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I'm going insane

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Last night, my husband went out after work with some co-workers to a bar near his work. He has been having a lot of stress lately at work, at home, all around. His boss, and his boss' boss were recently fired. His best friend at work quit all due to some internal departmental squabbling and troubles and now he fears for his job. He's also has the stress related to our building a new house. We've been building it for almost 5 months now and the basement isn't even finished. Our builder is never there and doesn't answer calls, and is now talking about having to claim bankruptcy. If that happens we lose everything. Add to that cancer. So, needless to say, he managed to tie one on.

I received a phone call on my way home from work to come and pick him up as he didn't feel like he should drive. This I did happily.

Now you must understand, when my husband drinks, he talks... and talks... and talks. He is a rambler, but I have found in the past that he does this and lets out all the feelings he holds inside.

On our ride home, Keith opened up on the subject of his cancer. He told me that he doesn't want to do chemo anymore. He wants to feel normal for a while, and he is sick of being sick. He is seriously thinking he wants to stop. All he ever wants is to go back and feel like himself again, have life like he used to.

Today, he hasn't alluded to this discussion, and hasn't mentioned a thing. But I now know that this is how he honestly is feeling.

I am in agony now. I am torn between my heart and my head. My head tells me I have to abide by whatever he decides, it is ultimately his decision and I need to support him. I really don't want him to suffer and be unhappy. But every fiber of my being, my soul screams out that he needs to continue the fight. I NEED HIM!!! I know it sounds clique, but I know for a fact, that I can't go on without him. I don't want to, I can't and I WON'T!! I feel this, and I know that I am most likely going to try and convince him to continue, but I am riddled with guilt. Am I really this selfish?

God I just can't do this anymore. Keith and I share some of the most beautiful days and wonderful moments even now despite the cancer and I'm not ready for them to end. But intermixed with these moments are ones of pure pain and heartbreak. After our most wonderful days my mind often breaks way with doubt and fear and I suffer and grieve, but that is me and my insanity.

I don't want to bring the subject up with him, because I am afraid. I am afraid that he will soberly come to resolution on this. I am praying that he doesn't remember the topic, and it was just drunken rambling based off all the stresses in our life right now and not actually how he is leaning. I am afraid that if I talk about this out loud with him my heart will just burst and disintegrate instantly.

I repeat in my mind 1 Peter 2:24 "By his wounds you have been healed" over and over again. I believe this to be true, but it is not in the way I wish it to be. I want it to be literal. I pray that by his wounds this cancer is healed. All I know is I need a miracle, I need God's glory and power to take this pain from us for I can no longer bear this, and Keith is runing out of strength.

So, I go on selfishly for I know no other way to be. May the lord forgive me this sin.

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Hi Carleen,

I don't know where to start with this.I have been having some of the same feelings that your husband is having.I sometimes think that my family would be much better off if I just threw in the towel.It is such a strain on us all.I have 3 young kids and this is just dragging out the enevitable.I have not given up but I have not felt good in a long time either.I keep praying for strength.They give me plenty of support.I honestly feel worse for my freinds and family than I do for myself and I wonder if Keith feels the same way.I am also a recovering alcoholic.I went to a 90 day treatment program in August and have not had a drink since.The past few nights I have dreamed that someone was trying to make me drink.To make me feel better.I am not going to do that but the dreams have been so strange.Maybe he got it out of him when he was drinking.It could have been that he just needed to say that and now he will regain his fighting attitude.I sure hope and pray that he does.I also suffer from clinical depression and had taken meds up until my diagnosis.For some reason I decided I didn't need them anymore and quit taking them.One of my sisters noticed a change in my attitude and suggested that I get back on them.I did about a week ago and my attitude is better and I am not depressed but I still feel like hell.Maybe you could check into some depression med for him.I am on lexapro and it works quickly.If it is going to do anything you will know within the first week.At least I did and I had tried many depression meds that did not work.I am rambling.I hope this helps.I just know exactly how he feels and I can imagine how you feel about not making it without him.I lost a fiancee in 1978 and almost took myself out when she died.It was hard not to.I am so glad that I didn't.She wouldn't have wanted it that way and I wouldn't have this wonderful family.Love and prayers to you both.TBone

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You are tired, scared, and stressed to the max! Drunken ramblings are just that, drunken. Yes there is truth in them, but not neccessarily fact. Your Love is probably tired of feeling bad, (I know I am) He is worried about the job, the house, the disease it's no wonder he tied one on. But when a person sobers up they do what needs to be done, having taken a vacation from it. I don't think he will stop trying, he loves you and knows that he is your life.

Praying for you my dear.



