The affects of cancer on relationships

Whether we realise it or not, our life is based on relationships,all on different levels. We have our loved ones and family, then close friends, people we know from work, and people who help us in our lives like tradesman etc.There are people that we meet at various stages of our lives, that come and go. Sometimes it is hard to admit, but we really only have room in our lives for a few close friends outside our families.Time just doesn’t permit us to form too many lasting relationships.

I know that some of my younger readers might disagree with me, particular when they look at how many ‘ friends’ they have on Facebook or followers on Twitter,but it is true. We all may know a lot of people, but that is different.

Relationships are always interesting at the best of times.I’m sure, like me you see couples and wonder how their relationship works. Two people, who on the face of it have very little in common, yet seem very happy together. So many of my friends, are totally opposite to their partners, yet they make great couples.

One thing certain to put a relationship under strain, is something like a cancer diagnosis. I have always said that when someone receives a life changing diagnosis, the dynamics of relationships change.Some don’t even last the course! One minute, your life is planned in front of you and everything is as it should be. The next minute you are facing a very uncertain future, dealing with things that only happen to other people.
Once I had reached fifty, I really thought that if I was going to get any illness I would have had it by then. I don’t know why I thought that, as logic tells me that the older I get, the more chance there is of getting ill! No heart or cancer issues, I never even took a day off sick. Then, out of the blue I got my diagnosis. I was very sick with a poor prognosis. My life plan was now in the bin!

My relationship changed immediately! I couldn’t work,therefore earn money. I was so weak, I had to be driven around, I was eternally visiting the hospital, I was having constant treatment, which made me sick and exhausted. My appearance changed, I lost all my hair, I went fat and thin, depending on what drugs I was on. Totally lost my libido, (unsurprisingly!) I almost lost my will to live. All the roles that I was fulfilling in my relationship, I could no longer do.

As it turned out, my perception of the new me, wasn’t at all the one that my family had. I felt totally helpless and relied on them for almost everything.That feeling is very difficult to imagine unless you have experienced it, but for someone as independent as me, it was almost as bad as the disease itself. I had changed from being a driver, to a very helpless passenger in my relationship.

I can really understand, how something like this puts pressure on peoples relationships. All the things that we enjoyed had been taken away, and I felt guilty, for the sacrifices my wife was making. Of course it wasn’t my fault, but that is how I felt.To a degree I still feel that way today.

For me, without the help and support of my family, through these tough times, I don’t think I would be here writing this, but I know lesser relationships could have crumbled. I know of partners that have left because of the illness. They just couldn’t cope. Others start off ok but struggle if it is a long term battle.Some relationships get stronger, and others collapse.When so many of the factors, that a relationship are based on are taken away, other factors can strengthen, to compensate, but that is not always the case.


I have briefly touched on the effects of a cancer diagnosis on your personal relationship. Now just imagine, the effects with your employer, and the knock on with your finances. Stress is the last thing that you need at a time like that, but that is the one thing that you will have in abundance, whether you like it or not. It will be then that you will find out, the strength of your own relationship.

Living with the new me is the relationship I find the most difficult. I’m not sure if I will ever get used to that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *