How can I be the best support for my husband with cancer?

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Hi everyone. My name is Michele. Once again I am up in the middle of the night. It's the only time I can show my emotions without him seeing. He has been the rock in my life. The absolute hardest working, honest, selfless most giving person I have ever known. A giver to a fault. We got the initial diagnosis Thursday morning. He had the endoscopy on Wednesday. I was praying it was an ulcer. GERD. Anything but esophageal cancer. And now further testing will be done to get a more accurate picture of what we are facing and which road to take. I will call the cancer center in the morning and I will keep calling. We need to get him in there. We need to know. This waiting limbo sucks. He has lost so much weight. I feel guilty eating in front of him. It is painful to watch him eat. I go crazy trying to prepare things that are easy for him to swallow. He was a meat and bread picky eater. Now I'm making smoothies and sneaking in yogurt. He hates yogurt. I want him to preserve his energy for what is ahead. But he can't be idle. I think the not knowing is making him crazy. Me too. So as much as I wanted him to relax today he built new vegetable garden boxes for me. He power washed some of the deck. I really don't want him to exert his calories but I know his mental well being is a huge part of this. And mine too. I guess that's a lot of the reason why I am here. I know I need to stay healthy for him to get him through this. This sucks. This pandemic. My son is a High School Senior and I am also worried about his mental well being. And then this. I wake up in the morning and it all hits me like a ton of bricks. So, thanks for the vent. Thanks for this community. I guess I'm looking for support for how I can be the best possible person for him and also not curl up into a ball myself. Love to all. I wish you all the best ❤️

Beginning of the discussion - 5/18/20

How can I be the best support for my husband with cancer?

• Community manager
Posted on

@Shellbell5724 Hello Michele, thank you for starting this discussion. I'm so sorry you're going through this, especially during this difficult time. Please know that you do not have to carry all of this alone, the community is here to support you. Let me tag some members who may be able to give you some advice.

Hello all, I hope you're doing well. As some of you have been on or are currently going through the same journey as Michele, what advice can you share with her? What did you need from your spouse, partner or loved ones when you were diagnosed? What can Michele do to support her husband through his diagnosis or whatever may come next? Or if you helped a loved one through cancer, what did you do? And what did you do for yourself to keep it all together?

@JohnnieBush@Hurryup1@strataview@Jwkw96@LadyZ36@tami01@Eleanor@rustylee@HankTheHawk@docwilliams@cancerdad66@Chudso15@Braidcircle1@Georgie@Sexy667@Imgeena@cbholder3@tinbaa‍ 

Please feel free to share here!

Take care,

Courtney

How can I be the best support for my husband with cancer?


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Hi Michele, I'm Dan and new to this site. I've been in chemo now for 5 months, my struggle has been with lymphoma (Hodgkin's with indications of t-cell in the background). First, I'm sorry that you and your husband have had this very big jog in the road fall on you. I have recently come to Springfield from central CT to have my treatments done at what has proven to be a wonderful place (Sister Caritas Cancer Center) and I'm just now feeling optimistic... Like I might get through this and be okay...or at least have this go into remission. My brother Gary has been my main support, he comes by from CT often as he hauls loads up and down the coast and passing thru. this area. What does he do that makes him such a great support for me? Well, nothing really, he hasn't changed anything in my company, we talk about shared interests, swap jokes.. I love the continuity and the fact that he's the same as always. Michele, I also get that it's likely not so simple with a spouse.. But I wonder if you act as you always have.. or try as best as you can.. Perhaps this would make things more bearable for both of you? I would feel awful if one I loved rearranged themself.. their eating habits, routines all of that. Maybe it's s guy thing I just don't know. I know I need familiarity now... loved ones being themselves as always. Not easy at all, I know. Oh.. just one more thing. Gary did something that nobody else has done and it is huge...he researched the hell out of my type of cancer, he honestly tries to "get it" and he does more so than others.. I'm so grateful for this... I think I was terrified at first because I didn't know anything about cancer, chemo and do on... All a mystery to me. Unknown things scare me and so I've learned a lot about my condition and still learning.. This makes it all more manageable. Michele, I can't believe how far this whole field has come these last 15 years or so... I have a very good chance of getting through.. some of the tumors have started to shrink as of 6 weeks ago and I am so grateful. A new friend here, he has bone cancer, this was a death sentence not so long ago.. He was just recently diagnosed and is terrified.. Here's the thing.. his prognosis is very good! Well, anyway, hang in there as best as you can it really does become easier with a little time for a lot of people..Go easy..

How can I be the best support for my husband with cancer?


