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Help me understand!

Posts: 296
Joined: Mar 2004

Hello! My name is Sue. I am new to this site as of 2 weeks ago. I have been reading everything I can.I have been afraid to start a topic as to not be taken seriously. My husband has been diagnoisied with colon rectal cancer with 60%liver involvement. He has been undergoing chemo since Nov.2003. He has had 4 CT Scan and the last one 2 weeks ago showed that the chemo is finally working and the cancer in his liver is getting smaller. My husband Bob is such a fighter I am so proud of him!! The Doctor's say that his treatments are not to cure but to try and give him more time. I don't really have anyone to talk to about this so I thought I would try the super people that I have been reading about. I know that the power of positive thinking is exstreamly important!! After we got the results and the doctor steped out for a minute my husband yelled out "I'm going to live" I was very happy but also afraid to say anything as I DIDN'T want his fram of mind to change. Is it possible??? I know that it is but I am afraid to think it. We have been blown out of the water so many times since day I. I don't know what to really think anymore. He is so up now that I can't talk to him about what if. I won't!! My husband is a very proud man and very independent. He has work so hard to get to this point. I am at a lose as to keeping an open mind and being realistic. I love him with everything I have and don't want him to have to worry about anything!! He is self employed and all he wanted to do wa get back on his feet and get to work. He is now working when he is able and that has been the best medicine for him. He is not saying he is useless anymore. Can anyone help me understand what is going through his mind. I'm sorry for going on I just didn't know how to put it into words. We are taking one day at a time and laughing as much as possible. I love hearing him happy and laughing again.

Also, I posted in the caregivers section and they put up a trashcan symble? What does that mean?



kerry's picture
Posts: 1317
Joined: Jan 2003


Cancer is not only a physical disease, but can be an emotional disease as well affecting not only the person who physically has cancer, but caregivers, friends and loved ones. It is tough. BUT, your husband sounds like a fighter and if his attitude is as positive as it sounds, give him all the encouragement and support you can. A positive attitude and a determination can sometimes be the best medicine there is. Be hapy that he is so positive, he could be the opposite and be so discouraged and depressed that he just gives up.

I was diagnosed in Dec. 2002 and underwent 6 months of chemo. I stayed positive throughout surgery, chemo and now my life after. My primary caregivers were my parents, my children and friends, unfortunately my husband went into denial. Enjoy everyday that you are together - laugh and love - great medicine!!


p.s. The trashcan symbol means "delete this message"

Anonymous user (not verified)

Hi Sue and welcome to our wacky, crazy, caring, compassionate and even funny group. I am truly sorry that you need to be here...none of us really want to be, but through circumstances beyond our control we have all kind of been thrown together and we are trying to make the best out of a situation that can be very difficult and at the very least, trying.

I am caregiver to my husband diagnosed stage III 2003 and every day I am so grateful for his positive attitude, as I know you are for your husband's as well. As one person has already said, it could be worse without that positive attitude. I truly believe the positive thinking and pro-active, go get it, knock the crap out of it attitude is half the battle.

Recently, I had a conversation with a priest who I was speaking with about my own fears and doubts in dealing with Bert's colon cancer and my mom's lung cancer. Throughout the conversation, one major thing that the priest said stuck in my mind, that being "of all the studies that science has made of cancer patients who went into remission, attitude (positive and the fierce will to live) seemed to be the only answer or explanation as all treatments and conditions were pretty much the same." Definite food for thought, don't you think. Not only that, the oncologist that my husband goes to treats several people who have been diagnosed with multiple lung and liver nodules and are still here three, four, and more years after diagnosis, doing well. In fact, I know of one patient who was stage IV 8 years ago and she's doing real well!!!!

As to what is going through your husband's mind, that is hard to speculate but from what you have indicated, he's definitely not planning on giving up and that's wonderful. Do the best you can to join him in that attitude. All things are possible!!!


