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Caring for ex-husband stage 1V liver. We are in our 40's 
Started by Dee46
25 Jun 2015, 1:55 AM

Three years ago my marriage ended, six months after he was diagnosed with colon liver cancer I am his caregiver. How do I do this? Monday he was diagnosed terminal.  I am still so angry over him leaving but love him so much as he fights this battle. I am terrified all the time which masked itself as anger. I am all he has in town. He is so scared and directs his anger at me. We equally love our boys, 11 and 18. He is a wonderful father. I don't know how to talk to him without making him angry, do I just give him space and let him come to me? 
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Reply by KathCull_admin
25 Jun 2015, 3:51 AM

Hi Dee46, 
Welcome to our community, I am glad you found us Dee46. One of the members, 
Marymary who posted to Husband has stage four head and neck cancer has also become the caregiver for her son's father since his illness.  On that thread you will also meet Xenia, NatR, Melinda and Marstin.

Thinking about the feelings your husband is expressing you might find this article Living with Limited Time: Exploring Feelings helpful

It is a tough time for all of you. Are there people in your life who can understand and support  you? How are the children managing?

Take care

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Reply by JennJilks
25 Jun 2015, 11:23 AM


What a difficult situation. You are wise to understand how fear turns to anger.

You have nothing to fear.
You simply do the best you can. 

It is typical of human beings that we turn our fear to anger. In your case, what a situation.

My ex-husband (who had remarried) contracted cancer. His wife, with Early Onset Dementia, well, she wasn't coping. I was angry with him for not seeking help for his wife. She was a good woman. 

Our emotions aren 't wrong, it's what we do with them that proves us human. You have risen above.

I found, with my late mother, that she was angry and hurtful with me. Trying to provide her with care, she questioned my every move. Eventually, I told her that I would give her space. I was doing this for her. When she was ready, let me know and I would help.

I think, if you state this simply for your ex, "I am feeling... when you..."
Counting to ten, during an interaction, might help. Let go the anger when it arises. Acknowledge it, and let it pass. Concentrate on the job at hand. (This is called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.) 

There is nothing that is greater than helping another pass into the next world with dignity and grace. Sometimes this isn't possible, but you make the best decisions you can at the time, and rise to it if you can.  
I went over to my hospice client's house  last week, and found him holding up his Depends, tangled with his catheter. He's on heavy drugs for infection and not 100% mentally. I took a deep breath and remembered who he was a year ago when we chatted, while I provided respite for the family. I cleaned him up, changed his sheets, and kept talking to him. I can't change his diagnosis. I can treat him as a human being. 
You do what you can. That is all. 
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Reply by Razz
28 Jun 2015, 1:53 PM

Oh Dee what a difficult and emotionally conflicting situation you must be in.  I can certainly understand your fear and anger (and perhaps some resentment as well).  Trying to be his caregiver with all these mixed feelings must be very hard.

As other have said - do the best you can and feel able to do.  Odds are that he is responding to you in anger but it's not really "you" that he is angry with but "life or lack there of".  It's not fair but he is taking it out on you because you are there and he can't take it out on the disease.  

It might be helpful for you to talk about all you are feeling with a therapist or someone in a similar position (pastor, social worker etc.) who can help you sort through all these feelings. As well feel free to write out all of what your feeling here - it's a safe place and it's a place where others "get it".  Being a caregiver effects us in so many ways on so many levels and unless someone has gone through it themselves it's often difficult for them to understand.  And as hard as it may be at times it is also important that you take good care of yourself and find ways to be "outside" of all that is going on around you.  These breaks are so important.

be good to you - Razz  
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Reply by Marymary
03 Jul 2015, 11:25 AM

Hi DEE46

I so can relate to your situation I honestly can - the love we have for our children is what makes us do what needs to be done - you want to be the role model for them about LIFE and in the process of doing so we do what we FEEL needs to be done as well we are natural care givers we automatically resort to helping another for it is inside of us.  We want to show our kids how people should really be when it comes to crunch time, our love for them shines on through in many aspects, if it were NOT for them would you still be there at this time?  I've questioned that myself if not for our son would I - honestly - probably not.  :eave him be is what I would say., give medicine / food / water etc., but other than that leave him be!!! Tell him why - you are much to angry at me to do oterwise., I will feed you / take care of you but I will NOT be your angry post., I will not and I do not have to be that for you.  So you want to be angry go ahead but I will only do what I have to and do not want to listen to you rages at me.  I think that is totally ok - nothing wrong with that at all.  ONLY A SUGGESTION - I feel how you do too but I can't help myself I LOVE myself enough to not allow that anger thrown at me all the time & say to him I  am not HERE TO BE YOUR whipping boy - you know.  I'm here to help period

My son's dad who is my ex, we haven't been together for 15 years had cancer @ end of 2013 beg. of 2014 & I was the all go to., I did what I had to do at that time but it took it's toll., I was the decision maker, the power of attorney in all aspects, his executor/trustee/beneficiary which I had to prove myself time and time again because I was in for all intense and purposes his ex not wife but ex., So I carried around the will pretty much all the time., because he was in a comatose state and could not speak for 4 months so ya I did it all.  I paid for my suite for 4 months wehn I only seen it twice for 15 mins each time.   I was NOT mad or angry at the time nor afterwards but now I am more resentful or angry due to the last time if that makes sense? 

