Hi....need to vent.....too much going on...(long rant)
I'm relatively new to the caregivers field. The wife was diagnosed with 1st stage, triple-negative breast cancer about 6 weeks ago. since then, she has had successful surgery, just completed her localized(internal) radiation, and is set to heal for around 3-4 weeks before starting TC chemo(4 doses over 12 weeks)
All in all we are extremely lucky as to when it was caught, treatment so far and prognosis. compared to a lot of you, she(we) don't even begin to scratch the surface of what many of you have been through and/or are going through.
However, I am a mess. It basically started with her specifying that none of us in the family were allowed to say anything negative due to her fear of our words causing something to go wrong. This, interpreted by me at least means no arguments, disagreements, questioning of judgement,etc.... I know this is not the healthiest approach, but as I am relatively low key, was hoping that we could fly under the radar, so to speak, and that after completion of treatment/remission/cure would then try to back her out to 'normal' behavior.
Her next problem is that she always thought of herself as a strong person(so did I), and her inability to stay rock solid(who can? under any cancer diagnosis) has created massive internal conflict in her, and makes me believe she has allowed herself to be the victim. Of course, I can only sympathize and try to empathize with her diagnosis. She has become either very wishy-washy in decisions(and speaks softly then) or rock-hard with no course for questioning.
An example of this is chemo. Originally she was told she didn't need to undergo chemo, but her primary oncologist said she thought it was highly recommended(the chemo-oncologist has said that since it was caught early with no spread, but on the other hand it was triple-negative(more aggressive) that is could go either way, but he suggested it to raise her chances of no recurrences). This caught her quite by surprise and she basically checked out of the meeting after that, and said she would NOT do chemo. I believe there are two main reasons she is/was against chemo: 1) Her mother passed away from a highly aggressive luekemis(I forget the exact diagnosis) after only a short period after diagnosis. This happened 16 years ago, and I'm sure the chemo she was on was extrememly nasty, and her mother said she would never have done the chemo if she had known how it would go for her. 2) my wife's chiropractor(who is fairly knowledgable in things medical) discouraged her from doing any chemo, but the family and I know that he is one who suggests lots of non-mainstream healing(and he and my wife are both very religious), and we do not agree with what he suggested as a primary method.
So, after saying no originally, when given time to think about long term(mostly for the grandbabies) she thinks logically and says yes to chemo. However, this scenario has replayed itself 2 more times, even though the last time she hadn't said she was not going to have chemo. She just recently said that she again decided to have chemo only after she saw(and asked) what was wrong with me - I've been feeling pushed closer to the edge(and if you knew me you would be surprised I could even say that)
As I have read here, it is common for patients to behave erratically, harshly,etc... to their caregivers. She has never been mean to me, but does treat me as somewhat incompetent in anything, and has treated me(per my feelings) more like the help than her husband. I am 99% sure that this behavior is completely unknown to her and if I questioned her, she would be defensive as if I would be making it up(our relationship was not completely healthy in this respect even before the diagnosis) In addition, between caring for her(I took over almost all cooking and shopping, as well as driving to almost all medical visits,etc...) and studying for a work exam I later failed, I have had maybe a couple hours of me time in 6 weeks. When she 'caught' me playing a new computer game for an hour(and this is only the third game I have bought in like 20 years....believe me, I'm not a gamer), she complained that I was wasting time where I should be helping around the house. Another aberration in her behavior was that she required me to refrain from cussing around her. for the most part, that is totally appropriate and I could do with at least a little cleanup language-wise. However, she will still get on my case for saying 'damn' ever.
In the meantime, during this period since diagnosis, my own personal and professional life have taken some major hits. Work and health problems have been problematic at best. I am fighting severe allergies, headaches, breathing issues as well as having severe sleep issues(mostly due to a new bed she wanted). I am slowly trying to work at each of these issues, but all of these issues combine to make one miserable in their own right. Even without my wife's issues, this would have been a rough stretch for myself alone.
Finally, I have a near non-existent family/support system. The parents we have left are too old and confused that we don't want to burden them with her diagnosis. My brother is unfortunately a non-emotional type that would have little to help out in this case, and his wife, who is usually a very helpful and concerned issue, stopped me cold the first time I asked her for help on how to deal with my wife and her issues. She bluntly said she didn't want to take sides between the two of us, and wouldn't let me explain I wasn't asking for blame, but for help. My wife's family is a mixed bag as well. Despite not getting along well with her sister, I did talk to her once about her sister's behavior and to my surprise didn't instantly brand me as unsupportive. I also briefly talked to my wife's two adult daughters about the same thing. However, while being sympathetic when I talked to them, the few times they saw(the wife has been pretty good at keeping 'normal' while around them) any issue that she had with me, instead of getting any sympathy, they basically turned on me and suggested I wasn't being supportive enough.
To get back on track, I realize it is my wife who has cancer, not me. I try my best to bite my tongue and not think disparaging thoughts. However, again, per the standards of those cancer patients here and everywhere, she has been very lucky. I hate to think how this would all be going if she had a more serious condition or were in final stages. Of course, I feel guilty that I am feeling any resentment, but I am only human.(altthough being OCD positive and having at least some mental issues about myself magnify my negative feelings about her, myself and our relationship/future). I am also concerned about after 'cure'/remission, that she won't return eventually to her old self. We have mentioned some face to face counseling, but of course, she will leave that up to me as she is basically doing nothing on her own. I am afraid that if we go to counseling, or even have a face to face, if I start, it will not stop til it all comes out, and that we will be in a much worse place than we already are.
This is my first rant(hopeful thinking that it could be the last), so I hope I get some cathartic release from it, and I know there are sympathetic ears/hearts here. Not looking for a huge amount of sympathy(a little might help ), but if there are any other thoughts of things to try besides talking to her or face to face counseling(since I know about those options) I am all ears.
- All Discussion Boards
- 6 CSN Information
- 6 Welcome to CSN
- 120.8K Cancer specific
- 2.8K Anal Cancer
- 440 Bladder Cancer
- 304 Bone Cancers
- 1.6K Brain Cancer
- 28.4K Breast Cancer
- 388 Childhood Cancers
- 27.8K Colorectal Cancer
- 4.6K Esophageal Cancer
- 1.1K Gynecological Cancers (other than ovarian and uterine)
- 12.8K Head and Neck Cancer
- 6.3K Kidney Cancer
- 660 Leukemia
- 779 Liver Cancer
- 4.1K Lung Cancer
- 5K Lymphoma (Hodgkin and Non-Hodgkin)
- 233 Multiple Myeloma
- 7.1K Ovarian Cancer
- 48 Pancreatic Cancer
- 485 Peritoneal Cancer
- 5.2K Prostate Cancer
- 1.2K Rare and Other Cancers
- 531 Sarcoma
- 706 Skin Cancer
- 643 Stomach Cancer
- 190 Testicular Cancer
- 1.5K Thyroid Cancer
- 5.8K Uterine/Endometrial Cancer
- 6.3K Other Discussion Boards