which can vary every time.

    If we have not had enough time in-between diagnoses to regain strength than it is especially challenging.

    SO, WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

    Make sure your medical teams / oncologists that support the different cancers "talk with each other" - ie know your cancer treatment history and what's happening now. Especially if they may be based in different hospitals / departments, and even if they are in the same hospital. We must never assume that medical staff know everything about our case. This is not a criticism of them.

    This diagnosis may change your future - and I hear you say you are disappointed that your retirement may not proceed in the way you had hoped. I understand that. Sadly with cancer, we cannot take much for granted. A lot of our life is up in the air, even if we are in remission.

    3 key challenges with cancer are learning to live with uncertainty, disappointments, our mortality.

    It sounds like with your latest diagnosis you have fallen back into a deep hole. And so it often goes. We do feel alone, because it is such an intense personal experience (even if we have close support). It can cause mood swings, anxiety, depression - to mention just some.

    When I had my second diagnosis I felt like hit by a bus, with nothing of any meaning or hope remaining in my life. It was a very dark space. I allowed it. Because I instinctively felt, this was a natural response. But I also knew in time, that I had 2 choices - to give in and give up or to pick myself up, and put one foot in front of the next. That was the only way to live with the news. And when I started looking at my predicament as a task I needed to take charge of, then things started to fall into place.

    Again, this sounds easy. It is not. And a lot depends o how much the cancer affects our physical abilities.

    IN SUMMARY, I would say, it's normal how you feel. This is your 4th time and hard. You are disappointed and grieving for a future, which is not unfolding the way you had hoped. Perhaps you are angry and frightened, too.

    Preserve your physical and emotional energies. Cut down on as many responsibilities and commitments which involve stress and things you don't like. If you can, get out every day, at least a bit, for a walk. To some it may not sound much, but it helps focusing the mind, we feel our body and are part of life around us.

    Get as much support as you can with your overall wellbeing. Check which complementary therapies can go along side your cancer treatment - aromatherapy, reflexology etc from registered practitioners, who know your cancer situation and can also advice you what is appropriate or not. Some cancer hospitals and cancer charities offer these for free. Set up as much as you can.

    Keep your mind active with things you like. Even if right now you may not feel like any of this. Reading, music, audio books ... You don't need to do any of it, or all of it at once. Just have a think and create your own tool box for moments when you feel like it.

    Reach out for some counselling. Find someone independent who can support you. The Online Counselling Directory helps you find a counsellor anywhere in the UK. I list "Cancer" as a condition you can search for and they also carry an article by me about cancer counselling and what to watch out for HERE

    DON'T LOSE HOPE!

    After my 2nd diagnosis I wrote an article about how to turn feeling hopeless into hope and recorded a Podcast on the same topic. You can find it all HERE

    I hope these thoughts can assist you KitKat. Feel free to keep in touch and keep us posted. No doubt, there are others here who feel just like you.

    With very best wishes.

    Karin

    Karin Sieger
    Psychotherapist | Writer | Podcaster | MA, BA (Hons) | Reg. MBACP (Accred)
    Helping you create new possibilities!
  • KitKatKitKat Posts: 42 ✭✭

    @KarinSieger

    Hi Karin

    Many thanks for your kind response. I have read it several times.

    I'm slowly climbing out of the dark hole and keeping myself busy. Mentally I have more positive moments than negative and 98% of the time I am fine.

    I got a referral to the Royal Marsden in London and going forward will be under them and not my local hospital and feel my treatment plan is better.

    By the way my breast cancer diagnosis is invasive carcinoma, oestrogen receptor positive and HER2 positive.

    As you suggested being outside helps and having a horse is a great help.

    Once again thank you so much for your response - it really helped me.

    Best wishes, Catherine

  • KarinSiegerKarinSieger Posts: 61 Cancer Counselling Specialist

    Dear @KitKat ,

    Thanks for your kind feedback and I am glad to have been of some assistance. I can hear you speak with a greater perspective, than what we can have when we are in the hole or dark place. And we can find ourselves moving in and out of that place, too.

    One of my oncologists once suggested 3 important things we can do to help ourselves - keep down stress, spend time in the fresh air and don't put on weight. Not always easy, but really worth paying attention to. Pets can also be a great comforter and motivator.

