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I haven't told my husband

MichelleP's picture
MichelleP
Posts: 254
Joined: May 2009

My husband has stage 3 anencarcinoma on his right lung. He knows about the cancer and chemo, however he has not asked the doctors what the prognosis is yet. The doctors have told me privately that he has 6-12 months and that I should make "arrangements" as they call it. I am at a loss as to whether or not I should tell him now or simply wait until he asks. Anyone who can offer advise is sincerely appreciated.

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2800
Joined: Sep 2006

This topic has been addressed in the past. I am surprised that it continues to come up. In my humble opinion, the doctors have violated your husband's privacy rights by providing this newes to you rather than to him. It is one thing to give him the news while you are with him, but to give that news to you RATHER than to him, well, to me that indicates that his doctors are not trustworthy, or WON'T be, once he finds out.

Shame on them!

As for that 'deadline', please understand that unless there is an expiration date on your husband's forehead, any approximations by doctors are just that: approximations based on statistics. Those statistics will have a 'mean', an average, but there are also low points on the curve, and there are anomalous high points...those who inexplicably survive beyond expectations. Your husband may be one of those.

In any case, knowing is something he deserves. It may impact the way he lives the rest of his life, the choices he makes, and he has every right to be aware of the guesstimates and act accordingly.

I am a survivor, and I can tell you that I was once incorrectly advised that I had 10 months or so to live. While it bummed me out, to be sure, I would have been extremely angry to discover my wife was told while it was held from me. It is MY life, after all.

Hope this helps.

Best wishes to you and your husband.

Take care,

Joe

MichelleP's picture
MichelleP
Posts: 254
Joined: May 2009

The reason the doctors provided me with the information instead of telling him directly is because he is so weak. He has been in and out of the hospital four times within 6 weeks with chest drainage and then a chest tube. I myself asked the doctor for his opinion which was extremely bleak to say the least. But, even though with good days and bad days he has never asked what the true prognosis is. I just keep thinking that the mental attitude plays a big role in recovery so maybe if he thinks he can recover, how can I take that away from him? That's my problem with all of this. Plus I just got a phone call about an hour ago telling me his sister died today of brain cancer. So....now what do I do? How can I possibly shatter him with not only the news of his sister but his own current prognosis?

Maybe I'm still in denial myself. I keep telling myself that the doctors are just totally wrong that we still have years together not months.

I am just desperate to find the right answers to this.

ARobben's picture
ARobben
Posts: 46
Joined: Apr 2009

Michelle,
I would say tell him, and be there as a support. Make sure you're in a place yourself where you are ready to be strong and supportive and tell him. And like Soccerfreaks said...it's a guess, not a death sentence. My sister-in-law's dad had lung cancer and was given four months to live. Being stubborn, he continued to smoke, yet lived seven years beyond that time. Nothing is set in stone.

laurenr
Posts: 12
Joined: Apr 2009

When my dad was first diagnosed, the doctors asked if he wanted to know certain things. At the time, he was very confused, becaused of the brain tumors, and missed some things. What my brother and sister and I decided to do was take care of some important things -- like the will, power of attorney, etc. -- so that we would be ready for anything. We did everything in front of my dad, even though he does not remember it now (9 weeks later) but at least it's done. When we talk about it now, and he asks about it, we explain why we did it and he is in agreement. He wanted it done as well, and now we have time to focus on him. As far as us, we were put on the charts as the people to call, and the doctors asked dad if he wanted to know his prognosis. At the time, he did not. We, his children, did want to know, and we called the doctor. We were listed as people to whom to give information, so it was ok. Now, when he wants to know, we can tell him. My advice is to tell him whatever he is ready to hear. Much like you did if you had children and they asked hard questions. I always tell my dad that I will tell him whatever he thinks he wants to know. Sometimes he does want to know, sometimes he says, "No, I don't care. I want to go on my own." Good luck to you.

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