Re:And Life Goes ON: Daily Support
Sunday, April 07, 2013 11:44 AM
Ruthie and Karen - I, too, am just seeing your posts for the first time, and want to tell you that, regardless of how your husbands are making you feel, you are wonderful, intelligent and emensley strong and resiliant women warriors, and deserve all the love that the world has in it.
Ruthie - I'm glad that you've found some clarity and your voice through therapy. Therapy, with a good therapist, can be a good thing (so long as you're careful that they don't misinterpret things that have happened in the past). We don't go through BC alone - not the support part or the disease part. For those of us who are married or in committed relationships when the disease becomes relevant, it will, as we know, have a huge effect on our relationships (and not just the one with our significant other). Yes, WE are the ones undergoing the knife and the chemo and the pain and personal fears, but our significant others are going through some of their own - the fear of loosing us, the feeling of helplessness and inability to be that strong man who can fix things and make us smile and feel better. I'm not saying this to excuse behaviors, but, rather, to maybe shed light on what you may be living with now. I've said so many times over the years, including during treatment, that there is a LOT of support for us warriors (thank God for Komen!), but virtually nothing for our families. Sure, the hospitals offer, as an aside, Social Workers 'if your family needs one' to help them get through, but I'd imagine not many take them up on that 'by the way' offer. I was fortunate that my husband was 150% there for me. He came to appointments, checked me in for surgeries and then was paged when I was in recovery to come back immediately to hold my hand, changed drains .... BUT, I never saw him falter or be scared, as I was. I know he was, but he isn't the type to EVER show anything less than positivity. Gloom and doom is not his strong suit, so he covers with humor (so much so that, more than once, I had to ask him NOT to go into pre-op with me so I could meditate and not be pissed at him for joking around). All that said, although we have an enormous love for eachother and are eachothers best friend and do everything together, there is no intimacy any more. I'd like to blame it on breast cancer, but the intimacy lessened over the years before breast cancer, and, I think, was more a result of (1) my weight gain years before BC and HUGE gain after BC, and (2) the stressful job I had for 20+ years that required a long 'unwind' period when I'd get home.
I've kind of lost where I'm going with this .... perhaps what I'm trying to say is, (1) we all realize, as survivors, that we suffer from a form of PTSD, if you will, and need to accept that the people who are close to us (our significant others), go through a form of PTSD as well, and need to accept that and work through it, if they will, by either talking to eachother or going for therapy, or finding an online support group, and (2) I know, for me, my level of allowing myself to be abused (be it professionally, emotionally, or otherwise) is tremendously lower than pre-BC. I no longer am willing to remain in relationships that are toxic (haven't spoken to my sisters or father in years). Regardless of which scenario hits home for each of you (Ruthie and Karen), your happiness is the #1 priority. And, Karen, YOUR happiness IS even more important than your child's happiness, because they are inseperably linked. Do you think your son can be truly happy seeing his mother so sad and emotionally abused? I watched my father verbally abuse my mother for most of my life (and it's worse now that they're in their mid-late 80s and he needs mom to care for him) .... all the dance classes, piano lessons, extra curricular activities, and 'stuff' in the world couldn't make up for living in that toxic environment (and THEY, believe it or not, to this day, claim that they 'love' eachother!).
I hope you (Ruthie and Karen) continue seeking out YOUR answers and hope your husbands come around and accept that they, too, need to do some soul searching. Life, as we know, is WAY to short to waste it being miserable. Intimacy is one thing .... having someone you WANT to share your life with, whether a significant other, or just good friends, or even being happy living life in your own skin, is something entirely else.
Karen - I know you've had a lot of changes and obstacles going on recently, and one more change may be a lot to handle, but, you can't stay in a state of emotional abuse like you're describing. Who CARES what your husband thinks about whether or not you'll find another man! You don't seem to have one now (from what you're describing). If you (as a couple) can't fix it, don't be afraid to save yourself and your son from the abuse. Emotional abuse is just as harmful, if not more, than physical abuse ... we just don't think of it that way.
I love you both and hope you are both able to find a road to personal happiness and get joy back into your lives, and, if it's to be, your marriages. <3
Diag 1/2006, DCIS-left, IDC-right, ER+/PR+, Node Neg, Stage 1
Bilat Mast 2/2006
6 Rnds Chemo (FAC)
Right then Left exp infect/removed
Right lat dorsi 10/2006
Left lat dorsi 1/2007
On Tamoxifen since 2007 (on 10-yr cycle)