• Bad attitude

    Asked by ogtxaggiemom on Saturday, March 9, 2013

    Bad attitude

    I have always been a half glass full person, always thankful for my blessings. My husband is not doing well and he is on his 4th line of chemo and has been told we should go to MD Anderson because our doctor doesn't have any more answers. My husband has gotten such a bad attitude about everything. He is so mad at the world. I try everything to cheer him up but nothing works. I understand he is scared and is not ready to die but he hasn't yet and most people with his cancer would already be dead or not in as well of shape. How can I help him? I understand that he thinks it is all about him but its about me too because the life I have is dying too.

    14 Answers from the Community

    14 answers
    • CAS1's Avatar

      Please read this months issue of Cure magazine on line..there is an article there on support. Also try and find a book "when life becomes precious" and try and pick up some publications from ACS on being the caregiver for someone with cancer.
      I supported my sister and Mother through cancer and it about killed me. I think my cancer came from all the stress and grief I went though with them. I urge you to read some materials on coping as the caregiver and get yourself into a group for support for caregivers.

      Your husband needs to come to terms with this on his own. You can only be there for him you cannot change him or the diagnosis. The best thing you can do for him is to keep yourself strong and educate yourself on support. And tell him you love him as often as possible.

      Make time for yourself and get some distance to re charge.

      Going to MD Anderson is an excellant idea and I wish you great luck and hope.

      When I start feeling sorry for myself I think of the children fighting for their life with cancer. I see a St.Jude commercial and it puts me right out of it.

      Life is a terminal illness. We were born to die. None of us get out of here alive.

      over 4 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      Wow, pretty complicated dynamic going on there. I would suggest you each try to put yourself in the other person's shoes. The last thing to do when some one is angry is to try to cheer them up. That says to them your anger is wrong and invalid and makes them even angrier. Acknowledge his anger and try to help him direct it and dispel it but acknowledge it and don't try to just cheer it away. Do the same with your own anger. Right now you seem to be competing about who has more of a right to be angry which is only going to fuel the anger in both of you. Consider counseling or anything else that might help so that you can both spend your remaining time together being joyful and loving rather than angry.

      over 4 years ago
    • kclark's Avatar

      No answer, just hope I am helpful. I am a breast cancer survivor of less than a year and I too have always been a glass half full person but recently felt anger. I believe it must be part of the grieving process of having cancer. As a spouse, you too will have different emotions but you don't have the cancer...As a wife and mom, I have thought of all the things a I have as responsibilities of where as a man must have all the feeling of different responsibilities and not being able to do them is not easy. You are the support person and praying for his peace throughout his journey is the best support and continued love and support.

      over 4 years ago
    • SpunkyS's Avatar

      Part of your struggle is already identified. Good for you! Please ask your oncology team for a referral for support or counselling. As you know you both have different yet similar needs and could probably use some outside support. Be open to what is offered. Meanshwild sending husgs and support.

      over 4 years ago
    • SueRae1's Avatar

      Many hugs for you and prayers for the two of you. It is natural that your DH is mad at the world, I know I was and still have my days. Speak with your husbands oncologist and/or hsopital social worker and get a referral for a therapist who specializes in treating people with cancer. I find speaking to someone very helpful in sorting out and dealing with my emotions and day to day issues. I also am seeing a Psychologist ever 6-8 weeks. he put me on anti-anxiety medication this summer to help keep me on an even keel. We just check in and make sure that I'm doing ok, and tweak the doses if needed.

      If you have the energy why not set up an with MD Anderson for him. I know my DH has done that for me on a number of occasions, so I have a few less things to deal with.

      over 4 years ago
    • carm's Avatar

      When I read your post, my first instinct was to move on to the next question. But then your question got me to thinking...so here I am ready to attempt a response to your post. I grew up in the 60's and went to a public school. In the early 60's it was a big thing to have a Pen Pal and at the beginning of the school year we would get to pick a new Pen Pal. During the school year, whenever we had a test, our teacher would tell us that if we finished the test, we could leave our room and go to the coat room to get the letter our Pen Pal sent us. I was so jealous of those students who "got It" and were able to move on into the coat room much swifter than I. As I grew up I would hear stories of children my age who had passed away, and I remember hearing my mother on the phone making a remark that "life is such a test at times!" I thought that perhaps, those children understood life faster than the rest of us, they "got it" and then got to move on while the rest of us stayed behind until we "got it." That was my idea of death.

