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Im not on a "journey" and Im not a "warrior." Who is with me?

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  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,945
    edited August 2021
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    My rock and cancer mentor and dear friend died at the beginning of this year. If/when the next cancer pounces, I won't have anyone in real life to talk to like I could with her. My husband is supportive, but in practical ways (which I would also need, of course). My only sister accused me of not being open with her when I had my cancer year, so I did open up about it ONCE. She told me I was too needy. I will never, ever have any personal conversation with her again.

  • dutchiegirl
    dutchiegirl Member Posts: 76
    edited August 2021
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    My “rock” people were the ones who treated me normally during treatment. I didn’t want the sad eyes, or the pep talks. I just wanted real. I was fortunate to have a few that just stayed by my side and were there for me. My sister, on the other hand, didn’t call, text or contact me in any way. I was so disappointed that I sent her a text explaining that I needed her. Apparently, she was still mad at me about some terrible act I’d committed at Christmas- I left a family get-together early because I needed to get away (I was diagnosed but hadn’t started treatment and couldn’t handle being around people for too long). The whole experience was a reminder of “When people show you who they are, believe them”

  • serendipity09
    serendipity09 Member Posts: 769
    edited August 2021
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    Dutchiegirl - I understand the whole “people show you who they are, believe them." Having been diagnosed on the day of the COVID shutdown in our state, I had my 19 yo (at that time) son, who was in college full time and working part time. My mother was ill and in the hospital, so I delayed telling her. I told my older brother as he was my emergency contact. His wife had been DX with BC and I thought maybe she'd help answer a few of my questions. Not one call did I get from her. My brother claims she was busy. OK, I moved on and found this community of wonderful, knowledgeable people willing to share their experiences. My brother didn't bother with me until 6 months later, after my treatment was complete. My other brother, same, called me the day before my BMX to wish well.

    10 months later July 2021, I was newly diagnosed with recurrence and healing from exchange surgery. I chose not to go to a family picnic last month 1. I was recovering from surgery, 2. I had just been diagnosed again and was in a dark place, 3. I come from a very big family, I have well over 60 cousins just in my generation, many of them I was very close to. One of them reached out once to see how I was doing during my first DX, but she too had things going on so it was a thoughtful gesture. Going to that function would have been very difficult as I was raw with emotions and probably would've ended up offending someone/more than one person. All I could think about was how my 19 yo was stuck with this huge burden. It couldn't of been easy for him, and no one reached out to see if he needed anything. Luckily, I had several friends/neighbors that would help if needed and constantly checking on me. Because I did not go the picnic, I received a call from my brother insulting me, telling me that I think I'm better than everyone and that I should be ashamed of myself and that he's cutting me and my son out of his life (that's just the short version). All I wanted to do was scream, "I fucking having cancer you dumbass!", but would've been accused of playing the cancer card. My mother, she too, has decided that I think I'm too good for her because 12 years ago I chose to move to a better side of town, 25 minutes away from her and because, currently, I cannot come take care of her as I need to take care of me. Not taking into consideration that up until recently I was the one taking care of her. Seriously?! Wow! If that's being selfish, than so be it!

    I think about it and have to laugh to myself…my family has cut me off when I need them the most. You'd think it would be opposite, right?! That they'd want to be in touch to at least be in the know and know if I'm doing ok or not. I'm the first to reach out when any family member is ill or going through a hard time to offer any type of help. That's not going to change, but the dynamics certainly have. I have found that my cancer has certainly been a lonely experience, but I will not let that stop me from throwing my all at her and destroying her. I have too much I want to do

  • gr4c1e
    gr4c1e Member Posts: 124
    edited August 2021
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    I'll take Stupid Things People Say to People with Cancer for $800!

    The answer is: After being told by me that I was worried that the coughing and shortness of breath could be my breast cancer coming back, she rolled her eyes at me, laughed and walked away.

    WHAT IS what a coworker did in June of 2020?

