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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
~Divergent~ Offline
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I just can't deal with this by myself anymore. I need SOMEONE to help me, please. - October 20th 2012, 02:51 AM

I am so confused right now. My brother has had cancer for almost 2 years, and he's getting better (we hope). He hasn't had chemo in more than a year. He's not in remission yet, but hopefully he will be soon once the cancer is completely gone. However, there is still the lingering threat that the cancer will start to grow again in his brain...and if that happens...let's just say it will be very, very bad.
I'm confused because for the first year or so after he got sick, I had no desire to talk to anyone about it. I didn't feel like I needed to. Then I started going to public school for 8th grade (I had been homeschooled), and after a couple months I found that I suddenly had adults in my life (these 2 teachers) that I trusted, and I realized that I wanted to tell them about everything. I trusted my parents too, of course, but they were going through the same thing, and I will admit that I have trouble showing "weakness" around either of them (or anyone, really). I wanted to talk to someone who wasn't biased and already struggling with their own issues.
That was...what, ten or eleven months ago? And I still feel the same way. Only I now have some "trust issues" on that subject. One day last January I told one of the teachers I trusted, and I thought he would be helpful and supportive - but he wasn't. I'm pretty sure he'd forgotten what I told him about by the next time I saw him, and he never mentioned it again. I lost most of my trust in him after that. I've also had other people who "forgot" about it or just didn't seem to care. So while I still want to talk to the other teacher (I'll call him Mr. D), I'm really, really scared that he will let me down too and I'll lose my trust in him...exactly the way it happened already.
I feel like I'm on the verge of breaking down over the whole thing. I've felt that way for months, like it's an explosion waiting to happen. I've been crying lately in my room or in the shower, silently, so no one will know. My family has NO idea that it still affects me this much...I literally think about my brother's cancer for hours and hours every single day. I have this craving to just sit down with somebody I know I can trust and tell them everything, the whole story, just to get it off my chest. And I'm probably way overdue for a real cry, like two years' worth of crying...but I can't do that in front of my family. I just can't. I'd be too embarrassed.
And so it comes down to Mr. D. I trust him. I do. He was my favorite teacher last year, and now he's my running coach, and he's like 26 years old so I feel like he can "relate" to me better. I trust him with basically everything BUT this cancer issue...I mean, I'm confident that if I was in danger, he would risk his life to save me. I think I really want to tell him about my brother, but I am SO, SO scared that he won't care, won't want to listen, won't bring it up again, won't help me, will tell my parents that I told him...the list goes on. I also feel like he should know about this, because it's such a huge thing in my life.
I KNOW he won't "forget" like other people have. He doesn't do that; he has an amazing memory of people, and he's already demonstrated multiple times that he remembers things about me. But while I occasionally see a hint at it, he doesn't show a "soft, supportive side" very often - which is what I need. What I really want is to sit down and explain EVERYTHING - how it's been hurting me. How my family thinks my brother is more important, and said things that made me feel guilty about being healthy...the whole story. And I desperately, desperately want his HELP. I want him to ask me how I'M doing, not just my brother (that's another thing that really bothers me: when people don't realize that it affects me too. If he didn't see that, I would be crushed).
Someone, please help me figure all this out. I'm sorry this was so long. I could have gone on for pages though. Like I said, I really need to talk things out.
Here's what I need to know...
Should I tell Mr. D about this? What do you think would happen if I did?
What if does let me down?
Any suggestions about how I can finally let this whole thing go, and just let it be OVER?
Thanks for listening.







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  (#2 (permalink)) Old
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Re: I just can't deal with this by myself anymore. I need SOMEONE to help me, please. - October 20th 2012, 03:03 AM

Hello, Hailey! I am so sorry to hear about what you and your family members are going through right now. Cancer is a horrible illness (both grandparents on my father's side have developed it simultaneously), so I can understand how devastating it must be for you to think about losing your brother.

I can't tell you how Mr. D will react - but I can tell that you really, REALLY want to tell someone you trust about all of this. One idea I'd like to propose is telling a grief counselor or a regular therapist/mental health counselor. The thing about death is that it scares a lot of people. Your teacher (the one you told) may not have known how to deal with the topic of death. He may have felt bad for you, but he honestly may not have felt comfortable with talking about death. The same thing could be said for all the people who "forgot" about what you told them. It's their way of avoiding an uncomfortable topic. It may help to talk to someone who isn't afraid to talk about death, and a psychological professional may be your best bet. These people, while strangers, just want to help you cope with what's going on.

