It's difficult to make someone do something they dont want to. I know when my husband was in the worst weeks of chemo and radiation, he didn't want to get out of bed, had no interest in anything-reading, tv, eating. I was up front with him and said I'd do anything he needed me to, but he was going to have to help himself,too. I work full time and didnt have the option of being home, so he was very good at making himself get up, especially to eat and take meds. He would set alarms, otherwise he would just sleep all day. I did try to have his drinks ready for him. I wish you well. I dont know if you can call in a friend or 2 to come visit with your husband to give you a break.
Small Cell, Lung Cancer Questions
How do I deal with the anger I am feeling about all of this? I feel like my husband wants me to wait on him constantly.
Asked by HalfFull on Monday, October 29, 2012
How do I deal with the anger I am feeling about all of this? I feel like my husband wants me to wait on him constantly.
My husband does not want to do anything for himself; even those activities he is capable of doing such as preparing his breathing treatments.
21 Answers from the Community
Do you think he may be depressed? Cancer is no easy thing, that's for sure. Especially living with it as a chronic illness. Chemo makes your sick. Throw radiation into the mix and I'm sure it makes for some pretty rough days. I know there are some other Whatnexters on here that have dealt with your exact situation and will be far more helpful than me. Your husband needs you now more than ever. Try to keep your chin up.
He sounds like me. My Mom waited on me and I have a bad habit of expecting my wife to do the same. She's clever though. When I leave food out or things undone, expecting her to put everything up, she just leaves it there. I'm slowly, slowly, more slowly starting to do things myself, and I'M HEALTHY NOW! When I was sick, I would stay in bed all day, I'd only get up to use the bathroom. That's how sick the medicine has made him. That's his body saying, "Lie here." When he feels better he will move. "Tickling Cancer" is right he's probably depressed too. How's his prognosis? My older brother smoked since he was 13 and he died from lung cancer this past Christmas. My wife tickles me when I get in a funk. Can you play with him?
"In sickness and in health." You got yourself into trouble here. Tell him you're both on the same team, and that you're here to help him to keep doing as much as he can. Think ahead, and make it convenient for him to help himself to whatever extent possible. This makes it easier on both of you, and encourages him to be as independent as possible, without having to put forth much effort (cancer and treatments are exhausting). Open his little breathing treatment package, pull them apart, and put them in a little cup next to his nebulizer. Locate his nebulizer where he can reach it from his "campsite." Chances are that he is asking for the same things over and over again. Set up a system that takes care of both of your problems. Get it all done at once. You can anticipate his needs and work more efficiently to ease the stress load a little bit. As an example, a simple water bottle, or small cooler takes care of the, "Get me a drink." A little basket with his snacks takes care of snacks. A pill organizer that you set up once a week takes care of that. Get organized, and put all of his health care things in one place.
In dealing with your emotions as a caregiver, you could reach out to support groups for caregivers, or get someone in there to give you a little break and go do something you enjoy to get away from it for a few minutes. I am a caregiver for my dad during his pancreatic cancer, and was also a caregiver for him during his first lung cancer, surgery recovery and chemotherapy. He has other chronic health issues, and sometimes going for a walk meant holding his belt to make sure his legs don't go out. I've been in the role of caregiver before that. So start with an attitude of gratitude for the things he is able to do, and the things that you do have. That means him too. You are free to feel angry. Feel angry at cancer for doing this to both of you, and go love your husband.
Put yourself in your husband's position. How do you think he feels? He's the one with cancer, not you. And now his wife is angry at him that she has to help? Be angry at the cancer, not your husband. He needs your love and support right now. He is probably depressed and feels like doo-doo. Chemo makes you super tired. There were days where I would only get out of bed to use the bathroom although I was "capable" of doing other things. FreeBird gives some good suggestions. Cut your hubby some slack right now and help him out. Isn't that what you'd want from him if the shoe were on the other foot?
