Losing All My Family Members thru Cancer

by Stacey Zembik

I will try and make this as brief as possible as not too overindulge my frustration. My older sister has been suffering from cancer for nearly 13 years. We were told once she left the hospital for home care with Hospice she has 10 days left of life. We grieved and planned funerals and went thru all of the emotions you'd might imagine. Long emotional story later, she is still with us a year later. However now is going thru an additional procedures for her fourth type of cancer. In the meantime, my younger sister was diagnosed with stage IV lobular breast cancer, had a radical mastectomy and treatment with radiation which subsequently resulted in secondary bone cancer all in her legs and spine. She now has been diagnosed with Stage IV Thyroid cancer has been given approximately 8 months left. She is also diabetic, doesn't follow the rules for that and continues to exacerbate her condition. Since then, two months ago my mom was diagnosed with Leukemia. She endures blood transfusions every 21 days and they don't seem to be helping. She is considering bone marrow transplant or stem cell something or other. I am having a hard time keeping up with all of the information. My dad hurt his back and during a back procedure they discovered cancer cells in his spinal fluid. All the doctors tried to find the originating location of the cancer but he has since died just two weeks ago. It had only been four weeks since his back surgery and he had only a week of radiation treatments before he fell at home, stopped walking, talking, eating and then living.

I feel I must mention that my sisters both live with my parents and have for the last 30 some odd years, so you can understand the disfunction and some of the emotional dynamics that occurs due to all of the financial dependency my sisters incurred onto my aging parents. Yes, my parents were complete enablers. I have not lived at home for nearly 35 years, so non of us are young. This is where the emotional turmoil begins to simmer to a boiling point. I have never been the favorite child. Although I am the only one who makes it on my own. There is too much and too many tedious complicated facts that make this a truth, but I find whining has never gotten me ahead with any satisfaction regardless of all the truth and facts.

I have tried to speak with my sisters regarding the oncoming realities coming like a tidal wave. Property responsibilities, taxes, insurance, all the things that real people do in their adult lives. I might has well speak with a tomato plant. My anger with my parents and their enabling and their choices to continue to "save" my sisters from the harsh challenges of life is now at hand. Their demands and manipulation has left me not only on a mild anxiety medication but emotionally on the verge of an all out battle ending with me walking away forever. I do love my family, but they have made feel crazy for so long all I want to do is run away. I am currently fighting that feeling and trying to cope and be patient and kind and caring but taken advantage of. I do not have the luxury of guaranteed pensions and healthcare. It has been all on me to save and make sure to ensure an income once the horizon of my life has approached, and it is now almost here. I don't think it's fair that I should squander my entire life's savings on two people who have danced in the rain of life while I have gone without to prepare for my old age. Hearing the resentment and anger in my writing? I also feel tremendously guilty for not having such horrible health challenges.

I do realize this will not be forever. Their time in life here is almost over, I am passionately trying to keep my cool and also my humanity. I had a wonderful little dog to lick my tears and he died as well. I'm about to lose it. I have a wonderful family on my own who have a short temper when it comes to my sisters and all the past bad behavior. A son who is currently deployed as an officer is the U.S. Army, a bit of stress there, and a beautiful daughter in the "Hollywood Biz" a wonderful husband who walked out four years ago but has returned and things have been amazing since and it has been fours years since that horrific event. What more is there to say? I have babbled on long enough. I appreciated your patience with this longer than I intended letter, thanks so much for reading and any silent prayers you might send my way. If on the late news you see a crazed woman on the top of a bridge, it might be me. I am actually kidding, but trying find some form of humor to cope with all this emotion. Thanks again.

Comments for Losing All My Family Members thru Cancer

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Oct 07, 2013
You are stronger
by: Alyssa

It sounds like your frustration stems from you having to work hard to provide for yourself while they have not had too. I understand your frustration completely.

I'm 23 I returned home (reluctantly) after 5 years away due to a relationship breakup.

My brother kinda gets pampered he's 17. But I love him all the same. Your situation is different, the people involved are a little older and I get why you feel like your being treated a little unfairly.

HOWEVER..... because you have supported your self you are independent and strong. You will find that when grief hits your family you will be the most resilient and well composed person. You will be the star of hope they look up to. Your time alone working hard to support your self will make you so ready to face this challenge and changing time.

You will find that others will not be able to cope as well as you, they will crumble but you will be the tower strength. For yourself and them. Try not to get frustrated at them instead be proud of your self for your achievements, and know that you can hold your head high and say "I did it my way" in the words of Frank Sinatra :)

Your a survivor. You can do anything xxx

Aug 11, 2013
Thanks Doreen
by: Stacey

Just wanted to say thank you for you're insightful words. I realize I can lose touch of the meaningful things in the midst of my frustration and anger regarding my family dynamics. Your words resettled my elevated emotions and I re-evaluated my post. I didn't mean to come across so aggressive. I wish and can try to keep my feelings in check and in perspective. Thank you again.

Aug 10, 2013
Losing all my family members through Cancer
by: Doreen U.K.

Stacey I can fully understand all you say. I am sad for what you are going through with a family who has cancer as I lost my husband of 44yrs. 15 months ago to a deadly cancer and I nursed him for over 3yrs.39days when he died. My life is forever broken.
I also come from a dysfunctional family with me being the middle girl of 6 with only one boy. I know only too well the family dynamics and what enabling is and how hard it is for a family to break this dysfunction. Honestly it would take family counselling to break the habits of a lifetime passed on from generation down the line it can get heavy.
You could greatly benefit from counselling for yourself so that you can de-stress yourself from what is going on. This would help you to detach yourself from the dysfunction. You cannot fix this problem and I think due to the situation with the cancer you could take some steps back from being around your sister's and mother. In other words take time out since it is not benefiting you or your family. They need someone impartial. They also need compassion and understanding and you are not the person who can provide this as you are connected to your family and it may be difficult for you to be impartial.
You also have your husband back and he doesn't need to hear all about the family dynamics. You need to give time and space for Him and try and work things out best you can. Some families are like the Prodigal son. He demands his inheritance and then goes off and wastes it all on riotous living whilst the boy who stayed at home and did everything right was hurt and couldn't understand the father's need to welcome his son back with the sensible one who did it right say to his father. "How come you didn't make a fuss of me and give me your best whilst my brother wastes it all and gets the red carpet treatment. Almost as if bad behaviour is rewarded and good behaviour not recognised or respected. This is how many people feel. You need to read into this story and see if you can salvage some ointment for your wounds. We all have them. Your family are dying. Do only what you can to make their lives more comfortable if you can. Have limited time with them if it is making you angry. It is too late to try and resolve everything wrong within your family. But you can with the help of a counsellor deal with some of the unfinished business so that you can resolve some issues so you don't suffer emotionally more after their deaths. A lot is going on and you also need the professional support because you are going to lose your family and this is a heavy type of grief. Tread carefully at the same time taking care of YOU. This is no time for guilt. Settle what you can and work with a counsellor to help you let go of what cannot be resolved. It is possible to resolve issues with the aid of a good counsellor. I did it. It work excellently and I got my life back in the best way possible. Best wishes.

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