Yesterday i totally crashed. Wife diagnosed 4 years ago

My wife was diagnosed 4 years ago mastectomy lymph node removal, chemo, RT.  With her every step of the way and yeah its been tough emotionally but not like millions of people have had to go through i know that.  Then she gets sepsis and it catapults her down the bottomless pit of depression (she is on anti depressants btw) and frankly, I am a busted flush.  I have held it all together up until yesterday that is.  Last night in the kitchen it broke me into a million pieces and i cried uncontrollably the overpowering weight of it all.  Earlier my son asked me how “I” was coping and i lied and told him ok but that lie came back to kill me last night.  I am not fine.  I am crushed.  Totally.  I am so old fashioned stiff upper lip be strong for everyone else macho idiot bloke but in reality i havent coped with this well.  Everyone thinks I am fine but inside i am lost and dead.  Cancer is the “gift” that never gives up.  I dont need any advice or support btw i just needed to get this out of my head but of course it will still be in there, forever.

Hi Falstaff


No advice or support as requested but a recognition of what you’re going through. I was so mired up in my own misery, it was months before I realised my husband (a tower of sometimes inept strength to an ungrateful recipient) was struggling a bit. I’ve been lucky to be able to get my head into a good place but he can’t follow me. Eventually, all the pent-up fear came out in his being sick frequently, something he’d never done before.


Fortunately, our hospital has a strong Macmillan support base and I put our names down for shared counselling on the basis that we needed help to accept and move on together. He very reluctantly agreed for my sake. Even more fortunately, the counsellor immediately saw where the real need lay and asked if I minded if she focused on my husband. I think my face must have lit up. He’s never talked feelings in his life. He agreed to go to one more session, then he kept going till the end of the 6 sessions. I don’t ask him what they talk about but he did tell me they talked about when I had sepsis and two other occasions during the treatment when he thought he was losing me. He’s not transformed but he’s different, a load has been lifted - and he hasn’t been sick again.


I see your tears not only as a desperate need but also a sign of strength - letting go of something. Macho, stiff upper lip, coping - they are always false fronts tho they can be useful. Tears aren’t false. You may feel lost but you sure as hell aren’t dead. You’ve made a start here and I hope you get helpful support. If you can, reach out a bit further - talk to a friend, write it all out, find someone who can ask the right questions and listen (an experience of cancer-world seems to be essential). Anywhere that supports people with breast cancer also supports their loved ones and there’s no time limit. Yes, your wife needs you - but you need some place where you can stop putting on the brave face and face your very real fears. Oh, I’m preaching again. I’m sorry but I see my husband in you and it chokes me up. Take good care of yourself. 


Jan x PS. One of the nurses here put up this article. It makes for good reading :

Keep strong. Sometimes is good to have a good cry. Dont let it build up. My wife was diagnosed in September 2020 and this last 7 months has been a rollercoaster.  She’s constantly ill and i feel worthless. I wish to god it was me going thru this and not her.

we have a 4 year old dughter(are only child together) and it breaks my heart thinking of my life without her if the worst happens. Will i be able to be a mum and a dad?? 

Anyway thanks for sharing 

'm really sorry to read this we’ve been there and we know the pain, please keep up!

I am with you all the way on this my friend. My wife is in a similar situation (read Palbociclib and Letrozole.

I am the biggest mess out and I know exactly how you are feeling. We are supposed to be strong men but when it comes to those we love we go to pieces.  I too sit and cry most of the day, won’t eat and I know it’s not good for me. You must feel terrible.

Know that I, and I guess most on here will feel for you but remember it’s your wife that needs you as much as you need her. Be there for her and share the burden. I hope your wife will make a recovery from her sepsis and she can carry on in the future.

Sending you my sincere best wishes.