I've offended my in-laws

Ad LibAd Lib CanberraMember Posts: 10
I was diagnosed 6 days before Christmas. I'm 33 and have 2 daughters aged 3 and 6. When I told my parents and sister the news, they all came to visit to be with me so unexpectedly, we ended up hosting Christmas celebrations at my house.
It's taken all the energy I have to get out of bed (early) each day with a smile on my face to ensure my children had a joyful Christmas. This past week, I haven't been too focused on anyone but my girls and my husband.
Today I've discovered my inlaws are offended that I didn't speak to them on Christmas Day. My husband called them but I didn't get on the phone to speak - I'm not even sure why - it's all a bit of a blur.
I called to speak to my sister in law today and she was extremely short and very cold. 
I feel like I need to apologise now but I'm also angry at her for not cutting me some slack (her husband is an oncologist FFS I thought she'd understand). Any tips for how I can explain my failure to call them? I don't feel like I can say I just forgot as that will be more offensive. I really need to smooth this one over for the sake of my husband but I'm on the verge of exploding and telling them all where to go.
Does anyone have some sage words to help me out of this one?


  • MiraMira I live in my computer .... Member Posts: 409
    Do they know about your diagnosis Ad Lib?  Maybe its come as a surprise to them too and they just need a bit of time to come to terms with it? 
  • iserbrowniserbrown Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 2,470
    Oh! As Tracey has said cut them some slack. You've entered the BC world where reactions from family and friends are not always what we expect. You may have some drop off. I had a girlfriend who was over the top and didn't know much about BC but was quick to push me in her preferred direction which caused undue stress. She's no longer in my life.
    As to your inlaw family it would appear that it is the normality of Christmas that your inlaw family are upset about.
    As Tracey said try and be as normal loving and respectful.
    Make sure you include them on your BC journey. 

    I'm sorry to read your story and hope for you that your treatment process is comfortable as can be.

    Take care from Christine 
  • primekprimek Broken HillMember Posts: 4,313
    Other people just don't get what a new diagnosis feels like. I have no real wise words but when you feel stong enough call his parents. Tell them you feel awful for not speaking with them at Christmas but you were in an emotional mess, you love them and care for them and need their support as this journey is not only difficult for you but will be very difficult on their son. Hope it works out.

    I set up a private facebook page and invited people in. It photographed my journey and I journalled my thoughts, feelings and fears. I included this article which is brilliant. Whilst you are just beginning your fight,  it gives valuable insight into thoughts and feelings.
    Thinking of you. Kath x

  • TonyaMTonyaM Member Posts: 2,527
    Hi Ad Lib, do it the old fashion way and write them a letter.You can explain how devastated you are and that you are not yourself right now and hope they can be understanding/supportive.You can then forget about it and concentrate on yourself and your own family.
    I'm so sorry this bc crap has happened to you and right on Xmas too.This is so unfair to one so young.But you'll get your head around it and come up fighting. We are here for you so ask questions, vent your feelings- it will help.I've been on the bc ride twice-2003 and then in 2010.I'm fine now and the majority of women with early breast cancer will be totally ok.Tonya xx
  • Brenda5Brenda5 Burrum Heads, QldMember Posts: 1,974
    Was there something wrong with them that the could not ring you? When my hubby rang his big sister (who had battled bc 16yrs ago) she rang me up to guide and support me. One of hubby's nieces is a Dr and she corresponded on face book with me. My own siblings for the most part stayed away like I had something contagious. Mind you my side of the family is always a bit warped but I love them anyway lol.
  • Ad LibAd Lib CanberraMember Posts: 10
    Thanks all for your kind words and advice. You've all been really helpful. X
  • adeanadean Member Posts: 1,025
    My Inlaws never acknowledged my cancer, my father in law told my daughter he was sicker than me and I was faking it, I have never spoken to my fathering law since. Some people have no idea.i have upset people because I was candid about the disease, we can't please everyone. Adean. Xxxxx
  • SophollieSophollie Member Posts: 9
    edited December 2016
    What does your hubby have to say?  Frankly I think he needs to be the one fixing this, not you.  Just ask him to quietly mention to his family that you are distracted, overwhelmed and scared so could they please be gentle and understanding if you dont always meet their expectations.  And then dont think about it because you have so many more important things to deal with! 

