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depressedhusband1 posted:
My wife has just been diagnosed with lung cancer and doctor told me to support her and help her through it but he never told me how i can support her so i'm clueless and we have a 3 yr old daughter that doesn't know yet,when would be the best time and how do i tell her that her mommy has cancer,my friends say i shouldn't tell her but some people tell me it's best to tell her.
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Andie_WebMD_Staff responded:
Dear DepressedHusband,

I am so sorry to hear all that you and your wife have been going through. This journey is such a difficult one for both the patient as well as those who love that individual.

There are many emotions which seem to be magnified with the diagnosis of any life-threatening illness. Some of us go into a state of shock, others, denial, while some just can't seem to stop crying. We describe this journey as riding a roller-coaster...And you never know when the next rise or dip is going to appear. It takes strength and love and hope and caring to stumble from one path to another.

Sometimes caregivers will provide the strength and wisdom their loved ones need, while other times they will surprisingly provide it for you.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:
  1. Search the internet for credible information and supportive sites. A couple places I found that list support groups are Lung Cancer Online and UCSF Medical Center. Sometimes it's good to have face to face support for both the patient and the caregiver!
  2. Accompany her (if she is willing) to appointments and treatments so that you might be a second pair of ears and being able help her list and recall important questions to discuss with her physicians is very beneficial for both of you.
  3. Help her keep in touch with family and friends via phone calls and emails may take one big burden from her shoulders. (It is also very kind of you to keep those others who care in the loop!)
  4. Encouraging others as well as your wife to try and relate/see the comical elements which oddly enough, truly can a be a part of the journey. And God know s that laughing sure beats crying every time!! (But remember that crying is needed from time to time!)
  5. Lose the guilt. Please dump any kind of guilt you may be harboring that you have in not been able to take away the cancer or the sadness or the anger...That you have failed because you cannot make her happy! There is only so much one can do unless you stumble across a magic wand!! YOU did not give her cancer! YOU did not wish it upon her!
  6. Don't forget to take care of YOU too! Sometimes it's necessary to (as they suggest on airplanes) use the oxygen first so that you then will be capable of helping another!
You will be in our thoughts. Please let us know how you both are doing!
 
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depressedhusband1 replied to Andie_WebMD_Staff's response:
thank you for the reply andie

the doctors have said if she starts treatment immediately there's a 80% chance of beating it so we just have to pray she beats it.
it's hard to handle because i'm looking after her and raising a three yr old on my own because she doesn't want her friends knowing and we don't speak to our families so it's all up to me,i gave up work to become a full time carer and i seem to be the only one worrying about it as she's not letting it get to her, It frustrates me because she just laughs about it and won't think about what happens if she doesn't beat it.
i'm scared of her dying because i don't know if i can raise our little girl on my own because everytime i look at her i'm going to see my wife and i don't think i can handle that. Sometimes i blame myself because i think it's my fault she has cancer and i wish it was me instead, I'm 21 and she's 23 but i feel i've fulfilled my purpose and it's time for me to go.
 
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Andie_WebMD_Staff replied to depressedhusband1's response:
Sweetheart, you are LIVING your life's purpose. You both have so much ahead of you to look forward to....live your life on purpose and create your own meaning. None of us know how much time we have left. You assume that because your wife is diagnosed with cancer that you will out live her. How do you know that?

Appreciate each minute you have right now. It sounds like your wife is doing that. Healing and recovery truly start from within. Maintaining a positive outlook and holding an image of what you WANT to happen rather than what you FEAR will happen will create a happier and healthier person.

An 80% chance is WONDERFUL odds! Latch on to that with all your heart and believe in it. It will make any preparations or treatments much more bearable for both of you.

As far as the guilt you're feeling...you cannot say that it should be you or that she has cancer because of you. You don't know why it was her...but I believe there are no mistakes. Only lessons. So, perhaps this journey is set this way to make a positive impact in someone's life. Maybe yours, your daughter's or even your wife. (Hard to fathom, but think of how it could possibly be)

Find some motivational books for both of you. Strengthen your mind and fill yourself up with positive thoughts so you have something to offer your wife.

