Hi to all my fellow travellers on this journey called cancer. I did not expect to still be here after being diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer in Sept 2014. But the great surgeons at Nepean hospital and the cancer centre staff have given me a chance at life. The reason for my blog today is the terrible toll that cancer also takes with your loved ones. My partner was only with me for 3 weeks when I was diagnosed. I told her that if it was too much to take on, then let me go and do it myself. She assured me that her love would get us thru the hard times. After 2 operations and 8 rounds of chemo, we had a small argument over nothing, but some of the things she said to me made me pack up and leave. The worst thing she said was that looking after me was like working in a convalescent hospital. Some things once said cannot be unsaid, I feel so bad that I was such a burden to her. So now I face the future feeling hated by her, but really caused by the cancer. Any comments would be welcome.
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Occasional Contributor
I am so sorry to hear of your relational pain with so many health challenges as well. I can imagine that there are so many components to this for you and your loved one. One of the things that sustains me in my involvement with my mother's care is that we can draw on so many joyful memories as we interact with each other. Your partners willingness to embark on this journey with you with little foundation of shared experience and joyful memory making, appears to be a real sign of her deep commitment to relationship and to you. It sounds to me that your partner has just become incredibly exhausted, and that your relationship has become focused on the illness rather than each other. Is there a way you can engage more support so that she can step back a bit from the physical aspects of care, so that she doesn't always feel like she is looking after you? Are there people in her life who look after her? Have there been any fun times for you in this last year or so? Is there a counsellor with cancer care experience that you could see together that would allow you to work these things through? You have been through so much and sound so courageous and positive about this new chance at life you have. It sounds like the caring load may be a little less as your health stabilises. You have had enough loss in your life, and cancer has taken a relational toll. But although I don't know you, your words make me feel confident that you have it in within you to fight for your relationship just like you have fought cancer. Let your partner be honest about her feelings and needs. Cancer or not, we all make clumsy mistakes with communication in relationships, particularly when we are tired and overwhelmed. I hope and pray that things get better for you, and regardless of the outcome with your partner you remember that you are never alone, support and care is out there.
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