Advanced search

to feel so angry not know what to do

(36 Posts)
dancingwithmyselfandthecat Fri 02-Jan-15 10:47:42

I have just discovered that a family member has cancer and has refused all treatment - to the point of refusing to even go to a doctor for a formal diagnosis. All pain relief, etc. This is supposedly due to religious principles.
This person has been ill for months, and has only just informed her children. She is now in unspeakable pain and her children and her partners have had to drop everything to care for her. The care itself is deeply unpleasant.

It should be a joyful time for the family. One of her daughters has just had a baby. Instead, they are in limbo and agony. The ill person refuses to discuss or acknowledge the illness but is screaming in agony. The family members have begged her to seek treatment and she absolutely refuses.

I know that having cancer is an awful awful thing and I can't imagine what the woman is going through. I do have sympathy for her, lots of it. But I also just feel so angry - the waste of a youngish life (if she had sought treatment) - or at least the waste of her last few precious months. What she is putting her family through. The fact that her young grandchildren can't see granny because it will be too distressing for them.

And I feel unspeakably angry with the religion which propagates this and promotes - at the heart of its theology - the total rejection of medical treatment. I'm am religious myself, so not anti all religion - but surely the Lord helps those who helps themselves? Interestingly, this religion allows people to do things like wear glasses and use walking sticks and (presumably, because the only people I've met who follow it have perfectly spaced children) use contraception. So how is medical treatment different and wrong? It's just so fucking cruel.

dancingwithmyselfandthecat Fri 02-Jan-15 10:57:29

her children and their partners, not hers.

SqueezyCheeseWeasel Fri 02-Jan-15 10:58:00

I'm sure you are angry with your relative's decision but I suspect your reaction is as much a result of shock and grief as it is anger. What's done is done and nothing will come of being openly angry with your sick relative or their immediate family. The best thing you can do is to support them as you all continue to process this news. I'm sorry you're going through this.

(Incidentally, I'm not posting from the PoV of a person who agrees with your relative's religious views)

whatsinanamearose Fri 02-Jan-15 10:58:04

Which religion is this?
Some of my family are devoutly JW, and aside from blood transfusions, they are able to accept medical treatment.
I really don't know what you can do, it seems what has been done, has been done. Perhaps you could just let the family know that you will be there as an ear if they need to vent/childcare if they need it (and you can facilitate) etc.
However much I disagree with a religion that would prohibit ANY and ALL medical care, I guess it is up to the ill member of family how she lives and dies. Perhaps she was hoping to avoid a long, drawn out decline with her family watching her fade away into nothing. Even if she is in a lot of pain now, she may be hoping that it is short lived and she will be less of a burden. I don't really know, but all I think you can do is try to be supportive.

MrsHathaway Fri 02-Jan-15 10:58:14

Cancer treatment can be pretty brutal too. She sounds frightened.

I agree that religious groups shouldn't ban or discourage their adherents from seeking medical treatment, but I do not agree that anyone has to seek it for the sake of others.

<picks splinters out of arse>

gobbin Fri 02-Jan-15 10:58:20

Maybe she jus doesn't want all the intervention? It's her right - it's her body.
It's not the choice I'd make, but having gone through plenty of medical intervention in 2014 and more to come, just sometimes I get fed up of being examined, endless discussions and all the attendant hassle.

wowfudge Fri 02-Jan-15 11:04:23

How do you know she has cancer if she has no formal diagnosis? I don't understand that. Also, is it the case that her interpretation of her religion is stopping her from seeking treatment, i.e. it is almost like ostrich syndrome - a failure to face up to and deal with the illness rather than what the religion teaches? I don't know of a religion that refuses treatment.

However awful you feel this is for the family, have some compassion for the woman who is suffering and in pain. Yes, she may well be misguided and have stubbornly refused treatment, but you being angry with her isn't going to help anyone at this stage. Also some severe illnesses change people and how they think, deal with things and their personalities. Don't be too harsh in your judgement.

dancingwithmyselfandthecat Fri 02-Jan-15 11:05:54

I'm not angry at her family members. I am mostly angry at the religion - which is not JW. When I say no treatment I mean precisely that - not even neurofen or aspirin, not even something herbal to help with constipation. Because she won't go to a doctor there is no medical care or help whatsoever - no nursing, no guidance on how to make her last months more comfortable. She won't discuss anything with her family, not even how to make her more comfortable, because pain is an illusion and talking about it makes it real (that is her church's theology).

Only thing she will do is go to place of worship and get "spiritual guidance" at ££££ a pop.

SqueezyCheeseWeasel Fri 02-Jan-15 11:07:55

So it's a cult, not a religion.

Has she been formally diagnosed?

Mammanat222 Fri 02-Jan-15 11:08:28

wowfudge has just asked the question I am most interested to know the answer to, how do you know it is cancer if there has been no formal diagnosis?

