BF may have cancer, pulling away from me

Avatar for angelofeventide
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-22-2003
BF may have cancer, pulling away from me
5
Tue, 05-27-2003 - 7:19pm
Dr. Brenda,

My BF and I are in a long distance relationship. I am 36, never been married. He is 39, divorced (10 years ago) with twin 17 year old boys that he has sole custody of. We live two states away from each other. The last time we got to see each other was three weeks ago. The next time we will get to see each other is probably around 6/20, when he comes down to my area for business. After that, because of his crazy schedule, (one of his jobs is as a defensive coodinator football coach and training has just started, which will go into playing season - June to November), we will barely get to see each other. This has been hard enough. Now add the real clincher. BF was at the doctor's office the other day for a routine physical - a yearly requirement with his regular job. While there, the Dr. came back into the room and told him they found a high amount of blood and protein in his urine. They ran an infection panel on him, hoping it was something easily treated like a kidney or bladder infection, but it came back normal. The doctor suspects cancer and is sending him to a urologist. The urologist, because it's an HMO and my BF really has no say in the matter cannot get him in until 7/11. My BF is now having unusual pain in his back and from what I suspect, near his kidneys. I am terrified that something will happen to him before he can actually get diagnosed. Since he's found all this out, he has become very depressed and withdrawn. I know this is natural and being faced with the possibility of having cancer, he has every right to feel this way. In fact, I have gone through my own illness issues, after I was diagnosed a year or so ago with Lupus and dealt with my own issues of mortality and such. I too pulled away from the ones I loved and even went so far as trying to push away the person I was dating at the time, telling him that what kind of GF/wife could I be, when my future was so uncertain. At the time, we didn't know that I didn't have the fatal form of Lupus. Now thank God, I am doing 10 times better and only have a few symptoms. But onto my now BF who I know is the man I want to spend the rest of my life with. He is a very prideful man's man kind of guy. He's never been sick a day in his life, save the once a year type of cold and such. His brother on the other hand, is slowly dying of kidney failure, while waiting to find a donor for him. My BF has watched his brother go downhill and become a shell of the man he once was. I know this has to be a factor for him as well thinking, "God, is that what I may end up like? I can't be with anyone. How can I support her (I pull my own weight, thank you very much), I don't want her to see me like that, needing help, etc. I have been where he is now, so I do understand what he is going through to a certain extent. My question to you is, how do I keep him from pulling away from me. Being that we are so far apart right now, this makes things harder because I can't just pop on over there and give him a good kick in the butt, or cheer him up or be a shoulder for him. We had talked about me moving up there nearer towards the end of the year, as he was worried about me coming up there when he schedule was so bad, and not being able to see me that much. On the other hand, we'd still get to see each much more than we do now and if he does turn out to be sick, I would be close to start helping out. I am not going into this lightly. I do realize what taking on a spouse or such with an illness is like, as my dad had cancer a couple of years ago. I love this man and do not want to lose him because of his pride and fear. Please help me to convince him that I am not going to love him any less because of what he may be facing and that now more than ever, we need to cleave to and be there for one another.

Thank you.

Kir





iVillage Member
Registered: 05-23-2003
Wed, 05-28-2003 - 6:38pm
Hi Kir,

While I'm not Dr. Brenda, I would like to just write a few thoughts.

First of all, wouldn't it be a good idea for your BF to just go to a urologist on his own, whether or not the HMO pays for it? It may NOT be cancer, and then you'd both have been worrying unnecessarily. And if it IS, then he should start getting treated for it right away. Waiting until July does not seem to be an option! I know how expensive these things are, but if it's life and death...

Can you manage to go there to see him just for a weekend, before 6/20? I think it might do you both a world of good to be face-to-face at this time.

Sending prayers and hugs to you, and I hope things work out well.

Kim

Avatar for angelofeventide
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-22-2003
Wed, 05-28-2003 - 9:24pm
Kim,

I would fly up there in a heartbeat if I thought he would have me there. He is so distant now, it's almost like he's irritated when I call. I don't know what to do. The next time I talk with him, I'm going to urge him just to go to the emergency room and demand that they do the tests then and there. My main worry is, he's not having unusual pain in his body. This is a man who never gets sick, save for a once a year cold. This last month, he's had a cold that he has not been able to shake. He's been very run down and stressed. Mind you, his life has been chaotic like this for many years, but it seems to be catching up with him. I don't know what to do. He is the most stubborn, tight-lipped man I've ever met. My whole thing is, I don't know how far to push things. I mean, do I push and push, urging him to go get help and ask to see him and come across as a nag and "oh great, she's calling again. Now what is she going to noodge me about?" Or do I just sit back and let him do things at his pace, not knowing when we are going to see each other again or if he'll wisen up and snap out of this denial he's in and get help? I feel so lost and don't know which route to take. I love this man and want to have a chance at a long future with him. I want to tell him I love him too, but worry that he'll feel pressured by that. But if it's one thing I've learned from my own illness, it's that life is unpredicatable and fragile. What you wished you could have told someone today but waited, you may not have the opportunity to do tomorrow. How I wish I knew what to do. Thank you Kim.

