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carpe diem

Posts: 32
Joined: Jul 2015

OK.....my partner is now 2 months after radical nephrectomy due to pT3aN0MX furhman grade 2 RCC.

And he is positive (or at least seems positive). He is back to work full time since last week, and doing his very best at that. But for the rest....he has now gone in a complet "carpe diem / seize the day" mood.
THis means he does only what he enjoys, goes out with friends, plans weekends, lives the life, and neglects the rest. The rest is a mix of things, some don't matter, I mean only the neighbours mind if the grass is not cut etc....but we also have a 10-year old daughter, and school started again, and life goes on. He seems to have gone in a mood where he doesn't care, he prefers e.g. his daughter to relax, than to stimulate her to do things.....

This has now come to a point where it makes me extremely nervous, I work full time, can not simply stop to seize the day because we need the money. And last week I got really upset and told him that he can do this until his first big scan in October. If then it's bad he continue for life, but if it's NED.....he should get back to normal or at least try to.
I know.....it's not fair, he's the one with cancer, and I really really do try to do as much as I can, but there is only so much.....

I feel stretched to my limits handling everything, his hospital papers, our daughter, my full time work, all the farm animals we have etc.... And no, I don't want to stop with any of that, I just want him do a little bit, I'm not asking for anything he can't physically do (if I see what "fun" stuff he does manage to do).

THanks for listening to my nagging....Maybe somone can help me understand why he does this, and how I should (try to) deal with this.

They say cancer changes your life and changes you as a person, and I can only confirm. Are there other partners here who feel the same way?



BDS's picture
Posts: 172
Joined: Aug 2012

Dear Dembel – God, You sound like my wife, but I really understand how you are feeling.  From the opposite point of view - no one can really understands what a cancer diagnoses does to you psychology.  Before I was diagnosed with stage 4 RCC I would.

  • Constantly check my 401K retirement plan three times a week
  • Constantly worry about planning for retirement and financial matters 
  • Be worried that the lawn was not cut on time, the wash was not done, that there where dishes in the sink when I left for work in the morning or that my house was not fitting the Better Home and Gardens “Ideal perfect life”. 
  • Get pissed during food shopping that I either forgot or was unable to use store coupons.
  • Really care about my job; be overly concerned that I was missing promotional or training opportunities.
  • Make no time for myself due to the demands of work and family. 
  • Never taking a personal or financial risk - always playing it safe and sound. 


  After I was diagnosed I did the following. 

  • Fly a hang glider in Maryland 
  • Vertical Rock Climbing on a cliff in New Jersey.
  • Scuba Dived Shark Alley off of West Palm Beach Florida
  • Re-united with my college and high school buddies to attended concerts from the bands that we missed or could not afford to see “back in the day”.
  • Go on extended fishing trips to Lake George New York.
  • Joined a Dragon boat team.
  • Made a point to call/text/Skype friends and family that I have not heard from in years.
  • Make the time to go to the gym and exercise 3-4 times a week whenever possible.
  • Spend meaningful time with my wife and kids. 



Dembel your partner is newly diagnosed and his prognosis sounds much better than mine. If I can offer you one kind word of advice – It will get better over time; really.  Your life will somewhat return back normal – just give it time.  I have seriously calmed down since first being diagnosed. But…., if the opportunity ever presented itself, I would not think twice about jumping out of a perfectly good airplane or scuba dive with sharks again. I guess what I am trying to tell you Dembel  - due to his cancer diagnoses your partner is now and forever a changed man. You are going to have to get used to this new version.   


Carpe diem - Take Care - BDS Smile 


donna_lee's picture
Posts: 1001
Joined: Feb 2009

Yes, those of us with a cancer diagnosis do change perspective, but that shouldn't allow us to forget all our responsibilities.  And I'm sure your busband thinkgs everything is A-Ok and anything you have to remind him of a second or third time, he thinks of as 'nagging."

I am/was the Type A gal, the organizer, doer, and billpayer, and also held down a job, etc.  When I started to fall apart from doing too much, I went to a counselor and took hubby with me the first couple of appointments.  Not a marital counselor, but one to deal with my approaching depression from trying to do it all.

Without being accusatory, he needs to be aware that life has to go on for all of you, no matter the outcome; and he needs to participate instead of partying away your and your daughter's life with him.

There are communication barriers that he has errected that need to be gotten over or around.   he won't cut the lawn...so tell him you'll need to hire someone and it will cost $????.  Ask him to pay the bill out of his income, as your's is committed to X-Y&Z.  Don't let him use the 'cancer card" to pass go and collect his $200.  There is a family who needs him, now, and not just when he's ready to join you.

look at B_S (my keyboard won't print some caps) last comment...spend quality time with wife and kids.  You guys need to talk, hold family meetings, develop some group goals, get your daughter invovled, divide responsibilities.....but most of all, open the lines of communication.

It won't happen overnight, but start soon.  And always remember to say please and thank you.

hugs and best wishes.  I would send a big hug, but the I-I (cap H) only prints part of the time.


Allochka's picture
Posts: 947
Joined: Nov 2014

Hi Dembel,

although I didn't face anything similar to your situation with my partner, I'd risk to comment. Is it possible that your partner is stressed and scared much more than he shows? Perhaps he is really afraid that his life could end soon (which WON'T  happen), and so tries to get it all before it's too late? 

