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Marriage and Caregiving

shado97
Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2012

I've been too scared to write this for the past several years, but I came to terms with the fact that I need help. My husband was diagnosed with Stage 3 B-Cell Lymphoma 2 years ago. Both of his lungs collapsed and he was on life support for 3 days. He had to have his lungs drained, and was in ICU for 2 weeks. He ends up having his first chemo session in the hospital, and then a 3 week regimen of R-CHOP a total of 6 times. He's finally declared in remission in January 2011. Because he was so ill, he didn't work for three months and even when he returned, he worked part time for a bit.

Long story short, i'm burnt out, resentful and believe this may be the end of my marriage. Yesterday he told me that he wished he had cancer so he could die. I don't even know how that makes me feel anymore. Taking care of him was probably one of the most stressful situations I have gone through. He was on an oxygen machine, required daily trips to the pharmacy to get medication and I barely slept throughout all this time. To top it all off, I was in school full time and work full time. The stress made me lose my hair and over 20 lbs.

I feel like he's ungrateful for the second chance he's been given, and that he's spitting on me and all the effort I put into taking care of him. Also, although he's in remission, he doesn't help out around the house and quite honestly, causes me more work.

Does anyone feel like this? We were the best of friends earlier in our marriage, and he says that the only sunshine in his day is me, but sometimes I barely have enough strength to keep myself afloat. How can I possibly help him? I need some advice. Is it time to cut my losses and run so that we can remain friends?

Noellesmom
Posts: 1244
Joined: Aug 2010

First of all, congratulations on where your husband is now and you should know he would not have survived without your care. I know right now that seems like a double-edged response to you.

Shado, both you and your husband should see a counselor separately for now and then, perhaps, later together. Cancer, in all of its many forms, is a beast to deal with. Once upon a time cancer was a death sentence: you supported your loved one through it as best you could, they fought it with whatever was available and then death was the norm. That type of cancer is known to us.

Cancer today is not an automatic death sentence. Sometimes, the effects of the cancer and the treatment work together to trap a living person inside a living death - they are not who they were and they have no idea who they have become nor where to go from here. In the back of their minds are questions with no real answers, only speculation.

I'm sure others could chime in and tell you that you are normal, that for whatever reason not everyone takes advantage of the "second chance" they are given at life and that you should not feel guilty for being human. Your feelings and thoughts deserve respect: you have given of yourself in a way that a lot of people choose not to - they walk away at the first sign of trouble. You did not. Consequently, you are now exhausted - your cup is empty and no one is filling it back up. That won't work for long for any sane, rational, normal person.

That your husband does not pick up some of the load around the house is another indicator he may be depressed - or spoiled or selfish or something else completely different but it needs to be addressed. Again, appropriate level of activity is important for both of you but get the advice of a counselor.

Please consider the counselor - get out and take care of yourself. Make sure you schedule time for yourself, Shado. Come here often. Talk, talk, talk. Communicate with your husband when you can - it does not all have to positive, uplifting Mary Poppins type communications. You are human, too, Shado and have needs not being met. If he met them before he can meet them now.

Hugs. Just bunches of hugs right now. Cancer survivorship can be a positive thing - but there are always negative sides to anything and this is no different.

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