I have! Not physical abuse and not even emotional abuse at all. BUT YESSSS to a major shift in demeanor, anger, etc.
We’ve been together a very long time- married 19 years- and he’s never raised his voice at me really. If he did he had good reason but I can’t remeber a time when he has. He’s always super loving and patient. He treats me like a queen! We have not ever had marital issues or even disagreed very much. When we do, we talk it Kirby like adults. He’s always respectful, happy, and forever pursuing my heart. Still very much like newlyweds and I couldn’t ask for a better man, husband, and dad.
But we are ending cycle 2, about to begin cycle 3 of chemo (Bleomycin, Cisplatin, and Etoposidex along with Neupogen most weeks). He gets a bag of steroid before some of the chemos go in (he gets chemo 18 days of the 28 day cycle and over half of those he gets a big old dose of steroid with his pre-meds first).
Some days he doesn’t need get a steroid and of course he has some days off from chemo all together (but not many, his cycles are crazy!). He has what they warned me he would have- chemo and steroid rage. He’s not himself at all. Even on good days- he’s quiet and withdrawn (not like him at all). But as of this week he has become very irritable and angry. In all over our lives together, I’ve never seen the man get truly grumpy. Ever. Until now. Almost mean spirited.
It’s actually why I found this support group to begin with. I was googling “chemo rage”. I can deal with allllll the puke and side effects but this.....This tears me apart. I know it’s the chemo and not him and it certainly isn’t at a level that alarms or scares me at all, but it’s been also totally not how he normally is. He has an issue with everything I say and do (or anyone says and does). It’s definitely not exclusive to just me. He’s being rude and angry with everyone. Nothing could more opposite of how he usually is. He has literally never hurt my feelings before and this week he did. And he didn’t seem to care that he did so, when normally he can’t stand to see me upset ever. And he’s never the cause of my tears unless they are happy ones. Until this week. It’s like he’s grown cold and jaded out of the blue and very sudden.
If he wasn’t in chemo, I’d be feeling out but they did warn me this was likely coming. I kept laughing at them saying it had not and I doubted it would because he’s so sweet, always- no matter what. And he truly is, but I was wrong. Even he is not immune to this chemo rage. They have explained to me that this is common and even gave me pamphlet about “chemo and steroid rage and personality changes”. I get it, but I don’t know how to cope with it. I have no intention of leaving or letting this change our marriage at all. He cannot help it and I know this is not who he ever is at all. He’s just very, very grumpy and unhappy.
It doesn’t cross any line and some people are just this way normally. But my sweet husband isn’t. It’s hurting my heart so much and he can’t see it. It’s like he’s living in some alternate universe and I don’t recognize him at all and he can’t see what’s going on. I realize it will go away and he will go back to normal when this is over, but I don’t know how to deal with it until then.
Do I ignore it (that’s really hard to do when you are in that moment and are still a human who feels hurt by what he’s saying or how he’s acting). Do you address it or let it go? What if the patient doesn’t see it? Do you tell the doctor if it isn’t any real harm/threat? (it’s not physical at all, that’s actually quite laughable to think about because he’s so gentle. He has never raised his voice to me on all these years much less his hand). It’s not even abuse mentally. It’s not hate or tearing me down or anything like that. It’s just he gets so irritated about everything and he never has anything good to say anymore. And if I express concern about this to him he gets really hurt and upset, and then says he’s the same as he always has been (he is NOT- complete opposite).
Any tips and reassuring me it is just the meds (I know it is but reassuring words from those who have been there helps a lot) would be fantastic because it’s been a really hard few days in an already incredibly hard journey. I know he’s not on board to take any additional meds, especially those designed for this particular thing, and I get that. They’re hard to come off of and as long as it doesn’t get worse or become agresive, I don’t feel the need to ask him to do that. It’s mainky a struggle within myself for me to let it go and be strong enough to ignore it. I don’t need to snap back or letnir upset me. And that’s quite the challenge for me.
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Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.