My partner and I are only just starting this journey and I'm afraid of what is to come. I work in the medical field, occasionally in oncology, so Its like I know just enough to worry about things that haven't occurred yet and possibly might not even happen! My bf of only 18mths was diagnosed only 6 weeks ago with stage 3 colon cancer. Working where I do we were very lucky to have such a quick diagnosis and great surgeons and oncologists jumping straight on board. He had a hemicolectomy last month and starts FOLFOX next week (for his birthday!)
But this is where it gets dark. I love him deeply. But I feel like I can't have my own feelings or problems because they are nothing compared to his. It's not his fault I feel this way, he doesn't say it do anything it's purely me. And then this festers inside of me until I explode and go crazy. Last night is an example of this. Sex and intimacy is a huge part of our relationship, we are only 35. I am going in for a minor girly procedure tomorrow so won't be able to have sex for a few weeks. By this time he will have started chemo, and then comes the protection not to mention loss of libido and tiredness etc... so o got angry when he's fallen asleep the last few nights. I tried explaining that I just wanted to feel WANTED one last time before this all started. I exploded. I'll use the excuse of 4 kids, a full time job, financial stress, trying to keep the house work semi up to date... but in reality I know I am just being g a spoilt cow. I stead of trying to understand what I was saying he got upset about the upcoming chemo. Because it's all happened so fast he hasn't really processed it. So I had to shut my feelings and emotions off to console him the rest of the night until he fell asleep. Which of course I should and is fine. I totally get it. I just laid there after he went to sleep and felt angry yet guilty that my feelings had been swept under the carpet.
I can't talk to anyone about it. I feel like I still want some recognition about my feelings or my issues (like my op tomorrow, which is only small but I'm nervous about) and then I feel like a horrible person because of course it shouldn't be about me! But I guess I'm kind of craving attention? Which then makes me resentful and then guilty...I love him dearly and I do everything I can for him not because I have to, but because I want to. I worry about our future because I know I'm acting like a self centered selfish person! And chemo hasn't even started yet! I have tried talking to him, but when I try to say these feelings go out loud I am embarrassed because they are just wrong! I think I just had to vent, or to just
Hope that maybe there is someone else out there who is as selfish as I am?
Hi Jaykay, I can really understand where you are coming from. My husband was diagnosed with lymphoma when I was 35 and he was 39 (7 years ago) and what you wrote is really familiar to me. Especially about the sex! Thanks for being open enough to write about it. Sometimes it's really difficult to be 'the healthy one', and this is one of those times. I really think cancer's impact on sex lives should be covered in pre-chemotherapy education, especially for young couples. I wasn't prepared for how difficult the long stretch of celibacy would be, and didn't handle it as well as I would have liked.
Is this something you could discuss with your partner now? If you can bring it up as an issue that needs to be addressed now, you will both be better placed to deal with it together later. (Especially if you phrase it as "cancer hasn't and won't change my desire for you, therefore..."-it will probably be encouraging and reassuring to your partner as well.)
As for being selfish because you still want your needs to be met-absolutely not. I think it's really hard when your partner has cancer, because you are in such a stressful and traumatic situation, and the person you would normally lean on in such times is the one with the cancer, so who do you turn to? That's where this forum is so good, because there are people here who understand a bit. (Not that it's the same as having someone to sit beside you, but it helps a bit.) I think what you're expressing sounds very normal for someone in our situation.
I wish you both all the good things. Lots of cyber hugs, Emily
You are not selfish at all just going through the process, hope its working out better for you all now. Although I am a lot older than you I do understand, everything has changed and your life has taken a new direction. Maybe eventually some good comes out of it as the brochures say, but so far on our families journey I haven't seen it!
Sincere and warm thoughts to you and yours
i hope things are going okay on your journey. I was recently talking to a psychologist about my feelings of selfishness and she said whenever you feel like you want to refer to yourself as selfish, change it to self care. I found this really interesting and it’s true. I don’t think you’ve been selfish at all, everyone deserves self care. Try to remember to take care of yourself however you need - without feeling bad about it.
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