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Cancer may be wrecking my marriage

gthufford
Posts: 34
Joined: May 2009

I love my wife more than ever, and I am afraid that though her cancer prognosis is fairly good (keeping our fingers crossed), I may now lose my marriage. In both my wife's and my opinion, we had an excellent marriage before the cancer. Now she tells me constantly that I "can't understand" what she is going through, that I am a stress in her life that she doesn't need right not, and that once we are done with chemo, the real problems will begin.

I'm no saint, but I have stood by my wife through thick and thin, I was there everyday for her through the surgery, and she is the number 1 priority in my life. I've backed off when she needs me to back off, I've comforted her and snuggled with her when she needs that, we've sacrificed financially to support her not having to work, etc. Still, she now sees me through what she calls her "post cancer" eyes, and I guess she doesn't like what she sees.

I'm in counseling to get the help that I need without having to lean on my wife, she is in counseling to deal with the issues that come with chemo and cancer, and she attends a group of survivors.

On a positive note, she says that she will never officially "leave" me because of our family, but I'm worried that she may be checked out of the marriage in many of the ways that count.

As I started this out, I love my wife and my family dearly. I hate cancer and what it is doing to our family. I feel the need to vent, and maybe connect with someone else who has been through this. Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? Her last chemo treatment is scheduled for Aug 25th - can I hang on to that as the point where we start recovering? My friends and family are supportive, but they are too quick to take sides instead of just listen.

I'm an open book and could use some insight from someone who has been there.

slickwilly's picture
slickwilly
Posts: 339
Joined: Feb 2007

I will start out saying that I am a man that had cancer. So women on the discussion boards might have different opinions then me. But it would help to know the type and location of the cancer along with any operations. If its breast or ovarian cancer it can throw many emotional issues into the mix just as prostate cancer does with men. I can say your wife is right in the fact that you will never understand what she is going through. For many of us cancer treatment was like having the worst case of flu you could ever have with all of our bones, muscles and everything else in our bodies in pain. The tests, procedures and treatments rob our dignity. Throw in a bunch of pain drugs and the effects of chemo and sometimes we are not thinking straight. Right now she has a million things running through her brain at a time. If your smart you will keep financial issues away from her as you can't put a price on her life. And she does not need to hear about how much this is costing. Are you cleaning, cooking and picking up after the kids? Are you watching her diet to make sure she is eating the right foods to rebuild after chemo? Are you keeping track of the drugs she is taking in case she forgets? And then of course we can move on to your initial reaction and what you said when this first started. If you made some insensitive statement that insulted her as a woman you might not get over that hump no matter what you do. Without knowing you and your wife and being inside your home its all a guessing game here. But just being a husband right now is not enough. You have to be a caregiver and that requires a lot more work. Best of luck Slickwilly

gthufford
Posts: 34
Joined: May 2009

Thanks for your frank, though painful, comments. She had a 14 cm tumor on her kidney that was removed surgically. The cancer was removed 100% (clean borders, clean lymph nodes, excellent prognosis), and no chemotherapy was required. We decided to go on a clinical trial for an oral chemotherapy that you take over a 1 year period. We have gone through 6 full 6-week chemo cyles, and we are on the 2nd week of the 7th cycle. There are 9 cycles in all.

My wife and I are both 39 years old, and have been married for 13 years. We have two children who are now 9 and 10 years old. Our marriage has been excellent, with very few bumps on the road.

I know that I will never understand what she went through and what she is going through.

Financial issues have never been part of our struggles, which I think is very fortunate. She was a stay at home Mom who had just started working part time. She made the decision to keep working part time, which I support. In this area, the decision is up to her.

I am Mr. Mom - cooking, cleaning, taking kids to school and picking them up (when she will let me) - this has been the easy part.

I probably do not do a good job of watching her diet, but this is not an area that I would be welcome in. Right now, food is a coping mechanism for her, and I support her feeling good. Food is one of the few things that she has right now that makes her feel good.

I do not track her drugs - she does a very good job of that, and I would feel like I am intruding.

My initial reaction to the cancer was to try to keep everything, especially my family (8 and 9 yr olds at the time) together and healthy. I did not do enough to comfort my wife - I have a significant amount of guilt over this. She says that she is angry at me over this, but will forgive me. If I could go back, I would do things a lot differently, though I would still have to weigh her comfort against keeping my kids healthy. I did not say or do any "wrong," necessarily, but I would do things a lot differently. This will take a long time to heal, but I am in this for the long-haul.

My wife and I had a long talk about this last night. She is reluctant to lean on me for support because I do not understand what she is going through, and because I did let her down during the initial trauma. The good news is that we are talking, hugging, kissing, snuggling, etc., and we are both committed to working this out.

I was really hoping to hear from someone in my position. I appreciate where you are coming from, but telling me things like "you might no get over that hump" is very difficult to hear. That having been said - I appreciate the fact that you did respond in an honest manner very much - thank you.

zahalene's picture
zahalene
Posts: 633
Joined: Nov 2005

I am sorry to say that my marriage did not survive my 3 cancer dx over a span of 10 years, but it was in trouble long before cancer struck. I am writing to suggest some things I WISH I had heard from my now ex at the time that would have helped a lot.
1. "You are right, I do not understand what you are going through because I have not been there. But I love you beyond understanding and I want to help you get through this no matter what it takes." (My ex continued with his life and schedule as if nothing were happening to me.)
2. "I want you to get help and support from counseling or support groups or wherever you feel you need it, AND I will most willingly join you in these efforts if you want me to."
(My ex was jealous of a women's support group I attended.)
3. "Do not concern yourself with ANY of the mechanics of life except that which you choose to do. I will see that the kids and I are well cared for and our home is in good order. YOU concentrate on whatever heals your mind and spirit." (I had to practically BEG for help with the home and kids.)
In the end it was he who chose to leave. Go figure.
Anyway, I sincerely hope you and your wife find peace and renewal in your relationship. Don't EVER give up on that goal.
God bless.
God bless.

gthufford
Posts: 34
Joined: May 2009

God bless you for those comments - they help more than I can express. I like to think of myself as a strong man, but I am crying like a baby right now - thank you for that, I think it is was I needed.

I can identify with a lot of what you said about your ex, and I have to admit that I am guilty of a few of them myself - especially the jealousy part. However, I have had a wake up call, and I working very hard to un-do the damage that I have caused.

I am fortunate that my wife is the most forgiving person I have ever known - while I am not a saint, I think that she probably is.

One thing I would like to know from you - did things get better or worse after your treatments were done? I would like to think that things will get better after the chemo is over and she is feeling better, but her counseler has warned her that many of the problems start after the treatment is over. What do you think about that?

I hope that you are in a good place now, that you have peace in your life, and that you are healthy.

Thank you.

zahalene's picture
zahalene
Posts: 633
Joined: Nov 2005

to accept my comments in the spirit they were intended.
Yes, I think the emotional release is healthy. It is sometimes harder for guys to allow themselves to cry but even if you need to do it in 'secret' there is no shame in that.
Things do get even more challenging after treatment in some respects. I felt as though I had been in 'attack mode' for so long, and then suddenly I was in remission with no more dragons to slay and I hardly knew what to do with myself. This is often when the depression sets in. Understanding that in advance is helpful in analyzing it and dealing with it appropriately. Plus, we are suddenly called upon to take up our 'normal' lives again but EVERYTHING LOOKS DIFFERENT. Our world had taken on a totally unfamiliar look, smell, feel. Adjustment takes time, but we eventually realize that we have won, and though we bear the scars of battle, they are badges of honor and we are stronger, more beautiful people WHERE IT REALLY MATTERS.
Some people find that getting involved in Relay For Life or some other cancer-related support endeavor helps them feel that they are 'paying it forward'. Others want to move on in areas that do not constantly remind them of what they would rather forget. It took me some time to be able to come here, for instance, and try to be helpful to others.
And finally, thank you for your good wishes. I am, indeed in a good place. Everything that was taken from me has been replaced by something better. God is an awesome God.

slickwilly's picture
slickwilly
Posts: 339
Joined: Feb 2007

I am frank but honest. And I am never on here to hurt anyone. But you have to admit I got you to open up about the issues that really matter. So I'll open up now. I was in your wife's shoes 6 years ago. I was told I had cancer. I drove 350 miles home and went to work. I made the calls and set up my own chemo. My wife was busy taking care of all sorts of things and didn't realize I needed someone to just curl up with and have a good breakdown. So I went looking for someone to dump my frustration, anxiety and everything else on. And this didn't take weeks or months, it only took a few days. Pretty soon my wife didn't have a clue what was going on with me and my treatments. She didn't know how I felt about anything as my friend was the only one I was talking too. She didn't even meet my chemo doctor until my 4th appointment. Seperation can happen so fast under the stress of cancer that it will make your head spin. After my cancer it took many, many months to sort out my feelings on what had happened. It took lots of taking about what roles we were both involved in when the whole mess started. My wife thought she was doing the best thing by keeping the kids, financial issues and everything else involved in a household off my back. What I wanted was someone to give me a hug and tell me everything was going to be ok. And I would of sold everything I had and divorced my wife at the time if that someone had come along and filled that need. In the end it came down to a long talk with all of our emotions on the table. I accepted her side of the situation as I know nobody is perfect and we all react different to stressful situations. I think also that both sides try to play a different role when it comes to dealing with things in front of the children. Neither wants to show fear or pain and it ends up hidden and not delt with on an emotional level. There is a huge need for some alone time to deal with things. So continue taking and working with the counselors and don't give up. Slickwilly

gthufford
Posts: 34
Joined: May 2009

SlickWilly - thank you very much for sharing your experience with me. I am very sorry that you had to go through all of those struggles,and I admire you for working through the issues with your wife. It gives me great hope because my wife is a very forgiving person. I can't change what has happened, but I can be the person she needs going forward, and she is already starting to show signs of forgiveness. I can also show genuine remorse at not being the person that she needed me to be. Thank you for your insight.

zahalene's picture
zahalene
Posts: 633
Joined: Nov 2005

You mention above that you and your wife are still talking, kissing, snuggling, etc. As long as the communication is open and honest between the two of you there is every reason to think and believe that your marriage will survive this crisis. It is when people isolate from each other that things become much more grim.
As for the (excuse me for being frank) sexual activity, it is not at all unusual for people in chemo to be averse to the idea of having sex. (I remember thinking, "I DON'T EVER WANT TO HAVE SEX AGAIN AS LONG AS I LIVE!"). Nor is it reasonable to expect them to suddenly become 'interested' again the DAY after chemo ends. Or the week after for that matter.
For us girls (generally speaking) sex involves so many other components besides the physical that we need time to heal our spirits as well as our bodies before feeling 'sexy' again. It's hard on our guys. We get that. We are not TRYING to be difficult, it's just the way we are made.
I really believe you and your honey will be fine. You are both willing to do the work and God will honor your efforts.

gthufford
Posts: 34
Joined: May 2009

Thanks for this insight. While I have a lot of fear about our marriage failing (and a lot of guilt), I take comfort in what you wrote. Our communication is actually better right now than it has ever been. I think that if our communication was this good before the cancer, I would have handled things a lot different and better.

While our sex life has changed since all of this, my wife is still very giving in this area. Because of the chemo, she can't enjoy is as much physically as she used to, but it is still a very important emotional connection for us. I do worry that sometimes I am selfish in this area, and I have been making a concerted effort to not push things in this area - which I think she appreciates.

Thank you very much.

seaboy
Posts: 6
Joined: May 2009

Gthufford

My wife is battling caner for the second time now. Mets to liver bone and lungs. The first round was ten years ago with a good long break. I can't imagine going through all that we spouses do and having children as well, my thoughts are with you. My own experience sometimes echos what your describing. The councelling is probably a good thing but nothing can fix the riot of emotions you and your bride have to go through with this. Your wife has got to be terrified about leaving her kids with out their mother, fear can come out as anger. My wife goes throgh patches of anger, subsided now as things are coming to an end for her but I learned to sit back, see where it was coming from, and let her vent. We live in such a bizzare fish bowl with this illness and go through so many emotions I can only hope and pray that the tension you all are feeling will pass as the cancer recedes or you move on the the next phase of this journey we are all on.

