Is anyone else scared of spending time away from their sick spouse?

My husband and I have been together for 6 years. We were really good friends before we got together and had already been spending all of our time together so when we got married we ended up spending 24/7 together. This has never been a problem for us. However, it was never a problem for us to spend time apart either. We'd go out with friends (together or separately) and have separate hobbies. We liked spending the rest of our time together, but liked spending time apart too.

After he was diagnosed with cancer last year, that all changed. First there was the HUGE scare a few months before his diagnosis. He went in to the doc because he wasn't feeling well and his blood pressure was really, really high. He and the doc thought it was the testosterone he was on, so the doc told me I couldn't leave him for more than an hour at a time for the next two weeks while the meds worked their way out of his system. He was worried about a cardiac event happening so I needed to be there.

Then a few months later we found out about the cancer, and that the cancer was causing most of his symptoms. Given his age and the type of thyroid tumor the odds are about 96% that he'll beat it.

I know the odds are in our favor. I know that I need to have a life outside of my husband and work. I know that the world will not necessarily end if I don't constantly keep on the alert for something, anything that could go wrong.

But that scare and the 4% chance of something going wrong make me very, very anxious and clingy. I don't want to miss something that could be important, or have something go wrong and wish I had more time with him. So I spend every moment I have near him.

Am I the only one who is struggling with this? How does everyone else cope?


  • 4 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • I don't have a situation where someone needs to be with my wife, but I definitely feel pangs of guilt if I'm not around all the time, especially now that she's started another round of chemo.

    I also thought about exercising today but decided against it, since she's not feeling so hot. I was afraid I'd make her think too much about her situation if she saw me doing sit-ups or whatever.

    There's all sorts of guilty feelings that come into play with awful cancer.
  • KapomenKapomen Community Member
    Our situation is almost the opposite, in that we've been separated nearly our entire relationship, even before my wife was diagnosed. Needless to say, i was terrified when i found out. And wanted nothing more than to be by her side, and give her the support that i know she needed but i also knew that she wouldn't ask for. And since I could not do that, I've done my best to communicate with her, to reassure her, and to understand what shes been going through. And it hasn't been easy at all, and still isnt. Its terrifying to know that your lover and your friend has cancer, and even worse to realize that not only do you not have any control over the situation, but you dont even really know the prognosis or the finer details of their condition. Being separated for a prolonged period of time challenges a marriage on its own, and the cancer makes that so much harder. Little things become bigger things, and begin to come between you and break down communication. It's been very difficult to overcome that, and thankfully we are on the upward end of that hill. I am in the military, for one, and her mother, sister, and nephew all are also sick with cancer in different ways. Sadly, she is the healthier one, and carries all of their burdens as well. Her moms particularly, who is essentially incurable, and biding her time before the end. There's a lot into it, but it makes me feel horrible and very scared as her husband. I try to carry her burdens with her, and act as if 'we' have cancer. Because in an indirect way, her cancer is really my cancer. And we are both fighting it together. Whats worse, is knowing that her moms death is a condition that would have to be met before her and I could really be together, and before I would be able to really be by her side to support her just as I've wanted to and as shes needed me to. And that's a harsh reality to face for us. I try not to let myself feel 'guilty' about much, because I believe that being true to oneself and others reflects truth onto the world. And I am true to her. I work hard to maintain and improve my health more than ever now, because I don't want her or our daughter to ever have to worry about my health. I want to be strong for them. I've thought that maybe even I could motivate my wife to join me and slowly rehabilitate her health too. But we'd need to be together for that. You'd be surprised how much positive momentum can be mustered through a few small positive steps. be them through words, thoughts, acts, or gestures. That positive support really can shed new light on the situation, and help turn things around for everyone over time. The worst thing is when we let our fear of the unknown hold us back from embracing the moments we have together, and from making the most of the opportunities that we are given with eachother..
  • I'm so glad to read this! I feel exactly the same way and I thought I was the only one. I felt so stupid, because I've never been homesick and there's absolutely no reason to. Two weeks ago I had to go away for three days, for work, and I cried a lot. Even (finally) back at home, the crying didn't stop. It feels like a new stage in the mourning process. Although my boyfriend didn't die and he's even in remission now....the fear of losing him is still with me every day. I just don't wanna miss one moment with him, one moment of our life....however long or short it's going to be.
  • I completely relate for the first 7 months to over a year I stayed home with my husband every second of every day. The only time I did leave was if his mother would stay with him and I would go for groceries or meds.

    That got old very quick. I got very burnt out and resentful quickly. It's not easy being selfless all the time!

    I found out I had to take care of myself. So I was refreshed and ready to go for whatever was about to happen...and to take care of our daughter as well.

    He has brain cancer and was having seizures all the time...

    It took a long time for me to let go of the anxiety and stress of what I cannot control!

    I've spent over 2 years now caring for him...things are not great for sure. But we make the best of most days! I wish you well!