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Husband deals with wifes new emotional and phyisical changes

Jdstuff
Posts: 7
Joined: Jul 2010

Its been a rough 3 years for are family.In 2007 my mother inlaw past away with stomach cancer.She also had breast cancer some 20 years ealier.
It was just 3 months after her mother died my wife was diagnotes with stage 3 breast cancer.We never really got scared we did what we were told and stayed focused with love.Everything went well made it through all the required surgeries and treatments.At the end it was tough but she made it.
Well now 2 years after the last of it I have a wife that hates her body has no patience for her children or me.She has no desire for intimacy due to her medications and the dislike of her body.She also has fluid in her arm from the removal of the lymph nodes(she wears the sock).I have images that I think about also from helping with the drain tubes bandages and giving her shots.
This is were I get confused.Is it wrong for me to think of leaving her.Shes health today and working.I just want to be happy and Im not.I don't blame her but shes changed.We been married for 19 years now mostly good until late.We are in our mid to late 40's and I want to be happy the second half of my life.
Tell me what Im missing?

Balentine's picture
Balentine
Posts: 393
Joined: Feb 2010

Have you discussed going to counseling with her? I want you to know that God's will is that a marriage remain. I know there are times when there is abuse that the only option is to separate. However, I always advise couples to exhaust all possibilities before heading for a divorce. This may sound trivial or crazy but have you and your wife watched the movie 'Fireproof' with Kirk Cameron?? There is also a 'love dare' book that goes along with it. You can buy the book and movie on Amazon which is probably the fastest and most inexpensive. If you have a Christian bookstore nearby, you can also get both there. It is a must see for anyone contemplating divorce. Please at this time trust God, hang in there and talk to your wife about taking these few steps of counseling and the book and movie to try and repair your marriage. If she refuses, watch the movie by yourself first and read the love dare book....there are small exercises for you to do each day for 40 days. I know it sounds crazy but it really is amazing how much of a difference it will make and the impact it will have on the way you both view your marriage. It causes you to see your marriage as precious and a covenant the way God intended for you to see it. Please don't give up just yet. Let me know how you like the movie. I hope and pray your wife will watch it with you and do the book along with you. Be blessed and I will be praying for you and your wife.
Lorrie

ms.sunshine
Posts: 710
Joined: Mar 2010

Lorrie I'll have to watch the movie and take a look at the love dare book. Thanks might help me.

lolad's picture
lolad
Posts: 671
Joined: Jun 2009

I dont know if you have been here before, if not welcome. Support through the battle is so important and its impossible to get through without it. So, to start off, you are a wonderful person for helping her through all this. You didnt go into surgery detail, but i had a total mastectomy and am due to get reconstruction next month. Its been over a year since my surgery and i totally hate and feel disgusted with my body. I hope that changes with the reconstruction, but with the physical and emotional impact it has on me, i really dont know. Is your wife on a hormone medicine? I am totally a moody person on mine. Not the same at all. I dont know what meds she is taking, but maybe you could help her go over them with her dr and find out which one might be giving her these side effects and maybe he can change it. Its hard to tell you because i guess it just depends on the med it is. Fighting such a big battle can have a toll on us for a long time after we finish our treatments. When some couples go through such an awful thing together, they just cant get back the same way they were. We are changed afterwards. For me, i felt like a whole new person and had been given a new chance at life. I felt blessed. You were there and took care of her and did a good job with it by what i read from your post. Have you told her how you feel about all this? You need to think about and take care of yourself to. Nobody can make that decision for you. Im sorry you are having a difficult time with this. The cancer is enough to deal with and now even though one battle was won, another is there to face. I hope it works out. I know its hard to be patient. Im sorry that its happening. But you are right, you yourself have to be happy. Sorry, my replies are always long.
take care
laura

lolad's picture
lolad
Posts: 671
Joined: Jun 2009

That is the most awesome movie and he needs to definately watch it. Thanks for remembering that

Jdstuff
Posts: 7
Joined: Jul 2010

She is on no hormone meds due to thats was the type of cancer.She takes what is the best for the cancer not to come back.Her implants didn't come out as good as we hoped either.Although the cancer was only on the left side they took both off.Now they have weird shapes and seem to go around under the arm pit along with a flat spot that you can see through a shirt.She doesn't want any more surgerys and I don't blame her for that.

