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Need lots of help!

Posts: 5
Joined: Feb 2011

My husband has an non-curable lung cancer. He has had radiation and chemo over the last 2 years and after his last scan (this last Wednesday), we were told that although the cancer has not spread, it is growing. He will be given another kind of chemo starting March 10 - 2 treatments - after which they will do another scan and see if he should be or not given anymore treatments. He knew from Day One that all this radiation and chemo was to prolong his life, that there was no cure.
My husband is however in denial. Although undergoing radiation and/or chemo, he kept drinking and smoking (he is an alcoholic and was 3 pack/day smoker. He does not drink as much naturally and might be smoking 10 cigarettes a day. His answer to this is smoking will not change anything at this stage.
Naturally when he meets with his oncologist, he does not brag about the fact that he is still having a drink here and there and smoking a bit. Furthermore, he does not share with the oncologist the problems he has to endure after chemo, the side effects, etc. When asked how he is doing, his answer: fine!
So when he is out there with people, he does not talk much about his cancer (and I understand this) but when he is home, he is what I would call a "crying baby". And naturally I am the scapegoat here. Instead of may be giving me a little appreciation, he keeps finding faults with everything I do, especially when we have company. I have never heard of this kind of reaction from anybody I know who went through this experience.
So naturally I am getting kind of depressed here and I really need help.
I am originally from Canada so I do not have any family in the States. And because my husband cannot be left alone and that nobody is available to care for him if I wanted to go visit family and friends for a few days, I have to deal with this by myself and it is very very hard.
So I guess what I am saying is that he has cancer and he is not dealing with it the way he should be. And I am not a psychologist so I am trying the best I can but I need lots of help to cope better with this.
I know that somebody out there went or is still going through the same thing so I can really use your help.

stayingcalm's picture
Posts: 654
Joined: Feb 2007

I'm not going through this, but I have to say, over the few years I've been on cancer boards I've seen a lot of posts just like yours. It's very possible that your husband may be suffering from depression - there's no manual that tells you how to deal with having cancer, but my armchair psychology degree (not really!) tells me he feels like he needs to blame somebody and you're the closest person =(
He could probably profit from some counseling, or if that's not likely to happen, maybe his doc could suggest something along the lines of Xanax. If not for him, then for you =)

Hang in there, I'm sure you'll be getting some much better replies! Luck be with you,

Dapsterd's picture
Posts: 291
Joined: Jun 2010

If he wants to stop drinking and smoking (which he does in his heart no matter what, he just doe's not know how) then have him call me on my cell phone. I have overcome both addictions (not easily !) while still enduring cancer/treatment.

Also, quitting smoking now will/may save him from other cancers and further COPD complications, which I am sure he must have COPD.

Ps, not sure how to privately give you my cell number....but others here do....please let me know and I will respond !!



Posts: 5
Joined: Feb 2011

Thanks for your offer. But according to my husband, he does not suffer from any addictions and that he does not need any outsiders' help to overcome his cancer and/or other problems. He will not even read the postings on this site which are helping me a great deal and it would him as well. But he clearly is in denial and I have a feeling that he thinks that if he does not read about it, it will just disappear.
As for myself, I will keep checking this site as I need the reassurance and the understanding.


Posts: 1048
Joined: Aug 2006

You may not be able to get him to go to a support group, but that doesn't mean there isn't a support group for you. The Wellness Community has both on-line support groups and sometimes there is a Wellness Community in your area with support groups with "arms", including groups for caregivers. The chat room at this website gives caregivers as well as cancer patients a place to get support on line. And of course your local AA group can give you the closest Al-Anon group for support from folks who live with or know an alcoholic. I am hoping that you are safe and that complaints and negative comments are the worst you have to deal with. Even so, what is happening is a kind of abuse. Most communities have agencies that deal with domestic violence and they could give you an idea of where to find a support group for spouses who live with abusive partners. Even if the abuse doesn't leave bruises, it hurts. If none of those groups quite appeal, at least make yourself set aside some time just to get out and do something good for yourself at least once a week for a few hours. You could ask the doctor or his nurses who might be able to spell you for a few hours so you can get away long enough to do something just to renew your energy and balance. Hopefully you can explain to your husband that taking good care of yourself on a regular basis (like taking daily walks, eating right, seeing the doctor, and having a weekly get-away-from-cancer time) will help you take better care of your husband. It's the truth. Good luck!