Am also interested as to whether the religious aspect is just a red herring as the person in question doesn't want treatment. Although treatment and pain relief are vastly different and I'd be strongly encouraging pain relief [or advising the family to encourage pain relief to the person in question]

woowoo22 Fri 02-Jan-15 11:08:56

Scientology? I agree with a pp, how is the cancer known without a formal diagnosis?

SqueezyCheeseWeasel Fri 02-Jan-15 11:09:02

Sorry, when I said openly angry with relatives, I meant showing your anger to her relatives. Apologies, I didn't make myself clear.

dancingwithmyselfandthecat Fri 02-Jan-15 11:09:24

You're right we don't know if it is cancer, but the symptoms are closest to cancer. Not going into the details because they are distressing and not mine to talk about.

The religion strongly discourages all medical treatment. I don't know - maybe there are practitioners who disregard this, just like there are Catholics who use contraception etc, and this person's interpretation is particularly hard line. But rejection of medicine is something it is known for.

dancingwithmyselfandthecat Fri 02-Jan-15 11:11:00

No worries squeezy - I won't show my anger to the relatives. That's partly why I am posting here.

MinceSpy Fri 02-Jan-15 11:12:05

No formal diagnosis so how do you know it's cancer? I understand your anger and distress but sadly there is nothing you can do.

EdithWeston Fri 02-Jan-15 11:13:11

It is a horrible time for that family, and I wish them well.

Whether actively or palliatively treated, cancer (assuming it is cancer) is a horrible disease and final weeks can be gruelling. It was never going to be a time of unmitigated joy. A false comparison of that type is, I think, a reflection of your shock and how dreadful the realities of the disease.

Anger often goes hand in hand with grieving. The 'what ifs' do occur when people first learn of a serious diagnosis, and the "if onlys" can hit very hard indeed, regardless of whether it's disease, accident or crime.

I would urge you to embrace your family members at this time. And remember it is the disease that is cruel. She chose to live her life according to her beliefs. You do not need to like or respect them, but right now she needs your support to the very end of the life she chose.

wheresthelight Fri 02-Jan-15 11:14:25

unfortunately there is nothing you can do assuming she has all her mental faculties. if she is of sound mind then she is perfectly within her rights to refuse a diagnosis, treatment and even discussion.

however if her family suspect that she is in some way mentally compromised and that the religion/cult is playing on that then you may be able to seek medical intervention via a mental health section but be prepared for massive fallout!

my grandfather did very much the same as this person and no religion was involved at all, purely fear of the truth. he suffered in relative silence for two years. they could have saved him had he actually admitted to himself how ill he was but instead he hid it from everyone and by the time he couldn't hide it anymore there was nothing anyone could do. he tried to throw himself out of a 4th storey hospital window rather than risk dying of cancer the fear was that bad.

it is heartbreaking for those watching it but ultimately it is the sufferers decision and only theirs.

SqueezyCheeseWeasel Fri 02-Jan-15 11:17:23

Great post, Edith.

dancingwithmyselfandthecat Fri 02-Jan-15 11:26:47

Thank you Edith and wheres. That was a great post Edith. There is definately no prospect of sectioning the person - she undoubtedly took the decision in sound mind, as it were. (That is part of what makes it so awful). And definately, part of this is my lashing out because the situation is horrible anyway, and it is very easy to opt for "if onlys". It's useful for me to remember this.

DecaffCoffeeAndRollupsPlease Fri 02-Jan-15 11:33:42

Can she be sectioned? And are you willing to go down that route?

Your anger and frustration etc. are understandable, it's an awful situation, I hope being able to vent here is helpful- I'm sorry for you, and everyone involved.

DecaffCoffeeAndRollupsPlease Fri 02-Jan-15 11:38:16


I would be angry too

Do you have support offline?

dancingwithmyselfandthecat Fri 02-Jan-15 11:42:43

Sectioning isn't a possibility - family wouldn't countenance going against her wishes that way, and there is no doubt that she has capacity to take the decision. So all it would do would be to rip the family apart and add a legal battle to her last few months.

It's not going to be easy balancing the line between it being her decision to take and not being angry with her for taking it. The impact on the family is horrific.

dancingwithmyselfandthecat Fri 02-Jan-15 11:54:34

Thank you all for your help.

I think I should report this thread because it is potentially identifiable.

Icimoi Fri 02-Jan-15 12:43:36

If it's the cult I'm thinking of - and what you have said about its "doctrines" coupled with the way it takes money off its adherents makes me think it is - it really is an evil one. Its founders and promoters are making an absolute fortune out of using sophisticated methods to draw in and exploit very vulnerable people, including making them terrified of the consequences if they withdraw. OP, you have my deepest sympathies - it's bad enough having a relative enmeshed in this cult without having to cope with her illness and refusal to seek treatment.

Tinkerball Fri 02-Jan-15 12:53:48

How awful for you all. I do get its get choice, her body and her life but as a Mother I can't understand how anyone could refuse treatment that could give them longer with their family. But again it's her choice. What religion is it?

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: