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Mum of young family, feeling angry and hopeless and ripped off with husband's cancer

Posts: 2
Joined: Sep 2011

Feeling completely washed-up, hopeless and angry after dealing with cancer diagnosis for 4 years.
My husband's cancer was first diagnosed when I was 7 weeks pregnant with our 1st baby, and (with a brief interlude of believing it was gone), the terminal cancer diagnosis was given when I was 9 weeks pregnant with our second. We coped pretty well with the situation for the first couple of years, living in the moment and appreciating the good times etc. But as time has gone on (and I know I am incredibly lucky he is still here, it is already much longer than the prognosis), but I am starting to really feel the strain. I am quick to fall into the sad pattern, react too often with anger. I feel resentful that I cannot plan and dream about the future, and the Cancer has made decisions for us (like having more kids). I just want to be 'normal' for a while, and somebody to be able to tell me "everything will be alright".
I know I should "look after myself", but it is hard to find time, with 2 energetic young girls. And I feel guilty when I can only imagine how hard it is for my husband. I do my best to look after him and his feelings, but sometimes I really wish someone would look after me too. And I keep thinking it can only get worse, before long (who knows when), he won't even be here.
I hate the powerless feeling of being the spouse of Cancer. I am tired of being the last priority.

Posts: 428
Joined: Jul 2011

I have just begqn this journey and dont have children so young but I have felt this way also and it is usually followed by intense feelings of guilt for being selfish. Then I hate myself and promise myself to do better. I think that our feelings are probably very normal and we should expect that there will be times that we feel neglected. Perhaps we need to share rather than spare these feelings with our spouses. We become so protective of them that we don't want to burden them with our problems but battling cancer is a team event and we should allow the patients to be the strong ones sometimes. Lisa

lovingwifedeb's picture
Posts: 184
Joined: Aug 2010

Dear rubynz,

I know you are tired of fighting this battle. You know all the catch phrases... that's a person who has been fighting for survival and happiness that so many take for grantedin normal life. As a caregiver or the one with cancer or the lost, this site and many others shows one that we are not alonein our suffering.

Perspective in life gives everyone the opportunity to share with others that they may benefit from what they have gone through. So I say to you and everyone here... stay out of the negative as much as you possibly can.

Fill your today's and tomorrows with love for your husbands or significant others or family because they are right there beside you now, you can touch them, kiss them, say the words "I love you" , and they will answer you back. Talk about nothing and everything... wrap your arms about them and let them know they are your world forever. And when you do these things think of "us" ... each one of us who have already lost our loved ones and can't do or say these things.

Take each day at a time... 6 words to live by. Because there is no going back.

Peace to you, Deb

palmyrafan's picture
Posts: 397
Joined: Mar 2011

First, if you are going to get angry, get angry at the cancer. Your husband did not ask for the cancer nor all the negativity that goes along with it. The procedures, the tests, the good news and the bad. I can assure you (I have brain cancer) that no one wants normalcy more than HE does.

I realize that this is hard for you. But try to understand this from his point of view. His whole world has been pulled out from underneath him and he no longer has a "normal". "Normal".....what a powerful and powerless word. We all want it. Whether we are the cancer patient or the caregiver.

I know how hard this can be on my husband. I try to make sure that he has as normal of a life as possible. I encourage him to pursue his own interests; work, golf, hobbies, grandchildren, etc. That is important to him and therefore it is important to me too.

We try to live each day to the fullest extent we can and we don't make excuses. My husband has a job where he has to travel occasionally around the country and we pull my support team together to help cover his absence. Because it keeps things "normal" for him.

I realize there may come a time when my huband has had enough of being my caregiver and that is why I have always given him an "out". His out comes when we approach new treatments or we get more bad news. His "out" is that I love him enough to let him go if that is what he wants. He is free and clear to walk out of the marriage, no questions asked, no regrets, no anger if he just can't do this anymore. I love him that much. His reaction? "You were drafted, I enlisted and I will keep re-enlisting for as long as it takes."

Hang in there, please. It may seem that you are taken for granted or that you are not a priority. But my husband was right when he said to me, "I know you would do the same for me if the shoe was on the other foot".

Please don't be angry at your husband. Be angry at the cancer. Go sit in your car and enjoy some scream therapy. It really does work wonders. Better yet, you might try some counseling, with someone who deals with chronic or terminal illness. We have a wonderful therapist and she sees us together and each of us separately and it has done wonders for both of us.


grandmafay's picture
Posts: 1639
Joined: Aug 2009

I just wanted you to know that I am here. I lost my husband to cancer following a six year battle with this disease. I am a grandma so my children are grown. Yet I, too, felt many of the feelings you are talking about. I, too, felt the guilt when I worried about myself. I knew I could take care of myself, but it was still scary to think of the future alone. I was lucky that my husband understood that my job as caregiver and as the one to be left behind was possibly even harder than his as a patient. The constant worry, stress, and yes, anger are very difficult to deal with. Having children that you have to worry about and their future just adds to the feeling of helplessness. This is not how you planned your life. This isn't how it was supposed to happen. You were supposed to raise those children together. You were supposed to grow old together. You probably knew that life wasn't fair, but you didn't know just how unfair it could be. My heart goes out to you and your family. I hope you are not trying to do this alone. Please find someone who can take care of you once in awhile. We belonged to a cancer support group which was very helpful. I still go as a surviving caregiver. Don't be afraid or feel guilty about talking to your dr, a counselor, clergy, friend, or family member about your needs. You have a right to seek help. Hang in there and come here anytime you need support or need to vent. Yes, we caregivers need to do that, too. Take care, Fay

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