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loved one left when cancer came

Posts: 3
Joined: Aug 2004

I am new to this website and feeling very shy about writing. But I need help and to know about others' experiences and ways of coping. After my diagnosis of cancer, my fiance' starting emotionally drifting away from me. We don't live in the same town and he starting coming over to see me less and less. I tried to go see him when I could, even with my fatigue. Even when I had the surgery, for the first couple of days he stayed with me but would leave me alone for hours and left early 2 days later. Now he's broken up with me. There is no chance of reuniting. Has this happened to anyone else? I have heard of cancer patients who were left when their partner first found out about the cancer, during treatment, or right after. Now it's happened to me. I feel so much grief and fury! What have others of you done to help yourselves through a situation like this while having cancer? Thank you for your thoughts

Posts: 23
Joined: May 2002

I hope your health recovery is doing well, and I am sad to hear about your fiance breaking up with you....
my 16-year marriage dissolved with in a year and a half after I finished treatment for Hodgkin's....it was really a blow to me...one of the reasons my relationship broke up is that I needed to take care of me, and not be totally selfless like I was before. My ex couldn't stand that I was the center of attention and that I had needs and wants from him..

my recommendation is find solice with those who HAVE stayed; with your faith (spirituality) whatever that maybe. You get to concentrate on YOU, getting healthy and surrounding yourself with people that care and do support you.

so be healthy, and know that there's lots of people that do care.

Posts: 12
Joined: Dec 2003

I am so sorry to hear of broken marriages and engagements due to cancer. Sadly, I have lost a best friend and now find my 23 year very happy marriage seriously in trouble. Having been diagnosed with Hodgkins 2 years ago, the friend - who is also my neighbour - totally avoided and abandoned me right off the bat. I would watch them drive by after work and I would cry my heart out every day, totally devastated by the selfishness and shallowness of people whom we had spent time and even vacationed with for the past ten + years. Eventually, I wrote her a letter, explaining how incredibly hurt I was, and how badly I needed her love and support through this ordeal. They were never to be heard from again. I still watch them drive by every day and they no longer look in this direction. The hurt will live inside me always, and my heart will never be the same.

My husband was mechanically wonderful through all the treatments and appointments. He learned to cook, did the laundry and the groceries, but pulled away emotionally... and I can't seem to get him back. Now I am a year past chemo & radiation, but am still tired, get daily fevers, droopy eyelids and swelling in my neck and lymph nodes. He keeps picking fights with me, saying I seem "angry" all the time. What used to be as close and happy as any marriage I've ever seen, has turned so sour, and I don't know how to get it back on track. It's as though people think that when treatment ends, you're supposed to be your chipper old self again, with no restrictions or challenges or lingering fears.

It is very sad that some can turn away from us when we go through this dread disease, but I guess we do have to remember... cancer isn't our fault... and some people are horrid and shallow.

My heart goes out to both of you, and I hope you re-gain health and find new relationships with better quality human beings.

Posts: 23
Joined: Feb 2004

I am very sorry to read all of your postings! It is a shame that the individuals in your life have chosen to leave when you need them most, or after the battle has been waged and won. It truly is selfish behavior.
But unfortunately, there are many people who cannot handle illness. To some cancer is an automatic death sentence, which it is not! But they don't want to have to deal with the loss, so they pull away from the ill person, removing themselves before THEY can be hurt by the loss. In my opinion they were never a true friend or lover, and you are probably better off without them. You need to surround yourself with people who care for you during good times and bad. (I lost a good friend my first round with cancer 23 years ago - she refused to see me when I was sick - it damaged our relationship irreparably.)
One of you mentions being told you are "too angry" - are you? I know that I am, and I need to find someone to talk to about this - a therapist, shrink, whatever. I actually denied it when someone recently asked me if I was angry. Not me! Life deals you a hand.... But the more I thought about it, I had to admit I was. And that I was taking it out on my loved ones at times (mostly when I was feeling very low). Be sure that you aren't doing that - that can create damage in any relationship, even without illness.
As Karieallen noted, surround yourself with those who love and support you. And as PennyP said, some people are just too selfish and shallow - find the quality folks in your life and bask in their glow.
As the saying goes, this too shall pass - but it sure is tough getting through it. Remember that there are good folks at this site that you can "talk" to who can relate and understand what you are going through.
Take care of yourselves.
Be well.