Hope this helps, spend as much time as you can focusing on things you enjoy and remembering the things in your journey together that have made your marriage last so far. Also try to get a little time for yourself as hard as that might be.

gthufford
Posts: 34
Joined: May 2009

Thank you so much - you and your wife will be in my prayers tonight. God bless you.

slickwilly's picture
slickwilly
Posts: 339
Joined: Feb 2007

I was talking to my wife about the posts. We came to an agreement about what should happen after a doctor says the word cancer. Both spouses should take three days off work to sort out their emotions and needs. Time away from everyone including the kids. Your in the same situation as many caregiver spouses. And as you can already tell many are divorced. I have spent the last 4 years helping people through cancer and the caring, loving and support issue always comes up at some point. And its always a struggle to get at the base issue that started the whole problem. Your doing a hundred things right G and at some point in the future your wife will realize it. And I hope she will forgive you for anything you didn't mean to do. I have been married 33 years and its always a work in progress. Once in a while I need a reminder that God, Family and friends are my priorities. Not work, sports and everything else the world has to offer. I hope for the best for you and your family and you will be in my prayers. Slickwilly

david54
Posts: 115
Joined: Apr 2009

I can only share my experience with my wives cancer. In November 2007 she was told she had stage 4 colon cancer and within one damn week her surgeon told her there was no hope and her situation was essentially hopeless. We were absolutely devastated. She told me on a walk that afternoon that I was a miracle in her life. That before she’d met me I was the man she’d prayed to God for and her prayer was answered. I thought to myself “This is what I’ve been waiting to hear for the past 30 years!” They were the most "Intimate” words I’d ever heard from her mouth.

When she started treatment and actually felt better then those words stopped and the issues that had been smoldering in our relationship came back to the surface. There are days I want to ring her neck! I feel as if she is the most demanding woman on this earth and her husband “Mr. Mother Teresa” (LOL) is being neglected here! But I have been with her to every doctors visit, helped her jump through the hoops for disability, “reframe” bad news after her CT scans. From a hot water bottle to her stomach after Irinotecan to Ensure and prune juice at midnight, I have done everything I can to support her, short of donating half my liver which I would do if it would help.

Facing our mortality brings all kinds of emotions out. It might be your wife may even wonder if there will be a future woman after she dies in your life. If there is past pain in the relationship that is still “raw” then the fact she is already dealing with body image changes and emotional and physical pain can make her feel insecure. Sometimes behind my wife’s message of “You spend too much time on the computer” (which is true) is “Be with me and talk. I want to see you. I am scared and your presence makes me feel better.”

Thank you for your courage and honesty in sharing this with us. I thought I was the only husband going crazy!

gthufford
Posts: 34
Joined: May 2009

It is very nice to hear from someone going through this. I appreciate your comments very much - sounds very familiar.

I screwed up pretty bad this weekend. We got into a fight Saturday Night that went into Sunday morning, and we both said some things that we didn't mean - mostly me. I'm just so on edge over everything that sometimes it seems that I can't stop myself. Now, after a long time of me being on my absolute best behavior, I feel like I am starting over with her, and she thinks I just revealed my true self.

It couldn't have come at a worse time - her aunt is dying (probably this week) of a cancer that had been in remission for 15 years. My wife is really struggling over this, and I had to pick this time to lose my composure. She is back to being friendly with me, but very short of the loving relationship that we had finally gotten back to after a few tough weeks.

All I can do is start over, and not slip up again. I hope that she finds it in her heart to forgive me.

Thanks again for sharing.

