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Husband lost it for the first time...wife with cancer

Posts: 4
Joined: Nov 2017

I was just diagnosed with T2N1M0 colorectal cancer.  I turned 40 a month ago, and have two young children and a few older step children.  This topic isn't focused on me - I think I'm an emotional step or two past my husband.  He lost it for the first time the other day, and I don't know how to deal with that.  We are each others rock.  We are very much in love.  He doesn't know how to work his current new role, and I have nothing to say.  I'm dealing with my own reality, and acknowledge that he has his own stress as a caregiver and what seems like a single parent role right now, but I have never seen him loose it emotionally.  He felt helpless.  So do I.  How best can I support HIM in this new adventure that no one asked for?  

Trubrit's picture
Posts: 5427
Joined: Jan 2013

I don't think there is an easy answer to your quesiton.  Everyone handles their situation differently. 

One thing I did during treatment was to write everything down. Side effects, emotions, happy moments, sad moments, fears. Maybe that is something your husband could try. If he could write down his emotions, his fears, his hopes, and either share them with you, or review them himself. Sometimes seeing things written down can help. 

I think there is a mourning period, after diagnosis. Life as you know it has changed forever, and its important to come to terms with that and flow with the fear and emotions. 

Wishing you much luck. 


beaumontdave's picture
Posts: 1135
Joined: Aug 2013

I'm sorry you have to both deal with your diagnosis and your husbands reactions to this new reality. You might suggest he come read some of the stories on this blog, as many are coping well with more severe prognoses. Otherwise I'd give him a little time to adjust, he should come around, as Tru said, it's a heck of an adjustment, for all involved. If he keeps having meltdowns, or if you get overstressed by the weight of it all, many here learned to practice meditation, mindfulness, and my goto, a prescription for Xanax, which really helped at certain stressful moments. If you use it sparingly, it helped me a lot in the early stages of this journey. Best of luck to both of you..............................................Dave

Winny's picture
Posts: 10
Joined: Oct 2017

him losing it, in what way, getting mad or breaking down crying?   If it’s crying then he’s just upset his soulmate is going thru this and feels helpless and probable scared he can’t fill your shoes, getting mad means he’s more mad about the situation and it happening to his better half.  I’m going thru same thing... my wife has stage 4 colon cancer with liver Mets and best thing to do is he stand by you thru this and still treat you like before just a bit sick.  Try to still keep communication lines open and let each other know that you are both fighting this just not you.  What emotions you are both going thru is normal and having that solid relationship behind you both will help you both in long run.  Just like my wife, hope you get thru this and get better.  

Annabelle41415's picture
Posts: 6695
Joined: Feb 2009

It's got to be a terrible blow to you both and your family.  It's never easy to get a diagnosis but when you are young and with children it's terribly hard.  It's not easy for the one on the other side (husband) seeing the one he loves going through something he can't understand.  He might have to take on roles he never used to have to do.  There are support groups for people going through this.  You are right to come on this board as we can give you much help.  Just let your husband know that you love him and appreciate him in everything he does.  You are going to need him so just let him know that he is much loved.  Wishing you well.


Mikenh's picture
Posts: 779
Joined: Oct 2017

Cancer puts an incredible amount of stress on the family and I'm the kind of guy that likes to be strong for others but it can be overwhelming at times. My wife has indicated to me that she's had a tough time of it as well with worry. We're older and have had to deal with difficult health issues with parents and with kids so we've had some experience but it's not the same with cancer in a spouse because you can work together on the other problems.

It might help if you had some resources from family or friends to help out with some of the responsibilities of parenting and other things to take some of the load off both of you. Or perhaps a support group or even social services assistance.

Lily Flower's picture
Lily Flower
Posts: 254
Joined: Jul 2017

No one is prepared for cancer especially with young children involved. It's normal for your husband to be overwhelmed And he probably feels like his world is coming to an end. cancer isn't a death sentence. Many people here with staged 4 have survived. We also have many caregivers that come here for support and advice. Hang in there and be strong for each other. I know it's easier said than done but it's doable.  We're all here for you guys too! 

