Cancer and marriage.

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lp1964
lp1964 Member Posts: 1,239 Member

Many years ago I heard a story of a couple where the wife got breast cancer and wasn't supposed to make it. Her husband took time off to care for her and make her comfortable as much as possible. Their marriage became centered around the cancer naturally. By miracle of miracles she became NED and actually beat cancer. A few months later she left her husband and filed for divorce. Her husband and everything they did together just reminded her of cancer and this kept her from her complete mental recovery after the physical healing.

I thought this could never happen to anyone and especially to me. But fate threw me a curved ball. We were madly and maturely in love with my second white when I got my disgnosis. After the initial shock we both rolled up our sleeves and got to work. Endless appointments, scary options and mind bending pains physically and mentally. I always stayed strong for myself and for her. I remained a man even with a 15" scar, no butt whole, a colostomy pouch and 4 drains hanging out of me. I always got out of bed, shaved, dressed up and if I could walk a hundred yards I did. 

I recovered physically but the mental recovery has been lot harder. I lost all my faith in life and fairness. Investing into something may not always bring returns. I was angry, disillusioned and disapointed in life, but did my best to control my emotions and concentrate what matters. About a year into recovery I noticed changes in my wife. Before she cared for all my wounds now she was distant and put a pillow on my scar when we were intimate. She did things she knew I didn't like and didn't do things I valued. She was pushing me away because she had no heart to leave. After about a year of trying I decided to set her free and moved out. She gestured many ways that she wanted me back, but i didn't feel it was genuine. After a short time into the separation she called less and less and now she avoids me completely. I'm fine with this. I'm happier this way too.

I look at challenges and difficulties as signals showing us the way toward completeness. I failed so many ways and eventually got cancer largely because I ignored these signals and fought them. Now I pay attention to them and welcome them. Living on my own again makes me realize that my life was never about me. It was about my first marriage, our kid, jobs and second marriage. Now I want to pay attention to myself and walk my path toward completeness becoming the best human being I can be. 

Sorry for the long post but this is a conclusion of a long thought process about my life so far.

All of you be blessed,

Laz

Comments

  • John23
    John23 Member Posts: 2,122 Member
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    Marriage

    Marriage

    I always felt that a marriage license should be issued the same way as an automobile license; with an expiration date.

    You would have to renew it if you wished to continue driving the same old vehicle.

    (We'll see how long that "headache" lasts come around renewal time.....)

    Seriously, any debilitating health problem can take it's toll on the patient and the caregiver. The feeling of wanting to help can be replaced with a feeling of "being used" quite easily.

    They say that "familiarity breeds contempt", but usually confine the observation to other than marriage and family matters. I often wonder about the limitation of the observation. Maybe it would be better if the patient and caregiver took a sabbatical; a "vacation" from life and a life-long relationship. Maybe a few weeks or months away, doing something other than what's come to be expected.....

    Or maybe that's the real problem...... all the things, however so slight, that have become to be "expected".....

    It ain't easy; no one said it would be.

    Best of health to you. Keep leaning forward!

    John

  • John23
    John23 Member Posts: 2,122 Member
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    lou3863 said:

    Marriage work and Cancer'

    I have worked 36 years of a 37 year marriage in a small business with my husband. 4 years ago I had breast Cancer. I was fortunate to only need radiation. I made all my appointments after 5 pm and never missed a day of work the entire 8 weeks of treatment. This past February I under went an operation to remove half my colon. I have been diagnoised with Stage 3 colon cancer. I did miss a total of 10 days in the hospital and 3 days at home recuperating since then I have had 2 chemo treatments. which I have either went to work before and or after the treatments. My doctor has told me I need to take care of my self. Today my husband told me when I asked that he carry the two cases of envelopes to my office that I was using an excuse not to have to do anything.
      I was told not to carry anything heavier than two lbs and two cases of envelopes weigh about 30 lbs. each. I already feel crappy that I am not pulling my own weight. Can anyone tell me it will be okay I am so upset right now. Thanks for letting me vent.