Unfortunately for him he got cancer again, NO it did not return but another form which has nothing to do with the other., I am once again doing this again.  I am a little more bitter & agitated this time around.  Why because I am living here in his house (Jun 15) and he kind of resents it but knows he needs it, so I've given up my place and want to / need to because I do not want our son dealing with his father on his own & we both know how he can be - a stubborn scotsman.  We  know him best and can handle him not alot of other would be able to do so.  He is beyond stubborn - I call it stupid frigin stubborn lol.   He is mad / angry / bitter and fed up and he takes his anger out on me why because he can - someone told him to go easy on me and he said I just have to bitch and well she's there and she shouldn't take it personal, I just have to get it out., so I told him you need to deal with crap and don't take it out on me it's not my fault you have cancer - I'm here to help you and if you want to slam me (bite the hand that feeds you - you better think again) when I'm only here to help you better get a wake up kit cuz I can only take so much - so watch it., that helped for a bit.  he still a grumpy bear and I think you can be that way all you want but that is NOT who I am - I'm not angry person so., you can be that way but I am choosing not to be that way., I just leave him be - I don't talk to him nor get in his way., I leave him be works bette that way for now. Give medicine/water food if he eats it - well then there is some talking to be had but better leave him alone in his own misery.

He likes his place the way it is and I can't do this and that etc. etc., no plants cuz of the cats., they have two and I hate the cat hair on everything., don't move this - don't do that - like holy crap it's still taking time to adjust even though he does not cook nor clean anymore doesn't mean he does NOT stand behind myself and my son - barking orders even if I tell him look I may not do it like you but that does NOT mean it is frigin wrong so back off, he stands and watches our son cut grass and tells him what to do and how to do it - so embarrasing for our son but for him too because the neighbors have even commented on it.  He has lost control of his life as he knows it so this is his way of having some form of semblance to his life?  does not make it easier nor does it make life simple but more difficult because he has been one cranky bear.  Every day only worse., so I barely talk to him he doesn't want to talk nor be talked to he says but just barks and swears up a storm - he makes it so much more difficult to be around., I am a very spiritual person and I'm feeling very frustrated and just want to scream at hims stop it stop the crankiness stop bitchin stop it stop it stop it. I will tell him off if he gets on my case I don't have a problem with that whatsoever but htat is why we work., I don't have a problem saying what I want to say when I want to say it.  But I do want to tell him to just stop being so crass and bitter/angry and fed up as he calls it.

You know you hear about the cancer patients who don't change but are so sweet and dear and if anything they give their best to all concerned because they appreciate life more they grasp on to all they can and enjoy every moment due to the illness.  IS THIS JUST A MYTH - IS THERE ACTUAL PEOPLE OUT THERE LIKE THAT - I question this one - I do.

I know he's resentful of his life and it sucks and it is hard on his body - its the second time around for him but does he honestly have to be so frigin miserable., damn depressing is what it is.  Sorry I went off there - but I feel that doesn't mean I will say those things to him I do NOT allowed to be bitched at for no reason mind you.  I tell him so.

Prior to this cancer ever since we split in 99 we have gotten together to show our son how people can still get along and we use to have one day per month a family day., we had dinner, movie etc., just for our son., we stayed "friends" lack of a better word because we LOVE our son., he means to world to both of us.  You know Wayne (son's dad) said to me a few years back if it was not for our son I probably would not even be talking to you (that hurt). I do know if the roles were reversed it would not be the same - oh ya he'd put some effort in but he would definitely not be doing what I'd be doing - for sure.  He wouldn't drive me every frigin day to cancer clinic., lots of things so many things, I've thought of - but does that stop me - NO it does not because I am NOT him., I am a different person., I am who I am., I do alot due to our son., for his father has NO family here & only a couple of friends.  So., do I do it because of guilt or remorse cuz of no family - NO I do it for my son first and foremost and then becaise I am a natural nurturer and I am compassionate person.  I have NO reason to do other than my son., I thought of that - would I do this if my son were working out of town?  Yes I'd check in but NOT move in.,   I would not do as much as I do for sure.  I am being honest with me.