Posts: 232
Joined: Apr 2003

Hi Sue- Welcome. I also am sorry that you need to be here, but it is a great place to share stories, get practical suggestions and just vent. Your husband sounds like a wonderful person. I am glad to hear he is having response to treatment. The gift of a positive attitude is a god send.

I have stage 4 disease with history of peritoneal, liver and lymph node metastasis. Although my sister cannot quite believe that I can be so UP without antidepressants, I also have been blessed with a positive attitude. I recently read Anatomy of Hope by Dr. Goodman (currently on the bestsellers list I think). I could relate to many of the stories about this oncologist's patients. Although I know the prognosis is terrible, it is not zero. Someone has to be in that small percent who do make it.

As for your husbands case-anything is possible. There are people who have had quite large portions of their liver removed for metastatic disease and are doing well, as well as others who have had their tumors controlled for long periods of time with chemotherapy. If you have not already done so, sometimes consultation at a major cancer center may be helpful. Because oncologists at such large centers often are involved in clinical trials, and work in close association with surgeons and other support staff they may have additional suggestions about novel treatments that might help beat the odds.

There are some practicalities of dealing with this disease. Learning as much as I could about my disease helped a great deal so that when problems came up It made it much easier to make decisions and work on getting timely solutions.

Beyond the fear of losing your husband, the other issue is learning to live with an uncertain future. Although all of us, healthy or not should take care to put our affairs in order, few of us, including me, had made a will, assigned a person power of attorney should I become incapacitated, or investigated carefully healthcare coverage issues. When I got ill, I took care of these things to make life easier for my family should I get into trouble. It gave me peace of mind as well. Social workers at hospitals, oncology nurses and materials from ACS can help out with information/suggestions on dealing with these issues.

Try to take each day as it comes and not let the uncertainty dampen the good times.

Best wishes,


Sheepy's picture
Posts: 48
Joined: Nov 2003

Hi Sue - and welcome!

As you learn more about this disease you realise that statistics are a blunt instrument; it's really down to the individual, and your husband sounds like he's determined to live.

Remember - even if things turn out bad, what's the point in living your last years in fear of the end? He should live life to the max!

spongebob's picture
Posts: 2598
Joined: Apr 2003

Ahoy, Bob & Sue (The "BS" in "bsrules") -

I think Stacy (as she so often does) hit the nail on the head - why make today miserable worrying about tomorrow. Face it, we're all "terminal". I know that I have a shelf-life and I will move on to the next level of this great mystery of life some day. For all I know, it could be tomorrow. You, Stacy, Kerry, Kris, Monika, everyone is in that situation. But we don't paralyze ourselves with fear about it. We don't make today sad because we know we won't be here some day. We enjoy life and celebrate it and make each day a joyous experience to remember. Our memories and other's memories of us are what keep us alive even after we go.

Another suggested reading is: Chicken Soup for the Surviving Soul. Read it and then pass it along to your husband. It contains many uplifting anecdotes of people with great attitude (and I completely agree with Monika and her priest on the benefits of "'tude"), but it will also give you, as a caregiver and partner, some insight into what's going on in your husband's mind right now.

Hang in there and CELEBRATE LIFE! It's a beautiful day here on the Gulf Coast - I'm going out to enjoy it (despite the fact that there are Mack trucks out on the road today)!

- SpongeBob

nanuk's picture
Posts: 1362
Joined: Dec 2003

Sue: Your husband has the most important ingredient in his treatment and recovery-ATTITUDE..it's more important than circumstances, failures, what people think or say, etc. We always have a choice every day
regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day..we can't change the inevitable, but we can play on the one string we have, attitude; life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.
We are in charge of our attitudes, and that may well predict the consequences.. Bud

spongebob's picture
Posts: 2598
Joined: Apr 2003

And, Sue, that came from one of my personal heros: Bud - Kiss My Attitude - Nanuk. If any semi-colon epitomizes the word attitude, Bud is the King and andreae is the Queen... er.. Princess (I don't believe she's old enough to be a queen yet).

- SpongeBob

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