Cancer and relationships

I was just reading a thread on a colon cancer forum which discussed how cancer effects relationships. Many of the posters responded with pretty sad stories and a couple with positive ones. The ratio was rather disturbing-more horrible stories than good.

Made me think of my own relationship. I used to be certain that if I got seriously ill, Garry wouldn’t be good support. I based this on my experience after giving birth to the twins in the midst of liver failure. He was a real bastard to be blunt.

One thing I forgot turned out to be a major factor though. His mother. Long deceased, she was a very jealous and vindictive alcoholic at that time. I am not supposed to say this but it’s true. She found out that I didn’t want him drinking rum day in and day out so she plied him with it. He was an adult of course so he made a choice obviously. For her….it was to defy me. To bring me down a few notches. How dare I disapprove of rum?…..I don’t know…but for him? He too was an alcoholic who was about to become a dad. I blame her because he would not have hit the rum if she was not around. Out of sight out of mind. he would of stuck to beer which makes him a friendlier soul. She knew this woud hurt our marriage and that’s all she wanted from life.

The result was that I don’t recall him being around in the hospital at that time. He was present for the birth. After that, my family caught him flirting with nurses, hanging out at the nursery basking in the glory of my hard work while I was bleeding to death with 20% chance of survival in ICU, stuff like that. My grannie over heard him and his mother plotting to take the kids to Australia ” as soon as she’s buried”…..they wrote me off prematurely and coldly. His mother never forgave me for not dying.

I wanted to leave him because things got even worse until his evil bitch of a mom left us alone a few months later. I had not fully recovered from my liver failure and ended up with fibromyalgia on top of that.taking care of twins alone along with a divorce and financial issues was put of the question. I could not work in my physical condition. I could not forgive him for a very long time and am not sure that I have.

I was therefore afraid when I knew that whatever ailed me last year was very serious. We were not getting along due to his refusal to cut ties with a neighbor whose wife was spreading nasty lies about me while being a little too nice to him.

When I got sick…I initially thought it was uterine cancer. I don’t know why.Garry thought I’d gone nuts for thinking so negatively and so did Jasmine.
Then, when I finally went to see a doctor, she thought it was ovarian cancer initially. That scared me alot but I was trying to hold it in….believing that I was not going to have support from my husband just like before.

I went as far as looking into a woman’s shelter because if I was going to die…..well, it was not going to be at the side of a man who could care less. I’d rather be alone.

But I was shocked to find out that my husband had grown up quite a bit since the birth of the children. Not only did he try to be strong for me during the initial diagnosis, he also did everything he could to take care of me and still does alot to this day. He did a great job to the best of his ability.

I think that is the key- that we patients accept that our caretakers can only do what they can do and that this is okay. For example: He didn’t juice carrots for me ( this used to bother me alot at the time) because the idea was not seeming to be important to him, but he brought me Carnation instant breakfast every morning in bed and every afternoon as the doctors ordered.

He went above and beyond…to the point that I had to ban him from coming to the hospital with me when I was taken by ambulance. The stress of my condition had taken a toll on him and I couldn’t let him drive in that state but he was going to.

I know that he cried alot( but not in front of me). I know he made a deal with God…that I should live and he’d die instead. He wants to go first but I know it’s going to be me. He can wish all he wants.
I know it’s guilt. He knows what he did to me at the birth of our children was not just mean, but very bad krma too. Maybe he wished me dead as well. I always thought so.
He knows that he betrayed me emotionally when he got involved with the neighbor. He knows her hatred was on par with his mothers…and yet he had defended both.

He made up for these things. I have not yet told him so. I will.

Cancer brought us together? No. It is a dirty, mean disease that doesn’t deserve credit for the good things in life. It forced us to let down our walls out of desperation- that’s all it did. Made us desperate. How we reacted was up to us.

Note to my old friends: I still don’t have confirmation that I am in remission so when I say that I will die before my husband, it’s because of my ongoing general condition, not because of any news of recurrance. of course there’s no way of knowing for sure either way.

Many of the posters in that forum describe nightmare relationships but so do a couple of caretakers. It goes both ways.
One talked about her first husband being a rat during the complicated births of their children. She left him and remarried a nice man and believed at firstthat her ex would nothave handked her terminal cancer any betterthan the birth of their kids.
But ironically, her ex just asked his girlfriend to marry him after finding out she also had colon cancer. People do change.

2 thoughts on “Cancer and relationships

  1. That’s a hard road to travel together. I can sympathise in some ways. Been to some places you have too. It’s not pleasant.

    Alcohol is a terrible thing. It was a feature in both my husband’s and my paternal family’s. You become emotionally delayed as a human being, especially when it comes to establishing meaningful relationships. You can only really play catch-up by living life, and sometimes you end up hurting those closest to you.

    While my husband has made some shocking decisions in the past (which he’ll admit to now) so have I, in my own way. Naturally, had we known better though, we would have done better. I know this because living our chaotic life, showed us how to make better choices. We did improve with experience.

    Like you, I recognise this isn’t the case for every relationship though. Some fail in the face of adversity, and that’s something I don’t have an answer for either. It would be awful to lose a partner after developing cancer. I’ve heard it can happen to those who suddenly find themselves in wheelchairs too.

    1. Chris, how are you? Must email soon…..
      Yes, alcoholism certainly is a challenge especially to those who are just bystanders. I think its one of the harder addictions to cope with because it’s legal and socially acceptable to a degree. I have to say that most problems we have had from our kids stem directly from the history too even if they don’t drink.

      I’m glad that Dave woke up.Its very hard to do.
      There are lots of very sad stories regarding relationships breaking up due to colon cancer especially in the young. You see, it’s not just disfiguring ( surgical scar, colostomy bag for the majority) radiation renders us sterile due to location of treatment. The bigger break ups seem to be the more serious, terminal cancers I noticed. I’m sure however that for each coward who walks away is a brave soul who stands up to the task. I hope anyway.

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