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Picture of Topic  'Today I am feeling' - managing emotions


Topic 'Today I am feeling' - managing emotions

Share how you are feeling and swap tips for managing stress with other members and the online team

  • 186 conversations


Started by Anonymous on 23 January 2015 at 10:22

I'm new to this and don't even know where to start. My husband has Pancreatic Cancer, had a Whipples op in October 2014 and has been referred for Chemoradiation therapy a month ago but is not physically fit to have treatment. His mood is extremely low and he often says he wishes it was all over. I'm struggling to cope. Can anyone offer me advice, please.

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  • Picture of SusieQ
    From SusieQ  
    23 January 2015 at 15:40
    Edited on: 23 January 2015 at 15:41


    I'm not surprised you're feeling frustrated with him. Sometimes I think people forget how hard it is to be with someone day in, day out, who says how awful everything is, but declines to take steps to move forward.

    Such is the nature of deep depression, possibly, and I feel for your husband in the dark place he sees himself. To want to get better takes physical and emotional investment, and it sounds as though he has lost that kernel of hope.

    You're doing all that you can,'ve alerted both CNS's, and from the sound of things (if he's been prescribed antidepressants) his GP is also aware. It seems as though the focus of everyone's attention (and possible despair), is your husband...and you're bearing the day to day brunt of it, as well as holding down a job, and caring for his mum.

    You mention the whole family's life is hell at the moment, and it may be that everyone is coming to you for support?  Whilst you may care deeply for your husband, you may not always like his behaviour very much, and the strain sounds to be taking it's toll.

    My dad, a sage yorkshireman, would say you can take a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. Perhaps the hospital team need to just check that there's nothing organic going on (apart from his obvious depression) which is contributing to his weight loss? It may be time, to withdraw a little, particularly when he's angry, as he may feel pressure to do as everyone says, when currently he doesn't want to or feel able to? He's making choices (declining treatment) that feel awful when you're watching from the sidelines, but ultimately this may be his choice...this week...

    Meanwhile, today, my thoughts are more with you, and how to get you through the next months. As I mentioned earlier, do visit Maggie's if you can, because you're in a very difficult situation, as a carer, and desperately need support. It's ok to be angry...but you need a place to vent how you feel, and feel listened to. I hope you may think of joining our online support group too.

    Are you able to organise breaks for yourself, to get out of the situation, even for a few hours. If you work for mental health services, are you able to speak with them about the difficult situation you're in...and perhaps arrange some counselling support through occupational health?

    Please do message either Robyn or myself for some one to one support,

    Warm wishes




  • From Anonymous
    23 January 2015 at 14:52

    Thankyou for your kind words Sue. There is just a twelve week window of opportunity for to start chemotherapy and that will be in two weeks time, however the oncologist says he can extend that by two weeks to see if my husband can improve, put on weight etc. However, my husband does not seem to want to improve as he has refused readmission to hospital for tube feeding, as he is unable? or unwilling? to eat enough food to sustain his discharge weight, which was only 44k, he is now down to 40k, in only 4 weeks. He complains of abdominal pain, but refuses to take his oromorph saying he does not want to become addicted? He then says things like I wish it was over, I regret having the Whipple as I have no quality of life now and I'll give it until May and if I'm no better I'm just gonna put my head down and give up. I just don't know how to help him as I feel angry that we have been through so much over the past few months and he is prepared to just give up. He is very depressed and has been for a long time, even before diagnosis, but refuses to consider antidpressants, or even talking therapy. If I try to ask how he's feeling he shouts that he's fine and fed up with people asking how he is. I tried to seek advice from both The Beatson CSN and his Surgical team CSN, but on both occassions they spoke about my husband not following advice and refusing treatment. I was not allowed to explain that it is not him having cancer that im struggling with, it's more to do with how I am struggling to handle his behaviour. I have felt very angry towards him for the last few days to the extent where I don't even want to talk any longer. I feel upset that medical staff constantly say things like, he's been through a lot, he's had a huge operation and will need time, I am aware of that, but our whole family is going through hell and not one person has asked me how I'm managing? I not only care for my husband now, I also care for his elderly mother who lives with us and I work in MH services full time. Sorry to moan but I cannot see any light at the end of the tunnel, I am terrified about my husbands ongoing failing health and our future seems very bleak indeed. Thankyou for listening.

  • Picture of SusieQ
    From SusieQ  
    23 January 2015 at 11:01
    Edited on: 23 January 2015 at 13:14


    It is so difficult when the person you care about is facing an uncertain future. He's had a big surgical procedure, and that in itself takes some time to recover from. He may only now be emotionally processing the significance of what his pancreatic cancer might mean...and see his current weakness as confirmation that he's not recovering, with his physical health compromised currently.

    You've mentioned that he's not physically well enough for the follow up treatment post his Whipple's procedure...have the doctors determined whether he could go on to have it, should he regain some strength, weight etc?

    It is not uncommon to become depressed in this situation, and living with someone who is feeling low, has ripple effects on those around him. It may be making you feel helpless, and maybe even a little frustrated, that he has decided he's had enough. Are his oncology team and GP aware of how he's feeling...he may benefit from the involvement of a specialist palliative care nurse (sometimes known as Macmillan) to visit, and talk through what is happening, and give advice on symptom control and psychological support. This would help you too, as you could discuss your fears too.

    It can sometimes almost feel as bad for the person watching, waiting and it is for the person with cancer themselves, and I think that is underestimated sometimes.

    If you live near one of our Maggie's Centres, you would be welcome to drop in and meet with others who will understand what you are going through and be able to offer support.  In the meantime, we have online members who are going through, or have faced similar scenarios to you, and can offer their input too.

    You may also like to consider our online family, partners and friends support group, which meets on Monday evenings...this is somewhere you can share how things are, and feel supported. (for more information on our support groups and courses, follow the link here).

    I have sent you a personal message, and hope together we can explore the things you are facing...and help ease the pressure...

    Warm wishes


    Cancer Support Specialist - Maggie's Online Centre

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