Getting Angry with a Cancer Patient

Just because Hubby has cancer, doesn’t mean he’s been transformed into a saint. His cancer is just additional fodder for our usual lively debates. We are both very stubborn people.

I cut him slack for pain, nausea and occasional bouts of depression. However, since I firmly believe he’s going to survive, I sometimes get angry when he’s being pig-headed about something. The same way I would before he was diagnosed with cancer. The same way I plan on being when he’s passed the five-year cancer free mark.

When he is in pain, I get mad because he won’t take his pain medication. He has a six-hour schedule for taking his pain pills and won’t let anything interfere with his timetable. It kills me to see him suffering when he has at least two doctors who’ve told him that he can take the pills “as needed.” However, he has decided that he will not come out of this dependent on pain meds and therefore rations them out.

This disagreement does not make me a bad wife and it does not make him a bad patient. What this means is that we are two people who love each other, live in the same house and sometimes have differences in opinions.

Ultimately, the decision on all cancer treatments is his. After all, he is the cancer patient. My job, as his caregiver, is to make sure he gets to treatments, takes his meds on time, be a second ear when he talks to the doctor and to be an object ear, that listens to his concerns and ideas.

As long as you both recognize that he’s angry because he’s in pain or that you’re angry because he’s suffering, AND that neither of you is really angry at each other – you’ll be okay.

If you think that the cancer patient you are caring for is doing something monumentally stupid – you can discuss it with them. Talk to their doctors if you think it will make a difference. But, and I repeat, the decision on all cancer treatments is theirs, unless the cancer patient is a child or a parent who is under your guardianship.

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