Hi again. It sounds like you are having and have had an extremely difficult time in many areas of your life. I'm new to the whole cancer treatment/partner carer situation and expect we all have to find our way through it. And I expect I will do well at some things and not others. I have found the cancer council sight helpful particularly when I read about cancer patient experiences and how alone people feel even when surrounded by loved ones, friends, family and medical teams. This is something I personally will take on board. I think for me the fine balance of supporting but not controlling while retaining a feeling of value and me-ness in the whole experience that isn't pleasant or kind or conducive to my husband feeling supported or even hopeful. He has lost his hair which I think is minor but to him it's extremely important that he looks good. He knows he looks unwell and now also thin and bald. It may seem a little thing but to him it's important so I tell him he is still handsome and attractive. He doesn't enjoy my cooking anymore. Me - I was heartbroken as it is one of my love-languages but I had to get over it and not fuss about it. I am not in the same position as you as I said I'm at the beginning of this journey. I hope I survive emotionally. I hope my husband survives and survives emotionally. I hope we survive as a couple and can rebuild our lives after treatment finishes. I hope there is a finish to treatment so my husband can rebuild himself and be who he wants. And I hope he wants me. But there are three entities in this relationship and I see that it is me and my husband against cancer. We are so lucky to be supported by family and medics and friends. I hope you find a way to get support and understanding of the desperate situation you are in. Cancer can win in many ways I expect, yet I hope I have the courage and increasing knowledge and ongoing support that we need in this fight. Reading cancer patients stories have increased my empathy toward my husband and so I'm going to work on less about me and more about 'us' though I have no idea what that will look like. My husband and I are separate people and we have greatly differing needs in this journey but we have to work against the cancer as a team as well as individually. I hope we make it. My heart goes out to you and I hope something changes for you soon. I hope someone comes into your life that can help you deal with all that you are coping with. Carol
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My husband recently commenced Chemo for same cancer and yes patients can have a visitor (carer, family member) attend. You can ask your hospital as it may differ but he will need support (share the experience) and also someone to take him home. My experience is that the patient can become overwhelmed with all the information and needs to be told periodically what was discussed during the treatment or Dr visits. Can I ask what part of Australia you reside in? I hope your Dad goes well with the treatment. My husband in his late 70s has completed 2 treatments (3 week intervals) of six cycles plus two additional treatments at the end. My husband has done quite well so far. He has lost his hair and I can see there is a process of changes within the three weeks. for example pretty good after treatment but gets tired at end of first week and can be cranky or short and sometimes difficulty in processing information and sleeps more (naps); sleep increased (2-3 hour naps) in second week (and lost hair) and third week eating better and feeling better. Eating changed during first and second week - he enjoyed small snack meals and more carbs (rice and pasta) and enjoys ice cream etc that he didn't eat previously. Feeling like eating has changed as appetite decreases so I let him shop and feed himself until he feels like eating full meals again (third week) Constipation was help with medication from first week but then rectified itself until next treatment. I hope this helps. And as I said, hopefully your Dad copes well with the treatment. The staff are wonderful and your support medical team - doctors, nurses etc will answer any questions so please ask them. Nothing is silly and its ok to repeat questions if you are unsure as there is a lot to take in. But one day at a time. Do you live with your dad? regards Carol
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Hi Tracy-Renee My husband has recently been diagnosed with lymphoma and is undergoing treatment and I too am finding it really difficult to cope with the personal treatment. He is in his late 70's and I'm in my early 60's so he also has poor hearing and a defensive attitude that causes conflict between us. I understand how deep and hopeless your feelings are. My experience is that I feel terribly undervalued and accused of things my husband thinks I says even if we are commenting about a news report. I find it hard to share space with him and so have put in things that keep me occupied during COVID restrictions so that I don't leave. I have a difficult but small jigsaw that I do, I have crocheting that I have started (its been 20 + years since I last crocheted, I am typing letters to myself (which I find very therapeutic) and I read. I try not to comment on too many things as he truly believes that I'm the problem. I'm not saying he is the problem either but certainly what's happening to us is. I find my husband moves between little boy who is needy and autocratic disciplinary father who 'needs to control' everything including me. I understand why he is doing it as he is feeling controlled by his experience. He cannot tell it what to do or order it to do something else as he was able to do in his business life. He cannot blame the cancer as it will not listen and he cannot sack it. So he is quite powerless to change anything at this time or to feel empowered over decisions or activities in his life. I am not one to condone disrespectful behaviour nor do I think I should be a sacrificial lamb but I cannot change where I am at this time. I am on the journey with my husband. So I am trying to make the best of it by being busy with calm and peaceful activities. I don't watch tv or Netflix unless it is uplifting or comedy; I walk as much as I can around my community; I make myself good food and coffees and proceed the eating and drinking with - you deserve this delicious food and coffee; or you are coping because of who you are; you don't deserve what was said but you can control what you do with it (let it go). I let my friends and family tell me I'm doing well. I pick flowers from my garden - just for me. I try and make my life as peaceful and beautiful as I can. In my letter writing I tell my computer what happened, how bad it was and how undeserving it was. I can swear or cry or be angry. Then if helpful I write a letter of apology from the cancer back to me giving the cancer an opportunity to express to me, how much I'm appreciated, or loved, or admired. I understand that all of this seems fanciful but I promise you I have been where you are and it was horrid, heartbreaking, confusing, hopeless. one of my friends sent this to me today and it helped me this morning... Poem from Elizabeth Gilbert The woman whom I love and admire for their strength and grace, did not get that way because shit worked out They got that way, because shit went wrong, and they handled it. they handled it in a thousand different ways, on a thousand different days, but they handled it those women are my superheroes …………………………………………………. Can I suggest that you see yourself as this woman. You can be your best cheer squad and truth teller. Separate the cancer, the treatment, the suffering from your husband and look for whatever is hidden under all the 'shit' if I may say that. I'm not advocating being a doormat, but be skilful in how you live your life. If anything you try works and makes things better for you, tell me. I might try it too. Carrithom
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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.