• Is it typical for some diagnosed with cancer to want to deal with it on their own? How do you support them?

    Asked by erburns on Saturday, March 17, 2012

    Is it typical for some diagnosed with cancer to want to deal with it on their own? How do you support them?

    My boyfriend's colon cancer came back after 5 years, and it looks like they may need to go ahead and cut out the part of his colon they saved the first time. He is hesitant to live with a colostomy bag the rest of his life, and is actually considering not having it done. He broke up with me because he said he needs to deal with it on his own, and that I need to move on to find someone who isn't sick. I don't want him to be alone.

    3 Answers from the Community

    • abrub's Avatar

      He's hurting and terrified. Ask if you can go to either his appointments with him or for some couples counseling. He needs you, but is trying to hide from the horrors he foresees. It sounds like he's hiding from himself while he thinks he's just hiding from you.

      See if he'll join the ACS Cancer Survivors Network Colon Cancer discussion group. Lots of people there have had colostomies, and are doing well. It isn't the end of the world, tho it certainly can seem that way.

      over 4 years ago
    • mamajltc's Avatar

      My husband has had a colostomy bag for over 2 years...it is not bad at all...my best advice is to make sure he seeks a colostomy nurse, a specialist. But from a 'lay person'...here is what we use. There are plenty of companies out there, but we have found that Byram is the best for our needs...they are wonderful. We buy precut flanges (the piece that goes on the body, and holds the bag)...they are we bit more expensive but so worth it. I don't know what other companies make the products, but we have found Hollister to be great. At first, I had to help him change his bag, but now he does it with ease. It is something we seldom think about anymore,,,and have found out that many people have it.
      Please ask any question you might have...I don't have all the answers, but I do know that it was something that at first was frightening but am so grateful for.
      I have found that the key to living with cancer and people you love, is communication. It is so tough sometimes because this illness can be so mentally exhausting...go out to a place you like to be..a restaurant, a park, a walk...and talk. And listen. I promise you, things happen without even being planned. And please know that you and he are never alone...and please, always choose..Hope :)

      over 4 years ago
    • CarolLHRN's Avatar

      When I found out I had rectal cancer last summer, I had been dating someone for about 4 or 5 months. The very first thing I did when the tumor was found was to break up with my boyfriend. I just had to deal with the situation myself and I knew I was going to have an ileostomy and I couldn't imagine ever being intimate again. I had a good support system of friends so I wasn't alone in my journey. I just couldn't handle being in a relationship and deal with everything I had in front of me.

      I'm about 8 months into my treatment and I am still grateful that I am not dating anyone. The journey takes sooo much out of you and it's an effort some days just to get out of bed. Putting the effort into making a relationship work is just too overwhelming for me. I need a lot of rest and knowing no one is relying on me or wants to spend time with me makes it easier for me to just go home after work sometimes and just collapse on the couch for the night without a care in the world. I just don't think I could do that if I was in a relationship. Sometimes my friends come over and I want them to just go home. It's work to entertain even the best of friends even if they are not expecting me to do anything.

      I would give him some space and e-mail him in a few weeks after things are sorted out a bit better. It is terrifying to go through cancer treatment, especially one that changes your life and your body image so much. He may just need a good friend right now without the stress of a relationship.

      Good luck to you. When he's ready to start dealing with the journey in front of him, there are lots of resources and support here.

      over 4 years ago

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