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What To Do??

Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2001

It is a long story, but I will try to cut it short. My husband's father, whom he absolutely adores and is his mentor in life was just diagnosed 2 days ago with Acute Leukemia. He is from a family of 6 children and they all ran to his aid to give support and love. At this point we know nothing. My husband and I have been married for 7 plus years and have two children with one on the way. I felt completely shut off the minute one of his siblings called him. He took off and nicely I was told I should stay home with the children. I was devastated, not only because I wanted to see his father to show my love and support, but to also be with my husband in his time of need. He is home with his six siblings and mother. He plans to stay the whole week there and possibly more. I am welcome to come visit, but our children are not to disturb him and he will not lift a finger to help me with them or deal with them at all I am told (they are small toddlers). He is our sole income as a teacher and we just moved to a new city, knowing no one, and he has a brand new job. He is allowed 12 paid days, he is using 5 at this point. I am most concerned about his father, but also feel he has responsibilities and can not put his life on hold completely and forever. He has told me he is taking it week to week, but if his father is told he only has so long to live, my husband plans to move back, as with all the children, whom are married, etc. No one lives in the same town and we are the closest with a 13 hour drive. I assume he will leave his job and us behind........ It is early and reason tells me he will start to think with reason, but his family is odd in many ways and I am nervous he plans to do this and be gone from our lives......... Is it common for people/children of cancer patients to react this strongly and to give up their own lives to wait and watch him either live or die?? I know this sounds selfish and somewhat cold, but I risk losing not only my father-in-law, but my husband, marriage, children's father, etc. He has shut me out with no cause and fled home to family. I can't sleep, eat, and have a nervous feeling, headache, literally sick over what has happened to his father and what may happen to all our lives. Should I be patient and not worry about him coming around to some sensibility?? Please give me advice no matter what you have to say. If you feel I am wrong in my thinking, please honestly tell me, if my concerns are valid, please share. Any response would be helpful from someone who has gone through something similar. I thank you.

Posts: 105
Joined: Nov 2000

Who can say what a normal reaction is? When my mother was dying, my sister came from Australia to stay with her for a month. After a week or so, though, she arranged for her significant other to come and join her. I, too, took time off to be there all the time, as did our brother. He lives close to my parents' home, and I only live 4.5 hours away. I wanted my husband there longer than he felt he could take off.
No everyone would feel that way, and I guess it's possible they are finding comfort right now by recreating their childhood family, if that makes any sense.
At the same time, you have a right to your own feelings, and it is true he has chosen his siblings over you as support, at least for now.
Is there a place in your community that might run a support group for caretakers? (You should qualify even if you're not at your father-in-law's side.) Or you might get help from discussing your situation with your minister (priest, rabbi, imam...) if you belong to a church. You might also consider other forms of counseling. Getting help isn't a sign of weakness. It shows you're smart enough to see that with help, you'll work through things more quickly, and thereby suffer less pain.
Meanwhile, my heart goes out to you, and if I were in your position, I'm pretty sure I would feel devastated. Of course, I have no children, and don't know what kind of difference that makes, though surely it is different.
I send you a warm hug, and warmer wishes that this will work out well for you eventually.

Posts: 105
Joined: Nov 2000

P.S. I always seem to write too much. Yes, your hurt is reasonable. Try whatever seems best to get yourself through this, and go everywhere you can get support.

Posts: 2
Joined: Apr 2002

I know what you mean about being shut out.
Only with me, It is my own father and my mother and sister have totally shut me out.
They consult with the doctors and social workers, make all the decisions and have no other life except to be at the hospital with my father. I am a psychologist too and they do not want my feedback, I do not get consulted, I get some email updates but I am told not to call them but to call his nurse or doctor. They are upset cause I am dealing well with this and I am strong.
I feel normalcy must be continue despite the cancer of the loved one. I do feel your husband's main responsibility is to his wife and children. That is what marriage is all about.He can still visit his father and take place in the caregiving process but not the extent of his siblings who may live closer.
I think you are not being selfish to feel shut out. Your feelings should not be ignored.Email me anytime at nittany14@aol.com

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