I myself felt I burdened my husband and family while ill. Your husband may just be depressed, and disappointed with himself...and he may be hiding the fact that he simply cannot. At times I'd try and show others my effort to make myself food, but I just couldn't. If you don't want to then ask family or friends for help, maybe hire a nurse.
Just a thought...everyone involved with cancer(the patient, the caregivers), are hurting and under sooo much stress. It's hard on everyone involved. You're just being honest and deserve support. It's frustrating for you because he probably used to do a lot more for himself. And psychologically it's better for his self esteem to do as much as he can for himself. The trick is finding out how to get him to do it. All feelings are valid, remember that :)))
Sounds like your husband is depressed. You should talk to him about getting help and or talk to his doctor. Both of you are having a normal reaction to the situation...but it could get better by simply talking and being understanding toward one another. And..I agree with "nancyjac." So call your cancer center. They should be able to provide you with a social worker who can in turn provide you with resources like someone to care for your husband for you. And remember, a close relationship with God always makes everything much easier. You are getting great advice from everyone here. Good luck and God bless..
It's good you can acknowledge your anger. The fatigue and depression that can accompany cancer, chemo and radiation treatments are, themselves, overwhelming. Does your husband have breathing issues with his lung cancer? I would suggest small steps guided by your husband's fluctuating strength. The cancer cosmos can be another world, entirely.
I was 62 when diagnosed with a very deadly cancer (Ovarian Cancer, Stage IV)... The most painful thing (looking back on all of it from almost 7 years cancer free) was waking up the night of the diagnosis... to the sound of my beloved husband crying.. sobbing in the livingroom. I wanted to run out to him and hold him and tell him all would be all right... but how could I. I had surgery, two years of chemo, days, weeks of being too weak to get dressed. So here is the picture, the bald, fat on steroids, woman.. her husband making her french toast (that's all I could taste and enjoy) He would tell me how beautiful I was. I told him to get his eyes checked. I'm married to a saint. He all but literally carried me! He joked, and teased, we laughed and cried. I yelled.... (I'm not a saint) He went to work and I lay cuddled to my two furry boys. They purred and cared for me while I was alone. I did get up, but makeup on (and my wig) Oh and on occasion, he'd look at me if I was snippy and he'd all but yell back... "I'm doing the best I can" Our marriage is not perfect, we're both human... but our love is... I am praying that if, God Forbid, he needs me to care for him, I can do half as well as he did caring for me. Just love him... tease him, call him lazy but with a smile on your face and in your voice. Joke and say... Here, let Mommy do that.... Love him!!!
I have read the responses here and they are all good but I don't see much that answers your question. So let me take a shot at it. I can only respond from the patient's point of view but I hear your pain and I know my husband probably had a lot of anger when he was taking care of me. Anger at the disease, anger at the situation, anger at his own helplessness and probably sometimes anger at me.
I think the way to deal with your anger is to let some of it out. Tell him how you feel. He may not know (or maybe he just hasn't thought about it) how hard this is for you. I know while in treatment I was pretty self-absorbed and didn't really think about what this was like for my family. So tell him, as calmly as you can, that you need him to help you help him. Maybe his protective instincts will kick in a bit if you let him know that you are hurting.
Break something. Seriously, it can feel really good. Take a glass jar or an old plant pot and smash it. Pound it to smithereens if you like. It just might help.
Also, take some time for yourself. Get away from him, regularly, and do things for you. Go out for lunch with friends. Go shopping and try on fun clothes. Do things that are completely unrelated to cancer. There is help available to fill in for you while you have some "me time." Contact the Livestrong Foundation, Gilda's House, American Cancer Society and any local agency you can find and tell them you need help.
Good luck to you both.
