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Thread: How to help with the anger?

  1. #1
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    How to help with the anger?

    Hi all,
    I am a 'newbie' on here and have been lurking for a while, but am new to the commenting and posts. My husband was diagnosed a few months ago with Stage III NHL. The chemo is rough, as my husband was incredibly active prior to his diagnosis. All of the things that used to provide stress relief for him were taken away with his diagnosis (work, exercise, sports), and the transition has been very difficult.

    My husband has been very angry since his diagnosis. We have a daughter, and he has a hard time dealing with the normal kid shenanigans, and he is short with her most of the time. He is short-tempered with me most of the time too. I am completely worn out and we are just getting started. I am worried about how this is going to impact our daughter. I understand that he is reacting to all of this in the way that he knows how, but it is really hard. More days than not, I feel like a complete failure. I'm trying not to take things personally, some days it is easier than others. I just don't know how to help him through this.

    Does anybody have any advice or experience in how to help a newly diagnosed cancer patient deal with the anger? Anything that has helped? Any advice from parents?

  2. #2
    Administrator Top User pbj11's Avatar
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    Hi Kris,

    Welcome and glad you came out of the shadows to get some support. I am very sorry about your husband's diagnosis. Although his anger is quite understandable, it's not easy on those who love him. Naturally you are the targets. I don't have any experience with the anger issue, as that wasn't how my husband responded. I do think that anger is one of the phases a person goes through in many life changing events. Eventually it should calm down and turn into acceptance, as that is human nature -- but not always.

    I know we've had this issue multiple times with others on this forum, as it isn't uncommon. I hope they will drop by to give you some advice on how to cope.

    It's good that you are reaching out because the role of a caregiver is not an easy one. Your health --- emotional/mental/physical is every bit as important as his during this journey. You can't be effective as a caregiver/spouse or a mother if your well being is compromised.

    Hopefully you'll get some good strategies from other members, but I wanted to welcome you.

    Good luck and God bless,
    PBJ
    Husband diagnosed with NSCLC Stage IV in 3/2005. Fought & lived over 2 1/2 years with multiple lines of treatment.

    Post describing our journey: http://cancerforums.net/viewtopic.ph...er=asc&start=0

    Left my embrace to live with our Heavenly Father in October of 2007 and now breathes with ease forever. I will miss this gentle, giving soul with the easy smile for the rest of my days, but have faith we will be together again. He's just getting a little break from me!

  3. #3
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    "emotional/mental/physical is every bit as important as his during this journey. You can't be effective as a caregiver/spouse "I know I'm not alone now feeling t his way, but am grateful that somebody else has talked about it. That's all I want to do is sleep, some of my ideas and suggestions are rebuffed by my husband. The first three words, emotional/mental/physical are killing me and I'm being short tempered my husband says. The world is falling apart around me, nothing is the same and I resent it and resent a dear friend who is having such a "wonderful time in her life" but can't take the time to visit. I think of my life after his passing and I can't get myself past the first few months when my friends are gone and I'm alone

  4. #4
    Administrator Top User pbj11's Avatar
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    Hi Parrot,

    Now I'm going to sound like I'm contradicting myself. You DO need to care for your own mental and physical health, by seeking a therapist, support groups, etc. and making sure you have regular physical check ups with your own doctor. Wanting to sleep can be a sign of depression, as is being short-tempered. Know that none of this is uncommon. Find out if an anti-depressant is in order for you. Make sure you're getting adequate sleep, which is me telling you 'do as I say, not what I did.' Seek those around you who are willing to give an ear to your worries.

    Here's the contradictory part and something I lived by. This isn't about you, it's about your husband. Sounds harsh, but if you put that firmly in your mind, it will help you a great deal. Find avenues to take out your resentment and anger that don't involve your husband. They so depend on us to be there for them in a loving way -- no matter what. If he's terminal, this is your time together for however long they survive. Don't put yourself on the back burner, but just realize that their time is limited and you will go on. (Another thing I forgot.....it's weird how I didn't picture life without him much once I threw myself totally into the role of caregiver. Maybe I thought I'd go too.)

    If he's acting out, it makes it so difficult and I don't envy anyone saddled with that situation. Many cancer patients also go onto anti-depressants to help with the terrible things that must go through their minds, on top of any pain they may be experiencing. Some cancer patients can be downright cruel to their loved ones. I hate to think of the last times together as something so unpleasant and my heart breaks for those coping with this situation.

    Yes, it's crushing beyond belief to think about a life without them. I did a lot of that early in the going, then totally dedicated myself to his survival. I immersed myself so much in him that I forgot about myself, thus why I say you have to ensure your own health along the way. Maybe it was a lot of denial, but I never planned for his passing emotionally and was almost surprised when he did. It's a difficult dance to balance reality with hope. Many a time I went outside and just raged with God over how this could be happening to our world. I was never angry at him, because he sure as heck didn't want this to happen either. To be honest, his illness brought us closer together in ways that I never imagined possible after so many years of marriage. We found silver linings in the dark clouds of cancer wherever we could.

