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Dealing with my wife's 2nd round of cancer
5 Posts
17 years ago we went through the 1 year+ fight and came away with a win, but now this dreaded disease has come back, and it doesn't look like we will win this one. She is stage 4 with multiple tumors, we've worked our way through months of chemo, some radiation, all of which were familiar routines. What's not routine is that this is just a holding pattern - the tumors have been held back but are not shrinking and bone cancer is starting to cause constant pain. With that, and the impacts of long-term chemo it is heart-breaking to see her struggle to do the things she loves, with gardening, cooking at a professional level, loving and holding her many grandchildren, travelling, living gently. And there's little I can do, which leaves me as frustrated and sometimes angry as I've ever been. I've always been able to fix problems, and perhaps I'm trying to solve the wrong ones now as I'm obviously not making the problem of cancer go away. I'm here because I'm looking for a place to vent a bit, and to find any strength that others have been able to gain for this process. Thank you for listening - and I know that each of you has experienced these things so it is not as if I'm different in that way.
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6765 Posts
DJC001‍ Welcome to the site. I'm so sorry you find yourself dealing with this nightmare again so many years later. Your feelings are very valid. Shock and anger, only the tip of the iceberg of all the emotions that you both must be going through. After so many years, you figured you have moved on with your lives and put cancer in the back burner.
Since you have been through this before, try to remember the coping mechanisms you used the first time around. Who did you turn to? Did you join a support group, or reach out to a family member for help? These coping strategies are likely to work again to some degree the second time around.
I'm so sorry your wife is in so much pain. Has she been given any pain meds by her oncologist? I'm glad you came here to vent. This is a very supportive community and we will do our best to help you get through this.
2091 Posts
DJC001‍ Welcome and thank you for posting.

Each of us are similar and different - we so appreciate the uniqueness of every member. Some of the ways we are similar help to connect us , maybe answer a question or at the very least , help us feel not so alone.

What a special and loving husband you are that you have reached out here. You mentioned bone pain and I wondered if palliative care is involved. They can often help with pain management and assist with what to expect as you travel this journey together.

You might find the Caring for Someone With Cancer forum helpful:
Caring for someone with cancer (all cancers) - CancerConnection.ca

Advanced Cancer

Thank you for posting - it just may offer some help to someone else.
We are here.
Cynthia Mac
3194 Posts
DJC001‍ — welcome. You sound as though you are a truly gentle man, and this whole situation of cancer seems to be really hard on the gentle ones.

It’s a stereotype, I know, but I know what you mean about wanting to be “the fixer.” I lost my “fixer” (my Dad) almost a year ago. It IS hard to see their quality of life deteriorate, and wish there was something I could do to help you. There are some things, though, that are simply “over our pay grade” and those we have to either turn over to a higher power or turn our attention to making good the things we can for them.

One of the things we can do is to make sure we know, very clearly, what they want - now and in the future. One member on the site made a commitment to “make every day special” by doing something random - like bringing in a rose from the flower garden, or slipping a little note under the edge of her luncheon plate - I suspect you could be very good at this. As for me, Dad had made almost all of his wishes known, so when his time came, we knew almost everything he wanted. That paves the way for a few moments of ease on an otherwise difficult path. My experience with Dad led me to create my own “legacy plan.” Perhaps these suggestions will be helpful.
13 Posts

Sorry to hear about your wife…we always pray for hope, so I will pray for her and you. thanks for sharing and keep the faith. I'm always the fixer as well, but now have to pass off into someone else's hands to get answers and best treatment plan. Talk soon,

5 Posts
Thank you for those thoughts. We have had good support from the BC Cancer Agency team, including pain management ideas, and my wife does have some medications that help. The oral chemo has created constant hand-foot syndrome, and on many days that is the worst she deals with but the alternative of backing off the chemo is something she would not consider because there's no doubt it has held tumor growth at bay for almost two years now. So, its about tradeoffs, and ultimately those are her decisions which I will support.
5 Posts
Thanks - we know we are headed in the direction of more direct control and palliative care but for now she wants to be at home, with as minimal a medication regime as she can stand, doing what she still can of her hobbies and home activities. So far that has worked, but there are bad days that will require more action.
5 Posts
Thank you - I like that idea of making every day special, and I'm going to add that to what I can do.
5 Posts
Thank you.
148 Posts
Thank you so much for my post. I feel like you are my husband venting. I am sure he has the same thoughts, although he hides it well
I am the wife with stage 4 breast cancer. Tumours aren't growing but aren't shrinking either. I am tired of being tired and pissed off I can't do what I used to.
I hope I live long enough to see my children have babies and hold those future grand children but I don't know what this terrible disease has in store for me.
Men are fixers... and you can't fix this. You feel helpless and you are watching your loved one suffer.
As the cancer patient, we feel worse for you than we do for ourselves. We don't want you to suffer and we don't want to leave you sooner than we should, and we know you are frustrated you can't help but have to sit back and watch.
Embrace the 'stable'. Adjust the plan.
Here is a link to my story. It might help you and your wife.
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