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 AUTHOR
 OutMind
Joined: 2/13/2007
Msg: 20
Chemotherapy and relationshipsPage 4 of 5    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

When you are trying as hard as you are to 'get it right', you need her to appreciate what you're doing. I think you need to try less hard: ensure you can sustain any efforts you are making without knowing that you're getting it right. Do what you do because you want to do it, give only what you can give freely -- be more selfish in order to protect her from feeling that she ought to be thankful.


There's a certain resonance to this statement and it makes sense. Unfortunately, being an intense person like me, sometimes it does not help. I have the mentality of go get it, and have it done. Letting things float and just be become rather difficult. It is the feeling of either you deal with your life or life deals with you. So learning to let go, in a Zen way, in a Buddhist sort of way is what comes to mind, and to stick to no matter what try to be compassionate. So I am letting go.
 packagedealx3
Joined: 2/4/2006
Msg: 21
view profile
History
Chemotherapy and relationships
Posted: 8/13/2009 7:30:59 AM
Well, that's kind of a pickle with her taking off but I'm not sure it means the end of the relationship. I don't think you can ever walk in another person's shoes when you feel that bad, that helpless, when you are worried that you are going to leave your children without a mother.

When I was in the coma two years ago, the whole waking up and getting my life back was surreal and when you are used to being normal and suddenly your body is skin and bones, weak as a puppy, etc., plus your brain hasn't fired up all the connections yet. That year was horrible for me and my daughter because we were both so frustrated that I wasn't "me."

I suspect she is with grandfather guy because he is safe and she doesn't feel the need to try to hold up her end of a relationship. Before you got to the fight and moving out part I would have suggested you try to remind yourself that the insanity would lessen when the chemo is over.

People have problems making it through something like this when they have been happily married for years but trying to do it when you are still in a new relationship no matter how wonderful it is I would think would be incredibly hard.

My suggestion and I know it may sound a little crazy, but if you want to work things out, which I assume you do, you cannot take this personally. If you love her, accept that your role in her life may be different for a while. If she feels more comfortable being sick as a dog, yada, yada, and because there are no intimate emotions she will be able to not lash out at this guy, living with him atm may allow her to do this with more grace than she would be able to accomplish with you.

I soooo, sans the ordeal aspect of it would like a redo of my recovery, to just let all the b.s. go and have trusted more that things would get better that whatever condition I was in on a certain day, that wasn't as good as it was going to get.

The other thing I can tell you from personal experience, the hardest part of what she is going through right now is her kids. I almost died, but I didn't die. When I was processing all of the information after the fact it absolutely chilled me to the core that I almost checked out and wasn't even able to say good-bye to my children, had in fact fought with my daughter the night before I slipped into the coma because she was mad that I was in the hospital on her birthday.

She is probably trying to be positive, to focus on beating the cancer, but she has this nagging fear that she can't get away from and because you love her and she can't physically or even verbally lash out at the cancer, she has lashed out at you. Give her some time, speak to her about you spending time with the kids so that they can do fun things and so she can have a break and let her know that while it hurts you can understand why she may be more comfortable hanging at grandpa guy's pad, and see what happens from there.

Have you spoken with a counselor at a cancer center or her doctor about the ways they have observed significant others being positive supports during this treatment as well as the disease in general? I think if you haven't that would be a good place to start because I assume that you would still like to remain a friend and supporter to this woman should you not manage to work things through.

You two are in my thoughts and prayers.

After reading many of the reposts I have to question whether it matters when this was diagnosed in terms of the psychological reaction to it. She obviously feared cancer if she couldn't even get herself to the doctor when she should have. No matter how good the prognosis, until she feels well again and/or perhaps never, is she really going to feel safe from the disease. I was pretty darned paranoid for a while because the type of pneumonia I had has only two antibiotics that are affective in treating it and while relapse is fairly rare, it can happen even a couple of decades later.

I had three c-sections but for some reason when I had a hysterectomy, which is much the same procedure to a degree, I was totally paranoid I would die on the table. Not much making sense there, it is just the way I reacted emotionally to the surgery.
 sweetest
Joined: 10/8/2007
Msg: 22
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History
Chemotherapy and relationships
Posted: 8/13/2009 8:13:32 AM
Outmind, I wrote you privately a few days ago thinking that my experiences in this area were not applicable merely because they didn't involve cancer with significant other.