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Hi Dan. Thank you so much for your thoughts. I'm glad things are looking up and that you have been seeing good results. I think he got my veggie boxes built because he knows how much I love to get my hands in the dirt. It's very therapeutic. I walk a lot. I have good friends. His sister and I have joined forces. She threatened to yell at me from 6 feet away and I threatened to slap her from 6 feet away. But I think it helps me to talk to people going through it. And I'm hoping I can help others too. I've been thinking about getting myself a new bike. My son loves to ride his bike. One of his best essays was about a bike ride. He used it for his college application. He's brilliant. He's also a NY State football champ. Oh I know I'm babbling. We haven't told Phil's daughter yet. When this whole pandemic started we made the choice to keep her at her mom's. She lives in a rural area. Her little brother has a compromised immune system and the thought of her going back and forth and risk getting him sick was something that would devastate Phil.  So thanks again for reaching out.  I'm up in the middle of the night again. But it helps me to have this time. And if you need to vent I'm here.  Hugs and support ❤️

How can I be the best support for my husband with cancer?


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Hi Dan. Thank you so much for your thoughts. I'm glad things are looking up and that you have been seeing good results. I think he got my veggie boxes built because he knows how much I love to get my hands in the dirt. It's very therapeutic. I walk a lot. I have good friends. His sister and I have joined forces. She threatened to yell at me from 6 feet away and I threatened to slap her from 6 feet away. But I think it helps me to talk to people going through it. And I'm hoping I can help others too. I've been thinking about getting myself a new bike. My son loves to ride his bike. One of his best essays was about a bike ride. He used it for his college application. He's brilliant. He's also a NY State football champ. Oh I know I'm babbling. We haven't told Phil's daughter yet. When this whole pandemic started we made the choice to keep her at her mom's. She lives in a rural area. Her little brother has a compromised immune system and the thought of her going back and forth and risk getting him sick was something that would devastate Phil.  So thanks again for reaching out.  I'm up in the middle of the night again. But it helps me to have this time. And if you need to vent I'm here.  Hugs and support ❤️

How can I be the best support for my husband with cancer?


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Sorry I don't know how that posted twice!! 

How can I be the best support for my husband with cancer?


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What do you do when your partner just gives up????

How can I be the best support for my husband with cancer?


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Wow. Has your partner given up? That’s a tough one. I guess it depends on what their wishes are and what the circumstances are. We are going for a pet scan tomorrow. Praying that it hasn’t progressed and we are in a stage that is at least manageable. I do know that I have had many female related scares and he has always been there for me. I know he wouldn’t give up. But if it got to the point that he wanted to....I don’t know how I would handle that. He asks me to be strong for him. But at the same time in order to be strong I cannot hide my fears. I can’t hide my emotions. Right now he is allowed to be afraid. But he doesn’t want me to be. That is just impossible. I really don’t think I would let him give up unless there was no hope. If all there was left for him was suffering. But how do you give up hope? It’s such a personal struggle for everyone and each situation is so different. A cancer diagnosis is frightening. For all involved. It’s a tough fight for all also. I’m not going to let him give up. We have too much love. We have family. We have friends. Good ones. I guess it comes down to doing everything we can to keep their spirits up and their mental well being, while also trying to maintain our own. I don’t know what I would do if he gave up. I don’t think I would let him. Prayers for you. 

How can I be the best support for my husband with cancer?


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@Shellbell5724‍ He has stage 4 lung cancer, he was diagnosed in February. We have an outstanding team and support. He has done 2 treatments, last week I noticed he dropped 15 lbs, a lot of anxiety and so on... He looks like a ghost walking around. So his mom had a tough talk with him because he just gave up and that’s it, I have been paying close attention to him and he is eating roughly 600 calories and just not looking forward. So, it’s been really hard to watch him. I was honest with him yesterday but I feel like I’m going to hell now. Even though, his doctor agreed with my conversation with him. It breaks my heart because some people don’t have a choice, but he does. 

How can I be the best support for my husband with cancer?


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We find out tomorrow what stage he is in and what we are facing. He's scared. So am I. I asked him what he would do if it was me. He said he would be a rock. So I guess that's what we need to be. I have been reaching out to people who give me strength. I have watched him drop 30 pounds in less than 2 months. Is he afraid to fight? Yes I am sure. But he knows he's got to. The cancer center (CR Wood) has provided us with Ensure. Can you get him to drink these? If he has a chance of beating this I would never give up.  Let him know how much he is worth. As hard as it is to do ,get support from people who are beneficial to you. Not the ones who say... Oh I feel so sorry for you. They all mean well but I don't need a pity party and I don't believe that our partner does either. Faith. Pray to anyone that will listen. Talk to yourself. I would be right now if I wasn't talking to you.   Be strong.. One day. One hour. I'll listen any time. 

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