Husbands

carkris
carkris Member Posts: 4,553 Member
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
My husband is very supportive and a good man. However Ihave found that this is so hard for him, he has said seeing me and the girls sick just kills him. and Ive seen it in other circumstances. But I am finding at a time when I am gritting my teeth to get through. (see big D thread) he is more distant. and though I understand , I feel like I need support to get me across tht finish line more than ever. There really is no trouble in our relationship, he is home but usually doing other things. This is getting so hard for us all. and I admit to feeling hurt.
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Comments

  • m_azingrace
    m_azingrace Member Posts: 399
    I understand
    When I was diagnosed, my hubby took the news harder than I. In the weeks, now months, that followed, I have seen him working out his frustrations in a number of ways. He feels so helpless to "fix" me, so he's been doing a lot of things around the house. While he's never been one to neglect regular maintenance, now it's almost as if he's driven to make everything right. We don't talk much about the cancer. I think he likes to pretend it doesnt exist. But he's right here for me whenever I need him. He goes with me to every doctor appointment and treatment. Yes, he's also more distant than I'd like, but I see also that he just does not want me to know how worried he is. I decided to just let him be himself, and work it out as best he can. I feel comforted just having him around, knowing that he really is here for me in his own quiet way. Hugs to you. Gracie
  • Cat64
    Cat64 Member Posts: 1,192
    Carkris
    Boy do I/We understand! I don't know if you read any of the post, but a while back I made one called Hubby Having Hard Time. Check it out. It had alot of helpful advice. Since my diagnosis, I have become more appreciative of my significant other because he even "IS" here by my side throughout all of this! I have had more than my own share of emotions & moods and he has too. Some days he just wants to check-out from the reality of Cancer as well. HE wants things back to the way they were as much as I do. Sometimes he just doesn't know how to help me and he thinks its best to leave me alone. Other times I know he's tired & stressed and so I don't take it personally. Have you told him how you feel? Hey-if you need support, that's what we are all here for! We may not be there physically, but we are only fingertips away! You WILL cross the finish line! One of my favorite sayings is: A JOURNEY OF A 1000 MILES BEGINS WITH THE FIRST STEP. You're getting closer everyday. I'm sorry you are feeling hurt and most likely not your hubby's intention to make you feel that way. At this time of the year when I feel down, I love to just sit and look at our tree & all its beauty and re-focus on all the things I AM greatful for.
    Take Care
    ♥ Cathy
  • BlownAway60
    BlownAway60 Member Posts: 851
    Hang in there
    carkris,

    Men are a strange beast and they definately don't think like we do. Your husband sounds a lot like mine. He would do anything for you but just doesn't know what to do. Mine also does not do well with my being sick. He gives me encouragement but does not know what he can do to make me better. It hurts my feelings too sometimes but only for a minute because I know this is who he is and it doesn't indicate in any way how much he loves me.

    Sometimes I can see that he does get really frustated trying to take care of his mother and me. I know it cannot be easy for him. She is 86 and moved in with us the month I found the lump and she had a heart attack the week after she got here. So between her doctor's appointments and mine seems like he is taking somebody to the doctor almost every day of the week.

    My husband has been to every doctor's appointment and Chemo with me. That was our agreement when we decide to tackle the beast. I do get a lot of teasing abount not having any hair but it is all in fun. He used to tell me he was sure I had a pointy head. He cannot say that any more. It is definately round.

    His mother has been trying to fill in for me doing dishes and cooking and such when I am feeling my worst. I try to make sure there are simple things for her to fix like Hormel ready to fix meats that only take 4 minutes in the nuker.

    I know it bothers him that I am so sick. I can see it in his eyes but he is not a hoverer. He checks on me frequently to make sure I am okay but he is also not good with sick people. Cannot deal with me throwing up. Just doesn't know what to do to make it better.