lolad's picture
lolad
Posts: 671
Joined: Jun 2009

My cancer was only on the left and i too had a double hysterectomy. This past february they had to remove the left tissue expander because i developed an infection and the expander was acutually exposed because the infection cause a hole on my left breast. Sorry to be graphic, but now i have one one expander on right and totally nothing on left. I have heard many stories of implants not turning out good. I dont blame her either for not wanting another surgery. But, she cant continue to hate her body to the point its effected her whole life. I wish she would seek out another surgeon and maybe visit a couple and get the problem fixed. Has she been here to this site? Maybe if she would come here, it would help her change her mind. Its awesome support and believe me, there is always someone here that can help. I pray she might reconsider and try to get to be happy with herself again.
laura

lolad's picture
lolad
Posts: 671
Joined: Jun 2009

My cancer was only on the left and i too had a double hysterectomy. This past february they had to remove the left tissue expander because i developed an infection and the expander was acutually exposed because the infection cause a hole on my left breast. Sorry to be graphic, but now i have one one expander on right and totally nothing on left. I have heard many stories of implants not turning out good. I dont blame her either for not wanting another surgery. But, she cant continue to hate her body to the point its effected her whole life. I wish she would seek out another surgeon and maybe visit a couple and get the problem fixed. Has she been here to this site? Maybe if she would come here, it would help her change her mind. Its awesome support and believe me, there is always someone here that can help. I pray she might reconsider and try to get to be happy with herself again.
laura

Hubby's picture
Hubby
Posts: 325
Joined: Apr 2010

There is a line from the Godfather that I keep repeating to myself - "You can act like a man".

You need to get your wife through this; that's your job now. You think it's over, and maybe for you it is. But it's not over for your wife. Read the comments the woman on this board make, and maybe you will get a better understanding of what your wife is going through.

You made it this far, don't give up now.

Jdstuff
Posts: 7
Joined: Jul 2010

I have been a trooper through all this and now I don't even get a birthday card.Shes a smart women and knows what shes doing.I have little influence on her anymore.So why should I stay?

Hubby's picture
Hubby
Posts: 325
Joined: Apr 2010

There are two things you can do: run or deal. Do you want to be the guy that ran away from the problem? You two will need more help than you can get on this board, and I hope that you get some proffesional counseling, but you showed up here on this message board because deep inside you want to stay, not leave.

Do everything you can do to work it out.

ms.sunshine
Posts: 710
Joined: Mar 2010

Would you truely be happy if you left. You may leave a set of problems behind, but leaving divorcing brings a new set of problems. And if you get involved with someone else there's new issues and problems to face. No relationship is exempt.
Best wishes to you and wife in whatever choice you make.

chenheart's picture
chenheart
Posts: 5182
Joined: Apr 2003

Ok....I am coming from the other side of this equasion! I do not know what your relationship was BEFORE cancer came to call, all I can go by is what my life was like! I was in what I call my "starter-marriage"...I was married for almost 27 YEARS! I realized when I turned 50, that things were stagnant, that longevity equaled complacency, and that frightening as it was, if I didn't leave and find ME and be a viable, productive human being, suddenly I would be 70. In the same place, with the same man, doing the same things. And it would be too late to leave. The thought of that scared me more than the thought of leaving at that age . I needed to go~ for both of us. We talked, we discussed, we cried, we counseled. We were incredibly active in our religion~ at the end of the proverbial day, none of that mattered as far as I was concerned. We had become strangers with no intimacy, no communication, staying together for, in MY opinion the wrong reason. The reason? Neither of us had been physically unfaithful to the other , and the religion I was incredibly active in saw no other reason to end a marriage. I left anyway. Staying together because a strict religion dictated that I was obligated to was not a good reason at all. To Me, anyway! But that is only how I felt. I am not advocating how anyone else should feel or react in a similar situation.

Fast forward 2 1/2 years after I left. I had been casually dating a nice man I met. Nothing uber-serious, just company and nice to be with. Then, shockingly, I was diagnosed with BC at 53! He not only stayed with me, he took care of me and ( sadly) 7 years later, just a little over 2 weeks ago, I was just diagnosed with a recurrance. We are still together, and just got married 31/2 weeks ago! My Ex, though a health care professional, would never have taken care of me the way I have been taken care of by my now husband ; after a 27 year union I know that 100%.

