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No more denial left

katgrace
Posts: 5
Joined: Nov 2011

My boyfriend is three weeks into chemo for testicular cancer. He has had his ups and downs but usually he ends up feeling ok. The other day though he finally started losing his hair and now he seems to be in a terrible funk. This is the last straw of denial he was holding onto and now he can't hold onto it anymore. How do I help him get through this? What do I say or do so we doesn't wallow in the depression? Should I let him get depressed? Is that part of the necessary process for him as the cancer patient or is that too much like self pity and I should bring on the tough love?

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

Of course, depression is a big part of cancer. Who wouldn't be? But, don't go with the tough love yet. Try the real true and very supportive love first. He may need some gentle coaxing to participate in life, but he has every right to be depressed and get in a funk. There are many phases that he will go through because he just got on a rollercoaster ride to He!! and back again. And as a loving caregiver, you will stay right there beside him.

Come here and vent, cry, scream, laugh, share the good things or just help someone else. That's what we do for each other.

Keep us posted.
Deb

Reefhugger
Posts: 3
Joined: Dec 2011

My mom is 4 weeks into chemo and in terrible shape. I came to the hospital today with a whole tough love speech ready to go and she hasnt been coherent enough to hear it. I am so sorry that you are going through this. I am having such a hard time knowing what to do too. I think that tough love depends on him, you know him better than anyone. You know how he will react. Tough love sometimes makes me mad, defensive, and more emotional. Old fashioned sugary love would do me more good than tough love, but that's just me :) I say bring on the honey before you try the sting. JMHO.
Jamie

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5791
Joined: Apr 2009

Sometimes I get so very depressed and have no idea why, but my wife caregiver just stands there and holds onto me and rubs my head assuring me that everything will be OK. Tough love will only push him deeper into depression, assuring him that you will be there and holding him through his depression will help him to find his way back out.

Praying for you both
Hondo

jimwins's picture
jimwins
Posts: 2025
Joined: Aug 2011

Hi Katgrace,

Sorry you have to be here but you'll find a wealth of support and
caring folks on this site.

Depression, anger, fear, anxiety are all parts of processing what is
happening. You know him best and will probably know when he's crossed
the line and may need professional help. I think at this point being
supportive is best - allow him to process this. It doesn't mean it's going
to be easy for you. He may also become angry and occasionally lash out -
if he does, don't take that personally - it's the cancer.

Humor sometimes can help. Maybe you can find or make silly/goofy hats
you both can wear in response to the hair loss. Speaking from experience,
I turned into "Casper" (I lost my eyebrows, eyelashes, facial and head hair,
and of course the "nether regions" were effected ☺). It was kind of like reverting
to pre-puberty in that respect. I joked about it with friends and family and
stated how much money I was saving on shampoo and shaving stuff.

I finished chemo a little over a month ago and my hair is coming back. I'm already
having to shave and I'm starting to see eyelashes and brows again. My head
is a little like a "chia pet" but I'm okay with that - it's growing again :).

You can also have "mini celebrations" along the way, marking milestones in treatment
and recovery. If he's not already a member on this site, he might consider joining
and visiting the Testicular forum. He will be among others who have gone through
the same experience. Just some ideas/suggestions.

Hugs and positive thoughs to you both,

Jim
DX: DLBL 4/2011, Chemo completed 10/2011, currently in remission.
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