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Bf with stomach and duodenum cancer
CherDrive
3 Posts
Hi all. The man I love has been going through a really bad time the past couple of weeks, let alone four months after being diagnosed with cancer. He's been in the hospital since Nov 25, (a doc let him out for a couple of days with big problems we didn't get told of), and was told originally it was stomach cancer, yet found out by the surgeon a week ago that he's got to go for Whipple surgery as well as 90%, if not all his stomach out as well. Instead of surgery last week on the 25th, the surgeon put the date to this Thurs coming up, as they're needing another surgeon to be there in case his pancreas and possible other parts need to be partially/totally taken out. They're cutting into his binary duct and part or all of the duodenum, got told 50 lymph nodes removed, and not sure until they're inside how much of anything else to be done.
I'm scared, as I know lots about biology, have been reading peer reviewed journals, (which I understand too well), and know that whatever stage 3 he's in affects the average overall survival rate is.
Yes, we both know there's going to be big changes physically and mentally, as he's finally realized that he's needing a walker for help, and will need rehab, and he's willing to go to public mental health services after the surgery, and I'm going to mental health every week.
What I'm wondering is a few things. Have anyone who's been a caregiver or those who've been diagnosed with cancer gone for mental health help prior to surgery, or totally reluctant like my bf? He's the type of person who doesn't open up to anyone in person about his own feelings unless he trusts them, (about a year ago with one only over the phone), and it's only been a couple of nurses who he's actually talked a bit about it since he's been in the area he is with how long he's been there.
Another question I have is does anyone know of any resources that can be reached out to via Cancer Care in Western MB that are really good with homecare? I already know that I'll need help after he gets home in about 2 weeks, (that's what's being planned so far with little/no complicates post-op), as he's to have 3 months of recovery until his post-op chemo, and it's all longer time with stomach and Whipple together.
Third and fourth questions are about his post-op chemo. He's got no family m men members here in MB, so he's aiming to go to Ontario when that's happening to be with them, yet we have to wait until four weeks after surgery to talk with the chemo doctor to see what the best chemo treatment will be. He's been set up with a general doctor already over there, yet has to wait until there's an oncologist that can take him as well. Has anyone else temporarily gone out of province to get treatment? Along with this, I'm unable to go with him, (I'm having to take care of the house for the three or so months he's gone, sigh), and his family and I aren't as close as we were years ago, (them moving and family members of his getting really ill themselves), so there's no other way than talking with him much less than we have, and rarely with his family. How has anyone else been able to deal with this situation? We can't afford for me to go there, other than a couple of days before chemo with me taking him, and maybe a couple when he's done, with me picking him up - should he not fly out there - depending on pricing of gas and staying places on the way to/from there.
Anyone know of any answers? Please help if you/your loved one(s) have been in same or similar situations.
4 Replies
Brighty
8498 Posts

@CherDrive hi! you did post correctly in the forum! Good job! There is much to discuss with your situation and I promise to write you a longer message this evening ……we will connect later forsure. ❤

Trillium
2116 Posts

Welcome to cancerconnections @CherDrive but so sorry for your need to be here and all your family is going through right now.

As a caregiver there were many days I just had to stop and just breath as it all sunk in for me. I only read what I needed to and relied more on the doctors to do and tell me what was needed. There were not alot of decisions to be made for his straight forward testicular cancer surgery and chemo.

I can only imagine how difficult this is for you.

I used this forum for support and understanding of what I was dealing with
through the entire process and did use counselling from a professional. Would not have made it through it all without them. Good for you for having that in place right away!

From personal experience I can say that you can only keep suggesting mental health counselling for your loved one but only they can actually decide to speak with someone. Sometimes the doctor or nurses can refer or suggest this for him and that may help.

My son was offered a social worker at the cancer clinic to talk with on his first oncology appointment but he declined. I did request to see a social worker when he ended up in the hospital and that was helpful for me as well as 3 other support groups.

Support groups online and free.

https://ontariocaregiver.ca/scale-program/

https://wellspring.ca


Canadian Cancer Society information specialist who can answer some of your questions

https://cancer.ca/en/living-with-cancer/how-we-can-help/talk-to-an-information-specialist

These folks I tagged below may be able to share with you.

