My husband has said that my cancer is taking over our lives!

I had a mastectomy in December 2009 and then FEC-T Feb, March and April. Started Herceptin in April and had radiotherapy in June 2010. And Tamoxifen started in July 2010.

My husband has said that my cancer is taking over our lives because I still can’t accept that I have it although I am at work. The problem is, and I have told my husband this is that he just doesn’t and hasn’t supported me and feels that we have to pretend it has never happened. He is cold and unaffectionate and it has changed since my diagnosis in June 2009.

I reminded him that in his divorce papers of his first marriage that his ex-wife said that he did not support her emotionally when she had to have an early hysterectomy.

My husband has said he just doesn’t should his emotional feelings and can’t support me as I ‘should just get on with it’!!!

Am I being unreasonable? Two days after I came out of hospital after my mystecomy, dorsi flap reconstruction and lymph node removal he went to play golf! He left me to struggle out of bed and expects me to be exactly the same as before my diagnosis.

His family are great so I don’t know why he is like that. I have suggested a marriage guidance councillor and he has said that they won’t help.

After from this I am quite happy although my sister never phones to see how I am - does everybody find that once the operation is over then people think you are ok emotionally? Can a negative husband cause me to improve emotionally over time?

On the positive front although I am putting on weight I feel happy when I am with my family and children but as soon as I am just with my husband I feel depressed. He talks and piles his affection on to our CAT!!! I can hear him laughing at what he is reading or the TV while I am on my treadmill in order to ensure this desease does not come back - ever.

Sorry to rant - at least I have some great friends and a lovely new friend who also has had BC.

Best wishes to you all xxxxx

I am afraid that I cannot say much as the chemo rage may have me saying something Ishouldnt, I am going throgh my second dx after 14 years I had mx/imm recon with LD flap it’s abig op and takes some getting over, I have to have another in October!!

I can suggest another few uses for his golf clubs!! XX will post later when I am more calm your post made me upset and angry for you.

We are all here for you XXX J XXX

Thanks J - your little post has made me feel better and I have laughed!!

Some men will handle the whole think differently and usually not has strong as us women.

I am sure that he is feeling worried for you. His way of dealing with it may be to not think about it??? They don’t seem to understand what it is we are actually going through, nor do others who have not been in the ‘Cancer Club!’.

When I was told I have Breast Cancer, I sat with my husband and said I will be telling him everything as he needs to know how I am feeling or we can’t go through this together. He accepted this, but he tends to have the ‘get on with it’ attitude also. Think this is to help me be tough.

You have been through one hell of a journey, I am just starting mine :frowning:

I had WLE and Lymph Node Biopsy on 30th June. Nodes clear but cancer Grade 2 and spread outdside the lump so have to go in for 2nd WLE on 25th August. Also on Tamoxifen June 2011.

My attitude is that Cancer is part of my life until I am clear, but I am still ME!

Just keep well and take ‘time out’ for yourself.
Wendy xx

Well he’s right, and it’s hardly surprising. The problem is, he seems to resent that it has, and he seems to think YOU DON’T resent it a darn sight more than he does.

You may still get some benefit from relationship counselling yourself, even if he doesn’t go, though you may be able to persuade him to come along too specifically in order to help YOU.

Can’t really comment further than that, as I’m trying very hard not to let it take over my own life (I was fortunate not to have the major surgery you had) and it’s certainly a struggle.

I wonder if your OH has mild autism, (Aspergers) if he can’t show his emotions… they need to “learn” behaviour. Mine has it mildly (son more so), and I have resorted to saying to my OH “so sorry my cancer is ruining your life” (in my worst moments). In my better moments I use situations to drip feed attitudes… like, it’s our daughter’s birthday this week. She’s away for the day, but he thought it would be nicie to take her out the night before for a meal (she’s been a brick)… BUT…we’d an arrangemetn with our neighbours… in his head, therefore, we were not free. I said “we’re not very good at putting each other first - I’m sure they won’t mind - I’ll talk to them”… and it was sorted… and the following day he made a decision differently saying “we’re not very good at putting each other first”… Not sure if that helps… hard… Jane
PS and I have to explain to him in advance how things might affect me, and what to expect. He can’t read body language well, so doesn’t pick up if I’m exhausted (Der!!!) I have to say…

Hi mnc

I’m sorry to hear the you are in the position of your husband giving no support.

