Chest Infection

I live alone and I've now had my 2nd chemo. I ended up phoning for an ambulance last week as my temperature was 39.9 and I was too ill to drive myself to hospital. I now have a chest infection and cannot believe how ill this has made me. (I'm 56 with OC level 3 grade c).

I've finally conceded that I cannot live alone with cancer and chemo as I'm just too vulnerable and too ill after chemo.

I've given notice on my flat and making plans to move in with my sister who has been asking me to move in with her. I guess I just didn't want to be a burden on anyone let alone having a life threatening disease. I've decided to forget about my independence and being stubborn and have given myself 6 months to stay with my sister, be safe and cared for in my moments of vulnerability. Having cancer is bad enough, having cancer and living alone is hell and I don't want to do this anymore. I need someone there when I can't sleep, when I breakdown sobbing my heart out as have no idea where this journey is taking me. I just need kindness and support in my dark moments and just maybe in 6 months time things will be different and I can look back at all this in a distant memory.

Love Michelle

13 Replies

  • Dear Michelle

    I think you are doing absolutely the right thing. I've known a number of incredible women on this forum who live alone. Some have been far from their families and I really don't know how they've done it because each one of us have bleak times when we need someone nearby to comfort us.

    Please don't think of this step as renouncing your independence. You are just putting things in place to give you support while you need it. Having someone around in the day or to help with meals in the short term will make all the difference. Hopefully you will feel comforted and you will have less sleepless nights, or at least if you do you will know your sister is nearby which will be comforting.

    I hope as you feel more confident you will be able to get a place of your own near your sister so you can remain independent but you will have her support. You're very lucky to have such a sister. I have just added a comment to Peanut's thread about PiPs. It is worth asking the welfare office at your cancer centre what help is available to keep you as independent and well as possible

    Sending loads of love at what has been a really tough time for you. xxx Annie

  • Hi Michelle,

    I completely understand how you feel.

    (I'm 51, OC 3c grade 3, surgery February, started chemotherapy a week ago today).

    I landed myself in hospital on Friday.

    The hours of sickness prior to going in were the most frightening of my life.

    Thankfully I live with my partner. I cannot imagine how I would have felt had she not been there.

    We can't live in a bubble, but we can accept that we can't do this alone.

    Good luck & avoid this bugs!


  • Morning Michelle!

    Hope you are feeling better! I had a similar decision to make when I was diagnosed and dya know what it worked out really well! Your sis will appreciate the opportunity to help and it will bring you closer and family are so important as we move along this journey in fact they are our lifeline so allow them to help! It's not easy to relinquish independence but it's a temporary measure and will ultimately give you the energy to fight back!

    Onwards and Upwards!!!


  • Hi Michelle, I don't think you'll regret your decision. This is one time when we need people around us. I know many people manage on their own during their chemo, although it's never easy, but during the worst times I often said to my husband that I didn't know how people got through this on their own. Your sister will want to help you as much as she can and with her care and support you'll most likely regain your strength and resilience more quickly. You might also find it helpful to talk to a counsellor at your hospital or Maggie's if there is one near you about the emotional side of all this as while the physical side effects are often well managed the mind can take us on quite a different journey that neither we or those we are closest to are equipped to cope with. I found it helpful to talk to a clinical psychologist who worked alongside the oncology team. I sobbed throughout our first meeting so I'm not sure if she understood much of what I said but I found it cathartic to get all my darkest thoughts and fears out to someone who just listened objectively, and non judgementally. She did suggest a couple of courses of action for me to consider and which I might find helpful. She was right - one of them was discovering this forum.

    Wishing you well, Beth x

  • Sounds like a good plan to me. My hubby has been great but I have still struggled with how ill chemo made me. It's nice to let someone hold your hand and there are no prizes for struggling on without asking for help. Wishing you the very best with your recovery.

    LA xx

  • Dear Michelle -

    According to my profile, I live 5 miles from where you are now. (I'm on the Guildford side of Woking.) I am "just" on Avastin now, with some side effects but definitely a walking wounded. If there is anything practical you think I could help you with until your move, request me as a friend on this site and then message me so we can talk. I am sure you have friends who would help, but if you don't feel comfortable asking them, I'm happy to stand in. (I felt that way about friends, but have a partner. I don't know how I would have managed the past 15 months without him.)

    In the meantime, I totally agree with the valuable advice the other women have given you. Practical help from whomever is good, but to have someone there when the sleepless night thoughts occur is invaluable.

    With love,


  • Hi Michelle, I think you have taken the right decision for you now. It is scary enough having side effects but to suffer them on your own must be very hard. I would also suggest you ask your CNS or Macmillan Centre for Supports you may have available to you. Believe me it is not a sign of weakness to want support, it is more a sign of strength to accept that you need help. I think Eve has made a lovely gesture and that is just what you need right now, a little kindness.

  • Hi Michelle we all need support, help, kindness at some point, especially when we are going through a very tough time. I think you've made the right decision, you will feel less vulnerable and you will have the love kindness and support you need at this time, take care xx

  • Hi Michelle,

    Definately the right decision, it scares me to think of anyone living on their own with this disease,you need support, love and kindness if it's offered and I can only admire anyone dealing with it on their own.

    I was always stubborn when asking for help and did a lot independently because I didn't want to be a burden as did you, but when I asked for help people knew I must really need it, I think you have been very wise.

    Take good care of yourself


  • Hello Michelle

    I think you're doing the right thing. Chemo is so very frightening when you're so unsure that the side effects you're feeling are normal or not. It will be good for you to have someone alongside you, especially at night time.

    And as you say, it's not a permanent arrangement and eventually you should be able to get your own place again, but close to your sister.

    All the best to you and your sister.


  • Hi Michelle,your such a strong,determined woman,You are doing what is right for you and the days of being a martyr for the cause are long gone.I know for sure you will be asking in 6-9 mts time for flat availability as you will be ready for the next part of your journey.Take your time and allow those who love you to support and care for you as it will make your sister feel well

  • Good sensible decision xx

  • Hi Michelle, I so identify with you in your situation as I too live alone in a flat and have found some of the side effects of chemo a struggle on my own. However, since Chemo 3 I have stayed with my brother and sister in law for the most vulnerable days following treatment and that has been a great help. I think you have made a wise decision to move in with your sister on a temporary basis and I am sure you will experience less stress as a result, even if you still have physical side effects.

    Do hope you will soon recover from your chest infection. I was hospitalised with one for 5 days after Chemo 2 and they are very debilitating.

    Take good care of yourself and let your sister give you as much support as possible.

    Best wishes,


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