Husband bowel cancer diagnosis

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My partner had a colonoscopy and they found a tumour so could not view the whole bowel. They know it is cancer and are arranging CT scans. They also took biopsies. I’m going out of my mind with the worry of a terminal diagnosis or that it’s inoperable or the fact that it has spread to other organs.

I don’t know how to calm my thoughts and I’m trying not to be upset in front of my husband but I don’t know what to do. 
He is acting very calm and that I’m itself is worrying me.

Any advice would be appreciated.

  • I’m so sorry this has happened. We had pretty much the exact same thing on Saturday so I know how hard it is. husband went to his colonoscopy and I’d convinced myself it was something simple and not the dreaded C but unfortunately I was wrong. Same as you, a tumour found and they couldn’t get the past it to view the whole bowel so off for more scans over the next 2 weeks.  If it helps, I spent most of Saturday evening through to Monday evening crying on and off. I’d be fine and then the intrusive thoughts would come in and off I went again. I felt so bad as my husband seemed so calm and I felt I was letting him down by struggling so much despite trying to hide it (unfortunately when I cry I look like a mole for at least 3 hours!). I don’t know if it helps but somehow I’ve been calmer the past two days…I do have moments but got a tip today to mentally thank my thoughts for coming up but tell them now is not a good time and we’ll speak later. Sounds utterly ridiculous and I was very sceptical but it seems to be helping.  I also found doing something practical helped so I chased the CT scan and got that booked, chased the doctors about stool softeners and collected them from the pharmacy, made him a healthy lunch  etc. I also spoke to macmillan and  booked a GP appointment for me so I could prepare myself for the road ahead (as much as you can in these situations).  It’s ok to cry. It’s totally normal. The feeling of helplessness and loss of control is unbearable sometimes.  We all cope in our own ways so do whatever you need to make yourself feel even a little bit better. 

    like you we’re at the start of our journey so I have no idea how we’ll cope over the next weeks/months but I know we will and you will too. I’m keeping you in my thoughts and am keeping everything crossed for you. Xx

  • Dear Beanie2024, it sounds like you are in a similar place to where I was in April 2023. I’m sorry you are going through this and I wish you both all the best. This may or may not be helpful but for me it was good to find other people in a similar position. So….. I was just the same…I simply could not calm myself. I cried for about the first 3 months …and my husband was similar to yours, very calm, stoical and took a scientific approach. I was just overwhelmed with fear and emotion. In the end I knew I wasn’t helping him, and indeed he told me so - he couldn’t hold himself together and face cancer and chemo - and hold me too. So I looked around for someone who would listen to me, and who I could share my fears and emotions with without upsetting my husband.  It wasn’t easy but in the end I had some counselling with Maggies…it is free and they were lovely.  I also saw my GP and got some Propranolol which helped to calm me. Then I did a Mindfulness Course, which gave me some tools to calm myself. It is a tough journey and we are all different, but I hope by sharing you can see that you are not alone. I am happy to chat more if that would help. We are all different, I know, but I have found sharing with others very helpful, and this site has been helpful too. By the way, my husband has just had his one year scans and they are clear, thankfully. There really are some inspirational stories on here. Wishing you and your husband all the best. 

  • Hey. Im really sorry youve had to join this forum. 
    We are dealing with a stage 4 diagnosis. Things are really hard at the start, the non stop crying etc, but things do get easier. Once you have the scans and a treatment plan, plan of action it gets easier. 

    I advise not to google but to stay on here if you have any questions. Google is so out of date. 
    This forum has been a godsend and plenty of lovely people to help. Like the other lady said, it does help to find someone in the same situation to talk to, as they fully understand what you are going through.
    I wish you and your husband all the best . 

  • Hello Beanie2024,

    I was in the same boat as your husband in 2021 and my wife and I were stunned to start with, If you click on my name you can read my own account of diagnosis and treatment. I had a routine review with my surgeon a few weeks ago and he smiled, had a chat and said he will see me next year. If you both keep very busy and try to live your lives as normal - looking forward and not back - it might help you cope in this interim period. The experts will do their best, of that I have no doubt but there will be quiet periods so don't panic.

    Best

    Dulac

  • Thank you for your reply I feel better to know I can talk to someone who is in the exact same situation. They told us the CT scans in around 7-10 days to see if spread. One of bowel one of lung. I’m worried about the rest of the bowel too as they couldn’t get past the tumour to check any further. It’s a big tumour too so worries me it’s spread to liver or lung or further up the rest of the bowel. It’s called a sigmoid colon lesion.

    I can’t cry in front of him as he is worried sick about me as I suffer from anxiety and panic attacks. I have to go off in the car or for a walk as I don’t want 

    I know I cant live without him and feel totally shellshocked and overwhelmed with negative thoughts. 
    what if thoughts. Trying my best but not easy. Sending you love and best wishes for your husband too x

  • Thank you Ellie1 for sharing your story it has helped me to feel calmer and more optimistic. I really appreciate it. I’m pleased that your husbands year scan is clear. X

  • Thank you so much. I’m glad I have found others that are or have been in or situation. It has certainly calmed me. 
    how is your husband doing? I hope you are both doing well. X

  • So sorry to hear you are going through this too. Your post could have been mine a couple of weeks ago… in fact I think I posted something very similar! Me falling apart and crying a lot, husband the stoic one, not being able to lean on him with all my fears and worries when he is usually my support because I felt like I should be the one supporting him and wanted him to stay positive etc. etc. 

    I found it helpful to have an idea of the timeline ahead when I connected with another wife on this forum a couple of weeks ahead of us on this path. So here is what happened for us… They discovered a large rectal tumour at his colonoscopy on May 4th. We then had CT and MRI the next week and just had our diagnosis at our appointment with the surgeon this week - T3b,N2a,M0. We have appointment with the oncologist in 10 days time and he will start treatment (chemoradiotherapy in our case as low rectal) probably in around 4 weeks.

    Some things that have helped me get through the last month…

    Apart from being on here, I also reached out to other people to have the negative conversations which I felt I couldn’t have with my husband. This is very much outside my comfort zone as I’m usually the pragmatic deal with everything myself kind of person. Whereas my husband has preferred to focus on the kids and work and distract himself, I have found more comfort in talking about it and sharing the thoughts that are constantly racing around my head.

    Accepting each day as it comes - some days at this point feel ‘normal’ and I am able to focus on the here and now of daily life that hasn’t really changed that much, other days like last night I break down once my husband is in bed and am consumed by the negative thoughts. Just remember be kind to yourself too. Don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t able to be the strong, supportive, positive wife you want to be - your world just got turned upside down too.

    Hugs and welcome to the club no one wants to be in.

  • Hi  and a warm welcome to the board. You’ve had some brilliant replies but I just wanted to add a link to a post that a member added to help with anxiety

     Controlling anxiety and panic

    Once you have a treatment plan in place then things will honestly feel a bit better. The fact that the tumour is blocking the bowel does not automatically mean that it has spread to other organs but the scans will give your team the full picture.

    Please give the support desk a ring on the number below if you’re struggling and we’re all happy to help and support you on here too

    Take care

    Karen x

    Macmillan Support Line - 0808 808 00 00, 7 days a week between 8am-8pm
  • Hi Rosie

    im thinking of you as I know you are going through the same.

    Have you found any way to stop the negative thoughts and dread the scan results and what the future holds?

    my husband doesn’t want to talk about it and wants to go on as normal which is hard as I feel that I don’t have anyone to talk to.

    thank goodness I posted on here so I have other people to share these thoughts with.

    I hope you are both doing ok xxx