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Posts: 2
Joined: Sep 2008

Hi - after reading all your posts, I have come to the conclusion that this happens WAY too frequently.

I was diagnosed in 1999 with CLL - did "watch and wait" for a short time and then started chemo later on that same year. I have done 2 or 3 tries at chemo and while they worked short term in the beginning - they quit working and I had terrible reactions to one of the drugs - lung lesions and my oncologist was surprised I made it. In 2006 my oncologist said it was time for a bone marrow transplant. The search began for a donor - my sisters did not match. So, it became a MUD search - a donor was found!!! The transplant was to take place in Houston at MD Anderson. I left for Houston in November for a December transplant. When I arrived in Houston, I was too sick and weak for the transplant so it was postponed - I stayed in Houston to get strong. In time, they told me they didn't think it would ever happen, I was just not ready. Well, I wasn't going to accept that answer, and by March, I was ready. Now keep in mind, my husband stayed at home but did visit me a couple of weekends during that time. I was 51 at the time and he was mid 40's so our kids (we are a blended family) were out of the home. He did spend some time with me during the actual transplant - but my main caregiver was my daughter that had to come to Houston and my mother-in-law, and a couple of other friends that took a week vacation to come.

I came home in July 2007 and have been getting stronger and stronger - my counts finally started recovering recently. And while I am not ready to work full time - I am able to do many, many things now.

However - my husband informed me last week that this has been too hard on him and he isn't sure he wants to be with me. He has moved out. I was devasted - I had worked SOOOO hard to be able to enjoy the things we used to do.

I did some MAJOR soul searching and have come to the conclusion that I am probably better off this way - I am ready to live life to the fullest now. Although, I still do a daily IV and still am on immno-suppressants along with many other meds. But, truly, if you didn't know I had been sick, you wouldn't guess - I LOOK healthy!!!

So, I thought I would check the ACS website to see if I could find any information on the statistics of this and it seems that it happens frequently - at least I know I am not alone and am in good company with other STRONG survivors!!!!

terato's picture
Posts: 383
Joined: Apr 2002


During the 1980s, when I was experiencing cancer followed by divorce, I investigated the prevalence of divorce from a marriage where cancer has occurred to learn that 76% of such marriages end that way. I imagine that today's numbers are probably as high, if not higher, because of a generally more cavalier attitude towards commitment.

Like you, I came to realize that I was much better off without my spouse, regarding the extrication of my wife and her mother from my life as the removal of my fourth and fifth tumors (It always feels so good when I say that!). It would be unfair of me to put all the blame on my ex, however, since I acted like I was the only one suffering through this when she was going through her own hell.

Marriage is a challenge, cancer makes it a test.

Love and Courage!


zahalene's picture
Posts: 680
Joined: Nov 2005

Our oncologists often tell us that reducing stress in our lives is one of the most important aspects of cancer treatment. That may be why many of us here feel that we are better off after our spouses have become our exes.
When going through something like cancer, we need all the positive people around us we can possibly gather, and as few negatives ones as we can manage. It really doesn't matter whether they are our spouses, other family members, or friends or co-workers. If they can not get with the program and help us fight for our lives, then they have only themselves to blame when they find themselves 'outta here', regardless of whether they or we make the final decision.
And when they see us recovered and doing fine, thank you very much, well, I hope they have the grace to congratulate us, but if they don't, we will be fine anyway because we have done something HUGE and now we can release them to their lives and go on with ours, which we have fought so hard for.

Posts: 288
Joined: May 2003

You are all so right!!

When we are diagnosed with cancer we have to somehow get over the fear and reach deep inside ourselves and find the strength we didn't know we had so we can fight for survival. We become warriors. This is not a little fight; it is a big one! Stress and negative people or thoughts are not our allies in this fight. We have to find a way to keep them at bay so we can give our all to the fight and later we can deal with them. I personally prefer to be alone than in bad company.

What Rick said, he got rid of tumors 4 & 5 (I love that) is what we need to do sometimes. Zahalene mentioned that it applies not only to spouses but also to friends, coworkers, etc. She is so right about that.

I started my fight in 1987 and thought that it would be over once I recovered from the surgery. Boy, was I wrong! I am still a warrior but doing better emotionally than 20 years ago. It took me a while to see that it would be better for me to stay away from certain people. I am still married but little by little I have been cutting relatives and friends off my life and I actually feel better because of that.

Cancer changes you, your priorities change, etc. Some people here in the survivors website have held my hand when I have been afraid and have been happy with me when I get good test results/follow-ups. They have given me more support than some of my own relatives.

