Husband calls me lazy

I had a lumpectomy earlier in the year but the complications have had the biggest effect on my body. I had post op infection, haematoma, severe reaction to radiotherapy causing lymphoedema in b reast with reoccuring cellulitis infections and on one occasion lymphangitis . I am on antibiotics daily for one year. The infections and radiotherapy damage wiped me out and I was very poorly this summer. Thankfully I have improved greatly and doing most household tasks but there are still some days I am tired out and I often go to bed at 8.30pm to try and control my fatigue. This week my husband tells me I am lazy and vile, just what I needed. I have kept upbeat and positive throughout this very difficult year b ut his attitude towards me is a negative imapct I could do without. 

Hi Pat007,

Thank you for posting. It sounds like you’re going through a really tough time at the moment. We want you to know that we’re here for you. 

If you would like to speak to one of our nurses for clinical advice about these complications in your treatment you can call them on 0808 800 6000 (Monday - Friday 9am-4pm and Saturdays from 9am-1pm).

Also, if you wanted to, you could call them for emotional support or just to talk things through.

Sending you our best wishes,


Pat - I’m so sorry your husband is behaving like a bleep towards you - you certainly don’t deserve it - cancer treatment takes it out of you physically and mentally for quite some time after treatment finishes.My OH has had times where he has been not the most understanding ( slight under exaggeration ?) too .I think partners /family / friends expect normal service to be resumed as soon as treatment has finished and that’s just not the case .Compassion fatigue often  kicks in when you’re really  still need support …Concentrate as much as you can on looking after yourself and getting support from those outside the situation if you can .There is also a Sex and Relationahips private group on the forum if you want to talk more privately about this .Best wishes Jill x

I m sorry to hear that.

I have been feeling extremely tired since the treatment infact i never went to my former self.

You do need all the love and support you can get it is difficult to cope with this **bleep** without having to deal with more unwanted judgemental **bleep** from the ones who are supposrd to support you.

Big hug

Hi Pat

Back in 2006 I had cervical cancer. I spent all my time and energy trying to make my husband feel better. I didn’t want him, or the rest of my friends and family, to worry. 

You put on a brave face and exhaust yourself trying to make everyone else feel OK about your condition…until you just can’t do it any more. That’s when you find out just how kind/selfish people are. Sorry if this sounds sexist but men are notoriously bad in this situation. They are happy to make you the odd cup of tea and get you another cushion in the beginning but very quickly they want you to be back to normal and can get quite annoyed if you are soooooo lazy that you fail to magically fix a deeply complex medical condition with a click of your fingers!!

The most hateful thing about chronic fatigue is that it is invisible. If your leg was in a cast he wouldn’t argue. If your feet were amputated he would get his head round the idea that standing up was not as easy for you as it used to be.  I have survived 12 years so far when the oncologist didn’t expect me to last a year so I have been incredibly lucky. Four years ago I decided that it was difficult enough living with daily pain and fatigue (I have fibromyalgia, which is common in people post-cancer but NOT inevitable so don’t panic) and it was being made even harder, more depressing and much, much lonelier because I was living with someone who made me feel that the pain and exhaustion were in my head and that I was just a horrible, lazy, selfish person.

I divorced him. Now I am going through breast cancer treatment alone and it isn’t half as stressful as I don’t have to apologise for being unwell!!

I’m not suggesting that divorce is your only option or even your best one. I really am saying that you must Not apologise for being unwell. Don’t be afraid to tell him that he is being selfish and perhaps select a few of the many articles available about cancer-related fatigue. Book an appointment with your specialist and get him to go with you. Don’t tell him the plan beforehand but once he is there get the experts to talk to him about just how damned awful it is having a condition which makes even the most joyful moments of life hard work. Perhaps he will be more reasonable if an expert says it to him rather than just you.

This is a wicked illness because the initial problem is just the start of a bunch of symptoms and related conditions, many of which are completely invisible. You are often already depressed about your body letting you down, then the condition makes you feel worse, then the treatments often have depression as a common side-effect, then it is easy to become isolated from friends and family…also depressing. You start to believe that you are responsible for letting everyone else down in work, family, friends etc. You feel like a burden. You carry the weight of everyone’s fears.

Under the pressure of all of that it becomes easier to believe it when someone who is supposed to love and care for you says that you are lazy, that you are milking your illness, that you could do more but that you aren’t trying hard enough. 

Please, please, please don’t listen to those voices. Listen to the people on this forum - people who know a hell of a lot more about it than most because we’ve lived it! Listen to your doctor when they tell you that cancer fatigue is a real, well-documented condition. Listen to organisations like Macmillan - there’s a really good chance that they will have a support group local to you. Get into a support group even though you really don’t have the strength to leave the house in the evening - have an afternoon nap beforehand. If it is an afternoon group then go to bed super early that night. Get some actual flesh-and-blood people around who know what it’s like.

You deserve support, not criticism. You have lots of voices supporting you here so make sure you listen to people who are on your side and don’t let the voice of criticism get inside your head. You are fighting a full scale battle every single day. I’d say that you are pretty damned tough!!