If yes, then, it will definitely pass with time, after he gets couple of NEDs and understands that life is not going to end.

and of course, after such serious diagnosis you borh (you as well, for sure), should concentrate more on beautiful moments in life, to spend quality time with each other, as previous posters said. So perhaps you could try to relax a bit more yourself?

At the same time, we women always care about family, so your concerns are very normal and understandable - your partner still needs to be an adult and take responsibility.

You say you've discussed upcoming scans with him and mentioned what happens if there is a recurrance.... I usually do not say aloud that I allow possibility of bad outcome. I always claim that I'm sure everything would be OK. Don't know if it works, but sometimes showing your ultimate belief in good results can be emotionally supportive.

Anyway, I think your partner will return to his old self after a while, when shockmsubsides and he realizes he's not gonna die. And perhaps you could borrow just a bit of his new attitude and enjoy life together with him and daughter?

APny's picture
Posts: 1998
Joined: Mar 2014


First I want to say that you caretakers are our life-line, our strength to lean on, pretty much our everything, and for that we’re grateful. I could not imagine having to go through this without my husband’s support. However, just as we can’t get into your heads to fully understand what our diagnosis did to your mind, you can’t get into ours either. And I think that’s part of the problem. It’s very hard to fully understand what the other person is going through emotionally, psychologically, and mentally. We all react differently and our ability to cope and move on varies greatly.


I think with time he will return to his old helpful self and realize that you and your daughter need more than a playmate. You need a helpmate as well. It’s only been a couple of months so give him some time. I agree with Donna that a direct approach such as I need you to help cut the lawn or help with the animals otherwise I have to hire someone, is a good idea. I also agree with Allochka that perhaps borrowing a bit of his new “Carpe Diem” attitude wouldn’t hurt. If you can’t seize the day because of commitments, then perhaps seize a couple of hours and join him in the fun. Then tell him it’s time to resume the mundane chores and you’d appreciate his help.


Hang in there and thank you for being a caretaker. Without you it would be 100 times worse for us. We’re here for you any time you want to vent and “nag” but there’s also a forum specifically for caretakers. Check it out. The forum listings are on the left side. I think you may find both forums helpful. Peace and hugs.


Posts: 337
Joined: Nov 2014


I have to tell you that I found this to be an extremely interesting side to a cancer diagnosis; so much so that I read this to my wife to get her opinion on it.

What's funny is that I had a very different reaction to the whole affair... I was only interested in getting back into the swing of things as quickly as possible.  I have to say I have a pretty good life; a great relationship with my spouse, a decent job, plenty of friends and family and hobbies that make me happy.  I don't want for much, and it was important for me to have as little a speed bump as possible.  My outlook was that I got extremely lucky with a Stage 1, pT1a tumor and I wasn't going to count my blessings or slow down.  We wanted to start a family (she's 6.5 months pregnant) and move onto the next chapter in my life.  I'm only 36, and certainly wasn't thinking about any "bucket lists" just yet.  

That being said, I can see how many would have this reaction.  Whether it's right or wrong is really up to the eye of the beholder.  Responsibilities are still responsibilities and don't go away in this world because we got cancer.  We're still expected to pay bills and do a good job raising our kids and obey the law, etc...  But I think some patience in letting him do what he needs to do for a couple months will get it out of his system.  I think he will come around to the desire to return to normal soon.  

- Jay 

Posts: 32
Joined: Jul 2015

Thank you all for your input, I know you are right.....I for sure would need to take the carpe diem attitude a little bit more, and really should not talk about the "what if the next scan is bad" etc....but sometimes it's just stronger than myself. In our pre-cancer time, I was the pessimist, he was the optimist, and we seem to keep that role, even though I'm indeed not 100% sure he really is, I think he worries more than he admits.

Reading what it does to all of you patients and care-givers does help to put thing in perspective, I'm afraid I'm just a quite pessimistic perfectionist, and I think I need to learn to let go certain things......

I'm not sure if it would work to let him pay to mow the lawn though Wink, he doesn't really car, know I will either do it, or pay for it myself, so I should just be more strict on that then!

Do any of you have small children? Our daughter is 10, so big enough to understand that something is terribly wrong (too many family members have been crying back in June), but too small to fully understand the imact. SHe went from "will daddy ever come home again" when he was in the hospital, to "next year we go to Italy on holiday with all of us", to "do you think daddy will ever really get better".....very difficult, I try to be honest with her, but at the same time I sometimes think that my perception of honesty is sometimes on the dark side.....

thanks to all of you, and all the best!



Posts: 389
Joined: Mar 2013

APny said it best care givers are the life line of Cancer patients.  Your partner and you have been dealt a blow and it is tough but it sounds like your partner caught it early.  When I was diagnosed the first time I went through similar changes mentally although for me I did want to be closer to my family.  On the flip side I changed all of my priorities eventually things settled down and I got back to my old self and taking care of business.  I still wanted to be closer to my family not just my wife and children but my siblings as well.  When my cancer came back I once again went through the emotional roller coaster that is cancer, only this time I got really bad news, so again I became a different person for a while, my priorities changed drastically.  My love and need for family and friends grew even stronger, my need for mowing the lawn not so much.  My wife was patient with me and I got back to my old self again and took on the chores had to be done, at the same time though my meds have inhibited much of my old self and my wife takes that in to consideration.  

Give your partner time be strong and patient things will get better and remember to communicate let your partner know how this effects you as well you are in this together, cancer may be an individual disease but it effects all those around the patient who love and care for him/her.  I hope everything gets better soon and your family can continue on with your life.



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