    So I come here to be nurtured by my fellow warriors.
  • Sunrae
    Sunrae Member Posts: 808

    I understand
    When I was diagnosed, my hubby took the news harder than I. In the weeks, now months, that followed, I have seen him working out his frustrations in a number of ways. He feels so helpless to "fix" me, so he's been doing a lot of things around the house. While he's never been one to neglect regular maintenance, now it's almost as if he's driven to make everything right. We don't talk much about the cancer. I think he likes to pretend it doesnt exist. But he's right here for me whenever I need him. He goes with me to every doctor appointment and treatment. Yes, he's also more distant than I'd like, but I see also that he just does not want me to know how worried he is. I decided to just let him be himself, and work it out as best he can. I feel comforted just having him around, knowing that he really is here for me in his own quiet way. Hugs to you. Gracie

    My husband took the dx hard
    My husband took the dx hard too. For a little while he starting working on everything around the house and yard, even leveled a kitchen range that has been off for at least 9 years. I realized he needed to work out his emotions too. We have gotten to the point where we can discuss cancer and treatments without falling apart most of the time. And he goes everywhere with me when I want him to go. We each have to have our space tho, to grieve, meditate and work out our feelings. But he's there for me all the time. Some men aren't too good at expressing themselves and need time to adjust. I think this dx is kind of like having a death happen to someone you love. You have to go thru different stages of grieving and there is no set rule as to how long you spend in each stage. Some skip a stage and have it come up later but we all need the time to work thru this at our own pace. And our husbands and close family and friends are not immune. Just knowing that there are so many of you going thru this helps me so this is where I come for support and comfort. Take care and hope all of you have a great family/friends support line.
  • meena1
    meena1 Member Posts: 1,003

    Hang in there
    carkris,

    Men are a strange beast and they definately don't think like we do. Your husband sounds a lot like mine. He would do anything for you but just doesn't know what to do. Mine also does not do well with my being sick. He gives me encouragement but does not know what he can do to make me better. It hurts my feelings too sometimes but only for a minute because I know this is who he is and it doesn't indicate in any way how much he loves me.

    Sometimes I can see that he does get really frustated trying to take care of his mother and me. I know it cannot be easy for him. She is 86 and moved in with us the month I found the lump and she had a heart attack the week after she got here. So between her doctor's appointments and mine seems like he is taking somebody to the doctor almost every day of the week.

    My husband has been to every doctor's appointment and Chemo with me. That was our agreement when we decide to tackle the beast. I do get a lot of teasing abount not having any hair but it is all in fun. He used to tell me he was sure I had a pointy head. He cannot say that any more. It is definately round.

    His mother has been trying to fill in for me doing dishes and cooking and such when I am feeling my worst. I try to make sure there are simple things for her to fix like Hormel ready to fix meats that only take 4 minutes in the nuker.

    I know it bothers him that I am so sick. I can see it in his eyes but he is not a hoverer. He checks on me frequently to make sure I am okay but he is also not good with sick people. Cannot deal with me throwing up. Just doesn't know what to do to make it better.

    So I come here to be nurtured by my fellow warriors.

    The same thing with my
    The same thing with my hubby, except the doing things around the house, he can't even take out the trash. He does not want to talk about it with me or other people. He just sits there or goes to the AA club. But, i have become a homebody, especially with the winter here. Just feels good to lay around the house at night. So, I have my friends here and in chat. see ya
  • carkris
    carkris Member Posts: 4,553 Member
    meena1 said:

    The same thing with my
    The same thing with my hubby, except the doing things around the house, he can't even take out the trash. He does not want to talk about it with me or other people. He just sits there or goes to the AA club. But, i have become a homebody, especially with the winter here. Just feels good to lay around the house at night. So, I have my friends here and in chat. see ya

