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I know something I shouldn't -WDID?

(28 Posts)
lbsjob87 Sun 04-May-14 07:08:02

Not sure if this is relationships but not sure where else to post it. My FiL has recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer. It came within a few days of several other bits of bad and stressful news, and he's only mid-60s, which is apparently quite young to get it - but the worst bit is, he had suspected for a while but didn't tell anyone, so now it's only treatable, not curable.
That in itself we can deal with - my uncle lived well into his 80s with it, had it for 16 years and died of something else anyway.
But the problem is - my PiL have told my husband that it has spread to his pelvis, but the doctor is happy that the treatment will reduce that tumour and it will not get any worse.
But they've told my parents (they are friends) that it's actually in his spine as well, and he has a less than 30% chance of living five years.
My mum accidentally told me assuming that if she was party to such knowledge, we would be, but weren't.
My FiL is in total denial, and my MiL still sees my OH as a little boy she has to protect.
Years ago, his nan was in hospital for three weeks, we only found out when she came out - they didn't tell him because "they didn't want to put him off his work" - he worked in a warehouse at the time, stacking boxes. He could have handled knowing his 93-yo nan had broken her leg.
When he asked why they thought he couldn't they said: "When Grandad died, you were so upset, you had a week off school."
School is the clue there - he was TEN and his Grandad died right in front of him, on a day out together. Of course he was traumatised, but it was 25 years ago!
So now, he is dealing with his dad's illness under the false hope that it's contained and he has a good chance of lasting ten years, but I've been told different.
He also has me 6mths pregnant with a baby we were told might be disabled, a house in desperate need of repair after a flood (it's safe but full of holes and looks awful), and a constantly growing list of errands his mum needs doing urgently (but that aren't urgent) that she needs him to do cos his dad can't - things like changing a light bulb in the spare room in case someone comes to visit.
They live an hour away, so he does his best, but he works shifts so it's not easy.
I can't talk to his parents - a)because I'm not supposed to know and b) because we are not allowed to mention "it" unless they do as my FiL is so down about it.
I can't talk to his sister, who lives in the next street from them but has four kids so "can't help out". I don't know what they've told her anyway.
I don't know whether to tell him, but then he will worry even more, whether to persuade him to ask them if there's any news or just wait to see if they tell him.
I feel so bad knowing but am angry at them for sharing that info with my parents but not their own son (not that being angry will get me anywhere).

NoArmaniNoPunani Sun 04-May-14 07:13:24

If this was my husband I'd tell him. No good can come of a secret like this between a husband and wife

ClubName Sun 04-May-14 07:16:08

I don't think they can be surprised that you know if they told your parents, especially if they didn't tell your parents that you didn't know IYSWIM. TBH telling your parents and asking them to keep it a secret would have been a rotten thing to do IMO but they didn't even do that.

It's left you in a very difficult position but I couldn't have information like that and not tell DH.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 04-May-14 07:17:40

I agree with the PP. You have to tell him this information - sensitively obviously. If your parents know and you know he'll be really upset when he finds out he was kept in the dark. I'm sorry your FIL is so poorly.

LettertoHerms Sun 04-May-14 07:22:00

Agree with the others, I would tell my husband in this situation. He has a right to know, and they shouldn't have kept it from him.

Rockinghorse123 Sun 04-May-14 07:22:22

thanks for you op, the whole situation sounds awfully stressful! I would talk to MIL, gently explain your mum let slip and that you think DH needs to know. You could offer to tell him or be with her if she wants to and reassure her that he is an adult now and has you for support and he would want to support his parents through this which he can only do with all the information. MIL obviously thinks she is doing the right thing but secrets and lies, however well intended, won't help in the long run.

OhBabyLilyMunster Sun 04-May-14 07:26:11

You mustn't keep this from him. So sad, i really feel for you all sad

matildasquared Sun 04-May-14 07:29:17

Absolutely tell him.

PacificDogwood Sun 04-May-14 07:31:01

Yes, I agree with others - give him the information; it is not yours to keep from him.

You both do seem to have an awful lot on your respective plates, so sorry.
Statistics are a bit useless in situations like this: of one hundred people in is situation 30 will survive 5 year, but nobody is able to tell you whether he is amongst the 70 or the 30 IYSWIM?
Best wishes for the remainder of you pregnancy thanks

wigglylines Sun 04-May-14 07:31:20

You have to tell him. If not you are also treating him like a 10 year old.

Or maybe you should give your MIL a chance to tell him, but if she delays, you must do it.