Posts: 5
Joined: Feb 2011

What is happening now with me is that I get a bit depressed and I am kind of losing the will or the courage to do anything. I am a member of YMCA but I have not been going for a while. I used to run all the time but although I am still running, it is a lot less.
What gets me is that he is not helping himself.
As he was coughing a whole the last few days, he went to see the doctor yesterday and apparently, he will have to take some pills to stop that cough. Nothing for the breathing but I don't know if he mentioned this problem at all to the doctor. As I did not know he was going to see a doctor, I was not present and I could not ask questions and trust me, my husband will not ask questions.
Now today, he is gone on a long drive to take one of our horses to a vet clinic and he really is not supposed to drive because when he coughs he gets dizzy and it could be dangerous. I will not drive with him as he scares me so he is taking one of his helpers. I just hope that he lets that helper drives but one never knows!
He is supposed to take easy, to rest, etc. but he does not spend more than 1 hour at home during the day and when he is home at night, he sits on the couch, coughing and spitting and moaning, sleeping a bit, and that is what I have to put up with.
I sound like a broken record here and I am sorry. But it is so hard to understand and help someone who is not at all trying.
I will keep reading on this site. It really helps me.

Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2011

I understand your frustration. I also have a husband with stage 4 lung cancer who is still smoking and drinking. He is still working full time and handling his cancer much better than I. The problem is that I left him several months before he was diagnosed and moved back to the south where there is sunshine and my granddaughter. I have SAD and can not take the northern glum. I do care about him but can not live there. He has a big family to keep him going and I go back and forth as much as possible. There is alot of guilt and worry leaving someone with cancer but there have been several friends die including his son (31) during his illness and we (the caretakers) have to live life also. I have been given many guilt trips by his family and mine Everyone expects me to react and grieve in a perticular fashion.
I also sound like a broken record because I am not able to move forward with my life as I would like. He is fighting for his and could be for many years and I could be him but I don't have much left to give him. The marriage was over but how do you tell someone who is terminal?
I am sure there are many people out there with these feeling. Some leave others silently suffer.

Posts: 1
Joined: May 2011

I just want you to know that you are not alone. Even when you do have family close, there is no way that anyone can understand the emotional toll it has on you personally. My husband has stage 4 malignant melanoma and was diagnosed almost three years ago. The roller coaster never stops. We have 4 kids in the house, our youngest just turned one. Even though we have been through everything with him, when he gets angry and starts to shut down, it is as if we have been through nothing with him. He shuts himself off emotionally and deals with things in the worst way, but this is how he has dealt with it since day one. There are times that are better than others and then there are nights like tonight when it is all the same. I want and do have so much compassion for what he is going through, but a lot of times he doesn't realize that we are all going through and feeling the side effects also. I don't think someone could ever be prepared for the many side effects of what it is like to live, be close, and in direct contact with someone who has cancer. We have suffered financially and emotionally right along with him. It is almost five in the morning and I just finished cleaning up something that he threw on the floor because he came home drunk and angry. He left a little while ago like everything was my fault. He has never slowed down on the drinking or smoking, except for the weeks he was hospitalized for treatments. I can't speak for everyone, but it is a lonely guilt ridden life when you are faced with a spouse who has cancer. Life still has to go on and someone has to take care of things. My husband has never dealt well with it, but he was a lot like that about things before the cancer, Adding the cancer into the equation just seemed to escalate everything. I try to hide as much from the kids as I can when he gets like this and the best way to do that is to let him be. I don't think there are answers on how to deal with it. He would never admit he has a problem or seek help. Somethimes I just want to tell him that he is destroying us and it would be best if we were not together, but I have so much guilt about not being there for him; however, I am never there for myslef. Between that, the kids, life, work, there isn't much left. I could go on and on and I don't even think I have helped you much. I just wanted to let you know that there are many of us going through the same thing with a different story. I am new on here and look forward to talking with some of you more. Hopefully talking about it with others who are experiencing the same situation helps.

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