Skip navigation

    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 helpless and don't know what to say

When my mum said she had Brest cancer I felt like my world would fall. But we got throught it somehow. But now my mum has no hair and is getting to the end of her kemo she keep getting upset and had a break down last week I feel helpless and don't know what to say to help!


My name is Robyn I am one of the team here at Riprap. I am a cancer nurse and have looked after lots of people who have had cancer .

It sounds as if you have been a fantastic support to your mum through her treatment even though it has been hard and I imagine you have both been looking forward to it finishing and wanting things to go back to normal. You write that your mum had a breakdown last week - does anyone other than you know ? a family friend/relative perhaps?

Many people who have treatment for cancer find that as they get near the end of treatment ,or shortly after it finishes, that they get very emotional – upset or down or sometimes angry ( even when they don’t want to be ) and don’t seem like themselves ,when they have coped well all through treatment and have been looking forward to it finishing….

This can make them and the people round them feel lost and helpless…. This is normal – it’s like everything that has happened has been stored up inside since getting cancer and then comes out all mixed up. When something big like a cancer diagnosis has happened it can be difficult to remember what “normal “ is and to be able to just pick things up again and it may take you both a while to feel confident doing normal things..

It sounds as if you have become used to looking after your mum and that you are a very caring person I am sure your mum knows that you are there for her, sometimes words are hard to find – a hug or just being there when you can, a cup of tea or a little note saying you love her will say many thousands of words.

As your mum has lost her hair I guess she also doesn’t look like mum just now ( to you or to her).  There are some free workshops specially for women having treatment for cancer where she can have a makeover and talk with others who are also having treatment and find out more about support available.

I am wondering if you have been able to talk through how you have been feeling with anyone? As with your mum it can help to connect with others who have been there  -  reading through some of the other stories on Riprap will help you to feel you are not alone.

If you reply to the email I sent you and let me know what area you live in I can let you know more about the makeup sessions and about some support available for both you and your mum from Riprap, Maggie’s ( who we work closely with) and other organisations. I only work Monday –Friday 9-5pm so if you reply over the weekend I will reply on Monday I hope this is helpful and that you will be in touch so we can talk some more