When it comes to Mr. D, I have a few ideas. One would be to ask him about death in general - get a sense for how comfortable he is with the subject in general. If he seems to be open with you, then chances are he will be able to handle this heavy story you've been holding on to. Another idea would be to discuss everything with a grief counselor/therapist, then brainstorm on how you could bring up the subject with Mr. D.

I wish you and your family all the best. Feel free to keep us updated on your situation!






   
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Re: I just can't deal with this by myself anymore. I need SOMEONE to help me, please. - October 20th 2012, 03:24 AM

Thanks for your help, PSY. I wasn't sure if anyone would take the time to read my whole post.
I actually hadn't thought about some of your suggestions before. I like the idea of asking him about death to get a feel for how he would handle my story, but how could I do that? It's kind of a challenging thing to ask someone about.







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Re: I just can't deal with this by myself anymore. I need SOMEONE to help me, please. - October 20th 2012, 03:49 AM

There are a couple of ways you could bring up the topic of death. One would be to talk about a recent event in the news - for example, you could ask Mr. D how he would have felt if Amanda Todd (the girl who recently committed suicide after being bullied for years) had been one of his students, and how he would have coped with the loss. Of course, the complication here is that Mr. D could assume you're indirectly talking about yourself... but that would also give you the opportunity to clarify that no, you are not feeling suicidal, but you are feeling a lot of negative emotions regarding your brother's cancer.

Another idea would be to ask Mr. D about dealing with the loss of an older relative, like a grandparent. Since Mr. D is about 10 years older than you, there's a greater chance he's had to face the loss of a grandparent. Again, this may lead to Mr. D asking if one of your grandparents is ill, and you could clarify that no, it's your brother who is ill. This is assuming Mr. D doesn't already know about your brother's cancer.

Yet another idea would be to pose a hypothetical scenario - what would Mr. D do if someone he loved developed cancer, or another serious illness? Perhaps Mr. D will be forthcoming and talk about someone who actually did have cancer or another serious illness, and this could give you room to share your own story with him.






   
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Re: I just can't deal with this by myself anymore. I need SOMEONE to help me, please. - October 20th 2012, 03:56 AM

Okay. I like these suggestions...I think they might work. Thank you so much! If I can get up the courage, I will try to bring it up with him and hope for the best! And just keep my fingers crossed that I can trust him with this...







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Re: I just can't deal with this by myself anymore. I need SOMEONE to help me, please. - October 20th 2012, 10:52 PM

I have a brother who developed A.L.L. when he was a few months short of his 11th birthday. So I get where you're coming from, to a greater or lesser degree. I was only 12 when he was diagnosed. It was very touch and go for a few weeks, and his 11th birthday present was that he was allowed home for the weekend.

About 6 - 8 months into his chemotherapy they discovered he still had leukoblasts in his system and he had to undergo radiation therapy. It was scary for all of us, and very stressful - my parents actually divorced shortly before the end of his initial 2 year chemo run. We were lucky though, he went into remission, and was officially given the all-clear about 2 years ago.

So, with Mr. D - you said he's 26. So, he's still quite young, and his profession is teaching. Because he's probably only been teaching for a couple of years, it's likely that he's still being really, really careful about professional boundaries - especially as you are female and he is male. I can imagine he wouldn't want to be seen as getting too close to you for fear it might be construed as being inappropriate. He probably cares about you a fair bit, but simply doesn't have the tools to manage the situation.

I think, like PSY said, that your best bet is to see a counselor or other professional who is trained in the area of grief counselling and just generally helping people with difficult emotions. Having a sibling with cancer is a scary and difficult thing to live with, and everytime they get sick, you're afraid it's them relapsing. A teacher simply isn't trained with how to help you with this sort of situation in the same way a different adult might be.

And remember, cancer treatments are improving all the time. For example, when my brother started his trial, (all leukaemia treatments at the time were considered trial therapies), a drug called vincristine(sp?) was given at a set dosage no matter how big or small the child was, and it messed up his leg muscles - he had to wear braces and spend time in a wheelchair because of that particular drug. A couple of years later, they had changed it so that the dosage was based on the weight of the patient.

So it's likely that once your brother reaches remission, he'll stay there. In the first few years of remission there's still lots of hospital and doctor's visits so they can keep checking things and be 100% sure that he's continuing to recover.

But yeah. Talk to your teacher, trust him, but perhaps find someone more suitable to talk about the cancer stuff - it's a hard topic for a lot of people, they simply don't know how to cope with it.
   
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