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the big c

(23 Posts)
Brendaj Sun 28-Oct-18 12:09:28

I found that recently a very close relative of mine has terminal lung cancer. I don't know what to say to him. whatever I say to him is not enough. I just wish I could do something else to help him and my sister. They have been married for fifty years. Seems so unfair.

stella1949 Sun 28-Oct-18 12:23:05

There isn't anything you can do, really. And to be honest there isn't anything in particular that you can say.

whatever I say to him is not enough. I do hope you are not just talking about his disease - it isn't necessary or wanted. I've been in his situation ( but luckily I had a miraculous cure) . I know what it's like to be given a terminal diagnosis, and one thing you don't want, is to have people coming and talking about it . Or talking about how sorry they are.

All a terminal person wants, is to talk about normal life . They are living, they don't think of themselves as dying so please don't focus on that one thing. Keep it light and normal, stop thinking you have to do something or say something which will make him feel better. Just be your normal self - that is all he needs.

Grammaretto Sun 28-Oct-18 13:36:46

I agree with stella. DH is in this situation and what he really hates is the well meaning friends who want to talk about his illness, offer "cures" along the lines of ; when so and so had that they tried such n such and it really worked or generally remind him constantly.

I'm on a forum and find that one of the things which has helped is admitting there may be no cure but you can manage the disease and be pain free.
After all we aren't in a position to know when the end is nigh. Or are we?
Look after the carers too. If you are one of them look after yourself.

debohunXL5 Fri 02-Nov-18 13:48:11

I absolutely agree with Stella949. When my daughter was diagnosed she expressly wished that not only was it not to be displayed on social media but when she met friends she wanted to talk about normal things and not her cancer. Her diagnosis was terminal and prognosis terrible but she remained positive. I of course looked on line and came up with various so called 'cures' which she took absolutely no notice of because her oncologist said not to take anything whilst she was on chemo. This she took on board and wouldn't try anything suggested. It was only when it was too late she then wanted to try everything but nothing could be done. All too late. With hindsight I wish I had been more proactive in getting her to try something besides chemo but she was headstrong woman and wanted to take control of her own body. She was a nurse by occupation and I had to respect her wishes. I feel so sad for you and all who are going through agonising times. flowers

Menopaws Fri 02-Nov-18 13:55:49

Just be kind and cheerful, don't fear saying the wrong thing as they will be dealing with it in their own way. Be a friend to him and help your sister deal with it later.
They have been married for fifty years, they are lucky.

tanith Fri 02-Nov-18 14:00:22

As the others have said just be your normal self don’t mention their illness unless they bring it up. My husband recently passed away from cancer and the one thing he told me was to let everyone know that he didn’t want to talk about it and everyone should just treat him as they always have. Everyone is different and it was how he wanted it and on the whole that’s how it was for us.

Teetime Fri 02-Nov-18 14:01:35

Some excellent advice here thank you. I am in a similar position as my lovely son in law has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer with liver mets. He is currently in hospital in a very poorly way.

Riverwalk Fri 02-Nov-18 14:07:53

tanith I'm sorry to hear that your DH has recently passed away - I can understand his not wanting to talk about it. flowers

Teetime Oh, that's very sad. flowers

silverlining48 Mon 05-Nov-18 15:56:56

Debo flowers

Hellosunshine Mon 05-Nov-18 16:05:38

? and hugs also Debo.

etheltbags1 Sat 24-Nov-18 14:26:22

My sympathy to everyone in this situation. When i was have chemo i was ok to talk about it and found it theraputic. But everyones different

Menopaws Sat 24-Nov-18 14:38:54

Tanith and teetime flowers thinking of you both

Menopaws Sat 24-Nov-18 14:40:51

And debo flowers

NanKate Sat 24-Nov-18 14:46:56

How very sad Teetime virtual hug coming your way.

Jalima1108 Sat 24-Nov-18 15:28:55


I'm sorry you finding it difficult to talk to your sister and her husband - it must be four months now since you were told of his illness. Maybe they just don't want to talk about it.

Perhaps if you look back on your previous threads you might find some helpful advice so that you can approach them in the right way and offer support to them both. They could, of course, be wondering why if you are avoiding mentioning it - although I know some people do find it difficult to discuss.
Just ask how they both are and let them take the lead.

tanith Sat 24-Nov-18 17:49:12

Thank you for the flowers thanks

Doodle Sat 24-Nov-18 20:20:40

tanith and debo so sorry. flowers
teetime I do hope your SIL improves.

grannyticktock Sat 24-Nov-18 20:49:09

I can tell you what NOT to say:
"It's all about Positive Mental Attitude!"
"Here's a website link about a little gadget, a black box with electrical pads on it. It can cure cancer, heart problems, all sorts of things..."
"I know just how you feel. My 93-year-old mother has cancer ..."
"Cancer is caused by sugar. Cut out all sugars and it may stop the cancer."
"Hey, do you want to join our next scuba diving trip to the Red Sea?"

All of those are real examples from when my husband had terminal cancer. I think what he wanted most was to do normal everyday things for as long as possible: walks, pub visits, cofffee and chocolate cake in the garden with friends, etc.

There may come a point when practical help is appreciated: shopping, lifts to the hospital or the surgery, etc. The one thing that did cause hurt was when certain friends seemed to avoid us or stopped communicating. Just say what you feel, however bumbling and clumsy it may be, but don't feel you have to offer a solution or a cure, you can't do that. Just let them know you're there for them.

Luckygirl Sat 24-Nov-18 21:00:01

My friend has been in a slowly terminal state for a while now. When she brings it up we talk about it; when she doesn't we talk about everything else under the sun - grandchildren, where to buy the most comfortable knickers, what we have seen on TV.................

So maybe take your lead from him.

Above all else we all want to live until we die. That probably means for most of us to hold on to as close a normality as possible.

flowers to all dealing with bereavement.

MawBroon Sat 24-Nov-18 21:44:16

We had 92 posts on an identical thread just a month ago.

Why does it all need saying again?
And for anybody with a recent diagnosis of cancer, it does not automatically consign you to the Bereavement forum.

Jalima1108 Sat 24-Nov-18 22:32:24

And for anybody with a recent diagnosis of cancer, it does not automatically consign you to the Bereavement forum.
In fact, if it were me, I would be most offended!

phoenix Sat 24-Nov-18 23:06:14

I don't like "it" referred to as "the big C", it's a nasty, small invidious thing, that works cell by cell, and doesn't deserve such a title.

Call it cancer, that bloody disease, anything you like, but NOT the "big C".

Jalima1108 Sat 24-Nov-18 23:10:37

I think we had this discussion on one of Brendaj's previous threads phoenix.
Plus some good advice was offered about how to talk to her sister and BIL at what must be a difficult time for them.

It's worrying that, 4 months on, Brenda is still not sure how to approach them about it.