Cancer Survivor with NYE problems...

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-04-2013
Cancer Survivor with NYE problems...
Mon, 11-04-2013 - 9:01pm

Hi All,

I was diagnosed with cancer in June.  After 5 1/2 months of chemotherapy, I have finally been told I am cancer free as of a few days ago and am currently in remission.  This came as a huge shock to me and my husband...but a WONDERFUL surprise.  As it turns out, I will be finished with radiation right before Christmas, and should be able to return to work by January.

Here's my problem:  My husband is in a band who has been scheduled to play on New Years Eve this year.  They usually play at a bar, and this has been planned for months and they have done this for the past 3 years.  After hearing the good news, I wasn't very excited about spending my NYE at this particular bar sitting by myself at a table while my husband played with his band for 4 hours until 1am.  I've done this twice now, and it's never very much fun.  I approached my husband and asked him if he could find a replacement to play with the band (something he's done several times before when his dates interfere with our vacations, etc.), and that I have decided that I will not attend.....and he was livid.  He told me that I've backed him into a corner, and now he HAS to spend NYE with me because if he doesn't, he's the a**hole husband who abandoned his cancer-free wife on New Years.  I should add that he found a replacement last year to spend NYE with me...something I never asked him to do, but he did it as a surprise.

We've fought about it all night and aren't really on speaking terms at the moment.  I feel awful, but I'm also very hurt.  He said some very mean things...that I am purposefully guilt tripping him, that although he supported me during cancer I am not returning this support to him, and that I have "won" because now no matter what we do he knows that I'll either be unhappy there or unhappy that he's there without me.  

Am I wrong??  I think my husband SHOULD be eager to spend New Years with me and our family instead of making me sit by myself at a table watching him play with his band.  We've asked friends to attend in the past, and they mostly do it out of guilt since this is in a remote area where they would not usually want to spend their holiday.  I don't blame them and don't want to ask again this year.  I also feel backed into a corner.  I don't think I should have to be subjected to doing this, but I also don't want to be unsupportive of him who has stood by my side this entire time.  I'm upset that he's thrown that in my face as well.

Thank you for any opinions or insights you can help me with.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Tue, 11-05-2013 - 1:18pm

I find your DH's comments really shocking.  Unless you started off the conversation by trying to pick a fight or said something like "I'm not going to that horrible place on NYE again and sitting by myself because you know it's no fun"etc which would put him in a bad mood right away.  Otherwise, it seems like he is being purposefully mean to you.  If he thought he couldn't get a replacement then he could have just said so (I can't let down the band, I can't find someone else, it's a big pay night since it's NYE).  I would hope that after both of you cool down, you'd be able to discuss this in a calmer fashion.  And congrats on being in remission.

Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Wed, 11-06-2013 - 12:19pm

I suspect there's a lot more to your husband's reaction than it appears.  You seem to have touched a nerve by telling him you don't want to go.

He may have been feeling that jamming with the band on NYE was a bit of a reward for the hard work of taking care of you during your treatment for cancer, and that this would be an awesome way to celebrate *him*, let loose, have some fun, be appreciated for him being HIM, rather than the husband of a cancer patient.  What you've told him is that what he does is a bore for you and you won't pretend to be happy.

Long ago, my DH had a brain tumor - fortunately it was benign, but he had radiation therapy for weeks afterward.  It was a very stressful time in both our lives, as he lost his job, was tired and depressed, and it took months for him to get back to normal.  Sure, I got kudos for being a dutiful girlfriend, but if I said anything about what *I* needed, he interpreted it as my being selfish.  So basically I had to stuff everything down for months and months.  Granted, we were both young (22yo) and at that age most people *are* rather selfish. 

But my point is that being a caregiver, or even a loving, supportive SO is really stressful.  While you were the one that everyone was most concerned about, there was your DH taking care of you and the kids and keeping things going (at least I hope he was).  Everyone is happy to support cancer patients, run in 5Ks to raise money, wear pink ribbons, etc etc.  Most of the time we don't think much about the people around them whose lives become all about the patient and who during their SO's illness lose the person who is supposed to be most supportive of *them*.  Naturally if you're married, you got married for better or worse, in sickness or in health, and most people are grateful to be able to take care of a spouse.  But it is also very stressful and lonely.

Of course I don't know your exact situation, but is it possible that your DH is having some of these feelings?

Avatar for xxxs
Community Leader
Registered: 01-25-2010
Sun, 11-10-2013 - 2:43pm

  This is not surprising!  Caretakers have a great deal of emotion that needs a lighting rod.   It is very very difficult to endure.   Yes as the patient you go through changes but so does everyone around you.  It might be a benefit to be in a cancer survivors group.

  Banish "should" from your thinking along with supposed to be's.  Those concepts cause great pain and suffering.   Another way of processing is NYE is just another day.  But to me it is FOOTBALL!  To another a free day of sleep.  To another working getting paid double time.   All relates to that individual.  

    So what is so important to you about a a few hours weeks away?


iVillage Member
Registered: 05-14-2001
Sat, 11-23-2013 - 11:17pm

Congratulations on your cancer-free diagnosis and woo hoo to you for being through with chemo.  Having recently completed cancer surgery treatment myself (radiation only, no chemo necessary, thank God) I can relate.  I don't blame you at all for being hurt about your husband's words and attitude and I have a few questions.  Did you or your husband seek any sessions with a cancer support therapist or group (most if not all cancer care centers have them available for the patient and their friend and family)?  Was he truly helpful and supportive of you while you went through your treatments?  Does your husband view his time with the band as enjoyable? I guess he would to some extent or he probably wouldn't be playing.  What I mean is, without any of this issue, would playing on New Years Eve be his preference?  And finally, did his reponse surprise you or is this kind of response something you've dealt with before?   

Without more information, I think I'd just suggest telling him to go ahead and play with his band and you'll spend New Years Eve with friends.  Both of you will be spending the night doing what you want, albeit you won't be with the person you want to be with. But really, would you want to spend the night with him knowing it's not where he wants to be? 

~ cl-2nd_life

Avatar for lizmvr
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-06-2001
Thu, 01-02-2014 - 2:26pm

How was your New Year's Eve? Did you and your husband spend it together after all?

In any case, I hope the new year is starting out well for your both!


Clinical Research Associate