Posts: 3
Joined: Sep 2004

Summer, am sorry but your break-up i do hope you
kick this cancer a big swift kick in the rear and get well very soon, same happend to me too
my marrage dissolved in less then 10 months after
20 years of marrage.
i was Dx'd her answer was "I can handle waking up one day and you'll be dead" so nice to hear
I beleive if a person that says I love you then
parts company in your need of support then that person never really loved you in the frist place
if the love was true then the one would have stayed to continue to love and support you i maybe a little harsh but that is what i beleive.

Posts: 2
Joined: Feb 2004

Summer, I have read your message and the responses that have come before mine. I agree with a lot of what everyone has said. I am a breast cancer survivor in Stage 4 (for nine years). That is the good news. My cancer has progressed faster during the past 18 months. My husband of 21 years said he couldn't handle the illness and also my daughter's special education situation. I think he couldn't agree with me about how to handle some of that. He promised the school he would take over some one aspect for me, but never was capable of doing it. He has been emotional abusive for the past 18 months, and this summer, I discovered that he was having an affair. He said he would go back to counseling and try to work things out. The nicer I was, the nastier he was. It was unbelievably devastating. Well, he treated me so horribly, that I am filing for divorce, and I told him to leave. I have been on chemo for a long time, and now will find out tomorrow about radiation to the head. Quite frightening! Wouldn't it have been better to at least have my husband with me now. Well, I think he is still with a woman 10 years my junior and healthy! That does make me feel angry!! I'm glad I read all the replies because I do have to appreciate the family and friends that are supportive, and do the best I can for the time I have left. I have a 16 year old daughter, who is so confused by this whole situation. We're both in counseling. Summer, I do wish you and all the others a better day each day. Take good care.

Posts: 2
Joined: Feb 2004

Summer, Two things more: I'm sorry for my spelling errors. It is very late. I wanted to clarify that I have been a breast cancer survivor for 12 3/4 years (9 years in Stage 4). I have had many days of wellness and worked until three and one-half years ago. I am involved in my community and I'm in a chorus, where I sing, dance and am co-choreograher. I'm rehearsing right now, every week, for a holiday show. I hope I make it to that show. So, what I'm trying to say is that my husband had a wife who could do a lot for the last 12 3/4 years. Yes, things were declining slowing, but they got worse after the extreme stress I suffered from him. Again, take good care, and for those of you who will be well, I wish you new love.

Posts: 1
Joined: Dec 2004

OK - I am brand new to this site and this board, but these posts have stopped me dead in my tracks. In 2000-2001, I had my first brawl with bone cancer, on my pelvis. It was mostly a surgical battle, but went OK. During the process my wife, then of 8 years, pulled away so far we became, at best, roommates who shared a son. We spent lots of time after I ws "clean" dealing with that hurt. This past April, I found another tumor, this time on my sternum. It was wholly removed in August. The withdrawl was, this time, even worse. We now find ourselves totally on teh ropes, and totally skeptical that we will survive as a couple and as parents. She didn;t know how to deal with it, so hid in work and parenting while friends and co-workers supported me instead. As greatful to them as I am for their support, I needed my wife. She remains scared, as do I, as the Docs say that "there will likely be more". I also remain VERY bitter about fighting it alone - for the second time. HHHEEELLLPPP!!!!

Posts: 2
Joined: Dec 2004

I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Metastatic Melanoma in April and just recently finished 4 rounds of biochemotherapy. A couple days before I started round 4, my husband of almost 13 years asked for a divorce. How do you deal with both at the same time?

Posts: 41
Joined: Dec 2004

Hello Roxanne5,

Get the best revenge on the one that deserted you in the time that you needed him so much, by doing everything that you can to get well and to find happiness away from that person. You can do it!!!

I have been a fulltime caregiver to my husband of 26 years, for the past ten years. He had a massive stroke that destroyed one-half of his brain, plus he had bladder/prostrate cancer and had them removed. He has to wear an Ostomy bag since that operation. No, it hasn't been easy to be around him, since he takes out his temper on me, but I am sticking it out with him. They think that his cancer has spread now and we will be receiving the outcome of that test, just before Christmas. Again, it hasn't been easy to be around him because of his temper and abuse. I don't want praise or a pat on the back, I am just doing what is right and the way that Mom taught me to do.

You will find someone much better than the one who couldn't deal with it. You deserve much better than him and you will find that person, a real man. Hang onto that belief. You will be in my prayers.


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