      When I became a nurse I understood anatomy and physiology, but in the beginning of my career, the road I traveled rarely intersected with that path that separates life and death. Until I began to work in end of life care, I never really and truly understood that path that lies ahead. To you, his is a "bad attitude" that your husband displays...and I get that. However, that attitude is what works for him. That anger propels him to a frame of mind that none of us can comprehend. He sees life in one image, one frame at a time. He thinks that this is the sum of it; but life is such a collage. Life has a way of throwing so much at you that you can't see the clearings, the forest from the trees; but it is out there. It is only in those last weeks that the road appears. It's not a new road either, rather a road we have all traveled many times. We are so busy living that we have forgotten where we came from to get here. Both of you have fallen into that habit of seeing life in one frame and so neither of you see the bigger picture. A disease may take a body but it cannot destroy love. So then, what part of your life is dying? I lost my best friend to cervical cancer on October 1 of 2011. I lost the sound of her laugh, her hugs, her ever changing image when we would meet; but I never lost her. If you want to help him, just support him, and understand that maybe to you, how he reacts is one that you might not choose; but it is his choice to make, and this is how he chooses to approach his possibilities no matter how many or few they might be. Be patient because one day, that clearing will come into view, and he will recognize that his journey is not ending; his path is endless. As surely as you love him, I can tell you that your paths will intersect for all of eternity. Lives don't die, bodies do. What connects you two cannot be buried, burned or diminished. It just gets stronger. In time, he will come to see that he need not prepare to die...his body will do that for him; he needs to prepare to move to a place not seen on any map. He will know home when he sees it and on that day, he will go joyfully and willingly without fear or anger. Until then, fill his half empty glass with your half full glass. In life, no good drink runs dry. Good luck, Carm RN.

      over 4 years ago
    • Clyde's Avatar

      Does your husband know how angry you are? Or are you holding it all in in order to put on a brave face? He probably feels very alone and friendless, which is not the case, but may be his perception. All the advice to get counseling are spot on. Speak to his Dr. about help for both of you and if your spouse refuses, go for yourself. At the end of the day, you have to be healthy as well.

      over 4 years ago
    • Kathy's Avatar

      Hi everyone. This question and the answers make me want to cry. This is all so emotional, isn't it? I found for me that when I went thru the bouts of being angry and when others would attempt to cheer me up it just made me angrier. A feeling of they don't get it! I think my husband caught on and eventually would just agree with me and be understanding - for example - yes that is too bad that food doesn't taste good - instead of responding - at least you are able to eat!! This is just an example and I know yours goes much deeper. Usually when I go to them angry spots I try to not stay there for too long - it's just not fun. I think though its important to be able to feel angry and not ignore it. Hope this helps and that you are both able to come together with some peace and enjoyment.

      over 4 years ago
    • Ydnar2xer's Avatar

      Whenever I get upset, 2 words always calm me--"I understand." That's usually all I want--to express my feelings so that my husband, family or friends understand. I empathize with you and your situation and will be thinking positive thoughts for you two,

      over 4 years ago
    • attypatty's Avatar

      Dear ogtxaggiemom:
      I think a bad attitude is in order. It's more than appropriate to be mad as XXX. 56, cancer for a year (thank you for sharing your husband's profile), facing a life with no answers, maybe even no hope. I know how I would feel - how would you feel? To have compassion doesn't mean we have to try and cheer someone up, to make them feel better, to convince them it will all be all right, to look on the bright side (what bright side?) To have compassion means sometimes we have to walk that mile in their shoes, to experience what they must feel, to acknowledge and accept that this is bad, life right now sucks, this is not fair, this shouldn't happen to me. Sometimes it means you get down in the trenches, HIS trenches, and face the demons he sees breaching the barrier. Sometimes it means you get mad together, throw things together, curse the world and this dread disease in it together. The best moment I had on my journey was when my husband held me and cried, really cried, after days of nitpicking arguments about nothing at all. Because then I realized, as we held each other and let it all out, that he was as scared as I was, that he didn't want to lose me as much as I didn't want to lose my life. Then it all made sense, and I felt so much better. I didn't want to be cheered up, I wanted to know that someone was in my corner, that someone could understand how scary this it, that someone could be just as mad as I was that this happened to me. Then I could let go of that anger and get on with living with cancer. Maybe you should let him know that you know this sucks and that you are angry, too.
      Fight On,

      over 4 years ago
    • gwendolyn's Avatar

      I don't think his attitude is "bad" or wrong. Of course he's mad at the world. I think he could benefit from some empathy not "cheering up." You need to let him have his own reaction and get out and take a breather for yourself so you are better able to support him. I will also point out that chemo drugs do exacerbate depression. It's really hard to see the bright side of things when you feel like XXX.

      over 4 years ago
    • BKN's Avatar

      Dearest Ogtxaggiemom,

      Having gone through over six and a half years of nine independent catastrophic illnesses dx'd in only five years with my beloved hubby, I can to say the least relate to what you are both going through.

      The first, a rarely known thus diagnosed in time was Amyloidosis. This was supposed to be the big scary... dx'd in Feb 2007 the prognosis was dire, doctors not expecting him to make it to his birthday in June. Little did we know that this would be followed by eight other catastrophic illnesses each worse than the one before until 2012. Each new diagnosis brought a crushing blow.

      It was the second illness though that sent me into a rage. His entire family not only knew that cancer ran in his family, But it would take a few years before we also learned they ALL knew about Lynch Syndrome (a genetic cancer gene that ran in European Jewish lines). It was no easy task to contain my rage while feeling like I too was dying inside and all the while though my hubby would be deeply hurt by learning of this, his attitude was amazing. I still to completely understand where he found the strength to laugh. That didn't last the whole time though.