    As for other friends and family whose lives move forward normally and those who have forgotten that you gut it out every day --- I say screw them. Sorry for being blunt, but we had several, quite unexpected family members who dropped off the map. To be fair, they simply don't 'get it' and never will until it happens in their lives. I didn't have time to waste on those who had no time for us. My focus was solely on my husband.

    I'm hoping my rambling is making some sense. I know the fallout from not looking after myself. I continue to have medical problems that I let fall by the wayside while my husband was ill and went into a deep depression about a year after he passed. At three and a half years since losing him, I'm finally getting the mental help I need, while the physical side remains challenging. I'd hate to see anyone else lose the time I've lost, so try and balance your needs with keeping his at the forefront.

    I hope this made some bit of sense! In re-reading what I've written, I sound kind of schizo! I guess it goes to how very complex our roles become when faced with a spouse with cancer. My heart just goes out to all of you who are looking down the tunnel of losing your spouses. It's a journey I don't wish on anyone.

    God bless and hugs to all,
    PBJ
    Last edited by pbj11; 06-18-2011 at 10:44 PM.
    Husband diagnosed with NSCLC Stage IV in 3/2005. Fought & lived over 2 1/2 years with multiple lines of treatment.

    Post describing our journey: http://cancerforums.net/viewtopic.ph...er=asc&start=0

    Left my embrace to live with our Heavenly Father in October of 2007 and now breathes with ease forever. I will miss this gentle, giving soul with the easy smile for the rest of my days, but have faith we will be together again. He's just getting a little break from me!

  5. #5
    Administrator Top User ChemoMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kris1109 View Post
    Hi all,
    I am a 'newbie' on here and have been lurking for a while, but am new to the commenting and posts. My husband was diagnosed a few months ago with Stage III NHL. The chemo is rough, as my husband was incredibly active prior to his diagnosis. All of the things that used to provide stress relief for him were taken away with his diagnosis (work, exercise, sports), and the transition has been very difficult.

    My husband has been very angry since his diagnosis. We have a daughter, and he has a hard time dealing with the normal kid shenanigans, and he is short with her most of the time. He is short-tempered with me most of the time too. I am completely worn out and we are just getting started. I am worried about how this is going to impact our daughter. I understand that he is reacting to all of this in the way that he knows how, but it is really hard. More days than not, I feel like a complete failure. I'm trying not to take things personally, some days it is easier than others. I just don't know how to help him through this.

    Does anybody have any advice or experience in how to help a newly diagnosed cancer patient deal with the anger? Anything that has helped? Any advice from parents?
    Hi

    Your Husband is having huge amounts of prednisolone and this will be playing havoc with his state of mind. This always gets worse when he stops taking the pred. If you don't mind me asking what chemo is he having? R CHOP/R CVP ? or something else?

    With RCHOP it's 5 days of taking pred starting on chemo day. The day you stop the yips set in. The worst of this lasts for about 3 or 4 days. Its during this time that you are most likely to lose the plot and it can be over anything really. You can help by trying to avoid strees on him for this time. Also your husband needs to be aware of the effect the chemo has on his state of mind as this helps in moderating behavior. Like I said the worst time is the first day he stops taking his pred tabs and this lasts 3 or 4 days.

    You say he is getting angry. If he is getting physical them you do need to consider the safety of your daughter and yourself, I hope it has not come to that.

    Feel free to drop into the Lymphoma forum, plenty of people there who have experience in dealing with these issues, you will be more than welcome.
    Age 58
    Diffuse Large B cell Lymphoma
    Stage 2a
    Finished six cycles of R chop 21 26th May 2008
    Officially in remission 9th July 2008
    Remission reconfirmed 1st October 2008
    Remission reconfirmed 17th June 2009
    Remission reconfirmed 7th June 2010
    Remission reconfirmed 6th July 2011
    NED on the 2/01/2013
    No more scheduled visits to the Prof
    http://cancerforums.net/viewtopic.php?t=9620

    RULE NUMBER 1.....Don't Panic
    RULE NUMBER 2..... Don't forget rule Number 1

    Great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

    I may not have gone where I intended to go,
    but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.

  6. #6
    Administrator Top User pbj11's Avatar
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    Ohhhh, steroids! Good eagle eye C-man! Glad you recognized what might be happening. Nasty business those steroids. Not too common for long term usage with most treatments in my department, so never crossed my mind.
    Husband diagnosed with NSCLC Stage IV in 3/2005. Fought & lived over 2 1/2 years with multiple lines of treatment.

