Anxiety and crying

My husband has been diagnosed with metastatic squamous cell carcinoma in his neck , still to find the primary , we have only knows a week and he is really keeping positive but I can’t look at him without filling up with tears and now started having anxiety attacks, can anyone recommend any coping strategies so I can stay strong for him 

  • I would most definitely seek professional help for this, it's a perfectly normal and understandable reaction to your news. See your GP and ask about counselling and/or some medication to help you through the difficult times.

    Also, try to remember that outcomes for the type of cancer that he has (and a lot of us have had) are very good. It'll be a tough journey but far and away the most likely scenario is that you'll be looking back on it together in future years thinking, "...well that wasn't much fun was it?".

    And always feel free to unload on here, plus the Macmillan helpline on 0808 808 00 00 is always helpful, seven days a week now from 8am-8pm.

  • Thank you I will definitely phone my go for some advice

  • Great advice from MikeO curlywurly.

    As he says, there are lots of us here who've had similar and we're still here so I hope you can take some comfort from that.

    Glad to read you're going to contact your GP.  Do pop back to the forum whenever you feel the need.  There's always someone here who can help both from a carers point of view and people who have been through the treatment.

    All the best to you both.

    Linda x

  • Hi there

    This journey can be as difficult for the spouses but of course in different ways.

    There’s loads of support on here to help you through it. My hubby had SCC in his neck and it took a good while to find the primary. It was in his right tonsil. When you say metastatic do you mean the spread to the neck or is it elsewhere in his body too?

    Id be lying if I said the treatment is easy. It’s far from it. But it’s doable.

    Stay on here and we’ll all help you through it.

    You’ve had a shock and your reaction is perfectly normal.

  • Hi curly wurly

    This  is Hazel  I am nearly 2 year soon post radiotherapy for tonsil cancer with several affected lymph nodes.What you are feeling is natural my hubby did the same , as you can see I am still here 2 years after diagnosis. The treatment she nit easy but honestly the worst part is now it’s the fear of the unknown I have been there and sine it from the patients side. My hubbys a typical strong man but I know he couldn’t look clearly at me without thinking h what if. I have a blog details below and John then hubby wrote piece From his viewpoint it’s around October 2018 in the blog. 

    On e yiu have treatmnet plan honestly things will fall into place  be strong yes if need be contact your dr. The treatment is brutal the recovery can be long but I am a self confessed wimp and if I can do it anyone can I was 61 when diagnosed I had 35 radiotherapy sessions and 2 chemotherapy.Now am back to riding my bike and out walking on the hills  I still have issues but our type of cancer has a very good success rate  

    good luck keep popping on forum for any help we can give 

    Hazel x

  • Hi

    Me too. Diagnosed last June, SCC in neck but no primary found even after surgery/biopsies/scans.

    That said, consultants have told me that sometimes a primary is attacked by your own body/burns out and they think everything still looks good. So I am hanging on to that thought from the experts.

    Obviously you won't know at this stage what treatment is likely to be suggested but, my hubby set about looking up how to keep my weight stable ready (or fatten me up basically) for what the world had to throw at me and I found this immensely helpful as it didn't feel like a lone battle.

    I visited a clinical hypnotherapist which was great for me (might be for you both too), but as others have said, do make so much use of the Oncology team/MacMillan Team/GP etc...they were a huge positive boom for me going through chemo and radiotherapy-I do thrive on a bit of "well done". My hypnotherapist (he has been through the same SCC 12 years ago), consultant (Chelsea) said positive attitude is important.

    It's very early days and quite overwhelming so I do wish you find a solution that takes away some of the angst and leaves you both feeling like "this is dooable".


  • Some lovely answers so far Curlywurly, I totally agree with MikeO and would advise getting some sort of counselling as the partner/carer can go through worse emotional symptoms than the patient. Someone from your husband's team should be able to advise or your G.Ps surgery. When I had cancer I was prescribed anti-depressants and had several meetings with a Macmillan trained councillor ( something I never thought I would do ) I felt a lot better in seeking help. Keeping busy is another way of taking your mind off your husband's journey. 

        It's great he is being positive about it all as this is the path i took and tried to take things in my stride as and when they came, as its not a walk in the park but it's doable so expect the few good and bad days. Your husband will be in good hands with a team that has seen many cases like your husbands with a high percentage of a successful outcome as many of us can vouch for. So please do be so downhearted and anxious, we will try and help you and your husband through this so please re-post if you need advice, help or just a natter. Wishing you both all the best, take care.

                                                                                           Chris x

  • Hi Curlywurly

    its a frightening time for you both, but you can do it.  As said above, once you have a treatment plan then things will look clearer - I’ve been where you are now - my husband is now 2 years in remission.  One valuable piece of advice I got from here is to go to meetings with him (if/when you are allowed due to Coronavirus) but in any case, get a notepad and write down any questions you each may have.  Ask them at the meetings and write the answers down as you are given them. Write down anything else they say - believe me, you are listening when you are in there but don’t remember everything.  

    there’s always someone here to listen so keep on here asking your questions - don’t go on google - the people on here have been through it.

    let us know more as you find out more and look after yourself as well as hubby.

    Sheilagh x 

  • Oh Curlywurly.....So good to hear your story. I am in the same postion. My hubby found these small nodes in his neck about a month ago, We are stuck in our second home in Spain (lockdown) and due to have a flight back to UK on July 16th, but he didnt tell me for 10 days, and then I urged him to get it seen before we go back, since not sure of waiting times etc in UK. We went privately 2 weeks ago on insurance, and he saw and ENT surgeon a few days later, then referred to a hospital where he had a puncture and CT scan. That was last Monday, and the radiologist said it looked like chronic inflamation. Then on Thursday, we went to see the Consultant again, and he told us the needle biopsy had shown metastatic SCC. We are both medical, and I have dealt with a patient who had worse symptoms and lymph nodes, but now we are waiting for a PET scan which cannot be done until a week's time, and we see the surgeon before that just before he goes on holiday. We both felt like someone had punched us...totally unexpected.

    I feel strangely detached, and have sort of clicked into clinical mode, as it it wasnt my husband.....although I didnt sleep at all that night. He has always been a worrier, even about little things, and is really obsessional about his appearence and keeping clean etc. Very independent. But now...he doesnt want me to confide in anyone. He sometimes is weepy and just says he cant cope, or is frightened. Other times he fills his time with jobs, is very tired and needing to sleep often during the day.  He has eventually told our 3 children, but not really what it means in detail. 2 of them are in UK and our adult son is currently living with us. He arrived home shortly afer we got back and immediately asked searching questions, so he got the "cancer" word, and told we needed to wait for the PET to find out more. 

    Today our 2 daughters will be together, and he is intending to talk to them, so while hubby was resting, I told him what I thought was the best and worst scenario and what the possible treatments might happen. I gave him the responsibility of saying as much or as little he wants to to them. 

    Sorry about the long ramble....really just need to talk to Someone!!! I pray (we are Christians) and do trust that the best will be done. I moved our flight forward to October before this news broke, and given the thousands of Brits pouring into this area, I am pleased to stay put. 

    What I really want to ask you folk who have been through it is, do I best help someone who has always tried to put off retirement, getting old, the thought of dying....and doesnt tolerated pain or discomfort at all well normally, or other people fiddling on with him. Please help!

  • Hi Tricia,

    Did you have the chemo first and then the radiotherapy, ....and did they removed the lymph nodes as well?  I dont think my hubby woudlgo to any sort of psychologist etc. I did suggest it for me as well as him, but he immediately dismissed the idea. How are you feeling now, 2 years on??