No support system available, what to do?


Question from Sandra: I have no support system. My three daughters and sister will not talk to me about the cancer at all. There are no close friends or husband. What do I do?
Answers - Rosalind Kleban, L.C.S.W. That's a very painful and dismaying situation. This is the time to turn to the many support groups that most communities have. While support from one's close friends and relatives is invaluable, the support, care, and love that patients can get from fellow travelers on the same journey can't be beat. There is tremendous support and fellowship in the breast cancer community, and all patients really need to take advantage of that.
Marc Silver For both husbands and patients seeking support, the Y-ME breast cancer hotline is great, as well as www.breastcancer.org.
Marisa Weiss, M.D. One of the fascinating things about the complex relationships between family members is they can change over time — sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly. Your family members may be unable to talk to you now, but perhaps that could change. For example, once you finish with treatment and they see that you're okay, maybe then they will open up and share concerns and provide love and support to you. What you're going through now is part of an enormously complex experience.

And you're not alone in this. For some people, those closest to them are the ones that are least supportive, and the people who may have been strangers may come forward in a powerful way to be there for you. Look for sources of strength and comfort from people who understand your situation and who share your style of connecting. There's also a discussion board on breastcancer.org for family members, and there are also many boards and chats for women with breast cancer.

On Wednesday, September 15, 2004, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Family and Loved OnesRosalind Kleban, L.C.S.W., author Marc Silver, and moderator Marisa Weiss, M.D. answered your questions about the issues surrounding family members and caregivers living with and caring for women affected by breast cancer.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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