Thursday, November 27, 2014

How Did You React When Someone Told You That They Had Cancer?

February 12, 2010 by  
Filed under LLH Talk Radio

LLH Talk logo blog  300x152 How Did You React When Someone Told You That They Had Cancer?One of the hardest thing that anyone might ever have to do is to hear that a family member or loved one or friend has cancer. It has happened to just about every single person that I know. I have been in the role of being the recipient of that news from my father and my brother among others and I will never forget my shock and inability to formulate a response. And I can’t begin to tell you how hard it was to deliver that news to my husband and watch his reaction. This week on Let Life Happen TALK, I would like to discuss this subject and would appreciate your input. Please share your story and tell me about how you received the news from your families and friends. Let me know how you reacted and how you felt about your personal experiences. Perhaps by sharing our experiences, we may be able to help others who, in the future, have to face this situation.

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  • Keith Underdown

    I am a prostate cancer survivor so I have been the person giving the news. My mother was the first person I told as she happened to be with me on the day I was given my diagnosis. She was visibly shocked, her own parents had both died of cancer (my grandfather when I was a baby and my grandmother when I was 7). I had determined to be upbeat and open and stress that my cancer had been caught early and I stood a good chance of a cure. I rang my wife at work and her reaction was such that her colleagues told her to take the rest of the day off. “Go home and give him some TLC”.

    The more interesting responses were from people I knew less well. At church I wrote an article about prostate cancer which the senior cleric had edited as too explicit! Bad marks to him. I also asked to be put on the prayer list. This caused someone to ask what was wrong during the Peace. I only had time say “Prostate cancer” before moving on to give the Peace to the next person. The next week she was talking to my wife and said (loudly) “and he told me right out he has Cancer!” (I could hear the upper case C!). This meant that everybody around where we sat now knew. I found it wonderfully supportive; people I had spoken to for several years starting calling me by name and asking after me. Some people would even put a hand on my arm between elbow and shoulder. Solicitous without being threatening or invasive.

    To my mind the worst thing is to bottle up your feelings about cancer. Tell everybody you meet in as positive a manner as you can manage and you will be kick-starting the healing process

    • Barbara Jacoby

      Thank you so much for sharing your story. It is such an amazing thing that you are able to share out with others so easily. That is a good thing for both you and for the others who are receiving the news because you are not coming from a place of being a victim. I know that I couldn’t do that in the beginning as I needed all of my energy to just cope with what I was going through. Kudos to you as I do believe that message of sharing your story in as positive manner as possible will go a long way in the healing process.

  • Cassie H

    I was told in summer 2001 by my mother that she had Ovarian cancer, she was already in the final stage and needed to have surgery to remove a tumor the size of a volley ball out of her stomach. Those three words, “I HAVE CANCER”, rock and turned my world up side down. Their shouldn’t be any words like that to turn someones life upside down the way those three do. I was scared to death of losing her and still am. She is going on 9 yrs of having cancer. It has never went away, she has just been battling it. The cancer has moved threw out her whole body now. Just yesterday she told me that they found a spot in her brain, so now it has moved to there. I have alway’s been so scared of it moving there and then now to have her tell me that she has it on her brain, It tears me up and scares the crap out of me. I don’t want to lose her. Even thoe I’m now 25 married w/2 kids, I still need her more then ever. And so does my kids. I pray that I never hear or have to tell those three words.

    • Barbara Jacoby

      Thank you so very much for sharing your story. I am shocked that she had a tumor the size of a volleyball and has been able to keep on going and going. But, I can’t even begin to imagine what you have had to deal with as you initially learned about her cancer at such a young age. I hope that you know that your mom appreciates your love and support so much more than she can ever say. I do believe that it is always harder on the family and friends than it is on us who have had cancer. We have the doctors and the best of care but who is there for you and others like you? Everyone figures that since you are not sick, you are fine but I know that that isn’t so. I have been at both ends of this rope and I found it a lot easier to have cancer and deal with it than I did when I learned that my dad and my baby brother had it and I felt like I couldn’t do a single thing. That is why I appreciate your sharing here so that others know that they are not alone in their feelings.

  • Lisa Howell

    My Mama,

    Where do I start? I guess I will start in June of 09. Mama found out she had breast cancer. Not just breast cancer but triple negative, the worst kind. I was down in Oregon by the next day. I had to put my self as a different kind of person. I was going down not just as a daughter but more as a care giver. To help & do whatever was needed of me. I couldn’t be just the daughter as everyone knows mama & I always argued. I just put myself in a different place. Oh she wanted to fight, she wanted to argue, but I would just give her a kiss, tell her I loved her, but I was not going to fight with her. She would get so mad at daddy & I because we would keep on her about drinking her water & taking her pills. Well after 3 surgeries, 2 chemos, & and another mammogram it showed no cancer. How exciting.
    Then mama started feeling horrible, running a low grade temp. We called the doctor, they gave us some stuff to do, but we ended up taking her to the doctor, who immediately wanted her at the hospital. So off we go, but mama wanted to stop & eat before we went there, cause she didn’t know when she would get to eat again. Mama always wanted to go out to eat or wanted to know what you had eaten. She sent us home one night & told us to go eat, but call her as soon as we got home & let her know what we had. She was so funny. Then as the days keep going mama got sicker & sicker. We were all getting more scared. What the heck was going on. She was on all this medicine, why was she not getting better. Finally they put her in ICU & when the doctor told us to have the family all come together, it started setting in. Was mama going to die? I hope not the doc said, but I don’t know. What do you mean you don’t know I was screaming inside. You’re the doctor. Just fix her. Mama was having a hard time breathing, so they decided to put her on a ventilator, She called me into the room & had me promise her I would take care of Daddy. She knew then I believe as she had known for years she would not live past 66. I remember her telling daddy, Robby, Tammi & I she loved us. Those were the last words mama ever spoke. About 2 weeks later on Sept 26 mama died in our arms with us there watching her taking her last breath. My God please make her breath, don’t take her. I know lord you think you need her more, but we need her more. How can I live without my mama. The last months we had gotten so close, she was not only my mama, now she was my friend. Now she is gone. All these years of fighting, now we love each other more than ever & you take her away from us? I have now come to realize that it was God’s plan for Daddy, Mama, & I to develop our relationship in a way that nothing or no one could ever come between us again. We had become so close or I should say we are so close & that is all God wanted at least from me, Was for me to love, respect, & have the friendship of my parents. I now have had it, God took Mama home & I still have my relationship with my Mama & daddy that can never be broken. I love them both so much, & I miss my Mama so much. It is the worst pain, I have ever had, but for Mama there is no more pain, as she is up there sitting with Jesus. Mama I love you with all my heart & soul.

    Love your daughter,

    • Barbara Jacoby

      There is absolutely nothing else to say except that I am so happy that you were able to develop such a wonderful relationship with your parents before your mother passed away. What you have written here is such a beautiful tribute to your mother and although I know you miss her tremendously, just know that she appreciated what you did and who you are so much more than you will ever know. Thank you for writing and sharing with all of us.