My boyfriend got diagnosed with a brain tumor four months ago and started radiation last week. He's recently moved in with me (kind out of necessity) and I have no idea what I should be doing.
We are sort of open with communication about all of this but sometimes I don't know how to bring things up. I don't know how much to push, as far as him taking care of himself or me taking care of him. I am the most worried about his eating. He was in a routine of generally eating on meal a day before he started treatment but from what I've read, that might not be good enough now. He also has a pretty weak stomach so the eating thing really worries me.
I also just in general have no clue what I'm doing. I don't know what to say or do and I know I can't make anything better or go away, and I definitely know I have NO idea what he is going through, but I just want to be there for him.
If anyone has advice, or has been through something similar, I'd really appreciate hearing about it. I am worried.
bicyclette, Im sorry to hear about your boyfriend. I too have brain cancer. The best thing to do, is to be there for him. Be willing to listen when he decides he wants to talk about it. If he is like me, he gets to a point and just wants to shut down and forget about his cancer. Let him have his peace and quiet. Us guys dont like not being able to provide for our families. I have been the bread winner for the last 10 years. It has been tough not being able to earn the money. Dont worry about not knowing what to do. A lot of us here are pretty new too and we are learning as we go to. Just let him know you are there for him and when he wants to talk about it. You will listen and help anyway you can.
I hope this helps
Hi bicyclette. I am so sorry about your boyfriend's cancer. I do not know what to tell you because what to do is different from one person to the next. I can tell you that there is not much other than to love and listen. He will let you know. Just be there for him.
Do you know any specifics about the kind of brain cancer he has? That information will help us help you.
You and your boyfriend are in my thoughts and prayers.
I agree this is a hard question to answer, especially not knowing your boyfriend at all. I have not had to do any treatments for my brain cancer at this time but I did have surgery to remove it and I watched my dad go though his brain tumor treatment. I can only talk about the things that helped us. For me it was anyone making me laugh and treating me like nothing had really happened. Friends and some coworkers would come over and sit with me and tell me about all the things happening outside. What helped me the most was doing the things I found relaxing such as a warm bath. While a warm bath wouldn’t be everyone’s ideal there is probably something he likes to do that is relaxing and can do at home in case he isn’t feeling well. I encourage you to find these things. Also just listen to how he talks about the situation, if at all, and mirror that if possible. At first I needed to be humorous and sarcastic about the situation and I had a friend who is equally sarcastic so we went with it. It made me laugh and that’s what I needed in the beginning. That did not last, now I feel differently and I have other friends who are sympathetic to this type of reaction. It’s hard to explain, but like others have said just listen. Don’t force him to talk about it; I think sometimes denial exists for a reason. It might be to help us get through the first part of stuff without falling apart. It took me over 8 months to really talk about mine as though it was cancer.
Remember that he is still a person and so are you. Don’t let him get away with everything although you feel like you should since he has cancer. When my dad flew off the handle and was really mean to my mom his sister yelled at him and told him not to talk to my mom like that. Although a lot has changed don’t think your relationship has to be completely different. You are adjusting too—having someone come and live you with you is a big adjustment in itself. Now you are living with a person with cancer and from what it sounds like, will be the main caretaker. Give yourself a break too—as often as you can.
As far as what to do and what not to do for him: I would try to be understanding especially in the beginning but I wouldn’t do too much of the things he is capable of doing himself. If the person becomes completely reliant, when they don’t have to be, that is not good for them. If he can get up and do things I would encourage him to do them. I wouldn’t treat him very differently than you have before. If he helped you fix things before he can probably still do some of that as long as it’s not dangerous. He might like it if you still need him for things instead of just needing you from now on. If he is the type of person who likes time to himself give him that and use the time to get out yourself. If he is the type of person who likes to have people around then be around and don’t feel like you have to constantly be doing something for him. It may help to just sit there and be. You also might not have to do everything if you and he have friends and family, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Whatever your relationship was like before try to do the things that worked well then. It helps to make a list of things you need and that way when people ask if they can help you have a list of things you/he needs.
If you guys had any plans to do things like go on trips or whatever try to keep them. Cancer may be an emotional battle just as much of more than a physical one. Take care of your emotions too.
Try to act like you always have around him. Even though he has cancer he isn’t made of glass. He is still him under all that shock and disappointment.
My parents decided they would deal with it by crying everyday and laughing everyday.