Struggling with emotions

So my husband was diagnosed with rectal cancer 2 months ago. Obviously this came as a great shock as we’re only in our 40s and he’s very fit and doesn’t smoke. Initially  the doctor told us not to worry as it couldn’t be cancer. After a first few weeks in shock and crying we’ve decided to stay positive. He’s had his first surgery and we’re starting radiochemo for 5 weeks this week. I thought I was handling everything until there was an incident at work. Something totally not my fault but I simply couldn’t handle it and my actions made the situation worse and I’ve upset a few work colleagues. Work have been great and I’m taking a bit of time out. But I simply can’t stop crying. I’m totally beside myself. It’s like I’ve completely over reacted but I can’t seem to calm down. If that makes sense! Is this normal? Feel like I’m letting my husband down. I’ve got to stay strong as the next few months are going to be tough. 

  • Dear A48

    ypu could be me writing. I’ve decided I loathe everyone I work with and I’m full of anger and hate. It’s completely irrational and the only sense I can make of it all, is that every emotion I’m feeling is suppressed and then comes out towards the wrong people at the wrong time. 
    I think what you describe is pretty normal under the current circumstances. Hope your colleagues begin to understand the scale of the stress you are living with. 

    take care 

  • Dear A48

    Your reaction is understandable.  My feelings have been all over the place since my wife's cancer progressed beyond stage 1,  I'm trying to stay strong for her and it's harder than anything I've faced before.  We are only human and can only do our best.

    Take care.

  • Feels good to be able to write it all down on here! Stay strong everyone 

  • We are now 15 months beyond diagnosis for my otherwise fit and healthy 50 year old husband, but he's in for another operation today. I've been very much like you, especially in the first 6 months. Its like trying to stuff an oversized duvet of emotion into a tiny suitcase - bits keep sticking out and the lid won't shut no matter how hard you keep trying, every now and again you think you've managed it, look away and it pops open again! My husband is better at living in the moment and staying positive than I am - I just keep all the negative stuff in my head as best I can. I cry at the most unexpected times - out for a run or in the car - whenever I'm on my own, which isn't that often. Still trying to learn to live with life as it is, but in those first 6 months I was grieving the loss of our imagined future together.

    Since March 2021
    3 Surgeries, 3 types of immunotherapy, 20 days radiotherapy, 2 trips to A+E...so far

  • My husband was diagnosed with incurable lung cancer in may last year. 2 years prior to that I had breast cancer and was only just coming to terms with that when my husbands diagnosis hit us. 
    i reacted exactly like you. I just couldn’t hold the emotion in while my husband appeared to be taking everything in his stride.  Being told you have cancer is a huge shock to each of you in different ways. For you it’s grief of the life you’ve lost and the helplessness you feel seeing your husband deal with treatment/surgery. 
    I still have times when it’s overwhelming and I find it hard to cope with but it has got easier. 

    Have you tried calling the Macmillan helpline? Maybe talking to people who understand could help? 

    Lucy x 
  • Been in touch with macmillan but this forum has helped. Just writing it down and people responding with the same feelings has been a huge help. Thank you everyone x

  • Having been on both sides, I’m finding being the carer much harder. I understand how you feel but you need support too. If you don’t look after yourself then how can you look after others. Cancer support centres (I volunteer at one) are there for everyone and would be more than happy to support you. 

    Lucy x 
  • This could of been me who wrote this, firstly I’m so sorry that you are going through this :( my mum has been diagnosed and I’m working still and if I’m being honest my headspace is only there for 1% of the time. If they’re laughing and joking I feel guilty… how could I possibly be happy?! I would say your reaction is completely normal, I plan on informing work colleagues on the situation because I feel very unapproachable right now. Sending love x

  • I completely understand the feelings you are all describing. I've been the same, crying for no apparent reason - it just all gets too much to hold inside. My husband is struggling with his recovery from the cancer op and is very depressed, trying to find the words to keep him upbeat when I feel so rubbish myself is so hard. Short visits from friends helps but he can only manage a couple of hour long visits a week and spaced out, I'm hoping a visit from his son this weekend will help to lift his gloom.  

  • I am the same. My husband has got prostate cancer and we are only just starting this journey. I get so angry at the slightest thing. I burst into tears all the time. Its so hard to get to grips with what will be a different future. Not the planned one of a retirement together travelling and enjoying our grand children. 

    I think I am angry and sad and need to let it out