Penny Brohn UK
1,414 members270 posts

In Despair

I am supporting my sister and a good friend who both have terminal cancer. I have talked about the problems about organising a holiday for her and the fact has now been sorted but the cost is above what we can all afford really. It does not just rain though - it pours. My brother has now had a heart attack. He has been affected so much by our sister that his own health has got worse and he apparently wrote a letter to our sister saying she would be better off dead as that is how he feels. Have tried to get him to counselling or support without success. I really do not need this as it is bad enough with my sister. She is getting none of the support she need and promises are broken so she is inconsolable to have a letter like that as well. How am I meant to cope with all this - even at the weekend my old computer was affected by a major virus and I lost over 4000 files through ransomware. I have chest pains and feel faint and there seems no end to it.

3 Replies

You seem to be holding unaided all the griefs and anxieties of those you care for. You don't say whereabouts you live but there must be support somewhere out there for you and your family - from Macmillan, local hospice, cancer support groups, clinical nurse specialists. If you share where through this community, someone may have some contact numbers for you.

My support group is based in Dorset but there might be something on their website that's of help.

Healing thoughts and prayers from a distance may be of no practical help but the are yours from my heart.



At Penny Brohn we know that the impact of a cancer diagnosis can have a wide impact on the people supporting the person with cancer and it sounds like things are spiralling out of control for you right now.

It's important for you to take good care of yourself in order to be able to support your sister and we'd encourage you to seek medical attention for some of the symptoms you're describing and perhaps also to ask your GP about counselling for yourself. They will often refer people for counselling on the NHS.

Macmillan offer small grants that can go towards breaks, although I'm not sure if they are able to do this retrospectively. They may still be able to help with supporting other costs if not. This is there website:

Macmillan also do a lot of other advice about finance and welfare so it would be worth contacting them to also see if there are further benefits or support that you or your sister can access.

We're also here to listen and provide emotional support on the Penny Brohn Helpline so please feel free to ring us if you ever just want someone to talk to and maybe get some of these things off your chest. We're open Monday-Friday, 9.30-5.00 and the number is 0845 123 2310 or 01275 370 163.

Take good care,

Penny Brohn Helpline


I do have free counselling locally but cannot get my sister to let me chase up the lack of support she has. My brother has not accepted support. Knowing there are people out there that care (and who understand situations like this) is what is best at times like this as there is nothing one can actually do about what is happening. I hope to come to the wellbeing group of Penny Brohn in Bristol soon. Thank you for getting back so soon - from people I do not know - it is very moving. I live in Bristol. I live on my own but my lovely cats mean so much to me. I was awake crying in the middle of the night and caught sight of my cats both looking at me with those cute little faces of theirs


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