I am not saying you should leave. I am not saying you should stay. What I am saying is this: Each of you owes the other one an honest conversation. What does each of you want? What does each of you expect? What is each of you willing to do? I have no idea what the answers to those questions may be. Perhaps each of you has more to lose, and both of you wants to fight to keep what was in tact and make it even better. Maybe a good fight, (NOT physical!) coupled with a good cry and a declaration of love, meant by BOTH of you is what is needed. On the other hand, maybe not. I don't know. I know that my then- husband did not need or deserve a room-mate..and that is what he eventually ended up having with me. Separate bedrooms, separate lives, no imtimacy, REGARDLESS of our relationship with our Creator and our church/congregation. We ended up being ultra polite and the best tenants ever...how unfullfilling! Both physically, but of course emotionally and spiritually as well. He would have been better off with a stranger who paid rent or even a dog who would have been happy he came home at the end of the day. I was neither of those, and I was as miserable as he was.

Marriages and relationships end. With cancer, without cancer. I think both of you need and deserve a life of happiness, companionship, sexual fullfillment, emotional and intellectual stimulation. If the 2 of you have 9 out of 10 of those, and can work on re-capturing the 10th, or being fine without whatever number 10 in your lives is,good on you! If you didn't have that BEFORE cancer, and you are staying out of anger coupled with guilt, I say neither of you needs this! Your wife who has battled doesn't need it for sure, but neither do you.

TALK to your wife! Remember why you fell in love in the first place~ channel that love, and try, try, try and see if you 2 still have what it takes to be a couple. If not, and you both know you have given it all you can~ well, so it is....

But that is just MY opinion!

Good luck!
Claudia

Balentine's picture
Balentine
Posts: 393
Joined: Feb 2010

Please, please watch the movie 'Fireproof' that I spoke to you of last night. Think of it this way....after investing 19 years in your marriage, isn't it worth trying every possible solution before making a final decision and wonder later whether you did everything you could do to save this marriage. Trust me...once you watch this movie, you won't regret it...you will have an insight that you never would have otherwise.
Lorrie

carkris's picture
carkris
Posts: 4505
Joined: Aug 2009

Lorrie I am going to watch that movie. Chen great advice.
I remember after my first diagnosis I was extrememly unhappy, VERY ANGRY and it took a toll on my marriage, we could have used counseling. When my husband was honest with me and told me how I sometimes acted it helped. sometimes you get so wrapped up in things that you dont realize how miserable you have become. Right now after my second diagnosis we are going through some of the same things, but now its because I am more forthright about what I want. How i want my life to proceed. Part of this is my age, my diagnosis, pre empty nesting, teenage kids yada yada too.
I wouldnt want my husband to stay with me because I had breast cancer and he feels quilty. best wishes and keep posting.

Marcia527's picture
Marcia527
Posts: 2731
Joined: Jul 2006

What you do is between you and your wife. You should have a heart to heart with her and see a counselor. And always keep the needs of the children in mind. It's not just about you and her but them too.

Lighthouse_7's picture
Lighthouse_7
Posts: 1566
Joined: Jan 2010

Hello jd,
Your posting could be me. The only difference is that I haven't been at the 2 year mark yet. I don't know how to gauge that anniversary because I'm not sure if it's the end of treatment or the beginning of diagnosis. Anyway, I too am Stage 3 and finished chemo and Rads on Dec. 22, 2010.

I was pretty good until I had to start on the Estrogen blockers. I am moody, don't like my body ( gained 20 lbs ) and have not had an intimate thought in a long time.

Your post saddens me because I feel sorry for myself. I have been thinking that so far, my husband has been a saint. I just don't know how much longer he realistically can be. He says he loves me and all the right things, but I am an intelligent woman also, and know the reality of this situation.

I cannot advise you you see, because I am on the other end of the spectrum. I wish you well and I think it was very brave of you to ask for help.

Please let us here know of your decision.

Wanda

Balentine's picture
Balentine
Posts: 393
Joined: Feb 2010

Those of us who have been married for 15 or 20 years or many times make the mistake of taking one another for granted, staying for other reasons than why we initially married, hold resentments from hurt and disappointments during our marriages, etc. What this movie 'Fireproof' did for me is to remind me of what intially made me fall in love with my husband, showed me God's perspective on marriage and how to love unconditionally the way He does, to show respect and love regardless of what your partner does or does not do, to know the depths of how God loves us and follow His example, to woo your partner back to the love you once had for one another, to think of them before yourself and to honor and respect them instead of being harsh when you don't get what you expect in return.

If God loved the way we love, where would we be??? We would still be lost. I believe everyone should watch this movie and maybe watch it once a week and then once a month to keep fresh in our minds the principles that this movie teaches so we don't slip back into our normal routines and reactions when things don't go the way we planned for them to.

