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my husband

Posts: 3
Joined: Nov 2011

my 56 year old husband was diagnosed with lung cancer in april of 2010. since then he has had two surgeries, followed by radiation to lungs. things were quiet for 9-10 months. CTscan showed lymphnode involvement in chest. started 6 weeks of radiation but only got through 1 &1/2 weeks of this when he ended up in ER with severe headache vision changes and balance issues. I prayed it was a stroke! no such luck! metastisis to the brain. they immediately started full brain radiation(12 treatments) followed by stereotactic radio surgery to 3 tumors in the brain. This knocked any bit of life out of him! he has lost his hair, has absolutely no appetite, and I have to force him to drink carnation instant breafast and anything liquid. he is smoking again! and just sits or lays in bed it has been over a month sinc his full brain radiation! I am struggling with his lack of fight and lack of interest in his life. and mine.
they were going to go right into chemo but the ct scan showed with 7 treatments to lymphs, there was some improvement. so we start the radiation again tomorrow.
I need help understanding what he is feeling. and he won't talk about it.
Am I wrong for being angry at his lack of interest in his treatment and life. help!

z's picture
Posts: 1411
Joined: May 2009

I am so sorry for you and your husband. I can only speak for myself, and when I was dx with cancer, it is very scary. I completed tx for anal cancer and was fine for a year, when I found out I had lung cancer, you just feel like you can't take anymore. Well I went through a lobectomy for the lung cancer and I am fine. The radiation really makes you tired and the chemo makes you feel tired, so you just need to rest until you get through the tx. You might like to go to a support group to help with what your going through. I know its hard to understand, but if you go through it then you understand, which of course I hope you never go through it. Just be patient and hopefully he will start feeling better when the radiation is over. I wish you both well. Lori

soccerfreaks's picture
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

Understand, peggalita, that your reactions AND his are not atypical. You have a couple of possibilities, at least, with respect to hubbie. One, cancer sounds like a death sentence when we first here it pronounced, so it is not unnatural to feel fear, anxiety, depression, basically all of the stages of grief. In this case, of course, more cancer has come. As one who was once told I had as little as 10 months to live because of a second cancer, I can tell you that it can make you feel like the stuff is just eating away at you one part of the body at a time.

And I can tell you that when my second cancer was found, in my lung, I wondered, "What could be worse?". I thought about it for awhile and while I don't want to get into list-making here, I can tell you that the brain was right up there near the top of the pile: to be told that something is eating away at your very essence is about as frightening as it gets.

So there is that, the fear, the depression, and these are treatable, if your hub chooses to go into therapy or to seek support in some other way.

The second issue is, of course, the consideration that the cancer in the brain is changing his personality. I am not a doctor and cannot tell you what that entails exactly, but I have had friends here, HAVE friends here, whose brain cancer clearly affected or affects their behavior on occasion. I suppose that in this case, alll you can do is try to understand and accept while hoping that the radiation treatment works.

In the meantime, your fear and anger are also understandable. I am on record, for what it's worth, as stating that the caregiver has the more difficult job. You might want to consider therapy for yourself, even if hub refuses as he very well may (I would not necessarily suggest joint counciling anyway).

In any event, to be a good caregiver, you need to take good care of the giver. You can release some of your anger and frustration simply by making time for yourself. Get out as you can, do the things you enjoy,shopping, hiking, biking, gardening, playing soccer, whatever it is...take time for yourself. It will likely release some of your anger, some of your resentment, some of your fear and anxiety.

Best wishes to hub and his family.

Take care,


Posts: 3
Joined: Nov 2011


thank you very much for the recommendations and for your kind words. they help. I am getting out and taking care of myself on a regular basis, and am going to get back into counseling. I have spoken to the doc's about personality changes just today and they think that the brain activity could be causing the changes. They even notice a change in him. he was up beat and a fighter, now he does not appear to them to care. He was started on a mood stabelizer last week, we are hoping this helps.
thanks so much for responding.
best of luck to you and keep your chn up!

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