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Advice Needed

Sunday, March 17, 2013

I didn't mean to imply that my sons bicker openly. they do have their moments, but basically our family times are wonderful, warm, with everyone enjoying each other's company. We had a wonderful lunch yesterday with everyone, celebrating daughter-in-law's birthday, after some initial disagreement over what time to meet. My boys all love sports, a love they got from their dad, so that is usually the main topic of conversation. I really look forward to our family dinners and companionship. It's just right now, I feel like any bickering at all is just petty and unnecessary. We all have to focus on bigger things, and stop the bickering. But then I've always been way too sensitive.

I was thinking about how to tell his family members about the cancer. As I have mentioned, my family knows. But that's just my niece and her family and my brother and sister-in-law. That's all I have left, other than my boys and dear hubby. Do you all think a generic e-mail sent to everyone would be too insensitive? It's really hard for me to talk about without dissolving in tears, especially when I describe the seriousness of our particular situation. And I want to be sure they know it's not the regular slow-growing non-serious kind of prostate cancer that hubby has! It's advanced and aggressive and life-threatening. I was thinking even about sending them copies of the graphs I put in my last blog. I would send the e-mail to his dad, his two sisters and perhaps his brother (the one we will be visiting in DC). They all live out of town. Although I might wait to tell his brother until after our trip there. It might be easier if they don't know, while we are there. It would be more NORMAL. Hubby is not close to his brother. We have probably seen him twice in the last 10 years. We don't correspond with him, other than Christmas cards, I don't even have their e-mail addresses. My sister-in-law is supposed to send me e-mail addresses however, so we can talk more about our trip before we arrive. I am friends with her on Facebook, that's how I found her cell phone number.

I feel like his family needs to know, but I would include a paragraph in the e-mail about how we need our privacy now and discourage visits and even phone calls, at least for a while. I'm just afraid his dad will want to make a trip to Lincoln immediately, and neither one of us needs the added stress of a parental visit right now. I don't want to offend them, but hopefully they will understand and be compassionate. I love them all and know they would be supportive, but I worry about intrusiveness. I know that will be their first impulse, and we just don't need that right now.

As far as telling hubby what I discovered on the Cancer Center website, I don't think I will. What purpose does it serve to let him know that his outlook is so bleak and so short? So far he has been pretty upbeat, but I know inside, he is as upset as I am. Who wouldn't be? I know in the past he has read my blog a time or two. Hopefully he won't read these latest ones... I probably shouldn't even write about all this, but it seems to help me, to get it all out. And as I have said before, I feel somewhat anonymous here, which allows me freedom to bare my soul.

Let me know what you think.
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  • CANNIE50
    I have no advice, just thoughts for you and your husband to find your way through this terribly trying time. I am glad you have this outlet to sort through all the thoughts swirling around in your mind and all the feelings tugging at your heart. I hope you are somehow able to rest, Pam.
    1919 days ago
    Because it can be so taxing and people can keep calling and asking for updates; I think is the best site, my friends brother is in the hospital and she uses this site to keep us all updated and that way we aren't bothering them with constant phone calls... emoticon emoticon
    1920 days ago
    Maybe the initial news via a phone all (I agree with others that your sons could make these calls). My husband is only close to 1 of his 4 other siblings and not close at all to his dad (his mom passed away). I'm not sure what I would do in this situation since I speak with my family every day. I would probably tell the one brother and let him pass along the news.

    I also have a very large extended family and my parents are one of the "last of their generation", so all the cousins, etc. are close to them. I'm not sure how all of the family got the initial news my mom's cancer, but my sister would send out updates via e-mail. My mom got a lot of cards, flowers, etc. through out the treatment & surgery, but I'm not sure how you husband would feel about that.

    As someone mentioned before, any kind of support group you could find would be great.

    1920 days ago
  • LINDAK25
    You've got some excellent advice from your Spark Friends! I wouldn't email my husband's family with news like that, but that's just me. In fact, my husband would probably talk to his brothers and sisters. In my family I would only have to talk to one person, even if I asked them to let me make the other phone calls! While it's good to be well informed, don't let yourself get too carried away. It can be overwhelming.

    You're in my thoughts and prayers.
    1920 days ago
  • DIANNE2018
    My Dearest Pam,

    I haven't been on for awhile and am getting caught up. Huge, huge hugs to you and I will keep you in my prayers!