    Envelopes

    Envelopes

    I would try to fit the two cases of envelopes into his anus. You can try an entire box of envelopes at a time, or one by one, whatever suits your mood.

    You're a decent, sweet person, but you really should learn some four letter words to have handy when the time arises.

    Thirty-seven years, ehh? You deserve a medal, or at least a gift certificate for mental health services. The guy is a clod. A "Trumpeteer" of sorts.

    Speak up and tell him how you feel. Spit in his food if it makes you feel good to do so.

    You have my permission.

    Be well,

    John

  • NewHere
    NewHere Member Posts: 1,427 Member
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    lou3863 said:

    Marriage work and Cancer'

    I have worked 36 years of a 37 year marriage in a small business with my husband. 4 years ago I had breast Cancer. I was fortunate to only need radiation. I made all my appointments after 5 pm and never missed a day of work the entire 8 weeks of treatment. This past February I under went an operation to remove half my colon. I have been diagnoised with Stage 3 colon cancer. I did miss a total of 10 days in the hospital and 3 days at home recuperating since then I have had 2 chemo treatments. which I have either went to work before and or after the treatments. My doctor has told me I need to take care of my self. Today my husband told me when I asked that he carry the two cases of envelopes to my office that I was using an excuse not to have to do anything.
      I was told not to carry anything heavier than two lbs and two cases of envelopes weigh about 30 lbs. each. I already feel crappy that I am not pulling my own weight. Can anyone tell me it will be okay I am so upset right now. Thanks for letting me vent.

    Me Too

    There is always going to be a comment, often where people just do not realize what they are saying.  Someone said something similar to me.  (I was diagnosed Stage IIIC in early 2015, surgery & 6 months of chemo.)

    Anyway I did really well all things considered.  Took naps to be able to do things, like visit friends and walk around NYC with them and go to ballgames.  And I often was fine, or gave the appearance of the same.  But there were times I would just have to stop and rest for a few moments.  And I was told I was using it as an excuse.  I looked fairly well, kept a good attitude (usual bad jokes), so people just expected more I guess.  

    Also (and probably not the case here), perhaps there was a joke aspect.  My wife and I have been kidding around through all this.  As a married man, I find the chemo brain excuse for forgetting things awesome ;)  So I will say things like "chemo brain," and my wife would ask what my excuse was for before or before I can say anything "Yeah, I know you are going to blame chemo brain" and start laughing.  

    And it could be just a stress reaction on your husband's part in all this.  If you have been together for 37 years, with 36 years working like that, it sounds like it is strong foundation and people make mistakes/say stupid things sometimes.

    (I must say I like John's suggestion about the envelopes as a concept piece for sure :) )

  • NewHere
    NewHere Member Posts: 1,427 Member
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    Sorry Laz

    When you changed your photo I was wondering whether something happened and saw your references to this a bit back in time.

    I am sorry to have that happen to you in addition to everything else.  You always have a great approach and attitiude to things in every post that I have seen from you since I arrived here in Feb 2015.  You come across as a really good human being.  An impression of a gentle strength.  

    No need to ever apologize around here for a long post, your words are always thoughtful and reflective.  

  • LindaK.
    LindaK. Member Posts: 506 Member
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    Grrrrr

    Laz, I had a nice long response to your honest post, but then my internet connection failed and I lost it all.  I will try to re-write it when I have more time and energy.  It brought up a lot of emotions in my I thought were buried.

    Linda

     

  • ron50
    ron50 Member Posts: 1,723 Member
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    G'day Laz

      I sometimes think that It is best to just walk away. I did and I know you have. It is hard but you won't lose a friend as well as a wife, hugs Ron.

  • Trubrit
    Trubrit Member Posts: 5,800 Member
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    See you soon, Laz

    Hubby and I are too old to paint the town red, but I bet we and our wonderful Yolanda and hubby will make something exciting happen.  

