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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Recently broke up with my husband and just found out he has Cancer. What do I do?

    Broke up with my husband of 10 years about 2 months ago.

    Apparently he got some test results in late December saying he has advanced pancreatic cancer but did not tell me about it until yesterday, saying the reasoning behind that is bc the news scared him and he did not know how to tell me. Also he has been suffering with pneumonia since November but when I left it seemed not so bad, but it's been getting worse to the point the friends he is staying with took him to the hospital, but he checked himself out, and he also is suffering from a broken leg that happened 2 wks after I left, all in all his immune system is shot and Death Is Inevitable.

    I'm in shock and panic mode right now, just can't believe this is real. The thing is he has been Extremely ANGRY me this past month and has told me to stay away and leave him alone, but he does not seem to have long and I want to visit him for a week to show support and prove I still care, should I stay or go? what do I say to him?
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  • 1


    My research interests include immunology and the mechanisms of amyloid formation. The latter has implications for people who are dealing with Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease … View Profile

    I am sorry to read about your husband.

    Unfortunately, advanced pancreatic cancer has a very poor prognosis so he is probably coming to terms with that.

    All that I can suggest is to offer to sit with him, letting him talk about whatever he wants to.

    And, please remember to take gentle care of *you*.

  • 1


    Amrit Grewal

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    Amrit is a Clinical Psychologist who trained at Macquarie University and received her Clinical Masters from the University of Wollongong. She has also received specialist … View Profile

    This sounds like an incredibly heartbreaking situation for both of you. 

    My advice would be to let him know that you are concerned for his wellbeing and that despite the separation, you are still there to support him. Validate his feelings of fear, anger and hopelessness. His anger towards you is most likely a combination of the stress he is under, the fear of his condition and the adjustment to being without you. It is important that you do not take it personally, as it is not your fault, but rather part and parcel of the very difficult situation he is in at this time.

    As Dr Eastbrook-Smith has said, please be sure to take care of yourself. Whilst you of course care for your husband and would like to support him, it is important that you look after you. None of this is your fault. It is unfortunate timing and it sounds to me like you're doing the very best you can.

    Good luck. 

  • 1


    With a passion to see people move forward and break free from the barriers holding them back, Grant is a highly experienced counsellor with over … View Profile


    This is a distressing situation for you and i can understand you probably have feelings of concern and possibly guilt. This is made more difficult for you because be is keeping you away, which I'd suspect is possibly to hurt you for you hurting him when you left. Mixed with this is he is probably feeling powerless over his health so things like checking out of the hospital and denying you visits are his way of re-gaining some control in his life at the moment. What can you do?

    Obviously you left for good reasons and those are still valid and unlikely to change right now and what's done is done. What you can do is send him some letters or cards, dig out some photos of the good and positive times, focus on the great times and encourage and affirm him in those. How will he respond? that is up to him. He has an opportunity to make peace with those around him and end his days well, or not. He sounds like he can be stubborn so he may fight and resist to the end, that is his choice (and I'm guessing possibly why you left him). Send him a letter/card or two, affirm the good times you've had, say what you need to say, leave the door open to talk, and leave it up to him.

    All the best. 

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