tnsexton Member Posts: 6
My husband has Stage 3 Melanoma (was diagnosed in Feb last year) since then he has went through 2 surgeries, 6 weeks of radiaion, and is going through a year of interferon-alpha.

Technically he is cancer free, but yet we still have a long road ahead of us with the cancer being caught at a later stage. (hopefully not, but you have to be prepared that it could come back)

So...the interferon-alpha (chemo) is just a preventive measure, to help reduce the risk of cancer coming back. First 4 weeks of it he received the chemo through an IV every day, now he receives a shot 3 times a week. His side effects are flu like symptoms... he has days that are good, and days that are bad. He has to go through this for over a year to increase surivial rates by 5%.

He's been a smoker for a long time; however, he isn't consistent about how much he smokes. It would normally be maybe 1-2 packs a week if that. There are times he goes without for weeks; however, over the last 2 months he has been increasing and is now close to 1-2 packs a day.

It is so hard for me as a caregiver because I'm having to be the financial provider as well as all the other roles we caregivers play. I just cannot understand how someone would put themselves through a year of chemo to help prevent cancer, but wont quit smoking.

He has been told by doctors he needs to quit...but nothing comes from it. The more I say something to him, the more he smokes. Every time he goes outside to smoke, I just feel like I'm watching him kill himself. I just want to tell him, if oyu want to smoke fine, but stop chemo and start working full time so you can pay for them. I see no point in continuning in preventive care, when he continues to smoke.

It just makes me so angry, and hurt. I've lost 3 grandparents to Lung Cancer...It's just too much.

He could have prevented the Melanoma. He could have caught it early (I told him for 2 years to go to the doctor) but he didn't. I get angry because he chose where he is right now...and he just refuses to take actions to prevent Lung Cancer.

I'm just lost and don't know what to say/do anymore....

Why is change so hard on everyone?


  • slg
    slg Member Posts: 200
    Can't go back
    I just lost my husband to Liver Cancer last month. He fought for a bit over two years. I too feel he could have avoided this had he gone for his yearly physical in 2008. But he didn't and by the time he did go to the doctor for a physical he already had the tumors!!! I never ever said anything to him to make him feel bad that he didn't get that physical. I'm sure it crossed his mind. Unfortunately, we can't go back and change anything. He made the choice not to go and I'm sure he regrets that.. There is only so much WE can do as spouses/caregivers.
    I am trying to deal with all that now but am grateful for the past two years that we did have. Make the best of your time and I'm sure he knows he shouldn't be smoking. Don't beat yourself up about it.
  • jimwins
    jimwins Member Posts: 2,107
    Hi tnsexton
    Hi tnsexton,

    Thanks for sharing and venting.

    I agree with slg in the "you can't go back".
    Anxiety and fear have probably contributed to his increased smoking.
    Is he on any anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medication?
    Wellbutrin (anti depressant) has the added side effect that it helps
    some people with quiting smoking.

    Though he's "cancer free", he's reminded of it 3 times a week when he
    gets his shots. I think that would be difficult for anyone.
    Maybe counselling would help you both. He's not going to quit smoking until he
    makes the decision himself and is ready. I know it's hard for you.

    You stated "The more I say something to him, the more he smokes...". Maybe you
    can try a different tactic. Pressuring him obviously has the opposite impact.
    I wish you luck with this and I'm thankful he's in remission.

    Hang in there!