Family and friends

If a member of your family or a friend, or someone else you know is living with cancer, this group is the place to share your feelings and get support.

My partner's diagnosis

custardcreambiscuits

Hi everyone

I'm not too sure where to start really.  I'm just hoping that there are some people on here going through the same situations who can offer some advice?

My partner was diagnosed last year with cancer.  It was caught early and only needed mild treatment.  He got the all clear for it near the end of last year.  But now it has come back and stronger this time (May).  He needs 14 weeks of Chemo and Radiotherapy on alternate weeks.

He's told me he feels very angry with everything and scared.  That there's a big part of him that just wants to be left alone by me but then a smaller part that wants me around.  He wasn't particularly enjoying nights out with friends either and wants to be alone, but this week he's been out a few evenings with them.  He's also said that he doesn't want to take his anger or frustration out on me. 

But then he will say something like not knowing what he wants or feels, which is making me question how he feels about our relationship and why his diagnosis would change that or make him question that?  We have been together 2 and a half years with plans of marriage/family etc so this is really hard to hear and why he now has these doubts.  Or is this his way of saying that's he's scared that future is being taken away from him/us?  I've reassured him that I love him, that I'm not going anywhere and will support him.  I don't want him to think he is alone in this but I'm scared he feels he has to do it all alone.

I know he means well with not wanting to hurt me, with an angry outburst for example, but from going from pretty much living together to him not really wanting to see me and cancelling plans, is really hurting me and I'm struggling to understand.  He doesn't want people to change how they act around him but he is distancing himself from family and friends.  This must sound selfish of me to be upset about this, when he is the one having to go through this.  I cannot imagine how he must be feeling because I haven't been in his position but I just wish he would let me in to share his problems/fears so we can work through this together.

So the above was my original post, back in May, before I was suggested the family and friends group on here.  Below is kind of an update on what's happened since...

We started off with having a 'bad' couple of weeks where he didn't want to see me/anyone.  But then this month, it felt like things had turned around for the positive.  We had a really good weekend at the beginning of June and then last week was great, we saw each other 3 days, which is a lot compared to when he started pushing me away in May.  He's also seen friends a few evenings this week which must be a good thing for him?  But now he's gone quiet with me... is this just having some ups and downs which is to be expected? 

He definitely has a lot on his mind as his first session is Friday.  I just feel like I'm not supporting him enough if I'm not physically there to help him.  Are there any other ways I can help without being there?  He wants to go alone for his treatment which I have obviously offered to take him to and stay, or even act as taxi, but he won't let me.

He has put up a barrier and doesn't seem to want to share any feelings still.  I've been told this can be a man thing where they don't talk openly like women do.  Do guys think they have to be a man and be strong all the time?  I really don't know.  He can be happy some days and then really moody towards me the next.  He's much better with more people/family around, so I don't think his family know the true extent to how he's feeling/acting.  The other week he wouldn't let me spend the day with his family but then this weekend just gone he did.  

I think I'm giving him enough space.  We've gone from practically living together to me being back at home so I'm not sure what else I can do to help him.  He doesn't like to be with each other overnight at the moment now, because he's not sleeping (can't switch off and worries etc) and then he's told me he doesn't feel well in the mornings.  At one time he has said 'oh well I need to get used to it' which makes me wonder why he thinks he needs to get used to sleeping alone.  But then on a 'good' day he will say something like I'm sure it will go back to normal at some point and talks positively about what he wants in our future.  I was wondering once treatment starts, it might help him sleep better because at the moment it's been the waiting period of being diagnosed and starting treatment.  Has anyone else had this or know any ideas I can suggest to try to help him with it?

I'm still telling him I love him and I'm not going anywhere, and all those sorts of things, but most of the time he thanks me.  I'm not sure why he thinks he needs to thank me for saying these things.  Has this made anyone else's family member think like this?

I'm sorry for such a long post but I really needed to get this off my chest.  I've not been through this exact situation before so I'm struggling with knowing what to do.  It would be nice to be included in a support group where other people are facing similar challenges so you know this isn't something people have to face alone.

Thanks

Life is short and precious, don't waste a second of it!
latchbrook
Posted by

Hi 

I'm sorry to read that you're still feeling excluded by your partner. I haven't been in this position, as it was me that had cancer, but I noticed that your post hadn't had any replies. 