    My Husband goes to every
    My Husband goes to every appointment and chemo. I really appreciate, he is good at having something to do, but not so good at just being with me . I;m noticing it more as my physical energy is fading so is my emotional energy. I am in pain alot of the time too. I really am comforted by his presence and dont like other people doing things for me. I actually dont require care , but you cant be yourself with just everyone. Thank you for your comments and advice. I know it is a mars/ venice thing.
  • MCJ
    MCJ Member Posts: 59
    when my wife was diagnosed
    when my wife was diagnosed with bc I was dazed, I'll remember that moment for ever...
    like it or not ladies we are wired to be the protectors of the family, we can fix the car, shingle the roof, paint the shed, but when we find out we can't fix our most loved,
    it hurts,
    I know she is going through hell, and there is not much I can do, and sometimes there is just nothing to say, not that I'm being cold, it's just not much to say, maybe it's a time out to recharge, I do feel more energized after working on something, heck I was out splitting wood the other day and came in feeling all refreshed,
  • natly15
    natly15 Member Posts: 1,941
    Women are from Venus, Men
    Women are from Venus, Men are from Mars---we are certainly different creatures. My husbnad runs hot and cold, and when he's cold I detach from his mood. Right now he's in his cold, distant mood, and I must say these past couple weeks have been some of the worst for me since all this BC started. I dont take his distance personal. He deals so differently with stress. I talk about it, he goes into his cave. He has been supportive, goes with me to every chemo and doctor appointment. This has been as difficult for him as it has been for me. He also has a tough time when I'm dealing with nausea. I know he wants to fix it but he cant, and I think it makes him angry, so he shuts down. He had quadruple bypass this past March, lost his job in August, and is trying to deal with my DX on top of all that has happened to him. None of this should give him license to become grumpy, but he is human just like me so I try to let go of the times when he is just a plain old distant grump because he's there when I really need him.

    Like most of the women on these boards, I'm pretty self sufficient, so he really isnt my caregiver. I'm my caregiver.

    He cant provide all the support I need, no one person can, so I reach out to the people on these boards, and other women who have been through this. Hope this helps some. We do feel hurt sometimes and I think it is more pronounced while we are going thru treatment. My emotions have taken me on a huge roller coaster ride and I get hurt more easily right now.
  • chenheart
    chenheart Member Posts: 5,159
    You are right, sweet sister;
    You are right, sweet sister; it is indeed a mars/venus thing! I have oftentimes said that "Women Nurture, Men Fix"` and BC is something they cannot fix! Some men, in an un-fixable situation get angry, abdicate, or remove themselves emotionally. Of course, many of our men are there for the long haul, and do go to chemo with us, or shave our heads, and run interference. That having been said, even many of those men find it emotionally draining, if not damned near impossible for their gender to be the constant cheerleader.

    It seems so obvious to us women: When we see a woman in need, we automatically know what to do~ we have a "girls night out", we buy shoes, we watch chick flicks, we do lunch. If it is something more serious, we still know what to do~ we organize the car-pooling, we pick up their children, we get the circle of friends to take turns making casseroles...you get the picture! Our men just want things to be like they WERE, not like they ARE! And so do we!

    I guess what I am trying to say is that we are not likely to change the nature of the the man/woman psyche. You know your husband best...and it sounds as if he is pulling away out of love coupled withfear and sadness. It is a defense mechanism for him. That doesn't do much to help YOUR emotional need, I realize! Sometimes, we just need the snuggle and the lasting hug~and if that isn't forthcoming, it leaves us feeling abandoned.

    I know that at the end of my treatment I was so overwhelmed by the cumulative exhaustion that I was an emotional train wreck. And whereas my sweet Reggie was a Prince~ I know in my heart that he NEEDED time away from me , as wrong as that sounds! For my next to last chemo, I insisted he go on the annual house-boating trip to Shasta with his family and children. It meant being away from me for a week! My brother in law took time off from work, and drove 5 hours to spend that time with me. He cooked for me and drove me to chemo and my neulasta shot. It was wonderful for both Reggie and me! I didn't expect, need or want my brother in law to hug and snuggle with me! ( neither did he ! LOL) And Reggie got to hear the laughter of kids and extended family, catch fish, throw back some beers, hang with his friends on a beautiful lake and not feel guilty ! And when he came back, he was re-charged, and happy to see me! And of course, I was estatic! It also changed our focus; I got to hear about the trip, and see the pictures, and my brother in law stuck around for an extra day and then went back home!

    Oh...that was almost 7 years ago...and we are still together! Hang in there, sister!

