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cancer is killing my marriage

myrabgood
Posts: 2
Joined: Jan 2012

My husband has stage 3 lung cancer.He is responding to treatment.He has constantly retreated from me.He barely speaks to me,is very nasty and is more incosiderate than usual.Cancer is killing my marriage.I thought that we would deal with this together but hes so awful that i don't know how much i can take.He's been taking treatments for 5 months now and have shrunk the tumors over 50%.I cannot figure out whats going on with him.He will not speak to me and when he does its always hateful and hurtful.I know hes scared but we are making progress

Dawn50
Posts: 115
Joined: Sep 2011

The best advice I can give you is to respect that HE is going through this and HE needs space. My husband also has advanced lung cancer. After his first round of radiation and chemo he tumors shrunk over 50% too but at his six month PET they found it had spread and moved him to stage 4. They said no more radiation and only palliative chemo. I know it's hard but trust me he needs you to be there without being THERE, if that makes any sense. Just let him know that you love him and you are there for him and then let him be. He has to work through this part by himself. He'll come around.

ColoradoDani's picture
ColoradoDani
Posts: 65
Joined: Sep 2011

I am so sorry. My husband and I went through something similar, and this was in some ways the most difficult part of the cancer experience, and it was further compounded by well-meaning friends telling us how this experience would only bring us closer and show us how much we love each other (that comes later, but not during chemo when you're just trying to make it through). My husband got treatment in a different city, and so we were physically apart for some of the treatment because I was going back and forth between our home (we have young children, so this was necessary) and being with him in Denver; this made us grow even further apart. I found it so ironic that my greatest fear was losing my husband, but that in some ways we were already growing so far apart that we were losing each other regardless of the outcome. Eventually, we worked through this and talked a lot about it, and what we experienced may not pertain to you, but I will share it just in case it gives you some insights.

Anger is a significant element of grief, and when you're in the throes of grief, it's hard to recognize that your anger really stems from the grief, the helplessness, and the fear. Both of us were angry at the situation and at times, took it out on each other because it's really the safest person to take it out on, the person you can take for granted. He was particularly awful when the news was the worst, such as when he found out he the cancer had spread through too many lymph nodes to merit surgery. It was so hard to be supportive and sympathetic when he was being so mean, but for some perspective--he was forced to deal with the reality that his odds of surviving were much less than what he thought they would be when he woke up that morning. That would make most people mean, at least for awhile. Usually, people move beyond the anger to other emotions, and hopefully your husband will, too. He could also be pulling away in an attempt to lessen the pain of eventually leaving you. My husband says he was doing that.

I wish I had some great words of insight, but I don't. You're not alone, and it's okay to express that you have some needs, too--you're scared and vulnerable and in pain, too, and you need someone to support you just as much as he needs someone to support him. Perhaps you'll be able to muddle through together and find a way to each be the support for one another, but if this doesn't happen, I'd encourage you to seek a support system whether it's through a counselor, a good friend, family members, a religious advisor, whatever. That's not being selfish--it's being smart and will enable you to be a stronger caretaker.

ColoradoDani's picture
ColoradoDani
Posts: 65
Joined: Sep 2011

I am so sorry. My husband and I went through something similar, and this was in some ways the most difficult part of the cancer experience, and it was further compounded by well-meaning friends telling us how this experience would only bring us closer and show us how much we love each other (that comes later, but not during chemo when you're just trying to make it through). My husband got treatment in a different city, and so we were physically apart for some of the treatment because I was going back and forth between our home (we have young children, so this was necessary) and being with him in Denver; this made us grow even further apart. I found it so ironic that my greatest fear was losing my husband, but that in some ways we were already growing so far apart that we were losing each other regardless of the outcome. Eventually, we worked through this and talked a lot about it, and what we experienced may not pertain to you, but I will share it just in case it gives you some insights.

Anger is a significant element of grief, and when you're in the throes of grief, it's hard to recognize that your anger really stems from the grief, the helplessness, and the fear. Both of us were angry at the situation and at times, took it out on each other because it's really the safest person to take it out on, the person you can take for granted. He was particularly awful when the news was the worst, such as when he found out he the cancer had spread through too many lymph nodes to merit surgery. It was so hard to be supportive and sympathetic when he was being so mean, but for some perspective--he was forced to deal with the reality that his odds of surviving were much less than what he thought they would be when he woke up that morning. That would make most people mean, at least for awhile. Usually, people move beyond the anger to other emotions, and hopefully your husband will, too. He could also be pulling away in an attempt to lessen the pain of eventually leaving you. My husband says he was doing that.