Neither did my husband and still doesn’t. I was dx almost 4 years ago now. From day one there was never any attempt at understanding or support. His life carried on exactly the same as it always had done.

We are now, in effect, separated although we still live in the same house. I have never been able to understand his treatment of me and similar to your husband he was more caring of our dog when she was ill.

The only advice I can give is not to try to understand his actions but to understand how you feel about his actions. You’ll never work out why he behaves the way he does and if you try you’ll end up driving yourself silly going round in circles. He is what he is and you have to decide whether you can accept that or not. Also remember that none of this is your fault, you didn’t make yourself ill and you deserve better than you are getting.

I’ve had two courses of counselling which were very helpful indeed. Maybe you don’t feel the need for that but I just mention it because it was so good for me and you mention marriage guidance. I had my second counselling session through the cancer support centre where I live. The first session was arranged through my GP.

You don’t need to feel depressed, I’m sure that you can do depressed on your own without your husband helping. Have you told him that is how he makes you feel?

I’m afraid cancer does take over your life, it also changes the way you look at life and the things which are important. Whether we like it or not once we have been diagnosed it becomes part of our lives.

You must think of yourself and what is best for you.

Sending you love

Jan xxx

Gosh I am no marriage guidance councillor. Did he support you before your diagnosis, or were you quite self sufficient and he never needed to?

It is amazing what different responses partners have. There are men (and women) who are on the forum desperately trying to find out how they can help their partners. Some going so far as to say they wish they could have the cancer for them. And then at the other end of the scale was the guy who refused to go with his wife for results, turned his phone off, and came home late. When she confronted him he said something like " you have been less than a perfect wife, so why should I suddenly be a perfect husband" I still cannot get over that one.

I suppose such a big life change as cancer puts relationships under a huge spotlight, and some are going to come up not as good as they appeared when life was rosie.

I really feel for you going battling with all the treatment and not getting what you need from your OH. I have no idea at all what to suggest. Sound as if nothing is going to change him if he has not learned from his first marriage. Ranting at him is not going to help so you will just have to vent your ire on here, and get cyber hugs to try and help a bit.

Although my OH has been lovely through this I can really empathise as ex-OH was a little git at times like this. He was an expert at making a bad situation worse, and good at rationalising his weaknesses so that they were always someone else’s fault. I spent an awful lot of time wishing he was different, and trying and trying, but they are what they are. You sound though as if you’ve got a lot of good support from other sources so I just hope you can get to a point where you just don’t need his.


there are a number of things to this story really… firstly some men just cant cope with illness of any kind, including cancer and all associated with it…
was he ok before your diagnosis ?
or did he vanish to the golf club if you had a cold ?
if its his normal behaviour, well i dont think he is going to change now…
if he was ok untill the cancer diognosis, it may be fear and stress making him behave the way he does…
either way… you married him in sickness and in health…
nice bloke to leave you to your own devices so soon after major surgery… very thoughtfull…
how are you feeling now, ?
this episode has obviously made you take stock,
could you cope without all his help and support ? my guess is yes you could cope very well… need i say more… pick ya self up hunny… dust ya self off… and with your good arm… ram the golf clubs where the sun dont shine. and smile… like the cat that got the cream xxx angie


That was me who wasn’t the prefect wife. I can’t get over that comment either. I have to say the he is quite something and should be stuffed and put in a museum. There are other gems he’s come out with along the way, maybe I should write a book.

I’m now in the process of finally splitting up all our assets into his and mine. All the paperwork is with the solicitor at present and how his attitude has changed. It doesn’t wash because I don’t trust him as far as I can throw him. He’s still having his liaisons (not sure I mentioned them) in secret he thinks, except he forgets I’m a woman so not a lot gets past me!!!


You are absolutely right you can try and try but nothing changes these sort of people, I don’t think it’s an exclusively male thing. At the end of the day you have to decide whether you need that kind of treatment or not. My life is getting better and better since I decided ‘NOT’. It’s not an easy decision to make though and takes a lot of courage and personal conviction.

My heart really does go out to anyone trying to cope with BC and a less than supportive partner.