    I am sorry your marriage ended. I am sorry for the curcumstances that brought you both to that point.  Be good to yourself. You know there is a grieving process to go through, not unlike losing someone in death.

    May you and your sail boat glide on calm seas from now on.

    See you next month.

    Sue 

  • JanJan63
    JanJan63 Member Posts: 2,478 Member
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    Laz, what can I say. I'm just

    Laz, what can I say. I'm just so sorry for your situation. How unfair. I keep thinking cancer is bad enough but all the side things that come with it are what makes it so much harder. It seems like if you have to deal with cancer you should get some kind of 'pass' card on other things in life but it's not how it works. I'm glad you're not allowing it to cave you in but I wish it hadn't happened to you. Or anyone. I once read that the rate of divorce in couples where one has/had cancer is somewhat higher than in couples who are not going through that. I'm sorry you're one of the statistics. When something additional comes along I think to myself "really?" and "seriously?" and will sometimes rant "wasn't the cancer enough?"

    Sending you a virtual hug, Laz. You did not deserve that and I'm sorry.

    Jan  

  • sigma9r
    sigma9r Member Posts: 9
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    lou3863 said:

    Marriage work and Cancer'

    I have worked 36 years of a 37 year marriage in a small business with my husband. 4 years ago I had breast Cancer. I was fortunate to only need radiation. I made all my appointments after 5 pm and never missed a day of work the entire 8 weeks of treatment. This past February I under went an operation to remove half my colon. I have been diagnoised with Stage 3 colon cancer. I did miss a total of 10 days in the hospital and 3 days at home recuperating since then I have had 2 chemo treatments. which I have either went to work before and or after the treatments. My doctor has told me I need to take care of my self. Today my husband told me when I asked that he carry the two cases of envelopes to my office that I was using an excuse not to have to do anything.
      I was told not to carry anything heavier than two lbs and two cases of envelopes weigh about 30 lbs. each. I already feel crappy that I am not pulling my own weight. Can anyone tell me it will be okay I am so upset right now. Thanks for letting me vent.

    Up yours!

    Uh, I have to agree with John23, here!  I've only lost 3 feet of colon BUT, because I wanted to "pull my weight" at both home and work, I developed a hernia.  I don't know what I lifted but my surgeon told me that I lifted something to cause it!  Ironically, because of my past, I thought I knew how to lift something.  The doctors practice medicine daily and kind of know what to do and not to do.  My wife tells me over and over not to lift stuff and my boss at work is quick to lift for me but I've told him what will happen if I throw another hernia, he loses me for 6 weeks! 

    I know it's your husband and all but he should be extra sensitive about it.  By the way, I believe it's against the law!  He has to respect your abilities and disabilities.  Next time he gives you grief, tell him you'll sue his **** off!!!

     

    W

  • Easyflip
    Easyflip Member Posts: 588 Member
    edited April 2016 #11
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    Laz

    I think you're making a wise choice. We can't really change other people, we should work on changing ourselves for the better. Be the best Laz you can be, take the lessons learned from our illness and the universe will fall in place. Good luck my friend, may you have a long and happy future.

    Easyflip/Richard

  • janderson1964
    janderson1964 Member Posts: 2,215 Member
    edited April 2016 #12
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    Wow Laz you brought tears to

    Wow Laz you brought tears to my eyes. But not all tears of sadness. There are also tears of hope. I really hope you can find peace and harmony in your time alone. I just made a huge change in my life yesterday driven by cancer. Ito the update I promised was coming. I will post it this weekend. I am glad you are back on the forum. I/we missed having you around and reading you kind words.