Of all the entries on this page only booboo hit the mark. You don't need anyone preaching to you that you shouldn't feel the way you do since your husband has the cancer and not you. You don't need anyone telling you that you should just love your husband, cause if you didn't you would be the XXX out of there in a New York minute and let him take care of himself. We both get that radiation and chemo makes you fatigued but everything I read said to keep moving cause it helps the radiation and chemo go through you. My husband doesn't want to go anywhere, when people come to visit he doesn't talk. We tried to get him on antidepressants but he said that he ran a reaction to them (yea right). He latter admitted that there isn't anything wrong with him. I don't have the opportunity to stay home and take care of him nor do I think I could do that 7 x 24. I don have someone that comes in 3 days a week to help with him. Nor do I think I could do this without killing him. Just think I go to work just to get a sanity check. This is very difficult to deal with and people preaching to you as if you are some type of monster is wrong. Everyone deals with this in there one way. I have some friends that I can vent to but I still have to come home to this every night. I could go on and on but for what you know where I'm coming from. I totally relate to you. Somehow we will get through this. Best of luck. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.
You deal with anger by venting it.
You rid yourself of anger like you rid yourself of a closed fist. You simply open your hand and relax.
Remember the reasons you married this man. You promised to love him in both sickness and in health. You did not promise to be his servant, did you?
You must speak with him openly and honestly. If he is depressed, he needs assistance. If he is weak he needs to strengthen. I know what it is like to be sick and have no energy and I know that cancer is a thief and steals your will to live.
You must explain to your hubby that you will fight with him but not for him and that he must pull his share or the two of you need to get outside help.
You must do whatever you think is the right thing to do. If it were me, I would not keep my feelings hidden and I would believe that letting go of the hidden frustration would help to dissipate the
anger. But it isn't me, it is you.
I was in the same place your husband is in. Despite my husband's encouragement, I was unable to actually do the things he thought I was up to doing. Cancer treatments and meds reak havoc on your body...and you can't do anything about that or completely understand what he is feeling. Similar to seeing and ADHD child and asking "why can't he control himself?" In my position as the Mom, I sought help in my children...taking responsibilities off my husband. My youngest (11 at the time) son's new "job" was to cook meals for us....now 3 years later, he can cook a full meal - side dishes included - and coordinate it all so it is all ready all at the same time. He gets paid for this...$2.50 per meal for 2 or more people. It gave him great pride, sense of responsibility, and some pocket money for those expensive X-Box games LOL. Try to take your anger from the cancer OFF your husband. I know it is difficult to put anger on an inanimate object...but that is what our therapist has gotten my husband to do. We are in counseling now....and working our way back to a healthy marriage....don't resent your husband for the state he is in...it's not his fault that he got cancer. And, take time for yourself! That doesn't mean going out to the grocery store or to run errands....but literally walking for relaxation, de-stressing at the gym, meditating, etc. Can't leave your husband alone? Have a neighbor come in to sit with him for 30-60 mins or so. A change in conversation would do your husband good....insist on it for your own health and wellness, too. If you don't take care of yourself, you can't take care of him either. Encourage him a little at a time...to take a shower, go for a short walk with you (a little longer each day), and seek help for his (most likely) depression. That would be a great start....
For more on this subject, check out my blog:
and my website has some useful links, too:
Hi..I want to share what I wrote on FB...First, it is important to remember that this illness, although one individual has it, truly 'belongs' to all that love him or her. I am deeply in love, married for 22 plus years with an 18 and 20 year old. I am 52 and my husband is 68, He has stage 4 colon cancer and has been in treatment for 3 years and doing well. I work about 50 hours a week. My husband has chemo every week..one long chemo with Dr appts and blood work plus chemo and one just the chemo. Unless I am visiting colleges with my daughter, I make it to every one. I have been through 2 major surgeries with him and 5 major hospital stays, plus countless outpatient visits in addition to this. I have chosen to go out very seldom unless he can join me. He is an incredible man and I only want him to be well...but, as I said, we are in this together and this is what I wrote:
Hi...I am my husband's caregiver...battling colon cancer for 3 + years. I work 50+ hours a week. He has chemo every week. My biggest issue is that I wish he would take better care of himself...
