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Caretaker looking for encouragement

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Caretaker looking for encouragement

Posted By
11/8/2019 9:49pm
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Replies: 11

Hi everyone! My husband goes in for his 2nd scans since his stage iv diagnosis in May. Luckily, nothing showed up on the scan the first time and we are certainly hoping for the same news in a few weeks. I’ve struggled with anxiety since his diagnosis, which came 8 months after our daughter was born and I dealt with postpartum anxiety and depression. I am on medication and see a therapist regularly but it doesn’t seem to be enough. I’ve been crying constantly with the fear of my husband dying and living without the love of my life. He is only 33 and we were supposed to have a long, healthy and happy life in front of us. I don’t know how to stop worrying about the worst case scenario and enjoy the moments. I try to think about how accidents happen everyday and nothing is promised. But it doesn’t help the fact that we are staring cancer in the eye, lurking over us like a dark cloud. I feel hopeless and don’t know how to keep going but I need to find a way to be strong for my husband and daughter. I’m crumbling inside. I could really use some encouragement from those of you who have been through this....thank you.

Although, I have no experience with post partum depression, I have lots with being a caretaker for family members with terminal cancer as well as survivors and now as a stage IV melanoma patient myself. Given my life experience, I have never asked why me? If a 6 month old baby can have melanoma and receive Opdivo infusions then why not me or anyone else? The key is to put it all into perspective. While it is certainly a life changing experience, there is as much hope now as ever with the immunotherapy advancements. Also, you are so fortunate that you have each other, as well as a healthy child. Many people are alone and have no one to love or be loved, not to mention to care about/for or themselves to be cared by. Instead of focusing on the stage of the illness, focus on being grateful and thankful for what you do have. Have faith, believe, hope, show gratitude, love and be loved. If a single person can beat cancer and has the will to live then together the three of you will do/be just fine. Remember, where there is life there is hope. Find a friend or two or join a support group. You are not alone and together you can and will beat this!

Melanie, thank you!!! I have been re-reading your post the past few days and it has given me a lot to think about and try to re-train my thoughts. My husband is so strong and determined to beat this. The thought has never even crossed his mind that he won’t be ok. I don’t know how you that are actually fighting the disease do it, but I wish you the best. Thank you for being there for me.

I am now the patient, have been a caretaker before as well. THIS is a huge struggle. Sometimes as a caregiver or patient you feel helpless, you want to do something and there is "nothing" you can do. But there is.....the most important thing you can do is be there for each other. The difference between those who struggle through disease and illness alone and those who have loved ones and friends creating a support network is huge. But, your support network as a caregiver is a little different. You need to have people to talk to that just listen. No judgement, no brilliant ideas, just listen to your conversations about your feelings and experience! That is what has helped me. Try to find people with a shared experience. I think in this sight you have come to a good place. There are many here like me who have been patients and caregivers and there are many who are just caregivers. I wish for you and your husband the best. Remember, it is okay to cry and be worried need that.
God bless,

Ted Tellman

Stage IV initial, NIVO February-June 2018 stopped because of colitis. WLE in Feb 2018, NED after surgery and recent scans. Treatment at Regions, St. Paul, MN, Dr. Dudek

Hi Ted, I completely agree that as a caregiver I do feel helpless much of the time. I’m trying to be there but he is so much stronger emotionally than I am. Thanks for taking the time to write to me and provide some encouragement. It helps so much to know that this site is here as an outlet.

Anonymous - (11/10/2019 - 4:53am)

Hi. I'm so sorry you guys are dealing with this...I have two young children , and I have done so much worrying over the last year. Ivevalso got a wife in her 30's.

When I first was diagnosed a year ago, it wrecked me. Today, we went out to breakfast and I felt real happiness all morning...being with the ones I live most. I couldn't do that 6 months ago but I could today. I started by enjoying little moments...a hug, a glance...and Im.working my way longer periods of anxiety free time.

For me I think I just needed time to process it...I wish you the best and urge you to enjoy a moment..and build from there. Do not let melanoma steal.any more moments from you...or try to minimize the stolen moments.

Hi there, thanks for taking the time to write to me. I’m so sorry you are going through this. Trying to enjoy the moments is great advice, I hope to get better at it. Thankfully children make it easier to smile even on the worst days.

Hello, I know exactly what you are going through and I am sorry that melanoma is now part of your life. It sucks, and we have no control over it! My husband is also stage 4 he progressed to stage 4 in May 2018. I had all the feelings you do and felt that I would not be able to get through the next 5 minutes without crying, but I did. I had lots of support from people on this board and a few close friends let your friends help you. I told you once before to be gentle and kind to yourself, this is very important so that you can care for your baby and your husband. When someone asks if they can do an errand for you or watch your baby let them. It is wonderful that you are seeing a therapist and taking medication, in time you will be able to quiet all the scary thoughts in your mind( maybe not at scan time) My husband was diagnosed stage 3 in 2015 and I still turn into an anxious mess at scan time, you will find many postings from me on this board barely holding it together. I don't know what your husband's scans will show, I wish I could tell you everything is going to be fine I wish that for all of us here. I do know that treatment for melanoma has come a long way and that there is real hope! Read the posts from the survivors that always makes me feel better. You and your family are in my thoughts I will be hoping for great news on your husband's next scans.

Amie Taylor

Hi Amie, thanks for the words of encouragement. It helps me to read this and know that it is possible to keep going even when it seems like I can’t. I do read the survivor stories when I am feeling scared. Sometimes it helps and sometimes it just makes me more anxious and go to the “what if’s”. How is your husband doing now? Thanks for being there for me.


Hi Holly, my husband is doing well.Thank you for asking. He is dealing with some side effects from his treatment but nothing that keeps him down! He has more energy than I do, I am happy to listen to any worries and I will do my best to try and help. You can email me if you feel especially anxious. There are a few people here who really helped me through some hard times with encouraging emails.

Amie Taylor

Hi Hanaln,

Clearly your plate is more than full!!! So sorry for your husband's diagnosis. However, there is plenty of reason for hope. I'm still here after dealing with melanoma for the past 16 years, Stage IV for the past 9 and NED since 2013! Still, I am certain I would not be here were it not for the caregivers I have been blessed to have in my life. This ode to them and the information included may be of interest to you:

Hang tough. Take care of yourself as best you can. Your husband is lucky to have you! I wish you and yours my best. Celeste

Hi Hannah,
I, too, am sorry for all that you're going through, but you've found a soft place to fall with this group. When I was diagnosed, and while I waited for surgery and biopsy results, I was a frantic mess. I didn't really tell a lot of people, only those with a "need to know", because I didn't want our relationships to change with the word "cancer". That probably made things a bit worse because I was keeping my fear to myself, and didn't even let my family know how frightened I was. I would have a hard time falling asleep (which is very unusual, I could sleep on a picket fence!), and then I'd wake in the middle of the night - and I mean WIDE awake, going over every fear possible. I think I could feel my heart beating out of my chest for a full 2 months, 24/7. My daughter made me a beautiful sign that says "Give it to God and go to sleep", which became my evening mantra (it helped!) With each step forward I became a little less anxious, and finding this forum was a huge part of that. I could see that there is hope in even the most devastating of diagnosis, and I came to know those that offer the constant guidance and support as a kind of family. I think it's safe to say that there is always a prayer on someone's lips, and you can add mine to that. Best of luck with the scans, and find peace in each moment.