Coping with cancer.


Yesterday I had a bad day.   I felt like I was drowning in anxiety.

 In Michaels racing terms,  having jumped over the hurdles of bowel cancer,  surgery, infection and post operative do-lallyness and thinking that the field would be pretty flat.  we find there is another big fence in front of us.

It turns out that the second tumour they found is what’s called a lymphoma, a cancerous tumour on the lymph node.  A lymph node is part of the kind of drainage system of the blood..

Before I knew this,  as Michaels mind seems to be better,  my biggest worry had been managing the incontinence, but suddenly that paled into insignificance.

I had to stay home in the afternoon, as we were having a front window replaced,  which had steamed up within the double glazing.  Maybe it was a mistake to be on my own all day because all that was going through my head was “cancercancercancer”  and  “ is this the beginning of the end?”

Eventually I walked down to the supermarket, just to get away from myself and bumped into one of my neighbours, ( who is the biggest gossip)  and to my embarrassment, burst into tears in the middle of the detergent aisle.

She was lovely.  She took me for a cup of tea and I poured it all out to her.  She knew just what to say.  No platitudes, just listened and then said “that’s  really, really shit!,  I am so sorry”  I laughed because I have never heard  her swear before.

Actually, she was probably the best person to unburden to, as her partner had exactly the same thing, twelve years ago and is now a fit and healthy 80 year old.

So maybe  ” the Higher power, karma, God, Allah, or whatever”   does move in mysterious ways.

So, getting things in proportion and  returning to my house,  I really appreciated the return of my lovely view, in more ways than one.


Michael continues to improve slowly, although, just taking him for a spin outside in a wheelchair exhausted him yesterday.

His way of dealing with it is typical denial.  He says it seems a bit surreal and he is just pretending it is happening to somebody else.   So I have to go along with that.

This  and what I see as his fragile mental state, makes it difficult for me to discuss, any fears he might have  and my fears and hopes with him just now.  Any  gentle attempt to discuss “feelings”  or even physical discomfort,  is just met with impatience and arguments so I just don’t go there.

But what is shocking me now is his attitude toward me.  A flat voice.  No lightness of tone,  no tenderness and whatever I say, however benign,  is turned into a silly disagreement.   I am walking on eggshells.   Yet with others he is sociable and pleasant.

I know this sounds very self centred, but it is really not about me.  I am concerned that he may be anxious or afraid and this is a subconscious way of not engaging with me so he  doesn’t have to discuss anything….or maybe that is just too much stupid analysis and he is just tired.

I had a friend whose partner had cancer last year and I well remember her hurt at the similar way he treated her.  So I guess it is some way people are with cancer.

typical way I have to work to the worst possible scenario and deal with mentally, that in order to be emotionally prepared and then carry on. Which I suppose is what I was doing yesterday.

So I bought myself some flowers.


Today the sun is shining and he smiled at me.

His nurse told me that he had remarked to her, “the care in this place has improved since I got better!”..LOL!

He said he was fed up and bored and I said “ you only have to survive another night.

 “Survive,    he said, that’s a good word”

He might come home tomorrow.


Love Denise

A year ago we had a lovely day out at the seaside in Estonia.


14 thoughts on “JUMPING HURDLES

  1. Oh Denise, I agree with your neighbor, this is shit!

    There are many things I want to comment from experience and I’ll start by saying that if there’s anything I regret with both my mom and dad is not having been able to speak honestly with them for fear of giving them the impression that I was fearing the worst. But how I wish they could’ve been able to express really express how scared or worried they were. I always think I could’ve maybe helped them in some way if just by listening to their honest feelings, but they were also in denial.

    Let me tell you also that they would also get very impatient and even unpleasant with me at times, which would hurt me immensely but I now understand it was all out of fear and frustration. They were scared! At only 59 and 65 years old, and after being healthy all their lives they just couldn’t face an illness like cancer.