Life and love are about choices. Once we get to the point where we don't want it to work anymore, we will justify our feelings and actions and motives because we've had enough and are ready to quit. I ask you to flip the coin and once again see your wife the way you did when you first fell in love and start contemplating how you both can get back there again. Watching this movie is a perfect first step to getting there. Don't give up your marriage until you do the movie and 40 day love dare. You won't be sorry.
Lorrie

Lighthouse_7's picture
Lighthouse_7
Posts: 1566
Joined: Jan 2010

Sorry I meant 2009

Kat11's picture
Kat11
Posts: 1931
Joined: May 2009

Talk to her, make her listen. Maybe she feels the same as you do and then again maybe she does not know how bad things have gotton. Start there. Best of luch to the both of you.

VickiSam's picture
VickiSam
Posts: 8220
Joined: Aug 2009

us never know how well we have it .. or how our lives sucks. The former is your wife case. Please seek counseling, family therapy .. something .. don't give up on her yet.

If she is not listening .. please write her a letter, perhaps this will open up the communication channels.

Hoping all the Best for You!

Vicki Sam

Jdstuff
Posts: 7
Joined: Jul 2010

I did schedule a meeting with a counsoler today.It is a few weeks out because Im a new patient.So your all I have till then.
Don't get me wrong my wife and I have talked about this and she agrees that she has changed.That I have changed also.Im more relaxed then ever before were she seems to be very stressed.With her work schedule and raising 3 active kids she struggles to find time to excersize to burn off some stress.
Some of you talk of church and god well that works for some this case may not.Im catholic and she is Wesleyan she pretty much laughs at some of the catholic beliefs. so I think that is a road less traveled for us.
She doesn't want me to leave it scars her to be alone. She has no family left.both parents are gone and siblings just don't care for her.I know if I did leave it would crush her.
Im not in love with her and that bothers me for I feel I have a broken heart from years of neglect.I love my kids and don't want to hurt them either as my folks were split and that was always ugly...

lolad's picture
lolad
Posts: 671
Joined: Jun 2009

You just admitted in a post that you were not in love with her because you have been neglected for years? Is it the years that she has battled with her cancer, or before that too. I am confused on what you really feel. If children are involved and you two are constantly stressed out and fighting all the time, then for the childrens sakes you should maybe live apart for now. You can still work with a councelor and that doesnt mean you should abandon her. You have to not only think of yourself, but for your children as well. You can still help out with the kids and be an adult and help out with her when needed. You share children, its not only about you because of that. If you want to try to work it out, then do the counceling. But only you can make up your mind on what to do. Communication is a big thing in a relationship and it sounds if there isnt any here. You have to make your own decission. But, dont just run and abandon them.

Laura

SunnieC's picture
SunnieC
Posts: 37
Joined: Jan 2010

do you still love her? If you do then it's worth the fight... if not (and only you can make that decision) then it's not healthy for either of you to continue... your wife will need to answer the same question for herself... If it is difficult to answer that question then my opinion is that you're not ready to make any changes... don't do anything you will regret later - Oh, and by the way, have you asked her out for a date lately?

I hope you find the peace and happieness you both deserve -

Sunnie

Jdstuff
Posts: 7
Joined: Jul 2010

That would be 2 yrs after everything was completed...

sea60's picture
sea60
Posts: 2601
Joined: May 2010

All I can say is that I truly pray you BOTH are on board to work things out. It will take the 2 of you to WANT to restore what has been lost. I agree with Lorrie. Please, both of you watch the movie and pray and reach out to God for restoration and guidance towards steps to heal your marriage.

It's hard to step into one another's shoes to feel what each of you is feeling. That's why counseling is critical to save what you have invested. Cancer not only robs you of your physical body, but it can take away one's self-esteem if you allow it. Does your church offer a couple's retreat or have a Bible study focused on marriage?

God IS the God of miracles!

I'm praying for you and your wife JD and I would greatly appreciate your prayers as well for the restoration of my marriage.

Blessings,

Sylvia

Pinkpower's picture
Pinkpower
Posts: 437
Joined: Jun 2010

Jdstuff, I really had to think hard on your post. Sometimes bringing up the subject about intimacy is not easy, especially when you have been diagnosed with any kind of Cancer. Being the wife and the one going thru BC, I know how I feel, even though I was lucky and still have both my breast, there where other factors that make me feel unattractive, including the loss of my long hair, eyelashes, 20 lbs weight gain (people have mistaken my weight gain for being pregnant which made me even sadder, swollen arm due to lymphadema, etc. etc... today I felt the need to ask my husband if he still desired me? He was baffled that I asked him this. I'm glad I asked cause he did answer Yes and added that I was still beautiful, he just was scare and unsure about intimacy since I'm always moody and tired and in pain all the time... But we have opened the lines of communication and now we are moving forward because I love him and he love me. Hope this helps.
Lupe

Christine Louise
Posts: 429
Joined: Feb 2010

Love this. It may help me. Thanks.

cahjah75's picture
cahjah75
Posts: 2623
Joined: Jun 2010

I was so sad reading your post. It does sound like you and your wife have talked. I hope the counselling helps. I was widowed at 23 and thought my life was over. I later remarried and have been married now for more than 35 years. Has it been easy, heck no!

