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Topic: Is it me or everyone else

Forum: Family and Family Planning Matters —

A comforting place to discuss planning a family, fertility concerns, parenting children, or relationship issues with partners, siblings, or parents following a diagnosis.

Posted on: Jun 6, 2020 05:31PM

Seilien wrote:

I am pretty frustrated by family (distant and not). But now I wonder if it is just me. My relationship with family is difficult to explain. Generally, I would say it is mostly obligatory and I have neutral to negative feelings about most of the family members. Being diagnosed made me appreciate some but really dislike others. Maybe I am being unfair to the people i dont like? It doesnt make me feel good that relatives I rarely spoke to were visiting me now.

The thing that drives me up the wall is dealing with my inlaws. They are all very well intentioned but it is hard to relax around them so when they contact me or try to be around me, it is very very uncomfortable. Sometimes, inappropriate comments are made (my motherinlaw likes to comment on my hair a lot but I wish she would stop or repeatedly asking how I am).

Is it me? How should I handle family without completely hurting their feelings? What can I do when my inlaws mean well but I absolutely cannot stand anything from them. I complain to my husband when his mom checks up on me through text which seems crazy! Btw being open and honest does not work. I feel that I am being crushed by the pressure to keep the peace but also by their selfish need to feel better about MY situation. My husband's advice was to ignore his mom which I find impolite.

Dx 7/30/2018, Right, Stage IV, metastasized to brain, ER+/PR-, HER2+ Radiation Therapy 6/1/2019 Whole-breast: Breast, Brain Surgery 11/22/2019 Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 7/28/2020 Xeloda (capecitabine) Surgery 8/28/2020 Reconstruction (left)
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Jun 6, 2020 07:30PM MinusTwo wrote:

I don't know how long you've been married, but I've never been able to ignore someone - even if they are ruining my life.

I think your husband should tell his parents to stop texting & asking. Tell them you don't want to be thinking about cancer every minute, since that's bad for your mental health. You could agree to send them an update once a week. Or better yet - HE could send them an update. You need to focus on you. AND you need to not be reminded of your health all the time.

2/15/11 BMX-DCIS 2SNB clear-TEs; 9/15/11-410gummies; 3/20/13 recurrance-5.5cm,mets to lymphs, Stage IIIB IDC ER/PRneg,HER2+; TCH/Perjeta/Neulasta x6; ALND 9/24/13 1/18 nodes 4.5cm; AC chemo 10/30/13 x3; herceptin again; Rads Feb2014
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Jun 7, 2020 08:22AM Seilien wrote:

Thank you for the advice.

I have been married 5 years. The problem is my husband is a very timid person and does not handle talking very well especially to his own family. The other problem is that no matter what you say to his mother, she doesnt listen. She has a very selective hearing and will only remember things she wants to hear. Which is why when I asked her not to check up on me, she had left me alone for a couple days, ignored my text when I responded, and ends up still texting and calling more with the same questions.

I was told to indulge her because she has so much free time and worries. More and more, it seems it is my responsibility to make others feel better about coping with again my situation. I find this tiring but I can understand.

Dx 7/30/2018, Right, Stage IV, metastasized to brain, ER+/PR-, HER2+ Radiation Therapy 6/1/2019 Whole-breast: Breast, Brain Surgery 11/22/2019 Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 7/28/2020 Xeloda (capecitabine) Surgery 8/28/2020 Reconstruction (left)
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Jun 7, 2020 10:11AM KMom57 wrote:

Seilien, I hear you. I get your frustration. I'm in this boat in part, I believe, because I spent my life keeping the peace and making people feel better about things that frankly, some should NOT have FELT better about. I've been the buffer, the secret keeper, the taker carer of all things to the exclusion of myself, nice to everyone except myself. It was foolish. I'm figuring out now that being kind is one thing. Helping is one thing. But Doing for others what they can and ought to do for themselves is another, and protecting people from their own feelings about their own actions or failings, their own anything, that's not my job.

