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Emotional and Psychological Issues Questions

33 Question and Answer Results

  1. How can I stop feeling resentful that my parent with cancer has become so self-involved?

    Feelings of anger and resentment are perfectly natural. This is one of the things I hear most often from caregivers, and the first thing I always say is, "It's OK that you feel this way." Because of the cancer diagnosis, your father's life has been turned upside down, and so has yours. Your father ...
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  2. What do I do when my mother, who has ovarian cancer, expresses resentment about my siblings not coming to visit her enough?

    It's easy for resentment to divide siblings when you're care giving for a parent with cancer, so you're wise to be concerned about this issue. And if your mother's complaining and resentment are making you uncomfortable, you need to talk to her about it, or it will damage your relationship with her,...
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  3. How can I stop feeling so guilty that I'm not doing enough for my mother?

    The short answer is that you can't get your mother to stop making you feel guilty, because nobody outside yourself can make you feel guilty. Guilt is one of those things that we have to take charge of for ourselves and make our peace with. There's not a dial on your forehead that someone else can us...
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  4. How do I help my parent with cancer stay positive and look on the bright side?

    This very issue is why I call the support group I run "Strength Through Laughter" -- because it's so important to find those moments when you can laugh or feel positive, even if you're laughing through your tears. The most important thing is to never stop hoping. It doesn't help to be dishonest and ...
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  5. Is refusing cancer treatment a selfish act?

    A decision about whether to accept treatment for cancer is a personal matter, and there is no right or wrong. One must start by carefully weighing the potential risks of the treatment and the potential benefits of the treatment. The person with cancer must ultimately decide which choice is in thei...
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  6. My father has colon cancer. What's the best way to deal with his angry outbursts?

    It might help you to know that there are all sorts of things that may be making your father act like this: pain, nausea, depression -- he may even be in an altered state because of chemicals in his system from radiation or chemo. It's possible he may not even know what he's saying or how he's saying...
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  7. A friend tells me I am emotional over having ovarian cancer. How can you not be emotional facing recurrances or dying?

    You're not alone; it's natural to become extremely emotional while battling any type of cancer. Some people refer to it as a "roller-coaster ride" because there is so much bad news/good news/bad news.
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  8. Are mood swings a side effect of chemotherapy?

    Yes, be patient. Certainly, the mood swings can be related to chemotherapy. In my book, I devote an entire section to "The Impossible Patient" -- the one who no matter how you try to give care, it's wrong -- because it's so common.
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  9. Am I in denial just emotionally healthy regarding my diagnosis?

    I am afraid I don't know you well enough to give you a definitive answer to that question, but it sounds like it may very well be an emotionally healthy response. Fortunately, your prognosis is very good, so there is good reason for optimism. Even if your prognosis wasn't great, one could argue th...
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  10. How can I support my wife, emotionally, as she deals with lung cancer?

    You're in good company. I've had several questions about patients with neoplasms lately, many from caregivers experiencing things like you are.
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  11. How can I ease my father's discomfort when I have to help him with physically intimate tasks?

    It has to be difficult for your father to have you see him in such a vulnerable position. This kind of situation comes up whenever an adult child is caring for a parent, but it's hardest when you're caring for a parent of the opposite sex.
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  12. What can I do to help my mother stop crying all the time?

    This is a very common problem. Some cancer patients tear up at every little thing, or they'll start crying and be unable to stop. They can't control it, which just makes them feel more frightened and frustrated by everything that's happening to them.
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  13. What can I say when my parent with cancer falls into self-pity?

    Most people, faced with a cancer diagnosis, are going to go through a period of thinking, "Why me?" The trick is to help your dad move past that point and not get stuck there. What I've found works best to combat self-pity is to refocus on what you can be thankful for. In the cancer support group I ...
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  14. How do I persuade my father to join a clinical trial that could help him fight bone cancer?

    When the prognosis for treatment isn't optimistic, a clinical trial can offer the possibility of increasing your father's odds of beating the disease or increasing the quality of his life. I'd encourage you to continue talking with your father about this clinical trial, and try to find out why he's ...
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  15. How can I help my mother deal with the lumps in her breasts?

    It may be that all you really can do is nothing. You could respectfully express your unhappiness and concern about your mom's decision, but it may not change her mind. It is indeed unfortunate that without an MRI, you don't know if her breast lumps are benign or malignant, and if they are malignant,...
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  16. Does it sound like my father with stage 4 cancer is dying?

    Dear Jo182,I wish doctors were better at talking about these issues, so that those of us caring for parents and loved ones with cancer had the information we need to make difficult decisions. It sounds like you're going to need to have a conversation with your parents, and ask them to relate in as m...
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  17. How can I overcome my father's refusal to ask for help with his cancer care?

    Such secretiveness is not at all uncommon, and it's almost always a generational issue. Your father grew up in a very different era: 50 years ago, there was a great deal of fear and secrecy surrounding cancer, and people rarely talked about it.But they also didn't have much hope of a cure; a diagnos...
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  18. How can I comfort my mother when she feels distressed about losing her hair?

    Sometimes it's not what you say to your mother, but what you let her say. She's going through something really major, and she's sad, worried, and upset. It's hard for you to see her distressed, so naturally you try to make her feel better. But you're stuck, because when you say "You look great" or "...
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  19. How do I help my sister cope with chemo?

    While your sister's undergoing chemotherapy, she's going to be coping with a lot of unpleasant side effects from the treatment. These  occur because the chemotherapy drugs kill all fast-growing cells in your body, not just the cancer cells. The cells that make up hair follicles, bone marrow, skin, a...
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  20. Since her cancer diagnosis, my mother has seemed very depressed. Does she need professional help?

    Living with cancer is one of the most stressful and destabilizing things that can happen to someone, and depression, mood swings, anger -- even serious mental illness -- are very common. You may feel like you know your mother well, and suddenly she's different. It's very common for serious illness t...
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