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I'm so sorry to hear of you and Kieths stress. I have built a home and it was very stressful! Do you own the land? 00r does the builder? The bank only released funding for a small portion of the home? Why can't you get a new builder to finish your home? What did your lender say?

I think everyone who is going through this disease faces doubt and questions qiving up now and then. It sounds like its just "talk"... like you said alcoholic ramblings.

I'm so sorry to hear that you are so scared. I can only imagine how hard this is. I will pray so hard for heang.



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My heart totally breaks for you. You are very strong and believe it or not you will make it through this. Your husband needs to KNOW (not believe but KNOW) that you will be okay however he decides to proceed and you will - eventually.

You have so much faith. Sometimes you need to close your eyes, take a deep breath and try as hard as you can to see the biggest picture out there. Hope is not gone, no matter which route your husband takes. Maybe he has lost faith in chemotherapy. Maybe he will regain his faith in chemotherapy. Maybe he just needed to vent. All roads still lead to hope. Some people find their cure in diet, some in faith, some in medicine, some in love, some in combination and some wait for reunification at a later date. Please try to remember - there are many ways to find hope and hang onto that hope - for your sanity.

You are both in my prayers.

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Oh Carleen - I am so so sorry for you - as I sit here reading your post I just had tears pouring out.

Let's hope he just took a vacation from all the worry for a minute, and will regain his FIGHT....after all, that is so much stress to be under....he deserves a break! And so do you!

You have helped me so many times when I've been down and out, I wish I could find some words to give you strength. Remember you and Keith are always in our thoughts and prayers, and with so many people on this board praying for you, SOMETHING GOOD IS BOUND TO HAPPEN, right???

Much love,

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Before I begin, let me remind everyone that I have had no treatment other than surgery with my lung cancer. I had chemo with the breast, but I know that is not the same.

When I was told it was lung cancer, I felt that this was it. My best friend reminded me that expressed fears that I would not see my son graduate. That was in his freshman year, and graduation is in June. Even though docotrs told me I was "lucky" and have a "90% cure rate", I could not hang my hat on that hook. I had a 93% cure rate with the first breast cancer.

I decided to throw in the towel and see a therapist. Who only works with cancer patients. She has changed my life, and I always add that if I met her in the social world, we would not be friends.

Why it is working is that I was given the space to express my fears, which is so difficult to do around loved ones. My husband and family were on their third cancer with me. They were suffering their own pain. I could not inflict more on them.

I literally cried in her office for 4 months. It was my chance to do so. I returned to work in September fearful and stressed, and within the week September 11th occurred. I may have cancer, it may come back, but my plane was not taken over by hijackers. I did not say goodbye to my spouse this morning and know that he never will return.

Boy am I rambling or what???? Sorry

My point??? This is a horrible time, and I feel very strongly that the therapy has helped me tremendously.

Prayers and hugs for you.


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Carleen, I imagine Keith, in the bar with his co-workers, got a glimpse at what it is like to feel good and relax and not have cares. And his immediate reaction was, "I want this back!" It is natural. Give him time, and he may well realize he wants to continue to fight. We all want those escapes and to go back "the way it was before". The feeling comes and goes. And then we realize that we can't go back -- we can only go forward with the best plan we know. My prayers are with you both. Don

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Becky and everyone:

I too wanted to respond and can't do it. It is so painful. Last couple days, so many things have been hitting so close to home. But in retrospect, Becky, if there is anything that you can post that you feel might benefit more of us, then after consideration, you might wish to respond.

I just know that as a patient, I seem to often feel like I am of "two minds"--I think TBone's reply says that, too. And what we ALL really want, is our old life back, and with the wisdom that our current lives have taught us. But what we want can never be... that old life is gone...but the new life can and often does get better, we see it here all the time. And Becky, you are one proof of that. Carlene, you are so dear, dear. And to have the stresses you have, even if both of you were healthy, would be a lot to deal with, so just think of how strong you and Keith must be. So very strong.

I love you all


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Just want to say I'm sorry you're going through all this and to emphasize what Don said. It seems to me what you heard from Keith was a very normal and natural desire to return to better times coupled with, again, a very normal questioning of what the future might bring. I don't know Keith but my sense is what you heard was a release rather than any permenant change in his perspective of this disease. Your lives have been filled with stress lately and, like a pressure cooker, there comes a time when the "steam" has to be let out a bit or there's going to be an explosion.

