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ShelliLemmo
Posts: 6
Joined: Nov 2011

My 52 year old husband and best friend was diagnosed with Stage IV Pancreatic cancer with mets to his liver on October 7, 2011. By the time we got results for a second opinion, the cancer had spread to his lymph nodes, and we began chemo treatment the end of October.

My husband did not do well with the chemo side effects and basically did not eat for a week. We are scheduled for round two this Friday.

My husband seems to have given up; he doesn't shower, he doesn't get dressed, even if we have a plan to go out somewhere - he wears the same clothes he's been wearing all weekend.

I don't want to fight with him; but this is extremely frustrating and I don't know how to accept his giving up with no fight so soon, without the anger I feel welling up inside me.

I am fully aware that it is his body and his choice and I love him enough to let him make that choice; but I don't know how to put my feelings into HIS perspective.

How do you do it??

scamps67's picture
scamps67
Posts: 20
Joined: Oct 2011

I havent had to go through chemo with my hubby but after he got diagnosed and before surgery he got into a deep funk, he was rude and short tempered so finally I snapped back. We had a little shouting match and I walked away for about 30 minutes and when i came back he thanked me for arguing with him, he said it snapped him out of his dark place. I told him that i understand he is having a bad time but so am I and if he is going to be shitty to me I will be shitty right back :) He had his surgery 5 days ago, I write this from the James Cancer Hospital and we are doing great. He still has funks, I give him 15 minutes to himself. Best of luck.

ShelliLemmo
Posts: 6
Joined: Nov 2011

Oh Thank You - we did have a little spat; but I bite my tongue and keep it inside; write it out in a Journal and think it's gone; but the very next time he's bitter, it all comes rushing back. I guess I have to figure out what works with us ... I'll work at it while we are in treatment this coming weekend.

I'm so glad you and hubby found that way to express your self and your anger and fear; I think mine is just eating away at me.

So happy to hear you are doing great!!! Thanks so much and more good days being sent your way!!

ddpekks's picture
ddpekks
Posts: 162
Joined: Sep 2011

Glad you came here....it is very theraputic. Sorry you had to seek us out.

I too have dealt with "chemo brain", which causes different things in different folks, but one commonality seems to be the anger and frustration. It does seem to pass if this was not in their nature before cancer.

In my case, I ignored his tantrums, let him have his fits, while being very supportive when he was rational. I spent a lot of time "out back" on the porch, on the dock or hiding in my closet at the other end of the house. I cried, I ranted, "but I never let him see me do it!" He didn't need that with everything else he was dealing with. When he started feeling better (and you will know when that is) I would discuss in a very conversational manner the things that upset me. He knew that this thing was affecting me also, but there were times when he was out of his own control.

The one thing that helped me more than anything, was coming here and getting the support that I needed. Screaming out loud, writing it down to people that understood gave me the strength to help him.

He's in a good place right now. Going to finish his last round of chemo next week and hopefully we will be completely done with this thing forever (I'm praying....he had a PET yesterday and we are holding our breath waiting for results). But we will never forget this because our lives are changed forever. We have a new normal that I wish to God no one ever had to go through again. But until the cure for cancer is found, we will all learn a new normal eventually.

Whew, see there? I just screamed.

Hugs,
Deb

grandmafay's picture
grandmafay
Posts: 1612
Joined: Aug 2009

You are both dealing with this fairly new diagnosis. It's tough. I lost my husband after a 6 year battle with colon cancer. There were many ups and a lot of downs during that time. Yet I remember those first few weeks as being some of the hardest. Your greatest fear is losing the most important person in the world to you. I remember I just kept thinking, "We're not going to grow old together." my husband did chose to fight and buy as much time as possible. It was his decision and I told him that from the beginning. I also told him how scared I was and that I was a strong, independent woman who could care for myself. I just didn't want to do that. At all times, we tried to keep the communications open. That worked for us. It doesn't mean it will work for you. We cried together when the news was bad. We laughed together as much as possible. I think Doug's sense of humor and faith were the things that saw us through the roughest times. Whatever your husband decides, you are in for a difficult journey. Yes, it is his decision, but that doesn't mean he shouldn't listen to your feelings and concerns. Some have found writing their loved one a letter helps.

This board is really helpful. I didn't find it until toward the end of our battle, but have been using it for over two years now. Mostly I lurk these days, but sometimes I read a post that touches me and have to respond. I don't have any words of wisdom. Each of us finds our own way to cope. Know that my thoughts are with you. I'm guessing he is scared, too, and trying to come to grips with the possibilities. You are each grieving the life you planned and anger is a part of that. You are also facing the reality of death. This is not what either of you planned or wanted, but it is sadly the hand you have been dealt. Take care, Fay

ShelliLemmo
Posts: 6
Joined: Nov 2011

Thank you to both Deb and Fay!

Your words brought tears to my eyes, I'm not losing my mind and I'm not out of control. I AM overtired - I get up every four hours to give him his meds and I work a full time job; we have three dogs to care for and he is pretty much child-like right now.

We were very "together" when we were at the Cancer Center but once we got back to "home life" and I went back to work, he shut down on me ... maybe he is angry that I went back to work, I don't know;

We are returning to the Center this weekend and will have time to chat; I will ask him then. We really only have a blow out when I'm exhausted and can't stand the nitpicking ... and even then I don't say what I'm thinking!

