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Oh you guys. This just breaks my heart. We went home this weekend...the first in a very long time. We have been fortunate to see mom and dad at various events, but we haven't been back to their home since Christmas.

I hate to say this, but my parents are just at each other's throats. It turns my stomach. This is so much smaller of an issue than the cancer, but it seems so silly, petty, and such a WASTE of time. Could this be part of the whole grieving, accepting, or cancer process?

Let me tell you how it goes ...

Dad is feelings so, so much better, but he gets tired. We think it is because he has been virtually inactive for the last year. He was given a clean bill again in March, and told he could go off all meds (this includes the antidepressant he was using for sleep and such).

Mom loves to clean. She is obsessed with it really, and spring cleaning has been her lastest biz. She is tired from it, yet feels it MUST be done.

So...she tries cleaning, dad doesn't feel like it, so he says she is crazy for just cleaning all the time. She gets touchy, says it is because it has to get done, and then he gets more grouchy. Today he even used some words that were "naughty" words in my book.

She feels like she can't tell him to not act that way towards her, as HE was the one with cancer, yet she is bitter because he does.

I can see both their sides. He CANNOT treat her that way, but she CANNOT be so obsessed with cleaning that it makes her angry if he tells her to stop...but then I say, he shouldn't tell her to stop.

Urgh!!! They were hardly talking today and it breaks my heart. What a waste of precious time. I know it is NOT a big deal, but it still sucks.

Any advice? I know letting it blow over would probably be best, but it has been getting progressively worse, and today she snapped by starting to cry. He followed that with, "I don't know what is wrong with her."

Please tell me this is NOT a side affect from PCI...I feel like we are waiting for those to show up any day now.


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This is probably pretty normal considering your folks have been living in a pressure cooker for the past year. Did they bicker before he was diagnosed?

As for your Mom's cleaning fixation, she probably wants to have some semblance of control over a life that has been spinning out of control. I know that is the part that gets to me the most. Mine manifests itself differently, yet oddly is related to cleaning also. I just feel tired and overwhelmed a lot of the time and don't want to do much cleaning at all. My hubby wanted to start spring cleaning upstairs in two of the now vacant bedrooms. Yeah, sure. No. 1 -- How the hell does he think he's going to do all that much with his SOB and oxygen hose in the way, not to mention that I freak out if I think he's inhaling a bunch of dust and No. 2 -- why bother starting in two bedrooms that no one ever goes into. See how easy it is to get your shorts into a stupid knot? Really simple.

I have to say we hardly ever argue or bicker since his diagnosis. I don't want to sweat the small stuff anymore as we have bigger things on our plate (including a son who is in recovery and is the smartest-mouthed, most angry person I know ONLY TO ME -- he continues to be our only point of contention.)

Everyone is very sensitive in these situations and a lot of fears come bubbling to the surface in weird, unrelated ways.

I hope this helps give you a glimpse into what might be happening in your parents' case. How is your Mom's health? Mine has declined a lot since this whole thing began -- hopefully she is taking better care of herself.



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I think they both need to talk and come to a happy medium. It is so true that cancer is too stressful anyway...There are many people who are not so fortunate to have the opportunity to bicker over house cleaning. Cancer has taught me so much but one thing is perspective and having the wisdom to step back and evaluate what is important and what is not. Nit picking about anything is probably on the less important.

I hope your folks find peace and comfort between them and thankfulness for all the time they get together.



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This does sound familiar to me. When Dennis was ill, there was so much stress and tension that we were both feeling. Sometimes, our feelings would just build up, like a pressure cooker, and steam would have to be released. I had to smile at the cleaning issue. I can tell you that my house was spotless when Dennis was ill. I found that constant cleaning was a good way for me to release a lot of my feelings. Just know that this is a very difficult time for your folks. They do love each other and have to work through things in ways that work for them.

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Gosh what a tough situation your seeing. I have no idea's on what is going on except maybe Stress on them and perhap's there both not wanting to except the changes in there live's. AS FOR pci it is possible there has been a change in personality as i would not rule that out.