So you do what you have to do - your reason for doing so?  Something you have to come to terms with on your own, you do NOT have to answer to anyone else though if they ask none of their business.  You for you due to the love of your kids.  We are natural nurturers!!!

I can relate to being angry/resentful etc., I do NOT stay in that state but feel it and let go of it and then move on.  You will drive yourself crazy if you stay there all the time have some form of release., yoga.,  running., etc., meditate I do - cuz it helps me., music., movies etc., not that I've watched a movie in awhile mind you but you know any way to escape for awhile - helps.

We will talk soon - hope it gets better  - hugs
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Reply by Marymary
11 Jul 2015, 4:26 PM

Hi Dee - just wondering how you are doing - how you are coping. 

Just thinking of you sending you some positive energy your way!!! 
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Reply by Dee46
12 Jul 2015, 1:04 AM

Ohhhh I can reply now!!!! Thank you so much!!!! Mary Mary  I wish you could see me! I'm sitting here with my mouth hanging wide open! I truly, really thought there was nobody anywhere who is going through and I am.  Are you kidding me! I have to take time and think about this, I don't even know what I'm supposed to say. And if you knew me that would be a  very funny, I'm 46 years I've never been speechless. 
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Reply by Marymary
12 Jul 2015, 1:57 AM

lol I am unsure how to take your reply - you say you can reply but say your speechless at the same time lol.

I'm assuming you & I are in the exact same boat lol.  Things happen for a reason so this is how the universe connected us was though this website., love how it all works., don't know how it happens just that it works is so very cool - hope this is making sense to you.

So please feel free to chat with me ok.

Where do you reside?
How is going now? (I'm going to assume the same)
How are the kids doing?
How are you COPING? 
What do you do to release., to let go; so you can move on to the next day.

What helps me is seriously ONE DAY AT A TIME!!!  I will deal with tommorow when it comes., won't deal with anything til then., no point doing so.

I am his power of attorney and will have to deal with some insurance stuff but don't have to talk to or deal with til Monday morning so that is off the agenda til then.

I do not ALLOW other people "stuff" to get to me, that is theirs and their's alone., besides my son and his dad's I will deal with but still NOT take on as my own.  Family has been difficult and hey guess what you may be family but still I don't need your stuff.  

For. e.g. my own sis goes on today saying we should not be mad at each other at this time.  Like OMG., if you honestly think I have room in my head for your ego trivial crap, your give yourself way more credit than I for sure do, let alone the time for such things.  I told her exactly that.,  that is your thing not mine.  I will provide you with updats but other than that., don't have the time nor effort to comfort you and all your woes at this time., so you are on your own. 

But yes I've always been forthright blunt but that is WHO I AM and always have been.  Now I am actually more quiet and share with you all but not with people who I use to engage in.  Why cuz I do not understand them at this time and how they react to this situation.  Hope makes sense.

Yesterday & today are NOT good days for my son's dad and he states this are the most terrible days for him., hard to hear., see., but I can just tell it's only temporary and HOPEFULLY sooner rather than later he will start on the upside., he too has become much more quieter., due to his voice as well as really not doing well., he has taken a turn for better., do to the not talking I think and yes he appreciates it as he always has but moreso now - I think. He seem's more gentler

So yes thinking of you & please feel free to talk away ok.,  may get back on tommorow dinner time ok. hugs you
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Reply by JennJilks
12 Jul 2015, 1:00 PM

That truly is the key: one day at a time! Deeps breaths. 
We have trip #38 to radiation oncologist Monday.
Trip #37 was quite the one.
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Reply by Marymary
12 Jul 2015, 1:47 PM

Jennjilks - yes it is a trip lol to say the least.  You feel kind of relieved when you get near or when you have completed the treatments - we both did.  There was a kind of let down closest thing to it., like hey you did this and we are near completion or it has completed.  

Unfortunately after the treatments are finished then this other kind of wait starts to happen - strange it always seems like your waiting for something - well that is how I feel anyway.

No not waiting for end but now waiting to see when he starts to be a little bit feeling better or start going on the upside of things you know.

I sent out a prayer request to like 45 people yesterday., I honestly believe power of prayer or power of thoughts truly do work whether it brings one just a sense of calm or a sense of hope or a sense of strength or even just a moment of stillness where there is NO sickness for a few moments - you know, peace of mind even.  No I am not religious but I am spiritual and do believe in prayer or powerful positive thoughts, they do make a difference.

This so does chlange how you look at the world huh - things that use to get to you just dont anymore and everything seems so frigin trivial now because all you want is someone to feel better even just a little bit for a little time - you know.  

I do sent out positive thoughts & prayers for all those who are using this site and you are & we are all in this together and I thank you for your support and yes may i hopefully one day be support to someone else it is a thankless job and no I do not need thanks but you know what I mean.  

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