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Thread: Help!! Cancer and Divorce??? No way God!!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2006

    Help!! Cancer and Divorce??? No way God!!

    This is painfully long---I broke it up into chapters? I really need encouragement and prayers to your Higher Power! IF YOU DON"T WANT ALL INFO, GO STRAIGHT TO BOTTOM AND CHECK OUT MY TWO QUESTIONS!

    Chapter 1
    Hubby and I have only been married 1 1/2 years, but together 3 and "work friends" 1 year before that--4 years total. On July 7th, (this year) my husband said he wanted to go to marriage counseling to communicate better. I thought--WONDERFUL--he is a LMSW and I have worked in social services for 13 years, so we both really believe in the counseling thing. I was looking forward to us being closer! Well, the next day he said he wasn't sure we were going to "make-it," "What" I said. Making it is a choice and we can choose to make it!! Made appt with Christian marriage counselor--often they consider the "marriage" the client and intentionally work to reconcile it! Of course it was a WHOLE MONTH AWAY and by now I was kinda panicky. We decided to meet with another therapist for a few sessions. While there, HE told the therapist that he did not want either of us to move out and no MAJOR decisions for 6 months. I felt at peace with that.

    Chapter 2
    For the next several days, I often asked him "How's the relationship?" "Why don't you say how to save it rather than if to save it blah, blah, blah!" He said "TRUST THE PROCESS, HONEY!" We got into in one night and I said I'm leaving and I will file for divorce and I went to the guest bedroom!! He followed begged and pleaded and cried saying "Give it time," "TRUST THE PROCESS!" I went to sleep with him. Well, while I was trusting the damn process, he came home on August 4th----LESS THAN ONE MONTH----after saying we needed marriage counseling and said he was leaving. I said "no separation," "no big decisions for 6 months!" Remember??? He said "I guess I'm having a hard time TRUSTING THE PROCESS." Of course now I was begging and pleading and FREAKIN' OUT!! He was gone a week and then left for ten days by himself on OUR summer vacation--I got univited!

    Chapter 3
    Just a slight back up--in our 1 1/2 year marriage, we have had to face the following trials--in 1 1/2 years (a.k.a 18 months):
    *Got Married!!!
    *I got fired (and we worked at the same place--weirdness in the home)
    *Went back to school full time (he was now the sole provider)
    *Bought and completely remodeled our home (I now despise contractors)
    *Moved from the apartment into our home
    *I had 3 miscarriages in 12 months
    *Started having every reproductive diagnostic test known to man
    *Finally had a doctor check things out from the inside. He said ALL'S
    WELL--we'll just get those fibroids out of there and you guys can get prego
    in 3 months! Then he said "removed a polyp--don't worry it's not
    cancerous." "Awesome" I said since we were not looking for cancer!
    *A week later on December 19th (you never forget THE date) his office
    called and said "Can you AND your husband come in?" HMMM-Doctors
    don't usually call YOU for an appointment! We were told "You have
    endometrial cancer and the only way to treat it is complete hysterectomy-
    ovaries and all. Not what you want to hear when you are
    trying to make a baby (We have no children)
    *We spent our one year anniversary (12/26/2005) at MD Anderson Cancer
    Center in Houston, TX.

    Chapter 4
    I was referred to a gyno/onco who offered an alternative treatment that could avoid a hyster (for now) and preserve my fertility I researched like a mad woman and found info--signed up for it and treatment and it is working--Praise God! We have spent months having check-ups and MRI's, a colonoscopy, mammogram, looking everywhere to make sure no other cancer, ultrasounds, d&c's--WOW it's a b-word having the big C! I am 40 and hubby is 39, so we are under a bit of a time crunch. I am 6 months into the 9 month med treatment then stay cancer free for 3 months then myomectomy for fibroids 3 month after that we can try! The entire time hubby has been a pillar of strength--stoic--a prince in fact. Taking care of the seeming thousands of never ending bills--never asking me for a thing. Holding me, reassuring me, promising to NEVER leave me. You know loving hubby stuff. My meds are full blown progesterone (160 mg a day=AL0T!) They make me MOODY! Poor hubby!

