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Feeling Guilty because I am thinking about myself

Posts: 7
Joined: Jun 2011

Not even sure why I am writing. I'm pissed off and then I feel stupid for being pissed off.
My husband has been going through chemo since Jan.2010. He's doing real good thank God but today for some reason I am feeling guilty for thinking about myself. He just got home from a chemo yesterday and like every other treatment everyone including my kids (his stepkids) call or come see how he is. Yes I am so blessed that they care and are concerned but never once does anyone ask how I am. I have so many health issues I just stopped going to the doctor because I am sick of doctors. I work 60 hours a week and then come home and take care of this house, the cats, the shopping, the bills, the appts, the medications, yada yada. And don't get me wrong most of the time I don't mind it. I have horrible lymphedema in my right arm, arthritis since I was 20 so I am in excuriating pain constantly but yet no one offers help or stops and says "HEY HOW ARE YOU DOING?".
I get no thanks from my husband, no thanks for using all my vacation time where now I can't even take a day off for my doctor appts or holidays or my birthday and its only June I won't get vacation time again until January but yet no gratitude for my sacrifices. And today I feel like I just don't matter.
I feel guilty, stupid and ashamed for even writing this because I don't have cancer, I don't know what its like to have cancer. I just know I feel EVERYDAY like me and my feelings, health or concerns don't matter. Why do I feel like I am not supposed to think about myself in all this just because I don't have cancer. I feel like I should shut up and just deal with it all because he is going through something much worse then my stupid feelings.


dearfoam's picture
Posts: 82
Joined: Apr 2011


it's seems like you need to take time for yourself. let someone take your husband to his appts for a week. make a grocery list and let someone else pick up the things you need! maybe the step kids aren't offering, i don't know if you've asked for help form his friends and family, or your own. but maybe word it "dad needs you to blah blah blah." give yourself a break from all the errands even if you can't take a much needed vacation.

call your doctors. leave messages with their nurses. tell them you can't make a lot of appts but need help. tell his doctors you have problems, too, maybe they can help you while you are there.

good luck, and hang in there. i have only recently realized i can't imprison myself to my dad's cancer, and i sure shouldn't let it sap me like it can.

Posts: 7
Joined: Jun 2011

Thanks for your reply. I wish that would help.
His family isn't the greatest and they would never help out in those ways.
And half of his family you can't trust to be responsible enough.
My family lives too far.
Keep in mind my husband works atleast 3 weeks out of the month when he's not having chemo.
He is a city truck driver. He has lots of friends that he calls and talks to. Its not like he's laying in bed asleep all the time. He's very active.
He has lots of friends at work. I guess my biggest issue is with him.
He sees me in pain. He hears my sighs of tiredness but it doesn't register that I am still someone in this. He's feeling pretty good today and I was wrestling with my bad arm trying to make the bed, he walked in the room got his magazine and walked out. Now this just isn't a day where no one is helping me or asking me about me.
THIS IS EVERYDAY. I'M AT THE POINT OF TEARS THAT IF SOMEONE ACTUALLY STOOD IN FRONT OF ME AND ACTUALLY ASKED ME ABOUT ME AND STOOD STILL LONG ENOUGH TO LISTEN I'D PROBABLY WOULDN'T KNOW WHAT TO SAY. I feel like yelling at him and saying hey why don't you ask me how I am feeling after I ask YOU how you are feeling. But all that would do is cause an argument and I would regret saying anything to him afterward because I know he just wouldn't understand what I am feeling and nothing would still change. We have a great marriage he's just seems to forget about how I am in all this. I guess I would just like some appreciation and with all that I do I just don't think I should have to ask for it.

dianelynn41's picture
Posts: 71
Joined: Jan 2011

Sounds like you need to have a conversation with him before you explode. Just because you don't have cancer doesn't mean you don't count. You are still a person and his wife, he should care how you are. Some men tend to get way too self centered even if they are not sick, need to bring him out of himself and remind him you are still there. Sounds like he could help out around the house, you need to tell him. Don't know how old the kids are, maybe they could help you out.
You've got to take care of you.

Good Luck.

Posts: 131
Joined: May 2011

I think the trick is to think about ones self. if you don't you cannot be useful to the other person. I found this out the hard way by getting hospitalised myself. one person cannot be a rock to another both are suffering at the same time, one physically and the other emotionally. yes that darn cancer is a cruel disease and and even crueler boss.

Please take care of yourself.