    Try to let people know and keep up with your news and updates. My sister-in-law has used it for her breast cancer and my daughter is currently using it for my grandson. Jakey is just 6 and has CP. A couple weeks ago he had spinal surgery and is in rehab in MN.

    It is so much easier to send an update rather than repeat the story over and over when your emotional energy is already so stressed. Only the people you invite can receive your news/updates. You can add pics, people can write notes of encouragement. It's a very good site to use.

    Love to you and your husband ~~ Dianne emoticon
    1920 days ago
  • MYRTLE811
    Dear Maggie: Please don't send an email, generic or otherwise. This is really for your husband, not you to do. It will greatly hurt his family and he is a member of that family and he needs to do this when he's ready to talk about it with them. Think what it would mean if your son sent an email to you and your husband about a chronic illness and how much that would hurt or if he let his wife or friend do the talking. AS hard as these times are, he will have to do this and he will also be on the deserving end of those he grew up with talking with him about it; it's hard but I think it might be good for all of them to talk together about this. I don't think you should do this.
    I'm not sure those stats from the Cancer Center are correct; again you need to ask a reliable clinic like Dana Farber or Johns Hopkins about this. There is a string of lead edge research hospitals across the country, City of Hope, M D Anderson, etc. that could better help you. Don't believe everything you read, stay well yourself, God Bless.
    1921 days ago
  • RUNGRL2013
    My dear, it seems you have lots of good advice here, so I'll just wish that you find the best way soon. I think you'll be relieved to get it done and off your shoulders sooner rather than later. Thinking of you and praying still... emoticon emoticon
    1921 days ago
    Is there a reason your DH can't tell his family? It might be better if he was to tell his family. I just think that if something was wrong with my son, I would want to hear it from him, if at all possible. If that is not an option maybe pick one and if possible visit that person and let them tell the rest of the family. I sure am sorry you have to go through this. emoticon emoticon
    1921 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/17/2013 4:39:54 PM
    In general, an email is not the best option. If another family member could make these calls that you are unable to right now, then that may be best.
    However, if they aren't willing, and you want to let everyone know now instead of later when you may be more in control of your emotions to be able to get through the phone call, then an email worded carefully is better that not telling them and letting them remain in the dark about it. I agree that you should leave out the graphs for the moment, and just share those with anyone who asks questions or wants to know more information. It will probably be hard enough for them just hearing about your DH's cancer.
    I do understand. It has always been difficult trying to pass along bad news without getting really upset and crying. After I get that out, it's easier to discuss, until I have to call someone else and let them know. But I absolutely dread the first phone call as I know I won't make it through the call without losing it. And time doesn't seem to make that any easier.

    "I didn't want to inform you about this way, but it is still so difficult for me to talk about it at the moment and I didn't want you to be in the dark about what is going on...." may be one way to start off.
    Be sure to give them the information without going into too many details. And be sure to ask for what you need from them as well, including asking them not to call or visit at the moment, but just send cards, letters, and emails for the time being.

    1921 days ago
    Oh, gosh...I think emails are fine for some situations, but his dad and siblings? No, I don't think that is the best. Even if not close, it seems too impersonal. It might have worked if there had been some preliminary emails about him being ill and having tests, etc., but see what DH wants to do and go from there, I guess. But honestly, if one of my kids sent me an email and told me they had a serious and possibly terminal illness, I'd probably go off the deep end and wonder why I was the last to know. Just sayin'...every family and situation is different and I'm sure you will work it out the best way possible. emoticon
    1921 days ago
    Personally I would tell the one person you are closest to in his family and then let them share it with the others. But it would be good for them to know. If for no other reason than that it would give them the chance to make things right with your hubby.
    1921 days ago
    It depends if your hubby is comfortable with making calls to his family. I know for a fact that my hubby would want me to do it, so it just depends on what your hubby would want. I think that you or hubby should call or email asap because of not for sure knowing if time is short or longer. You could tell them then how you need this initial time alone and then sometime down the line, but not too far along, they could arrange a time to visit. I'm thinking of you so much during this hard time.

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    1921 days ago
    Maggie, you are dealing with a lot. As for his family, you cannot control how they are going to act. They probably should know, and it probably would be better if your husband called them (or you) -- give them the news, and ask that they not visit at the moment because you're working on consults, etc. Be honest with them in requesting what you need. And what does your husband want/need? Does he want his family there? Does he want them to know?

