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WexBF has cancer

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Hedwig posted 5/31/2020 05:16 AM

I got a text from him on Friday night. It's less than two months since I ended the relationship. I can not believe this is happening. He is so young (32). It's oral cancer from smoking. He's getting a biopsy on Tuesday to know which stage it is. Only 60% of the patients make it to 5 years after their diagnosis. Of course this also depends on the stage, but 60% is the average for all stages. I am devastated. What a shitty f*cking year this has been and it's only May.

I support him and I am there for him, although not in the way I would be if we were still together of course. Anyone have any experience navigating something like this?

[This message edited by Hedwig at 5:17 AM, May 31st (Sunday)]

Catwoman posted 5/31/2020 05:28 AM

Why do you feel you should be there and support him?

I was diagnosed with breast cancer 5 years ago. I did all my chemo and radiation solo. Sure, I had scores of friends who would help, but turns out I didn't need much help.

If you're no longer together, he shouldn't be counting on you for help and you should only help if you feel strongly about it. My advice would be to let him figure it out.


nekonamida posted 5/31/2020 07:47 AM

Be cautious, Hedwig. There may be a new potential girlfriend on the scene and since honesty is not your WXBF's strong suit, things could get messy. Only support him to the extent that you are comfortable with. Don't feel guilty about having to stop or pullback at any point for your own sake.

Hedwig posted 5/31/2020 08:24 AM

Thanks for your replies, Cat and Nekonamida.

Cat, I am sorry you had to go through that. How are you now? I do feel strongly about it. I don't feel obligated or that I should do anything but I want to. When he told me, I finished what I had planned for that day for myself and then afterwards called him. I am not just dropping anything and everything for him.

Nekonamida, I will be cautious, especially since I know I still have feelings for him and I am still very deep in the recovery procces. I have already drawn lines for myself about the things I'm not comfortable with e.g. going to appointments with him and I also told him. He did and does not expect that from me.

I think he reached out in the same way I would reach out if something happened to me. After years of having each other as our go-to person, it's hard to let that go just like that.

I don't know, I posted this here because I really regret not posting here directly after D-day. I read a little but, like all BS in the beginning, thought my situation was different. I don't want to make that same mistake again and I think the people on SI can offer valuable insight.

KatieKat posted 5/31/2020 09:58 AM

Listen to Cat The Wise

josiep posted 5/31/2020 10:35 AM

Let's say you get involved with him and support him through this, on whatever level you choose and he's one of the lucky ones who beats this. Then ask yourself how you'll feel when he dumps you as he goes merrily on his new healthy way.

Let's say you get involved with him and support him through this, on whatever level you choose and he's one of the unlucky ones who doesn't beat it. Then ask yourself how you'll feel when the girlfriend gets to sit front and center at the funeral and everyone approaches her to express condolences and you're standing there like chopped liver.

Not worth the risk. Sometimes people create a situation of their own making and then they have to live with the consequences. He's meeting his.

And there is no upside in this situation for you of any kind. None whatsoever. Only heartache. And you've already had more than your fair share.

I personally think your best bet is to go NC with him and allow your heart to continue healing so that you will find peace and contentment and happiness someday.

As always, this is just my opinion, based on my own life and experiences. You might decide that it doesn't apply to you or your situation and that's OK. My goal isn't to get you to behave in certain way, it's simply to help you examine all your options including ways you might not have thought of. Whichever way you decide to handle it, please be good to yourself and know that your worth is not determined by his decisions in life.

Ratpicker posted 5/31/2020 10:54 AM

My Ex was diagnosed last fall with Grade 4 Glioblastoma. The prognosis is not good. And O'Whora is not taking proper care of him. Not making sure there is food for him to eat, helping him eat, not helping him into the bathroom, so he has fallen multiple times - that kind of not taking care of him. It breaks my heart to think he left me for her and doesn't have what I would have done for him.

But for all the years I couldn't figure out what I had done to deserve having my life & my family torn apart. I can't help but wonder if it was to spare me. One never knows why life takes the twists & turns that occur. It isn't written in stone that you have to get involved in his health crisis. Think long and hard about what you might be setting yourself up for.

