Lost husband taking care of his wife, kids, dogs, full-time job, and house

cjv140 Member Posts: 1

Hi everyone, just joined today and I am looking for a little guidance.  My wife was diagnosed with stage 3A breast cancer in October 2015.  She is 45 years old (now), has a terrible family history of other cancers, and is scared to death.  She has been through two rounds of AC/T chemo so far and the tumor has shrunk quite a bit we are told.  Last night she lost just about all of the hair on her head at once.  I, of course, was about 30 miles away at my accountant getting our taxes worked out.  My daughter was here with my wife and helped her in the shower.  My wife had a panic attack, my daughter got scared, and I walked into a nightmare.  


A little more history is in order.  My wife has suffered from chronic pain syndrome brought on by PTSD from a criminal sexual assault by a cousin about a year before we met.  She has been through nearly 5 years of therapy and has been on strong opioids to combat the pain.  Prior to her cancer diagnosis she was in the process of being weaned off the meds and this is not welcome news, obviously.  


All that to say that I have been taking care of things around here for quite some time.  We have 2 teenagers, three dogs, and two foster dogs.  I work full time and usually have a part-time job working overtime to get extra money, as my wife is unable to work.  Since the diagnosis I have brought her to every appointment, in Chicago, which is about 17 miles away from our home in the suburbs.  I rearrange my work schedule to accomodate this and FMLA is available so I won't be in danger of losing my job or benefits.


The chemo rounds have been rather uneventful, so far.  She has been tired and nauseous, but hasn't vomited and her appetite remains strong.  The hair loss, and anticpation of hair loss, has been devastating.  I couldn't care less if she has no hair, a crew cut, or a lion's mane.  I didn't fall in love and marry my wife because of her hair.  I have tried to be as comforting and reassuring as I can but I can't seem to find the right words.  I really wish I could take this cancer from her and put it in me, because I hate seeing her suffer,


I know things will probably get worse from here on out.  We have head coverings on order, the medical staff is really supportive, and I have a couple people I can talk to.  I wish I had the right answers when my wife feels so scared, helpless, and says she never weants to leave the house again.  I am trying to deal with my kids being upset and scared, maintain the house work, and still be productive and effective at work.  I am looking for ways to cope because I noticed I am not sleeping well, my appetite has decreased, and I go between sad and upset constantly.  I recently joined a band as their drummer, which is something I love to do, but I feel guilty leaving the house to practice and play gigs.  Any help would be greatly appreciated!


  • Noellesmom
    Noellesmom Member Posts: 1,859 Member
    Yeah. Been there. Doing that.

    If anyone had told me six years ago this is where I would be, I probably would have slapped them.

    Please keep on with your band.  Just because you are a caregiver you should not give up your life.  Like me, you've probably exhausted your leave so even a day to go to the park for a walk or to the movies alone or with a friend is not likely.

    Unless you take care of yourself, you can't help your family.  It's the oxygen mask analogy: put yours on first when they drop down.

    Your wife would probably benefit from some talk therapy.

    It will be okay.  Things will never really be the same but they can be good.



  • HOPE610
    HOPE610 Member Posts: 28
    Have Hope

    I am sorry you are in this situation.  Being a caregiver is a hard job...the hardest one there is, but you can survive it. 

    I agree you should keep up with your band, you need the stress release. 

    I would suggest you get your teenagers someone to talk to as well if you haven't already.  They can probably be a great help to you if they know what to do, what to expect and who they can talk to...They need to have someone to share with that understands cancer.  I am sure your wife would benefit from somone to talk to in addition to you.  I am sure her oncologist or the American Cancer Society can help.  They are a great resource for everything cancer.

    Get through one day at a time.  Know that there are several of us here and we are in similar situations.  God Bless. 


  • michelletboyer
    michelletboyer Member Posts: 2
    Don't feel guilty

    I'm a new caregiver to my mom, who is slipping away faster than I thought she would. I moved her here with me into a small one bedroom, and we're making it work, but I've run the gamut of guilt - feeling crowded and annoyed, resentful, exhausted, scared, craving my old routine, you name it. I've been trying to get out and do things, and your post inspires me to get out and take a bike ride - something I love to do but haven't in the last month.

  • phuckcancer
    phuckcancer Member Posts: 63 Member
    @cjv - I am so sorry your

    @cjv - I am so sorry your wife, yourself and your family have to go through this (((hugs)))


    I am fairly new to this myself so I don't currently have any good words of wisdom but the thing I hear most about being a caregiver is that you have to take care of yourself, you need breaks for yourself, you need to be you through this journey.

    I struggle with the thought of going out and doing things with my friends but I know I am going to need that so I am going to do my best to follow through. YOU do that also! Play with your band and know that your wife would want you to do that :)