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How do I help dh come to terms with fact cancer may return?

(11 Posts)
Hangingoninthere Mon 18-Nov-13 16:04:30

I'm hoping someone in a similar position can offer some words of wisdom.

My dh was diagnosed with cancer 6 months ago. He's had surgery & radio and is generally doing ok but at times he gets really down. He is really worried about the cancer coming back - which there is a real risk with the type of cancer he has. He feels unable to plan anything and worries about the effect if it all on our young dcs. He says he wakes up each day with a feeling of dread and sadness and even when we go out and do nice things he finds it difficult to enjoy.

He is already on ads and doesn't want anymore meds.

How can I help him see a future? How can we live with the risks without being consumed by it all?
Any help much appreciated.

BackforGood Mon 18-Nov-13 16:25:21

Hiya, didn't want your post to go unanswered.
I'm in a different position now, as I've been told mine isn't particularly likely to reoccur, but having 'been on the journey' I know there are lots of people available to talk to - the specialist nurses, support groups, MacMillan website, and individual websites for different cancers.
I know a lot of people have found it really helpful to find others are feeling the same as they are. Even if your dh doesn't think he'd like it, might you persuade him to give a group 3 sessions or something 'just to see', or to do it on line via one of the websites ?

It's totally understandable, but very hard to live with.

Hangingoninthere Mon 18-Nov-13 17:05:24

Thank you for your reply and it is good you have been told your cancer is unlikely to come back smile

I have suggested groups and counselling but he is not keen and I don't feel I should push him.

He has spoken to a specialist McMillan nurse for his type of cancer but unfortunately we have not found her very supportive - might not be her fault as she always seems rushed and busy. I do find it hard though when I read macmillan literate which has quotes from people saying what a life line they were and how the macmillan nurse would ring each week etc. This had really not been our experience - she does not contact us at all, any contact is when dh had hospital appointments and she is there or when I have contacted her. She is aware of how much he has struggled emotionally (and physically since ) diagnosis but does not seem to offer that emotional support.

I will suggest on line support again - although I have to try hard to keep him from reading statistics about reoccurrence!

Is it possible to ask for an alternative nurse? Unsure of process, maybe ask?

Hangingoninthere Mon 18-Nov-13 17:16:03

Yes - thank you - maybe we should. The nurse is a specialist for his type of cancer. There is a macmillan nurse at our GP surgery - I might try and speak to her.

ohmeohmyforgotlogin Mon 18-Nov-13 17:20:40

Sorry you are in this situation. Is there a support group for his specific cancer that might be more helpful? Would learning mindfulness techniques help?

Delatron Mon 18-Nov-13 17:39:47

If it is only 6 months post diagnosis then it is still very early days and though it doesn't help, how he is feeling is normal and understandable. I am 3 years post diagnosis and I still struggle.

I would wholly recommend/second mindfulness. There is a great app call 'get more headspace'. 10 mins of guided mindfulness per day.

Having cancer and going through treatment takes a huge toll. It takes a long time to recover mentally and physically. I found it very hard when my DP thought the end of treatment meant everything was fine and no more worry! Not saying you are doing this just trying to explain how he may feel. It is great he has saught help, things will get better it just takes some time.

I found taking control of my health helped. So exercise, eating well etc. It may not stop the cancer from coming back but it feels good to be proactive! I also found acupuncture helpful to reduce stress. I wish you both all the best.

Hangingoninthere Mon 18-Nov-13 17:57:28

Thank you for your replies - I will try and encourage him to look into mindfulness. Today has not been a good day and he has been very down and in bed most of the day.

Delatron Mon 18-Nov-13 20:11:09

Sorry to hear that. Would it be worth another trip to the docs? His medication may need tweaking?

My Macmillan nurse was much better than the specialist nurses at the hospital. It might be worth trying to see the one at the surgery?

I don't know where you are in the country but Maggies centres are wonderful places and I got a huge amount of support there. It sounds like he does need some sort of emotional support even if he is refusing therapy.

harticus Thu 21-Nov-13 18:58:07

I am so sorry to hear of your DH.

I am a cancer patient and it is very hard dealing with the fact that it may come back.
The thing I hated most was that cancer stole my peace of mind.

Mindfulness is a very useful tool - you learn to live in the moment.
The truth is that there are people going to bed tonight who won't wake up in the morning, people who will go to work but never come home. There are no guarantees in life - ever.

We have no idea what is going to happen in the future and as soon as you give up trying to have any kind of control (I found) it gets easier.
He has had treatment - he has done everything he can medically. Now he has to get his mental health back and that is often the hardest part of this thing.

It is very very early days for your DH. Give him time - it will get better. You do get accustomed to living with it but I still have some very bad days and I suspect I always will.

Good luck - when serious illness affects someone it affects the whole family. Be sure to look after yourself too.

Hangingoninthere Fri 22-Nov-13 07:23:16

Thank you Harticus and I am sorry you have been through similar but it is helpful to hear you experience.

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