I am sorry some of you had to go thru painful emotional situations while you were in your fight against cancer. Cynthia, I am confident you are getting better each day and I am very glad to hear you say that you are ready to live life to the fullest! Rick and Terato, I am glad you put up a big fight and survived and best of all, you find time to help others here.

To all of you warriors... survivors... friends... a big hug and my best wishes for a wonderful life!!


Posts: 2
Joined: Sep 2008

Thanks for your support.

Some days I think there is hope for us and some days not.

He has always had a hard time expressing his feelings so he has bottled up the last 3 years and now exploded. He feels good about himself that he waited until I was stronger. Like that made it easier to accept.

We are seeing a counselor this week so not sure what to expect from that - help for him to get us back on track? or help for me to get me through divorce? Not sure.

Although, he is thinking maybe just seperation so I can stay on his insurance and it would impact him less financially - however, I would move to another city so I could be closer to family.

As I got better, I just kept thinking about our life getting back to doing things we enjoyed - never in my wildest imagination did I think I would be going down this path.

Anyway, thanks for letting me vent.

Posts: 3
Joined: Sep 2008

First of all I'm sorry for what you're going through.
Unfortunately, I'm the flip side of your coin.
I'm sure your first thought is to right me off as a total b*&^#@.
That's ok. But I think if I tell you some things it may make you feel
a little better. Cancer is a total S.O.B. Sorry, but that's the only
way to put it. It can bring out the best in some of us and the absolute
worst in some of us. What no one tells us is the emotional toll that
it will take on us and our close relationships.

My husband has brain cancer. Slow growing and he has pretty
much beaten it with the exception of 1 to 2 very mild seizures per day.
(unoticeable to most people.) Not that that's peachy, but it's better than
most folks in this case. Like your husband, he bottled everything up.
Refused counseling, support groups etcetera even though he was
depressed and on anti-depressants and anti anxiety meds.
I did everything
I could to keep our family going and took on all the household and Mom and
Dad responsibilities so he could recouperate from his surgery.
He plunged deeper into depression and his only interaction with I and our boys
was to complain or yell. I don't expect sympathy, but as a working mother of a
4 and 7 year old at the time it took it's toll.

Two years later one incident broke it for me. My older son was missing
and I could not get a hold of my husband. It wasn't his fault but it was the moment
that I realised I was utterly and completely alone with no one to support me but me.
It wasn't until I unexpectantly became interested in another man that I realised how truly unhappy I was. I never acted out on my interest. I never cheated on my husband but the fact that I wanted to and needed so much to find comfort somewhere was shattering to me.

We did counseling, couples first and then seperately.
It took me over 9 months to come back to the fact that it was the cancer (and how we reacted to it) that destroyed our relationship.
Like you, I never in a million years expected to be at this juncture and
I wish I could change it. I hurt so much that I just can't close this gaping hole inside of me. Everyone behaves differently under extreme circumstances. I don't think anyone can prepare us for this kind of pain.

Although I don't see us together again in the same way, counseling has helped me with
my anger (he was emotionally and verbally abusive during this time and prior.)It has also helped me to understand patterns and unhealthy behavior. My husband and I probably understand each other better than ever. We even joke about who will get custody of our ultra- comfortable water-bed. Maybe that sounds trite to you now, but it's better than where we were before. I think counseling will help both of you. Don't be afraid to question your counselor and the track you are taking if it doesn't make sense to you. If you don't agree with he or she verbalize it. Your first or second counselor may not be the best fit.
Hang in there. Remember, you've been through worse. You will make it through this too.
I hope all will work out for the best for you.

mswijiknyc's picture
Posts: 421
Joined: Oct 2010

It's not always one person or the other. And it's not always the cancer, but sometimes the cancer makes a bad situation worse. I've done everything I can for my husband but it is not easy. I take my vows very seriously and I know he would not be able to function without me. But I truly think that he would be much better off without me in his life.

I just can't continue to be around such a negative abusive person. Not sure how things will go, but at the end of the day the only person who will make me happy is me.

ColleenN's picture
Posts: 73
Joined: Aug 2008

Hi Cynthia,

I hope things are going better for you. I just wanted to let you know that there is hope. My dad had colon cancer three times (he didn't make it through the last one unfortunately), and he and my mom were married 58 years. My sister has had three different forms of cancer over the last 20 + years (skin, uterine, colon), and she and my brother-in-law just celebrated their 41st anniversary this year. I'm working on my own cancer treatment (ovarian - a lovely family history to pass on to my kids I know), and my husband and I are closer than ever. We had our 23rd anniversary this summer. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I hope whichever way things go for you it is for the best. Take care and good luck.