    I'll take Stupid Things People Say to People with Cancer for a thousand!

    The answer is: Interrupted me during a business meeting to tell me she "liked my hair" which is approximately a 1/4 inch of growth after chemo.

    WHAT DID that same idiot coworker say to me today?

  • grandmaadams
    grandmaadams Member Posts: 39
    edited August 2021
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    Elderberry ... my sister is older. We've never been terribly close but over the years I've tried. I also believe the sign I saw in a tourist spot that said ... "Friends are God's way of apologizing for relatives" This group has been incredibly helpful, being able to vent without judgement and with understanding from people who have been there done that. AND thank god for my SIL.

    AliceBastable ... do you think our sisters are related??? My hubby is the same, supportive in practical ways but doesn't quite get the emotional side. Hopefully you will find a new friend, maybe a local support group? We'll still be here.

    DutchieGirl ... I'm coming to the conclusion that sisters suck. All those people on Facebook who are posting about their wonderful sisters must be delusional. :) I completely understand the being treated like normal stuff. I did not want anyone looking at me as though I were to be pitied. Because of this, I told my SIL she could tell other family members but I didn't want them to call me. She could be their source of information.

    Ivy09 ... "people show you who they are, believe them" Wow, great advice. I think we keep hoping relationships will get better but we have no control over anyone but ourselves. Continue to put yourself first without guilt they don't deserve you.

    GR4CIE ... Thanks for the chuckle. Did you shut down the lady with the hair comment, who was rude enough to interrupt you, made in a room full of people for a business meeting? Did you give her that look and say "I'm speaking". I threatened my husband with his life if he told anyone about me. I would choose who I reached out to and they knew not to make me a topic of discussion with others. If some thoughtless comment was thrown my way, I would not be nice.

    Ladies, thanks for listening (reading) my rant and sharing with your experiences.

  • divinemrsm
    divinemrsm Member Posts: 6,154
    edited August 2021
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    It's hard to explain how complicated the relationship with my sisters is. A couple of them are mean girls and are passive aggressive. They will invite me to things and then carry on conversations between the two of them, intentionally leaving me out. Or they will intentionally not invite me to something and then talk about what a good time they had next time they see me. If I would ever confront them about it, they'd say "oh, that's not true at all!" and act like I'm delusional. They are miffed because growing up I was an emotional kid and they thought I'd never amount to anything and were certain they'd be burdened with me the rest of their lives. Instead, I have a good 30+ year marriage, am financially secure even after 10+ years of medical care for cancer, own a nice home and have raised a terrific son who has a wonderful girlfriend and great career. I did it playing by my own rules and not rigidly adhering to the ones they so insistently thought I should follow. They try so hard to turn me back into that emotional kid, and I'm not having it. I would do anything for them in a time of need but in the last year and a half have spent very little time with them. I know they would be there for me if I needed them, but they just can't get over the fact that I turned out to be a very capable adult who, even with mbc, doesn't have a life that's imploding.


  • grandmaadams
    grandmaadams Member Posts: 39
    edited August 2021
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    DivineMrsM It's call gaslighting. You may have seen yourself as being emotional but they saw something they needed to bring down. Good financial planning seems to set off a lot of people. My older sister is married to a Neurologist, she's his office manager. She's never been able to accept that my state employee husband (now retired) and I have a good 42 year marriage with homes and cars paid for by living within our means. I think if you dig deep enough they're angry that they don't have what you have and I am referring to your marriage and child. Good on you.

  • gr4c1e
    gr4c1e Member Posts: 124
    edited August 2021
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    grandmaadam - I absolutely did shut that coworker down!

    I said, with just a smidge of snark; "I'm so THRILLED to know that you TOO, are enjoying the side effects of MY chemo." and then I just went right back to the meeting agenda.

    She gasped. The room rumbled with uncomfortable throat clearing and a few uneasy giggles.

