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    DD, Aged 17

    When people would talk they didn't know what to say which was understandable.  more...


    Mimi - 15 years old

    I lost myself doing stupid things, angry and sad and depressed at everything. I ended up failing my classes, not caring about school, and getting into fights.  more...


    Chelsea - 14 years old

    I stuck my head round the door in the room mum was in, and she looked really ill. I couldn't understand what was happening - one minute my mum was fine and the next she was ill.  more...


    Clair - aged 14

    Something I wish is I could just have one more day with my dad! - to tell him how much I love him and how sorry I am for all the bad things I have said and done to him!  more...


    Nicole - 17 years old

    This time the doctors are unable to operate. He has already had 6 sessions of chemo and is having another 6 sessions. I cannot help feeling I may lose him.  more...


    Rirrif - 15 years old

    I have been staying with my dad because my mom doesn't want me around when she is sick, which is all the time. My dad works at night so I spend a lot of time alone since I'm not with my mom. I'm afraid she is going to die and I'll blame myself for not being there more. more...


    HT - 13 years old

    She has been so strong about this and is keen to put it all behind her.  more...

I feel alone like no one understands how I feel

Message from 14 year old girl: My mum had cancer 2 years ago and was in remission until January 2015. She's recently found out her cancer is back and has spread and as im an only child I feel alone like no one understands how I feel. I've told my friends and I feel like they've just forgotten about it now after a few weeks.


My name is Hilde and I have been a cancer nurse for many years. I am so sorry to hear that your mum’s cancer is back after having been in remission for 2 years now. I can imagine the relief you must have felt when things were going well and how worrying it must be to be told that the cancer is back and has spread. This is of course a devastating situation when you’re only 14 years old and it will be impossible for your friends to understand what it’s like for you. I’m sure they showed sympathy when you told them and I’m sure they really do care about you. I’m also sure that they have not forgotten about it but they are clearly not talking to you about it or showing you that they think about it.

One reason (which is very common) can be that they don’t know what to say to you so instead of taking ‘the risk’ of saying something they fear is 'wrong', they don’t say anything at all. This is such a huge thing but because they haven’t got any experience themselves of what it’s like, they probably feel really helpless about what to say and what to do to support you. And then, because it doesn’t affect them in their everyday life – like it affects you – they are able to just get on with normal life whereas you may feel as if you’re on the outside of it all, almost in a parallel world on your own.

I know you would have needed your friends to approach you and show that they care and it seems unfair that you have to take the initiative to let them know that you need support. But that may be what you need to do… Try to talk to them about how you feel and how the situation with your mum means that you are no longer the ‘carefree’ teenager that perhaps you feel your friends are. With your worries about your mum, I can imagine that you feel very different to your friends at the moment but it’s important that you spend time with them and try to do ‘normal’ things with them. Try not to ‘resent’ them if you have to ‘remind’ them about what is happening in your life as I’m sure they’d want to be there for you if you told them how they can best support you. Friends can be particularly important in situation like yours because they can offer some distraction from constant worrying thoughts about your mum. You need some escapes from worrying about her all the time and friends can be very good at offering that. But try to explain to them how you feel, how this might affect your behaviour when you’re with them and how they can support you. It may just be a hug or them asking how you are so that you can talk to them if you feel like it...

You say that as an only child you feel no-one understands how you feel and it must be really hard not having a sibling to talk to when things like this happen. But I know that there will be many teenagers using the riprap website who understand what you’re going through and hopefully you’ll get some support from reading through stories on the website or talking to others in the forum. My colleagues at riprap and I would also like to support you in any way we can so please feel free to get back in touch with us so we can talk more privately about anything that’s on your mind in relation to what you’re going through.

Warm wishes, Hilde