So here's what I've done. When my ex called and suggested we do something or other that I did not want to do, I said simply no. When he asked why not, I stopped myself from doing what I normally do, which is to explain justify excuse , and I did the opposite. I said “because I don't want to." And in that moment I realized that was enough of a reason. My MIL situation is easier than yours because she's not nice or well meaning, and she's my ex, but when she continued to message with stuff about my diagnosis I did not want to hear or discuss, I stopped responding.

So my advice, do what's uncharacteristic for you. Don't try to make her feel better about violating your right to talk or not talk about your own health. If you've told her you don't want to discuss it and she ignores that, then next time she texts, say simply “I have decided I do not wish to talk about my health. If there is anything new to tell, I will let you know." Then refuse to discuss it. As in, just don't respond to anything that's over the line you've drawn. Will it make people uncomfortable? Yes. They have a vested interest in you remaining who you always were, and continuing to make them feel better about whatever, continuing to keep the peace. But thing is.....in your past you kept their peace for them. In your present, yours counts too.

Dx 10/2019, ILC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 8/11 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 11/6/2019 Femara (letrozole) Surgery 2/15/2020 Prophylactic ovary removal Surgery 5/18/2020 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 7/31/2020 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Jun 7, 2020 08:44PM MinusTwo wrote:

Right on KMom -

Seilien - right now YOU are #1. State your case one more time & then ignore those who can't respect your boundaries.

2/15/11 BMX-DCIS 2SNB clear-TEs; 9/15/11-410gummies; 3/20/13 recurrance-5.5cm,mets to lymphs, Stage IIIB IDC ER/PRneg,HER2+; TCH/Perjeta/Neulasta x6; ALND 9/24/13 1/18 nodes 4.5cm; AC chemo 10/30/13 x3; herceptin again; Rads Feb2014
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Jun 7, 2020 11:19PM smc123 wrote:

Sellen, I am not particularly close with my motherin-law.My MIL was the exact opposite and never called me. I would get the occasional text but in the end that just bugged me. I felt like she was hiding behind her texts. My husband is a quiet man and would never say or do anything to rock the boat. My reality is probably after 18 years of being my MIL we just have too many unresolved issues and regardless of what she did it would annoy me. I think you need to take things one day at a time. Ignore the texts and calls and respond once every other week. If she gets too pushy then your husband can respond saying you're exhausted and resting. Good luck:)

Dx 2/1/2016, IDC, Left, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 2/22/2016 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 7/31/2016 Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Radiation Therapy 10/4/2016 Breast, Lymph nodes Surgery 4/2/2017 Reconstruction (left): Saline implant; Reconstruction (right): Saline implant
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Jun 8, 2020 11:19AM Yogatyme wrote:

Sielien, you are getting good advice here. As hard as it may be, keep in the forefront of your mind that your cancer is just that....YOURS. You get to decide when and how much you want to talk about it. By ignoring your mil’s intrusiveness you are simply giving her a dose of her own medicine....she ignores your requests to not keep asking. Her desire is not more important than yours. If she persists, try changing the subject by asking her about something without addressing her question at all. It’s so frustrating when others boundary issues spill into our lives.

Yogatyme Surgery 3/2/2019 Prophylactic ovary removal Dx 7/19/2019, IDC: Papillary, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 8/12/2019 Mastectomy: Left, Right
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Jun 8, 2020 12:36PM Seilien wrote:

Thank you everybody.

I've been trying so hard to appease her and my own mom and husband made me feel like I was being unreasonable. I will try your suggestions and we will see. I am always surprised how my mil reacts because she never does the reasonable thing.

Dx 7/30/2018, Right, Stage IV, metastasized to brain, ER+/PR-, HER2+ Radiation Therapy 6/1/2019 Whole-breast: Breast, Brain Surgery 11/22/2019 Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 7/28/2020 Xeloda (capecitabine) Surgery 8/28/2020 Reconstruction (left)
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Jun 9, 2020 04:27PM Salamandra wrote:

Your husband should have your back. His mom can text him to check on you - he doesn't have to tell you about it! Let him handle all communication with her. If he can't deal, well then the bigger problem is him, not his mother.