    Later, she felt the need to EXPLAIN to me that she was just trying to be nice.

    I said; "Please stop trying. If you have to explain what you're doing, you're not very good at it."


  • dutchiegirl
    dutchiegirl Member Posts: 76
    edited August 2021
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    Grandmaadams, I’ve struggled to come to terms with my sister’s absence during my treatment. Part of me thinks she’s worried that she’s next - my mom and both of her sisters had BC so it’s prevalent in my family. But part of me also wonders if she just lacks empathy. When my mom had cancer, she would expect my mom to babysit her very young toddler. My mom asked me to talk to her, to let her know that she didn’t have the energy to babysit. It did NO good. My sister continued to drop her daughter off. So I’m going to go with that (lacking empathy, and just keep the relationship superficial. And if it happens to her, I know I’ll be there for her because I know how frightening it can be.

  • divinemrsm
    divinemrsm Member Posts: 6,154
    edited August 2021
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    Gr4c1e: Wow, what fabulous responses to your idiotic co-worker! I would love to be that fast-thinking on my feet like that! I am very proud of you!!!

    grandmaddam, interesting insight you give on gaslighting. I know the term, yet never connected my sisters with it, but you are right. It's given me a lot to think about. To them, it's like a sport and source of entertainment. They put bait out hoping I'll take it so they can sit back and laugh. For too long, I've tolerated their behavior to keep peace in the family. But I've turned a corner and drawn a line in the sand. It was super hard for a long time, but I'm finally starting to see benefits from two years of setting firm boundaries.


  • moth
    moth Member Posts: 3,293
    edited August 2021
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    I'm almost starting to be thankful I'm an only child lol

  • dutchiegirl
    dutchiegirl Member Posts: 76
    edited August 2021
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    I should say that my brother really stepped up. He lives 3000 miles away but he would call and text and he sent me some beautiful cards (with his own artwork). He even visited a couple of times. I was so grateful for him and we remain close to this day.

  • serendipity09
    serendipity09 Member Posts: 769
    edited August 2021
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    DutchieGirl - my aunts and uncle in Puerto Rico checked on me a couple times a month. They would send me care packages too. Loved it, always had snacks or sweets from my childhood. So grateful for them.

  • SerenitySTAT
    SerenitySTAT Member Posts: 3,534
    edited August 2021
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    My brothers have been good, but my younger brother sent me an iPad to replace my old one. Should I tell my older brother to see if he'll top it? 😉

  • divinemrsm
    divinemrsm Member Posts: 6,154
    edited August 2021
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    Haha, Serenity!

    My sisters like to cast certain lights on family members: oh this one is the knowledgable mechanic, one’s a doctor, one owns a craft store, one just bought a beautiful house. They decided to frame me as “the one with cancer.” Their conversations with me were always cancer related. On the surface it made it sound like they were caring. But what they were doing was reinforcing and reminding me that they look down on me as the “unfortunate one” while everyone else is portrayed in an upbeat way. That is the passive-aggressive part. I called them out on it. I guess I have sort of turned in to “Stands With A Fist.” And I am okay with that.
  • serendipity09
    serendipity09 Member Posts: 769
    edited August 2021
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    DivineMrsM - I guess I’m now the “bitchy one” and “the one who thinks she’s too good” because, as mentioned before, I’m not putting up with anyone else’s bs and focusing on taking care of me. I’m good with being the bitchy one, it goes with my other title, Bad Bitch, given to me by my friend when I told him I didn’t like being called a warrior. I was never looking, nor did I want sympathy, but damn, I’ve been treated real crappy recently by my siblings. It’s all good though, because, heaven forbid they become ill, I’ll be the first one there offering my assistance

  • divinemrsm
    divinemrsm Member Posts: 6,154
    edited August 2021
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    Yes, Ivy, we get to define ourselves. It is not for others to decide.