I'm assuming that following bc & treatment your wife went through menopause. At age 50 I went through natural menopause and to me it was life changing - the mood swings, the constant crying, the hot flashes, etc. I quit smoking and gained 80#s too! My gyn suggested that I was clinically depressed and that I see a pyschiatrist. I was on antidepressents for the past 10+ years and my libido was ZERO! This depressed me. I sought counselling at a sex therapist and no matter what I just had no desire. Four years ago I started falling down. I had degenerative disc disease in my spine and 11 surgeries later I had missing body parts, artificial body parts and could not imagine having a sex life. 3 weeks ago I had bilateral mastectomies thanks to bc. Unlike your wife I have just about resigned myself that I don't want to have any more surgery for reconstruction. Right now I wear a camisole that has cotton breasts and eventually I will get prostheses. Do I like what I look like, NO, but I can live with it. I asked my husband how he felt and if he loved me any less. He told me that he couldn't change what had happened and that I'm still the same person on the inside. Do we both miss intimacy - you betcha!

Your wife may be depressed about her mother's death, her bc and how her body and her life have changed. Will it get better? I hope so for both your sakes:)
Char

Flakey_Flake's picture
Flakey_Flake
Posts: 130
Joined: Jan 2010

Jdstuff,

So what makes you think your wife is healthy? Because whe goes to work? Because her treatments are over? Because you want her to be?

You need to understand that none of us are the "same" after a cancer battle. It changes every person it touches. Often the post treatmemt depression is worse than the depression durring diagnosis and treatment. You say your wife dislikes her body. Have you given her any reason to believe that it is still worthy of your attention? This whole trip isn't aboout YOU! Even though you try to make it that way. Your wife is dealing with a myriad of emotions and conflicts that you are not even recognizing. How can she comfortably bring things up to you if you are not understanding of her feelings. I sure wouldn't! Believe me, there is nothing worse than baring your heart and soul only to have it shoved aside. Your wife NEEDS you now. It is not the time to be thinking of your needs. Try thinking about what she has been through, and pretend it was yourself going through the same thing (empathy)

You want to leave her????!!! Do you know what youw will be missing years down the road?! Sure you can hook up with some young floozy that will make you feel like you are "King of the Road". But what about the first part of your life? Wouldn't you like to be able to say that you had integrity ... that your word was worth something? That you actually loved the woman? If you leave her ... all that is erased. You will end up with fairly lovely women that don't care a tat about you! You wife cares! Why do you think she hates her body? Because she is using it for something that doesn't involve you? She is hating it because she thinks it is not pleasing to you!

The more I write, the angrier I get! I won't be as soft about it as the other posts have been. I you leave your woman, at the time she needs you the most, I believe you will regret it. Okay - if you do, may your "ahem" fall off into the sewer. And if I am privelaged to see that happen, count on me stomping on it until it is a two dimensional pancake sliding down the grates like a dead leaf.

Good Luck. You will need it with your attitude.

Sharon

Jdstuff
Posts: 7
Joined: Jul 2010

Sharon,
Some how you have missed much of what I have wrote.My beautiful wife has her act together better then you do.I guess your husband left you for the obivous reason.Yes this is about me and other spouses that struggle with post cancer patients.So your take is Im suppose to be a human robot and ignor my feels/needs for the rest of my life? Interesting?
Hope you have a better day tomorrow.

chenheart's picture
chenheart
Posts: 5182
Joined: Apr 2003

I had an idea this was going to take the proverbial "left turn" about now! We are all just people, with feelings ( right and wrong, good and bad) and the anonymous nature of the Internet , and our visceral reaction at any given time allows us to vent. As well it should!