I want to share with you all what we, as caregivers, need from those we love so deeply who are fighting this disease. PLEASE do the best you can, to whatever capacity you have, to take care of yourself. Please take your meds, and on time. If it means setting an alarm clock, then please do it.We will put them in an easy spot for you to get, and even put them in pill organizers if that helps. We will leave water by your side for you to take it.
The hardest part for US is worrying day and night.
Please eat and drink well. Even if you are not hungry, this is normal, but you must eat. We will shop and cook and prepare for you...but you must eat it. Yogurt, cheese and crackers, Ensure...etc...etc...If you have energy, you will feel better. We will make sure there is always fresh food in the house.
PLEASE do not tell us you feel well when you do not. You may have an infection and you are doing noone any favors by trying to be 'brave'. I know it is horrible that you may have to be admitteed to the hospital again, but the sooner it is determined what it is, the sooner you will get out of the hospital.
Please text or call and keep us up to date as to how you feel.
We cannot be home all the time, but you are still the most important person in the world to us and you are never off our mind.
Please stay strong but know that it is impossible to always be strong. That although we are 'labeled' your caregiver, you are ours as well...you care for us by taking care of yourself and loving us. We do what we do because of how much you love us and how much we love you...so it is 'mutual caregiving.'
Always know that your cancer is not yours alone..it is 'ours' and this journey belongs to both of us...so we must fight and will fight together,.
We love you
Inordinately, sometimes he may want you to wait on him is that he may feel when you DO wait on him, he may feel that you love him more... men are like children, they want their attention.
Also, unfortunately, they again are like children - if they cant get their attention in a positive manner they may seek their attention in a negative way...
My husband is physically disabled, has vascular disease, and is mentally ill...this has pretty much been our focus for many years now. I have worked with developmentally disabled folks for the last 17 years of my working life. I have learned the difference between caretaking and caregiving, and how not to enable by not doing those things he could do for himself. It did not come instantaneously, but with love, patience, learning and time. There are those days those illnesses truly incapacitate him for a day or more. We have had a 35 year marriage, so by now, I can tell when he is experiencing symptoms or it is b.s. :) My diagnosis of SCLC has had a major impact on him, and there are days when he seems very far away. I have to ask him what he is thinking/feeling or he will stay distant. Anyhow, I guess what I am trying to relate is that you consider this may have thrown your husband into a clinical depression.Talk to him caringly, tell him that you are concerned because you have noticed that he is not caring for himself. A call to his doctor could be a good start. Best to both of you~
I was diagnosed with lung cancer in Dec. 2011. My husband has been my caregiver and I know he is now getting tired of it. All I can tell is that I hate that the cancer has made me so dependent. That I have to hear him grumbling or feel his anger about going to the grocery or whatever the task is. We talked about his feelings and mine. He feels I dont put enough effort into getting back to 'normal'. I tell him that the treatment and the cancer have made it so I am exhausted, weak, in pain, depressed, anxious what the next doctor visit will bring. And waking up everyday with the thought that I have a terminal illness and aware that I am here for another day.
No matter what everyone says unless you have the cancer there is no way you can understand what it feels like to be living with the killer....and what it takes to battle it.
I have stopped asking for help. The pets don't go to the vet. The house doesn't get cleaned. I don't ask for what I want. Just what I need. And that is with reservation. Quality of life sometimes suffers.
I guess what I'm saying is that he may be terribly destroyed that he can't take care of you and he has changed your life. And he knows that he will never be the same as he was. He could be afraid. Your constant attention maybe what gives him the strength to battle on.
The solution may be yours alone.
(Sorry after rereading this it is more my personal journey. I sent it on with the hope that there may be something to help you)
You need to explain to your husband that he is making himself worse. He could get blood clots or pneumonia if he just lays or sits around. You can tell him that afternoon you will take care of him but in the morning he is on his own. It sounds harsh but it is for his own good.