    Post describing our journey: http://cancerforums.net/viewtopic.ph...er=asc&start=0

    Left my embrace to live with our Heavenly Father in October of 2007 and now breathes with ease forever. I will miss this gentle, giving soul with the easy smile for the rest of my days, but have faith we will be together again. He's just getting a little break from me!

  7. #7
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    [QUOTE=ChemoMan;92710]Hi

    Your Husband is having huge amounts of prednisolone and this will be playing havoc with his state of mind. This always gets worse when he stops taking the pred. If you don't mind me asking what chemo is he having? R CHOP/R CVP ? or something else?

    With RCHOP it's 5 days of taking pred starting on chemo day. The day you stop the yips set in. The worst of this lasts for about 3 or 4 days. Its during this time that you are most likely to lose the plot and it can be over anything really. You can help by trying to avoid strees on him for this time. Also your husband needs to be aware of the effect the chemo has on his state of mind as this helps in moderating behavior. Like I said the worst time is the first day he stops taking his pred tabs and this lasts 3 or 4 days.

    Hi Chemoman,
    You hit the nail on the head, my husband is receiving RCHOP - and the prednisone is nasty stuff. The first 5 days with the prednisone are really hard on him, it makes him very jittery/wired, and that combined with the chemo, which wipes him out, is a really tough combination. You are absolutely right, the couple of days afterward the prednisone stops are really hard on him. He gets very exhausted and has a headache that lasts several days. It does help to keep in mind that the prednisone is likely contributing to this. I have to remind myself of just how much cancer has taken away from his life - it is awful to see someone you love going through this. He has never been physical - he is a great husband and father. We currenty have a small pharmacy going on in our house with all of the various medications he is on - no doubt that it plays a role. I have been trying to keep our daughter busy and out of the house on the days that he is not feeling well - I was told to try to keep some sense of normalcy for her. That, however, means I am out of the house a lot, and I feel guilty for leaving my husband at home alone while I am at work and/or shuttling her around. Maybe that is the best thing that I can do right now is to try to keep things as stress-free as possible. It is a hard balance to find - I haven't been very successful with that aspect of this. I want to be here for him, but I find that trying to 'keep things going' in our household and for our daughter means I can't be here with him as much as I would like to. No win on that one.

    PBJ - I think you also have a great point that perhaps anger is a phase in coming to terms with this disease. Prednisone aside, he is having a rough time with that. I do hope that eventually, it will lead to some sort of peace or acceptance of this disease. We are realizing that this is going to be a part of our lives for quite a while, even when he goes into remission. I am hopeful that we figure out how to find the happiness in our lives again with the cancer. It may be that will come after the prednisone is done. If that's the case, I can wait.

    Parrot mom - I am truly sorry that you are going through this. There are just no words to describe. I get the feeling that the world keeps going on for everyone around you while things feel like they are coming un-glued for you. Please take care of yourself during this time. It is hard to do, but so important. I have been surprised in so many ways that the people I thought for sure would be there have not been, and some people we hardly know have been right there to lend a hand. I agree with PBJ - most people just don't 'get it' and while they might have good intentions, they just don't understand what things are like for you right now. That aside, I hope you are able to find some support while you are going through this. You are going through something that is enormous right along with your husband, and you need support and encouragement just as he does. I am keeping you and your husband in my thoughts and prayers.

    Thanks to all of you for your input. I appreciate it so much!
    Kris

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by pbj11 View Post
    Hi Parrot,

    Now I'm going to sound like I'm contradicting myself. You DO need to care for your own mental and physical health, by seeking a therapist, support groups, etc. and making sure you have regular physical check ups with your own doctor. Wanting to sleep can be a sign of depression, as is being short-tempered. Know that none of this is uncommon. Find out if an anti-depressant is in order for you. Make sure you're getting adequate sleep, which is me telling you 'do as I say, not what I did.' Seek those around you who are willing to give an ear to your worries.

    Here's the contradictory part and something I lived by. This isn't about you, it's about your husband. Sounds harsh, but if you put that firmly in your mind, it will help you a great deal. Find avenues to take out your resentment and anger that don't involve your husband. They so depend on us to be there for them in a loving way -- no matter what. If he's terminal, this is your time together for however long they survive. Don't put yourself on the back burner, but just realize that their time is limited and you will go on. (Another thing I forgot.....it's weird how I didn't picture life without him much once I threw myself totally into the role of caregiver. Maybe I thought I'd go too.)

    If he's acting out, it makes it so difficult and I don't envy anyone saddled with that situation. Many cancer patients also go onto anti-depressants to help with the terrible things that must go through their minds, on top of any pain they may be experiencing. Some cancer patients can be downright cruel to their loved ones. I hate to think of the last times together as something so unpleasant and my heart breaks for those coping with this situation.