    Hugs,
    Chen♥
  • mimivac
    mimivac Member Posts: 2,143
    That's a beautiful story, Chen
    Yes, our husbands do not always do the right thing. But then neither do we. Funadmentally, it sounds like he loves, respects, and cares for you, Carkris. But sometimes we need to tell them what we need so that they can provide it. Shortly after my treatments ended, my husband expected everything to go back to "normal." He thought since I was feeling physically better, I would be emotinally fine, too. Well, we all know the rocky road we can have after treatment, and I was no exception. I had many, many times of depression, fear, hopelessness, listnesses, anger, and incessant thoughts of death. "After treatment" is the rest of our lives and sometimes we are afraid and wonder how long this time will last. My husband, too, became somewhat distant then. He was afraid right along with me but didn't know how to express it. Everytime I expressed fears of dying, he, too, became afraid that I would die. He didn't know how to deal with this and so stopped responding to me or engaging with me. One night we had a big fight about it and it all came out. For a while, I tried to stop talking about cancer altogether, but that wasn't right either. Now, we seem to have hit upon a good balance. I express my feelings, but try to move on and not dwell too much. He listens to me and doesn't distance himself. Sometimes it takes a few conversations and stops and starts to get there.

    Good luck, Carkris!

    Mimi
  • carkris
    carkris Member Posts: 4,553 Member
    mimivac said:

    That's a beautiful story, Chen
    Yes, our husbands do not always do the right thing. But then neither do we. Funadmentally, it sounds like he loves, respects, and cares for you, Carkris. But sometimes we need to tell them what we need so that they can provide it. Shortly after my treatments ended, my husband expected everything to go back to "normal." He thought since I was feeling physically better, I would be emotinally fine, too. Well, we all know the rocky road we can have after treatment, and I was no exception. I had many, many times of depression, fear, hopelessness, listnesses, anger, and incessant thoughts of death. "After treatment" is the rest of our lives and sometimes we are afraid and wonder how long this time will last. My husband, too, became somewhat distant then. He was afraid right along with me but didn't know how to express it. Everytime I expressed fears of dying, he, too, became afraid that I would die. He didn't know how to deal with this and so stopped responding to me or engaging with me. One night we had a big fight about it and it all came out. For a while, I tried to stop talking about cancer altogether, but that wasn't right either. Now, we seem to have hit upon a good balance. I express my feelings, but try to move on and not dwell too much. He listens to me and doesn't distance himself. Sometimes it takes a few conversations and stops and starts to get there.

    Good luck, Carkris!

    Mimi

    you are all right and I feel
    you are all right and I feel guilty for being frustrated. I know this is how he deals, and Ihave thought at some point he should get away. unfortunatly I am dealing with the chemo and the bum GI problems which are quite debilitating. so i am debilitated and emotionally just trying to get through the rest of treatment. Sometimes I dont know how I will do it and when he does that I feel like ugh dont do this now. But I know this is killing him and feel bad about that too. BTW I know its mars and venus I edited it to correct it and it didnt. It has been nice to get all your input and to know how other people cope and actually feel. They really never warn you about how it can be, when I had CMF I did not have these problems. Nobody expected this. I am not a needy person although I am quite sensative . That you so much you have buoyed me again.
  • chenheart
    chenheart Member Posts: 5,159
    carkris said:

    you are all right and I feel
    you are all right and I feel guilty for being frustrated. I know this is how he deals, and Ihave thought at some point he should get away. unfortunatly I am dealing with the chemo and the bum GI problems which are quite debilitating. so i am debilitated and emotionally just trying to get through the rest of treatment. Sometimes I dont know how I will do it and when he does that I feel like ugh dont do this now. But I know this is killing him and feel bad about that too. BTW I know its mars and venus I edited it to correct it and it didnt. It has been nice to get all your input and to know how other people cope and actually feel. They really never warn you about how it can be, when I had CMF I did not have these problems. Nobody expected this. I am not a needy person although I am quite sensative . That you so much you have buoyed me again.