Imagine if he kept something like this from you, how woukd you feel if you found out he was colluding with your family to keep stuff from you?

Tinkleybison Sun 04-May-14 07:34:02

You have to tell him OP, its that simple.

Sorry you are having such a stressful time.

43percentburnt Sun 04-May-14 07:38:27

I think it's important to tell him too. I'm sorry you are in this awkward position. Is his sister aware of their fathers true prognosis? It's certainly not a secret that mil and fil can keep hidden indefinitely.

Another downside with hiding it is your husband may regret not spending more time with his father in potentially his last few years.

hmc Sun 04-May-14 07:43:14

What Rockinghorse said

frillysockmum Sun 04-May-14 07:44:56

You must tell him and talk through what has happened. Your relationship is important and he should understand the actions of his parents. He would never forgive you if he found out that you knew later

WhereTheWildlingsAre Sun 04-May-14 07:48:32


Like many people, I am also dealing with good friends and family who are going through cancer and it's hard, isn't it. One of those is also in denial and I didn't realise until a better informed friend filled me in on the bits I didn't know and hadn't worked out.

It was a shock but I am utterly grateful because I can prepare myself better for the future.

You do have to tell him because whatever is going to happen will happen and he needs to be as ready as he can be.

LumpySpacePrincessOhMyGlob Sun 04-May-14 07:50:36

You tell him, treat him as the adult he is.

hmc Sun 04-May-14 07:53:32

Best to talk to his parents and give them the opportunity to tell him first (telling them that if they don't say anything then you will have to). Otherwise he will be angry with them - and this can be avoided.

BikeRunSki Sun 04-May-14 07:57:23

How unprofessional of the doc to tell your parents! That is surely against whatever code of conduct Drs have to follow. I'd lodge a complaint about the doctor who told your parents. I'd certainly tell DH!

GnomeDePlume Sun 04-May-14 07:58:18

I'm another who says tell him.

If it were me I would help him to break down his worries into different areas and identify what he can do about them. Some things he can change but some things he cant.

PacificDogwood Sun 04-May-14 07:59:19

Bike, I think the in-laws told the OP's parents, not the drs, non? confused

OvertiredandConfused Sun 04-May-14 08:02:18

You need to tell him for several reasons - most importantly because he should know, also because you shouldn't carry this secret as it could begin to come between you and finally because someone else might slip it out to him in all sorts of circumstances.

As you know a huge number of men - the majority actually - will develop some form of prostate cancer. Many will die of old age oblivious to the fact that they are in the early stages. Even for those who are diagnosed and who develop symptoms and have treatment, it is often very manageable for a surprisingly long time. Once it becomes metastatic cancer it is more unpredictable although I do know a guy in his 80s who has cancer that start in his prostate and spread to his bones 6 years ago and is still going strong! I'm only saying that to illustrate how varied and unpredictable this can be.

Finally, I'm hoping that your DH and you know that your DH should talk to his GP about the family history of prostate cancer as this raises his own risk. Once he is 45 there are (blood) tests he can consider having to help monitor his own risk. These are not conclusive but can be helpful.

This has turned in to more of an essay than I intended, and wandered off topic. As you'll have gathered, I know a bit about prostate cancer. If you want to discuss more, feel free to PM me.

Good luck with your decision.

diddlediddledumpling Sun 04-May-14 08:02:55

I agree you should give his parents the opportunity to tell him, and if they refuse, you need to do it yourself.

But do give them the opportunity. When my mum was ill, she didn't tell us the full extent, and now I'm a mother I can see why she found it so difficult to tell us she was dying. But I'm still angry with her, and I wish I didn't have those feelings of anger. If you can persuade them to tell your dh, I really think that's the best outcome, in the long run.

Best wishes to all of you; life's hard sometimes, isn't it?

WhereTheWildlingsAre Sun 04-May-14 08:09:42

I'm not sure about going to the MIL and talking to her first. Op has kind of explained why at would be tricky.

I would tell him and allow him to decide how best to deal with it in turns of his parents and sister.

WhereTheWildlingsAre Sun 04-May-14 08:21:54

Sorry, diddle, cross posted with you.

It is hard, isn't it? And not an easy decision.

What is clear is that the PIL's usual way of dealing with bad news isn't going to work.

frogslegs35 Sun 04-May-14 12:01:38

I would tell him too.
Hopefully he can have a quiet word with his mum about why it was totally wrong to try and keep him in the dark. I can understand the need to want and try and protect their dc while tests were going on but after the diagnosis they should have been honest imo, he's not a child.

Best wishes for all with everything X

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