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Significant Other Had Colon Cancer, First Year So Far. What Should I Do?

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Significant Other Had Colon Cancer, First Year So Far. What Should I Do?

Postby Kenneth » Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:15 pm

I didn't know whether this should go into relationships or cancer but I figure here I am more likely to find people that KNOW what I mean.

My S.O. was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2007, hard surgery and chemo in 2008. In the time we were into a "break" because she chose to "disappear" without telling me of her diagnosis.

I got to know it a year later when she was done with chemo and back to work. We got back together. However there are unsettling things that I don't know if she understands as well as things I can't possibly understand (because as much as I can empathize I am not the one that underwent treatment).

On a couple of occasions she agreed to answer some of my questions because I was getting depressed and going crazy with the whole situation and the lack of information. All I read on internet was very unsettling. And this sort of cancer has already taken one of her siblings.

Those 2 occasions I got a few answers but was left with many unknowns because she started crying and I did not want to make things worse for her (but it is killing me as well).

She says she wants to live her life as if nothing has happened but every now and then she said things like "You don't know how long I am going to last" or "She doesn't know what is going to happen to me" and other stuff about death. She doesn't talk about it with her family either and in fact she NEVER told her teenage daughter that she had cancer and what was really being treated. That also disturbs me.

Because she had several chemo treatments for her tumor which was "apparently worst than originally thought" I deduce that it was a stage III cancer. But then again I DON'T KNOW and she always refuses to answer questions about it.

We kind of made a pact of transparency where I would not hide anything from her, including my health problems or state of mind. However, she constantly avoids to answer my questions when I am concerned about her follow up examinations, etc.

I feel as if there is an ominous secret being kept from me and I don't know if I want to hear the truth. Of course would be nice to hear it is not as bad as I so far think (because I don't have all FACTS). But at the same time it hurts to know she is not keeping her end of the bargain. I don't want a relationship based on big dark secrets.

She recently started visiting the psychologist again for "undealt things" and I feel bad because perhaps it is because of the things I ask sometimes. After all I want her to have the proper exams done and not just ignore the fact that she HAD it. I know that for a Stage III colon cancer the 5 year survival rate is 40-60% but then again she has never opened up as to what her real diagnosis what.

Shouldn't I, as significant other, fiance, have the right to know what to expect? what I am getting into? I went nearly crazy of grief and wanted to die when I considered the possibility of losing her to cancer. It hurts like hell and I too wonder if I can take such thing again. In certain way I am trying to be positive and have faith it will be all right but we are all humans.

So my question is really, do I as S.O. have the right to know the real diagnosis? especially if I keep my end of the "transparency" bargain? or should I simply "take it or leave it" with all the mysteries? How should I approach this?

And what if God forbids she does die of it and I am left with her daughter (I am not the father) angry at me because we kept that secret from her? So far I have been very supportive but I can't deny that at times it is very hard on me NOT KNOWING and thinking the worst based on what I have read.
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Significant Other Had Colon Cancer, First Year So Far. What Should I Do?

Postby Mayhew » Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:18 pm

Please refrain from answering with just links to cancer websites or medicines. I have read plenty and dealt with that already. Concentrate on answers to the question.

BTW I want answers from her, I know I can't ask her doctor (don't even know who he is) because of obvious reasons. But then again I also have the right to have certain control of decisions that accept my future, can't hang in there in doubt forever and die of worry myself.
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Significant Other Had Colon Cancer, First Year So Far. What Should I Do?

Postby Birche » Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:23 pm

I empathise with you but cannot answer your questions. As S.O. you don't really have any rights unfortunately, I don't think even next of kin has the right to answers from the medical profession - its a privacy thing. Only your partner can choose to tell you whet she wants you to know. I know that this is difficult for you but all you can do is be as supportive as you can and let her tell you when she is ready.

Try and read the signs - does she seem to be reasonably healthy, is she suffering from constant pain. You should continue to be open with her but don't push her to open up - maybe she herself has not come to terms with it.

As for her teenage daughter you have no right to tell her, that is for her mother to do, again not an easy situation.

I feel I am waffling a little and not really giving you an answer but really there is not a correct answer to this question, all you can do is what you are already doing. Try and be strong and be there for when she is ready to talk.
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Significant Other Had Colon Cancer, First Year So Far. What Should I Do?

Postby Jeevan » Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:26 pm

I'm a male colon cancer survivor,stage 3,ten years ago.

You probably don't want to hear this so form your own opinion.

The whole situation seems odd because any cancer victim with more than a simple one day cure is going to act it and show it in obvious ways.This is a traumatic life changing event that cannot be hidden,even after the year you speak of.I question the seriousness of her situation and her reasons for her conduct.I hope I am wrong and if so,please excuse me.But until you have some undeniable evidence that she was actually treated for an illness as damaging as she claims,I would be skeptical that it ever happened.

Sorry to upset you,but I've been where she claims to have been.
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Significant Other Had Colon Cancer, First Year So Far. What Should I Do?

Postby Rayford » Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:29 pm

I had the same thoughts as wildmann...

But if this is the basis for your life together, you need to decide if you can live with the uncertainty.
Whether you "should" take-it-or-leave-it is something only you can decide.
Uncertainty & feeling there is something hidden can be absolute hell to live with.
Or fine, according to your personality.

While you have no legal right to know (can not access medical information), you are making a life commitment and in my view have a moral right to know at least the basics of her prognosis.

Chemo is normal also at stage II of colon cancer, to mop up any loose cells after removing the tumour.
It's called adjuvant chemo.
So try not to jump to conclusions.
"worse than expected" could simply be "we expected a tumour the size of 1cm, and found it was 2cm"....which in the delightful world of tumours is not hugely scary.

Don't worry that your questions are the cause of her visits to the psychologist.
Your questions are quite normal and someone managing well would be able to handle them - maybe not immediately or fully, but at least enough to give you an outline.
Hopefully the psychologist can help.

Does the teenager live with your SO? What does she think was wrong in 2008? Knowing that might help you understand how she handled 2008.
I'm pretty surprised someone could keep colon surgery and chemo secret.
It's not one or two days here and there, it's a long haul with side effects.
Even a self-obsessed (normal!) teenager would notice this was more than "just a small thing".

Good luck.
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