    Again, Kindred Spirit, I am
    Again, Kindred Spirit, I am moved to write. The only thing "wrong" with your post is that you feel guilty !You have enough on your plate with out guilt thrown into the mix...just know that for now things are as they are for both of you. When you reach the end of your treatment tunnel, you can both exhale deeply, reclaim your lives, and express how much you have missed and loved each other. And in the meanwhile, these boards are a safe place to land...
    Hugs,
    Chen♥
  • misann
    misann Member Posts: 13
    Hubbys
    This sounds like my situation. Although my hubby is very supportive of me and attends my doctor visits faithfully with me I've found that he is spending more time in the garage and the barn. I ask what he's doing and he always has a project going on but it's just odd. I know it's his way of dealing with things. I think they need to deal with this beast in their own way too.
  • mimivac
    mimivac Member Posts: 2,143
    carkris said:

    you are all right and I feel
    you are all right and I feel guilty for being frustrated. I know this is how he deals, and Ihave thought at some point he should get away. unfortunatly I am dealing with the chemo and the bum GI problems which are quite debilitating. so i am debilitated and emotionally just trying to get through the rest of treatment. Sometimes I dont know how I will do it and when he does that I feel like ugh dont do this now. But I know this is killing him and feel bad about that too. BTW I know its mars and venus I edited it to correct it and it didnt. It has been nice to get all your input and to know how other people cope and actually feel. They really never warn you about how it can be, when I had CMF I did not have these problems. Nobody expected this. I am not a needy person although I am quite sensative . That you so much you have buoyed me again.

    I'm with Chen
    No need to feel guilty because you are going through hell with your treatment. Tell your husband what you need. He might want to be there for you even more, but just can't figure out how. Acknowlege that you know he is hurting, too, but that you need him now more than ever. Not one of us can get through this life alone. Good luck. I think you're doing great.

    Mimi
  • New Flower
    New Flower Member Posts: 4,294
    carkris said:

    My Husband goes to every
    My Husband goes to every appointment and chemo. I really appreciate, he is good at having something to do, but not so good at just being with me . I;m noticing it more as my physical energy is fading so is my emotional energy. I am in pain alot of the time too. I really am comforted by his presence and dont like other people doing things for me. I actually dont require care , but you cant be yourself with just everyone. Thank you for your comments and advice. I know it is a mars/ venice thing.

    It is very common
    for us feeling alone, Especially, when you are in pain and do not feel well.
    Sometimes I feel that my husband distancing himself too.
    Cancer tough for caregivers, and we should give them a credit for what have done for us. My husband looks 10 years older since I was diagnosed and underwent treatment.
    During my Chemo every day my husband and I watched comedies or shows together. It gave us opportunity to laugh and have free of cancer time together. I think it is critical for couple who are going through cancer treatment to have "free of cancer" time together and take a moment forgetting hardship you are going through.
  • cindycflynn
    cindycflynn Member Posts: 1,132 Member
    I can relate
    When my husband had his hip replacement surgery, I felt like I catered to him as much as I could, putting up with his crankiness and dismissing it as being caused by what I knew was a lot of pain.

    Although I don't have a lot of physical pain, and my husband has been very supportive in coming to all of my doctor visits, etc., he is just not the nurturer I am. He does need some alone time and some normal time, and I try to give it to him, even though I'd probably be happier if he were a bit more hovering at times. I did buy him a Thank You card yesterday after he spent all day at chemo with me Wednesday, and he seemed really touched. Sometimes letting them know how much you appreciate what they are able to do for you can bring them even closer. I got back a couple of wonderful hugs and kisses last night that helped me get the closeness I crave.

    Good luck to you. It's not an easy path to travel for either of you, so find help where you can and I'm sure you will get through this together.

    Take care,

    Cindy
  • Wolfi
    Wolfi Member Posts: 425
    Communicate
    Carkris,

    Everyone here has given you some great advice (and insight into issues with their own husbands).

    I am totally on board with the fact that a lot of men feel like they need to "fix" things. When I was diagnosed I was suppose to have a biopsy and my surgeon was confident it would be nothing. Then came the lumpectomy and after that bilateral mastectomy. My surgeon seemed to get more and more frustrated and upset every time he had to tell my husband and I that things were worse than they had thought at first. My surgeon did fix me, but I think it was very hard for him to have to keep giving us bad news each time I had an appointment.

