I know how hard this can be, Wifetojeff! As spouses/close ones, we want to be supportive, be as uplifting as possible, yet we also want our partners to feel free to express what they truly feel. Cancer is a terrible diagnosis and it's absolutely understandable to be depressed... At times my husband would tell me, "I feel that I need to act happy and upbeat to support people around me because that's how they want me to be"...
I just try to just be there in the rough moments. A while back a friend posted this on FB (for a totally different, albeit also difficult, issue), I posted it on this forum, there it is again. I really liked it:
"I used to have the opinion that I was the master of my fate and the captain of my soul. However, I do not hold this opinion anymore. Shitty things happen. All the time. Every day. Empathy is the ability to go down into the darkness someone is experiencing and meet them there. Sometimes darkness is the place a person or a family needs to be. Empathy is not trying to bring someone out of the darkness and into the comfortable place you are at. That would be a failed attempt at trying to “fix” it. Sometimes the only fix is time. Sometimes there is no fix.
I know people mean well when they wish us good luck, or that they are thinking of us, or praying for us, or they’ll say it’s part of God’s plan, or God doesn’t put more on your plate than you can handle. I know now to avoid saying things like that when someone is truly in a dark place. They don’t help. Honestly, they cheapen the despairing feelings a person has and dismisses their vulnerability. I’d like to offer advice for people who are, like me, bad at empathizing with someone. I’ve learned to call a spade a spade. I’ve literally said this to a friend in darkness, “Fuck man, there is nothing I can say to take away your fear or pain or remove you from this darkness. Can I give you hug? I’m here.”"
There will be difficult times, then things will (hopefully) get more stable; it takes time to adjust to the different reality that cancer brings to your life. I have a friend who became paraplegic after a skiing accident. he was a very active person; suddenly his reality got changed so much. It took him a while to adjust, and now he's still really active, but differently. My husband used to be able to ride 100+ miles on his bike; he's slowly coming to terms with the fact that a 40 mile ride is still pretty damn good.
The other thing that helps is that a new routine will start; for example, in our case, 3-month chemo cycles followed by a scan. Now that our friends and relatives know that, they're not asking us all the time how things are going. My husband used to say, "I feel that cancer is 100% of my life now". At times, it still is - but slowly his life is growing back around it. There are still hard moments, but we manage to resume a pretty normal life in between those. I hope you and your husband can, too!
Wife of Dx 04/18 (51 yo). MSS, KRAS G12A
No primary (involuted?)
Lytic tumor L4 vertebrae, EBRT 04/18, SBRT 02/19
Resect small intestine 05/18 (no cancer - Crohn's)
Failed adjuvant Xelox
Folfiri + Avastin 03/19 to 01/20
6.7 cm left adrenal mass 03/19, successful resection 02/20
CEA since 03/19: high 58, low 3.2, now 4.4
Scan 03/19: Multiple small lung nodules up to 5mm
Scan 12/19: one 1mm stable nodule
PET 04/20 uptake by L4
L3-L4-L5 fusion surgery and residual tumor removal 05/20