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Thread: what I really want

  1. #1
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    what I really want

    Hi everyone,
    My husband was diagnosed with lung cancer in August of this year, had entire left lung removed, and went thru 4 rounds of chemo. The first CT scan after chemo does not look good; he had a PET scan a few days ago to confirm what is going on, and we will find out more when we see the MD.

    I am very afraid of losing him, and I guess I'm experiencing what they call "anticipatory grief."

    But what would make it so much easier is if he would ever just ONE TIME say some meaningful words to me relating to what I actually mean to him. We have been married 34 years and have 5 adult children. We have always been faithful to each other. He never was demonstrative and never expressed loving feelings, except when I basically tried to pull something out of him. And at that point I always felt it was "forced" and not genuine.

    Over the past several months (since the diagnosis) I have at times initiated meaningful conversations, saying things like "You know, I have always loved you so much," or "you have always been the handsomest man to me," and "I hate that you're going through this, I would rather it be me." The day before the surgery I told him all the things I was sorry for during our marriage, and apologized. His response was "Look, I know you love me, and I love you too. Maybe it's not cancer, don't worry about it." In fact, his response to my attempts to get some meaningful feedback throughout our entire marriage has always been something along the lines of "Don't worry about it." I can see that even if he gets a very bad prognosis and goes downhill fast, he is not going to ever want to "take care of unfinished business," apologizing for things, telling me and the kids what we mean to him, etc. I thought everyone wanted to take care of "unfinished business" when this sort of thing happens, but I don't see him doing it, ever.

    I desperately want to hear that I am special to him. I want something to hold onto, something real, so that if he doesn't make it, I will at least have that.
    I would appreciate your thoughts and advice on this, thanks for reading.

  2. #2
    Moderator Top User jorola's Avatar
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    SaraB I understand your plight. As you can see from my signature below I too was on this journey with my husband. My husband is everything to me and I was beyond devastated at the news and so scared of losing him. Here's the thing...some guys just can't talk about this stuff, even in the face of death. My husband is somewhat like this. Yes he tells me he loves me but I always search for the reason why. I even tried tactics like you to no avail. Honestly - just tell him "I am so scared of losing you and all i want/need to know is I meant something to you." However I bet if you sit back and really examine things - he has expressed his love - just in little ways. For example I love having dogs but if it were up to my hubby there would be none, he got me dogs though - 3 of them! And they all love him to bits (and yes he loves them too) but he puts up with the dog hair, having to build ramps to the bed for the little ones, sleeps with dogs in his bed etc all because he wants to see me happy. When I hurt, the look in his eyes says it all, there is no need for words to know he hurts along with me. Look for the little things Sara - I am sure they are there. 34 years is a record these days and congrats on that. To me that says a lot right there. Remember his head is probably busy thinking of what could happened and that can take total control of all his thoughts. I invite you to join us in the Lung cancer forum too. There you will meet similar folks fighting this horrible disease and we are very supportive to each other. Focus right now on supporting him, seek counseling for yourself maybe (I did and it really helped) and just love one another and spend time together. Time with him is more precious than anything and he really needs you right now as much as you need him.
    All the best and may it be good news next week at the appointment. Let us know ok?
    Jodie
    Wife to husband with squamous lung cancer stage 3 b
    dx - April 20/14
    tx started May 20/14 - radiation and chemo
    June 23 - chemo finished
    June 24 - tumor 1/3 the original size
    July 4 - radiation finished
    July 8 - PET scan shows tumor almost gone, lymph nodes back to normal
    Married July 19/14
    Sept 9/14 - repeat can shows tumor continues to shrink more, no new spots. New coughing and pain due to chest infection or side effect of radiation.
    Sept 19/14 - not infection but pneumonitis, place on dex for 4 weeks
    Oct 22/14 - now off of dex and facing even more symptoms of withdrawal
    Dec 16/14 - pretty much nothing left but a scar
    April 7/15 - ditto scan and screw you stats
    Oct 6/15 - more scarring but still cancer still gone
    Feb 2016 -scan the same
    Aug 2016 - more of the same
    Aug 2017 - and ditto
    Aug 2018 - 4 yrs NED

  3. #3
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    Thank you Jodie for your words of encouragement. I think I will do what you said and just be open and tell him what I need. I mean, what will it hurt?

    Also, I wanted to clarify, I wasn't using "tactics" when I have made heartfelt comments to him. I wasn't opening my heart and telling him my true feelings just so that I would get some kind of reassurance from him. I was saying what I needed to say because I didn't know how much time he had left, and I didn't want to have any regrets. And I did feel very good whenever I said those things. It was later on when I really pictured how it would be to lose him that I realized I really wanted something to hang on to.

    A couple of years ago a friend of mine was very sick and eventually died. When she was getting worse, we had conversations in which we expressed what we meant to each other. I would offer to give things to her, bring her music CDs, etc, and she would say that she just wanted me to be there with her. Also we talked about seeing each other on the "other side." After she was gone I felt so very very sad, and yet the memories of meaningful things she said were a huge comfort to me.
    Again, thanks for your reply. I plan to do as you suggested and just tell him how I am feeling. I don't know why I didn't think of that

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Top User ddessert's Avatar
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    Being “that guy” as well, I’m thinking about what would work for me. I’m thinking also that men are always trying to fix something. Perhaps if this, unlike his cancer, is something that can be fixed?

    Something like:
    ‘I need to hear from you how you feel about us. I may be left alone and I can’t have closure unless I know what these 34 years have meant to you.’

    With a man like this, you may not get the most eloquent immediate response, but hopefully he will come through soon after.

  5. #5
    Moderator Top User jorola's Avatar
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    May 2014
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    Sorry Sara - "tactics" was probably a poor choice of words. I merely meant how you were engaging him. Although I am saddened by your friend's passing I see how that experience helped you and would also be why you are hoping to have a similar closure with your husband. ddessert I think hit the nail on the head for you. Great way of putting it.
    Wife to husband with squamous lung cancer stage 3 b
    dx - April 20/14
    tx started May 20/14 - radiation and chemo
    June 23 - chemo finished
    June 24 - tumor 1/3 the original size
    July 4 - radiation finished
    July 8 - PET scan shows tumor almost gone, lymph nodes back to normal
    Married July 19/14
    Sept 9/14 - repeat can shows tumor continues to shrink more, no new spots. New coughing and pain due to chest infection or side effect of radiation.
    Sept 19/14 - not infection but pneumonitis, place on dex for 4 weeks
    Oct 22/14 - now off of dex and facing even more symptoms of withdrawal
    Dec 16/14 - pretty much nothing left but a scar
    April 7/15 - ditto scan and screw you stats
    Oct 6/15 - more scarring but still cancer still gone
    Feb 2016 -scan the same
    Aug 2016 - more of the same
    Aug 2017 - and ditto
    Aug 2018 - 4 yrs NED

 

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