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Looking after a loved one with cancer? This is a safe and supportive place to share your worries and emotions. Please remember when posting that this group is for Carers only.

Is Misery Catching...?

Posted by

Reading on here has made me feel so humbled and ashamed of my inability to deal with my current situation, particularly when so many of you seem to be so strong.

My partner and I have been together for about 18 months, and just moved in together in July. He's  older and has 4 children, and we had been talking about starting a family soon. In October, he was diagnosed with Stage 3c rectal cancer and is now on cycle 3/8 of oxaliplatin and capcitabine.

I have struggled so much to come to terms with the diagnosis, and the complete whirlwind of accompanying emotions. I'm trying very hard to not be miserable and emotional around him, because I know it's making him feel worse. The chemotherapy is taking a huge toll, and he's tired, and admits to being depressed. Unfortunately, he's started smoking again, after quiting for 6 months, and that provokes such a visceral reaction from me. I worry that our arguments and fights are actually doing him damage, but no matter how hard I try, we can't seem to stop wrangling.

I moved to a different city to be with him, and am feeling completely loss, as my support network is 100s of miles away. I'm also really conscious about being that cancer bore, who always has the depressing stories.

Does anyone else feel like they are so freaking miserable, that they can't be around the happy people, because they will infect them?

Posted by

To answer your question in a single word labrat: Yes.

My heart goes out to you love.  At a time when you were just starting out on life's journey together, you have been dealt a bitter blow and it must be a very lonely time for you.

The chemo treatment can be soul destroying to say the least.  It leaves them so drained, physically and emotionally and all their energy goes into just keeping body and soul together on a day by day basis.  There is really very little left.  He should mention to his medical team that he is feeling depressed.  It is a natural side effect of the diagnosis and treatment, but they will be able to help your husband with this.  He does need support and so do you.

It must be devastating for you that he has started smoking again, especially after he had quit.  Has he spoken to his medical team about this.  If not, maybe he should.

I doubt that your arguments and fights are doing him actual damage, unless the fights are physical of course.  Maybe agreeing to disagree on somethings could be a start to calm things down a bit, or and this may sound childish, but taking it in turns to be the one to walk away if things are getting are out of hand??

Sorry, I know that the last bit is really a load of rambly rubbish, but I don't know what else to say, other than to say, now that you have found this place, you will never be alone.  We are always here xx

Posted by

As Gazcata has wisely said, yes, your reactions are completely natural and understandable. This journey is a complete rollercoaster, and naturally you are struggling with a whole collection of emotions. It is hard to be so far from family and friends, but you will find this forum so helpful for every conceivable question you have, and emotion you want to vent. xx

Cheryl B
Posted by

Dear labrat, 

Welcome new brave are in just the same boat as many of us...and hey we are all miserable inside (and frequently on the surface too!).  We write and post to stay sane and to  not have to peel ourselves off the ceiling very evening.  :)

Speaking of evenings they are a lonely time and you will notice the boards get very busy then!  Usually because our carees are mostly asleep. I have never validated that actually but it is when I usually have some time to think and rest and read.  

The diagnosis and accompanying whirlwind (or tornado or hurricane or tropical storm, ha) are the first of many twirls, and we ar all here helping and getting help and support.

Gaz's advice was all spot on...depression happens frequently (my hubby is on antidepressants which have helped a bit), do let your GP now about that.  And as GAz said, the fatigue is relentless and really it is all they can do to breathe.  Not much else.

Which is when they really need us to lean on.  Juts think of the sickest day you have ever had 9maybe bad flu?) and how you could not be bothered to get vertical from horizontal and I would guess magnify that by about 100.   It does improve with time, so do have faith.  I thought my husband (who has base of tongue cancer) would never smile again,m and he is and he is looking better and regaining some weight.  It can happen.

We had a spat (mmmm, that is a bit of a euphemism!) over Bill starting to sneak smoke after diagnosis while he told the oncology team that he had quit.  He was hiding the cigs from me (no matter he had all sorts of electric cigarettes, nicorette, etc. he just liked to smoke).  

I was screaming at him, it was not pretty....mostly what I was hollering about was what part of "you will do worse in your treamtne if you smoke...and the treatment will not be as effective, etc. etc).......but he is over that now and says he never even wants a cig.  

Encourage him to quit.  Studies do show that those who continue to smoke do much worse than those who quit, that is a fact.  Bill loved the electric cigarettes actually.

Support all you can and reserve some energy for yourself.

Keep posting we really care and there are great folks here to listen and hug.


Posted by
Thank you all for your supportive comments. I was a bit anxious about the electronic cigs, he d been doing really well on the niquitin lozenges ( or so I thought!). Which electronic cigarette brand does Bill use? The problem is both of us are from a medical background, and there is a bit of intellectualising of the illness. I think it's frustrating from him, particularly when he sees more junior members of the medical team who try and "wing it", when he obviously knows more about his cancer and the treatments than they do. Anyway, if I m not here before, have a fab new year.