How To Live With Someone Who Has Cancer


Today, as the title may suggest, I would like to share something personnal with you. You may know that I have been back living with my parents for a little while. There are many reasons for that, and I'm not going to get into them all today but one of them is that we had a bad news last summer as my mother has been diagnosed with Breast Cancer.

She was being followed by doctors because of asthma and from one of her scans from April 2013, they could see she had kind of a lump in that area. She had made a mammography in January already, as we have familly history of breast cancer. After a few biopsies, they found out she had breast cancer and it was a really aggressive form. She then had a complete mastectomy of her right breast, the one that was attacked.

Needless to say we have gone through a lot during those last months. I want to share the way I dealt with it, as it could help others. Most of the tips can also apply to other conditions. It can alsoapply to those suffering with cancer.

Take it one day at a time
In the beginning, it is hard to do because you want to know what's coming and what to expect. Doctors and friends told this advice to my mum and I remember that we had so many questions about the process of treatments! I also remember one of my aunt telling me (she had cancer has well) that the chemo would get worst and not tell my mum about it so she wouldn't be afraid. But one thing that strikes me is that last Fall, mum was going to Quebec City to have a kidney operation (the cancer had spread out) and thinking it was her only solution in order to have chemo. She went there, which is an 8 hour drive from where we live. On the days of the operation, they tols her she couldn't be operated, as the kidney was too affected. They didn't tell her what would be next though. She came back home thinking she would die in the next few weeks. She then threw everythign that was dear to her (mainly her flowers) because she didn't want to leave us the burden of getting rid of it when she was gone. At one point we had to shake her to tell her to stop. That she was still alive and that she needed to "be there" and occupy the space" that she deserved. Throwing everything away was like giving up. I can tell you that she is now seeding more plants and hoarding them like usual! Even when it feels hopeless, you never know. That's why you shouldn't try to see to far. Concentrate on today.

Have Faith
To continue with the story of the death scare my mum had last Fall, I always had faith that my mum would survive. Sometimes you could have said it was wishfull thinking and that I was living in denial. I had many conversations with my dada telling him that she wouldn't die. He told me that I had to accept the eventuality of it. But there was something inside of me that was telling me it would be alright. I already had that feeling when we were rasing funds in College to go to Mexico. Everyone thought that it would not work, because we didn't amass sufficient funds a few weeks prior to departure. But at the last minute, we had a subventions and we actually had extra! The universe has your back! Keep the Faith.

Seek Support
We have been blessed with good friends and familly members that helped us through it. Suzanne, our neighbor is one the most important one. Almost every  week, she and another friend would come on Thursday evening with a meal that they had prepared for us. Two of my aunts from out of town came for a few days to help with cleaning and cooking. My mum also had great support from the OGPAC, a regional association for cancer sufferers. Cancer is bad beast, but many people are going/ have gone through it. You are not alone.

Make fun of it
I think in people's mind, cancer might be one the worst illness one can have. While it is important to treat it seriously (medication, rest, good diet), I think one of the best thing I did with my mum is to make fun of the illness. It may sounds crazy but it helps to make it less scary. Like an ennemy you take their power out of. Sometimes we joke that now that her hair is growing, I won't be able to recognise her from Dad from behind, or we wear her wig. Stuff like that. It helps to laugh and not always be in a pity party mood. My mum is good and she knows I'm not laughing at her but that I diffuse the atmosphere. Be careful with other people, they might be more susceptible.
Go Out With Them
It's difficult to take my mum out sometimes because she is really proud and you cannot really have an improptu outgoing. She has to feel good that day, arrange her scarf, etc. But every time we do something together out of the house, she always tells me how good it feels. Just drag them! It's also good for you, as you're not home listening to pity parties (not that my mum was doing it, she has been really brave!) or having your own. You have to break out of the negativity.

Think about something else
This can be though as everyone in the village would ask me if my mum was alright and stuff. I always tried to talk about the positive. Yes, sometimes she is still weak from chemo, I mention that but I don't dwell on it. When I am with friends, I talk about othe things. Cancer was there but it was not everything!

Celebrate Small Victories
Last week, we had a little gathering for a deceased friend that passed away a year ago. It was also that day that my mum got her results that the cancerous cells were gone and that she was officially good. So we drank to that! I also like to show how her hair is growing underneath her scarf. People are always amazed at how normality comes back quickly! I know she wouldn't do it on her own, so I'm blowing her horn for her :)
If there are more aspects of breast cancer you would like me to cover, please let  me know. 

Please share your own tips in the comments below!

It would also mean a lot if you would share this (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) Thank you!

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  1. ça doit être si difficile comme épreuve, Ton texte est inspirant!

  2. bel article, commme on dit, faut prendre un jour à la fois, courage et bonne chance xx

  3. Courtney Connolly10 April 2014 at 12:39

    You and your mom are both incredibly strong. I understand what you are going through and you will be okay. You are very brave for posting your story and you should be proud of yourself.

  4. Merci Véronique! J'suis contente que le pire soit derriere nous!

  5. Oui, on sait jamais ce qui va nous arriver! Merci pour ton encouragement! :)

  6. Thanks Courtney! I have been thinking about it for a while, as I wanted to be able to have some distance from it.


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A young 30 something who likes makeup, décor and travels.

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