    A couple of sayings keep me motivated, so I try to keep them in mind:


    image



    image

  • NatureYogi
    NatureYogi Member Posts: 135
    edited August 2021
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    You guys are great, reading all the posts checked all the boxes! The one thing people said to me the most was "Let me know if you need anything" or "can I bring you something'. Then you never hear from them again. Sometimes just a nice email or text goes a long way. I also heard, "you are so strong, you keep fighting". No, I just keep going to my appts and do what is necessary, I don't know what my future holds, and I'm scared.

    You all get it and I thank you for the support!

  • elderberry
    elderberry Member Posts: 1,065
    edited August 2021
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    moth: you need to have siblings so you can hone your craft in duplicity, back stabbing, lying about someone else. Ha ha. You also learn compromise. I have been blessed with three older sisters who have become friends. Maybe we get along so well because we seldom see each other. When we do it is full of love and laughter. We make jokes about who Mom and Dad loved the most. In our childhood we kicked each other under the table and said we didn't, we poked each other with forks when we did dishes.....the usual sibling stuff. I lost my eldest sister a week after our last "sleep over" in 2019. She was a crummy correspondent and we seldom talked on the phone. I don't think I have really felt the loss but will when we all get together again.

    We all went together to England in 1992 for our father's 80th birthday. The three sat in the back and I was in the front with Dad. From the back I could hear "Why does she always get to sit in the front seat?" Honestly, I felt like it was 1955 all over again. I was 42 and the eldest was 52. I answered" I'm the Baby, gotta love me" Some things never change.

    To the others: Yeah - the "let me know if you need anything" stuff then that is it. Like that is all that is needed to show support. Drop the strong, fighter crap too. I am not. Stoic - maybe.

  • gr4c1e
    gr4c1e Member Posts: 124
    edited August 2021
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    My only sibling passed away years ago, however, my cousin asked me to give her phone number to my best friend with instructions to call her when I'm dead.

    BUT - not before attempting to appraise all of my assets on the internet and over the phone! FYI - I'm single and have no children, but fortunately live 400 miles/three states away from that creature with whom I share a bit of DNA from my mother's side.

    Have you ever met a vulture in person? They're assholes.

    I've blocked her on every digital platform that allows it! Unable to email, call or text, she started sending snail mail to my home. (where she has never, ever visited in the 30 years I have lived here BTW)

    I don't even open her cards or letters. That's why my paper shredder is in the foyer! It's a good one too - chews right through greeting cards without even opening the envelope! I really love that sound.



  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,945
    edited August 2021
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    GR4C1E, good grief. Vultures wouldn't claim that cousin.

  • beesie.is.out-of-office
    beesie.is.out-of-office Member Posts: 1,435
    edited August 2021
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    GR4C1E, I trust you have a Will that gives everything to friends or charities? And that specifically states that this vulture cousin is to receive nothing?

  • gr4c1e
    gr4c1e Member Posts: 124
    edited August 2021
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    Yes, indeedy, Beesie! I do have a will and all of my affairs are in order. I actually hired an estate lawyer because I wanted specific language stating that anyone claiming to be a relative or heir could not inherit and I wanted to make sure the legal language was iron clad. I am absolutely positive she will attempt to contest my will.

    OMG! I just thought of something. Because she doesn't know me at all, really, she has no idea that I don't value "stuff." I spend money on travel and experiences, not stuff. I'm pretty sure nobody wants used ANYTHING from Walmart! I should have the entire contents of my home put into a dumpster, driven 400 miles, and dumped on her lawn! Is that legal?

    I gotta call my lawyer! LOL! (laughing so hard I think I peed a little)


  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 13,154
    edited August 2021
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    GR4C1E - you made my day. laughed out loud about dumping your old stuff on her lawn. I've specifically disinherited my only remaining brother in my recent will - but your idea is a gem.