I think an experience like this decreases our general reserves so that things that we would be able to brush off ordinarily grate more. Getting along with family does require some level of tolerance for bs (even in the best families), and if your level of tolerance has decreased below the level necessary to maintain good relations, then you need to pick your priorities and be strategic. The decrease may be temporary so you may not want to burn bridges yet, but you may need to establish boundaries and stick to them even if the person on the other side isn't. Especially if he/she isn't. That is exactly what boundaries are for.

Dx at 39. 1.8cm. Oncotype 9. Dx 9/19/2018, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 10/17/2018 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Hormonal Therapy 11/1/2018 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy 12/2/2018 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 12/18/2019 Fareston (toremifene)
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Jun 17, 2020 10:02AM Seilien wrote:

After speaking with my brotherinlaw who spoke to my mil to contact me less, it has been fine but I had visited my mil and as soon as we had a moment alone, she questions me about being contacted less. I want to be considerate of her feelings but she always instantly pressures me and makes me uncomfortable.

My mil also TRIES to make me upset. I say that I feel uncomfortable about talking about aging and she keeps asking me if that upsets me. It upsets me so I dont want to talk about it! But she keeps pushing. I told my husband and his response was "Yeah shes like that. She wants you to be vulnerable with her." Then nothing. I'm getting frustrated with him but I want to let him go through his grieving process and yet I am getting less patient with him.

I'm starting to think that avoiding my mil is the best I could do until everyone calms down a bit.

Dx 7/30/2018, Right, Stage IV, metastasized to brain, ER+/PR-, HER2+ Radiation Therapy 6/1/2019 Whole-breast: Breast, Brain Surgery 11/22/2019 Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 7/28/2020 Xeloda (capecitabine) Surgery 8/28/2020 Reconstruction (left)
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Jun 17, 2020 10:50AM - edited Jun 17, 2020 10:51AM by KMom57

If she TRIES to make you feel bad, why would you try to be considerate of her feelings about you calling her on that or not allowing that. I've done that my whole life, so I get it, but I'm trying to point it out so you maybe can see it. I once said something about not wanting to make someone feel bad about something they had done and my daughter who is so much better at this life thing than I piped up “Mama, sometimes, people OUGHT to feel bad. Sometimes feeling bad is appropriate." She was right. My advice, coming from a very long history of being a doormat and a keeper of the peace at all costs, stop protecting other people from their own feelings about the things they do. Protect your own peace and that of your children if you have them.

Dx 10/2019, ILC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 8/11 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 11/6/2019 Femara (letrozole) Surgery 2/15/2020 Prophylactic ovary removal Surgery 5/18/2020 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 7/31/2020 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Jun 17, 2020 06:29PM MinusTwo wrote:

KMom - RIGHT ON. Don't we all get tired of trying to make everything right for everyone else!!!! Tell her you DO NOT want to talk about it. If she keeps on, tell you you need to walk away and do so. Your option as you said is to avoid her, but that doesn't allow you take care of yourself & be right - and you are.

2/15/11 BMX-DCIS 2SNB clear-TEs; 9/15/11-410gummies; 3/20/13 recurrance-5.5cm,mets to lymphs, Stage IIIB IDC ER/PRneg,HER2+; TCH/Perjeta/Neulasta x6; ALND 9/24/13 1/18 nodes 4.5cm; AC chemo 10/30/13 x3; herceptin again; Rads Feb2014
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Jun 19, 2020 09:43PM Seilien wrote:

Update: I tried my best to ignore my mil. The problem is when everyone leaves the room and we are alone together. It would seem strange if I just left the room and I'm not going to make the effort to get up for no reason. As soon as we are alone together, my mil will ask me an uncomfortable question that she would not ask in front of others. For some reason, she asks if I'm mad at one of my brotherinlaws. I asked him what that was about and he had no clue. So now I'm under the impression that she is creating unnecessary drama. Her sons keep telling me to ignore her but how can I avoid these uncomfortable situations she forces me in!?

On side note, all family (his and mine) keep telling me to understand my husband's position and that I should try to be more accommodating to him and his feelings. I am trying to be patient with him but I really wish he would cook and clean more. Also handle his own mother!