I for one do NOT regret the decision I made to leave my husband after 27 years~ and whereas I am thankful and sometimes overwhelmed that my now ( almost 1 month) husband was with me when I was diagnosed 7 years ago and is with me for the recurrance, let me reiterate that my THEN husband would have stayed with me for spiritual reasons ONLY! He would have felt biblically obligated...and I didn't need or want that! I would not have been cared for, nurtured as a wife or valued person,and BOTH of us would have been distant~ physically, emotionally and spiritually. I have never looked back since my divorce, never regretted leaving and would have even been fine had I NOT met my awesome Reggie. He turned out to be an icing on my life's cake~ and I one on his. But I would have been better off without my husband than staying for all of the wrong reasons~and we both loved God, our congregation, the Bible...we just didn't love each other anymore! And I left....I would do it again today! I feel no guilt~ to the contrary, I was never an "outlaw" with my former inlaws. I ended up living with and being the caregiver to my former Mother In Law~ even while going through chemo and radiation. My former sister in law and her husband vacationed with my new guy and me~ never once saying I should have stayed with her brother! She went with me to the diagnosis of my BC and stayed with me and changed my dressings after the surgery. As did all of the family; though legally I was not relatied to them anymore! Everyone in my family and my former husbands was with me 100%! And again, I did NOT have any physical abuse or adultery or lack of material things in my marriage. It just didn't work any more. Neither of us needed/deserved a roomate, and that is what both of us ended up having!

One more time~ if you are a cad, a bad man, bad person, bad husband, bad father...you will have to answer for that. If you are not~ and BOTH you and your wife have talked, cried, tried, done all you can, and it still doesn't have a Happy Ending...well then so be it!

I do hope that IF you can recapture who you both were, and can find it again that it will bind and bond you closer than you ever were. This isn't simple or easy for either of you, or the children, I am sure of that.

Damn cancer anyway...it takes way too much from way too many of us! On way too many levels.

I wish you, your wife and your children peace.

Chen

PS...and this is my last word on the subject! I am not weighing in on either side after this~ I only had my own experience, and having expressed it, I am done! It wasn't side-taking or partisan...so I am now opting out!

carkris's picture
carkris
Posts: 4505
Joined: Aug 2009

yes damn cancer!

chenheart's picture
chenheart
Posts: 5182
Joined: Apr 2003

TY...I am NOT commenting on the subject any more, but your answer made me smile, and that is sooooo important! LOL zzzzzzzzz going to sleep now!

hugs,
Claudia

chenheart's picture
chenheart
Posts: 5182
Joined: Apr 2003

GRRRRRRRR LOL

chenheart's picture
chenheart
Posts: 5182
Joined: Apr 2003

Sheeesh!

chenheart's picture
chenheart
Posts: 5182
Joined: Apr 2003

((((HUGS))) Kindred Spirits

Marcia527's picture
Marcia527
Posts: 2731
Joined: Jul 2006

Hey Chen, I thought the above post (about four up)was your last word on the subject! hee hee. I know it was the cyber gremlins.

Hubby's picture
Hubby
Posts: 325
Joined: Apr 2010

I am trying to figure out why you posted here. At first, I thought you were looking for support and that you deep down wanted to stay. Now I think you came here looking for approval/permission to leave your wife. Maybe your marriage is over; I don't know. You two need counseling. But I for one am not going to give you permission to walk out.

Snowkitty's picture
Snowkitty
Posts: 295
Joined: Jun 2010

'nuff said

Cindy

my2cents
Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2010

I came to this site today out of desperation for my own situation and found your posting that so similarly matches mine. Mid to late 40s, three young children, wife is almost 4 years post BC diagnosis. Dreaded triple negative BC, Chemo, double mastectomy, reconstruction, early menopause, medication. Blah, blah, blah F'n BLAH! I think the first thing I thought of was that this guy needs to know he is not alone. The first question you ask is it wrong for you to think of leaving her? Hell no! I suspect it is completely normal to "THINK" about it. Whether you act on it is a whole other ball of wax. There are so many factors involved in that decision and most of them have been covered in all the other replies to your intial posting. My wife was/is the love of my life. We had a realtionship that other people envied. We were the couple younger women used as a model for what they wanted out of marriage. Then CANCER. My wife, the woman I had known for 20 years, died the day she was diagnosed. I am still married to her but she's not the same... We are still deeply in love and that is the only thing that keeps us together. I too wonder about the rest of my life. There are days I feel like asking for a divorce but I immediately remind myself that I said "in sickness and in health" and she didn't ask for this either! It gets me through most days. We hug. We cry. We acknowledge to each other how hard this is/has/will be on both of us. She has poor self esteem and personal image; doesn't like what her body has become; has virtually no interest in sex or intamacy. But still I love her and we are trying. Can we go on like this indefinitely? I don't know. It's one day at a time. So don't feel bad for what you are thinking and feeling. Just try to be strong and make the right decisions together with your wife.