As this thread goes on, I see there is something going on in my thinking that resonates beyond the fact that you're dealing with a significant other...it's also seems to be beyond limiting it to cancer to perhaps dealing with relationships when disease or illness or something so catastrophic and fearful happens to threaten 'self' that it becomes this kind of primal survival thing to act this way.

I'm experiencing something very similar to what prompted you to write this thread and have been for the better part of 6 weeks or so. I have someone exceptionally close to me that is venting and railing and has, as your girlfriend has, pulled away in almost the same way that you detailed because of illness. I understand that this right now, is one of the most important things I can do for him. He needs to do this...to personify through me what he is railing against what he is fighting. The details of his case are unimportant--it is not cancer, but trust me that in every way a fight for his very existence.

I marvel at his strength of character and his resilience. I too was overcome hurt when this started. I've come to learn that he to be able to do this...and for me that I need to take it. In my case, there is no option of walking away permanently---I could never live with myself. What I have done is find a way to 'walk away' from the feelings of hurt that were painful and consuming me...and thoughts that like couldn't he see all I was doing for him...how much I loved him? I left that line of questioning behind...and replaced it with recognizing how amazingly resourceful he is and that his truly compassionate and loving nature is only temporarily being obscured by this.

Giving him what he needs by being this 'punching bag' is something that only a 'strong' person that is intimate and close to that person can be to another. I am strong enough to take this. I do whatever it takes mentally to push myself away from making any of this about me, and remembering that for right now anyway, it's about him.

If I happen to be caught up in the flotsam and jetsam of a ride that I didn't ask for for a while---it's because he needs me...to hang on to me...use me to push back...to release some of the more poisonous aspects of disease...that are bi-products of living with immense stress dread and fear. I am strong enough for this and for him. I think you are too.
 OutMind
Joined: 2/13/2007
Msg: 23
Chemotherapy and relationships
Posted: 8/13/2009 9:31:42 PM

Was she a Diva?
Pampered?
A princess?
Demanding of your attention?


b itch. I love you. You got my message? You are so in the money.
 OutMind
Joined: 2/13/2007
Msg: 24
Chemotherapy and relationships
Posted: 8/13/2009 9:37:11 PM

Most people did not give me much of a chance of survival, and there were any number of times when I was very close to death. But I am very lucky, and I had great doctors, and support from friends and family, and I survived to be much healthier. The recurrence rate for my kind of cancer in the first five years is 60% - but now that I have passed three years, that number has dropped to around 7%. You both can make it through. I wish you both luck.


God, I am so fvcking proud of you. And your ability to open up and speak!!!! Thank you.
 WalkingInLondon
Joined: 2/21/2005
Msg: 25
Chemotherapy and relationships
Posted: 8/13/2009 11:19:46 PM
I am so sorry for the both of you. This is extremely difficult and I know that emotions are running wild at this point. But my advice to you is that you are going to have to make some decisions for her, as she is obviously not herself at this point.

Go get her. Take flowers, take candy, take jewelry, whatever, but go get your girlfriend and her kids. Remain calm throughout, but you go to where she is staying, you tell her in no uncertain terms that you love her, you miss her, and you will do whatever it takes to get through all of this, but that she is sick and you are determined to take care of her, no matter what.
Those kids deserve a man who cares in their lives too. Be it.

Don't take no for an answer. Now is the time that she needs you to be the Knight in Shining Armour, and sweep her off her feet. Get off your ass and do it.

Beth
 OutMind
Joined: 2/13/2007
Msg: 26
Chemotherapy and relationships
Posted: 8/14/2009 6:09:37 AM

hes having chemo and your worrying about you??

IF you love her lend her the support she needs.


