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Hello - So glad I found this group...

Posts: 27
Joined: Oct 2011

I'm new to this group and wanted to introduce myself. My partner Jeff was diagnosed with Stage II Hodgkins lymphoma in May 2011. He will have chemo treatment #10 (out of 12- so almost done with chemo the on to radiation) tomorrow and we are both getting tired of the chemo routine. Before the diagnosis, he was always very healthy and I know the chemo side effects are wearing him down. Fortunately he is still able to work full time (mostly). Sometimes he just gets so angry with me. I feel like I am letting him down when he needs me the most. I realize it is probably anger at the whole cancer situation, but it's hard to not take it personally. From reading previous posts, I see that anger directed at caregivers is a common theme. I have got a lot of great information from the lymphoma boards, but am really glad to find this wonderful group of caregivers.

LilChemoSmoker's picture
Posts: 192
Joined: Oct 2011

Hello and welcome! We are happy to see you come to the sight and do please look around at previous posts as there is so much knowledge and sharing from a lot of great caregivers! If you haven't found it yet, look at my post titled "A caregiver's journey is tough at best" and know that you are NOT alone.

Misdirected anger IS a common theme. Especially when you are in the heart of the battle. There is much thought going on and a grieving process that occurs when one is faced with their own mortality. It is terrifying! As the caregiver we want to understand it at their level, but unless you have walked that journey, it is next to impossible to completely understand.

My husband has been dx with Stage IV Esophageal cancer and it is a terminal dx as they don't have a cure for it aside from surgery. At Stage IV surgery is not an option, so it is palliative care only. It certainly brings front and center your 'quality' of living. I could not imagine being faced with those thoughts. For me it was frightening enough to become painfully aware that my life partner of 16 years will be ending his journey here with me in short order.

Hold on to the moments that are so often clouded by negative overtones and grief. Grief rears it's ugly head at the most inopportune times and we can't control it, it very much controls us until we learn how to cope with it's grip. Coping is setting in motion your tools of action, and if you haven't obtained the tools it is tough to navigate this road effectively.

Seriously do your own inventory and explore your motives in taking his strikes personally. If you can replace those feelings with a feeling of compassion and understanding for his 'battle for life' then you can walk with him through this knowing he ultimately loves you and does not want to be without you. You are his rock, if even from a distance at times. Trust me, he knows this and feels this to his very core. He is having a hard time expressing his anger and directing his anger effectively. This is not abnormal. Going through this is so traumatic and causes a lot of adverse behavior.

Behaviors don't define us unless we let them. Behavior is always a symptom of an underlying issue and in this case it isn't hard to figure out what the issue is....it's the fear of our own mortality. Why me? What did I do to deserve this? ETC...

Don't internalize this feeling of let down. It is not you, and it is not a lack of succeeding in caring for him. Know this and repeat it several times a day as this will have to be your belief (truly) if you are to come out the other side of this storm with a relationship that isn't chalked full of resentments and distance.

If he begins to lash out in anger, you can simply respond with "I can see that I have struck a nerve and wish only to have peace with you, so I am willing to give you space, or I am willing to love you from a distance, or if you could let me know what your true needs in this moment are, I will do my best to fulfill that need."

Remember, This too shall pass. Everything you are going through right now, and anytime you are going through rough patches, is temporary. Don't right fight, and let it pass.
Take care of yourself and if he can not provide for your emotional needs at this point seek to get them taken care of through either a therapist or support group, or even through here. We are a very supportive group and though we may not be able to literally give you a hug, we can so feel your frustration and need for support and will do our best to give it. Sometimes, fighting cancer is all they can handle and the burden of feeling guilty for not providing for someone else emotional needs it too much for them. I couldn't imagine being in their shoes. You can do this and you can handle this if you just listen to your heart and let your logic guide you and reach out to others for support as you can not give that which you have not acquired for yourself. Your strength and support for yourself and your partner is paramount.

You and your partner are in my prayers and I pray for peace and serenity going forward for you both!

ddpekks's picture
Posts: 162
Joined: Sep 2011

Welcome to the board and so sorry you had to seek us out, but glad you did. Michelle is so right and has such an eloquent way of saying it. (Thank you Michelle!)

You may find this discusting, but I had started to quit smoking when DH was DX w/colorectal cancer in 12/10. Now smoking is my crutch! We have been through so many treatments, surgery and more treatments and the ups and downs have been Monsterous! So many times I have had to walk outside (in extreme heat, cold, rain, you name it) take a few puffs and talk it out with myself. After a couple of minutes, I'm good. I go back in, wash up and start all over again.

Now, I am deffinately not advocating taking up smoking....NO WAY. But find something to distract you for a few minutes when this anger flys though him, or the hurt is more than you think you can bear. He has no more control over his moods than he has over the disease that has attacked him.

This site has helped me more than I can express, because I come here and I "say it out loud". I have to take care of myself because he's not there to take care of me now as he has done for the last 30 years. He's not there to listen to my wants, needs and hurt right now, so I come here.

(((((hugs)))))) and I hope this helps just a tiny bit.


LilChemoSmoker's picture
Posts: 192
Joined: Oct 2011

Thank you for your post! What ever it takes, right? Smoking, talking, typing, bathing, showering, walking, ripping out the shrubs, etc....LOL So long as we don't make the mistake of firing back at the ones we love.

We can be weak here, we can vent here, we can share here, and we can get support here!


palmyrafan's picture
Posts: 397
Joined: Mar 2011

to the boards RAB. I am a brain cancer patient but I also come onto the Caregivers board to offer a patient's perspective (at my husband's advice). My husband is my caretaker.

Here on the boards you will find many great friends, a ton of useful information and sometimes just some great laughs.....yes, those are included.

As for the anger? Well....my husband and I have an agreement. When I get angry, I am usually quick to recognize it and it usually stems from not being able to control the situation of the cancer. So you are correct in stating it is the cancer talking, not Jeff. My husband is the same way. Sometimes he'll just look at me as if to say, "is this you or the cancer talking" and I often realize that I need to be careful when expressing my anger.

Glad to hear that Jeff's chemo treatments are almost over. Will keep you both in my prayers.


jimwins's picture
Posts: 2111
Joined: Aug 2011

Hi RAB and welcome.

"A caregiver's journey is tough at best" is a good read as suggested.
I'm a patient and doing very well so please know there's hope. I've
been on the anger giving side of things (mostly toward my sister) and
please understand it's not personal. There's just so much to process
when dealing with cancer as you well know.

You'll find lots of love and support here.



LilChemoSmoker's picture
Posts: 192
Joined: Oct 2011

Aaaaw, thanks Jim! You boosted my spirits today with that lovely compliment.

Big hugs to you!

Posts: 27
Joined: Oct 2011

Michelle, Deb, Teresa & Jim,

Thanks so much for sharing your stories and experiences. It means a lot to know that I'm not the only one going through this type of thing. Yes, Jeff is one that needs to feel in control of things normally, and I know the sudden diagnosis threw him off-balance (me too, of course). He is just so stubborn, it's hard to get through to him sometimes when he gets so angry. I know he loves and I love him and we'll get through this somehow.

Hugs and best wishes to you all,

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