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Forced Cheerfulness


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I know he means well but, as I sit here worrying about my first chemo starting in 2 hours, my husband is trying to cheer me up with inappropriate suggestions like : let's rent bikes and pedal over there or let's go out dancing later.

It just so pisses me off! Professionally he knows better( he's a big-shot excutive who has been trained in NLP) but it's me and he's upset. I tried yesterday telling him that this just wasn't helping and a "oh poor you" would be much better but he just got upset.

What do I do?

Linda

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Disclaimer: this post is a passionate one. No offense attended to anyone,

(Sorry, but the tone of the last post really set me off)

Yes, this may be his way of coping- but YOU are the one getting chemo and YOU are the one with cancer, so YOU have to be the one to make it loud and clear what helps you and what doesn't.

I think HE needs to get a grip and realize the seriousness of this situation and how emotionally upset you are right now as you begin the fight of your life.

This is your first chemo.

In a few months, you will feel like an expert at this and you will have a better idea of what to expect and how to handle things emotionally. Right now, you are scared! and you damn well deserve a poor you and some TLC to get you thru this.

His way out may be light-hearted denial, but you are the one facing the needle and toxic treatments. He needs to get a grip and step up to the plate. There's a better time for jokes and laughs and this isn't one of them.

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Hi Linda,

Coming from the perspective of a spouse who has lost their loved one and endured a long journey, it's all about a team effort. I know how nervous my husband was before his first chemo, but we utilized humor a lot during all of the ups and downs. You'll go crazy if you don't put humor as part of the process, even if you don't appreciate his particular brand right now.

As irritating as this may be for you, he IS affected by this diagnosis as much as you are. No, he may not be getting stuck with needles or having chemo pumped into him, but he's your husband, a part of you, and feels all of your worry and anxiety to the max too. He also has all of his own worries about your future together. It may not come out in the way you want, but at least he's trying to communicate and stay a part of your team. Being a caregiver has it's own kind of agony and helpless feelings, so you scramble to do what you can. It doesn't always come out right, but he means well for you.

Good luck with your chemo.

Welthy

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Hi Linda. I wish you well on your first chemo. I understand your anxiousness and worry. I have found that my worry is usually for not, and that is never as bad as I think it might be. Unfortunately, after awhile, we actually get somewhat used to treatments.

Loved ones support is an interesting topic. They are obviously deeply affected by this as well and need to find their own coping mechanisms. And while humour may be warranted in some situations, it is not for all.

I have to admit for myself anyways, that we patients can sometimes be an interesting bunch to deal with. Sometimes people trying to help and support us are darned if they do and darned if they don't. It is tough for them to know what might actually help. Particularly when we do not voice what we need....not all are mind readers. My husband has made some definite blunders for sure, not ill intended at all. I have always told him to ask me what I need, instead of trying to guess. That way, if he does that, I've got nobody to blame but myself if I don't like it. Better believe he latched on to that suggestion real fast!!!

take care and best of luck with your chemo

I have found it can actually be fun in that darn room

Sandra

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Sometimes people trying to help and support us are darned if they do and darned if they don't. It is tough for them to know what might actually help. Particularly when we do not voice what we need...

Exactly...let him know how you feel. Once the anxiety of starting chemo for the first time has passed and you are used to the new routine, hopefully you both will have a better grasp of the situation and what you need from each other.

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Linda-

I feel I can relate a lot of your problem. My husband is the same way in some many ways. But finally, I think I am able to more understand where he is coming from, altho unfortunately it took a fight like no other to get there.

I was dx'd 20 months ago, and up until the huge fight a couple of weeks ago, he had only said the cancer word 3 times!!! The straw that broke the camel's back was when I said I was asking for some anti-depressants and he asked me what was I depressed over?? We yelled and screamed at teach other so much but here is what I got from it:

Men tend to be more in denial when it happens to their wives than vice versa. Look at all the wives that post here in comparison to husbands that do and let me say the the husbands that do are very sweet and caring, but by far its the wives that are posting. Women are by nature more caring and nurturing than men are - I guess thats why God has us having the babies and not the men.

Men are always told not to cry, be strong, you have to be the provider and the fixer. Well, they can't fix us. And because they were taught to be strong and not cry, then what do they do?? They come across non-caring when they really, really do care. They love us but they just don't know sometimes how to handle a loved one who is so sick. We as women have no problems crying when a loved one is sick or hurt. We cry over TV shows and movies. The only time I saw my husband cry over a movie was ET and he was mortified when I caught him :lol::lol:

Linda, let him know NOW how you feel. That way it won't build up in you like it did for me. He loves you, you know that - help show him how to show you that he loves you in the way you need him to!!

Sending you lots of hugs-

Patti B.

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Thanks for all your replies.

No need for woodsheds.

The last thing I want to do is hurt Stu -- he's a very loving, gentle soul. I just need to get through to him that sometimes some repsonses are better than others.

I think I'll just suggest that he read these post. That way he can quitely absorb the info without there being any direct confrontation.

Thanks again,

Linda

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Hi Linda,

First of all, I hope that your chemo treatment goes well.

Secondly, I have been on both sides (as a patient and now as the caregiver). Sandra's post made absolute sense to me. I went thru a lot of surgeries during the first 35 years of my life. I had my first one at the age of 9 or 10 days and the last one at 34 yrs. 6 mos. 28 days.). My mom used to say to me that it was tougher on her than it was me when we were going thru my surgeries. It was never you or I going thru it. It was always we going thru it.

