Care support - stress

Hi I am new to the group.  I have been caring for my husband now for three years with throat cancer and melonoma on the ear and a ganglion on the kidney before that.  We are both retired but I was working and I had to give up working to look after him.  It just was not an option.  I miss it but don't think I could go back now.

Three years ago, my husband was diagnosed with throat cancer and had a very large tumour in his throat.  He has been through 33 days of consecutive chemo and radio therapy - most days both together but had the weekends off.  By the end he was being dragged into the ambulance and came back with a catheter and codeine for the pain - which then bound him up.  We sorted it.  But it was not enough.  We went to the consultation thinking we were being told he was cancer free when they said there was still a bit left which was lodged in the roots of his tongue.  After a 12 hour op, they had taken all of his tongue and its roots and the pharynx so he was not able to talk.  He was not able to hear either as he had lost 70% of his hearing in both ears.  I managed to get him some hearing aids and he is now doing well with them but it took a long time.  Never sure what he is thinking as he is up most of the night doing things and I am up all night worrying what he is doing.  he needs about 5 hours sleep whereas I seem to need more.

Now, his throat is healing, he is still not talking (but we are discussing options) and he is energetic, driving and very strong minded.  However he is at the stage where he wants to take control of his life but he is not quite there yet.  He is liquidising all his food as he does not like being hooked up to food pouches.  He did not bring is respirator this holiday as he thought he could do without it.  And he went off to southern france by himself and stayed as a workaway for a week.  I needed a break and so did he.  Unfortunately, during the week, he went awol overight and we had to sent out a search party with dogs.  He was found early the next morning but I had had no sleep.  He had said he was going fishing and, as the dogs could not find him, thought he might have drowned.  But he is often aggressive and says (or writes down) some really hurtful things.

The throat cancer is not life threatening.  He has been having immunotherapy to keep it at bay in his throat and nothing seems to have translated into the rest of his body.

The thing is, he is now doing things that amaze other people but I am still stressed out.  At each stage, he keeps progressing and I am playing catchup.  I am still making the progress happen.  It is now affecting my health and my eye is playing up so I can no longer drive so he has to do all the driving.  I feel silly as I should be able to crack out of this especially as he is now doing so well.

  • Hi

    You do not sound silly to me at all, in fact you sound rather remarkable.

    Stress is very real and can make us very unwell - I know having been signed off work for 48 days with a diagnosis of stress by my GP. He prescribed eco-therapy - not a clue until he explained - go for a walk.

    It might help to look at this guide from the NHS on stress and how we can help deal with it. 

    I know the most important thing I had to learn was being kind to myself.



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  • Thank you Steve. I have been practising the eco-therapy. When the GP diagnosed you with stress - how did he treat you?  I have a real problem with the side of my face and my eye keeps closing so that driving is near impossible.  My husband has to drive but he is up most of the night (his time clock is wrong and medication to sleep does not seem to touch him) so, he is tired driving.  I feel bad that I can't drive but it is not good at the moment.  He gave me his book that he writes in to type something out but I saw he had written a note to someone in this book.  It read "she cannot organise a piss up in a brewery but thinks she can and a terrible timekeeper - opposite to me.  She does not like me telling her but she is unemployable but I love her to bits."  I was a secondary school teacher until I retired and came to France and in charge of a quarter of the school.  I have organised all his hospital visits and doctors visits, prescriptions and all the things he need.  I would not mind if I had difficulty with it but everything is done on time - taxis etc and I just recently organised our 6 children and 10 grandchildren to a superday at a farm, a harvesters' meal with taxis and a hotel stay altogether from different parts of the country with different school holidays. Am I being oversensitive?  My kids thinks so.  They say they always complain about their partners with their friends but I have never done that.  I like to stick to " how I would like to be treated, is how I treat others.

  • Dear Frenchie (from another Frenchie ex language teacher tooSlight smile)

    Like Steve, I think you are remarkable! You are a very good organiser and nevermind if your husband is blind to that, your children are aware of it, that is important. 

    Partners don't always appreciate how lucky they are until they compare their situation to others.. your husband may have not found any fault to mention about you, so he made them up! the main thing is his last sentence: he loves you ! This is precious!

    For your vision, I'd get it checked and tiredness might just be the cause. You'll have to learn to take some naps during the day, till you recover from that lack of sleep...As for the snoring, what does it matter to him as he cannot sleep anyway, he cannot blame you for that! I snore too, my partner go to the spare room if it disturbs him. Your husband should be less selfish and go to the other room for a change!

    Stay confident, try and find a hobby involving other people having the same interests as you, just to get you out of the house. people are often happy to pick you up if you cannot drive. When you feel better about yourself, maybe you'll be able to drive again, I just hope it is not for lack of vision only!

    Take care ,

    Love Bri26