Dad's Dealing With Cancer
I have three daughters and they usually come to me with any issues they have. They go to their dad when they need something fixed, and when they do, he tries to help them out and make whatever the situation is better. It's because of this that my husband had such a tough time when he first heard about Crystal's cancer diagnosis.
Just the flu or something worse?
When Crystal first started to suspect that she had cancer, she came to me and asked about her symptoms. Crystal was only 25 at the time and I never suspected that it would be cancer. I told her she had to go to the doctor, if for no other reason then to rule out her thoughts about having cancer. She had been researching her symptoms and the search led to Hodgkin lymphoma.
My initial reaction was that she was probably fine, but I was still concerned. At this point, I told my husband about the symptoms, but we both really thought they were non-issues, and that she had some type of virus or flu. Crystal had been tired, not feeling very well, and she had swollen glands. The only thing that really concerned me were the night sweats. That wasn't a good sign at all. However, I still felt that this was a symptom of whatever virus she had. Plus, she just moved, started a new job with new responsibilities, and had to make changes in her sleep schedule - she was waking up at 3am.
My husband, the fixer
When Crystal finally got a proper diagnosis, I told my husband the news: she had Hodgkin lymphoma. He did not take it well at all. He became very angry and didn't understand why a young girl would get such a bad disease. He felt Crystal was a good person and didn't deserve this. He couldn't understand that cancer can happen to anyone. This was the way he felt when I got my cancer diagnosis, as well. I think he felt powerless and unable to help either of us get through this, like he had always helped us before.
Sometimes, I feel really sad for my husband. He is a really good person and has the best intentions. He is a fixer and when something like cancer pops up, there is nothing he can do to help. I think this is where his frustration comes from. There are many things that are out of his control and he has difficulty dealing with this. I don't think he is alone in his feelings. Many times, I think that's what causes so much stress for people with cancer or caregivers of those with cancer; we can't control the situation we are in.
Learning to give up control
I thought for a long time before I wrote this post because it's not just about my thoughts and feelings. It is such a struggle for each of us to go through some days knowing we can't fix whatever has been handed to us. This is how I believe my husband felt. But, if we just do our best and try to make the most out of what we have control over, I think it would help us to feel better about the situation. Having no control is one of our biggest stressors and we know stress is not good for our health.
One thing we can do is try hard to accept the situation and learn to live with it. There will be times when those moments really get to us. Taking deep breaths or meditating may help. If we are physically able to, taking a walk is my best medicine to relieve stress. Although there are many things we can't control, there are also many things we can enjoy. Sometimes, we glaze over those moments because other issues get in the way.
My advice is to try to enjoy those precious times in our lives, laugh a little, and try to be happy each and every day. None of us know how many of those we have left. My husband is learning to do this in spite of some of the situations we have going on. Take control of what you can and learn to live in the best way you can, even when the situation is out of your hands. Wishing you all health and happiness.
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