    With very best wishes for you.

    Karin

    Karin Sieger
    Psychotherapist | Writer | Podcaster | MA, BA (Hons) | Reg. MBACP (Accred)
    Helping you create new possibilities!
  • RobertARobertA Posts: 700 ✭✭✭✭

    @KarinSieger @KitKat

    Hi Karin

    I love the 3 important things which you have identified which we can do. They have helped me enormously.

    I am retired so the first one is relatively easy. It took me a while, but I have learned not to get impatient or wound up by anything, such as careless drivers or rudeness etc. and just let it go. My wife and I love walking and make sure we get out of the house for at least a couple of hours every day. The third one is the hardest. The treatments I am on do cause weight gain and I love sticky toffee pudding and carrot cake which doesn’t help but I have somehow managed to cut down significantly on alcohol which seems to have made a difference.

    Hi Catherine

    It must be really therapeutic having that lovely horse to look after. I don't have an animal but I started playing the piano again after nearly forty years not bothering. I bought a new computerised electric piano and started to sing and write music. Not too well I guess, but whenever I feel down, I just sit at the piano and play and everything falls into perspective.

    Kind regards

    Rob

  • KitKatKitKat Posts: 42 ✭✭

    @KarinSieger @Rob70@RobertA

    Hi

    I've been going to meditation classes for the past 18 months which is really helping. It's really taught me patience.

    As for weight, well I'm 7st 7lbs and been the same since a teenager. I put it down to having a horse - mucking out, poo picking the field, carrying bales of hay etc. It's like having a gym workout.

    So envious of your musical skills. I'd love to have a talent like that. Maybe it's not too late to learn. I do love music, especially rock and we regularly go to see live bands.

    I still work but will officially be finishing for ever on 30 September - so looking forward to being a lady of leisure.

    Take care

  • KitKatKitKat Posts: 42 ✭✭

    @Rob70

    Sorry sent to you in error + do apologize

  • KarinSiegerKarinSieger Posts: 61 Cancer Counselling Specialist

    Dear @RobertA

    Thanks Robert. You raise an important point regards weight regulation. It is not always down to lifestyle change or will power. Especially challenging and frustrating when the drugs and medications we are on cause unwanted weight gain. Which can add more pressure to our emotional and mental wellbeing.

    Best wishes with all you do.

    Karin

    Karin Sieger
    Psychotherapist | Writer | Podcaster | MA, BA (Hons) | Reg. MBACP (Accred)
    Helping you create new possibilities!
  • KarinSiegerKarinSieger Posts: 61 Cancer Counselling Specialist

    Hi @KitKat

    All the best for your transition this September.

    Best wishes.

    Karin

    Karin Sieger
    Psychotherapist | Writer | Podcaster | MA, BA (Hons) | Reg. MBACP (Accred)
    Helping you create new possibilities!
  • RobertARobertA Posts: 700 ✭✭✭✭

    @KitKat @KarinSieger

    Hi Catherine

    Its amazing that you have been the same weight since you were a teenager, assuming that was a few years ago😀. I had always been quite thin until the meds took over three years ago and I do get a few comments from people who have noticed that I have put some weight on. I don't bother explaining to be honest because I know that people mean well. My wife says it is not so bad and that I need to stop looking in the mirror. Haha, she is always right.

    It must be lovely having your horse and the work you do looking after him must be the best fun fitness workout imaginable.

    As for the music, it is certainly never too late to learn to sing. I am 74 and all my life I believed that I could not sing. After writing a little song, I searched everywhere for someone to sing it for me but suddenly everyone had a cold. In the end I decided to sing it myself, and took some tuition. I am no Ed Sheeran, but I am mostly in tune these days and practice by singing along with the radio. I bet you enjoy singing along with those live bands too.

    I am pleased you are looking forward to retirement. My wife and I have had to adjust our plans a little, but we still live fulfilling lives and have some fun.

    I trust that things will go well for you next month and hope you will keep in touch.

    Kind regards

    Rob

  • KitKatKitKat Posts: 42 ✭✭

    @KarinSieger @RobertA @Sunshinedaff

    Thank you all for making me so welcome on this site.

