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How Can I Cope

Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2002

My husband has just be diagnosed with colon cancer which is fairly advanced. I am falling apart and don't know how to get myself together to help him. I just want to run away and hide yet I feel so guilty feeling this way. How can I get my act together to be of some comfort to him?

Posts: 16
Joined: Mar 2002

I know exactly how you are feeling. My significant other was diagnosed with colon cancer in January. Stage III.

The first thing you need to do is take care of yourself. If you're not healthy, you cannot be a caregiver or support person. Your feelings of wanting to "run away" are completely natural. No one wants to face something like this.

I would seek out a councelor or caseworker or social worker who can help you understand all the feelings your experiencing. You cannot do this alone and don't think that you have to.

I've found a good support group in my area that is helping me understand myself more and to live in the moment. You can't dwell on future "what ifs" or you will not enjoy the present.

Thinking about only the possible negatives of what "could happen" will only make you worry more and make you sick. You have to accept the present and deal with things as they arrise.

Will your husband have surgery? Do you know what stage it is? What's the prognosis?

Remember, everyone is different. Both caregivers and patients. Don't beat yourself up looking at statistics on the internet. They're hard to read and can be very scary. People do beat cancer. My mother had very bad uterine cancer 16 years ago and is still here, doing well for the most part (in remission). She's a fighter and that's exactly what you and your husband will have to find the strength to do.

And it's ok to cry or leave the home to get away from it once in a while. When my partner was diagnosed, we took a short 3 hour trip to a resort town. We stayed in and relaxed and then went out and saw the sites. Know that all the feelings you're experiencing are totally natural and you need to deal in your own way.

Get a book or two on the topics your needing guidance in. Seek spiritial guidance if you're into that. Call friends. Talk to people. Go to a councelor.

The only thing you really can do in this is be there for your husband. You can't "cure" him, fix him, make it go away or play God. Love him and be there, but don't try to take it all on yourself either.

Take care and let us know how you're doing.


Posts: 4
Joined: Apr 2002

Gabriel, it sounds like Toddpern gave really good advice to you in his post. I am dealing with a similar situation to yours, and sometimes I feel so isolated. Only people that are experiencing what we are can truly understand what it is like. If you you want to email and be friends, let me know. I would be happy to help you in any way I can. Linda

Posts: 140
Joined: Sep 2001

You can and will. Contact local Amer. Cancer
Society to see if there are others who have this similiar disease in their families and talk to them on how they have done it. This is equally hard on the caregiver as well your husband.

I found a lot of touching, hugging, hand holding to be reassuring while not allowing myself to be consumed by self blame. The feelings you feel are human and nothing to blame yourself about. The fear of the unknown future affects both equally.

Take time for yourself too. You must not be consumed by your husbands disease otherwise you will not be able to help him fight it. His plate is full and yours will only have more heaped on it as time passes. Share some of the load to others willing to help during this time.

It took some time but I finaly realised that my wife and family were as frightened as I was but from different perspectives. Recognize that we are all human, have feelings that we feel guilty for and move on to do what we must to comfort EACH OTHER.Cancer is a team effort.
Joe Nutter

Posts: 4
Joined: Apr 2002

My mom was recently diagnosed with lung cancer. I know that crazy feeling, buzzing in your head, just want to run away and yet can't stay away...feel like you have to keep your eyes on the person at all times.
The other responses you have been sent are good ones. May I also suggest what I did? I talked to mom's doctor about it - the disrupted sleep, the anxiety attacks - and she gave me a short term dose of anti-anxiety pills to get through the beginning of this without losing it. A couple weeks on this and my sleep got back to normal and I was breathing normal...the edge was removed and I got past the first panic. It was very helpful. I'm past this first wacky stage - I don't know what comes next but I'll let you know.

Posts: 5
Joined: Feb 2009

My husband has a cancer similar to what you describe. You are not alone, let me tell you. I am in my late 30's and have fear, anxiety all of it. I am using friends, this website, the social worker at the hospital where we are going for treatment for him. However, you must, must, take time to do what makes you happy. It may sound selfish, but you are no good to him if you arent in good shape mentally, physially etc. I am thinking about seeking out a support group. Where do you live? I live in Chicago, Northside, by Evanston. Anyone have any suggestions? I didn't spell check or anything mh

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