He is my best friend and I CAN take care of myself but I'm truly not ready to lose him. I told him from day one I would support his decision; but when it appears he's just giving it it brings forth an anger I never expected!

Thank you both for your words, support and suggestions. I will try everything until I find the write way to communicate with him during chemo fog/brain! without it I'm lost and I like just going through the motions in taking care of him!!!

Fay, I'm sorry to hear that you lost the battle; but six years was a whole lot longer than the first oncologist gave my husband.

Deb, I'm praying you get good test results. Please keep me posted, I'm looking for all the good news I can wrap my arms around right now!!!

Best wishes to you both and THANK YOU!!!
Shelli

grandmafay's picture
grandmafay
Posts: 1612
Joined: Aug 2009

Six years was really a miracle for us. We were told that his disease was treatable, not curable and life shortening. The average at that time was 22 months. He lived longer than we expected and shorter than we would have liked. It is never long enough, though. New treatments and protocols are always possible. Each person responds differently, too. Don't let anyone tell you that your husband has an expiration date. They don't know and are only guessing. I tell people who say that their dr gave then a time (2 months, 1 year, whatever) to get another dr. I hope your visit to the cancer center goes well. We'll be watching for updates. Fay

palmyrafan's picture
palmyrafan
Posts: 398
Joined: Mar 2011

You both are in a funk right now. Your husband has been diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer which has spread.

You BOTH are angry, confused, frightened, in denial, etc. and it takes time to deal with this.

I am a brain cancer patient, my husband is my wonderful caregiver. We've been dealing with this for 17 years. Trust me when I say I am not always happy-go-lucky myself. We have learned how to "do the dance" over the years. I tell my husband to "give me a wide berth" which says to him that I am not in a good mood. He usually very gently asks "anything I can help you with?" to try to help me.

By acknowledging that you both are experiencing what is going on (not just the patient) it will go a long way in helping you help each other.

Remember, anyone who is happy 24/7 ain't rowing with both oars in the water!

Hang in there.

Teresa

ShelliLemmo
Posts: 6
Joined: Nov 2011

The both oars line is great - I would like to borrow it if you don't mind!

That is perfect advice, thank you so much!!!

Since we will be cooped up with chemo, we will have time to talk to one another when it's a good time of day for him; part ofthe problem, I THINK, is that by the time I get home from work we are both exhausted just from the day!

I'm taking your words with me this weekend ... Thank you!!

JackieA
Posts: 150
Joined: Mar 2011

All the advice you have received is true and tested. When my husband was diagnosed a second time, he was so afraid. I was better prepared this time, however, I became tired. Some days will be hard, some you will just reflect and be grateful. You will find stregnth on those day you thought there wasn't any. During this time of my caring for my husband 43 years old, I lost my beloved mother to cancer as well. I am extremely tired. I am his caregiver and my mom lived in another state and I rode up and down the highway to bring her to her treatments here at times. I went home every weekend and would take my husband too. He would be in one room in the bed, and she was in the other. Before she passed away, she was angry at me. She would fuss, and say all kind of crazy things. I just knew that I loved her so much and I wanted so badly to make all of her pain go away. Now here I am in the same place with my husband. There are days he is sooooo mean to me and my 11 yr old. Then there are days he tells us over and over how he appreciates and love us. I am awaken most of the night because of his coughing and hearing the walker and ice in the glasses. He is restless, therefore I get no rest, and I have to go to work. I understand fully. Most of us as caregivers do...I want to say Shelli, you will get through this day by day. Find your peace in this storm. Stay as positive as possible. Don't know where you are spiritually, but I trust in the stregnth of God. That is the only way that I am able to be my husband's help meet, his encourager. Please don't take his frustrations to mean that he doesn't love you. He is devastated and feeling out of control. It is all process....one day at a time. Take it.

eibod
Posts: 160
Joined: Mar 2011

So sorry that you are officially in "the cancer world" now. I know it is overwhelming, my husband was dx in 2009. He has some really low days, but usually when he starts feeling a little better, or bouncing back from the latest treatment, his mood gets better.
This site is a wonderful place to vent, and I really believe that venting is necessary.
When I hold my feelings in for too long, I am afraid that I will burst. I feel mean
and unappreciated then and that is not good for him, or good for me. So please vent to
this site, to friends or go into a closet by yourself, pull the door closed, and scream.
Believe me, it helps. I wish the best for you, Brenda

eibod
Posts: 160
Joined: Mar 2011

So sorry that you are officially in "the cancer world" now. I know it is overwhelming, my husband was dx in 2009. He has some really low days, but usually when he starts feeling a little better, or bouncing back from the latest treatment, his mood gets better.
This site is a wonderful place to vent, and I really believe that venting is necessary.
When I hold my feelings in for too long, I am afraid that I will burst. I feel mean
and unappreciated then and that is not good for him, or good for me. So please vent to
this site, to friends or go into a closet by yourself, pull the door closed, and scream.
Believe me, it helps. I wish the best for you, Brenda

here4lfe
Posts: 294
Joined: Jan 2010

ST IV Pancreatic is pretty serious, so you might want to watch for depression in him and you. And it is his decision, so just be there for him, but take care of yourself also.

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