Again, those feeling of wanting to not feel sick, to wanting to go back to the way things were "before" are normal. What one of us wouldn't, given the chance, "turn back the clock" to a place where the word "cancer" was something we saw on TV or read about in the news. I, for example, would give just about anything to be sitting behind the wheel of my bus, loading and unloading passangers and worrying my butt off about keeping the beast safe and on time. But I know, and I'm sure Keith knows, it's not going to be that way. I have a new reality and a new existance. Most of the time I'm ok with that. I wake up, get up, and face the day, looking forward to what that day has to offer. But every once in a while I play the "what if" game in my head. I end up "blowing off a little steam" and then get back to dealing with what is really going on in my life.

Carleen, I hope this little "window" into my thought process gives you a better idea of what might be going on inside Keith's head. I hope you both can come to a place where you'll be able to sit down and talk to each other about this. Trying to guess what's going on in another person's head can lead to all kinds of misunderstandings. Gay and I have found that open and honest communication, no matter how scary and, at times, painful that can be, is the only way to go with this.

I pray that you and Keith come through all these stresses. I pray that you both find that place of calmness and peace.


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Carleen, I'm so sorry. Perhaps getting drunk allowed Keith to pour out the thoughts and feelings he hasn't shared before. We all know how reliable drunken statements are, so please do not worry that there is something he is keeping from you. He needed to express those thoughts, just as we all need to express our scarier thoughts and feelings, too. Holding them in only helps for a little while - they find their own way out, in making us ill, depressed, angry. Don't let those frightening thoughts and feelings find their own way out of you - your way of getting those unpleasant, and perhaps fearful, feelings and thoughts out in the open will be much more tolerable, as hard as it is. The less we talk about them, the bigger and more frightening our darkest thoughts become. Acknowledging them weakens them; your heart will gorw, not burst and disintegrate. You might try out ways of broaching the topic - practice what you want to say. My hunch is that this very difficult conversation has been waiting to happen. Keith may find it a relief to have a chance to talk openly about his desire to quit chemo. From reading your posts, I feel sure your relationship will only be strengthened by having this conversation. You are the most important person in his life, as he is in yours - who else can talk to Keith with the deep love and understanding that you can? I know you can do this. I know you both will get through this. Best wishes , Teresa

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too much stress, sickness, work, house are enough to bring a desire

to be like the old days, strong and sure of the future, the strong is gone

at the moment and with the drinks the best way to show

that he was not sick was to talk about stopping the treatments.

Sober, the opening will come and you will be able to talk together

about what really brought that idea on.

You have too much to live for to let one blow up shadow your love.

It is good sometimes to vent and rave when all is going wrong, but

reality is now and tomorrow.

Will keep both of you in my prayers for a sunny future.



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Well I can address a little of this in an open forum... regarding your remark, "But I now know that this is how he honestly is feeling." Don't be so sure, Carleen. Alcohol isn't truth serum. I have been where you are listening to things I really didn't want or care to know. Later, I found out he didn't even remember saying them. It did however lead us to a sober conversation on real feelings....

Hang in there Carleen, bring up the conversation and you will be surprised I'm sure by what he says when sober.


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I have been staying away from here for a while because I am still dealing with some of the issues mentioned in the responses from the others. I really feel a need to give you some advice that I wish someone would have given me.

As Dean has said it is normal for Kieth to want his life back. Who wouldn't? The truth is he is smart enough to know that can not happen. He just had to let it out because that is what is deep inside of him. That is something he will come to terms with no matter what route he decides to take.

I was so much like you are right now. When Johnny started with the anxiety it was much worse to deal with than the cancer. He tried to blame his problem on everything except the fact that he was afraid of what lay ahead. I often said that he was afraid to admit that he was afraid because if he did he would have to face the fact that he had good reason for his fears. I knew that about him but never realized that it was true for myself as well.

We knew each other so well that without talking about our fears the other was still very aware of them. Had we shared what we were feeling like we did everything else I doubt that his situation would have gotten so bad that it cost his life. You can not support each other if you do not share. Believe me I know. I got the mistaken idea that I could shake him out of the anxiety. I told myself that I wouldn't talk to him about death or his fears because I didn't want to make his anxiety worse. The real reason that I couldn't admit was because I couldn't face the possibility of losing him. Not only did we rob each other of what could have been some very special times but we were unable to give the real support to one another that we should have. You can not deal with your fears unless you admit them openly.

You and Kieth are so close and need each other desperately more than ever. Talk to him. Learn his fears and share yours with him. If you don't he may start to feel that you don't trust him enough to share your real feelings with him. That can make all of your problems so much worse.

You are the most important people in each others lives and you are facing the biggest thing that anyone can face. Doesn't it make sense that you should share everything about it. Fear can destroy so many things in your life. Having the fear that cancer brings to you is more than enough to live with. Don't add the stress of trying to keep your feelings to yourself. Believe me if you do they will come out. When they do it can be in ways that make you not even recognize yourself.