Posts: 107
Joined: Apr 2016

Sorry your husband is having a tough time dealing with your diagnosis. I totally understand, my husband went through similar emotions that he was having trouble expressing. I think that sometimes men think they are supposed to "fix" things and when they encounter something they can't fix, they are at a loss. Like someone else said, communication is key.

Best of luck to you.


OzarkGal's picture
Posts: 41
Joined: Oct 2017

If me, I would prefer to know what he is really feeling so that those feelings can be processed together.  When the diagnosis hits, it is like being shell shocked.  It takes time to process the emotions.  Everyone will also tell you that it is a rollercoaster ride - good days with happy moments and bad days when you just loose it. People say to be postive but that can be hard to do all the time.  My onocologist is having me talk to a psychologist who works with cancer patients.  Local support groups may also be an option. 

Kazenmax's picture
Posts: 449
Joined: Feb 2016

needs to let it out every so often. My husband was stoic throughout my treatment. That was frustrating as well. I felt terrible when I lost it.

however, surprisingly we had several times when we chuckled together. Like the time right before getting my port out and feeling the "relaxation" drugs, I started talking about how I was not happy with the fact that radiation had such an effect on my private parts. It came out of nowhere and my husband had to laugh... which got me laughing.

Its a difficult road to travel on. You will have your ups and downs. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. I hope you both find a way to lean on each other.



Posts: 4
Joined: Nov 2017

You are all right.  It is a roller coaster, and I'm glad some of you said "the new reality" and "changed forever" because thats what I keep telling myself, but havent said outloud.  Next week a portion of my life will be forever gone.  Never like it used to be, even if fully recovered.  There are lasting effects that will be here forever.  I feel like I'm going to die next week, and I'll have to be a different person.  

He was better last night, but almost cold and in defensive mode.  Almost guilty for feeling pissed and crying the other night.  He is of the mindset that the strong man fixes things, and he can't fix this.  We have to trust people we wouldn't trust, and take pills and tretment that none of us would take if they didn't tell us that we would die otherwise.  But they are going to kill us just enough to have us live?  I'm not to acceptance yet.

I have started to document a few things, and when I suggested a few photos - like the first day of radiation - he refused.  I don't mean lcute selfies, I mean documentary style, and not overboard.  No thumbs up or signs, just a photo walking in or something.  If my kids lose me early in their lives, I would at least like them to know we tried, and did what we were told.  Now I'm going to have to either do the dreaded selfie, or take something without me in it.  Or ask the Rad Tech to do it, which I could, and probably will.   He doesn't want it burned into his memory, which I understand.

This really sucks.

Trubrit's picture
Posts: 5427
Joined: Jan 2013

I guess they call it a vlog.

I kept a video blog throughout my chemo treatments.  Anyway, looking back myself on the blog, is cathartic. I don't know if my kids will ever check out the videos when I'm gone, and thats fine. I did it mostly for myself. 

So, don't worry about wether its a selfie or not. Because you are going to survive this ordeal, it will be you looking back on them. 


Tunadog's picture
Posts: 235
Joined: Mar 2017

Just to keep track of my being. Damm I look good. Well that's what everyone says.

I didn't know what to expect in the beginning, the pictures are good to look back at.

Best of Luck on your journey.


blessed39's picture
Posts: 91
Joined: Dec 2016

Dear lost it, I know exactly what you are going through. Please read my story on my blog entitled

"How I Beat Stage Four Colon Cancer." I pray you find some peace from my experience.

God bless you and your husband. blessed39

darcher's picture
Posts: 298
Joined: Jun 2017

  Each of us has responded to chemo in different ways and often had variable symptons to the same type of chemo.  It's a crap shoot what's going to happen.  I wouldn't take pictures because he may be thinking that's what you're going to end up as and wants to hold onto what was.  It takes a a fair amount of time to adjust to the new you and him.  Both will be altered to one degree or another.  While doing this, try to keep an open dialog.  Funny, a few months back the wife and I got into an argument over which is worse, losing someone to cancer or having it. I think everyone here would agree we've drawn the short straw.  

 Even though I've had the surgery a few weeks ago and haven't had chemo since Sept 11 I still got nailed this evening with a major puking episode. It was stress related and it really scared me because now I'm  wondering if this is permanent.  I hope not but if it is, it's something else to add to the list of thou shalt not...      

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