    Chapter 5
    My hubby has been in recovery (AA) for 14 years (in November). He had slowed down working his program after we married. He JUST got a new sponsor and began reworking the steps. He called from OUR vacation spot and said he had been doing some "self work" and he had decided he no longer wants to be married! I'm going NO NO NO NO NO NO! Begging for the reason he said I refused to do the self care things he had asked me to do 8 months ago like GOING TO AL-ANON, WORKING OUT AT THE GYM (had personal trainer,but just quit going) SEEING A THERAPIST (I do have issues--anger, jealousy depression), AND TRYING TO KEEP THE HOUSE CLEANER (I am messy). I began doing ALL OF THEM AT ONCE--back in July when he first told me I needed to take better care for my self. He has good reason--we've broken the stress scale in our short time together! (Chapter 3)

    Chapter 6
    Okay hubby no longer wants to be married--over what seems to be REALLY workable stuff and he's just acting strange. Shaved all facial hair, impulsive moves, isolating. My family, his family and ME are ALL devastated. I'm was scared he may have relapsed He hasn't! God is good! He is however, very conflicted. Well, I picked him up from the airport last night when he flew in from OUR vacation. I'm chatting about my lawyer, asking when he will file for the D he says "I don't know." I drop him off where he is staying and left. I miss him!! He phoned this AM and was so distraught it scared me. He was saying he loved me and he didn't have anything to commemorate our wedding--(who wants that when you are divorcing). He say this sucks and he wished he didn't HAVE to--I said YOU DON'T!! He then said he needed to sleep. Up until today he was very clear it is over!! This AM he said he would call the counselor, but I should not get my hopes up and keep my expectations low. He also requested the absolute minimal contact between us for now. I hope this works.

    Chapter 7 (last chapter)
    He has now said he wasn't taking care of HIS self (if you are familiar with recovery, it's important to work your program--because "it works if you work it and you're worth it!"" Yea Al-Anon! He also admitted the whole stress of the cancer and all the bills and all the caregiving has been overwhelming and he wants a baby---and we have no guarntees. I still have about a year before we can try--I'll be 41, almost 42. And I should (shame word) have been doing my self care stuff back in December when diagnosed--CRAP--he IS right. I was a bit depressed, but I handle stress because I have ALWAYS had an incredible faith in God and know He is in charge! \\

    Here are the questions:
    1) He's got a brand new sponsor (AA) and has begun reworking the steps NOT because of relapse (he says). I am concerned that AA program will encourage him to take care of SELF (rightfully so) to the extent of letting go of things that stress him out--the biggest one would be me. Does anyone know if that is possible? Is that how it works? Would they encourage a husband to leave his wife with cancer?? And the cancer/baby stuff is freaking him out! I guess the whole "in SICKNESS and in health" part slipped right by him during the ceremony. And all the reassuring he did early on?

    2) He is clear that I should keep my expectations low about the counseling--what are the chances? I can not bare the idea of finishing up my life without him. Does marriage counseling work if he thinks the marriage is practically dead but he is willing to show up for an appointment? Anyone ever known a "little hope left" spouse turn it around in marriage counseling? Please inspire!! Blessings to you!
    Last edited by Texas1; 08-26-2006 at 11:50 PM. Reason: confusing info

  2. #2
    Gold Member Relationship Coach's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Las Vegas, NV
    Hello and welcome to ENA!

    I'm very sorry for what all you have been through but I must say you are a very strong woman. I will answer your questions as best as I can.

    AA is not an advocate of encouraging spouses to leave their significant other, cancer or no cancer. Self is a huge concept as is reducing stress, very true but the stress of a divorce and a breakdown in the family unit is not considered healthy.

    He wants to give counseling a try, leave it at that. He is still willing to work on things and that is what is most important here. I would always recommend to keep your expectations realistic and realize that working on a marriage such as yours is a fragile process.

    You need to do everything you can to get healthy and stay healthy so you can endure whatever comes your way in the future. Next to a healthy body a healthy attitude will carry you beyond what you think you can handle.

