Mohrfamily wrote:DH is no optimist. He's a fighter without a doubt but definitely a pessimist. If you have followed my other posts, Cleveland Clinic gave my husband 30 months give our take 1 week before Christmas 2018.
I am doing my best to be the supportive wife in this I don't need to remind him of what's at stake. I've tried all the positivity I can Its not "IS this my last summer?" Its more "I'm going to be here so what can we plan special in advance"
He still has that nagging pessimistic fear in the background. And because its still there he still has nightmares about it most recently this is his last summer. I've tried many times to explain we haven't had BAD news ::knock on wood:: every scan had come back with nothing new and shrinkage. But the constant "your not ready for surgery" "your car is tricky" just feeds that negative Nancy in him. I worry maybe he needs am anti depressant, but would he take it.
He says he's weaned himself off the prescriptions he's been given for nausea and the only one he takes regularly is the antibiotic for the vectibix rash. He did this to build his strength but also because he doesn't like taking anything.
What should I do, how can I help him live his best life in the now and focus on the good that's been driving us thus far.
I was given 18 months to live in 2010. When chemo started shrinking the tumors, I was excited. But then the docs started their refrain of "you will never be eligible for surgery." It was hard to hear. Depressing and anxiety-producing. I too started thinking about "my last summer" and other things. I'm not a pessimist by nature, but the continual negative news wore me down.
Going to MSK gave me my first glimpse of hope. I thought maybe, just maybe, it might work out. There were rough days there too, but I started feeling like I might see a few more summers.
Getting a Stage 4 cancer diagnosis knocks the wind out of you. It makes your life crumble in front of your eyes and it forces you to face the possibility of death before you're ready. My words cannot convey the weight of all of this. Sometimes there is simply no room for optimism.
There is also a kind of "defensive pessimism" that settles in. "Defensive pessimists" pre-process risk (For example, "What's the likelihood I'll even get a surgeon to operate on me?") so they are prepared for failure. It's kind of thinking the worse before it happens so you're not caught off guard. At some point you realize you're in a funk and you try to think of the best possible outcome instead. Oftentimes, though, the best possible outcome is far away and is not guaranteed. This reality is totally destabilizing.
Your DH is lucky to have you through these dark times. The hard part for you will be to remain detached from his negativity and not to take it personally. It's important to acknowledge his feelings as valid and acceptable, but also to point out that he is in fact making progress, just not as quickly as he wants.
Sometimes talking to someone else -- a friend, relative or someone completely outside your situation, like a counselor –- can help, if that's possible for either of you. And when he says something negative and you can't find the words (or you know that no words will cheer him up), a squeeze of the hand or a gentle hug can say a lot without you having to feel like you need to be the "positive Nancy" to his "negative Nancy." Touch is a powerful way to communicate and can show how much you care.
Watching comedy movies, as frivolous as it sounds, helped me too. Laughter is good medicine. My dad used to call me every few days and and ask, "How are things going down there in Iraq?" It always made me laugh because I did feel like I was fighting in a war. Just realizing I could laugh, even when things were so horrid, was a revelation.
Hope these comments help some. You're a caring, compassionate partner and it's obvious you care deeply about your DH. Taking care of him takes a lot out of you, so make sure you take care of yourself too, okay?
Hugs to you,