Posts: 7
Joined: Jun 2011

Thanks to all of you. Somehow or other I guess I will have to talk to him about it.
We love each other so much but he's just forgotten about my feelings in all of this.
The whole family has. But laying in bed last night I figured out a solution. We have a trip planned next month going to Virginia to see his family. Well I'm not going, even if I have to lie and say I have to work. I'm going to let him go & I'm going to take those 4 days off for me. Heck he'll probably have more fun down there with his family without me anyways. If I don't do this I will go crazy.
We'll see.
Thanks again for all the advice.


grandmafay's picture
Posts: 1639
Joined: Aug 2009

First, forget guilt. I'm betting that a lot of caregivers have feelings similar to yours every now and then. Next, do what you need to do to care for yourself. You don't have to lie. Simply explain that you need to take a few days alone to get your head and health straight. You can't continue to care for him, if you don't care for yourself first. Then plan to do something just for you. Don't spend that time cleaning house. Relax, read a book, see a movie, do whatever makes you happy. Fay

Posts: 170
Joined: Dec 2010

This has been going on for 8 months now, going to doctors waiting going for more test, You get so tired and you feel that you can't say anything because you don't have the CANCER. But the CANCER is affecting you emotionally too. You have to be kinda selfish in this journey and take some time for just you! This is the only thing you can do for your husband, or else you can't help him. You just have to realize that, then and only then things will fall in place. It is very stressful, believe me I am living it too. I just feel so tired all the time. Can't get back to the things that were before all this started, just wonder if it ever will? Who know? Just have to take care of US! Sue

Lelia's picture
Posts: 98
Joined: Jun 2011

Hi Lisa: I'm concerned about you. When I read each of your posts on this thread the word RESPECT keeps coming to mind. I've found as FT caregiver to my husband that in CancerWorld, communication is more important than ever. Mutual respect, ground rules and open, honest, respectful communication are key.

Is there anyone on your husband's medical team you could reach out to? At James Cancer Center where we go they ask me every time how I am, if my needs are met, and if there's anything they can do to support me. They call me in between appointments to see how I am.

You need medical care too, not just your husband, that seems clear from your posts. I bet you feel overwhelmed by everything, so breaking things down into 'next steps' can be helpful. Baby steps are good, you can't solve everything at once ie taking a step to get your health needs taken care of, and steps to figure out how to establish respectful ground rules in your relationship.

I am so troubled to think of you struggling with household chores while your husband reads magazines and talks to his friends on the phone.

DrMary's picture
Posts: 522
Joined: Nov 2010

you need to stop sighing and wincing and communicate verbally. "While you're here, can you help me make the bed? I'm having more trouble than usual today. Thanks sweetie."

If you have always been the traditional chore-doer and he didn't really chip in before cancer (most men think they do 50% of the chores when they really do about 10%) then you can't do the "I'm sure you want to get back to normal, so I'll let you go back to doing the laundry on your 3 good weeks out of the month" statement.

You could either ask for help on a case-by-case basis, or sit down and talk about the fact that you are tired all the time and he is sick only one week a month, so it would help to look at dividing up the chores differently.

My husband is one of the gems who does at least 50% of the housework. The kids took some of this on while he was sick, but mostly I ignored whatever I couldn't do. Besides, making the bed every day encourages the growth of dust mites in the mattress.

(And I agree with the others - you need to talk to a counselor, as you are nearing burn-out.)

Posts: 8
Joined: May 2011

i know how you feel i too am the full time caregiver for my mother also my husband. mother has cancer husband had back surg. i also work full time. my husband trys to help but can only no so much, my mother is a hand full allways has been she does not like anything or anybody. everything i do is wrong. i miss work to take her to doctors an my husband to doctors it is never ending. mom will not let anyone help she says it should only be me she told my brother she did not want to be a part of his famley so he does not come around much.mom could not live buy herself so i sold my house to movein with her cause this is where she wants to be. but she still says known does any thing for her. she fights with everything i say so i am to the point i just dont say anything.we went to the doctor friday an he told her that it is time to call in hospice.so she said the only one that could come was the nurse she does not want a aid.anyway i could go on forever. but just to let you know you are not alone i find myself just wishing this was all over. an then i feel bad about that.well anyway my thoughts are with you.

Barbara53's picture
Posts: 658
Joined: Aug 2009

I just wanted to chime in on arguing with everything. Last week my mother would have argued with God! Like you, I got to the point where I just didn't say anything, and mostly watched and listened. Our Moms are entitled to their rage, but we gotta keep up our boundaries and stay out of range of those acid tongues.

Posts: 7
Joined: Jun 2011

Thanks for everyones reply. Atleast I am not alone in all of this. To: reds1958 you need a break just like me. Today though I went to work, punched in, walked into a huge chaos of a mess, thanks to my company being cheap, I called in a few extra hilo drivers and I punched out and came home. Then I went into my yard, cut the grass which I enjoy doing, planted some flowers and now I am sitting on my deck alone with my stupid cat. I think I might survive all of this. So for all of us stressed to the nines.....chin up and be strong...things have got to get better. Otherwise if you live near me I'll meet you at the bar. :)

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