I wish I had some great words of insight, but I don't. You're not alone, and it's okay to express that you have some needs, too--you're scared and vulnerable and in pain, too, and you need someone to support you just as much as he needs someone to support him. Perhaps you'll be able to muddle through together and find a way to each be the support for one another, but if this doesn't happen, I'd encourage you to seek a support system whether it's through a counselor, a good friend, family members, a religious advisor, whatever. That's not being selfish--it's being smart and will enable you to be a stronger caretaker.

ColoradoDani's picture
ColoradoDani
Posts: 65
Joined: Sep 2011

That's annoying. I don't know why that happened, but I certainly don't think what I said was so signficant that it needed to be said twice.

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

I don't know why it happens either, but I must say that your words were well-said.

Take care,

Joe

Dapsterd's picture
Dapsterd
Posts: 291
Joined: Jun 2010

Hello, I was stage 3, now 4 with current brain tumors and from a man's perspective I may be able shed some light on this. Please check the steroid use and pain meds carefully, because these alone will do this. There are alot of factors here...money could be tight, job, etc...It could also be that he is and maybe never really was, content with life (accepted the cancer for what it is), therefore happiness will always elude him and of course reflect out. He/you must for your marriage's sake, speak with a oncology social worker, this will help tremendously.
Unfortunately his issues were probably brewing prior to the cancer.
If he refuses all this "stuff", then you know what you may have to do, regardless of cancer or not.

Best wishes....Dave

ColoradoDani's picture
ColoradoDani
Posts: 65
Joined: Sep 2011

Yes, yes. I totally forgot that really important part. One day I had him pull out all the drugs he was on after chemo. Wow! It was insane and things changed significantly as he started weaning off of them. Great point.

ColoradoDani's picture
ColoradoDani
Posts: 65
Joined: Sep 2011

him being my husband, not Dave.

NayPaul's picture
NayPaul
Posts: 231
Joined: Oct 2010

Is he taking them appropriately? My wife was very organized... but when it came to her meds... she took so many that she took too much of some... not enough of others... I ended up getting a huge pill box with 7 days, and 4 slots per day. I wrote out all her meds and the function. Then once a week why we watched tv, I would fill her pills. It was much easier for her to take the pills and easier for us to make adjustments as needed... while she was not angry.... this helped with her energy level, nausea and overall well being.

Radioactive34's picture
Radioactive34
Posts: 387
Joined: May 2011

I was a caregiver to my mother in law when she had terminal cancer. She was an utter ***** 80% of the time, so when I read this I thought to myself, "I would never be that way with my caregivers!" Then I stopped for a second and recinded it. The meds made/make me feel like crap. While I tried not to be a downer for all, I just do not have the energy to meet the expectations of all...so I avoided people while on chemo.

My caregivers, had to deal with life alone or without me. My schedule was feed me and put me to bed. I could talk for a bit, but then I sounded so labored. I could not go anywhere and when my mom was taking care of me....I was the transportation. I felt so bad about not being able to drive much. She did not speak the language so she was stuck, too.

My sister tried to feed me all the time and wanted me to be super happy. I know I snapped at her a few times. They invaded my home and rearranged my kitchen while taking care of me. That made me feel like I was loosing control over my surroundings. I did not say no to most of the changes but some made me snap a bit.

I remember those steriods just, ugh, made me unhappy in my skin....but too exhausted to do anything about it....so I probably was snappish during that period of chemo.

I wasn't conciously mean or hateful, but maybe I could have been better at times. Months after chemo, I still have health issues. I still have snappish days. I am sorry you are going through this.

I saw a shrink when I was caregiving my mother in law. That helped me. I saw a shrink through my treatment, that helped...see if you can get him to a shrink. It added medications but damn, somedays they changed my mood for the better.

Rosi's picture
Rosi
Posts: 69
Joined: Dec 2009

I went to the same horrible experience with my husband, he used to be the most loving husband and the evil cancer turn my dear husband into a monster. keep praying God is always with you.

