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How to stay positive?

Posts: 158
Joined: Mar 2012

I have posted in here several times concerning my husband and his stage IV clear cell RCC but today I am asking for me. As the caregiver how do you stay positive and upbeat for your husband or loved one? I try to stay positive but can find myself crying while riding down the road with him in the car.

Any thoughts from any of you cancer patients or caregivers on how to stay positive?



alice124's picture
Posts: 897
Joined: Mar 2012

Hi Karen,

It's not easy, and--while I was initially against taking anti-depressants--I finally realized I needed help, and my Dr. recommended. He said that I couldn't provide my husband the support he needed if I couldn't keep my emotions under control. And, at the time, I couldn't. I cried constantly. All it would take is for someone to ask,"How's John"? And the floodgates opened. I also made it tough on coworkers who wanted to be supportive but were afraid to ask how it was going.

I can honestly say that taking antidepressants on a daily basis doesn't make me feel any different. I just don't break out in tears like I was. I'm more even. It may be worth your investigation. Good luck and keep us posted.

Posts: 158
Joined: Mar 2012

You sound like me, soooo against taking anything and I am still against. Since we found out in February I have gotten better but still have at least 4-5 episodes a week with most of them when I am by myself. I start having visions about what is going on and what could happen and get all upset.

Maybe I should try that but not sure. I keep hoping I will get better and better.

Thanks and you keep us updated as well.

Posts: 14
Joined: Apr 2016

My husband was diagnosed on April 18 with Stage IV RCC (clear cell). This has been so life changing. My husband is mostly upbeat, but sometimes the negativity creeps up. Our youngest children are 6 & 4, so this is so hard. Reading all these posts makes me feel better about him not dying in the near future. 

We are still waititng to get our 2nd opinion. The first oncologist didn't want to remove the tumor on his kidney (it's 13 cm on his left). He was diagnosed in the ER, so we are probably going about this different from everyone else. I have read that the survival chances are so much better when the primary tumor is removed. Plus he's in so much pain, that in my opinion it would be difficult for him to fight cancer in pain. 

Did your husband get negative? How did you snap him out of it? Mine has only been negative a couple of times, but I want him to be positive. He can't work right now, so he's mostly at home moping. I can't get him out to do alot, because that makes him really sick the next day. 

Any advice would be appreciated.

garym's picture
Posts: 1651
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi Karen,

As patients the mental side of this journey is secondary to the physical side at least until surgery and treatments are finished and by then we have a better idea what we're facing because so many questions have been answered. We also are not faced with living on without our mate which is always weighing on a caregiver's mind. It is nearly all mental for you as a caregiver and I believe that is a much tougher road to travel. You feel an overwhelming desire to stay strong for us and never break down, but we do maintain an understanding of what you are going through and our desire to help you in return is still there. Don't worry about an occasional lapse with your husband, sharing a good cry once in a while can actually strengthen your bond and desire to fight, its a good stress reliever for you both. Laughter works very well also and it may surprise you how fast one can turn into the other and back again.

Hang in there,


Posts: 158
Joined: Mar 2012

I agree with the patient having the more physical side. I am soooo thankful to be the caregiver for my husband. Probably the most important reason I am glad that is what I am because I ask 100 questions and he asked NONE! He would go to the doctor and not say one word when I ask probably more than they want to answer but that is okay.

You hit the nail on the head when you say we think about living without our mate, that is the thought that crosses my mind already. The only time he has cried is when we found out, he is sooo quiet and that bothers me greatly. I just have faith and will fight this battle for him when he is weak or tired.

We do have lots of laughter times and I treasure everyone of those even more and more. He is a strong man as I bet you are as well.

Thanks for your kind words and good luck to you!