Talk to him. Share your fears and tell him exactly how you feel and listen to him. That may be all he needs just for someone to know what is going on inside of him. I would also recomend that you see a therapist of some kind. There is nothing shamefull in asking for professional help with a situation that can rule your life. Both of you need that help while you are still strong and able to put energy into the fight it takes to learn to cope.

If I had it to do over again I would open up and share all of my fears, hopes and needs. I would also listen to his with an open mind. I would also make a lot of demands that I didn't at the time. I would demand that a counciler be assigned to help Johnny handle the things that were eating at him inside. I would seek one for myself as well. Stress , fear and anxiety are 3 things that can kill on their own. Add them to cancer with no help to deal with it all and you have a very deadly mix.

You will get through this hard time but how you get through it depends on your willingness to face your fears openly and discuss them together.

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I'ts all been said by our Dear friends here Carleen, except to add that this all seems too much for two loving folks to bear. I hope the job and the house problems work out for the best , that will lift some weight off your shoulders. Thinking and praying for you both, Love Paddy.

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Note: I prefer to NOT share my experiences with being on the receiving side of drunken babbling with the entire board. I am sure that those of you who have 'been there, done that' can understand my reluctance.

I believe I share a lot of "me" on the board, but I am not willing to rattle skeletons for just anyone with computer access to read. Please understand that there are many ways younger people 'gain experience' to be able to empathize with others and that most 'experience' is NOT a pretty thing where alcohol is involved.

I appreciate those on here, like TBone, that are forthcoming in their daily battle, but the battle here is not mine to proclaim nor mine to bring to light. I have been a bystander that feels the effects but is not in control of the How? and the Why? on more than one occasion and time in my life.

I did feel Carleen needed more than I was willing to give in the public forum and sent her a PM. Please do not feel you (the Board) were gypped in my reply, and if you want to know the whole story, buy my book when I write it! :wink:



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Throw away the idea that you're sinning by wanting to keep Keith with you a long time.

We would ALL like to wake up in the morning and find out this has all been a really bad dream... cancer, finances, job stresses.

but.... pinch me.... I am awake. It's still here.

You are a strong woman, Carleen, and you'll do what you have to do.

You are also loved dearly by the folks on this board, and we are here for you.

"Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness".

Don't let your imagination carry you away, dear heart. Don't anticipate what hasn't happened yet. Leave tomorrow's worries for tomorrow, for there are plenty of worries for today.

And please, hang on to your faith. Believe. Keith is here today, and so are you. That's what's important.

Be gentle with yourself, and be kind to yourself. You, too, are going through your own caretaker's/lover's he((.

Remember you are both always in my prayers,



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Dear Carleen:

If I may quote MaryAnnn *you are dearly loved by the folks on this board* and echo her thoughts exactly.

You are going thru your own personal hell and yet u find time and energy to respond in great detail to so many others in need.

I admire that and God knows that it is making a difference in people's lives.

Just wanted to let you know that and thank you!!!



God Bless Us All..

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I understand your insanity. Our sermon at church on Sunday was about putting your faith in God........no matter WHAT the situation. I am so guilty of wanting to control situations........like my Dad's lung cancer. The truth is, it is in God's hands. I'm not saying that we shouldn't seek treatment and do research.............what I am telling you is that whatever happens, you will be able to handle it with God's help. You are such a strong, spiritual lady, don't lose your faith through this. I will be thinking of you and praying for you and your dear husband.


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  • 3 weeks later...


sorry about the late response...i hope that you are feeling a lot better after venting. always feel that you can vent too. it's natural to feel entirely frustrated by everything going on. even the most positive person has his/her moments.

the reason i found this website is that my mother was diagnosed with nsclc, stage iv late last year, and she will have her sixth round of chemo later on today. i have been posting on and off for the past six months now, but i have been continually lurking around. for some reason, i am always compelled to read your posts (and keith's). i find you both to be very inspiring, and it is clearly evident that you two have a strong, loving, blessed relationship. if only all of us could be so lucky. :wink: please hold on to that and never give up hope. i have also been so inspired by your faith in God. i too have my moments when i cry out to God during my lowest moments, and i know that there are times that you feel so lost, confused, angry and hopeless. i have found Psalms 27:13-14 comforting: "i am still confident of this. i will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. wait for the Lord. be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."

please know that you and keith have been in my prayers, and i will continue to pray for your family. when a loved one gets cancer, everyone around him/her is naturally affected emotionally, mentally, and even physically (as you and your family already know). please take care of yourself, and continue to hold on to your faith in God.

God bless,


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