Dealing with the shock of diagnosis

Hi everyone, this is my first post. We were told only last Friday that my beloved husband of nearly 40 years has terminal cancer and probably his life will now be measured in months. The shock is like nothing I have ever experienced and is completely overwhelming me. I haven’t even cried - just feel numb, nauseous and exhausted. Is there any practical advice anyone can give me as to how to cope? I am being supported by our two daughters but they do not live at home and I feel desperate and so alone. Thank you. AnnC

Hi Ann,

I’m so sorry to hear about your husband’s diagnosis - what a terrible shock for your family. Having an outlet for your feelings is important, so I’m glad you’ve been able to write some of it down here. Are you able to talk about things with your husband and daughters and support each other as a family?

Is your husband having palliative care, and do you have support in place to help you look after him? Making sure he has the right care is really important for both of you, and will give you more of a chance to spend quality time together as a couple, rather than you spending all of your time as a caregiver.

  • It could be helpful to call Macmillan Cancer Support (0808 808 0000) or Marie Curie (0800 090 2309). Both of them can offer practical advice on how to get the right care, as well as emotional support if you need to talk.

  • Have you thought about getting a referral to a local hospice? Hospices are not just for the end of life, they can offer outpatient support for things like pain relief or complementary therapies, and emotional support for patients and their families.

Thank you Priscilla for this practical advice. I will contact the two organisations you have suggested for further help as I am really struggling emotionally. My husband is still in hospital but I hope at some stage soon a plan will be put forward for his care which will include local palliative services [the hospital he is in is not local]. I have also made an appointment with our GP next week to talk things through with her.
Yes, we are able to talk together as a family and have been very open with each other but despite this, I feel overwhelmed with fear and despair. I’m sure this is common but it is very frightening. Ann

Hello my husband was diagnosed in Sept 2017 and sadly passed away on Oct 9th 2017 I too was numb but you will find the strength from somewhere just talk to each other and make sure anything that will make him more comfortable you can do for him think you will find that he will want to put everything in order and he will want to speak to family. Please even if it’s just sitting holding his hand it helps you will also find yourself being resentful thinking why him? I was married for 43 years and I miss him so much but you have to be strong because you are both on a journey now x sb

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