    BTW, I survived my cancer but not my 1st marriage. Today I am remarried, have an 11 month old son and I'm happier than ever.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    I was in AA for a few years, and what "AA" in general advocates doesn't always apply to what groups or sponsors will encourage a person to do.

    Marriage counseling can be a great manipulative tool. My parents did a lot of counseling and although they didn't talk about the clients' specifics in front of us, we kids still gathered quite a bit. I had the impression that in 80% of the cases, one partner was using the counseling as a way of shoving blame onto the other.

    Very frankly: I would take a look at what your life could look like without him.

    Are you working again?

  4. #4
    Platinum Member redrose85's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    You are incredibly strong. Wow. Sounds like your hubby forgot the "sickness and health" bit of the vows. He's being a coward. You are both having to deal with all of the drama, but you are the one who is fighting the cancer. How are you supposed to fight it and get better if the one person you rely on, backs right off because he's too stressed out. Sorry, but I hate that attitude


  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2006

    Job stuff, No-fault divorce rant and hysterectomy facts!

    I want to say "Thank you for recent replies!" Long but well thought out post coming up!! AA responses--Thanks! As I sit here and create such a long post, I ask myself---could this be a money saving alternative to therapy? Feels so good to get it out!!

    Jane---I am working on an "as needed" basis at an adolescent in-patient drug treatment facility--I have worked with homeless and "at-risk" teens for over a decade. My employer LOVES me and they are fully aware of my cancer situation and the fact that they would need to adjust my schedule according to MY NEEDS (I have minor out patient surgery and office biopsies as the oncologist schedules). Despite that, they think I am "a KEEPER" and offered me a full time position at 32 hours a week (not 40) because they were also willing to allow me to pursue my educational goals. I'm a 40 year old nursing student!

    I ACCEPTED the position and called to tell hubby. He said "Honey, we have talked about this and you do NOT need a full time job!" "Your job is to focus on your health and your education." I told him about all the adjustments they made for me and he still said---"It will be too much--focus on health and school, I've got the rest!" I had always worked 40+ hours before marrying--this is the first opportunity I've had to really focus all my attention on a formal education. Never thinking for a second he would abandon me in three months I declined it. So, I was full time for 4 hours with a customized schedule and a willingness to work through cancer stuff with me. THAT WAS JUST IN MAY 2006!!!!!!!!

    In June 2006 we went to his 20 year high school reunion. This was when I first identified a "change" in him. Checking in and comparing (competeing) who has the biggest and best whatever?? Missing the good old, carefree, irresponsible drug filled days of youth! CAN you say MIDLIFE CRISIS??? I've had 2 other women tell me that a high school reunion caused their husband to freak out and it was the catalyst for their ultimate divorce--WOW! In JULY 2006 he brought up marriage counseling and by AUGUST 2006--he was gone. It is well documented through e-mail and personal conversations with my employer that my husband did not want me to accept the position and I declined it. Wouldn't a man DESPERATE to leave now, have been "contemplating" if the marriage was in trouble 2-3 months prior? Wouldn't a man thinking "we may be in trouble" want to ENCOURAGE his wife (with a very accommodating FULL TIME job offer) to take it?? Thinking "Hey, IF this marriage goes south, she's employed!" And she can still go to school! This is the kind of stuff that REALLY confuses me!

    It's VERY hard to find a full time job that can give full time hours and have you OFF by NOON everyday! Often a 9-5 thing makes school still possible but it's a MUCH longer process because you chipping away instead of chunking away classes. As I said, I'm 40 but I guess it would be okay to graduate in 8 or 9 years rather that 3--but YIKES!! So that's the long answer! And I know a future without him is not only possible, at this point it looks probable! Either way family, friends, me and God with push forward!! Ya know, God knew my destiny before I was conceived! That blows my mind!!