Pretty in pink, have you read this thread? It's not about me. She left me. I deal with my emotions myself, but I am more concern about her, about her well being. Not me. I am trying to figure out why this happen. The writing was on the wall and really there are other issues that the chemo, the cancer, the steroids bring to the surface and explode.
 chameleonf
Joined: 12/22/2008
Msg: 27
Chemotherapy and relationships
Posted: 8/14/2009 7:57:26 AM
Well, this certainly is a mixed bag. You have one person who's gone through cancer and telling you that your g/f isn't going to die because she didn't have the same form and was treated differently to the state of being so weak she had to crawl. Granted, that's horrible and I feel sorry for what that person went through. Regardless if you believe or not that what she is going through is life threatening or not, she IS going through chemo treatments and is on whatever other drugs she is on, on top of the fact that she likely is wondering if the cancer really has been taken care of - just because she's been told it has or will be taken care of after all the treatments, it doesn't make the mind shut off that it may still be lurking in there.

Sorry, GS, and I absolutely mean no disrespect, so please don't take it that way, but you can't possibly know what's going on inside this woman's head or body to play it down just because you figure what you went through was worse. On top of that, she was a person who was on mood altering drugs and those drugs are being stopped and started. Having been married to a man who was and still is on anti-depressants for many years, just the effects of stopping taking the anti-depressants can cause them to go into a crazy tail spin emotionally and mentally. You can't just stop taking them and expect no behavioural fallout - it has to be a gradual decrease for there to be less chance of that fallout. If she had problems enough to be on anti-depressants before this, has been a volatile person to begin with, it's logical that what she's going through now would magnify her pre-existing volatility. She has gone through all this cancer treatment and you can see a loss of weight in her face in a matter of days, and you, yourself, OutMind, have admitted to being a caring person at the same time as having your own hot temper and emotions to deal with. Is it any wonder that she wants to escape? Cripes, you're the healthier person and you don't know whether to stay or bail, so I'm sure you can imagine if you're feeling this confused, she would be as well but more so.

I'd give her her space and not push yourself on her. Perhaps write her a long letter telling her everything you've put in this thread. Sometimes face to face just turns into a fight and what is being said by one person isn't behing heard by the other. A letter allows the reader to go over and over it, and if nothing else, when she's through all this and you have parted ways, she'll come across it again and see that you really were trying to be as supportive as you could be. If it's your desire to still have her in your life, tell her that in the letter, but tell her you are backing off and if she needs you or her kids need you for anything you'll be there, but that you're leaving the option in her hands. If you can't deal with this any longer and want to move on with your life, tell her that also, but that you'll be there for her in any other humanitarian way while she's going through this, if you think either of you can deal with that kind of change in the relationship.

JMO from another side of things.
 OutMind
Joined: 2/13/2007
Msg: 28
Chemotherapy and relationships
Posted: 8/14/2009 8:25:21 AM

Cripes, you're the healthier person and you don't know whether to stay or bail, so I'm sure you can imagine if you're feeling this confused, she would be as well but more so.

I'd give her her space and not push yourself on her. Perhaps write her a long letter telling her everything you've put in this thread. Sometimes face to face just turns into a fight and what is being said by one person isn't behing heard by the other.


I have not decided to stay or bail, all I have done is realize that there are different things that can take place here to where if I push and try to remain in her life will have one outcome, or if I simply let go and let her be.

I have actually taken the route of letting her be, but still contacting her to make sure she is okay. For instance, she got a couple of important letters that if not responded right away, she may lose her coverage. So I left messages. But today is day 10, and in day 10 after Chemo her blood counts are the lowest, so she probably feels so sick that she is in bed, gagging, going to the bathroom and puking and that is when she feels better. So if she does not respond, I can understand how she feels.

I also wrote her this very long letter, telling her how I feel, how if she needs me I will be there. All I want now is to create a stable, stress free place for her. Something perhaps that she cannot see. I don't know.

I do agree with your comment towards GoneSaling in the sense that each person copes with this in a different way and it doesn't matter if it's one type of cancer or another. Each person is unique. Some people are tough about one thing, some about a different thing. My gf, freaks now at the site of ice cubes because she has to put them in her mouth when the nasty red chemical is injected.