    Just had a call from the Royal Marsden and commence chemo next week. I'll keep you posted.

    Best wishes

  • KitKatKitKat Posts: 42 ✭✭

    @Jojodot

    Hi how are you and how are things progressing with your treatment?

    I've got some tests tomorrow, then next week I have a bone scan on Tuesday then start chemo on Wednesday.

    Gosh it's moving very fast.

    Take care xx

  • JojodotJojodot Posts: 14

    @KitKat @KarinSieger @Rob70

    Thanks for asking Kitkat and for pointing me to this thread to read Karin Sieger’s advice. Lots of practical advice - thank you Karin - and nice to know we can ask questions.

    i will know my final diagnosis and plan of treatment tomorrow. Hopefully I will feel happier about things after this meeting I have been on high alert today and very anxious so hope I can sleep. Unlike you this is my first time with cancer and am trying to keep positive. We are more or less at same stage and interesting your chemo is starting next week.

    Lovely to hear you have a horse - that will keep you busy. I love animals and have had dogs and cats but now am reduced to one cat.

    Nice to hear from Rob again. You sound as if you are enjoying life. Living in a lovely place like Jersey must help. I too enjoy singing and go to a weekly singing group. We sing mainly Scottish traditional songs with no accompaniment - acapella style. I have to travel to this group and until I see how I react to chemo I fear I will have to give this up for a while. Just another uncertainty..

    Wishing you all the best.

    Jojodot X

  • LouiseJLouiseJ Posts: 359 mod

    @KitKat , @Jojodot

    Hi Catherine,

    I know things are moving fast for you, it can happen that way, like being in the middle of a whirlwind with no way out! I am glad the hospital called and your chemo is confirmed to begin next week. I hope tomorrows tests go ok, and your scan next week too. Even though you have been here before, I can imagine still how difficult it must be for you. As you start chemo next week I will be thinking of you.

    @Jojodot , will be thinking of you tomorrow when you find out the finer details and the plan ahead, I am sorry to hear you have been feeling very anxious, that is very understandable of course. I think once you have more information, you will then be able to sort a bit in your head and think of the way forward.

    I think your singing group sounds like a brilliant thing to be part of, being involved in something like that is very uplifting for heart and soul. I hope it won't be too long before you can return and enjoy it.

    For both of you, please know we are here anytime you feel like a chat or a listening ear , if it helps, to help you get through these turbulent times.

    As you know there are many here who have been in similar situations, and it is great to have Karin here also, where questions can be raised and talked through.

    Wishing you both a peaceful, restful night, I hope sleep comes a little easier.

    Chat soon,

    Lou x

  • KarinSiegerKarinSieger Posts: 61 Cancer Counselling Specialist

    Dear @Jojodot

    Thanks for saying 'hello'. You are always most welcome to ask a question, or check on something practical.

    Fingers crossed for all the news you will be receiving today.

    These things are never easy (even if we have been here before), and it can take some time to get our head around it all, and realise what questions we may need to ask re diagnosis and treatment, and how to get it all done.

    One step at a time.

    Very best for you.

    Karin

    Karin Sieger
    Psychotherapist | Writer | Podcaster | MA, BA (Hons) | Reg. MBACP (Accred)
    Helping you create new possibilities!
  • KarinSiegerKarinSieger Posts: 61 Cancer Counselling Specialist


    Dear @KitKat

    Good luck with the tests today Catherine, bone scan next week Tues and chemo start on Wed.

    What a busy schedule, which in itself can take a lot of physical and mental energy.

    I thought I share with you and others on your thread ( @Jojodot @LouiseJ ) some thoughts about chemo, even though it sounds like the treatment itself may not be new to you (and others here). Feel free to share.

    Knowing what to expect with chemo can be worrying for some. But overall I think it's best to be aware as much as we can. Because then we are in a better place to anticipate and prepare or to respond quickly and to look after ourselves.

    Chemo drugs can vary depending on diagnosis, prognosis and type of cancer. And the way we respond to them (whether they work, or not and any side effects) can also vary from person to person. And there may also be difference between each chemo cycle. Personally I found that really hard. Because every time I thought I "knew and understood" how it impacts me, it was again different next time around. That's not easy, when you try and limit uncertainty. If I have to go through it again, then I will certainly try to have a more open mind.

