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Do I Notice If Others Treat Him Different Now?

lovingwifedeb's picture
Posts: 184
Joined: Aug 2010

Today as my husband and I are riding in the car doing errands he turns to me and asks me if I've noticed others treating him any different now that he has been diagnosed with cancer.

You are kidding, right? Of course they do, just as I have treated him different since his diagnosis, why wouldn't they? With care, concern, love, understanding... but wait... that's not what he is talking about here.

I asked him to explain more and this is what I got from him.

For instance... at work... "the look", he says. Some guys are not as friendly as they used to be towards me. They don't know how to relate or talk to me anymore. The just give me "that look"...

Ah... I'm thinking... he's been separated from the pack. Isn't that what the wolves do in the wild? Funny, my instincts kicked in and I'm all about grabbing onto him, finding all I can about melanoma and how it works or doesn't and helping him maneuver around the web finding out more information that might help him out. My husband decides to overhaul the kitchen and eat green which means no processed foods, more spices, no enriched white flour, no sugar, no pop. Support him... you bet I support him. What happened to his fellow mates? Where is the helping out your brother here? Are they so afraid they might catch cancer from him? FEAR... it stalks my heart sometimes. I can feel it in the dark places when I'm tired. I also think it's FEAR that separates the pack.

I love you my husband...
I am here with you all the way.
lovingwife to Bob, stage 4 melanoma

mswijiknyc's picture
Posts: 421
Joined: Oct 2010

I think a large part of the reason Pat stopped working when he did instead of continuing to work untik his surgery was because everyone started to treat him differently. I told him "Honey, when people hear the word CANCER they don't know what to do so they treat you with kid gloves because it's all they know how to do."

As long as I didn't treat him differently. GOD FORBID I try to baby him when he didn't want it.

Posts: 1154
Joined: Jun 2010

There was a thing with my mom's group that they didn't know how to act around he with her being on chemo and some of them smoke etc. They are looking for guidance the rulz to follow. For instance, we told everyone not to wear perfume aound my mom, becuz they thought it would mAke her sick.

DrMary's picture
Posts: 522
Joined: Nov 2010

A lot of his hockey friends had cancer (Ok, that's not really lucky) and so most folks were comfortable with it. He got several ovations (sticks banging on the ice) when he announced it to his various teams and many of them checked in with me frequently during his treatment. He played a game last Thursday (pretty much his first real game since October) and after the cheers and ovation, the opposition tried to kick the crap out of him. He won in overtime, in a shoot-out. He was pooped, but does not really think anyone was treating him differently. He's not getting asked to play in important tournaments yet - he know folks are waiting to see how his comeback goes. I think he'd worry if they asked him, as he'd know it was charity.

Again, this is probably because so many of them have experience with this. Maybe the folks who were creeped out stayed away - we didn't notice.

He works for a woman-owned company, and they've had a few employees who were cancer survivors, so he found work to be pretty understanding also. However, he has a desk job - if he were doing construction, it might be different.

lovingwifedeb's picture
Posts: 184
Joined: Aug 2010

There are some days I feel we go round and round talking and talking and working at trying to make sense at what's happening... internally and physically. There are days it is overload, mentally and physically. I have worked so hard at finding everything I can to help my husband fight this damn disease and to try to understand how it works that it is truly exhausting. And now I've got to figure out how come people are acting a certain way?

Let's see.... I'm a graphic designer... I see in pictures... color and light... I'm left brain not right brain... and people don't make sense to me anyway. I need to get off this train.

OK... I'm better.

So... thank you for the support as always. I validated my findings, there is much written about isolation and cancer patients on the internet. My husband has worked at his company for over 30 years and has known some of his co-workers for as long. He is not imagining his feelings, so I will not pacify him. All I can do is try to make him comfortable with his disease so he can reach out to others and be more relaxed about it, talk about his cancer.

I guess I need to reflect that also. Maybe I have not been good at that either. Maybe the fear is in my face and is reflecting back at him, I know it lives in my heart. Not good is it?

Thank you for your sharing.

Peace to all.

lovingwife to Bob, stage 4 melanoma

Posts: 4
Joined: Feb 2011

I, too, have noticed this "different look" that people get when they have heard I have kidney cancer. I'm sure it's because "kidney cancer" has had such a negative outcome in prior years. I also think it's because they are not all sure of what to say. But, it could also be "OMG, that could be happening to me".

I try to stay positive, explain as much as they are interested.

Posts: 1846
Joined: Aug 2010

Cancer, unfortunately, runs in my family so we're a little different. We just kick into high gear taking care of things and providing the support your situation needs - everything from prayers to rides to the doctor to a little extra money to buy that next expensive medication you need. We don't "close ranks" and we have a large family, extended by many people not blood-related but who have been incorporated through the years. It is a HUGE support network.

Treated differently? Yes, because you are not well. Treated special? Maybe, a little, in the same way you treat a child who has just had a tonsillectomy. :)

I tend to not want to talk to other people about my husband's cancer, with the anonymity of this site being the exception. He is a very private person and it feels like a kind of betrayal. Glad to share knowledge about the disease but not talk about him personally.

Agree with you, Deb, about being separated from the pack at work. Disapprove, but agree.

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