Discussion Forums

How to help my husband who is terminal and self-destructing 
Started by jopatte
28 Dec 2017, 12:32 PM

My husband while treating Hep C was found with an pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor - had a whipple surgery in January 2015, in January 2016 found that it had metastasized to liver - particle size across the entire liver.  He is currently taking Afinitor to try and stop the cancer cells from multiplying and dividing.  My husband is an alcoholic

I am reaching out to this forum because I have tried to be supportive all these years and if anything he drinks more and alienates himself from his adult children and grandchildren.  They all came down this Christmas and he spent more time out in his shop then inside and  participating in any meals

How do you help someone that is on this self destructive path?  It has left me feeling I just want it to be over which is not my nature.

Report this post      
Reply by MikeGold_admin
30 Dec 2017, 7:47 PM

Welcome to the forum jopatte and thank you for reaching out. 

Cancer, and any life threatening illness for that matter, can have such a devastating effect on our personalities and self esteem. It is also natural for both of you to be experiencing forms of anticipatory grief during this time. It is completely normal for you to be feeling guilty about your thoughts of just wanting it to be over. When we experience the change that our partners go through during cancer, it affects us deeply and thinking that it would be better if it was over is just a way for you to express your compassion for his and your own situation. Can you tell us more about your hopes, and if you feel it's appropriate, your fears for the future?

The self-destructive component is another issue as he is grieving the loss of his capacity and potentially the loss of his life and partner. Sometimes the holidays can be the most difficult time of year for people who are grieving and/or approaching end-of-life as meeting with family is just a constant reminder of another major loss that is yet to come. Being an alcoholic, he is choosing this self destructive coping mechanism against the grief that must be consuming him right now. It is important for you to know that despite your desire; it is not realistic to expect him to change or be fixed. The support that you have shown him over the years and will continue to show is so important in achieving a sense of healing from this terrible situation.  

I would also recommend checking out MyGrief.ca as it is just another resource to help you along this path of anticipatory grief. 
Report this post      
Reply by jopatte
01 Jan 2018, 1:10 PM

Thank you for the insight on what he must be feeling. It helps me to realize that I just have to be there and let him do what he must to cope with the situation.  

I do find it hard to not be able to know when, where and what faces us moving forward.   
Report this post