  • sunshine99
    sunshine99 Member Posts: 2,644
    edited August 2021
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    GR4C1E, I'm glad you have an estate attorney! We do, too, and I have specifically excluded, BY NAME, my narcissist younger sister from ANYTHING! I don't even want her at my memorial (hopefully not anytime soon!). I want a big ole party when I go - a celebration - and she would definitely not fit in with the group. I don't even know if she knows I have Stage IV cancer.

    She was at my mom's burial (total downer to have her there), but was NOT at her memorial service, which was about three months later. She had "other plans". It was such a relief to not have her there. We had such a fun celebration of my mom's life without having to deal with her attitude.

    BTW, "estate attorney" sounds like you have millions in assets, but that's not necessarily the case. We just call it "having our affairs in order".

  • sadiesservant
    sadiesservant Member Posts: 1,875
    edited August 2021
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    GR4C1E, thanks for the laugh. Aren't families grand? Like you I am single and while my mother (90) and I live together, there is a good chance I too will be living alone before I pass.

    I've been following everyone's comments with interest. No sisters in my dysfunctional family, two older brothers. The oldest is estranged - he decided that it was better for him to have no contact with our mother. Amazing considering what a proper shit he has been over the years. My mom is far from perfect but it's pretty rich blaming his bad behavior which seemed to start at birth on her. While we were very close growing up we haven't had tons of contact. When he first decided he would cut contact with my mom he wanted to get together with me which firmly put me in the middle. At the time I was newly diagnosed as stage IV, had lunch with him, telling him the news. I heard nothing from him again for six months. Really? Decided at that point that I was not going to play monkey in the middle, hurting my mom to satisfy his whims.

    The other brother lives in a community up north. He stays in touch but has his own health issues. He and his wife don't have much as they have made colossally bad decisions with money over the years. Neither one of my brothers has done a darn thing to help my mom. That all falls to me, of course. Needless to say, I don't expect any support from either of them when things start to be more difficult for me.

    I too had a lawyer prepare a will. It's a bit complex given that mom and I have lived together for 25 years. She worries all the time that there will be a fight when she goes. I'm less concerned as both are bequeathed in her will. My money will go to charity as there is no way that my family will benefit from my years of hard work. My biggest concern in "getting my affairs in order" is clearing out the house. My mom kept stuff.. lots of stuff.. and then became interested in antiques when my father was ill. We're slowly getting rid of things but it's tricky as her mind is stuck in the days when antiques were more valued and when she was still buying/selling. It's a SLOWWWWW process!

  • sf-cakes
    sf-cakes Member Posts: 559
    edited August 2021
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    Oooh, GR4C1E, the dumpster on the lawn idea! You're so sweet to ask "is it legal?" I mean, do we have to follow the law ALL the time, that's exhausting. Hahahahaha...

  • gr4c1e
    gr4c1e Member Posts: 124
    edited August 2021
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    SF-Cakes - you're absolutely right. What are they gonna do, arrest me?

    WAIT! What if I have it mailed to her! Wouldn't that be awesome? The day after my funeral she gets a box of couch legs. The next day some couch cushions. The next day a disassembled dining room chair. The next day a disassembled bed frame. And on and on and on and on until the entire (disassembled) contents of my home have been sent! I'll leave special instructions to use all of my old underwear as packing material.

    Seriously, why waste time on earth haunting people when you can have FedEx do it for you? (I think I just thought up their next ad campaign)

  • goldensrbest
    goldensrbest Member Posts: 671
    edited August 2021
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    Grac1e - your sarcasm is delicious!

  • illimae
    illimae Member Posts: 5,617
    edited August 2021
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    Gr4c1e, geez, what a piece of … work (I’ll be nice)

    My hubs has a biological sister, which he refuses to acknowledge. Many years ago, when another brother was dying, she took out a life insurance policy on him, even though they had no more contact than a holiday call and lived in different states. In 2013, when another brother, who was living with us was being treated for pancreatic cancer, she swooped in trying to take charge of medical stuff but the brother told her I had been doing everything, her place was the waiting room. She probably has policies on us too.