Beckyboo2
Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2012

I was about to post something like this too. My husband was diagnosed with stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer with metastasis to his brain and now his bone. it has been a whirlwind for the last 2 months since finding this out. He too is so nasty to me. I try to understand and know he is going through this and how he must feel. But... sometimes I can't take it. He constantly puts me down and critisizes everything!!!
Recently his femur broke and he had a rod put in, and he's worse now. I know it is depressing and frustrating, especially since he is a total control freak, but this he has no control over. This is all so sad. I see it is usual for them to lash out on their loved ones by the other comments. I was thinking he really had some resentment towards me.
I pray for all of us.

God Bless you all.

tanilla
Posts: 4
Joined: Feb 2012

is a very hard thing to have @this time. Right? It seems like the only thing we wish for at this point! Well besides the cure. Since my mother's diagnoses my marriage to is strained...to say the least. Not that it was perfect before. Its just now whatever was there seems to be amplified 10 fold. Now we sleep apart. We both feel alone...and it's neither of us with the disease. It just lives within your thoughts. Sometimes I feel like it would be easier to just think it wasn't there. Not to give 2nd thought to cancer. To let it take up space in your mind and in your life. But whatever you do Mrs. Beckyboo2 don't repress it like your husband could be. I see my momma trying to do that sometimes. Yes sometimes it is awesome to take your mind away, and that is ok. It feels horrible coming back to it though so it is bitter sweet. That I can identify with. You both also I will keep in thoughts and prayers. You only hurt the ones you love. Google that song's lyrics. It is a very old song but one with deep meaning. If you can when your reading it try and laugh......really hard. For some reason it makes me cry but I always feel better afterwards. Probably 'cause it too is bitter sweet! I wish upon you happiness. I pray for recovery for your husband and unity for the both of you so you can face this ugliness and come out on top!!!

Ex_Rock_n_Roller's picture
Ex_Rock_n_Roller
Posts: 268
Joined: Mar 2011

... of your situation, and support for you, because as a guy, this whole idea is just foreign to me. I have actually tried to be a nicer person than I was before diagnosis and treatment, and really, I actually felt like doing that, as opposed to forcing myself to do it because I should. The wife and I, and a whole raft of friends, have been doing stuff together almost 24/7, and it's almost impossible not to feel constant gratitude. I've been known to be a tad judgmental, arrogant, and snappish under certain conditions in the past, but if anything, I've become less that way since. And on a purely practical level, I figure I may well become a serious burden on somebody before I'm done by no choice of my own, so they don't need me to be a PITA before the fact.

The only area in which I've found myself with a shorter fuse, and I'm probably a bad person for feeling this way, is with people who previously didn't give me the time of day (or actively made things difficult for me) and somehow find me OK now that I've experienced a deadly disease. I've developed zero tolerance for that, and in those cases I just don't associate with them, because I know I'd be tempted to rip them a new one (which they might or might not deserve).

One "advantage" I did have is coming down with a fairly severe case of arthritis at age 19, and living with it for decades, so the LC was more a case of "OK, what is it this time" than "I can't believe my body betrayed me." I could see how that could be a big factor for somebody who's always been healthy and/or in control.

And the previous comments about the role of medications could be spot on. I definitely would follow up on the social worker help, and I hope this works out Ok for all of you so affected.

tanilla
Posts: 4
Joined: Feb 2012

Hi there. I first want to say that I can not understand what you are going through only TRY to wrap my mind around it. I will keep you both in my thoughts and prayers. I can only imagine you feel alone. Just know that he too feels that way. Its really hard for some people to show anything but anger when things get tough on them because that is the easiest emotion to feel. For others its exact opposite. Until he can talk about his situation freely no matter how it comes out he could remain that way. I will stay hopeful that it comes out without negativity for you. If it does try to remember how you felt before all of this, I think that may be what he would want to do but, is right in the middle of all this. Its hard for him to see, even though you don't have cancer, you are going through something also... trying to cope with this situation your husband is going through. The situation is cancer. A life changing situation. My mother has cancer. Stage 3b lung is where we are at. I can't even try and know what she is going through. She in turn doesn't know what I am going through. However this is her most intense moment & also this is mine. That is the ONLY thing we can compare. Start your feelings from scratch. You both need each other and there may be times you won't be able to lean on each other. But you carry him so when he does come around that will carry you. I truly think it will. God bless you Both!

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