My husband was diagnosed 4 years ago with stage 3 colon cancer, followed by surgery complications which almost killed him. Unfortunately during that time, we also lost the support from his family because they were unable to process the diagnosis and chose to use blame as an outlet for their emotions for which I was the one to be blamed for my husband's condition. While I knew this was completely irrational, I was not able to change that situation and even now they are withdrawn, we speak or email from time to time but are not close, so I am my husband's sole support & caretaker, which is fine, but sad that we lost the support from what we thought was a strong, extended family (they do not live close by). After completing the first 9 months of treatment, his cancer did go into remission, only to metastise 11 months later which led to another 4 months of treatments, followed by 2 more 6 month treatment cycles, he is currently approaching his 7 month in this particular cycle (4th) . While his physical constituion is great, on the exterior you would never know he has cancer, never mind under-going chemo, his emotional constitution is far less resilent. While I try to be positve, supportive and understanding of his emotions, I am starting to break, other parts of my life are falling apart, I also watched my step mother, within a 1 year periood, die a deteriotating and painful death from stage 4 cancer.
My story starts when my husband was diagnosed 4 years agao, I almost fainted in the Doc office when he delivered the diagnosis. As I rushed out to find a bathroom so nobody would see me breakdown, all I could think about was that had my husband "not canceled" the colonscopy that was scheluded 6 months prior, this would not be happening. But it did and has been on-going for 4 years with no end in sight, meaning that as per the Doc, my husband can live a long time managing his desease. One would think this is good news, which is how I would like to see it, however my husband does not see it that way, the chemo is getting to him and is affecting his qualtiy of life, and subsequently mine... and I feel extremely selfish/guilty for even saying that... While I can understand in my rational mind, my emotions are all over the place. I wish I could say that the people around me and my husband are understanding, but the truth is, they do NOT understand, and don't know how to act, so they act normal, but we can't be normal anymore, even though I have tried to explain it, my guess is that because of our outwardly appearance that nothing is oviously wrong, people do not understand that our life is different now and we have had to change our life style, which includes NOT indulgening in alchol or smoking for my husband, which I am sure he sneaks every once in a while. My philiophy always was that if the diagnosed was terminal, he should just enjoy and do what he wants, but in the beginning he had a chance of full recovery, I begged for him not to smoke or drink, eat healthy, exercise and do everything possible to get better, and if it returned after that we (he) would know he did everything possible to change the outcome.... well he did NOT do all the right things, and the cancer DID return a year after his first cycle of treatments were complete. So now, in addition to all the ovious (fortuntely we do not have children), I live with the torturous thoughts of "what-if" , "what now" and "how long??" and I'm sure my husband thinks of the same, but rather than pulling together, we are pulling apart, which makes me more angry and withdrawn, and my husband as well.
Dear Dee, I joined this forum with interest to see if there is anything even very little that can help me and my husband deal with my father-in-law's stage 4 metastatic bowel/liver cancer. I take solace in reaching to others not the other way around. I have some advice that I hope might be valuable.
I notice that people are writing a recount of their story. Our life is always about our story, what it was, what it is and what it will be and what we hope it will be. We live in hope that our future story will play out the way we dream it to be but our future stories are not written yet. Where our story will take us is often not in our control. So I cope best knowing that we are now on this unwritten journey but I will be able to write some of the story now and all of it later. The only part I can write is how smooth the journey is helping my father-in-law. This is my job now-I'm writing part of the story for him and our loved ones. xx
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