“It’s time to focus not only on the opportunity we have, but how we can improve. It’s also a time to communicate openly”.
Every day brings new results, new problems, new hope, etc. Every day we run into someone else we tell about the cancer and they offer their help. It is also a time to spot the problems in your relationship. The pychological impact of living with cancer is now starting to really creep into our relationship.
I hate myself sometimes. How can I argue with my wife who is struggling with cancer and is about to face a key life event? I want so much for her to be happy, but obviously this cancer is creating tension that strains the fabric of your relationship. We have always noted our issues in our marriage, but in times of crisis, these small things get magnified.
Our basic problem is the same as everyone else. You’ve seen the commercials where the husband and wife go shopping and asks for his choice on color for shoes, and other items and whatever he picks, she goes with the other? Well that is our life in a nutshell. To be honest I am okay with this on most matters of trivial decision-making. In fact, I’m partly to blame as I’ve always been attracted to neurotic people. My dad used to say “It hasn’t been easy” when asked about his marriage. I’ve never wanted the storybook marriage,. I want excitement, challenges, change, etc. My wife has given me all of that and I find many of her quirks very endearing, but these days my frustration is growing as I try to be helpful. My wife is asking me which doctor she should go to and choosing the other one, asking me which reconstruction size she should try and going with the other one and on and on and on……I finally lashed out last night and told her that if she wanted to go this alone, then go right ahead. I told her I was the one feeling like he was on an island and if she had a choice, then don’t ask me anymore. I wasn’t sure if she was disagreeing with my choices or really choosing what she wanted. I didn’t want her to choose the wrong one because it had become a habit to go with the other choice. In the end, I didn’t need to be disagreed with, but rather just have her choose what she wanted. I told her that this is no longer a game and that I can’t take the rejection along with the stress. I’m here to provide support but not at the expense of being bashed against the rocks.
Was I being selfish? Insensitive? Fortunately my wife came around and apologized. I told her this has to stop completely. Not just now, but after 20 years of this, I was flat broken down. We can’t be like this and revert back to our bad habits when we are faced with this life crisis. We made up, but it made us both think.
I reminded her that we have to start dreaming again like we said we would do at the beginning. Separate dreams, big dreams, long-term dreams would help us. We also needed to work on eliminating some of our faults, our unnecessary habits, and other things which we waste our time and effort on each day. It was just the contrarian in my wife. She never rejects my thoughts maliciously. She just always likes to see the other side of the coin. If my glass is half full, hers is half empty and vice versa. Some say that we are perfect complements to each other. Well sometimes being black and white isn’t always the best. Being gray together helps bring the harmony.
Well we were at least dragged out of our despair with a great email this morning from her canecer surgeon. She wrote that my wife’s MRI came back clear on her nodes and both breasts other than the cancer we’ve identified. This increases the chances even more that my wife will not require any sort of chemo, radiation or other unlikely road bumps that will alter her recovery. The last hurdle will be the final pathology of the cancer and the nodes which occurs post-surgery. We’re almost there at the top of the mountain it seems and yet we haven’t even started to get our harnesses on.
We are now on a high again on that emotional roller coaster. The energy is flowing for both of us. we can now get back to work and focus on being productive in life, work, and our marriage for the next two weeks.