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Mom won't yell back at Dad (I'm willing to bet she used to) because of the cancer. Mom needs to stop treating him with kid gloves. Clean bill of health and he's tired. Deal with the tired, but Oscar the Grouch needs to be threatened with a mouth full of soap if he doesn't clean up his language.

Play referee, just once. Don't pick a side, Mom can clean, but can't be mad if Dad is too tired to help. Dad can do whatever Dad does (sleep, putter) when Mom is cleaning, but Dad cannot bad mouth her to the point she snaps and cries. They both need to grow up a bit.

Is this petty and small? No, this is their "environment" and keeping the stress out of the "environment" is important. They need a "Come to Jesus" intervention, because otherwise, that light bulb moment may never come. Sit 'em down, spit out what you observed, tell Dad to watch his mouth, tell Mom to clean in other rooms, and suggest they do things together that aren't high energy (watching a movie or sharing quiet time with a book and needlework or whatever they do).

Bickering all the time is not a petty thing, it leads to bigger things. Dad has/had cancer, so what? It's not a pass to be an *ss to those he loves and who love him.

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I think we all have our moments, and cancer can effect us in many ways. Let’s look at a positive thing about cancer. Cancer makes us realize that life is fragile. It should not take cancer for us to know this. I now live my life a lot differently. I realize when I say goodbye to someone that I may not see them again in this world. So even If I am just running down to the store for a loaf of bread my last words to my wife and hers to me is “I love you”. This is not because of the cancer, because surely the cancer will not kill be on the way to the store and back. It’s because I always want to part on the best of terms. This is what I try to relay to my children and their spouses so that they will get so much more out of life. My wife and I spend time planning ways to have fun and enjoy every day more, just like my children should do and you and your family should do. One of the things that help us the most is prayer. We set a time aside each day that we pray together.

Suggestions for your dad is while mom is cleaning, go for a walk and when she gets through do something together. They should plan on doing things together each day. Get out of the house. The more plans you make and things you do together, the less time there will be to complain. From what I know about your dad is that he wants to beat the cancer and live for a long time. Well the stress from complaining and arguing is not going to help. Regardless of what is going on around him he has to stay positive with a minimum of stress. A simple message to your dad from me, make each day enjoyable and have some fun and you will live a lot longer.

You can print this out and tell him it comes from me, so if he wants to get ticked off at someone it will be me it won’t bother me, because I’m having fun.

You're in my prayers.

Stay positive, :)


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Another solution.

Mike did not want me to spend

time and energy with big cleaning

because he could not help anymore.

Got a good gang to do the cleaning

for us while we were out for a full

day recreation.

Cost money but saved a lot of feelings,

we had a good time and made more

good memories, we came back to a clean

place and we could enjoy spring.


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I should add that laughter helps to diffuse any situation! We have found a new sense of humor via cancer and laugh a lot. It is the old "laughter is good for the soul". If they are readers, buy some type of humorous book for the two to share.

When I spoke about cleaning above, the reality is neither of us care much one way or another about it anymore -- another reprioritization of our lives! It gets done when it gets done. Living life is more important than a white glove clean house.


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It causes such anxiety when our parents fight, doesn't it?

I don't think it's a side effect from PCI. My Dad was tired also, he got very lazy and wanted to take naps all the time, while my Mom was trying to push him to go outside and take walks with her. They eventually made up. My Mom says she'd avoid all fights with my Dad, just to have him back again.

Talk to them, it's not worth fighting about the "little things". Good Luck.

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I think when your dad was actively going through his initial diagnosis and treatment and all that it brings -- physically and emotionally, they were both concentrating all of their energy on that. It sounds like they're having a tough time getting back to "normal." And knowing that life is still anything but normal brings anxiety. They don't know what's coming next. No matter how thankful they are for your dad's remission, they know that their life won't return to how it was beforehand. It's a huge adjustment.

It's hard watching your parents argue, especially when you love both of them and you just want them to be happy. Give them time. If it's not crossing the line, perhaps you can speak with each of them separately and help them to see the other's point of view.

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