Posts: 14
Joined: Apr 2016

My husband is the one with cancer., recently diagnosed on April, 18.  It's stage IV RCC. 13 cm tumor left kidney with mets to lungs. I have been trying not to get upset in front of him. Are you saying it's better to occasionally get upset in front of him? We haven't really had to many talks about him not making it, we are trying to be as positive as possible. I'm supposing that's a conversation that we should have, maybe. I don't want to :(

Footstomper's picture
Posts: 1238
Joined: Dec 2014

I'm the guy with the lumps, and I will freely admit that I would be lost without the care and love of my wife. It has seemed to me from the beginning that it must be a lot harder to be the carer than the patient. All I have to do is live of die. She has everything else to deal with. It would be amazing if my Mrs was only worried about me, but she also has two parents in England, who are in their late 80s and in less than great health.

I almost wish she would cry in front of me, because bottling it all up cant be good for her. Also one of the most tedious thing about cancer is that it makes one surpemely self obssesed. It would be great to have a conversation with her about how she feels, and if that involved tears then...so be it.

Finally, have you tried councelling? It might be good to have a place you can really vent. It might be a good place to talk about your feelings with your husband.

Posts: 65
Joined: Mar 2012


Hello, I am the caregiver for my mother, who is stage IV with mets in her lungs, adrenal gland, spine, left femur and brain. She was only diagnosed at the start of March and moved in with us in mid-April. It is hard, some days easier than others, but here is what I do to handle it, in case any of it will help you. I too cry by myself, when I get a chance to - I still have a teenage daughter at home and one home for the summer from college, so I stay strong for my mom and for my daughters. I do tear up a bit when consoling my mom, but save the big cries for when I am alone OR talking to a close friend. I have a couple people, one a close friend and one is my aunt (one of my mom's sisters) and those are the two people that I call when I need to "vent," which is very calming actually. Sometimes all the sadnes, frustration, and anger gets all mixed up and I just need someone to listen (usually about once a week) that is when I call them. They just listen and tell me they understand - that is really all I need and then I am good to go again. I love my mom dearly, but it does make me frustrated and angry when I can't make it better (mainly when she is having a bad day) and I certainly don't want her to know I am upset as it is not at her, it is at the situation. The other thing I do is, get a way a little bit, I have one of my sisters or one of my aunts come and stay with her for a little while so I can go do something normal, even if it is just to go to the store. It gives me time to stop worrying about her needs and do some every day task. Also, one of my uncles and his wife have started coming over every Wednesday night, if mom is having a good day, they take her out to dinner, if not, they bring her dinner. I actually like this much better because I don't have to call and ask someone for help. This is their way of helping me out and spending time with her and I always know that I have Wednesday night to myself, even if it is just to handle some housework, it is my time.

I haven't done this yet, but it is something I recommended to my oldest daughter who was having a lot of trouble coping when my mom left work (they worked together) and so my daughter was faced with having to discuss her condition endless and be reminded of it every day. I had her start taking a multi-vitamin with a stress reliever formula in it. She started doing much better after one week of taking them regularly. I think sometimes our bodies just need a little more of the things that are good for us when we are going through times of crisis.

I hope some of this helps you out! I feel for you! Hang in there!

Texas_wedge's picture
Posts: 2803
Joined: Nov 2011

You're doing a great job Bennette. Keep it up, and make sure you keep looking after yourself as well.

todd121's picture
Posts: 1258
Joined: Dec 2012

I'm sorry. I find this idea ridiculous. Being scared and sad is a normal reaction to this condition for everyone involved.

I suppose you may be asking how to keep from sinking into despair all the time? That can be a real problem. Sharing your feelings with someone is very important. Picking who that person is (the time/place) is probably very important. I'm guessing if you try and avoid this and the feelings, the stuff will slip out at inopportune times. I'd think you may need multiple people to talk to for different reasons. If you don't have anyone, finding someone is important. If you need to pay someone, there's nothing wrong with that.

I can't say about meds. I tried them and it caused me other problems so I quit them.

Taking care of yourself is definitely important. Exercise. Eat right. Get rest. Journal might help if you have nobody to talk to.

And allow yourself to feel what you feel. It's your feelings. Trying to stop them/control them/ignore them hasn't worked for me in the past.

Wishing you well,


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