Also, the anti depressants and ADD meds don't seem to work at all during the first 10 days of a chemo cycle. Also she has become menopausal. So I understand all this things are at play.
 chameleonf
Joined: 12/22/2008
Msg: 29
Chemotherapy and relationships
Posted: 8/14/2009 8:37:54 AM
Well, then OutMind, I'd say you've done all that you can at this stage. For the sake of your own mental health, I hope you're getting out with other people (not strictly alone things like your bike riding) and doing other things to divert your attention from her in between checking up on her. Good luck. I admire your compassion.
 trulyme
Joined: 2/4/2005
Msg: 30
view profile
History
Chemotherapy and relationships
Posted: 8/14/2009 10:58:57 AM
you have to know she is not feeling particularly great about herself at this time
she needs so much more encouragement then you can even imagine. To her
your mowing the lawn may have seemed like a hours upon hours because being ill just does that to a person. Chemo also makes a person so weak it is hard to explain to
anyone else

Understanding is the key here !!!
 chameleonf
Joined: 12/22/2008
Msg: 31
Chemotherapy and relationships
Posted: 8/14/2009 11:21:43 AM
Sorry, gonesailing. I was afraid you'd take it that way. However, when the reader reads this:




Out- I've said it before and I'll say it again (and again and again...) YOUR woman is not that ill.

I know- she thinks she is, she's thought she was from the beginning. But - they did not remove her lymphnodes, it had not advanced. Yes, she had seed masses but they were contained and small. She's not dying.


along with how you described your own personal experience as you went through what you went through, it's not difficult to determine that you were making some kind of comparisons. It's also understandable that you are attempting to buoy up your friend, particularly as you know some of his past experiences with his g/f, in your attempts to provide him with more strength and grit when it comes to her base personality. It still doesn't remove the fact that even if she won't die from this form of cancer, she is still very sick if only from the treatments and medications themselves.

Sorry, tough love isn't always called for - attempting to see it from both sides when emotions are involved can make coming to a decision even easier. Whether you like her treatment of him to date, he still loves her and cares that she's weak and likely puking her guts out. He may ultimately decide he can't be with her, but I doubt he's the type of individual who would turn his back on her during this time despite her personality. If he did, I doubt he'd be able to live comfortably in his own skin with that decision.

 Sapphireeyes
Joined: 1/13/2008
Msg: 32
Chemotherapy and relationships
Posted: 8/16/2009 11:14:15 PM
Op, Im sorry and wish the best for you, unfortunately sometimes the best isnt what we want.

I had cancer and when I read some of the comments on here I wonder what planet the person is from. ALL CANCER is serious...it is a mind **** cause YOUR BODY has betrayed you! You dont understand what you did to get it and if you dont get your head around it...then you will go completely out of control.

I had stage 3, it was in 5 of 15 lymph nodes...I was given a 40 percent chance to live 5 years...that was over 7 years ago. I was so sick from the chemo that I wanted to die. It is the only thing I think I failed at. I was suppose to be finished in May and it took me to September to finish the 18 treatments. 18 treatments sound so few now but at the time I really didnt want to finish. I would promise myself I would go once more and never go again. I told my family I couldnt do it anymore and they all cried and said I would die. I went for my kids, I knew there was no one else to raise them. I was married and my ex was a bipolar sex addicted pedophile who got fired for looking at kiddie porn at work while I was in the hospital with a 50 cent size blood clot in my neck. Three weeks later the police raided our home. While I was in the special care unit with the blood clot for over three days he came once to see me. I had no suppport system at all. My kids would come home from school and rush into my room to see if i was still there and in their eagerness to hug me it would make me throw up...every inch of my body hurt. After it was all over the drs just look at me and said they werent really sure how I made it thru everything. I told them I was just to stupid to have known I was suppose to die. They laughed but in some ways I think that was the truth.

The point I am making is that whatever issues your girlfriend has...THEY ARE REAL TO HER AT THIS MOMENT. To downplay them as being her having "diva" issues etc isnt going to help her to learn to cope with things.

Maybe it is the whole idea of her having to depend on you and then you arent there when she feels she needs you the most, she is frightened and reaching out.

The hardest part for me was looking into my families face and seeing myself as dead in their eyes. The looks ...you know you look bad, you have no hair, youre almost green and have this fragile look to you...you can see how horrible you look.