      After a while his mood changed and he would make comments such as "I would be worth more to you dead". The anger was bad enough but with this immediately following - A BIG RED FLAG!!! Time for an antidepressant. Guess who's the most difficult to convince of this? Anyone with Psych training! Sometimes as the caregiver and spouse one must take a stand and not take no for an answer. If necessary, get the Oncologist or whoever to provide back-up.

      During the latter part of his illnesses he was angry. The husband who never uttered a hurtful word towards me or criticized was changing before my eyes, driving the pain I felt even deeper even though I knew and fully understood intellectually was part of the illnesses, meds, etc.. One huge misnomer is that it is "not alright to let them see you cry.... be angry". For my hubby, it not only helped validate his feelings and let him know he was loved but it also helped us talk thru the more difficult times he was having. As implied, I found us both a good Psychiatrist and Psychologist for meds and therapy to handle the [email redacted] we were going thru and pain of knowing we would have to say goodbye. After being prescribed an anti-depressant (often it takes more than one try/medication but later he too was prescribed anti-anxiety medication. Though "the miracle of modern medicine" is obviously not always a cure all, I can atest to the fact that it made a huge difference.

      My approach was and would be again... listen, validate, express my own feelings be they anger, hurt, grief, sadness, As I did listen I would parrot back I hear that you are angry/sad/scared... about______. I would have started us with a Psychiatrist and Psychologist at the beginning rather than waited. At the time though, I do remember being so overwhelmed with being the sole caregiver and not having any family, friends, whatever to help it was impossible to think of everything.

      Love him, the wonderful man you married is still there though it seems he's not. Love yourself, you are doing the best you can. Lastly, as best you can.. enjoy the time you have together.

      Gentle hugs and heartfelt wishes,

      BKN's Yellow Rose

      over 4 years ago
    • AlizaMLS's Avatar

      Dear ogtxaggiemom,

      Hi, I'm Aliza, a Breast Cancer patient and also a retired Medical Librarian. I still do medical research for people here on this site and elsewhere. I understand what's happening and how difficult it must be for you and your husband, but I can offer you some suggestions and referrals (what Librarians do) to try and make things a little easier (and hopefully better) for both of you.

      The first thing I'd suggest is to call CancerCare. You can go to www.cancercare.org (or .com [not sure which) and get their phone number. They have trained Oncology Social Workers there who specialize in dealing only with Cancer patients and their caregivers and the angst they feel. You both have a lot of upset now. Talking with these social workers is not like "regular therapy". They're not interested in your "childhood issues" and they won't "blame your mother". they focus on the here and now of what cancer is doing to your life/lives. If your husband would go it would be great for him, if not you should go by yourself.

      Another is to find a Cancer support group - try phoning the ACS and seeing if there's a general Cancer support group in your area (or ask Cancer care) or your husband's treating hospital - check when you go to MD Anderson. It's often very helpful to share feelings with others in the same boat.

      I have a book I'm going to refer you and your husband to. It's by and about a woman but it applies to him as well. The name of the book is "Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips" and the authors are Kris Carr and Sherryl Crow. Kris Carr is a vibrant woman in her 30's who discovered that she had a slow growing rare form of cancer at Stage IV, and how she changed her life so she learned to live with cancer as a chronic illness. I've read it-it's a great book! I'm reading her sequel now. You can worry about that down the road.

      The other thing is to see if your husband will register here on this site-he'd get a lot of support from the folks here. Most of us (with few exceptions [some caregivers like yourself]) and a few medical professionals who aren't ill, have Cancer of one type or another. We're like the Club you never wanted to join, but now that you're here, you'll be glad you did!!...;)

      The other thing I want to say is that you need to pay some attention to yourself! You need to get out and do some things with friends and family from time to time. Go shopping, have a lunch out, have your nails done. Read a book, see a movie, rent a DVD. With friends, with your husband if he calms down, but you need to distract (underline distract) yourself! Much easier said than done! you can't live Cancer 24/7-if you do you'll end up hospitalized and be of no help to yourself or your husband. So do something you like! If you enjoy books, join a bookgroup. If there's none near you, there's an online one called www.goodreads.com. You can track your books, find new titles, join book groups in different genres, make new virtual friends, write book reviews, and read others' book reviews. Not bad for not having to leave your house, but it's still better to save that for a rainy day and get out a bit when you can.

      The last thing I'll recommend to you is that if you belong to a religious community, now is a good time to contact your clergyperson for a chat. They have dealt with these types of issues before. There's very little that's new under the sun to them and they should be able to be helpful. Even members of your congregation might be able to be helpful - paying visits, droppiing off meals, driving to appointments, doing shopping, etc.

      I hope some of the things I've suggested are helpful and ultimatelly make you feel better. I hope you'll stay in touch and let me know how things are going and if there's anything else I can do for you. If so, please message me, or feel free to email me at my personal email.

      Wishing you and your husband the best in a difficult situation.

      Warm wishes,

      over 4 years ago
    • KateMarie's Avatar

      Others have given some good suggestions so I won't pretend I have any better. I'll just offer my prayers and tell you what an amazing person you are.

      over 4 years ago

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