    So don’t feel bad if Michael takes it out on you, he is probably terrified. But this type of cancer is very curable and I’m confident you will jump this hurdle too.

    You deserve those flowers and much more.

    Hugs, big hugs!


    • Well I have always admired Michaels optimism, as I am by nature pessimistic. I guess we balance each other out.

      I suppose I have to have my days of gloom and depression to work through it and he has to have his grumpy days to come to terms with things in his own way.

      Actually, he makes me laugh when he says these little things that give a clue to what he is feeing. Like an ironic “Survive is a good word”.

      I don’t think he wants a big discussion because when I give him the opportunity to explore that further he does’t take it. . Sometimes it IS more distressing to talk about things.

      We each deal with things in our own way and at our own pace. I guess.

      Love Denise


  2. I agree with your neighbor and Sylvia – this is just “shit”!! So sorry to read this and I just wish I knew exactly what to say – or could be there with you and know exactly what to do!!! Difficult times for certain and I do know from experience with Tim when he had those two kidney failures that the patient does take it out on the ones they love – and I think you may be exactly right in your thinking that he is cool towards you so that he won’t have to have any serious discussions about his prognosis! I hope you can manage all the ups and downs that will be forthcoming – and please know that we continue to say prayers! Good for you to buy yourself some flowers – you need a little cheer right now!
    Love and hugs,


  3. Well feeling better this morning Sandy. Going to pick him up from the hospital. He actually sounded quite upbeat on the phone.

    Thanks for being there. Especially as I know you have your own “stuff” to deal with.

    Love Denise


  4. I’m very sorry about the lymphoma Denise. Maybe Michael’s attitude is just a way to prevent you and him to become emotional, there is no risk for him to become emotional with his buddies, but he has to keep you at a distance. He may be afraid that you and him may end up in tears like you did with your neighbour, acknowledging your fears. If he feels stronger by being in denial, then let him be. Bisous Anne


    • Thought I’d left you a reply yesterday Anne sorry. Now can’t remember what I said LOL! but everybody is probably right.

      Things are much more relaxed now he is home.

      Thanks for dropping by

      Love Denise


  5. I agree with the others Denise, it is a shit situation. I also think he is being more distant with you to keep his worries at bay. It’s easy to say try not to worry too much about this, when my father was in hospital and I was travelling from Manchester to Cornwall every weekend he was horrible to me, but apparently as nice as pie to the friends and neighbours visiting him during the week. That’s just the way it was. I’m glad you were able to unload to your neighbour.

    I know when he is home it will be hard for you but hopefully things will improve. Give me a call if you want to. Take care, love from Janet xx


  6. I am so glad you bought yourself those flowers. It’s the flowers and cups of tea that do help us to solider on during these shitty times. I am glad to hear Michael is heading home.


  7. Hi Denise,

    I know you are trying not to internalize his sour behavior towards you but it’s hard. I remember my father was unbearable. Every little thing made him so mad that we would actually fight, something I never did with my dad. It’s the fear and they need something/someone to take it out on. I know you know this, but I’m just hoping that this gives you comfort in knowing it’s a typical response when someone is coping with cancer.

    I’m glad that your neighbor offered you some comfort, a laugh and a cup of tea. And hey, that’s good news that her partner was a survivor. I think you may have made a new friend with the town gossip. : )

    Sending you love,



  8. Lisa, hi. thanks for taking the time to comment.

    It is amazing how common this behaviour is. Makes me feel so much better.

    One positive thing now is that we now don’t need to tell anybody. LOL!

    Which is very unkind as our neighbour is a lovely caring woman and would do anything for anybody.

    Love denise


  9. I agree with everyone’s posts – just shitty. And it’s so true that we tend to take it out on those we love most. I saw this with my parents when my dad had heart surgery. I’m glad your neighbor was there for you. Sometimes support comes from the most unexpected places.

    Please know that I’m keeping you and Michael in my thoughts and prayers.


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