I am faced with a situation now that I never dreamed that I would ever be faced with. Both parents have cancer... My dad has SCLC - ED and my mom NSCLC (will find out staging on Friday). I have had to take over sooo many things.. I am the medical caretaker... I go to all appts., all scans, all scopes, and any other procedures. II keep track of all the medications. I arrange all the appts. I coordinate them so that if Mom has an appt. one day and dad needs one, I try to schedule them the same day. I don't drive so I I have to arrange all the transportation for us to get to appts. My brothers and their families are a huge help in that area.

It's hard so very hard. It's overwhelming at times. We have good moments. The smallest bit of good news brings a huge smile to our faces. The bad news gives us pause and then we deal with it. I am not the kind of person who sits arounds pouting about it. Sure it gets me down. I think that I cried the most in my life in the last week of April and the first week of May this year. There are times when I get weepy. Sometimes I get angry. I hate what cancer has done to my family. Cancer changes you and your family. I learned that from my aunt who went thru surgery and chemo for breast cancer.

Kristi

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Linda: Having him read the posts is a great plan if he's the kind of guy who will do that.

I'm married to a great guy too who has taken awesome care of me through this ordeal. But omg, there were times when I couldn't believe what was coming out of his mouth. Like you, I knew he was just trying to cope and I tried to be appropriate and not hurt his feelings. Whether or not I was successful usually depended on where I was at the moment. And if I was not in a good space, I sometimes said things that in retrospect seemed aimed at hurting him and just served to make me feel awful.

Whenever I am tempted to complain now, I focus on the things he's done right. And just occasionally I think about those people whose spouse's really can't handle it and just up and leave. Can't think of anything worse. Most of us do the best we can and so do most of our spouses. With your attitude and approach, I'm sure it will be o.k.

Judy in Key West

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Linda writes:

my husband is trying to cheer me up with inappropriate suggestions..... It just so pisses me off!

Therefore, I was pissed off for you and batting on your side with my response-

I obviously do not know your husband personally or your everyday situation to know whether he is a kind person who just doesn't "get" what you need from him, or someone in denial who isn't taking your condition seriously and hurting you in the process. My reply was based solely on your initial post and like I said, wasn't intended to hurt anyone and only intended to be supportive of your feelings.

I've been on both sides too- I've been the patient and the caregiver and the issues that can arise are overwhelming and how we choose to deal with it varies from person to person.

Hope it all works out for you.

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The disease is such a tough one, it takes it's toll on so many.

Look at Katie, Welthy and myself...we don't have LC, and yet here we are, still coping. It takes it's toll. And so I understand the difficulty I am sure your husband must be dealing with.

HOWEVER, there is a very distinct approach I took with my mom. She was the patient, what she needed, she got, all others be damned quite frankly. Her mother was being very high maintenance and was insisting on coming here. My mother did NOT want that, so I spent LENGTHY discussions stressing, it doesn't matter how we are all feeling, patient's needs and wants come first.

I think it is OK to tell him the same. "I'm the patient, I have needs. When I am better, I'll laugh at your jokes."

Good luck, it's tough, but you come first.

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Maybe I need to clarify because many of you are newer and don't know me. If I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times --- I followed my husband's lead on everything. It was his cancer, his treatment, and ultimately his death. I was along for the ride to assist, support, care, and love him during his long fight. Maybe I gave the wrong impression, but I always knew this wasn't about me, it was all about him and his needs. I honored his wishes every step of the journey. Those who know me, know this.

I thought Linda was looking for a spouse's perspective because of the area of the board that this was posted. The issue involved her husband and thought she was seeking insight into his actions.

My husband and I did develop a wicked sense of humor, sometimes downright dark and it held us in good stead for when the bad times came. We were not cavalier, but humor helped keep our perspective so we could keep our sanity. And yes, there is a time and a place for everything on God's green earth and everything doesn't work for all. We were a team and sometimes we stumbled, but that's how couple's are.

Linda, you'll both find your bearings and a new rhythm as you head down this fork in the road. One more thing, men are different critters than we are, so they don't always get it right. But then we knew that already, didn't we? :D (Surely no men around here resemble that remark! LOL) You were probably just venting and some people got their shorts in a knot over nothing. Human beings -- whaddya' gonna' do?

Hope the chemo went well today Linda and some of your fear is allayed.

Warm regards,

Welthy -- sliding back down to the grief section where I'm supposed to be.

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Hi Linda,

Hope your chemo went well.

About all I can say is as a caregiver sometimes you're damned if you do, and damned if you don't.

I would never do anything to hurt Hank, but this is all new to both of us, we're learning how to deal with it and with each other in this new situation.

Also, humor is a natural response to relieving tension. I have found that at many times in my life that were stressful, I tend to say things that in a normal situation would be pretty funny.

It's the wrong time for it, but it's an attempt to try and lighten up a bad situation.

Wishing you and Stu all the best,

Gail

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I have on rare occascion been know to have made a few minor errors in judgement. While I admit they are few and far between I'm as close to the perfect man as there is.

Hardly a day goes by that my wife doesn't tell me "Dave you are a real piece of work"

I think thats a compliment isn't it?

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If I have learned one thing since my dx in 01/07, it is that this has been a much harder trial for my family (particularly my mother and daughter) than for me.

I have lived a full and rewarding life; and although it's not over yet, I have come to accept that my long-term survival odds aren't good and am prepared for the probability that my death will probably come sooner rather than later.

It has been much easier for me to arrive at this place in time than for my family. It took me a long while to see that for me it was simply the end of my journey--at which time I would be leaving them behind--but for them, it was about losing me, and during those early months, my anger, irritation and frustration levels frequently rose so high as to be off the scale.

None of this is about what is fair though, and there is no right or wrong. It is, however, all about love--ours for you and yours for us--and that's all that matters in the long run, that we all--whether patients or family members--live and die knowing that we were loved.

Carole

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