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How do I tell my husband?

Posts: 2
Joined: Aug 2011

My husband lost his father in the mid 90's after a hard battle with cancer. He lost his mother about 3 years ago after a long and painful battle with cancer, this time he was the one who took care of her, by himself, we were not together yet. He also lost his brother when he was 14 (his brother was older). I was told yesterday that the polyps I had removed were cancerous and that I need to see an oncologist and decide what the next steps are.

I have NO idea how to tell him! I have no desire for him to go through this again, I can't imagine (and don't want to) causing him that kind of pain again. I'm also terrified that he will decide that he CAN'T go through it again and will decide its best to separate from me.

I really appreciate any advice from anyone who has been through this and has any suggestions on how (or even IF) I tell him...

Also I have 2 children aged 7 & 9, my 9 yo has childhood schizophrenia and is terrified of losing me, suffers from severe separation anxiety. I don't know how or if I should explain it to them either....

I am totally lost here, I feel like the rug I have been standing on has been yanked out from underneath me again.

btw I am a 32 yo female (not that that matters)

I really really appreciate and am open to any advice anyone has for me... thanks again

Dog Girl
Posts: 100
Joined: Sep 2010

First off, I'm sorry that you gotten this news. And depending upon where the polyps were located, you may actually have colon or rectal cancer which believe it or not is different from anal cancer. (My understanding is the type of cells lining the colon/rectal canal is different from the cells lining the anal canal.) You are probably asking yourself, Why does this matter, I have CANCER! I'll explain my thinking.

Obviously you will eventually need to tell your husband and possibly to some extent your children that you are sick. However I suggest you arm yourself with knowledge such as your stage; what is the treatment protocol (surgery? chemo? radiation?, etc...), when will it start; how long treatments should last; possibly what are the odds of survival etc... I say this because I believe that men deal in facts better (I happen to be like that myself even though I am female.) For example the standard treatment for anal cancer is generally no surgery to begin with (unless it is caught early and it can easily be excised), and two rounds of two types of chemo, Mitomyocin and 5FU and then radiation for around 25-30 days generally. Chemo is given the first week and the 5th week concurrent with radiation and the whole treatment regime is over in about 6 weeks, so it is really quick. (However you will not be skipping around as soon as you finish treatment; it can take weeks or months before you fully recover and you may very well have some type of permanent side effects.) That varies greatly from the treatment given for colon cancer. For example my father had colon cancer in his late 70s and his was stage 0 or 1 I believe, and while he had to have surgery and had to recover from that, he did not have chemo or radiation. Another friend w/colon cancer had chemo treatments over a much longer time period, but no radiation. There are different side effects to the different chemos and radiation, so it would be helpful to know what you are facing. You will probably go through a rash of different tests, (CT scans; PET scans, etc... ) Do you have a trusted friend that could go with you to your first couple of oncology appointments? It is always good to have another set of ears listening, because you are no doubt overwhelmed and it is hard to process everything. There is a lot of info out there, and while this is the only discussion board I have been on, it has a lot of good suggestions and support. I imagine the other ones do as well. Now in the interest of full disclosure, I did not tell my elderly parents that I had cancer. I live in a different state from them so I only see them every couple of months, and I just thought that it would be best for them to not know and I don't regret that decision. However you will need to tell your husband and this is just my two cents worth of advice since you asked. Good luck in your treatment and recovery.

Posts: 10
Joined: Dec 2008

Hi my name is Kathy and I live in Georgia. I have been through bladder cancer and then two years ago skin cancer (melanoma). Thankfully both were caught in a low grade condition. Just don't jump to conclusions just yet. Every cancer diagnosis is not automatically a death sentence. You are very young and probably in good health which means you have powerful resources with which to fight this thing. I called it the "Monster Under My Bed" and I'll bet you know why because that news is so very devastating. If you have to undergo some surgery so be it in order to get on with your life. All of us have been there but two very important differences for me were a mild antidepressant and something to help me sleep. Sleep is hard to come by when you are thinking about this all the time. I want you to know that I never really think about it anymore and that's the place you want to be so keep your chin up and let me know if and how I can help. take good care

Posts: 475
Joined: Mar 2011

Do you have colon cancer or anal cancer? It sounds like with polyps you may have colcon cancer.

lizdeli's picture
Posts: 567
Joined: Jul 2009

Polyps are usually pre-cancerous or early signs of cancer. Which could mean something was caught very early. I understand your concern about your husband. Is there a close friend or relative who can go with you to the doctor so that you can find out the whole situation first. Hopefully it's precautionary steps they want to take and therefore not as severe as it may sound. Scary yes, I won't deny that. My husband had precancerous colon polyps and they removed them and told him he needs to get a colonoscopy every three years versus five or ten.

Wishing you good news and strength.

Posts: 2
Joined: Aug 2011

The polyps they took out of my colon were precancerous. The polyps that WERE cancerous were taken out of my Anal cavity.

Posts: 80
Joined: Jun 2010

I can understand your fears; I would suggest you get some counseling around your issues.Also, I would get as much knowledge and understanding of your condition as possible; knowledge is power, and will give you a sense of control in your life.

best wishes to you

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