    That being said, we have the gift (and curse) of free will and no matter how much something is God's plan for us, we can choose what we want here and now. WE believed God led us to each other. I still believe that and I choose to honor that rather than ignore it. My husband is free to choose for himself, but it would be foolish of me to not encourage him to keep our promise to each other and God! Why is it that the agreement to be married---in our culture anyway---a well thought out, discussed, pros and cons considered and intentional (hopefully) process involving the TWO partners, and the process of divorce is often (but not always) the decision of one??

    That is how no-fault divorce contributes to one out of every two marriages ending! One person can decide--"I'm not happy!" As if anyone else is responsible for YOUR happiness. Or "This is TOO HARD!" YES--IT'S A MARRIAGE and you have to WORK at it even if you do have another job! In fact it should be your PRIMARY job. Or "I want a new one, this one is broken!" Hey Mr. or Missy, you agreed to keep it if it broke! Remember--"for better OR worse, richer OR poorer and in SICKNESS AND health. Regardless, if one person wants out----THEY CAN JUST WALK. And in Texas, it can be final in 60 days if uncontested. Can you imagine being married 10-20-30-40 years with all the emotional ups and downs, and in two months based on ONE decision, It's gone. DISPOSABLE LOVE! AWESOME!! He has told me that he will support my education still and he HAS to keep me on his insurance (I have been told)! With cancer, it is nearly impossible to get NEW insurance. I am considering having him do the school thing.

    I'm going to a Christian lawyer today and he will draft an "Anti-Divorce Petition." It is legally a "Marital Separation Agreement" with a title and content that states I DO NOT want a divorce based on the sanctity of marriage and that counseling should be considered. Especially effective if HE's not willing to go OR do the work in counseling. It will state what my needs are on every level until the divorce AND those terms may become a part of the divorce decree. I think any judge will have a hard time with knowing that I AM willing to FIRST work at the marriage, he left post haste, while I have cancer, and is refusing to work on the marriage. Oh, and the big deal for me--I will never have a biological baby if he goes. In fact, I will HAVE to have a hysterectomy because the medication I am taking, which BOTH of us agreed was the course we wanted, is (most often) a temporary fix to this cancer. The recurrence rate once the medication is stopped is high, but being pregnant does not allow estrogen to run amok--which is what causes this cancer. The CURE rate is remarkably high, too! If caught at an early stage, and confined (as mine was) removal of the uterus means cure! No uterine cancer with out a uterus!

    Anyway after baby making, you have a hysterectomy. Because the cancer usually is slow growing--it does not HAVE to be immediate, but it can. Then you get a new born, all of the anatomical and physiological consequences that come from a hysterectomy like surgical menopause and an altered sex life! Hysterectomy is the 2nd most common surgical procedure performed on women. Many women CHOOSE it to deal with various medical issues--fibroids, excessive bleeding or pain and most are "done" with baby making. Often, having a CHOICE in the matter can bring about relief and not have as great an impact psychologically. However, I have no choice--it must come out after I use it. Not having a biological child would be a great personal loss to me. I know I can adopt or use a donor, but I would not do either without a DADDY in the picture. I know incredibly STRONG single mom's, but most were left. I would not intentionally set the situation up like that---not judging, just a personal value. I'd want to extra help! I am nothing if I do not persevere despite what life throws at me! If you've made it this far---YOU ROCK!!!
    Many Blessing!!
    Last edited by Texas1; 08-27-2006 at 07:57 AM.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    [QUOTE=redrose85;1190642]You are incredibly strong. Wow. Sounds like your hubby forgot the "sickness and health" bit of the vows. He's being a coward. You are both having to deal with all of the drama, but you are the one who is fighting the cancer. How are you supposed to fight it and get better if the one person you rely on, backs right off because he's too stressed out. Sorry, but I hate that attitude

    I refuse to excuse his behavior, BUT his family is like...cursed or something. He watched his dad take care of his grandmother and aunt (his dad's sister and mother). One had aggressive breast cancer and one had colon cancer. They died within 4 months of each other. The decline was rapid and, as usual, sad. Then there has been 4 or 5 really significant others that have passed. Both his Mom and Dad's best friends (from college) died of cancer. Cancer means death to him because no on has ever gotten better--I am getting better but judgment is clouded. My thinking is--knowing this is something that may be contributing to an urge to RUN, let's go to counseling and PROCESS it. Check this out:

    "Some of your hurts you have cured,
    And the sharpest you've even survived,
    But what torments of grief you've endured,
    From evils which never arrived.
    -Ralph Waldo Emerson

    In short, don't go there until you have to!! Do you realize how much energy is wasted and how much time is spent worrying about things that NEVER HAPPEN!!