Posts: 11
Joined: Oct 2009

Thanks for sharing and making me feel not so alone.

blueroses's picture
Posts: 527
Joined: Jul 2008

I actually, after all my treatments were done, asked my husband to leave. I knew it would be very difficult for me without anyone to help me at home but when I weighed the option, as someone said in here with this topic, I realized I had to get rid of my stresses and he was the biggest stress of them all. As it turned out all my 'paranoid' thoughts of him not really being into our relationship turned out to be true and surprise surprise he was remarried again to 'his best friend' only a year later. Hmm, wonder when she became his best friend? Yup, they worked together for years and even though I knew something wasn't right with him he made me feel paranoid and invalidated. Good ridance I say. But I must add that there are times of intense anger at the betrayal which I am sure you all identify with but in the end the stresses are gone and that is good for us survivors. True it is that bad times either bring you closer together or tear you apart and for some of us it is sadly the latter. Cancer makes you re-evaluate your life and sometimes what we settled for in our precancer days just doesn't cut it afterwards, anymore. All the best to those of you who have had to fight this difficult part of cancer on top of everything else. God Bless.

Posts: 45
Joined: Dec 2008

I was treated and most likely cured of anal cancer last fall, however my husband of 34 yrswho has always made s-x the be all and end all of our relationship has been seeing prostitutes since July. I am devastated and am still with him but dont know if I can continue. He says he wants the marriage and we are now living in our vacation home since I cannot be in the place where he has the bimbos. I am very confused and scared and any feedback or support would be greatly appreciated.

Posts: 98
Joined: Jan 2010

Last yr my husband and i separated at my choice, he was hooked not on prostitutes but on other things.I couldn't take it anymore,nearly 10 yrs of marriage and some counselling he still made his choice. Then I was diagnosed with cancer in december, he stepped up to help me, took me to chemo treatments, docs and anything else I needed. Now that chemo is done and 5 months in remission he's wanted me back. I however cant take him back. Inside me he's the best friend I could ever have for helping me, but in a marriage he ruined it, having cancer won t' change it, and he says he's stopped, but he stopped before and started again. I can't trust him..........and I cant waste my "second life" as I call it on a marriage that I would never be totally in emotionally/physically. He took that away from me before cancer was even diagnosed. I fell in love with him pretty hard, my heart would skip beats when he called, I had butterflys when he was near me...He took that away from me, he said he loved me the same, but how could he...???? He's my friend and still remains supportive of my progress. Our divorce will be final this coming yr, would have been last yr but due to my cancer it was delayed.I dont' like the feeling of being divorced, not because I love him. I've started a new life because of cancer and in many other areas. I know that I am going to be okay, and stresses are really not allowed in my life, and tho it happens I try hard to rid them. I do wish you all the best and live happy, .....that is what is most important....

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Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2010

I am wondering where on the web site you found the statistics about cancer and divorce? I am very interested in this as a source for a book i am working on.

Thank you for your help.

All the best!

pattyanny's picture
Posts: 544
Joined: Jul 2009

Today I have my first mediation meeting, first visit from CPS, and first drug test since filing for divorce. As most of you know, I had very little support during my TX, and it opened my eyes to things that were always there, but did not see. I ask for your prayers today to stay strong, and not let his negative, demeaning attitude penetrate God's protective armor. I pray the Holy Spirit will guide my words, and keep me silent as needed.
I have no problem with the humiliating urinalysis, as I do not partake in any drugs nor alcohol, except for an occasional glass of wine. Even the Judge was shocked at my husbands accusations, saying "I doubt, very much, that a cancer patient would be swilling alcohol!" My heart goes out to my daughter who must go through this interview, as she is of strong character, but shy. Thanks to all of you strong woman who posted, for inspiring me that I will get through this too. I was found NED 2 weeks ago!
God bless you! Patty

bluerose's picture
Posts: 1102
Joined: Jul 2009

Someone was saying on this subject that the doctors are always saying to cut stress when we are going through cancer and that's true of course, if one can. I look at my divorce and the years leading up to it and I wonder how much a part of the cancer was maybe due to the stress? I think that in years to come they will realize how huge stress factors in to a person's health and well being. I think it can bring on a host of things. I mean you put stress on a car engine too much and what happens - parts start konking out, why is that different than the human body?

My marriage was very stressful for 15 years, that can't be good for a person. I am not saying that stress might be the only factor in getting cancer but I would bet it's a part of it. Some cancers no doubt have heredity as a key factor and there is smoking of course and other things but when a body is already low then stress could kick the body over into disease. Makes sense to me.

I find it interesting to read that those with cancer are the ones that end the marriages very often, the ones weakest at the time in body are strongest in spirit. Very very interesting.

Blessings and peace for all of you.


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