    Yes, it's crushing beyond belief to think about a life without them. I did a lot of that early in the going, then totally dedicated myself to his survival. I immersed myself so much in him that I forgot about myself, thus why I say you have to ensure your own health along the way. Maybe it was a lot of denial, but I never planned for his passing emotionally and was almost surprised when he did. It's a difficult dance to balance reality with hope. Many a time I went outside and just raged with God over how this could be happening to our world. I was never angry at him, because he sure as heck didn't want this to happen either. To be honest, his illness brought us closer together in ways that I never imagined possible after so many years of marriage. We found silver linings in the dark clouds of cancer wherever we could.

    As for other friends and family whose lives move forward normally and those who have forgotten that you gut it out every day --- I say screw them. Sorry for being blunt, but we had several, quite unexpected family members who dropped off the map. To be fair, they simply don't 'get it' and never will until it happens in their lives. I didn't have time to waste on those who had no time for us. My focus was solely on my husband.

    I'm hoping my rambling is making some sense. I know the fallout from not looking after myself. I continue to have medical problems that I let fall by the wayside while my husband was ill and went into a deep depression about a year after he passed. At three and a half years since losing him, I'm finally getting the mental help I need, while the physical side remains challenging. I'd hate to see anyone else lose the time I've lost, so try and balance your needs with keeping his at the forefront.

    I hope this made some bit of sense! In re-reading what I've written, I sound kind of schizo! I guess it goes to how very complex our roles become when faced with a spouse with cancer. My heart just goes out to all of you who are looking down the tunnel of losing your spouses. It's a journey I don't wish on anyone.

    God bless and hugs to all,
    PBJ

    Thank you for being so honest...Parrot Pop doesn't need to be on anti-depressants, he still has his sense of humor...I am on one already.. I've taken one step to keeping myself sane. I do have a few medical problems that are under M.D. control. After and I hope it doesn't happen for a while he does pass...I will vent my anger and hurt at our "friends"..I already have to one. One thing I do have is two or three friends, two living in another state... that I can just pick up the phone and talk to.. One had a brother in law go through brain cancer unsuccessfully. She understands. One little thing I've just done...I've hired my cleaning service to come in weekly instead of bi-weekly....it brings a little bit of organization back to the chaos I see piling up around me. Driving hasn't been my thing although I drive and I've been asked to take over the driving because Parrot Pop doesn't feel confident because of his swollen legs(we have already had one incident). I've started taking over (his) household chores slowly. Sleep, naps.. well, put that down to my age which is now over 75

  9. #9
    Moderator Top User Gillette's Avatar
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    Hey Kris, welcome to the place where we do know what you mean. Cancer changes everything around you forever. I cannot remember how things looked to me before- and all is shaded or brightened from the experience. You need to care for you, and give him the space to adjust to this change. He has to adjust to what it all means, what his disease may mean to the future of the people he loves most. And he's not happy - add that to the med issue, and he's no peach- no way he could be. Hug her close, and try to help her understand the change. Ben got over his anger and was able to help the kids through this nasty disease and treatment.
    Unfortunately ,you all have a new life now- one of living with cancer. No one is dead yet, but you all have been scrambled. If you didn't spend every moment with him before, and worked, taxi'd kids around- you need to keep the 'normal' things going- you live. You find a way to adapt to changing needs- it comes. Be sure to rest and eat, and keep your own health monitored professionally.
    Come here to cry, to vent, we do know..
    God Bless
    Kathy: still hearing Ben's music, and feeling his love: but from the Heavens now

  10. #10
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    Kathy - thank you for your kind words and support. I am realizing that a part of this is my own reluctance to accept all of this. It is such a shock to have this disease invade our lives and turn everything upside down. I can't stand watching this happen. I miss everything that was there prior to cancer, and I think I have been trying desperately to get back to that. I know that is not going to happen, but am having a hard time coming to grips with that.

    Hearing other people's experiences helps me to gain a little insight into what my husband is going through. Hearing you say that your husband was able to work through the anger and be a part of things for your family and kids with the cancer gives me hope that we'll get there too. If I am honest with myself, I am angry too. I hate that he's going through this, that our family is going through this. I am one of those people who will constantly look for the best in things, and I can't find it in this. I am 30 years old, and I met my husband at 18. We have been through a lot together, and at this point in our lives, this is just not what we are 'supposed' to be dealing with. This is not what our 9-year-old is 'supposed' to be worried about. I don't want my husband to have to live with this disease. I have been trying so hard to keep everything 'normal' and it just isn't.

    I really do appreciate the wisdom, support, and encouragement. I have felt really isolated in all of this, and honestly this forum has been the first place since this all started where I don't feel that way. I am really sorry that you all 'know what I mean' but am so grateful at the same time.

 

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