Dx 7/30/2018, Right, Stage IV, metastasized to brain, ER+/PR-, HER2+ Radiation Therapy 6/1/2019 Whole-breast: Breast, Brain Surgery 11/22/2019 Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 7/28/2020 Xeloda (capecitabine) Surgery 8/28/2020 Reconstruction (left)
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Jun 20, 2020 11:02AM - edited Jul 27, 2020 08:13AM by TectonicShift

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Jun 20, 2020 01:41PM Sunshine99 wrote:

Seilien, I am imaging a situation where your MIL asks you one of those questions and you just say "Excuse me" and walk out of the room. I know, you shouldn't be the one to leave the room, but if you did that every time she asked an inappropriate question, maybe, just maybe she'd stop. Probably not, but we can dream, can't we?

I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this person. Some people just thrive on strife and discontent.

Wishing you a peaceful day.

Cancer has progressed to my bones. I pray that it never enters my soul. Dx 11/2/2007, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIA, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 3/26/2020, ILC/IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, ER+/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Hormonal Therapy 4/22/2020 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 5/5/2020 External: Bone Radiation Therapy 5/12/2020 External: Bone Targeted Therapy 6/10/2020 Ibrance (palbociclib)
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Jun 20, 2020 02:46PM NineTwelve wrote:

Such a distressing situation. I'm so sorry you have to endure it. Rudeness is often a lack of appropriate boundaries. I found it helpful to read up on codependency, and the skill of "detachment". It just means removing your emotions from the person who is trying to manipulate them. Tell you MIL, "That's not something I want to talk about," and repeat it firmly, without anger whenever it comes up.

And if I were you, I would block your MIL's phone number. If she wants to reach you, she can leave a message with her son. Just say you need to conserve energy and are not taking phone calls or text messages right now.

Dx 9/12/2014, IDC, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 2, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 9/15/2014 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone), Zoladex (goserelin) Hormonal Therapy 9/30/2014 Dx 7/2016, IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to bone/lungs Hormonal Therapy 8/15/2016 Faslodex (fulvestrant), Zoladex (goserelin) Targeted Therapy 8/15/2016 Ibrance (palbociclib)
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Jun 20, 2020 03:10PM MinusTwo wrote:

Agree, agree, agree. 1) block your MIL's phone number' 2) If can't stop feeling "nice" (what wishy-washy bunk all we women were taught) say only one time "that is not something I want to talk about; 3) If that doesn't shut her up, say "excuse me" then do get up and leave the room. Plug your ears if she keeps talking as you're walking - and make it obvious like a little kid would do. As a final respite - lock yourself in the bedroom or bathroom until she goes away. Or until your DH comes looking for you. I bet you won't have to do it more than twice.

Please, please, please Seilien - you MUST start taking care of yourself. You can't have all this negative energy surrounding you. Stress is a negative for any kind of health - body or mind. Hope these posts might give you the strength to just walk away.

2/15/11 BMX-DCIS 2SNB clear-TEs; 9/15/11-410gummies; 3/20/13 recurrance-5.5cm,mets to lymphs, Stage IIIB IDC ER/PRneg,HER2+; TCH/Perjeta/Neulasta x6; ALND 9/24/13 1/18 nodes 4.5cm; AC chemo 10/30/13 x3; herceptin again; Rads Feb2014
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Jun 21, 2020 06:27PM Seilien wrote:

Thank you for all the advice.

It is really hard on how to handle the situation because it makes me cringe to make others uncomfortable so it's weird handling a person that makes me so uncomfortable. I think we are just opposite kinds of people and I deal with it because I love my dh and I want my child to have a good relationship with my inlaws.

I tried walking out of the room. It kind of worked. I felt bad for her because she noticed that I left on purpose but at least it didnt create a bigger problem! Small problems between us tend to build up because she tends to make microagressive comments to me (Shes caucasian, I'm asian). I think I will push my husband more to talk to his own mother and help around the house more. I may ask our mutual friend to talk to him cuz I swear he doesnt listen to me.

Dx 7/30/2018, Right, Stage IV, metastasized to brain, ER+/PR-, HER2+ Radiation Therapy 6/1/2019 Whole-breast: Breast, Brain Surgery 11/22/2019 Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 7/28/2020 Xeloda (capecitabine) Surgery 8/28/2020 Reconstruction (left)

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