Living with lung cancer: My husband was... - The Roy Castle Lu...

The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation

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Living with lung cancer

crantock profile image

My husband was diagnosed with lclc 3 years ago. He died just before Xmas. He never spoke about his illness but chose to live as normal a life as possible. We had 3 good years together. At first I found it very hard and nearly had a mental breakdown (I do not have any relatives who were close enough to turn to). After 3 months of mental anguish I turned my life around and we enjoyed the time we had together. Cancer only reared its ugly head when we had hospital appointments and chemo treatment. Apart from that, it did not enter the conversation.

This was my husband's way of dealing with it and I am grateful because it allowed me to give him the life that he wanted once diagnosed.

I have picked up my life and am very grateful to him for his attitude which, I am sure, took a great deal of courage.


13 Replies

Hi Janet,

Thank you for sharing your experience.

I'm sure there will be others who can relate to you, and take comfort that they are not alone.

It's important that we recognise that everybody deals differently with a diagnosis of a terminal illness.

As a partner or a carer for someone who is diagnosed, it must be hugely difficult when you are trying to read what is not being said, but are also mindful of respecting their wishes by not discussing their illness.

I think you were incredibly brave and selfless, especially when you had noone else to turn to.

I'm so glad that you were able to enjoy your time together.

Best wishes,


crantock profile image
crantock in reply to

Thank you very much for your comments. You have reinforced my feelings that I know we both did the right thing when dealing with the diagnosis.

It is good to hear this from an outsider.

Best wishes, Janet

Hi Janet, Thank you for sharing your experience.

I think you have been very brave and selfless, especially when you have had no one to turn too. I am happy to hear that you were able to enjoy the last 3 years together.

Sending you the Best of Wishes,

Georgie xxx

crantock profile image
crantock in reply to Georgie1

Thank you so much for your kind words. Things like this mean a lot.


iam so sorry to hear that he died from it best wishers to you

crantock profile image
crantock in reply to dewbery

Thank you for your wishes and reply. It is good to know that one is not alone at a time like this. Janet

yes i wish you luck

Hello Janet - my partner Colin also died from lung cancer and he would not discuss it - he was almost in denial and believed he would get better - he would not discuss any of it, his prognosis and always spoke about the future and the plans that he had - I knew that he would not make it out the other side, but I never said as such - it was me that badgered the doctors for information and life expectancy but Colin used to say " I don't want to know - don't tell me" and nobody ever did - the night before he died, although he was poorly with a chest infection , he was at home, ate a small dinner of takeaway fish and chips, was not in bed and was fairly coherent and it was only when we took him to the hospice as in his words were " I don't feel well tonight - I think I need to go to the hospital" - this was the first time he really acknowledged how ill he was and the following day, Christmas Day, he passed away thoughts are with you but I am glad you had good times together x

Hello Kittypaws - thank you for your reply. We both know how we feel. My husband went upstairs to have a shower and when I went up to see how he was I found him dead on the bed. I think that in this respect, I was lucky in that I did not have to watch him suffer too much. I think that he hid how he felt for a lot of the time but if they do not open up there is not much one can do. I do, however, take comfort in the fact that I respected his way of dealing with the diagnosis, as you obviously did, and now do not have any regrets at all during this time. I think his attitude made me stronger for dealing with the bereavement.

I do hope that you are coping and wish you well for the future.


I dont know how your husbands did that they were so strong it makes me feel like a baby.I was diagnosed with LC on 13 Dec this year and it was only found by chance when i had an X Ray for something else I was called to the hospital at 4pm that evening I rushed there on my own and met with a surgeon and nurse .I had been for a PET scan the previous week and althouhg in my brain I think i already guessed what the outcome would be I didnt realy want to believe it.When the surgeon told me that it was most likely cancer and he would take the top left lobe of my left lung away and that the prognosis was good he went on to tell me the details of the surgery and the pain etc I would experience,I didnt hear what he said because just like the advert on the TV my mind shut down and I was in a complete state of shock.I drove home crying and completely useless my wife daughter and grand children met me at the door and i just broke down they have been my constant support and strength from day one and I dont know how i would have got through the weeks prior to my surgery and now after surgery without them.You two ladies must have been even stronger to be able to deal with the situation in the way you have and basically on your own I salute you both and wish you all that you wish yourselves for the future take care


Dear Searsop, Thank you for your kind words. Everyone reacts differently to a diagnosis. When my husband was first diagnosed I was in a state of shock and could not stop shaking. I lost nearly 3 stone in weight in 3 months and was an absolute pain to my husband. However, having reached the pits I then had nowhere to go but up. Fortunately I was able to do this and soon took control of our lives. If you are in a bad way at the moment the only way is up and you will get there. When I had bad thoughts I taught myself to shrink that thought to the size of a pea and send it into the atmosphere. This way I controlled my very fertile imagination and became positive and was able to give my husband the best life that he could have. What you are experiencing is perfectly normal but things will improve believe me. Keep in touch and let me know how you are doing. I wish you well with all my heart and am sure that you will conquer this. Best wishes.


Dear Janet - thank you for your kind words - our experiences seem to be very similar - I think I was strong for Colin ( I had to be) but he would not talk about his illness or even acknowledge it - and it was his way of coping - I wanted to ask him how he was feeling ( mentally) but i don't think he would have liked that - in the end the cancer did spread a little to his brain so he was a little confused some of the time - in a way I think this was a blessing as I don't think he fully comprehended it all - if it were me I think I think I would be screaming.

Dear Phil - you are the brave one - you have to live with the illness - I can't think how brave you are - I wish you so much good luck and wishes with your treatments - please if you want to talk about your illness - talk about it - if you don't then don't - please look after yourself.

tania x

Dear Tania and Janet

I am so sorry to hear that you have lost your husbands and my thoughts are with you.

My husband, Brian, also doesn't talk about his illnes, has never been interested in illnesses i.e looking up and into things. Perhaps it os a 'man thing' as women are usually the nuturers being nurses to their children and family.

When he was ill in hospital with pneumonia and a lung abscess in August 2012 the LCN said that I should talk to him about his prognosis and 'put things in order' (I found out afterwards that they had given him days/weeks and not months) . He was very ill and in hospital for 3 weeks, I couldn't take any hope he may have had and look- he is still here and might not have been if I had.

He has never asked about a prognosis, I asked the oncologist on the quiet in April 2012 when he was diagnosed and she said '1year with treatment, 6 months without' That does seem to be a standard reply.

He is now on a trial/placebo drug for a drug which has proved sucessful for kidney cancer but, as he hasn't had any side effects, may be on the placebo. His last scan showed that it is stable- next scan is 8April.

Apart from being extremely 'shattered' is his expression he is not in pain, is eating well and has put some weight- is back to what he originally was.

I still think this is 'unreal' that it is not really happening and try not to think too much about the future, We have booked a holiday in Spain for May and will be staying with Brian's niece and husband and I hope and pray that he will be ok as some sun will do him good I think.

Sorry I have rambled on rather but it was good to hear that not everyone talks about this evil monster which has invaded our lives.

Lots of love and hugs to you both.

Sandra xoxo

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