Husband fighting neck cancer, depressed and gloomy
My husband was diagnosed with oral cancer in July 2021, had extensive surgery to remove the tumor followed by chemo and radiation . 9 months later he had a second surgery to remove more cancer cells from his jaw and neck, and now tumors are visible outside his neck and on his upper chest. He is taking Keytruda treatments every 3 weeks (just started). The chances of long term survival doesn't look terribly great, but he appears to be giving in to the cancer, not trying very hard to be optimistic or to try to be active in any way. His appetite is very poor no matter what I fix him to eat. Is there anything I can do to encourage him to try to mentally fight harder as I believe it can make a difference in his response to the cancer treatment itself. I feel so helpless.
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I’m sorry about your husband’s condition. My husband has been fighting metastatic colorectal and prostate cancer. The last therapy for the colorectal cancer was Keytruda which Drs have stopped because it wasn’t helping. He’s on Lupron for the prostate cancer. He is stable now, cancers are at a standstill. Do you have family or friends around that can help you support your husband? Getting out of the house, staying active helps. My husband could have retired a few years ago but he still works because it keeps his mind from going to those dark places. We honestly don’t think that his life will end in the near future because we don’t know for sure. We stay positive and make plans for our future.
Best wishes to you both.
You sound very strong under extremely difficult circumstances. Living with a condition where the prognosis is not good is difficult to cope with. Your husband is likely aware of that and perhaps he is depressed as well as being ill. You can only tell him how much it means to you for him to make an effort. He might be too tired with the illness which makes
it difficult for him to focus. Love and affection go a long way I truly believe and that alone could restore some hope in him to try and get through this which might be possible.
Thank you. Yes he is definitely depressed about what could happen, but I constantly encourage him to have hope and that maybe the infusions will work. He’s self-employed so unfortunately we are forced to look at closing his business so he can concentrate on his health. His fatigue and the swelling inside his mouth are making it extremely difficult to talk to his customers. This has been a hard fact for him to admit understandably, but necessary. All three of our adult kids live close by so that’s been very positive and supportive.
Hi Judy. With everything your family is going through I hope you are able to create a little time for yourself. Meet up with a friend or child for a few hours away from home. Believe me you need to stay healthy yourself.
@judy49, I love the different tips and perspectives you've gotten from @ned and @fisbo. I'd like to offer this article from Virtual Hospice called:
– Hope and Denial https://www.virtualhospice.ca/en_US/Main+Site+Navigation/Home/Topics/Topics/Emotional+Health/Hope+and+Denial.aspx
As illness progresses, hope changes too. It needs a reset. The article helped me reframe hope.
Have you and/or your husband considered talking with an oncology social worker? They can be so helpful in many different ways. See this blog post by Mayo Clinic oncology social workers:
– How an Oncology Social Worker Can Help https://connect.mayoclinic.org/blog/cancer-education-center/newsfeed-post/how-an-oncology-social-worker-can-help/
I'm glad your adult children live nearby and are supportive of both of you. In our dynamic, my mom took care of dad and I took care of mom. It worked for us.
So sorry, @judy49 for what you and your husband are going through. My cousin had a similar cancer and his appetite was poor, he had difficulty swallowing. The doctor's suggested a feeding tube, inserted in his abdomen, I think. His wife resisted at first. Eventually he got the feeding tube and it was much easier plus, he was getting proper nutrition.
I didn't get the tips from anywhere apart from myself. I try to keep a clear mind and give what I think is useful advice. Thank you for your response.
@judy49 You're in such a difficult situation. Have you talked with his doctor about the use of antidepressants? I know they can take up to two weeks to be effective, but you might have a light at the end of the two-week tunnel.
Is there any portion of his business that he could still do and not have to talk?