    My husband has been with me through all of this - going to every appointment (even driving me every day to radiation). He HATES to see me sick, hurt or upset. With bc I was all three at once and there was only so much he could do to help.

    One thing I have found helps is to talk to him about how I'm feeling. I need to tell him what I want from him (support, hugs, chocolate)or tell him that I just feel like being left alone. Being on tamoxifen has made me REALLY crabby (I'm using a nice word) and the hot flashes and pain I have from the medication can derail my whole day.

    It might be helpful for your husband to get on this site and read what some of the other husbands have been through and how they coped with their wives being sick.

    Take care.
  • carkris
    carkris Member Posts: 4,553 Member
    Wolfi said:

    Communicate
    Carkris,

    Everyone here has given you some great advice (and insight into issues with their own husbands).

    I am totally on board with the fact that a lot of men feel like they need to "fix" things. When I was diagnosed I was suppose to have a biopsy and my surgeon was confident it would be nothing. Then came the lumpectomy and after that bilateral mastectomy. My surgeon seemed to get more and more frustrated and upset every time he had to tell my husband and I that things were worse than they had thought at first. My surgeon did fix me, but I think it was very hard for him to have to keep giving us bad news each time I had an appointment.

    My husband has been with me through all of this - going to every appointment (even driving me every day to radiation). He HATES to see me sick, hurt or upset. With bc I was all three at once and there was only so much he could do to help.

    One thing I have found helps is to talk to him about how I'm feeling. I need to tell him what I want from him (support, hugs, chocolate)or tell him that I just feel like being left alone. Being on tamoxifen has made me REALLY crabby (I'm using a nice word) and the hot flashes and pain I have from the medication can derail my whole day.

    It might be helpful for your husband to get on this site and read what some of the other husbands have been through and how they coped with their wives being sick.

    Take care.

    My husband seems to have
    My husband seems to have needed his break. He seems a bit better, but I have also been able to get out a little and do not feel so isolated. It is good to hear how other people's significant others seem to operate the same and to hear from the guys perspective. HE FLAT OUT TOLD ME IT KILLS HIM TO SEE HIS FAMILY HURTING. I feel lucky to have him, and appreciate his support. I am at a point where my reserve is drying up and you have all bolstered me and I appreciate it. I hope someday I can help someone the way you have me. I turn here for understanding and I always get it thank you so much.
  • newbiefromcananda
    newbiefromcananda Member Posts: 234
    ahhh
    my husband isn't the expressive type ..except for the fact that he does not think BEFORE he speaks... I guess I figure that since going thru this that that would change....I am really not sure what I want from him... he is the provider... and once and a while says...you have to get through this ... I know I do... but to keep telling me... wow I have seen some people vent on here and I am just ready to cry... sorry... I just feel so overwhelmed .. I have had 2 chemo treatments and felt pretty good now the emotional stuff has hit and it has hit hard... maybe because its Christmas??... I am bald...finger nails changing colours... feeling sad..... :(
  • carkris
    carkris Member Posts: 4,553 Member

    ahhh
    my husband isn't the expressive type ..except for the fact that he does not think BEFORE he speaks... I guess I figure that since going thru this that that would change....I am really not sure what I want from him... he is the provider... and once and a while says...you have to get through this ... I know I do... but to keep telling me... wow I have seen some people vent on here and I am just ready to cry... sorry... I just feel so overwhelmed .. I have had 2 chemo treatments and felt pretty good now the emotional stuff has hit and it has hit hard... maybe because its Christmas??... I am bald...finger nails changing colours... feeling sad..... :(

    I think we get overwhelmed
    I think we get overwhelmed and then we figure our way out. what you are feeling is normal. and although people around us care and our supportive it is us going through it. I wonder if some it is the hormonal influence too. and yes it hits like a ton of bricks sometimes and we cry and vent and then we fight again.This is tough no doubt about it. But we are doing it to survive, to be with our families, to be there for our kids and it has a purpose. So one minute at a time, one second at a time. I had chemo before it was NOTHING like this. This is a tough regime. As for the guys, this thread gives much insight. hugs hugs hugs