It could be that no one else has had this experience or, more likely, that they haven't read your post or felt able to reply. By replying to you will bump it back to the top of the page where it might be seen by someone who feels able to respond. I'm also tagging my fellow Community Champions  and  into my reply as they look after this group and may be able to suggest some things to help you.

In the meantime, you might find this information about how to help someone with cancer useful.

x

 "Never regret a day in your life, good days give you happiness, bad days give you experience"

What is a Community Champion?

custardcreambiscuits

Hi

Thank you for your response and I hope you are well now. It's much appreciated to bump me back to the top of the page :) thought maybe the post hadn't gone through.

If anyone else sees this:

His treatment seemed to go ok yesterday. I spoke to him last night but he didn't want to discuss any of it. I was meant to see him today but he messaged that he wasn't feeling good and was really tired. This is obviously to be expected but it upsets me that he can't be 'unwell' in front of me.

He says he wants to be left alone but keeps getting texts/calls from everyone. I said that's because you have a lot of people around you who love and care for you. His response was 'well it doesn't feel like it'. Why would this make him feel this way? 

I really don't know what to do anymore. I'm getting no support from his family anymore either. Should I just stop contact and wait for him to contact me? Or is that just going to make him think I don't care.

I called the helpline a few weeks ago and they couldn't help. They told me it's him going through it so I need to respect his wishes but they couldn't give any advice in case it's wrong and makes things worse.

Thanks 

Life is short and precious, don't waste a second of it!
custardcreambiscuits

Hi

Thank you for your response and I hope you are well now. It's much appreciated to bump me back to the top of the page :) thought maybe the post hadn't gone through.

If anyone else sees this:

His treatment seemed to go ok yesterday. I spoke to him last night but he didn't want to discuss any of it. I was meant to see him today but he messaged that he wasn't feeling good and was really tired. This is obviously to be expected but it upsets me that he can't be 'unwell' in front of me.

He says he wants to be left alone but keeps getting texts/calls from everyone. I said that's because you have a lot of people around you who love and care for you. His response was 'well it doesn't feel like it'. Why would this make him feel this way? 

I really don't know what to do anymore. I'm getting no support from his family anymore either. Should I just stop contact and wait for him to contact me? Or is that just going to make him think I don't care.

I called the helpline a few weeks ago and they couldn't help. They told me it's him going through it so I need to respect his wishes but they couldn't give any advice in case it's wrong and makes things worse.

Thanks 

Life is short and precious, don't waste a second of it!
latchbrook
Posted by

It must be very hard that you're not getting any support from your partner's family .

Have you had a chance to look through the information I linked you to? I'm hoping that it might give you an insight into how your partner might be feeling especially the section on what your relative or friend might be feeling.

You could also perhaps look for support groups near where you live that you and your partner could attend to help you both cope. Clicking on this link will take you to 'In Your Area' where you can find what support groups might be available.

I hope you both can find a way to deal with this.

x

 "Never regret a day in your life, good days give you happiness, bad days give you experience"

What is a Community Champion?

custardcreambiscuits

Hi latchbrook

Yes I've had a look thank you. He's mentioned being scared and not knowing what he wants and losing his hair. So I guess in ways he has communicated at times but then he'll completely shut down and the barrier comes back.

But the other section about helping him I think I've already tried. I've offered lifts to his appointments, having a chat, going out/staying in, doing the shopping and cleaning but it's always a maybe which usually turns out to be a no.

I will have a look for the support groups so thank you for that link. It will most likely to be just for me to begin with because today he's told me he just wants everyone to leave him alone and doesn't need any help. I don't think until he accepts he needs support/help, he won't speak about his feelings.

Thanks x

Life is short and precious, don't waste a second of it!
LexiT7
Posted by

Hello and welcome to the community, although I'm sorry for the reason you find yourself here. You are going through such a difficult time having a loved one going through the diagnosis of cancer and the treatment that comes with it. But you are being so strong. That is proven with how you still continue to try to be there for your partner, when most of the time he shuts you out. 

My mum got diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer last November, and although it came as a huge shock and broke our hearts, after the first couple of days of crying and getting over the initial shock, we came together and readied mum for the fight she was about to be having. 