J xxx

Oh god not another poor person having OH problems.
If he thinks he’s sick of cancer he should try being in your shoes.
We’re all bored to hell of it and resent it taking over our lives.
I was worried about my OH and our relationship as he has a tendency to overreact at silly little things so I was concerned to say the least. But sometimes he says it best when he says nothing at all, I just get a big old bear hug and I “I love you you know” and kiss on the baldy bonce.
The one person you need is your OH, so horrible when he’s being selfish.
Have you had it out and told him that you’re fed up of it’s infringement on your lives etc? I’m always telling my OH how I don’t want this, I want to “get on with life” and be a normal person and how frustrating it is.
THe other day I told him I’m worried about it coming back and he went quite pale and said “dont say things like that, I can’t cope with the idea that you could at some point die from this or something” - and I said I know and I dont want to burden him about it, because I can’t imagine it if the shoe was on the other foot I’d be terrified of being left on my own losing my partner to this. Or of him dying before me kind of thing. So we had big massive bear hugs and I said that I won’t want to be worrying about it for 5 years but it may creep in now and again as I’d be a robot if I didn’t have that, he agreed.

What is it with 'em?!
I’ve just heard ‘it’s all about you’ Feck him, i’ll do it alone!!

Maybe you need to write a list of the pro’s and con’s of being married to this person. On one side of the list, you would put his good qualities, and how these improve your existance, and on the other, the things you don’t like that make yor life worse. Don’t try to do it all in one go, because your mood will effect what you include, and over the weeks, he might do things you hadn’t thought of. This will help you to make an objective assessment of your relationship, and force you to notice positive as well as negative things about him.

You poor thing men like this just make me grrrrrrrr :frowning: Im not sure I can add anything more than has already been said without being offensive, some people just cant handle illness but theres no excuse for how he has treated you, NO you are not being unreasonable. My OH plays golf but was as supportive as possible when i needed extra help although he is in that bubble that things should be back to normal & questions me about why im quiet on my bad days, to which I find I can’t go into with him as I dont want to hear " your being negative again" so I keep it to myself or share it here when it gets too much. I also know that my OH is still scared & in a way its his way of sticking his head in the sand, we were talking about my surgery the other day & he became quite emotional when he explained to me that he was out of his mind with worry when it took them 2 hours to bring me back to the ward, he was told id be an hour … he even went walk-a-bouts looking for me as the ward staff couldn’t give him any answers, it really made me think how scared he was, which he’d not told me fully before the other day. It might be your OH is burying his head that the whole BC thing is just scaring him, trying to push it away is his way of dealing with it, prehaps ask him about this but he has to realise its not just going to go away & he has to face that you are not going to be the same person you once was, doesn’t mean your not the same person & personality that you were before BC, for me im much more sensitive & get upset easier yet im alot more loving to everyone around me I now have time for people where before I could have made more time. We are who we are we’ve had a real bashing & unfortunately not all those around us get it.

GI Jane Ive 2 sons with autism ive found they have been quite good at expressing their emotions about the BC not so much the younger one but my eldest he is always telling me what worries him & how he feels, the thought of losing his mum makes him want to cry. I didn’t realise how worried my youngest son was during my rads as he has no speech, he became ‘quiet’ so I found a very good youtube video of a lady having rads & he cheered up no end when he see that mum wasn’t being hurt as such :slight_smile:

all the best to you I hope your OH wakes up
Mekala xx

I can’t agree more. This disease does change people, but to some extent it is no bad thing. Is it that OH is a creature of habit and is a bit frightened or resilient to changes?

Like Mekalar, I find I embrace life more than I did before and take pleasure in the simplest of things in life. I now make more effort to catch up with friends and family and spend time with them on a regular basis. To this end, I suppose we ‘grow’ as individuals and learn more about ourselves. Maybe sometimes OH’s can feel left behind when we take time out.

Whilst diet and exercise are more important to me now, as I want to stay healthy and do everything possible to help fight this disease, my OH carries on regardless with his high sugar intake and reckons everyone will get ‘something’. Aargh! Resilient indeed!

You have been through such a lot though and deserve to feel a bit happier. Enjoy time out with friends too and hopefully OH will come round. X


very brave sandytoes. I would hate to sound less than totally sympathetic to someone going through treatment that i have no concept of how it affects you. And if you cannot expect support from your partner where can you expect support from.