Flakey_flake Sharon: Wow! Give him a break. He asked a legitimate question. Cancer infects one person but it affects everybody around that person. Everybody knows what the patient goes through but how it affects those surronding them all too frequently gets lost. Oh poor Betty, she's got cancer. Yeah but her husband and kids have to live with it for the rest of their lives also! Even a great relationship can be strained by cancer. Bad relationships are unlikely to survive.

jk1952's picture
jk1952
Posts: 613
Joined: May 2009

JDStuff and my2cents, I don't know the right answer for either of you. But, one thing that seems to be screaming out to me is that your wives both need some help to try to put cancer and the bad times behind them. Maybe counselling would help them both with their self-images and help them to have a different outlook on life.

I have been treated for breast cancer twice: in 2000, I had a lumpectomy and radiation; in 2009, I had a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction. Both times it was caught early, and thankfully, I have never had chemo. But, I haven't let it keep me from living my life; and I've found that there's a very fulfilling life post-cancer.

It sounds like both of your wives are suffering from deep depressions, and if that is treated, they (and you) may find a joyous life together.

Joyce

Christine Louise
Posts: 429
Joined: Feb 2010

Joyce, I totally agree. Please gently urge your wives to get counseling. Offer to go with them. This does sound like clinical depression (not just "the blues")and/or post-traumatic stress disorder (yes, cancer "warriors" get it, not only military warriors). It's extremely difficult for someone to pull herself out of this without help. Counseling and, possibly, anti-depressant medications can turn lives around. Best, best wishes.

Jdstuff
Posts: 7
Joined: Jul 2010

Thank you.I never said I was running to the door to leave her,although others thought that.Im not a qwitter.I doubt I will ever leave her just sometimes have thoughts about it. I feel that if I was to leave that I was being just selfish.Like I said it wasn't her fault this happened.I just have to change to the new life style and sometimes its just plane difficult.

Balentine's picture
Balentine
Posts: 393
Joined: Feb 2010

My husband got angry also....of the loss....there is alot of loss in this cancer thing. I applaude you for even though you have gotten very angry, yet you have not reacted negatively to it. It is much better to get the anger out by talking instead of allowing it to fester and then explode. I think all of us couples at one time or another through this journey feels like they have just had enough and cannot take it anymore. My husband reached that point 2 weeks after my last chemo. I thought he was going to leave me but he didn't. AFter he blew up, the next day he was fine. It helps to, number one, believe God works ALL things together for our good and number 2, instead of focussing on what cancer has stolen from your lives, look for an appreciate what you still do have and what God reveals to you through it all. When we first found out I had cancer, my husband fell to his knees and said we are going to fight this....I can't lose you....whatever we have to do...I just want YOU. I know you feel the same way about your wife also. Be blessed and stay encouraged.
Lorrie

carkris's picture
carkris
Posts: 4505
Joined: Aug 2009

this just throws all our lives in a turmoil. My husband and I are committed to our promises but its not always easy. They cant know how you feel, and you have changed. and there is grief on both sides. I have changed after this second run. My family is used to me putting myself aside, then while I was so sick I literaly and figuraatively dissa peared, Now I am /BACK. find a new normal common ground. best wishes.

reeseslover1234
Posts: 87
Joined: Apr 2010

Jd,

You are right to feel the way you do. Feelings are just reactions to something. I believe that reaction is to the cancer diagnosis. Did you walk out when the doctor told her she had cancer? No, you didn't and that's what matters. When you acknowledge that something is not right, that is the first step. Keep at it. Your marriage and your family should be your first priority after God. Get into counseling and talk. Talk about EVERYTHING. Your life before cancer, during cancer, after cancer...it all needs to be put in its place. I hope your wife will talk openly about things. My husband of 24 years (23 at my diagnosis) literally took over the household duties when I couldn't. He was there at every dr. appt., every test, every everything. When I hurt, he hurt. I don't "desire" intimacy in the way I did before. My husband understands this and is very patient. My desire for my husband is on a different level. He has made me feel beautiful in little everyday things. He says it's no different than if I were missing an arm. Let your wife know she is still beautiful in your eyes. She'll eventually accept her body. Please don't give up before you both talk to someone. These people are right, cancer changes who you are. It changes the family dynamics. Trust me, it'll be worth it in the end.

I will keep your family in my prayers.

