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My husband has lung cancer. He had a biopsy. the pulmanologist bypassed sending him to surgeon and sent him directly to an oncologist. Pulmanologist said surgery wasn't an option. However, oncologist disagrees. Oncologist now wants my husband to go to a surgeon. He has has tests, biopsy and doctor appointments. None of these are near each other. We spend so much time going to these appointments. He hasn't received any treatment and its been months since the diagnosis. When we go to these appointments, he doesn't ask any questions. He seems like he is not interested. I am so angry that treatment hasn't started. I'm angry that my husband seems so disinterested when he sees a doctor. Today is my birthday. I said something this morning about being being more interest in what the docs are saying. He was nasty to me. He ruined my birthday. He ruined my day.  I was concerned about how skinny he is. I was trying to do some things to help put on weight. I was checking out protein powders in case he can't eat solid food during treatment. he has really upset me with the way he treated me. It was disrepectful and nasty. We have no family or friends around. I am to be his sole caregive. After the way he treated me this morning, I have decided to make him do things for himself. I will go to doctor appointment with him but will not ask questions. I'm done researching protein powders and others things that would help him if he has issues eating. Why should I do anything for him when he treats me badly? Yes, I know he has cancer but it doesn't give him the right to treat me that way especially since I will be the only caregiver. I sure don't feel like being his caregiver now. He takes me for granted. 

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Hi, Kay,

First off, happy birthday!  Please do something special for yourself--even if it's going out to dinner and a movie by yourself.  Trust me, it can be a fun getaway with no one to please but yourself.

Second, I've dealt with partners with serious illnesses who have been as uncooperative as your husband.  I spent most of two hospitalizations with one guy, apologizing to the medical professionals because he treated THEM like crap.  (He's history now--alive but not with me.)  It's a tough spot to be in--I really feel for you.  

Can you find out from the hospital whether there are any in-person support groups for caregivers?  I think you might find it really helpful to unload with people who get it.  

In my experience, you can't force him to be interested or to cooperate in his own treatment.  You're doing what you can.  How long since he was diagnosed?  What do you know about the biopsy results?  Does the doctor answer your questions when you go to appointments?  What do they say about when surgery might be scheduled?

Sending a birthday hug,

Teri

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Hi Kay and welcome and happy birthday. I'm sorry to hear about your husband's diagnosis and that you're having a hard time. It's difficult enough being  a caregiver even when the person cared for is coorperative and so much harder when they aren't. I second LexieCat's suggestion about a support group for caregivers. You need all the support you can get!

Bridget O

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Kay,

Welcome here.  I deduce from reading that I was much like your husband.  My wife Martha persisted anyway.

I was afraid and fear kept me from being a reasonable, rational and considerate husband.  Martha persisted, nevertheless.  You might gain some insight here.

Stay the course.

Tom

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no surgery or any treatment scheduled yet. the pulmanologist would not refer him to a surgeon but the oncologist thinks he should go. I see this as another delay in treatment. I cover him on my health insurance. There is absolutely no reason for him to treat me like this. Cancer or not - there is no reason. 

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I guess my main question, in your shoes, would be whether this is typical of the way he always treats you, or whether it's unique to this situation.  Cancer may not be an excuse, but it could be a reason--for fear, denial, just plain being overwhelmed--and your prodding is challenging that and he is reacting by lashing out at the nearest target.  I'm not suggesting it's OK for him to do it, but rather that MAYBE (if he normally treats you well) it's something not directed at you, personally.  Only you can answer those questions for yourself, and you don't need to share anything here you don't want to.  How much to help, or to push, a partner under these circumstances depends a lot on the relationship as a whole, I think.  

Right now, though, it seems like you need care, yourself, as much as he does. I hope you will try to find a support group and/or a counselor to help you deal with these feelings.  

Have you tried asking him whether he would allow you to make an appointment with the surgeon for him?  Maybe expecting him to be interested or engaged is simply an exercise in futility.  You don't have to assume responsibility for caring for him any more than you want to, but I'm thinking if you do nothing you might find yourself dealing with a lot of guilt feelings down the line (even if they are undeserved).  I'm not trying to put any guilt on you, myself--there may be history suggesting that this is an appropriate boundary for you.  So take what I say with a grain of salt, realizing I don't know either of you, or anything about your relationship or history.

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he has an appointment with a surgeon. He has treated me like this before and yesterday was my breaking point. He has had absolutely NO treatment so far. There is NO excuse for his behavior. Stop making excuses for him. Him was wrong. It is that simple. 

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OK, if he treated you that way before the cancer, then that probably wasn't the explanation.  As I said, it isn't an excuse, but it's sometimes a reason--even people who treat their loved ones well can sometimes become difficult and unpleasant.  But apparently that isn't the case here.

I live alone, and I managed to get through my surgery without the help of a spouse/partner.  (I did take a cousin up on her offer to come out for a few days after surgery, but if she hadn't done that I would have managed OK on my own).  

I'd really suggest getting some support for yourself, though.  If the way he treats you is emotionally abusive, you can contact the Domestic Violence Hotline (1−800−799−7233), who can put you in touch with local resources.  If it isn't at that level, and you're just miserable in your marriage, you might want to consider seeing a therapist to help you sort out what you want to do about it.

I'm sorry you've been treated this way.

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HI Kay,

I get your anger.  I've been there.  I've felt it myself and you have every right to be angry.  Cancer isn't an excuse for someone to be a jerk but it sounds like he's treated you badly in the past so this is a part of his personality.  What has helped you in the past?

My dad shut down right after he was diagnosed.  He never asked a single question.  He was never proactive with his treatment or medical team.  Instead he relied completely on me for everything because I just took over everything.  He also never spoke about how having late stage lung cancer made him feel.  He wasn't a "feelings" kind of guy before cancer- I'm not sure why I thought he would change after cancer.  

The beginning of a cancer diagnosis is uncertain and frightening.  Some people take control of the things they can, other people retreat or lash out.

I finally realized that this wasn't about me, but about the cancer itself. If he seemed unappreciative I would blame the cancer pain or anxiety or fear.  Whether that was the case or not, it made ME feel better!

The fact is your husband does have cancer, and you have a decision to make on how involved you are going to be in this.  If you are worried that treatment hasn't started, you have every right to ask the doctors questions, schedule second opinions and get the ball rolling.  

Talk to your husband about how involved he wants you to be in his medical care.  Talk to him about your feelings, your limits and set some boundaries and stick to them.  Case managers and oncology social workers are very helpful when it comes to navigating cancer and treatment.  They will also have information on local support groups and organizations as well.  Don't be hesitant to give those a try. 

I'm sorry you had a bad birthday.  Maybe you guys can have a do-over and celebrate another day.

Hoping things get better for you guys soon.

Keep posting- we are here for you.

 

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You choose your choice. As for me, it is my job to throw a rope into the pit of despair and if necessary climb in. I pray for good traffic and no flats traveling across 3 counties day after day. You need to reach in yourself a find your choice, not your obligation. Otherwise neither will ascend from the pit, no matter who survives.

 

frog-never-give-up.jpg

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