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Boyfriend with vocal cord cancer

Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2013

Hi everyone:


I'm new to this site and just looking for some advice.  My boyfriend was diagnosed with vocal cord cancer 3 months after we met.  He went for 6 weeks of radiation and at his 2 month follow up after the radiation, the tumor looked exactly the same.  Next was surgery, he had a partial laryngectomy in June, terrible recovery - trach, feeding tube, his voice was barely a whisper.  Next follow up in July the surgeon said there still showed some irregular (not cancer...yet) cells in the area and he wanted to go back in and this time do a staged surgery, which means he will have an open hole in his neck for weeks..besided the hole already in his neck for the trach.  This has been hard on the relationship, we can't talk on the phone, our only communication is through text, he's been distant with me and the last month or so i felt like he was pushing me away.  he ended it with me a couple of weeks ago saying that he is not happy in the relationship, was very cold about it, just not himself.  He doesn't respond to me anymore and i am just trying to figure out what to do.  His next surgery is in 2 weeks and i feel like i want to go to be there to support him.  I have been there for him this whole time, sleeping in the hospital, reassuring him that i will always be there.  How can you tell if someone is pushing you away because they are trying to protect you or if they really just don't have feelings for you anymore?  If he wasn't going through what he's been going through i would just walk away but i can't help but think that maybe he was trying to give me an out because maybe he thought i wouldn't have left on my own. He is the love of my life, never once through any of this did it occur to me to walk away.   If anyone has been through a similar situation i would love to hear from you.


Thank you. :)

phrannie51's picture
Posts: 4449
Joined: Mar 2012

a few months ago who was in the same boat.....cancer found after a short relationship, and he too was pushing her away.  This is such an awful recovery, and your boyfriend hasn't even gotten to the recovery stage, yet, as they're still working to get all the cancer and irregularities out of the way.  There is no doubt in my mind he is depressed and has no idea what the future holds for him. 

Keep on caring about him....send a card to let him know you're thinking about him, but other than that leave him be....keep your expectations low....he has months and months of recovery still....he may turn around and be grateful you stuck by him, but it's iffy.....Men are different than women when it comes to devastating illness....they go into their man caves and hunker down.  The guys here can tell you more about what he may be thinking, than I can.....


fishmanpa's picture
Posts: 1209
Joined: Jan 2013

That's what it was! Yes, a very similar post. At any rate, P is right. Cancer is stressful on even the solid and long term relationships let alone a budding romance. Let him know you're there if he needs you but rrobably best to respect his wishes. 


debbiejeanne's picture
Posts: 3093
Joined: Jan 2010

WELCOME!  sorry u have to be here.  i had the same cancer as him and had radiation.  it came back 1.5 yrs later and i had a complete laryngectomy w/2 neck disections.  it is a very hard recovery.  i actually developed a fistula (hole in skin due 2 rads) which complicated recovery.  i hope he won't have that problem.  my recovery from surgeries took me about 4 months.  during that time i kinda went into myself.  i knew everyone cared but nobody really knew what i had been thru r was going thru.  i truly felt all alone.  this may be what your boyfriend is feeling.  having holes in our necks makes us know that we r now very different.  you make it sound like his holes are temporary.  thats great!  mine is permanent.  he is depressed i'm sure.  i know i sure was.  you will just have to b patient with him and give him his space  :0(  i hope he comes around.  tell him about this site and encourage him to get on.  let him know there r people here w/the SAME cancer and has been thru what he has.  this is a great place for info and support.  the people on here truly care and do all they can to answer questions and help someone get thru a time of anxiety.  i hope he will join.  we would welcome him w/open arms and gladly answer any questions he might have.  i wish u both the best.  please let us know how it turns out.


hwt's picture
Posts: 2330
Joined: Jun 2012

Sorry to hear of your boyfriend's cancer. Sometimes when we feel anger or frustration we take it out on those we care most about.  Let him know that you want to be by his side and you are just a call away. Sadly, we all have to travel this journey in our own way. 

Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2015

Show him your posted note.  My boyfriend (now my husband) did the same thing, pushed me away.  I think it was really a test to see if I truly cared...for better or worse, sort of speak.  Good luck.

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