hollyberry's picture
hollyberry
Posts: 176
Joined: Nov 2008

Dear G and David,
I am a wife and mother, a cancer survivor and I've been as strong as steel and as weak as a baby. I can say that my husband (God bless that wonderful man!!!) has been a saint through all of my surgeries, chemos and endless appointments and tests. We have had some Hellacious fights but, we have always talked our problems through when we finally settle down. I needed patience, space and conversely, a shoulder to cry on and someone to take care of all of the details of life when I was too sick to do those things myself. Cancer is hard on all of us. Please try to be extra patient- your wife will never forget that. If you have to walk away when she is in a bad mood, please do it. Chemo and pain can really make us crazy sometimes. It is no fault of the patient or the caregiver that creates some of these fights; it is more the enormity and fear of the situation that we have all been thrown into. If there is anything I have learned, it its this- caregivers are angels and the person suffering through cancer treatments and after-effects will appreciate all that you have done, when they finally have the strength and peace to look back on all that you have done to help.
These are difficult days for both of you; take the time to give comfort to your wives and they will forgive any short-comings in the end. I know that my husband focused on things that I thought were so meaningless while I was suffering from chemo and post-surgical pain but, he was doing what he thought was best for our family. It drove me crazy until I looked at the situation through his eyes; he was doing what he felt he
could control and I was thinking "Who cares about cheaper car insurance when I'm dying!?!" It's a matter of perspective, I guess. He did what he thought would help us in the long-run and I didn't think there would be a long-run. I wanted his time and attention then, not when the bills were paid and he got around to checking on me. I am not saying he wasn't attentive- he was. I just had different needs at different times and I needed to make that clear to him. When I did, he did all that he could to help me.
Communication, patience and putting your priorities in order will help. Be patient with your wives and yourselves; everybody gets beat up through this process. God willing, we will all come out of it wiser and more compassionate in the end.
God bless,
Hollyberry

david54
Posts: 115
Joined: Apr 2009

Thank you hollyberry for your support and insight. It’s not always stressful-my wife says I make her laugh.

We were outside and being attacked by mosquitoes. One landed on her arm – I told her it dropped dead from ingesting her chemo and so I took her gently over to the roses and brushed her skin over the aphids – she laughed at that one (fortunately!).

Sometimes she will say things that make me laugh too. One time I kissed the top of her head where she is losing her hair and I had not shaved for two days. She said “You are hurting my bald spot.” For some reason we just broke up and I still laugh at work when I think of that and people wonder what is going on my head.

gthufford
Posts: 34
Joined: May 2009

Hollyberry,

What a blessing you are to post this comment. I will have to decide whether or not to share your comments with my wife - I think if I do it will be for selfish reasons, so I probably will not. To me, your comments come at a time where I need them more than you can ever know.

Tonight, my wife and I were snuggling on the couch, which we really haven't done since I had my "freak-out" on Saturday night. I was so happy to be able to do this, until she told me that her day was hard, and that I was the majority of her current stress. I could handle this, except that she told me she did not want to talk to me about it, and that there was nothing I could do to help her. When we went to bed, she would not let me touch her - pretty hard stuff, though well deserved on my part.

She is seeing her counseler on Friday - a special appointment that she made just to talk about me and my most recent freak-out. I am scared out of my mind that her counseler might tell her she would be better off to leave. Logically, I can't imagine her counseler saying this, but you know what runs through your mind during times like this.

Most importantly, our 1 year anniversary of the cancer diagnosis is next Friday, and I want to help her as much through this as I can. She is really scared, and she can't trust me to help because of my recent actions. What a mess I have created.

I hope that someday I will look back on this and be able to help someone else who is going through this - much as you have helped me tonight. That seems like a long ways away, and it is hard to believe we will ever get there.

Thank you very much for your comments.

hollyberry's picture
hollyberry
Posts: 176
Joined: Nov 2008

Dear G,
I hope that all went well between you and your wife and there is now some peace in your home. Sometimes, just letting your spouse think through their situation will help to settle their feelings and bring a sense of calm to the situation. I know that my husband always wanted to "fix" an argument before we were both calm enough to sort through our feelings and the fears and frustrations that created the discord to begin with. That made me crazy!
He would apologize and I would ask, "What are you apologizing for?" and he would reply, "I don't know, I just don't want you to be upset anymore." AARRGGHH!!!
Time, patience and space to sort things through will only help both of you to figure out where all of these feelings are coming from; as far as your wife seeing her counselor, that can only be good! Any mental health professional worth their salt will understand the well of emotions that we all go through in this damnable disease. HE/she is probably well aware of the raw emotion that facing death brings up, especially when you have minor children to consider. Even without the kids, you have built a life together that didn't include cancer and now you have to deal with a life-threatening(and life-changing) disease that you had no choice in being a part of your family's lives.
I hope that you both find some perspective in this situation and realize that you will be different people when the dust finally settles; no one can live through this and not be a changed person. It's up to you how you change; you can learn and grow form it or you can put your head in the sand and pretend it's not happening. I'm sure you know that any opportunity to grow in a marriage is never a completely pain-free occurrence but, it is always worth working at it together.
Please keep trying; you didn't come this far and create a beautiful family to let a miserable disease take it all away. Again, you are in my thoughts and prayers.
Have a good weekend,
Hollyberry

gthufford
Posts: 34
Joined: May 2009

Thanks - you actually sound a lot like my wife - which is a compliment. She told me to stop apologizing on Monday. Things have gotten much better, though she says she is still mad at me. She is actually in her meeting right now with her counseler - wish I could be a fly on the wall! She says we will talk about it tonight. I'm going to do my best to listen a lot and talk a little.