But i do sometimes feel for my husband, basic salt of the earth type, certainly not modern touchy feely ( 70 next birthday) and as choccie muffin says, I expect him to have crystal balls. He once made some bad remark about me being diffficult to deal with since the dx. And I ranted on here and got lots of support. But now I am stronger I think perhaps what he meant was that all the things he used to say that worked, had stopped working. He did not know the new rules.

When he went off to play golf just before some appointment and I needed him to think '‘oh i will cancel because she needs me’ i should realy have known that that would never have crossed his mind because we lead indipendant lives.And if i had asked him i know he would have cancelled, but i wanted it to be his idea–how perverse is that.

the other bit that does not get mentioned often, how much is our illness interfeering with our sex life? I am certainly not going to get into a kiss and tell thread here, but if cancer has changed things then cancer is taking over our lives.

In conclussion. My OH is to be forgiven for being less than perfect. There are some men on here whos wives have decided that they are better off fighting the cancer without them. and many stages inbetween.

Cancer can be a bastard, it does not just wreck our bodies, it spotlights our relationships and sometimes find them wanting

Ha! I deleted it before I thought anyone had seen it!!

Just in case anyone thought I was being mean! I wasn’t. But was worried it might have sounded mean. The general gist was there is no excuse for being unsupportive to your spouse through such a horrific (emotionally and physcically) ordeal. This is when we need them the most. It’s easy to be there and be happy when times are happy - it’s things like this that test a relationship.

My question was whether YOU feel that cancer is still completely taking over your life now that you’re a year on from active treatment? At the beginning it totally takes over your life and I’m terrified of the whole “moving forward” bit worrying that it’s going to come back and bite me on the a*se at any second. BUT I’m also desperate to start living life again (I know it will be a new normal - but I’m bored of all of this!). So, it was more whether you feel you are coping and you are as happy as can be and living life (as YOU are more important than your husband right now). This is a reminder to us all that life is short and we should make the most of everyday. But if you think deep down that it is still taking over your lives (which is different to it still being a big part of your lives, which it ALWAYS will be) then maybe you would benefit from some counselling. I am currently having counselling and have found it really useful.

But, obviously, on the otherhand, you are probably absolutely fine! In which case the problem is purely down to your OH which is a whole new problem!! And it sounds like he’s using this as an excuse. Of course there’s going to be times we’re hardly a bundle of laughs when we’re going through this!

I hope I haven’t upset you by writing that! I was just playing Devil’s Advocate and this is all I said last night. To be honest, it’s what my counsellor would say to me if I said my husband thinks cancer is taking over our lives - she’d say “do you think it is” and my answer right now would be “too bl**dy right!!” but I’m in the middle of fortnightly chemo. In a year’s time I would LOVE my answer to be “NO. It’s still a huge worry, and I’m terrified of it coming back and I’m still shocked by the whole ordeal BUT I’m living my life”. So hopefully that’s where you are too!! The only reason I asked is because I obviously don’t know you and there will be people who will be living miserably and some who are positively moving on with their lives. I’m not judging or making assumptions and I can’t even begin to imagine how you feel as I’m only at the beginning of my “BC journey”, but thought I would repost in case you thought I’d said something really mean and nasty!! And I am certainly NOT taking your husband’s side! The way he has treated you is inexcusable…but only you can decide if it’s forgivable.

Sending big hugs. And very sincere apologies if I upset you.


My husband also said that cancer was taking over. Trying to talk about the what if’s was being negative when actually I am being realistic. Cancer and the aftermath is there it is bound to be but taking a back seat. When I was diagnosed he said well life carries on and his did more or less. He looked after me practically very well and attended main appointments. I think looking back he was burying his head in the sand if everything is ‘normal’ everything will be ok. For a long time he was quite emotionally detached and spent over a year building a car. This was at my suggestion because he was so stressed. He kept saying that he was glad I was better. Still got a couple of ops to go,still on tamoxifen and still very fatigued. He would like me back to my old self. It is only now and I was diagnosed November 2009 that he is beginning to talk about how he really feels. I am sure because he did not deal with it at the time he is mega stressed about lots of things. For me though although I would turn the clock back tomorrow cancer has made me into a much stronger person so although he has been difficult I have dealt with the situation well and am appreciating life. I have pointed out that we need to work together as a couple if are to move forward as a couple. He is taking this on board.I am sorry that he is feeling the stress but hopefully we can work it out.