What are you hoping for? Remember that worry is just faith in fear. Turn it around and put your faith in what you hope for.
 
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depressedhusband1 replied to Andie_WebMD_Staff's response:
we were hoping to sell our place and spend a year in france but now she has cancer we both know that's not possible until she beats it
 
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depressedhusband1 replied to Andie_WebMD_Staff's response:
Hi Andie,

my wife started her treatment on friday and at the moment she's been tired but hopefully she'll improve soon
 
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Andie_WebMD_Staff replied to depressedhusband1's response:
I am glad to hear things have begun rolling and treatments have started. How are you both holding up?

Sometimes our dreams are put on hold until the right time. Hold on to the dream of traveling to France. Now you just have more time to plan everything out and prepare!

I hope you're finding some time for yourself as well, to just think about you. Take a day or just an hour...whatever you can fit in and recharge your batteries with something you enjoy doing. You have to fill up your own well to have any water to give, they say.

Take care and keep coming back to update us!
 
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depressedhusband1 replied to Andie_WebMD_Staff's response:
i'm coping but my wife says she's sick of fighting and she wants to give up,but as i told her she'll feel that way for a while but eventually she'll want to fight for her daughters sake......it's hard caring for her and going to court to keep our daughter as my wifes parents want custody because they claim i can't handle her and my wifes cancer at the same time because i sent her to my neices for the week but i did that because she was sick and i didn't want to risk my wife catching the cold i'm sure there was nothing wrong with that i was only thinking about my wifes health
 
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Andie_WebMD_Staff replied to depressedhusband1's response:
That sounds like a very stressful situation. It's bad enough that your wife is not feeling well and adapting to the reality of what her body is going through without having to worry about losing custody of her child.

Rather than fighting with each other, perhaps you and your in-laws can work together to care for both your wife and daughter. Caregiving is a full time job some days and caring for small children is a full time job EVERY day.

You really shouldn't try to handle caring for your wife alone. Like I mentioned in my first reply, try to find support groups and learn to lean on friends or family when you need help. Build yourself a strong support network.

If you haven't already done so, I suggest you pop in on one of our Cancer Communities and meet some others that have already been where you're at or are going through similar experiences now.

Good luck to you! Thanks for coming back to keep us posted
 
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depressedhusband1 replied to Andie_WebMD_Staff's response:
I can't ask our parents for help because we haven't spoken to them for 3 yrs as my parents don't approve of her and her parents don't approve of me
 
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lilac54 replied to depressedhusband1's response:
80% chance is a lot. Think that God may have sent this to help you and the family get back together. I can't believe that under those circumstances your in-laws are just thinking of fighting instead of helping their daughter . They and your parents must forget what happened and see that the two of you need support not other unneedful worries. Try to talk to them and make them understand that the first step to your wife getting better would be to have their love in those hard times. Being a parent myself I think I know what they felt when the two of you got married against their consentment. But we parents also have a power to forget and rush to our children when they need us.So try taking the first step and make them feel their help would be appreciated.Make your wife also understand that your little girl will need her grandparents love to help her go through this traumatic time.
 
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depressedhusband1 replied to lilac54's response:
thank you for the messages.

just an update on what's happened,unfortunately my wife didn't beat it and she passed away last month...and i lost custody of our daughter so i'm not sure what to do now apart from try to live my life
 
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Elizabeth_WebMD_Staff replied to depressedhusband1's response:
Oh, I am so sorry to hear of your both of your losses. Your love and commitment to both your wife and daughter is evident from your posts. You will always be your daughters father, no one can take that away from you.

I can't imagine what both of you are going through. Stay in close contact with your little one, you are her connection to her mom and she is your connection to your wife.

Please care for yourself, find support, lean on family and friends. You are right, you will live your life, it will be difficult, it will be a different life than you planned, and you will have to work harder than most to make a life for you and your daughter. Take one day at a time.

Please keep us posted on how you are doing.

My thoughts are with you,
Elizabeth


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