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My SIL has been in hospital for 11 weeks with Cancer. She has a tumour at the top of her spine and the wrong movement could cause paralysis so has had to remain in bed all this time. So she's had 1 lot of radiotherapy and 2 lots of chemo so far. She is at a very low point, physically and mentally. Scans show the treatment is working but she can't imagine being better. Can anyone recommend any reading matter written by people who have gone through something similar but who have come out the other side? I'm hoping if she could read about other people's success in beating cancer then maybe she can envisage it happening to her. She needs hope.
I was diagnosed with cancer 5 years ago and had 18 months of aggressive treatment. I know you mean well, but I would think twice about books. I was given lots of books from well-meaning friends with positive stories or books on diet and lifestyle etc and I found them either patronising or scary. It was a very common theme in the cancer support forums.
I think company and a listening ear is much more supportive than trying to force 'positive' books etc on someone going through such a scary and awful time.
I did consider it may not work as I would have intended. You're probably right. I just feel so frustrated and want her to believe there is light st the end of the tunnel. I am happy to listen to anything she wants to say however negative but I'm scared she will get depressed and stop fighting.
I know it is well-intended and you just want to help. A book might irritate her - and if she doesn't bother reading it, then it's not going to work.
Maybe if you are chatting to her and she admits to being very down and depressed you could suggest counselling? But be gentle. She is the one suffering here and if the doctors are giving her a poor prognosis and she is in pain and fed up then talking about death etc is natural as it will be on her mind.
My best friends were the ones who let me talk about my fears and didn't tell me to stop being negative as I'd be FINE!
Please don't think I'm telling her to be positive and everything will be fine - far from it, I encourage it. As I said I'm happy to listen to everything she wants to say however negative or disturbing. I know it's healthier to say how she feels out loud than to keep it bottled in. Don't worry, I've ditched the book idea.
I think a certain amount of darkness is natural, and part of our way of processing a big medical event.
It's grim being stuck in hospital anyway, let alone with something scary and life threatening.
It sounds like you're doing exactly the right thing by allowing her to open up to you.
It's not up to her to fight anything. That's what her medical team is there for. I'm sure they will be keeping an eye on her mental health too.
The book idea was a good thought, but perhaps something to consider a bit further down the line. Though you could research some possible titles yourself without mentioning to her, then you'd be prepared if she asks at all. You might find that blogs are more manageable than books, and there are lots of cancer blogs out there. You may well be able to find someone with the same cancer as your SIL.
I wish her all the best with her treatment, and it sounds like you are a great SIL
All the best. Sorry I think my post last night came across as a bit snippy. I didn't intend it that way
There are so many different approaches to this sort of situation, and you know your SIL better than any of us.
Anyway, I think you're doing a great job and it really does make all the different to have supportive people around you, especially those who are willing to talk through the tough stuff rather than just telling you to keep your chin up and pretending that everything will be fine