  • Dyanclark
    Dyanclark Member Posts: 296
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    S o sorry to hear about your

    S o sorry to hear about your second marriage not worKing I haven't been on this site for awhile, I quit posting as it was my husband with the cancer and he passed away in December 2015. We were only married 2 years when cancer was discovered! and he fought the fight for 7 years. I took care of him until the end and saw him take his last breath.I loved him no matter what, things only really got bad last six months of his life. I have to say it was the hardest thing I ever did. I really enjoyed your love story, so sad to hear it ende. I hope I never have to deal with cancer again, but who knows.  I am alone now, and miss my husband so much. I am so happy you are cancer free, don't give up you didn't fight that cancer to quit because your marriage didn't last I just thought I would send you some encouragement. It is so true the cancer takes over your life, it can be hard on a marriage.  Take care 

    Diane Clark

    dyanvdw.clark@hotmail.com

  • Phil64
    Phil64 Member Posts: 838 Member
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    Sending you well wishes

    Laz, so sad after reading your post. Cancer truly does rob us of so much. A little at a time, sometimes without us realizing it until it's gone. And it is true that cancer also pushes us to examine what is most important to us. I hope and pray that you will treat yourself well and find some joy and happiness in spite of the battle. Sending positive thoughts and prayers your way tonight.

    Phil

  • beaumontdave
    beaumontdave Member Posts: 1,280 Member
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    Laz, life isn't fair, of

    Laz, life isn't fair, of course, and how we each respond to adversity can define and sometimes, seperate us. I've made no secret about my disillusionment with humanity both specifically and in general. But, like you, I'm free [somewhat] to figure out what I want and need, going forward, and that has a certain intrigue to it. You seem well situated mentally/emotionally to move forward, so here's to you and the wind being at your back for a while., especially when your out in that boat...................................................................................Lou3863, we men can be thick as bricks as just as clueless. There were times I thought my wife needed to be catered to, and times I thought tough-love was required, and I'll bet I was wrong plenty. I know I never thought Cindy was dogging it, that's not who she was. I doubt that's you either, so I'm with those who think your man needs an attitude adjustment. Your 2+months out of major surgery, and in the midst of chemo and he doesn't know **** about how that all feels. It' time for the care-giver to step up, not criticize your efforts..........................................................Dave

  • steve g
    steve g Member Posts: 58 Member
    edited May 2016 #16
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    Laz ; Here is my story

    I was 68 when Dx, happly married and self employed my whole life, quite sucessful and never sick untill cancer. Now have a permanent ostomy bag which was a real adjustment both mentaly and physically. After the hospital my wife of close to 4o yrs started sleeping in the spare bedroom, said it was because I snored, well I snored before and on occasion would force her to get up and move to another room. We travel by motorhome and in rv parks anyone with a dog always carries poop bags to clean up after their pet and are thrown in a container, not in their bed at home.  Well I see little difference between my bag of crap taped to my stomach and that of my dogs in a plastic bag. I know it's a crude but realistic way of looking at it and makes it easier to understand my wife although she will not acknowledge it. I am now 76 and have adjusted to sleeping alone but still feel as though I may as well be living with my sister, I love her too. 

    As for fairness in life and rewards, I have made good and bad business decissions and on a loosing one, I have always said "it cost money to go to college and I just received an education". Try to learn from it and move on, but when the aggrivation exceeds the enjoyment, it's time to get out. After the operation I realized I was on the verge of depression and needed a project to get involved in and get my mind off cancer so I bought another business. Spent over half of our savings and had to work 14 hour days but it worked, I was so busy I forget all about my other problems. My wife was with me all the way and worked as hard as I did, never said I was self centered, just asked that I would not leave her broke. It took 7 yrs to turn the business into a profitable enterprise but we did it together and now someone else owns it, but I still sleep with one of our dogs.

    Hope you enjoy your sailboat as much as I did mine,10 yrs of it, liked long distance trips, Central America was my favorite. Last trip was St. Thomas and that was it, too many tourists, may as well stayed in Key West so sold the boat and tried traveling with a motorhome or as I now refer to it as a rolling kennel, 3 Yorkies.