Kir

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-23-2003
Wed, 05-28-2003 - 9:33pm
I really do understand what you're up against - You want to help and he's putting up a wall. Do you think there could be things that he's not telling you, and that's why he's become so distant? I don't mean to read things into nothing or to give you more to worry about...I just wonder.

How often do you speak with each other? Does he have family close by, and do you know them? I'm sorry I'm asking a zillion questions, but I'm trying to understand the situation even better.

I know what you mean about our lives being fragile and wishing we'd said things sometimes...but I don't know if now is the time to say, "I love you" to him. If he's cranky now, he may not be receptive and may pull back even more.

It's quite a dilemma, but I agree that you should try to urge him to seek a urologist to get to the bottom of the problem. And I'm sorry you have to worry from a distance like you are - that's really tough. You sound like a very caring person and he's very lucky that you're wanting to help and stand by him.

Avatar for angelofeventide
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-22-2003
Thu, 05-29-2003 - 11:10am
Sleepwalker13,

His parents and sister live about 2 1/2 hours away. He has two boys, 17 that live with him that he's raising and his ex-wife lives about 15 minutes away but obviously she will be no help and don't want her in his life. His brother is also 15 minutes away, but he is the one who is sick with the kidney failure and thus can be no help. One of my concerns is, God forbid if something happens to him, though his family knows me, (we met on my last trip up there), they don't know how to get a hold of me. I've asked B. to please give someone my phone number for cases like emergencies but he said he won't because that was morbid and he doesn't want to dwell on thing like that. Never you mind that he has my best friends' number and my parents number, in case he can't reach me for some reason. Ugh! Men! Such babies!

As far as him hiding something from me, I seriously doubt it. I saw him 3 weeks ago and everything was fine. I honestly think he's just completely overwhelmed, scared, stressed and not wanting to face the possible seriousness of what it may be. Combine that with his hectic and chaotic schedule and this is the result. This is all new for me, because this is the first time we've had to deal with a scary situation like this together and trying to get used to each others' ways of dealing with things may be part of the problem. Typical pattern: the women want to take charge, fix the problem, take everyone under their wing and comfort them, the men: want to run and hide in their caves, not facing reality and shutting everyone out. I shouldn't say I'm so surprised, but heck, I'm so far away, it's really not fair to shut me out so much. We've gone from talking nearly every day and him looking so forward to hear my voice so much, that sometimes he would just call me at work to hear it, to him sounding depressed and totally unexcited when he talks to me now. After a bit into the conversation, I do see the only B. coming around, laughing and joking playfully with me, telling me how he misses falling asleep next to me at night, but it's like he catches himself and the serious B. comes back. I guess I'm just going to have to play it by ear. But of course being that we're so far apart, my fear is the whole "out of sight, out of mind" syndrome. It's not like he has time to even meet someone right now, so I'm not worried about that, just that he will think of me less because of the distance and will use the distance as an excuse to not pursue things with me, even though he's the one who pushed the whole, "we can do this Kir, you cannot tell the heart who to love or what state to love them in" thing. I guess I have to leave it in God's hands and take it from there. Thanks for your reply.

Kir

Avatar for drshoshanna
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 05-29-2003 - 11:48am
There is no way for you to try to change him right him. He is going through a trauma, due to the poor way this has been handled. Firstly, he should not have to wait until 7/11 to hear what's going on. Isn't there some way he could get to someone sooner? The best thing is for you to let him know that although he is reacting with great fear and anxiety (which is normal), he should remember that he may not even have cancer. He has not been diagnosed yet. Some doctors frighten patients unnecessarily. It would be good for him to speak to some medical person (even if it's not the urologist he was referred to) sooner. Then he can get some questions answered and may even find out that he's not suffering from what he thinks he may have. The mental and emotional anguish he's going through now is very strong, and the best thing you can do is to help him find out sonner what's really going on. Don't worry about your own relationship right now. Only be concerned with ways you can help him get to the truth.

All good wishes,