Dude you are not in a easy place, but sugar it is 100 percent better place than where she is.
 OutMind
Joined: 2/13/2007
Msg: 33
Chemotherapy and relationships
Posted: 8/17/2009 6:27:48 AM

I was married and my ex was a bipolar sex addicted pedophile who got fired for looking at kiddie porn at work while I was in the hospital with a 50 cent size blood clot in my neck. Three weeks later the police raided our home.


Wow. This is incredible. How much stress did this add to the whole equation? Or was the cancer so draining and numbing that you just try to put it aside? I don't know. Big question. Does each Chemo cycles gets progressively worse, or do they plateau in an even state of bad?

The clot, was it related to the treatment, to the port?
 OutMind
Joined: 2/13/2007
Msg: 34
Chemotherapy and relationships
Posted: 12/2/2009 2:26:06 PM

You are valued, you are needed, and I'm sure she loves you.


Thank you. As a matter of fact we got back together again. It is strange because I could have chosen not to, I could be without having to deal with this. But I chose to be together. I am not exactly the most noble of people, or the nicest, or the best, but I have since felt much better because we are fighting together. Someday I hope this becomes another page on the side effects of Chemo and particularly Steroid Rage.
 4ced2register
Joined: 3/15/2009
Msg: 35
Chemotherapy and relationships
Posted: 12/2/2009 3:00:01 PM
I think she's just trying to push you away. You'll need to ask her why, but that's the only thing that makes sense. She's afraid of something and maybe that is losing you (being rejected). Give her just a little time and space, not too much, and try to talk to her and find out what's really going on.

Edit: Ok, I see someone kicked up an old thread. I'm glad you and your lady resolved your problems. I wish her good health.
 OutMind
Joined: 2/13/2007
Msg: 36
Chemotherapy and relationships
Posted: 12/18/2009 10:56:43 AM

outmind: I'm so sorry your GF is going through this, and you're going through it with her.


Thanks man, sorry about your brother.

Just as an update. We did get back together, but it was short lived. We never went to counseling. The problem is that she also has ADD, suffers from depression and may be Bipolar. She even talked to the doctor about that, but decided not to go there until all her chemo and surgery was over. So we parted ways. I wish her the best.
 OutMind
Joined: 2/13/2007
Msg: 37
Chemotherapy and relationships
Posted: 12/19/2009 2:13:00 PM

Stick any label on her you want: ADD, depressed, Bi-polar.
Try attaching human. That makes her in need of love and compassion.
You can't give it when you're focus is on your need.


My needs were simple. Take care of her when she was in Nadir, cook, help around, be supportive when she began to complain about the pain. Give her plenty of massages that had nothing to do with sex but to ease the pain. Listen to her complaint about how the meds were failing, chemo was not working, her doctors were not taking care of her and before she would go to surgery, she wanted her nails done. I told her anything she wanted. I also helped her with the kids. Sometimes cooking, reading stories before bed, helping getting them up in the morning. I didn't do all this all the time, so I am not trying to sound like I was such a hero, but I did it when it was needed.
 packagedealx3
Joined: 2/4/2006
Msg: 38
view profile
History
Chemotherapy and relationships
Posted: 12/19/2009 5:24:20 PM
Toots, sorry that things have been so up and down for you the last several months. Are you able to maintain any contact with the kids because I know some of the difficulty for you was having fallen in love with them as well.

I wish you some simple joys over the rest of the holidays.
 OutMind
Joined: 2/13/2007
Msg: 39
Chemotherapy and relationships
Posted: 12/19/2009 9:39:33 PM

Are you able to maintain any contact with the kids because I know some of the difficulty for you was having fallen in love with them as well.


Here's what happened. When we split the first time I tried to maintain a connection and transition with the kids. In a way that it would not create emotional issues with them. What happened was that the kids rebelled and wanted to move back with me. The boy, who was less affectionate than the girl took the initiative that he wanted to live with me. When this began to happen, I did not want to set up the kids against the mother. So I stopped. The mother then began contact with me. We got together. We tried it out. When she moved away the second time. She severed contact with the kids completely.

Perhaps is best to have a complete cut off. That way they can move on. I can move on.
 packagedealx3
Joined: 2/4/2006
Msg: 40
view profile
History
Chemotherapy and relationships
Posted: 12/20/2009 10:11:51 AM

Perhaps is best to have a complete cut off. That way they can move on. I can move on.