    Hope your decissions about life work out for you and good luck.       Steve

  • lou3863
    lou3863 Member Posts: 9
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    John23 said:

    Marriage

    Marriage

    I always felt that a marriage license should be issued the same way as an automobile license; with an expiration date.

    You would have to renew it if you wished to continue driving the same old vehicle.

    (We'll see how long that "headache" lasts come around renewal time.....)

    Seriously, any debilitating health problem can take it's toll on the patient and the caregiver. The feeling of wanting to help can be replaced with a feeling of "being used" quite easily.

    They say that "familiarity breeds contempt", but usually confine the observation to other than marriage and family matters. I often wonder about the limitation of the observation. Maybe it would be better if the patient and caregiver took a sabbatical; a "vacation" from life and a life-long relationship. Maybe a few weeks or months away, doing something other than what's come to be expected.....

    Or maybe that's the real problem...... all the things, however so slight, that have become to be "expected".....

    It ain't easy; no one said it would be.

    Best of health to you. Keep leaning forward!

    John

    Marriage work and Cancer'

    I have worked 36 years of a 37 year marriage in a small business with my husband. 4 years ago I had breast Cancer. I was fortunate to only need radiation. I made all my appointments after 5 pm and never missed a day of work the entire 8 weeks of treatment. This past February I under went an operation to remove half my colon. I have been diagnoised with Stage 3 colon cancer. I did miss a total of 10 days in the hospital and 3 days at home recuperating since then I have had 2 chemo treatments. which I have either went to work before and or after the treatments. My doctor has told me I need to take care of my self. Today my husband told me when I asked that he carry the two cases of envelopes to my office that I was using an excuse not to have to do anything.
      I was told not to carry anything heavier than two lbs and two cases of envelopes weigh about 30 lbs. each. I already feel crappy that I am not pulling my own weight. Can anyone tell me it will be okay I am so upset right now. Thanks for letting me vent.

  • UncleBuddy
    UncleBuddy Member Posts: 1,019 Member
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    I'm sorry

    My heart is broken for you. Keep fighting and live your life for you! Try to do things you didn't do before, have new experiences. I can tell that you're a good man. I guess some people just can't deal with illness. I'm married for 35 years and don't know if my husband could deal with me being sick. That's the honest truth. 

    Be well.

    Lin

  • danker
    danker Member Posts: 1,276 Member
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    True Love

    Fortunately my Josephine and I had true love that lasted.  We were married 52 years when I was diagnosed with cancer.

    She cared for me and supported me as best she could.  As I became NED her Alzheimers symptoms worsened. She now needed my care!  I had to ultimately place her in a nursing home.  For 22 months in the home , 2 months after our 57th

    anniversary, she died inn her sleep.  

    I feel so bad when I learn that not all of us have the marriage I did.

  • Alaska_Amp
    Alaska_Amp Member Posts: 5
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    Cancer & Marriage and Envelopes

    Thank you, Laz for sharing your story. Your insight and honesty is inspiring. A very difficult journey by a very brave man. I've read it several times and seem to take something new away each time.  Bless you for having the courage to share it with us.

    My journey is all solo, but I have the benefit of having been a caregiver first to my mother who passed away from cancer. The diagnosis was was a shock, but I recall immediately thinking "I know this enemy". Cancer and I are old familiar rivals.  The only resource back then was a book in the public library by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross on death and dying.  There was no internet and only limited medical treatment. She was given three months to live.  She survived over three years, albeit with incredible suffering. I remain haunted by the memory of bargaining for her life. First, to give me the cancer and let her live. Then, when things became so very bad, to please allow her to pass peacefully.  But she taught me how to fight, endure, and survive. It's an ironic full circle of life to experience those challenges now as a cancer patient.

    John23, I really appreciated your post entitled: Envelopes.  Sometimes I forget to laugh. Life is so serious. You really made my day. Thank you. Laughter is the best medicine.