Ladydi6365's picture
Ladydi6365
Posts: 26
Joined: Mar 2010

JD,

Don't feel bad for expressing how you as a husband are feeling about your wifes BC.
You have a right to feel anyway you feel. I totally understand how you feel and how your wife feels. Unfortunately BC affects everyone in the family and most definitely the husband.
My husband too has had a tough time dealing with it. He has been very supportive but at times he is also angry at how our lives have changed. I had a bilat mastectomy with reconstruction and am still going thru chemo which is lasting longer than originally thought. I still have another surgery coming up at the end of September and it really has taken a toll on our lives. It took me awhile to realize that he has the right to be upset at how BC has affected us. The fact you are on this site speaks volumes for the caring and loving person you are. I hope you do try counseling and that things get better for the both of you
Good luck and God Bless
Diana

aysemari's picture
aysemari
Posts: 1586
Joined: Dec 2009

First up, I want to say that there were some posts that were very
uncharacteristic of this site. I have never seen anyone being attacked
for their opinion or decision on here. And I for one love to see care
takers consult this site, we can can really make a difference in their
lives and I would hate for them to shy away.

You know Jdstuff, your wife may never be the same. I know I won't.
But she had to deal with a lot in such a short time not only concerning
herself but on top of it the loss of her mother. And as you put it, we
were never scared just carried on, it sounds like she never dealt with
all that is happening to her emotionally. One feels lost in the aftermath
of a battle. I think she needs more time to conquer back her personal
traits. As for you, you know that the person you once loved is somewhere
in there. You are right people change but in this case it wasn't her doing
and she may need your help to find herself again. Ask yourself this; do
you want to leave because you don't like what she has become? Or do
you want to leave because you don't want to deal with the changes?
There were a lot of changes and it seems to my that 19 years is worth
trying to adjust to the changes and if you don't like the way thins are
right now, then keep changing them.
Often times as a cancer patient you feel bad to put your loved ones
through it all. I begged my own sister not to come and sit by my side
sure it was lonely but I just couldn't put her through this. Your wife
may feel bad for that.
I think you need to talk to her, really talk to her. Don't let cancer have
the last word in a relation ship that took 19 years to build.
I wish you the best with your decision.

Ayse

FaffyM's picture
FaffyM
Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2010

I am a one year breast cancer survivor. Being in my mid 40s, the chemo caused instant, permanent menopause. I have suffered scarring, weight gain, continual hot flashes (many per day) & just plain exhaustion. I too, rarely think about being intimate any longer, but it's not because I don't want to. Although some won't admit it, most women have body image issues even before something like cancer comes along. If you are truly looking for advice, here's my opinion. Personally, I hope you stay the course. People often say that children are better off that their parents split if they are unhappy with each other. I personally do not believe that...children are never better off that way unless there is abuse involved. Divorce only undermines every child's security. Thus, they grow up not appreciating the true sense of fulfillment that one can receive from a spouse & family life & the cycle starts all over again. I know it is hard to think hypothetically, but how would you have wanted your wife to respond to you if she was the healthy one & you had prostate cancer & could no longer fuflfill her needs physically? What if you lost an arm or a leg in an accident? Do you think it would have affected your self esteem & changed the very fiber of your being? Of course it would have. But chances are, your wife would have seen thru those changes unless the anger & resentment that developed in you pushed her away.Don't you see that that is what is happening to her? The way the world is today, divorce is always the easy way out. Sadly, our society makes us feel unsatisfied & always wanting something more. To me, the bottom line is, nothing will ultimately make you feel more satisfied in the long run than putting God first, & then your marriage & children second. All this pursuit of personal happiness is a cunning diversion, that doesn't bring true happiness anyway. What do I need from my husband? I need his gentle touch without expecting sex. I need him to let go of all of the personal belongings that we used to think were so important. I need him to unselfishly take over with the kids & help me to manage things that I used to handle alone. I need him to be honest with me about his feelings. If he truly loves me, I need him to tell me that he loves me & always, always will, & if he doesn't, well I need to hear that too. I need him to do all these things over & over again until I start to truly believe it again. Maybe, just maybe then, we'll reconnect & our intimate life will recover. God bless you & your family.

New Flower
Posts: 3915
Joined: Aug 2009

I am actually have been shocked as i read it. JD I understand that You want to be happy and you deserve it, but have you thought that it is not your wife character, it is medication and all cancer treatments she have had? You both need counseling and i hope you will get it. Please talk to her oncologist. I hoe you will be happy together. I am wearing a sleeve (sock) and my husband did helped me with drains. I wish I would never had cancer and did not read your post.
Good luck

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