Probably right but I know how difficult it is. A friend severed ties with me when my daughter was born but that also resulted in my no longer being in her son's life and I had been second mom for many years at that point.
 OutMind
Joined: 2/13/2007
Msg: 41
Chemotherapy and relationships
Posted: 12/20/2009 12:25:31 PM

resulted in my no longer being in her son's life and I had been second mom for many years at that point.


Ouch. I know how that feels.
 OutMind
Joined: 2/13/2007
Msg: 42
Chemotherapy and relationships
Posted: 12/23/2009 9:28:24 AM

oumind, my heart goes out to you,and having gone through my side of all this,you do not deserve this kind of treatment. Know that men like you are rare,and you should be proud of what you tried to do.


Thanks. Still doesn't change that weird feeling that you still wanted to do more for that person. In the end I hope that she is happy.
 earthwaterwind
Joined: 10/6/2009
Msg: 43
view profile
History
Chemotherapy and relationships
Posted: 4/26/2010 1:32:47 AM
Yes,
I have been through it, well sort of...as I was married and he had Leukemia and subsequently didn't make it. Been 14 years so no need to offer condolences. Anyway...advice. Is there more to the story (what did you mean by offering that you are not a saint?). Her reaction is over the top for such a small offense..so with that I have to wonder what else was going on. But the situation is tense from the get go- and the people are scared out of their wits, including you. The problem is the support systems tend to be more in place and valid for the patient/not really for the caretakers- as if you have time to go to a support group. And thats the ticket, the friends and neighbors first pour all the good will attention on the patient, and you are often an afterthought of a few quick "how you holding up". Your only human, so pointing out her overreaction is in order/giving her time also is in order. Anyway, I remember having little pissy fights with my husband during his Chemo session. Once he was mad and wanted me to clean up the messes he made at the hospital. I had a 3 month old, was exhusted, and at the time he had all day and enough energy to do it himself, so I said I didn't want to be treated like a slave- in the end a stupid fight, but it never derailed us. Which begs the question, something else going on? The bottom line is pissy little fights have something to do with larger issues. Dont beat yourself up, we are all only human and do what we can when we can. Good luck, she'll miss you if your gone.
 OutMind
Joined: 2/13/2007
Msg: 44
Chemotherapy and relationships
Posted: 4/26/2010 7:51:15 AM
Dont beat yourself up, we are all only human and do what we can when we can. Good luck, she'll miss you if your gone.


Thanks. The story of this relationship is not over. We did split for several months, but somehow she missed me as much as I missed her and began to look at everything under a new perspective. So we decided to go to couple's counseling and we are trying one day at the time. The crazy thing about Steroids is that one day she had the energy to move a huge cabinet from the garage into the living room. This is a thing that requires two big guys to move and she did it all by herself. Then that night she was so exhausted she could not get out of bed. We laughed about that cabinet the other day because if she wanted to move it right now, she could not.

Cancer, Chemo, Steroids puts a tremendous toil, physically and emotionally, not only on the patient, but on the family. The thing is, if your relationship is solid it will get stronger, but if your relationship is not solid, and is like the many relationships you read about here, then the Steroids will amplify the problems. I also do not believe that this is something that you can cope with by yourself, because you do not know where is coming from. You need a support group of professionals and people that have gone through this, because nothing will make sense.

While the cancer patient has to deal with his/her own sense of depression, dealing emotionally and physically with the disease, the partner has to constantly resupply a positive attitude. But what happens when that person runs on empty? In part you realize that you are NOT going through the cancer, yet the toil can be huge and very destructive. I have to admit that because I internalized the stress, it practically destroyed my immune system and I began to get repeated pulmonary infections. It turned out that my white cell count hit bottom, to the point that doctors have tested for a whole range of maladies. She is now in remission, had a very good reconstructive surgery and is now dealing with some of the side effects of chemo and hormone depletion. She is now the one applying all the nutrition knowledge she acquire to help me rebuilt my immune system. We are trying to work as a team. This time we are both too stubborn to give up on each other.

Eathwaterwind, as you said you probably have worked through the grieving and your lost, but have you worked through the other part, of you doing everything you could?
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