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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...

My mum is clear of the cancer but I still don´t feel like myself

Hi, over the last year my mum has had ovarian cancer. Thankfully she is clear and out of the woods now. However I still don't feel like myself, I still feel lonely and sad a lot of the time. I feel that I've spent a lot of time letting my family members tell me how they feel but I told nobody. The other day I told my mum everything, but I still feel bad about it. I just want to get back to my normal self but I struggle to make anyone understand. Any advice appreciated! Thanks

I’m sorry to hear about your mum although it’s really good to see that things are looking bright for her now. I can imagine that it has been a very difficult year though, and even if the treatment is over and she is clear of the cancer, life doesn’t just go back to ‘normal’ as if you’re pressing a button. I’m sure you’re all relieved that she’s ‘out of the woods’ but you have had a whole year of dealing with a cancer diagnosis, tough treatment, worries and anxieties about the future and this is bound to have an impact on you. So I’d like to reassure you that the way you’re feeling now is completely normal. It may not make sense to you though and people are often surprised to find that they are still struggling to cope after a treatment that has been successful. They think that after receiving the good news, they should feel happy and relieved and get on with life. And as you seem to have discovered, people around you also seem to think the same…

But it doesn’t usually work like that and it can take a long time until you get used to the fact that cancer and worries about it need not be part of your life anymore. For most people, life is never truly the same again and never gets ‘back to normal’. Because the experience has been so traumatic and so long-lasting, it will have affected you and the way you think and feel. It also seems that you have been bottling up your emotions for the last year – perhaps to try and be strong for others and protect them from knowing how hard it’s been for you…? So now that you don’t feel the ‘responsibility’ of being the ‘listener’ any longer, your own bottled up emotions are coming to the surface. After having got the good news about your mum, it can be very confusing to still feel sad and upset. But it takes a while to get used to the fact that the worrying time is over and before you are able to truly believe that your mum is okay. This is completely normal and you will gradually notice that the sadness and worries become less and less part of your days. You may not get back to your ‘normal self’ as you say, because of what you have been through. But hopefully the experience will have changed you in a good way too and you will get back to a new ‘normal’ life, perhaps more mature and appreciating life and loved ones in a different way. Try not to be discouraged by the fact that it takes longer than you expected to shake off those dark clouds that have been hanging over your life for such a long time. As time goes by and you see your mum recovering I’m sure that you’ll soon start to feel better again.

Please feel free to write back to us if you’d like to talk more about this. As you are over 18 years old you can also access support services for adults and you may find that helpful too. Riprap is part of another bigger organisation called Maggie’s that offers free support to anyone affected by cancer. Maggie’s has centres across the UK offering support to people with cancer and/or their families. You may find it helpful to pop into a centre and talk to someone if there is a centre near you, you can check it out here. Alternatively you can access support from cancer support specialists at Maggie’s online centre or talk to other people in similar situation to yourself in one of the online groups there. Of course, you may also find it helpful to talk to other young people on the riprap forum. Good luck with it all.

Warm wishes

Hilde (riprap team)

Page updated 13 August 2015