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The Burden

Believe me, nothing can make you feel like a burden more than being sick and not looking it. Lately, it has been the story of my life and I think it stresses me and depresses me more than the cancer.

What people don’t understand about long-term survivorship

In the beginning, people surround you with love, compassion, hope, and understanding. But, as you continue your journey in this awful world, the people stop coming. They stop asking how you feel and helping you out. They act like “Oh, no active cancer? You can do it yourself”. Lately, I’ve experienced this entirely too much. Coming up on my 6th year of living with lung cancer, I haven’t had active cancer in 5 years. So, what does this mean? It means everyone thinks I’m cured. They think I’m totally better and should return to a normal life.

What they don’t understand is I take a daily targeted pill for my cancer to stay away. They also don’t know that pill will eventually quit working. They don’t know the side effects of the medication. My biggest side effect is fatigue. For instance, today I haven’t gotten out of bed.  I feel so heavy, my eyes keep closing, and I’m sweating like crazy.

Feeling left behind…

I had a bad confrontation with my daughter’s father yesterday that spurred me to write this. All I did when I got home was cry.

My daughter had her volleyball championship game yesterday. I usually sit with him and his girlfriend. In the past, I’ve saved a seat for him at every function, even his girlfriend. When I arrived, the entire row was taken up by her family. No one saved a seat for me. I got so upset and I don’t think it was over the seat. I feel they think I’m okay and can just sit by myself. In my mind, I feel like they are moving on without me, but with my daughter. She’s my daughter and I don’t want to give her up, ever. I want to always be a part of everything and show her that her parents still have a solid foundation based on friendship. Unfortunately, now I just feel like a burden. I said something to him about not saving a seat and he flipped out.

I moved to the other side of the gym. He tried to apologize but it was the worst apology in the world. It was more like an explanation as to why I didn’t have a seat. Totally something I would normally ever care about, but this time I did and it hurt so much.

Everyone deserves support

This cancer not only takes a physical toll on your body but a mental toll as well. My daughter happened to be serving at the point he began yelling at me and she heard everything. She turned to me after the play and mouthed, “Don’t worry about him”.

Well my darling, I have to for the rest of my life. I have no family here, so he is the closest thing I have. As he was ranting he threw in my face, “I do so much for you and this is how you always treat me”. This statement couldn’t be farther from the truth. He does stuff for his daughter when I can’t.

My biggest fear

To wrap it up, just because we look well, doesn’t mean we are. And for those who know us, please remember, we see the world differently now. I tried to apologize to him because normal people don’t get mad at that.

But I’m not normal in that respect anymore. I’m scared and I needed him to make me feel less alone. But he doesn’t do that anymore. I’m friends with his girlfriend. I want my daughter not to experience any fighting, she has enough on her plate. Furthermore, I have no feelings for my ex. I fear being alone but I fear being a burden the most.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • crbrister
    1 year ago

    Samantha, you need to look elsewhere for your support system. You do not need this aggravation.
    The spotlight should be on you, especially under the medical circumstances. Please, try to find other support systems. Try to eliminate leaning on your ex. and definitely cut close ties with his girlfriend. Your daughter is probably “wiser” than you think.

  • Samantha Mixon moderator author
    1 year ago

    My daughter will always come first. She is my world. Since I have no family, we came to an understanding. Yes, we fight like siblings, but when it comes to our daughter we follow the therapists advise. I do have another support system now with a few friends and have an upcoming article that will go more into detail. Please understand, this is the father of my child and at the end of the day, we try to show her a unified front. He will be in my life since we share custody and we do have to communicate. He does help out a lot. Just that day, I had to get my feelings out. When my daughter goes to college I will be moving back to Atlanta where the majority of my friends and family are.

  • meag
    1 year ago

    I just went through a similar situation and later realized how hyper sensitive I am in frustrating situations. Not sure if I was looking for an outlet for feeling bad. My reality has changed,but I want to remain positive, even in the face of what’s “normal” for healthy people. They can’t appreciate what you are going through, not having experienced it first hand. Hang in there. Your daughter gets it! That’s what counts.

  • Noel.Martin
    1 year ago

    Thank you sharing with us meag! We appreciate your input and support. Best, Noel Team

  • june2081
    1 year ago

    I am in a similar situation, I needed to read this today, it’s been over 6 years of treatment and everyone went on with their lives. Until you’re living it no one can understand the strength it takes to keep going…..

  • Noel.Martin
    1 year ago

    Thinking of you june2081! Please know you are not alone here.. Noel team

  • Cheryn
    1 year ago

    We all need to feel supported especially while living with a terminal illness however I would not depend on an ex husband who has moved on to be my support system.

  • Samantha Mixon moderator author
    1 year ago

    Thank you for your input Cheryn. However, sometimes we don’t have choices. My daughter’s therapist told me not to uproot her because she will be even more devastated if she were to lose me and her friends. So, I live here for her. Her father and I did make that agreement, that I stay and he will help whenever he can. It does cause some conflict, but doesn’t every divorce when you have children? If not for her, I would’ve already moved back to my family. But her well being is more important. So, he has 4 more years to be my support system. I wish things were different and it didn’t have to be this way, but some things are beyond our control.

    Thank you for your input.

    Samantha M.

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