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How To Deal With DH Family

Posted: Tue Oct 30, 2018 9:10 pm
by CrossfitChick1980
It has been some years since I posted and I am desperate for advice. My husband, after Mets returned to liver, was deteriorating pretty quickly. He was in quite a bit of pain, the first time he has ever felt cancer pain since his diagnosis. We finally got his pain under control and have moved forward with chemo and therasphere treatment. Since he has been so sick, his family feels the need to come visit almost every weekend and I feel myself growing resentful. I have been a caregiver to my husband for almost five years. I do not need help caring for him- however it would be nice if his family helped out with our children when in town to allow me to spend quality time with my husband. My husband even complains about the visits because he is too exhausted to entertain anyone. If any of you have faced this situation, how do you deal? I am at my wits end with visits!

Re: How To Deal With DH Family

Posted: Tue Oct 30, 2018 9:19 pm
by ginabeewell
Not being in your shoes, I think I would use the stage as a means to the conversation.

"It's so nice that you are so committed to visiting, but at this stage of the disease, we are finding that DH is too fatigued to visit. What we really need is someone to watch the kids while we have some time to relax and reconnect out of town. Would you be willing to do that?"

I have been shocked at how hungry people are for specific suggestions. You'll be giving them a gift by stating how things have changed and letting them off the hook for past unhelpful visits if you frame it as "what we need now."

Re: How To Deal With DH Family

Posted: Tue Oct 30, 2018 10:45 pm
by KimT
I’ve been on both sides. My mom was diagnosed with cancer less than a year after my second cancer. Because I had been through it twice, I knew what she needed more than anyone. When people haven’t been through it, they don’t know how to be helpful. Don’t be resentful, they cannot read your mind. You just need to have a frank conversation about how they can help you. They don’t know it’s exhausting when you feel like you need to entertain visitors. I spent hours and whole weekends at the hospital with my mom. She slept a lot of the time. I told her she didn’t have to be awake for me. I would stay with her regardless. It comforted her to know I was there even though she slept a lot.

Re: How To Deal With DH Family

Posted: Tue Oct 30, 2018 10:48 pm
by WarriorSpouse
Good suggestion from Gina.

I find that relatives who are from out of town are just starting to process what you (and others) have been experiencing for years. It is like you are in chapter five of a story and they are just entering chapter one of the same book. That is their paradigm, so you can understand where they are compared to you and your husband.

I agree with Gina, tell them what you need and ask for their assistance in accomplishing these goals. It may give them purpose to work through stresses that you and your husband have dealt with years ago. Have a designated visiting hour, but emphasize your needs for privacy and rest.

Best wishes.

Re: How To Deal With DH Family

Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2018 1:30 pm
by NHMike
My family (mother and three sisters) showed up at our house on short notice last summer as they were quite concerned and I spent most of the time comforting them and explaining the survival rates, diagnosis, treatment plans and difficulties. And I think that they left less worried and concerned. Two came across the country and the other two were an hour away. I think that they feel that they are providing support in visiting but sometimes it's good to communicate that visitation is tiring or taxing.

Re: How To Deal With DH Family

Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2018 8:31 pm
by CrossfitChick1980
Great advice, I think it just boils down to having a Frank and honest conversation. Will not be easy but if I can bring my husband some peace and comfort, I will have to be honest with his family.

Re: How To Deal With DH Family

Posted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 2:22 pm
by bitchslapped
Sometimes people just want to sit on their butts thinking their presence through visiting is a good & respectful way of showing they care. Try not to be resentful of this. It is just being thoughtless. Yes, hard to understand, I know.

Consider sending a group email or text thanking them for taking time out of their day to spend w/us. Simply state that their visits are meaningful & appreciated, yet @ the same time DH finds it a bit challenging carrying on & focusing on conversations @ times...don't be offended if he dozes off here & there. For those that wouldn't mind we are looking for volunteers to lend a hand by fixing, doing XYZ . It would break up the visits a bit for him while getting a few things done to help out of which you both w/b forever grateful.

Perhaps mention what you both miss is occasionally taking a drive together just the two of you, or quiet lunch/dinner, or a movie w/o kids would mean so much to you guys provided he's up to it on any given day.

Find an approach that works for you; ask for volunteers. The more resentful you are, the harder it w/b to present as authentic/sincere or appreciative.

Let go of the resentment no matter how deserved it may be in your view. It's not helping you. People give in their own ways that is comfortable for them. That means it may not necessarily be what a person needs. Try not to be too judgemental of that. Don't lose sight of the fact that everyone is carrying some type of baggage in their own life; this happens to be yours. You are carrying huge luggage w/DH as cancer patient + 4 kids. We get it here on Colon Talk. Depending where others are in their life, their small or medium sized luggage may seem heavy.

If your DH needs to snooze while they are there, that has to be accepted & understood by visitors. If you need to make a quick trip to the grocery store while they are there politely ask if they don't mind. If they do, then maybe they'll stop coming as frequently.

BTW you might even be proactive w/an email if anyone is coming our direction in the near future or the coming weekend as the toilet needs fixing, or you need to make a huge grocery shopping trip! Maybe DH craving some homemade ??? & you've been so busy w/him & the kid's school = no time. Or for out of towners, suggest stopping off & bring something to potluck; you'll supply paper plates & silverware, coffee, soda. :lol: A win-win if you ask me.

Let us know how things work out!

Best Wishes & Good Luck


Re: How To Deal With DH Family

Posted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 2:48 pm
by zephyr
Please excuse me for a moment while I sort of hijack this thread to say: good job, bitchslapped!

Re: How To Deal With DH Family

Posted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:30 am
by CrossfitChick1980
Just an update- my DH and I sat down and talked about boundaries and how we would like our families to help out. We got to test our boundaries out sooner than we thought as my husband is in the hospital with blood clots. Upon hearing the news, his mom instantly jumped on the road on the way up. Instead of just assuming she was staying with him at the hospital, we actually told her she is most helpful right now watching our 4 girls while I am at the hospital with my husband. I was actually able to stay overnight! They are still overbearing to my husband at times but he is very direct and can talk to his family in a certain tone and they back off. I truly thank you all for the advice and will continue to communicate our needs to our families.

Re: How To Deal With DH Family

Posted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 2:53 pm
by crazylife
If it helps any, I feel your pain! My MIL will not leave my husband's side during his chemo appts or hospital stays. He was in the hospital for a month and I asked her to watch our kids so I could visit and she REFUSED. She said she has to be with her son. She freaks out if I even mention going to his chemo appts and she stay home. I've been reduced to just being the provider of his health insurance somehow by her. She even told me I can find a new husband but this is HER SON. In her angst, she's even gone as far as to blame me for him being sick. I complain too much which made him sick. I made him watch the kids which made him sick. And on and on. She's a friggin nighmare to say the least.

Do you feel better now? LOL.

Re: How To Deal With DH Family

Posted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:01 pm
by mymom
It’s balance. You are exhausted and don’t want to entertain and he is exhausted as well. At the same time, it’s his family. They love him. They have the right to be around as well. If it was me, I would be up front. They are welcome to visit but you also Need them to take the kids so you and he can spend some quality time together. Be kind but direct. In addition, find some nice local accommodations for them to stay in. Changing sheets, washing linens, having food in the house- not something you can do each weekend. Tell them they can stay with you sometimes and other times they should stay elsewhere.