Hi, I (48f)am the caregiver for my SO(50m). He was diagnosed as Stage 4 back in mid-November. He is undergoing immunotherapy every 3 weeks but so far has only done 2 treatments.
I am currently struggling with saying goodbye to our relationship as I knew it for the last almost 9 years. The one where we went out and fished and hunted and went for quad rides and just general “after the kids are grown and gone” fun. We used to laugh and joke and dance in the kitchen. I am angry that he is being taken from me just as we are finally getting our poop in a group.
How can I work through this train wreck of emotions that I look at in the mirror in a healthy way?
@Ellepatt my heart truly goes out to you. I am 49 now and when I was 44 looked after my 42 years old fiance who had stage 4 esophageal cancer. BC (before cancer) we had so much fun together, did so much, laughed all the time, went on trips, talked for hours, went out to dinner, comedy clubs, movies, he was affectionate. And AD (after diagnoses) everything changed and our lives were turned upside down. He became a different person altogether, and he could no longer do anything. Our wedding was paid for, all vendors booked, I had my dress, and then our lives were ripped away from us so cruelly by this dreadful disease. Acceptance is a very very hard thing. I don't have any words of wisdom, because nothing takes the pain away…………But talking to a therapist and getting support from family and friends is what helped. Ask for help when needed, take care of yourself too. The cancer center has a therapist, plus your family doctor may be able to give you a referal. Check at the hospital for support group for caregivers going through the same thing. You may also want to seek out a grief councellor as they probably deal with anticipatory grief as well. Treat yourself, be kind to yourself, do fun things for yourself, go for walks, out with friends, watch funny movies. Spend time with your husband and have lots of communication with him. Make memories, have those tough conversations too. How is your husband coping? Would he be willing to go with you to therapy sessions? Sending you big hugs as you navigate through this. You don't have to do this alone, because we understand and will support you.
I am sorry you and your SO find yourself dealing with cancer. It really sucks.
There are many people who hang out at stage 4 for many years, so don’t get too caught up in “it’s over!” It might not be. Your SO may respond really well to treatment. Don’t google as lots of info on there is old. ☺️
Right now is a time of adjustment, a time of grieving the loss of what you thought your life would look like. Let yourself feel that. And when you're ready, deal with what is. We’ve got you!
Also, as a caregiver, be sure to take some time for you. We put the patient first but if we burn out, who will be there for them?
Ellepatt , I cared for my dad when he had lung cancer. Dad was 78 at diagnosis, and I was already older than you at that point. Dad was responding well to his immunotherapy and chemo treatment when other health issues put him in hospital. Those treatments gave us time we would probably not have had otherwise, due to the type of cancer he had. (It was an aggressive one.)
It’s natural for you to be having the emotions you are - especially, as you note, that this has come along just when you were able to write the next chapters, after completing the “empty nest” one.
As the others have said, be kind to yourself. Allow the emotions to do what they need to do, and seek help if they start to overwhelm you. Your husband’s treatment centre can put you in touch with a social worker, and there is always the help line number at the bottom of this and every page on the site - it’s there 24-7.
Try not to allow your anguish to rob you of the moments you have with him now. It’s so hard to do, I know, because those thoughts are damnable persistent, but if you can find a way of pushing some of that aside to enjoy the time you have with him in this moment, I believe you’ll look back and be grateful that you did.
As long as you both can, enjoy those quads, and the fresh air. It will be good for both of you - even if it’s “downscaled” to a walk along a wooded trail.
If we can help, even if just by “listening” here, just reach out.
That's a big load to carry. Finding hope with a melanoma diagnosis can be hard. And one with spread to the lungs harder. It will change your life for sure. I will say that immunotherapy is changing the outcomes pretty dramatically so don't go by everything that you read.
I went through the caregiver side of cancer a four years ago with my wife. I call it my "crash course in palliative care." I had my own lung cancer diagnosis by then and for a few weeks we navigated treatment together. But it was clear that her's was much more serious and indeed she died six weeks after diagnosis. I barely had time to learn about #Anticipatorygrief .
What I found helped was finding a support group that I could talk to. The group allowed me to explore those grief feelings without burdening my partner. And then she and I had the hard conversations. I knew what she wanted so when hard decisions had to be made I was prepared with her wishes. We had some challenges in our life together as well and having her forgiveness and her mine let her death be a gentle one. We found precious things to do together and spent our final days enjoying things we both loved.
The end may not be around the corner but recognizing that it isn't easy is the first step to acceptance and the serenity that comes from that is wonderful.
@Ellepatt hang in there! I was diagnosed with stage 4 lung metastatic to brain in spring 2021. Brain T removed and radiation. Been on immunotherapy(Pembro) since then. Feel good most days:-) lung T shrunk to 10mm now! Stage 4 not the auto death sentence it used to be. Now everytime I get a brain MRI the radiologist says tumor recurrence. No says rad oncologist, necrosis from rad. Getting magnetic resonance spectroscopy in March. Hoping this will clarify things. After original diagnosis, I thought I would be dead in 6 months! 68 now. And still doing a good job annoying my long suffering wife:-):-):-):-):-) Best wishes!