    Invasive cancer treatment like chemo and radiotherapy (like the diagnosis itself) are also times of transition, when things can become all a bit too much, and we feel overwhelmed, because it can take it out of us on so many levels - emotionally, mentally, physically, financially, in relationships etc. That's why keeping some continuity going with life before our diagnosis and treatment is important.

    For me it was going for walks in known surroundings. While, at some point, I could only do 10 mins 3 times a day instead of hours, it helped keep some sense of normality, predictability and ME.

    There a various practical issues to consider, which I talk about in my 20 mins podcast episode on 🎧 How to cope with Chemotherapy HERE like coping with low immunity, fatigue, sickness, anxiety etc

    I have also opened a separate discussion on Chemo Brain - what is it, what to expect, how to cope, how to explain it to others. I have written about it and recorded a video 📝📽. You can find it all on my website HERE

    And there is also a piece about 📝 Why chemo hair loss is about more than wig or no wig. It also includes some practical advice. You can read it HERE

    I hope this helps a bit.

    With my very best wishes for you and all here.

    Karin

    Karin Sieger
    Psychotherapist | Writer | Podcaster | MA, BA (Hons) | Reg. MBACP (Accred)
    Helping you create new possibilities!
  • RobertARobertA Posts: 700 ✭✭✭✭

    Hi @Jojodot

    I do hope that you now have your diagnosis and treatment plan in place. It is not surprising that you have been feeling so anxious, it would be more surprising if you were not.

    I found it a bit easier to cope once my treatment programme was in place and I knew what to expect and I trust that it will be the same for you.

    A capella music is one of my favourite styles. Sometimes, it is hard to realise that there is no instrumental accompaniment. It must feel wonderful to be part of your singing group and if you do have to miss a few meetings, it will be something to aim for and look forward to. We have several musical people in our community and we will have to get together and form a group. 🎼🎼🎤🎤

    I do hope you will keep in touch.

    Rob x

  • RobertARobertA Posts: 700 ✭✭✭✭

    @KitKat

    Hi Catherine

    Wow, things are moving fast but at least you are not hanging around waiting. You have been through so much already but you will get through again and we will be here to chat and to cheer you on.

    Rob x

  • NorrieNorrie Posts: 4

    Hi Karin, I’ve got quite an unusual cancer where it’s in my Lymph Nodes but the primary source can’t be found. It’s metastatic (hope that’s the right word) so I’m on a chemo drug plus an anti hormone drug and I realise that as soon as the drugs stop working I’m in big trouble. It’s actually not the cancer which is causing me mental anguish at the moment but people’s reaction to me. I realise it must be my way of handling things as everyone is the same even my family. I started off by smiling to everyone and saying I was fine because I thought that was the positive thing to do as most people say ‘remember to be positive’. But now I feel no one asks me how I am. My family visit and don’t mention cancer so I’ve practically no one to speak to and this is causing my depression, which I’ve had since the menopause and been on medication for over twenty years, rearing it’s ugly head. I have started to loose my hair. It’s very thin and I have patches of baldness showing but no one wants to know about this and on the rare times I’ve mentioned it to friends they don’t believe me saying that my hair’s fine and doesn’t look as if it’s coming out. WELL IT IS !! This is why I need your advice. Should I not let people know that I feel awful most of the time due to side effects of the drugs.I always thought people would be sympathetic to cancer sufferers but they don’t show it to me and the only time I get hugs is when I attend the Oncology Clinic. Please let me know where I’m going wrong coping with people not my cancer. Thanks

  • KarinSiegerKarinSieger Posts: 61 Cancer Counselling Specialist

    Dear @Norrie,

    Thanks for writing in. Just a quick message back to acknowledge receipt of your question and that I will reply. You are raising very important points, which no doubt many others can relate to.

    Warmest.

    Karin

    Karin Sieger
    Psychotherapist | Writer | Podcaster | MA, BA (Hons) | Reg. MBACP (Accred)
    Helping you create new possibilities!
  • KarinSiegerKarinSieger Posts: 61 Cancer Counselling Specialist

    Dear @Norrie

    Thanks for sharing how you feel about others' response (or lack of) to how you experience your cancer treatment. You wonder whether it's all down to you, that people don't seem to show empathy, because you tried 'to be positive'.