Catwoman posted 5/31/2020 10:59 AM

I would be very cautious. He certainly isn't very caring of your feelings, and he may be taking advantage of your good nature.

I am doing GREAT! This is year 5 and I will be celebrating the end of treatments in October of this year.

My ex knew about the cancer (the kids told him--I don't speak with him) and determined he would make it very difficult during my illness by not doing the things he was supposed to do financially forcing my hand to take him back to court again. You would think a decent human wouldn't make it more difficult for someone during cancer treatment, but he did.

Just be careful.


phmh posted 5/31/2020 11:45 AM

Please listen to the others and reconsider. You said above that you didn't listen to SI originally because you thought your situation was different. As you admitted, it wasn't, and it's not different now, either.

People are diagnosed with cancer every day. There are many who are far more deserving of your empathy and help than WXBF. And you won't be helping them through this time. You owe him nothing. You owe your future self everything.

There are consequences to decisions. This is a confluence of two consequences for him - he decides to smoke and his consequence is cancer. He decides to cheat and the consequence is you are no longer his girlfriend.

Please value and respect yourself enough to stop being this guy's lapdog. You need to focus on you - on your new life. You cannot heal and start forging your fantastic life if you are stuck in the past. if you work on yourself and heal, someday you will find a great guy and be in a healthy, loving relationship. But that cannot happen as long as you remained enmeshed and emotionally attached to WXBF.

The decisions you make now impact your future happiness. Please choose you.

Muggle posted 5/31/2020 12:03 PM

Love the name Hedwig.

You have no obligation other than the one that's obviously still pulling the strings to your heart. You feel the need to rescue him, comfort him because that's what YOU would want someone to do for you. Be there, be comforting, and be your support system.

I 1000% understand why this is a dilemma for you emotionally. You haven't healed from what's happened. You still have a level of attachment that many of us feel for a long time, even though the desire to be with them is gone.

You have to decide to sever the bond that connects you emotionally. You are bonding over trauma. HIS trauma, which will bring YOU trauma.

I would suggest that you offer him resources for cancer patients, suggest counseling for him and express your sorrow that he's got cancer.

The more you involve yourself the more pain you expose yourself to. Ask yourself an honest question.

Would he be there if you were the one with cancer? Would he hold your hand, comfort you or be your support system? If your answer is no, or you doubt he would be that man, walk away.

The pain of removing yourself will be less than the pain of bringing him back into your life on this level. You are setting yourself up, and he's the bait.

He needs to sort out his own life now. He is no longer part of your future. Remember that and try not to feel guilty about doing what's healthy for yourself.

Sorry you're in this situation. You need to make yourself the priority now. He made his choices a long while ago. Let him manage them.

StillLivin posted 5/31/2020 12:23 PM

Why? This man betrayed you in the worst way possible. Remain NC. He's not your problem anymore. Say a prayer for him if you are religious, and then let the outcome go. I couldn't even imagine cheating on someone and then expecting them to be there for me if I had cancer or any other illness. The selfishness is strong in this one.
I dont wish bad on my ex. I'm past all that. But he's not going to eve or use me again. The kids are grown so no need for us to remain in contact.

Hedwig posted 5/31/2020 12:33 PM

Thank you all for replying and being so honest with me.

My head and my heart are in conflict, I know what is healthy for me and I know that I don't owe him anything. My heart is playing catch-up. Rationally, it is very clear cut but because I am still emotionally attached, it is very difficult for me to do what I know I need to do.

Josiep, what you said about the two situations and my role in them and a potential new girlfriend really struck a cord. Thank you for that.

Catwoman, I am happy for you that you're doing great! Sorry that your ex decided to make it harder for you.

Muggle, thank you, I like yours too, obviously! I actually do believe he would have been there for me if it was me with cancer, not sure if I was the one who had cheated, though!

All the others, I have read your posts as well and take them into account. I will be re-reading them to let it sink in and gain more clarity.

betrayedafter20 posted 6/1/2020 10:23 AM

Hedwig - sorry in advance for long post and probably an unpopular opinion.

This is a topic I can give perspective to as the recipient of support from my STBXWH and a 2x breast cancer survivor (Catwoman, not sure I knew that we had that in common, will have to pm another time about that

My Dday#1 was just before the 1st diagnosis.
I was in the midst of raising two young boys one a difficult child with autism and had just JFO about PA#1. WH stopped the A and turned his attention to me and the kids (as much as a narcissist is able, anyway - he didn't want to look bad in front of others, too) but I do believe he was compassionate and supportive because he wanted to be. I am/was grateful for that because for me, while I was strong every day for the kids and went through all the surgery, chemo, radiation and complications with my head held high - he was the one person I allowed myself to cry with at night when I did feel angry and scared that it was happening to me. And he was there to comfort me, many, many times. My experience was different than Catwoman's. I really needed him then and I cannot imagine how I would have done it without his support.

Unfortunately it turned into false R later, but I didn't know it. I just noticed that after being Mr. wonderful during the first cancer experience then suddenly when I was strong again he became mean and distant (he began A #2 a year after I finished treatments).

Then I was diagnosed again. same cancer, same breast. This time I had double mastectomy. I didn't know it at the time, but WH was in the midst of his EA/PA with OW that he had strong feelings for. He temporarily stopped it (she had an ounce of decency to agree with him on that as her FH died of cancer) and WH again turned his attention toward me and the kids.

While I was better equipped emotionally to handle the cancer having been there before - I was still grateful for WH's emotional support because I was so angry and sad that how could it possibly happen again so quickly after I had gone through so much treatment - and he totally understood that. In hindsight the second time he was definitely less emotionally involved in the support (somehow a little less loving in a husband way.?) . But it didn't bother me, he was still supportive. And again, as soon as I had fully recovered from the surgery - he was back to being mean and distant and critical - clearly had resumed the A and was faking false R in counseling because he felt guilty about wanting to possibly leave the marriage after me having cancer twice.

I can tell you that a few months after the surgery if he would have come to me and just told me he wanted to end the marriage I think I would have been okay. He told me later that he just felt like he didn't want me to suffer anymore (he was doing me a favor ) but what he didn't get was how much more I was suffering in anxiety, depression, confusion due to his verbal abuse and gaslighting - but now I know he subconsciously always wanted to be with AP when he was home "doing the right thing" really?

This went on for 2 more years until I recently had my 1st phase of reconstruction in January this year - which again I've have complications. Again, he was good to me during and a little after the surgery. But this time, he was even able to be annoyed with me already even just 3 weeks after the surgery. And the reason for that, is because AP ended the PA just before my surgery. So now he's just pissed and grieving about how he stuck with me through everything and now his AP had had enough of his "compassion" for me... And that's when I had Dday#2.

I'm only three months out of reconstruction surgery #1 and have #2 upcoming in September.
Things are different now because STBXWH is out of the house and I am moving toward D. But we've had a conversation -and have agreed he will be there for me and the boys to support us during and after my (hopefully last) surgery. It will be platonic, but I STILL am grateful that he will be there for me. It feels natural and I know I would be disappointed if he chose not to be. Not because I'm pining for him - NOT AT ALL. But he knows me, my journey, and the father of my kids and dad "should" be there to help. And if he's banging AP while he's supporting me, I could give a shit. He can move on right away once I am safe. He doesn't need to even stay at the house. But he was my partner and friend for 25 years and it will be a comfort to know I can count on him for this.

I'm sorry this is so long and a lot about me - but my feeling for you is - as long as you are not going into support WH because you are hoping it will get his head out of his ass and he will have an epiphany that after all you are the "one" and it isn't the "pick me" dance - if you know you are able to set that emotional boundary - I absolutely think it is natural and appropriate for you to be there to be supportive. If you are a caring compassionate person by nature - why on earth wouldn't you do what you could to support ANYONE going through that kind of experience? I mean, this isn't like going back to an addict and supporting their addiction with codependent behavior.

Cancer is scary and is a different experience for every one - and degrees of seriousness and fear/anxiety/strength are completely subjective to each person. Supporting your WH is not being codependent or weak, IMHO. It's being a human being. Just don't get sucked into some kind of hopeful vortex for the epiphany.

tushnurse posted 6/1/2020 17:37 PM

Hedwig - Please confirm the cause of the diagnosis. HPV is skyrocketing as the cause of oral cancers. You need to know if he has cancer caused from that vs smoking. Do not assume to know that it is from being a smoker.
There are plenty of public figures that have had oral cancers from it, including Eddie Van Halen, and Michael Douglas.

You need to know so you can continue to monitor yourself for HPV.

The1stWife posted 6/1/2020 21:57 PM

You are a better person than I am. I would wish him well and that would be it.

He would get no sympathy or support from me after that. I would Not wish anything bad to happen but I would not be emotionally supportive either.

Catwoman posted 6/2/2020 05:42 AM

Another way to look at it: Didn't he fire you from that job?


Hedwig posted 6/2/2020 08:52 AM

@betrayedafter20. I am sorry you have had to deal with this in your life. I really hope you are fine now and will be even better after your reconstructive surgery. Thank you for taking the time to reply so detailed and please do not say sorry for talking about yourself. I appreciate it and I specifically asked for people's experience navigating this kind of situation.

I am sorry your STBXH became mean and distant after the surgeries (I think there is a group of cheaters that need to be needed and discard you when you're self-sufficient) but I am also happy for you that he was there for you when you wanted and needed him to be.

I am off the hopium and I don't have any hope he will get his head out of his ass. I gave him a chance for 18 months and he blew it. Even now I see some of the tendencies of self-destructive behaviour, selfishness and low-selfesteem he had and never wanted to adress.

But I am worried that supporting him wil get in the way of my healing and will also complicate or even close the door for any potential new beginnings. I can imagine someone not wanting to get involved with someone who is supporting an ex. Hell, I wouldn't want to get involved with someone like that, with everything I have experienced. I am pouring my heart out, here, so please be gentle, y'all.

Anyway, betrayedafter20, thank you for your input, it gave me a new perspective.

@tushnurse, thank you! I did read about HPV also being a cause of oral cancer and I will check with him to be sure it's caused by smoking. Where I live, women from the age of 30 to 50 have access to a nationwide screening tool to find cervical cancer in an early stage. I am 29, so HPV and cervical cancer are already on my radar.

@The1stWife: I don't think I'm a better person. If I was 2 years out after our separation, I don't think I would have reacted the same.

@Catwoman: I quit the job after false R after he cheated but yes, I get what you're saying.

Catwoman posted 6/2/2020 09:10 AM

But I am worried that supporting him will get in the way of my healing and will also complicate or even close the door for any potential new beginnings. I can imagine someone not wanting to get involved with someone who is supporting an ex.

All of this is very true.

At this point, I would recommend you put on YOUR oxygen mask FIRST and take care of you. He made his bed when he not only decided to cheat, but also decided to engage in false reconciliation and compound the lies.

Certainly you wouldn't interfere with his healing/treatment like my ex did, but you don't owe him anything except maybe some compassion or prayers, if you are religious.

And yes, I would have issues with someone supporting an ex like this, especially since there was no marriage or children.

Only you can decide what works for you, but many of us are of the feeling that getting involved in any way with his treatment would likely work against you.


Hedwig posted 6/2/2020 09:16 AM

Last update: the biopsy was today and the results will be in on the 10th of june, but the oncologist said that this is probably not cancer but a preliminary stage or maybe even something else. The doctor who saw him first and said it was cancer, was a dental surgeon. Oncologist knows the dental surgeon and said the dental surgeon is prone to jumping to conclusions about lesions in the tongue. I am sorry for the rollercoaster and I think I maybe shouldn't have posted before he saw the oncologist.

Final results will be in next week but I have to say I am a little relieved.

ETA so I don't double post:

Thank you, Catwoman and like I said: I wouldn't want to get involved with someone still involved with their ex either (unless kids in the mix of of course).

I really took all of your advice to heart this weekend and I was able to set up some boundaries. Before posting and reading here on sunday I was already full-on emotionally invested and I wasn't thinking rational at all. It really helped.

[This message edited by Hedwig at 9:20 AM, June 2nd (Tuesday)]

tushnurse posted 6/2/2020 09:20 AM

Make sure he shows you the pathology results so you can be aware if the lesion is HPV in nature vs some other oral lesion.

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