Thanks again.

zahalene's picture
zahalene
Posts: 633
Joined: Nov 2005

if she doesn't want you apologizing on Mondays, just wait until Tuesdays. LOL (sorry, a little levity is good for the soul).

lily33
Posts: 27
Joined: Jun 2009

I am so glad you posted this. I feel not very many people recognize the stress cancer has on caregivers or our marriages. I am 33 and my husband has stage IV kidney cancer. He has battled it for the past 5 years with surgery and chemo. We had a great marriage before cancer. Now 5 years into the fight he has stabilized with drugs, but our relationship is falling apart. He's content because I have always been there and taken care of our 3 young children, the house, bills, and him. The drugs have completely changed his personality though. He's short tempered, unkind at times, and not the easy going and loving husband I married 10 years ago. I can't begin to imagine the hell he goes through. But I am going through hell too! I'm now essentially a single mother and feel I have lost the husband I loved and still love dearly. I feel guilty about wanting and needing someone to take care of me for once. And the worst is I know this is not his fault-he didn't ask to have cancer or to have his brain changed from the chemo drugs. There's no one to be mad at or to blame. Everyday I just feel us growing farther apart and my need to be protected and taken care of eating me away.

Just know there are other spouses out there that struggle with the changes in their marriages as well.

gthufford
Posts: 34
Joined: May 2009

It sounds like you are really going through a tough time, but that you are handling it the very best way that you can. Actually - it sounds like you are a saint.

On the other hand, in my situation, the saint is my wife. She is going through the battle of her life, is sick with medication, can't sleep, and is desperately afraid of dying of this disease. Even through all of this, she continues to love me, laughs with me, snuggles with me, etc., and she is the love of my life. I really don't deserve her, but she deserves the best from me.

On top of what she is going through, I have made a huge mistake with my wife by sharing some of my issues with her, when she can only barely deal with her own. I thought that I was reaching a busting point, but my issues are so small compared to hers that I feel quite selfish in unloading on her. I hope that someday she will forgive me, which she says she is working on.

I plan on my wife being around for a long time, and I plan on growing old with her. I feel that we are in a very tough situation right now, but I have the power to make things right by doing the absolute best that I can everyday.

All we can do is learn and move on, and carry each of our burdens as best we can.

Thanks for sharing.

akbetty
Posts: 38
Joined: Apr 2009

Lily, I know how you feel. My husband is a wonderful man who has always adored me, but after two years of fighting cancer, he's not the same person--he's used to me catering to his every wish, and sometimes I miss the man who thought of me once in a while. I know he can't help the situation we are in, but it's still difficult to cope with. Gthufford, I admire you for admiring that you've made mistakes, but don't be too hard on yourself. You are not goi g through something as tough as your wife is, but you are going through something. We have learn to forgive each other, and realize that none of us will be perfect all the time. My thoughts are with you both.
Betty

terato's picture
terato
Posts: 384
Joined: Apr 2002

akbetty,

When I was in treatment, I was often manipulative, self-absorbed, and vindictive. I was the last person any wife would want to come home to. Following my divorce, I blamed my ex for not understanding what I was going through, with no thought to what she was going through. It is Fathers' Day, and I sit here by my computer, sterile, middle-aged, without immediate family, and alone. I am happier than I was in my marriage, but only because my wife and I were not suited for each other in the first place and cancer only provided our "moment of truth", bringing that realization to a head. Like Marley's ghost, I wear the chains I forged in my past, hopefully learning from the experience and trying to live the balance of my life better.

Dutch proverb: "Too soon old, too late smart!"

Love and Courage!

Rick

newbride
Posts: 142
Joined: Jul 2009

I just finished reading through this chain of posts and appreciate the insight. My husband was first diagnosed with his RARE (he's the first reported case) of his type of cancer in March --- 8 weeks before our wedding!! He immediately had surgery and was recovering nicely and we were looking forward to our life together.

During our honeymoon he had complications and upon returning home we discovered the tumor came back and he needed additional surgery.

So 43 days into our marriage we are learning that because this type of cancer appeared in an area never reported before all the top cancer doctors have been reviewing his case. No one can give us any answers we want to hear because they have none. In addition they have now decided that since this came back aggressively they will fight it aggressively and are contemplating giving him double doses of chemo along with radiation.

My fear is just as the original poster said -- that later on my husband will feel like I have no idea what he went through. And while I can honestly say that physically I have no clue, emotionally I do as I am the one handling everything - he doesn't even speak with his doctors unless he had to go there for appointments. I'm the one running filling prescriptions, making appointments, making sure he has meals, pain killers, etc.

I read everyone;s comments carefully and they were great help to ensure I continue to be as supportive as I can.

Thanks

gthufford
Posts: 34
Joined: May 2009

First of all - I commend you for all that you are doing for your new husband, and your obvious commitment and love for him. You are a special person to be doing all that you are doing, and I hope that he loves you forever for doing this.

I do want to warn you, however, that all you are doing and going through, even with the best intentions in the world, will not qualify you to know what your husband is going through. It is not your mortality that is at stake. Take it from someone who has learned the hard way, and who may lose his marriage over the mistakes that I have made.

I don't have any idea what kind of issues you and your husband will encounter on your journey - every relationship and journey is different. We've all heard of people who go through cancer with great attitudes and who are grateful to their caregivers. Hopefuly this will be the case with your husband. But for many of us, no matter what we do or how hard we try, we will always be outsiders in this part of our spouse's lives. It hurts, but you can only make it worse by trying to think that you understand their struggle because you are by their side. Or even worse, as I have done, by trying to assert that our needs are as important as our spouse's needs while they are going through treatment.

My advice to you, for what it is worth, is to keep doing what you are doing with all the love and compassion you can muster, but to make a slight change to your attitude by realizing that you will never truly understand what their journey is like. And when you are with your husband, make his needs the top and, often, only priority.

By the way, unless they have been a caregiver themselves, the cancer patient will also not know what it is like for the caregiver. However, as I said above, it is their mortality at stake, not ours. Our journey is very important, and we need to prioritize our needs when we are away from our spouse, but the number 1 priority needs to be your husband, at least for now.

God Bless you and I pray that your journey can somehow be positive, and that you and your husband grow old together!

Dar Mack
Posts: 3
Joined: Nov 2012

. I am a devoted husband of 14 years. We have had a VERY, VERY happy marriage. My wife battled breast cancer throughout almost all of 2011 and into 2012. I battled it with her, every step of the way. I cared for her like she was the only thing in my life. I went to nearly every single appointment and all 16 chemo rounds and all 5 surgeries.
The last surgery was a touch-up surgery, to inject fat in a few places, to even things out. Her self-esteem was low, as she had gained weight and hated her carved up body. AGAIN, I was super-supportive. She wanted a 'tummy tuck' to go along with the touch up surgery she was already getting - so we ponied up $8000 and got that done. That was in September. Once she healed, she has looked better than she has in 5 years....and that is when she started going out all the time. She goes out clubbing with her friends and leaves me at home with the kids. She has always been trustworthy, so I encourage her. A week ago, she started acting very strange and very secretive. When I did the hard core investigating, I found NO evidence of an affair - and frankly, it would be pretty tough for her to have a sexual affair, without nipples and still having issues with her body. But, nonetheless, she IS having an emotional affair with SOMETHING. Maybe a vision of a future life, or a chance to entertain some of the guys who have been flirting with her. Whatever it is, she is kicking me to the curb now and forsaking the futures of her children for her selfish needs right now.

The guys who leave women during cancer are the lowest forms of life on the planet. But, let's not lump all cancer divorces on the guys and point fingers. Satan, or whatever negative influences you believe in, has his was of getting into the most pure of minds and ripping their worlds apart, in order to satisfy some current desire.

I pray that my children will be minimally affected by her decision to want to split up with me. Whenever I bring it up to her, she makes excuses like, "the kids will be fine." This is the same person who a few months ago was VERY ANTI-DIVORCE and excoriated ANY friend or family member who wanted to get a divorce, when there were kids on the table.

THAT is how quickly Cancer can destroy a marriage THE OTHER WAY. The kids and I get tossed aside, while she is playing the Tim McGraw's Live Like You Were Dying, the at-home-version.

Couchie
Posts: 24
Joined: Nov 2010

Phew, I've been there. I had a similar experience with my partner when they were diagnosed with cancer. I was thousands of miles away and when I arrived at their hospital bed, they gave me in immediate out. I declined. However, over the next few years, I found myself taking on more and more of a parental role and viewing my partner as more and more of a child given how needy they were. At once point, I was whiping their behind. At one point, I thought the relationship might never turn around. However, I am now three years later and they are officially out of treatment, though they have a bone marrow biopsy next week, and I feel completely different. Cancer can throw you for a loop, it flips everything on it's head. But I wouldn't be too quick to rush to judgement. Then again, if your partner decides you aren't for you, it might be something they felt before they got cancer and are just now brave enough to tell you. I really can't speak to you situation not being you. However, I would consider both sides of the coin.

rlroth
Posts: 5
Joined: Jun 2013

My husband is in remission and has been doing well. He will be cancer free in a year. I am so grateful to be able to share with everyone that cancer can be beat. However, somewhere in all this I lost the man who was my husband. He seems to have turned inside himself. I miss him, and am not sure how I feel about this new person i seem to be married to.

I took care of my dad when he was ill, and caregiving is what I do by trade. For five years I've given him every form of support I know how. But i'm dissapearing. I don't think that this is a fair way to treat someone who has been there for 28 years. Loved and cherished our love for eachother. I get that hes mad about all this disease has taken from him, but why take it out on the one person who loves him no matter what.  

 

LindaK.
Posts: 320
Joined: Apr 2013

So sorry to hear this

nature
Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2013

thank you everyone for your stories. it truly makes me feel better.

my partner had ovarian and uterine cancer 4 years ago at age 36.  we had a scare this summer but the tumor was not cancerous even though doctor doesn't believe it. pathlogy said no cancer.  she has severe chemo brain and i was able to get her to see a neuropsychologist to work on skills to help her adapt.  she has her second appointment today.  it is so frustrating that the caregiving doesn't ever end. she is able to work which we are thankful because i can't support both of us on my wages. i love her very much and she had a very difficult journey to get to NED, job loss due to funding and the debt we have.  i know we are young-i'm 33 now; but i feel so selfish when i think that we won't make it with all the stress.  i have my own health issues and want to go back to school but i don't see how.  i sometime wondering if i would be better off without her but i love her so much and she would struggle so much with out me.  her memory is almost non-exsist its like living with someone with dimentia. its so tiring. i am thankful she is alive and no cancer and we still have our house barely, etc. we have lots to be thankful for but it gets to be so much. her sister and mom do not help a lot; my parents are not in my life and we have some great friends but they are all so busy to be able to help. if we could i would hire out some things like cleaning the house but we don't have any extra money (and just had to put $1800) into my car.  

thank you for reading.

deferd
Posts: 1
Joined: Nov 2013

Hello everyone,I'm happy that I found this site it's very helpful.my wife had breast cancer six years ago chemo radio etc etc she is back to work but is a different person.i helped her a lot through her treatment and beyond but I recall that about four years ago out of the blue she announced that our sex life was at an end,she has kept to her word,I've found it increasingly difficult to understand .at the two year stage after treatment I suggested she do something really big to mark her new start in life and not long after she suggested a holiday away with a friend,i thought it a great idea,it developed into a week on a cruise ship in the Caribbean,she loved it,she has since been on other holidays with friends in Europe one week each year and I'm fine with that,we are happy in our life but I find it hard when she says her hormones have been affected to the extent that she never feels like sex ,it is especially difficult when I see her looking at other men,I think to myself how does that work ? We go on holidays together about three times a year and have great fun but I'm unhappy beneath it all because I've lost the lover side of my wife.

 

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