Dealing with the diagnosis

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Hi, I don’t really know what I am asking.

My partner has just been diagnosed with cancer, I don’t want to go into details about the facts. 
Its the emotional side of things I am asking about. Basically he is always in a sh**y mood ( I so can’t blame him if it’s because of the diagnosis, I really don’t think I could cope if it was me). Other people are noticing and I am blaming it on the cancer. I don’t even know for sure if it is, I am just guessing. 
He won’t talk about how he feels, (well I think he thinks he does). He says he is all ok with it and is positive about it all, which I believed to begin with. But I am not sure if he is covering his feeling up, or is in denial. Or some other kind of coping strategy, where he is over positive. He is so open and matter of fact about what’s happening and the facts. I don’t know if he needs some kind of counselling or if the way he is coping is ok. Is there types of ways people deal with this kind of thing, is it a normal way for someone to react. 

  • Hi Tom7,

    I am so sorry to read about your husband’s diagnosis and what you’re going through at the moment. One thing I’ve learned over 5 years experience of cancer is that I don’t think there is a normal way for someone to react. Everyone is just so different, with different experiences, personalities, circumstances that each situation will be specific to the individual. I do think it’s important though for your husband to know what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. Sometimes a cancer patient can be so caught up in what is happening to them that they don’t have enough space to see how the situation is impacting others and so explaining that is important. You might not get a great immediate reaction but over time I think it can help. Re: counseling, I think it is great, but I don’t think it’s the kind of thing you can force someone to do, the desire has to come from the individual themselves. I think you can suggest it, along with support groups, even this site or others, and perhaps challenge him to think about how his actions might be currently affecting the people he loves. I don’t imagine you will see a quick fix, and in the immediate term it may make things worse, but I’m hoping over time you’ll begin to see improvements. I do think it starts with being very clear, in a sensitive way, around what actions/behaviors you think are unacceptable, how you want to love and support him, but that he also has to understand the negative impacts that his behaviour is having and that this behaviour is not acceptable.

    I hope this helps in some small way,


  • Thank you Greg, what you have said is really helpful. Helped straight a few things in my head. I did not want to be insensitive to be complaining about his attitude, but you are right I think I will have to try and approach the subject, sensitively and with good timing. He would be upset to think he is making others upset. 
    Thank you,