What’s wrong with me(n)?

Until July 24

Since poking my head up into the cancer blogosphere, I’ve been looking about a bit, reading blog posts here, there and everywhere. It’s been a grim revelation to see and hear the emotional pain that can accompany cancer.

And, I’m sorry to report, how often men are the wellspring of much of that pain.

No, I’m not saying all men. There are uncountable numbers of men out there who are loving and supportive caregivers all. You can read that in the blogosphere, too: In toting up her cancer blessings, Nicole, larynx cancer, thanked from her heart, Don, my husband — industrial strength, flawless diamond support and escort service for all my treatment needs. My indefatigable rock, he always finds a way to time his jokes when I’m not trying to swallow.

But there is a Guy Thing out there, make no mistake, and I did not set out to find it. I was merely skimming posts, literally just looking out the window while on my cancer journey. And this is what I saw:

A woman with breast cancer, metastasis to her lungs: Don’t know how I’m going to find the strength to do everything I need to do to get rid of this cancer & still work full time which is what my husband seems to think I need to do 😦

A woman with ovarian cancer, in her 40s: Facing a second recurrence, and I am terrified right now. My mother died 18 months ago, after an 11-month bout with OC. Then my father passed away nine months ago of heart failure. So I already had grief and stress in my life, plus my main source of comfort and support is gone. My former husband was not the best of support, but our marriage ended five months before my mother died. So I am crushed at the daunting prospect of going through treatment again.

Another woman with breast cancer: I’m so depressed. I don’t know if it’s my cancer, my new fake breasts, my nasty husband or just life…. I hate my new nipple-less fake breasts, they don’t feel like a part of me and my marriage has fallen apart because my husband refuses to be a part of my cancer afterlife. He won’t touch me, he hates me and wants the old me back.

A woman with stage 4 kidney cancer: My relationship fell apart because of cancer. He couldn’t come to terms with it, and I got tired of the guilt of focussing on my self.

And then I recalled the lady on a Survivor Panel, June 26, 2010, “Moving Beyond Cancer to Wellness” at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center here in Seattle. She had been diagnosed with lymphoma, I believe, and the prognosis had not been good.

“My husband came to me one day and said, ‘I’ll take care of the kids, but I can’t handle your cancer.’” She then explained that there was no way she was going to put her husband, her children and herself through the stresses and pains of divorce only to…die. However justifiable a divorce might have been, she just wasn’t going to cause a family wreck and then leave the scene. (What a classy lady, I thought then, and I think so still.)

She finished her remarks about cancer’s impact on families and then came the Q and A. Someone in the audience finally asked about the elephant in the room: “What became of your marriage?”

“When I realized I was going to live,” she answered, “we separated.”

About Bill Curry

Stage 4 prostate cancer

2 Responses to “What’s wrong with me(n)?”

  1. Well put, from a cancer caregiver par excellence. You were there, very there, when your partner needed you. And no one will ever forget that. Ever.

  2. The world abounds with selfish, self centered, tactless people whose traits create even more negative headwind for a cancer fighter. As for people that support you and pray for you and would do anything to help, all you gotta do is snap your fingers!! Paul

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