How to cope with a Cancer patient

I feel that what ever i do, my husband who has been diagnosed with stomach cancer stage 4 is never happy, he seems to have just given up. this is difficult for me as I am a nurse, i do everything possible for him. Now he will not eat, even though the doctor was very strict with him last visit.We hope the operation will be soon, just had 5 months of chemotherapy. I know how difficult this is for him and every day I try so hard, always being calm and kind and always being there for him. He now has trapped wind and I have found very good advise from others. However, he wont try anything. Sometimes I feel lonely. He is so very loved and we a great family and are going to be grandparents again any day now and again in May, that makes five grandchildren. How do other loved ones cope with there partners.?

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  • Hi Tina,

    I am sorry you are finding it so difficult, the loss of appetite might be down to the chemo your husband is on, as it affects the taste buds and it is then very hard to eat, the chemo or other medication might affect the way he is coping mentally.... cancer affects mental attitude as well as physical....I know it is hard for you both but try and hang on...and he will hopefully come out the other side.... the main thing is that he has you by is side... you are probably the only person he can be himself with...so please try not to take whatever he says or does personally...love is unconditional...but not an easy path to tread... sending you my best wishes love x G x

  • I am sorry you're going through such a worrying time. I cannot give any words of encouragement, Tina, except to say that everyone copes in their own way with diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Your husband is probably feeling very frightened and maybe feeling that he cannot do anything about the sense of helplessness he is feeling. He maybe also feels guilty at putting you and the family through the worry. My husband reacts by appearing totally non-communicative when he is worrying about something. I try to guess what's going through his mind but cannot. The only thing you can do is think about your own reactions to him. I am sure you are doing everything you possibly can in terms of looking after him, physically, mentally, emotionally etc. Is there anyone you can talk to to get some support? Does he have a close male friend who can take him out for a drink or something a bit more blokey? It may restore his feelings of things being a bit more normal. I am sure you've thought of all this, but really, you can only help as far as he is prepared to accept help.

    I know this is totally unhelpful. We can only support you, while you go through this lonely time. I notice you're in France, so I don't know what help is available there. Is there any support for him that you can ask your doctor to put you in touch with?

    Maybe others can be a bit more constructive. However, there is always the telephone helpline on 0845 371 0554, where you can talk to a nurse who may be able to give you some more help. She is excellent and maybe has some more tangible suggestions for you.

    Sending you a big hug. You're obviously a very loving family.

    Love Wendy xx

  • Oh dear I'm not sure many of us could answer that question as we're the ones mostly who have cancer and it might be that the challenges associated with stomach cancer - or indeed being a man - may well be very different from the challenges we have here given that this is a site for Ovarian Cancer.

    Generally I don't think men take well to being ill. Just think what they're like with the flu.

    I wonder if there is a local support group that you could join. It would be worth your visiting the cancer centre your husband attends where there should be an advice area with leaflets from Macmillan and lists of support groups. I can imagine it is horrendously lonely for a carer if they feel their loved one isn't trying to make what they can out of life. You could alo try the HealthUnlocked site for Cancer (General) as there might be a helpful forum on that.

    I do hope you find some help.

    xxx Annie

  • Without wishing to get into talking about your husband in any detail, I wonder how he has reacted to illness in the past? My own take (as someone with cancer) is that we react to the cancer in broadly the same way that we have always reacted to 'being ill'. It is, of course, a much more serious scenario and our reaction and behaviour is magnified significantly but it doesn't come out of the blue and is likely to be consistent with what we have always been like. If that is the case with your husband, it might help to think about how you have responded to him in the past and what strategies you have previously used. I don't know whether this will help at all but it's another way of thinking about your dilemma.

  • My wife has OC and is in my opinion a real angel in how she deals with the pain, discomfort, bad news, bad days, no hair days, constipation, upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, fatigue etc etc. But also she has days where she is snappy, depressed, angry and a general 'stay away from me' kinda attitude.

    I just assume most people are....its such a life changing scary journey that everyone has to go through. And as a carer like you, i am aware that we just have to roll with the punches and take the good with the bad with the ugly.

    If it were me that had cancer then possibly i would be like your husband, obviously i dont know him or his personality, but giving myself a label i guess i am a typical Alpsa Male....i dont like being ill, i am not a patient patient, i want and expect to be able to care for my wife, not the other way round.

    I would feel kinda impotent and feel i was not able to do the role i wanted.....maybe thats how he feels, he may feel he has let you down by being ill....very hard to say, but touch wood he and you will come through it stronger. Good luck.

  • I think everyone else here has just about covered everything, a good collection of support.

    Especially from the husband, great supportive views, the nail was hit right on the head I think this is the case with a lot of men when they are ill!

    I know I had some days when I just needed my own company with no fussing.

    My brother had colon cancer, he was a nightmare of a patient he put his partner and family through hell and back.

    Its a challenges time for everyone and you never think you will get through it but there will be some better days.

    I wish I could say more, love with a hug mi darling lady you are doing great guns, I expect your hubby knows he`s being a bit of an arse, problem is we don`t always know how not to be when the going gets tough, does that make sence?

    I hope he will soon have a brighter day, we always take it out on the ones we love the most, rest assured he must love you

    To Tina from Tina xxxxxxx

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