    Have a good one!!

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    First off, so glad to hear that you've got activity (paid, no less!) that is keeping you connected with people who value you and keeping you in touch with your skills and talents.

    Thought: for a marriage, BOTH have to work at it, BOTH have to be committed. You get that, you've said that, you're getting it on paper that YOU are committed. Bah, I have no idea what I was "thinking" with this, basically just saying - he's clearly not on the same page with you, so he's the one who failed the marriage. Um, yeah, hope you get what I mean there.

    Originally Posted by Texas1
    Not having a biological child would be a great personal loss to me.
    If you can find some support to prepare for grieving this, you'll be that much free-er in the rest of your decision making. You just don't want the hurt and sadness of this (potential) loss to drive your other decisions and confuse the process.

    You might also find it comforting to look up various women in the Bible who never had children of their own. I bet you'll be surprised at the line-up of ways they "birthed" other fruit of their work and ministry. You might just be called to deliver great and mighty things in another way. If you find that this is the case, a support group of fellow childfree-by-choice Christians could be a great resource for you.

  9. #8

    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Wow Texas

    I will include you in my prayers each day! I read your posts, but need to re-read when I have more time. Hang in there - you sound as if you are handling the emotional roller coaster better than I am!

    I've got to pack for a business trip and I'll be gone until Thursday (probably won't have internet access during that time). But quickly, to answer your questions:
    1) I am concerned that AA program will encourage him to take care of SELF (rightfully so) to the extent of letting go of things that stress him out--the biggest one would be me.
    I have thought the same thing too, but I doubt it. Probably just your feelings getting in the way. I know my wife has often said “I’m not a selfish person, but I need to be selfish right now in order to get through this” and she sure is following through! She is focused so much on herself that she doesn’t even pay attention to my needs or concerns at the moment. And from where I sit, she has no concerns for me. I am taking this in stride and giving her time. However, unlike yourself, I am not going through anything dramatic other than my rocky marriage!

    2) Does marriage counseling work if he thinks the marriage is practically dead but he is willing to show up for an appointment?
    Well, although we are still “together”, it didn’t “work” for us. She used it as a forum to tell me everything she was unhappy about. From the start she said “It only works if both people want to try to save the marriage, and I’m not willing to try anymore”. Funny, she did go, but it didn’t help me at all. What helped tremendously was the e-book “Keep Your Marriage” by Nancy Wasson and Lee Hefner
    link removed

    I highly, highly recommend it (I’m NOT paid to say this!)

    Hopefully Jane is reading this post, because I have owed her this link for a few weeks!!

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    2) Does marriage counseling work if he thinks the marriage is practically dead but he is willing to show up for an appointment?

    Guess I missed this before ... depends actually on the counselor and approach, to some degree. I sent X to a counselor whose workshop I'd attended once. I'd pretty much resigned by then, had moved out with the very thinly-veiled excuse of a project ... in another country. Was sick of being blamed for his ill-at-ease in his own skin, so I told him he needed to go to learn to protect himself from my problems. His motivation: to get her to talk me into having a baby. Ah, well, she was a real shut-up-and-change kind of counselor and was indeed very helpful. He did several sessions alone, got woken up on a lot of levels, then decided it was my turn to get yelled at. Did it "work", eh well ... in the joint sessions she still yelled at him a lot more than she yelled at me.

    Thanks for the book link Camb. Is Lee Hugh's brother?

  11. #10

    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    That's too funny Jane; as I was writing down the authors names I thought the same thing myself! Psychic!!!

  12. 09-16-2006, 09:35 PM

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