    As an aside, I didn't talk to half of my own family on Christmas day.  These things happen even without cancer!!
  • ShayllsShaylls Member Posts: 36
    It is so much to take in in such a short time. When I was diagnosed in November so many people wanted to rush to my side and I had to stop them. You need space also to get your head around everything. It's tough. I have quickly learnt that I have to come first in this and if I'm not up to phoning people, messaging people and just want to be in my own world then that's ok and people need to accept that. 
    No one knows what you are feeling unless you have been there. 
    So no apology necessary. It was a day to embrace your who you needed to. as suggested, if you feel you need to explain maybe a letter is the way to go. 
    This is your journey and you need to be allowed to do it your way xxx
    Look after yourself. That's whats important xxx
  • melclaritymelclarity Member Posts: 3,078
    @Ad Lib 

    Uuuugh!!! all these ladies have said some wonderful things and so very true! I don't know but I guess if it were me, I'd call them up and just be really raw and honest. What you did wasn't intentional on any level, talk to them honestly about what you are going through, the shock of it all. That you certainly didnt have the intention of offending or not talking to them. 

    I lost a few people through this journey in 5yrs and mostly last year at my recurrence. You absolutely cannot put anyone above you, and thats not being awful, and alot of people will not understand that. Family is tough I know, communication is everything and hopefully, they may just understand a little more. 

    P.S. as hard as most family/friends try to understand what you are going through? sadly they cannot understand the complexity of the whole thing, from physical to mental and emotional. So these wonderful ladies help alot!!! We all help each other, because we so get it....all of it!! xo Hugs Melinda xoxo 
  • AfraserAfraser MelbourneMember Posts: 1,557

    @Ad Lib

    Lots of advice, most of it very practical, as bad feelings aren't good for anything much. But it seems to a complete outsider that you have not been distracted, you have been very focused on what matters most to you (it's no sin that this is not your in-laws for the moment). I found most people actually did understand that cancer was a big impact, even if they were short on details. I suspect your in-laws may want to be a part of it all, to be supportive, with good intentions, but not maybe the best sort of application. I tend to agree with sophollie, that a little tactful intervention from your husband with his parents might be timely.  But preferably on the lines that you have a lot to deal with at the moment and will chat with them in due course rather than hinting at any emotional turmoil. Cancer is hard enough, any assumption that your marbles go out the window too should be snuffed early!! Strength to you.

  • Ad LibAd Lib CanberraMember Posts: 10
    Thank you everyone. This is all so new and I'm only just realising how varied people's reactions can be. It seems my in-laws are just going to be the type of people who are focused on their own needs throughout this. I know they are upset but they keep looking to me for reassurance and I'm not going to waste my precious energy on that.
    I apologised to each of them individually for being thoughtless and selfish but it wasn't good enough for my sister in law and she's turned it all into a huge drama about how I ruined Christmas. My husband has stepped in now and I'm just trying to forget about the whole thing.
    I know this little community on here is going to be vital to getting me through this whole ordeal and I thank you all sincerely for taking the time to send me your thoughts and best wishes. xxx
  • primekprimek Broken HillMember Posts: 4,313
    OMG how shallow is that. As if you chose to get cancer. Yes...you need all your mental strength. Surround yourself with people who will support you. You have every right to start putting yourself first, which we can tell you have yet to do that. Don't waste any more time on it. I hope you have your appointments soon so you know what your journey will entail. Great that hubby has stepped in. Kath x
  • MiraMira I live in my computer .... Member Posts: 409

    Oh Ad Lib, I've been there with my Mother.  She calmly and coldly told me off when I asked her to keep it private and not go around telling people.  She stood there, while I was obviously upset, and told me that she could tell anyone she wanted.  It was horrid.  She's never apologised either.

    Your inlaws are showing their true colours.  Look after yourself, you need all your energy to deal with this.

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