    As for those graphs...lose them, seriously. They are statistics that show general trends only. They are not the gospel, they are not a guarantee of death or survival. They just show a trend of what has happened to others in the past. I know you lost your dad to the same cancer, but your husband is not the same person. Everyone's path is different. It seems in a way like you've given up and know he's going to die in X amount of time. You don't know that. No one does. Now is the time to gather information, research, consult with doctors and look at treatment options. Once you have more information, you can better plot a path forward -- treatment options to try (he still has good quality time ahead of him; it could be a shorter, it could be longer -- no one knows), financial arrangements for the future, wills and powers of attorney, etc. Enjoy the moment, prepare for the inevitable, but do so with knowledge.

    One thing, seems like your husband is father passive in all of this, as appears to be his habit. You can do everything possible to help, but HE needs to fight with you. Given his past of neglecting his health, I'm not sure that will change, and that makes the fight harder. You certainly have a lot on your plate.

    I continue to follow your blogs and will keep your husband, you, and the rest of your family in my prayers.

    1921 days ago
    I would do both. I would call and say that you have something serious to tell them but explain that you are sending them an email to explain it better. It is easier to get all the details out when you write them down and there would be no interruptions to lose your train of thought. You can also mention how you want to be alone for the next bit of time but you will let them know when you both are ready for visitors if anyone wishes to come for a visit in the future. If they are concerned and use the internet they will google to find out more info but you also don't need them to keep sending you info unless that is what you would like then you can let them know that as well. If you don't want Hubby to know the seriousness of his situation then you might mention that as well so that someone doesn't tell him info you don't want him to know. Again, too much information is sometimes not good.
    1921 days ago
    My brother-in-law sent an email to my husband about his aggressive prostrate cancer and my husband was fine with that. What does your husband think? I would go by that. I can understand how stressful it must be for you, and I feel really bad. Please feel free to share with your Spark friends.
    1921 days ago
    Dear Maggie.....
    As is normal in your situation ---- I fear you are losing a bit of perspective right now. You're focusing on the externals --- when you should be focusing on you and hubby - and how you are going to spend his remaining time.

    You are blessed with a large extended family --- but you are not obligated to personally notify each one. Why don't you let your sons and DIL's divide the list and let everyone know what the situation is.......and that you need a little privacy at the moment. There will be time enough for people to visit - and say their goodbye's.

    Your in-laws - you may want to call yourself - and if you can - tell them the truth - that you both are still adjusting to the news and you need some 'space' for a while.
    That you want to keep hubby happy and occupied for as long as he's able - that means traveling - having good times..
    Again - there will be time enough later on for family visits.

    Hon....keep your eye on the prize --- that is -- keeping hubby happy and loved. Of course - if he should want to call his own parents - that's his decision.

    Go ----- have a good time, take lots of pictures and make good memories.
    You are in my heart and thoughts.

    Big hugs....Libby
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    1921 days ago
  • KERRYG155
    My first thought is to have your sons call the other family members if your husband does not want to. I know it would be horribly hard for you. If you do send an e-mail I would leave out the graphs. If they're on the computer they'll be looking things up themselves. Phone calls and/or visits would be up to him and how close he is to the rest of his family. Good luck on all that. Our prayers are with you all.
    1921 days ago
    I think you or your husband should send an email. This way the family knows but the initial reaction or lack of will be private.

    Since your husbands time is short, it will up to them to talk to your husband about coming out for a visit. It is pretty hard to tell relatives about the news and then say...don't come. Let your hubby make the decision, this may be the last time any of them will meet and I wouldn't want to deprive them of coming to terms with death.

    I agree and wouldn't tell your husband what you read on the internet. If he wants to know, he should ask his Dr. and if he doesn't ask, then he doesn't want to know.

    Take care
    1921 days ago
    Oh, I feel for you. It is a tough situation. Right off I don't have any advice. I will think about it. I promise. Hope to have something for you. Right off the top of my head, if it were me I would let hubby tell his family. But maybe that is just our relationship and the way things work for us. When I am indecisive I tend to pray, meditate, and journal. All those things help me. Wishing you strength and peace and finding just what you need for this situation. HUGS. -Marsha
    1921 days ago
    I don't know your family, but my Dad got cancer and died shortly after this summer. Even though they are not close, his family will probably need a personal call. My Mom and Dad were not able to do it, so my brothers and I made the calls. Do you have a family member who can do it for you? They can pass on the message about you needing privacy right now. I'm praying for your difficult circumstances ... I know how hard it its. emoticon
    1921 days ago
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