I can promise you with 100% certainty that your partner's behaviour is not your fault, and is not down to anything you are doing. I think maybe the fact he got over cancer once, having got the all clear, for it to then return even stronger and needing more treatment may be what he is struggling with a lot too. But that also means that that's something you're struggling with too. I know its him going through the journey and the treatment, side effects etc. But so are you. You might not be the one having sickness because of chemo, or the one who has cancer, but you're the one who has the massive amount of worry to carry around because someone you love is having all of those things. Like you already said, you have tried to offer car rides to the hospital, to help in any way you can. But if right now he doesnt feel like taking your help, then just try to be patient. Dont ignore him or not message to check up on him, but maybe wait a while for him to start opening up to you more, as he already has started to do, and then try again to offer support with chemo appointments etc. You may find that after having had the time alone, and the time to open up to you more, that he actually takes you up on those offers and wants you to be there. 

If not, I know it's hard, but try not to worry. It may be his way of coping with things, and although you care and want to be there very much, as long as he is coping, then that's all that matters. Just try to take some time for yourself too. You have to process his diagnosis the same, and have to try to deal with your own feelings head on too, so maybe try writing down your feelings, or speaking to your own friends and family. If you dont feel comfortable doing these things, then you'll always have us to do that with. Also, if the opportunity arises, maybe express to your partner how you are feeling. He may not even know the way hes been towards you, as he has a lot to worry and think about. So just sitting down and speaking with him, telling him how you feel and how you would like to help him maybe a good thing for both of you. He may be pushing you away so that you dont get hurt seeing him going through treatment, and how you would feel seeing him so poorly. But maybe a conversation about all of this would help you both so you know how each other is feeling. 

Either way, you are being a superstar, and the way you are trying to be there for him while dealing with your feelings is not easy. So dont question that this is anything you've done, you're being a rock. As time goes on, you both will start getting your head around this second diagnosis, and I hope that will help you both. You know where I am, and where we all are though for any time that you want to talk, or scream and shout about anything. We are here. 

Lots of love and hugs to you, and lots of healing to your partner. 

Alex xxxx

"And though she be but little, she is fierce" - Shakespeare 
custardcreambiscuits

Hi LexiT7

Thank you so much for your lovely message. I'm sorry to hear your going through this with your mum too. I really hope treatment is going well for her.

I really don't feel strong at the moment. Since he's pushed me away I've just been so emotional. Before he did that we just carried on as normal as that was what he wanted. Now I'm not sleeping/eating properly or wanting to do things because my mind is constantly thinking how he is because he wont let me be there with him. It's so hard.

I worry he isn't coping. Last night he told me he wants to be left alone because people keep messaging or phoning him. I told him that's because people love and care for you but his reply was 'it doesn't feel like it'. This can't be good that he feels like this? And last week he was meant to be out with his friends over 3 evenings but he admitted he just said that so he could be alone as I wouldn't be able to see him if he's out. I said if you want to be alone in the evenings that's ok but you have to be honest. You can't lie where you're going because if I think he's ok and enjoying time out, then I'm going to think he can do stuff like that with me too. So in my mind I thought he had turned a corner and was starting to go out again, but really it was the opposite. 

He's told me he doesn't want me/anyone to treat him differently, so I've kept normal contact, but then he's moaning that people still contact him. And the way he is treating people is definitely different. 

That's another problem with feelings, I don't think he really cares how I'm feeling or how he's talking to me at the moment. I know he's got a lot on his mind and he's going to put himself first, but he can't see the mean things he's saying. But it doesn't sound like he acts that way with his friends or family so I don't think they know the true extent of how he's acting. Like saying he has no one who loves him is not a nice thing to hear and I cant believe he would think this.

The last two times I tried contacting his sister I got ignored so it doesn't look like I have his families support anymore, even though she said I could contact her whenever.

My mum and friends must have ear ache from all my talking. I like to talk because it gets things off my chest instead of bottling it all up. I guess that's why I'm finding it difficult with him being the complete opposite and not wanting to speak about it.

Thank you for your words of encouragement, I appreciate that you feel I'm trying to help him. I keep telling him I love him and we will get through this together but then he'll be mean and say 'maybe'. I think maybe he's worried I'm going to leave him or something and then that hurts even more. I keep being told not to take it personally but that's extremely hard to do, but if he's annoyed with his friends and family contacting him too, then maybe it isn't personal and just the way he's feeling and trying to cope with it.

Thank you for the offer of talking on here, I really hope I can because I think it will help a lot

Quick question, how do you tag people in these posts? I saw your reply has me tagged, but I couldn't do that for you.

Thanks xx

Life is short and precious, don't waste a second of it!