    May I suggest that you don't blame yourself. I find disappointment is part of the cancer experience. How we handle what we go through and how we communicate it to others is an ongoing process. Nothing is set in stone. It all depends on how we feel, our circumstances and the others.

    I don't know why people respond the way they do. There may be a whole range of reasons incl:

    They may be afraid to feel sorry or show empathy for fear of an outpouring of worries from the person with cancer, which both parties may not be able to cope with. That way some try to protect the person with cancer and themselves.

    People cannot accept the reality and are in denial.

    People may think they help by not making cancer an issue.

    Being positive about having cancer - I often wonder what we really mean by it: denial, avoiding self-indulgence, self-pity, protecting others or ourselves from the truth ...? It's hard to be positive when we are worried, angry, frustrated, in pain, sad etc.

    I would suggest not to pretend, but to think carefully about who we share the truth with. Because some people can't handle it and that can make things worse for us. In that way, having cancer can become a lonely experience.

    It is also important not to shy away from the realty and almost educate people of what it's like for us, especially if we need their help.

    I never forget telling some friends how disappointed I was with their (lack of) response after my first diagnosis. What I got back was utter silence from one and another telling me that "I sounded angry". I had to make a choice then, and decide who I needed in my life going forward. I am not saying you do the same. But want to let you know, you are by no means alone in feeling the way you do. No doubt, others can identify with what you are describing.

    You may find the following of use: An article I wrote about "Talking about my cancer diagnosis - is it ok with you?" and from my podcast "Cancer And You" the episode "How should I talk about my cancer".

    I hope my thoughts are of some assistance.

    With best wishes.

    Karin

    Karin Sieger
    Psychotherapist | Writer | Podcaster | MA, BA (Hons) | Reg. MBACP (Accred)
    Helping you create new possibilities!
  • RobertARobertA Posts: 700 ✭✭✭✭

    @Norrie @KarinSieger

    Hi Norrie

    I have an aggressive prostate cancer which is metatastic and I am also on hormone drugs which contain the cancer but which at some unknown point in the future will stop working.

    After diagnosis, I soon realised that most people think that prostate cancer is no big deal and I have lost count of the number of people who have told me they know of someone who has lived happily with prostate cancer for 20 years or more. Ironically, after diagnosis, I cut down alcohol, increased exercise and started gentle workouts in order to counter the effects of the drugs. The outcome of all this is that I look slimmer and fitter than I have for years. As you can imagine, people keep telling me how well I look and rarely ask me how I really am or feel.

    I have always been open about my condition but as with you, people tend to downplay or ignore it altogether. I get terrible sweats, concentration issues and I do not have the energy I used to have. There were times when I felt lonely, even in company and I realised that some people I thought were friends did not really have the time or inclination to accommodate the new me. This helped me to find out who really were my friends and I moved away from the others.

    Trust me, you are not going wrong, As Karin has said, there are any number of people in this community who can identify with your experiences and way you feel and I certainly can. This is a lovely group of people and we are here to support, rant, listen and chat and we do not judge. I hope you will keep in touch.

    Rob x

  • KarinSiegerKarinSieger Posts: 61 Cancer Counselling Specialist

    Dear @RobertA and @Norrie

    Thanks Robert, for sharing your own experience. It is an important point to find ways of looking after ourselves (mentally, physically, socially) in addition to the cancer treatments and after. If done sensible and appropriately we can only benefit from it. And yes, others can take this as an indication that we are 'well' and that the cancer cannot possible be all that bad. I try and remind myself of the time when I had never met someone affected by cancer and when my own diagnosis was not something I would have ever considered. I was blissfully ignorant, too.

    Greetings to you both.

    Very best.

    Karin

    Karin Sieger
    Psychotherapist | Writer | Podcaster | MA, BA (Hons) | Reg. MBACP (Accred)
    Helping you create new possibilities!
  • NorrieNorrie Posts: 4

    Thank you Karin and Rob. You have both made me feel so much better knowing that other people have the same problems. Really did think that it was just me! Thanks again.

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