@Meggs @Motherof3 @RJ1 @MLS8088 @Dav14 @Pokey

Warm hug if you need one❣️

Brighty
8498 Posts

Dear @CherDrive im so truly sorry for what you and your boyfriend are going through. Wow been in the hospital since Nov25th plus a very serious surgery coming up. Cancer is so unpredictable, and sometimes it deviates from what was thought to be the original diagnosis and tbe original plan. It seems to have a mind of its own!!!! My fiance was diagnosed with stage 4 esophageal cancer…I cant tell you how it rocked our worlds…. And how many times the treatments plans changed from original diagnosis. It was not straightforward nor predictable. My fiance also had a very serious surgery where his a third of his stomach was taken from him,…and the lymph nodes were in such a delicate place it was next to impossible to get a surgeon to perform it. Luckily he had a skillful one, who not only performed the surgery, but took out the infected lymph nodes. The fact he has a second surgeon sounds like a bonus. But I can appreciate the anxiety you are going through while waiting, and the anticipation of a grulling recovery process. And yes, I can tell you I went for therapy and tons of it. I had 3 social workers at the same time….one being the cancer center social worker. My fiance was also not one to discuss feelings with anyone and refused therapy. But I needed all the therapy I could get. This was terrifying and a life threatening surgery and he only had a 50 percent chance of surviving it. I also get tbe waiting in limbo from step to step. My fiance had a 4 month break between treatment and surgery, and the waiting was torture. But there are many reasons for waiting. The body needs to heal first before the next step can be taken, and weight needs to be gained. your boyfriend will likely work with a dietitian afterwards and even beforehand. Once my fiance was diagnosed with cancer, he shut down and shared nothing with me. I could not force therapy on him, no matter how hard I tried. I even went as far as sneaking her in to one of his chemo sessions but he did not appreciate that. You just cant force it, and I wouldn't do that again. I cant speak about getting treatment in a different province. But perhaps the cancer info line can help. 1888 939 3333. Im glad his family will be there to look after him in Ontario. That should give you a bit of piece of mind. Maybe this is a time to reach out to each other? You will all need support and all need to work together. It must be so hard on you, too, that you can't be there. There are ways to support a loved one from a far…. Phone calls, zooms, food orders, arrangements for home care…sending care packages. And he will appreciate all of them. In matter of finances , the oncology social worker can discuss the best financial options that are beat for everyone, as they deal with these matters on top of the emotional ones. There are no easy answers to any of this. It's a very difficult and heartbreaking situation. All any of us can do is our very best. But you dont have to do it alone. Thank you for reaching out.

Hi @CherDrive ,

I'm sorry to hear about your boyfriend’s and your challenges. Having been a patient (male) facing a life threatening diagnosis and very challenging surgery and recovery, I can offer my perspective on seeking counselling prior to surgery and during / after treatment. I realize your boyfriend is reluctant to talk to others; however, feel free to share my experience and encouragement to reach out for this support. His treatment centre should have both social workers and psychologists that can provide this kind of support. He may also be more open if his Dr. makes this recommendation as part of his treatment plan.

I worked with a psychologist at the cancer centre (no cost) who helped me prepare for surgery before the surgery including cognitive and behavioural strategies to cope with initial recovery and expected adjustments following. This was extremely helpful especially in coping preparing for and having coping skills in recovering from the initial surgical recovery. Our work also was very helpful in coping with the psychological shock of diagnosis and working through emotions such as grief and anxiety about the future, coping skills to draw on during treatment and surgery, helping to develop a balanced perspective on life changes and identity and strategies to help remain focused on a positive perspective. I continued to meet for support for one year following surgery to maximize coping skills and adjust to my new normal. I realize it can be challenging for men to reach out for help and hope my experience is helpful for your boyfriend. I cant emphasize enough how helpful this support was in supporting my recovery. As @Brighty has suggested I would encourage you to reach out for support for yourself as well to help strengthen your resources as you support your boyfriend.

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