Saturday, October 29, 2011

Distressing News

Recently, the 40-year old husband of a very close work colleague (of both my wife and I) complained of an unusually bad headache while at home with his wife and two young children. Hours later, he threw up and then dropped dead of a brain aneurysm.  It really brought home to everyone at work how fragile life really is.

My 52 year-old brother was diagnosed this week with prostate cancer, confirmed by needle biopsy.   He is scheduled for surgery in about three weeks followed by radiation treatments.  He is very calm and stoic about it but  it is regarded as a serious case given his age and a very strong family history of the disease.  Our father was diagnosed sixteen years ago at the age of sixty but responded very well to treatment.

I am certain that I will be heading down the prostate cancer route myself one day.  My brother, father and I are so much alike physically, we could be triplets although with different ages.  I'll be discussing it with my doctor next month but I find the prospect of dealing with second bout of cancer enormously discouraging. Just as I am about to embark on an exciting new gay sex life, the prospect of an operation which may leave me without the ability to get an erection or have bladder control fills me with despair.  But I'm projecting here... I should be concerned about my brother and parents.

Although my wife regularly says she "cares about me" and we are generally non-adversarial, I still get verbally attacked a couple of times per month.  Just to keep the lines of communication open and to avoid slipping into an adversarial relationship, I generally just listen to the abuse.  There is no point in responding.

All of this combined with selling our house is hugely stressful and I've been bothered by the odd twinge of chest pain (EKG showed no abnormalities) and a slight recurrence of my spinal problem due to muscle tension.  My stress-induced asthma is also back with a vengeance.  I just want all this to be over with!!

Following this week's distressing new, I emailed my wife describing my symptoms and said that I could no longer accept verbal abuse and that all our communication should be via text or e-mail.  She has told me numerous times over the years that she wished I was dead;  I pointed out that I was quickly heading in that direction and it wouldn't be in anyone's interest (the kids or hers) if I dropped dead of a heart attack.

After several days, she phoned with a tearful apology and insisted that she does care about me.  She explained that when she thinks about her situation, she sometimes gets so enraged that she says hateful things but has no memory the next day of anything she said.  I already knew about this .... it happened a couple of times per year throughout our marriage.

I said, fine, we'll continue talking but I reserved the right to hang up the phone the instant she became abusive.  She agreed to this so once again, all is well.... more or less.   We continue to work cooperatively to sell my house, the sooner the better!



  1. That is the oldest, lamest excuse in the book: "I don't know what came over me." "I don't remember doing it." "I love you even though I abuse you." Bullshit. Your wife is emotionally abusing you. So long as you allow her to, she will continue to. Don't enable her to abuse you. Set the parameters of your communication and adhere to them. If she abuses you again,through e-mail or phone call, refuse to have direct contact and communicate solely through a mediator or attorney.

    Focus on your well being and health. Get tests and treatment as necessary. I know how hard it is when your sex life is impacted by your health, but you can have a life even if you lose sex, you cannot have sex if you lose life.

  2. Isn't the new medical trend for prostate cancer to use less invasive treatments? I remember seeing a few recent articles saying that surgery, with it's debilitating effects, can do more damage than the cancer.

    I think your new approach to handling your wife's outbursts is a good one. If we are to believe that she doesn't realize what she's doing then your frequent hang-ups will make her much more aware. It's also a training technique. My guess is that within two months you won't have to hang up on her very often because she'll moderate her behavior.

    I'm sorry to hear about your colleague's husband. How devastating for his wife and family. As you are so good at reminding us - serious things can unexpectedly happen, and when they do, it puts all small dramas in life into their proper perspective.

  3. You really are being put through the wringer - and with that extra aggro when it isn't 'necessary' too. It all would have flattened a lesser person. I do hope you can keep bearing up, pal. If I was a believer I'd be praying that the sun would come out for you - and soon. As it is, I'll keep my fingers crossed and send you all the best wishes I can muster from this side of the pond. Warm hugs.

  4. Very discouraging. But then again, it only emphasizes the need to live authentically and with integrity.

    Will J

    PS On a lighter note -- I'm sure that there are many of your loyal readers who would help you with special studies or private tutorials should you need accelerated coursework or practicums for your new gay sex life...just to reduce the uptake time of course. Something about making hay while the sun shines comes to mind...

  5. This does make me feel like saying cease the day, while it's here. Live your life without regrets.

  6. I'm such a moron. I mean seize the day, not cease the day. LOL.

  7. I'm sorry about your brother, and it's perfectly understandable that you'd think about your own prospects, given the family history. So don't blame yourself for that.

    And make good use of the agreement that you can hang up on her the instant she starts being abusive.

  8. I think BreenLatern is right. However, the pattern was set many years ago. From what I have read she may actually doing better in that regards. Relatively of course. As for the cancer. Treatment options are increased over years ago. And while you may think of yourself as one of a triplet, you aren't. Keep up medical observations but don't expect the worst.

  9. Thanks for your positive comments and concern, everyone! It is quite late here at my parents' house and I can't comment fully as I don't have private access to a computer. Tomorrow!!

  10. The chest pain twinges could be from stress as well as physical reasons (lifting/moving stuff) but I agree the confluence of all that can be a downer. Let us know what you can do on the prostrate front since it is so much in the news today - sort of like breast cancer is for women.

    And Mack "cease the day" - that was really so ironically funny I was sure it was on purpose...

  11. Truly distressing news. These kinds of events can really put things in perspective. Sending good thoughts your way.

  12. Sorry to read about your brother and also the sudden death of your friend.

    You soon-to-be ex-wife is mentally ill. She needs counseling and medication. More so the latter. Good strategy on the training technique of hanging up on her when she gets abusive. I used to do the same thing when I was a switchboard operator.

    And learn how to de-stress if you can. I know stress can make you ill, which is why I have a couple of stents in my heart right now.

  13. Man, I admire you for all you go through and deal with it so well.


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