Hello again jan,
Thanks for your reply and Dens advice I really appreciate it. You are so right, the tentacles of cancer-world are insidious and raw and it is tearing me/us to shreds. The cumulative effect of seeing my wife go from a beautiful lovely wonderful amazing woman to a mentally crushed self-doubting neurotic (literal not judgemental) broken afraid terrified self-doubting person is just beyond words utterly awful.
I have her beautiful BC picture on my phone and when my grown up son inadvertantly saw it the other day he said "oh my god mum looks so different then" yet another bit of me died. A bit I didn't even know was there. In this journey we have lost two children to stillbirth and she tells me she is re-living that every night now, the physical and mental torture of both times and she can't sleep, that is even more damaging because I wasn't there at the time as I was away in the Army. Both times. So now I drink myself to sleep as if I don't, I cant sleep so I self medicate because I'm ripped up beyond damage because what she doesn't know is that I am so incredibly screwed up from my experiences in the Army in Iraq and Bosnia and N Ireland and that is all compounded by the knowledge that when I was going through that I was literally abandoning my Wife who was going through "stillbirth" (what an awful bland trite word that is) and also abandoning my children who I know didn't cope well when I was in Iraq, especially my youngest who had walking nightmares and now they have grown up and gone and here I am. Left to curl up in a ball after the relentless hurricane of Cancer has ripped through us destroyed pretty much what we had and left us in a cold and barren pain riddled awful foreign scary place. I know I should be grateful, thankful, happy that she survived, but...
I struggle from day to day now, particularly since the Sepsis episode as she is short of breath and struggles to do even the most simplest of tasks so it all falls to me (poor me boo hoo) and the fact is that now it is where I am at. It really is just straw upon straw upon straw on the camels back and the camel knows it, he feels every straw, but the straws keep on coming. They never stop coming.
Thank you so much for replying. Den really has benefitted from 6 counselling sessions with someone at the Macmillan centre attached to our hospital. There is no time limit on asking for support and you can ring Macmillan for your nearest centre or to talk to someone over the phone. The important thing is that they understand the impact of cancer and I think, with the best will in the world, unless you’re in cancer-world, you can’t really get what its tentacles are like.
Den says to tell you his counsellor said the stomach is your second brain and it’s where all the unprocessed emotion heads for - and he sends he best wishes, as I do, to you and your wife. Depression is hard to live with and live alongside but you can get out of the woods if you can ease the fear. Take care and good luck x
Thank you for reaching out it has been incredibly helpful to read your words. I hadn't realised how far into the woods I was/am and reading about your husband actually being physically sick chimes a chord with me as that is where I am every single day and I have been in total ostrich head in the sand about how bad a situation I've got myself into. I have been going over this all day and I have fianlly understood that I have been kidding myself that I am coping and the stark reality is that I am not looking after myself at all and I now realise that I. NEED. HELP.
bless you x
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 : https://www.workingwithcancer.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/After-the-treatment-finishes-then-wha...
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.