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Navigating Guilt and Challenges in My Partner's Cancer Journey

Feeling guilty for being ill through cancer journey

One of the hardest things I have found when living alongside Rods cancer journey is how to support him with protection from infection. Last year I went through huge guilt when I had Covid, and he was at the height of his chemotherapy treatment. It was extremely hard trying to keep away from him and as if a cancer diagnosis isn’t isolating enough, isolating from him was doubly hard.


I was angry at myself for dropping my guard and putting myself in a position where the risk of infection was present and I vowed to myself, I would try not to let that happen again.


Well, here we are almost 12 months on, and I’ve got Covid again. All the same feelings of guilt and anger at myself are back, as are the fears of what if he gets it and can’t fight it.  His immune system is so low that his body wouldn’t be able to fight it like mine. Feeling again like I let my guard down. I had become complacent and so used to him feeling ok that we had started doing more things that we love. Unfortunately, those have come with some risks. 


I have grappled long and hard with the balance between wanting to protect him and just getting on with living. I know some people feel that I am overprotective with Rod, but my thoughts are, that unless you are in this position, unless you are going through a cancer journey yourself, or with someone you love, it’s not really something you can fully understand. Now normally I’m ok with people’s judgement but when I’m feeling so low and so ill, my resilient self has taken a battering.


The spiritual side of me, however, recognises that the Universe has put me on my backside for a reason. We both had been going very hard these last few weeks with renovations to the house, various appointments and life has been hectic. Something needed to give and when you don’t listen to the warning signs, the messages become more severe.


So here I am on a stormy day, with the first rain we have had for months here in Collie WA and I’m reflecting on what needs to improve and change in my life. Yes, I will be more vigilant when in public and more cautious on where we go. I also recognise that rest for me right now is important if I am going to be able to support him through this ongoing journey.


This is why we call it living life alongside cancer, living completely in the present moment.  We do have to make the call each day on what the right choice for both of us is. I do have to lean into the emotions that come with his cancer diagnosis including the guilt and fear.  I take the time to listen to my body and my soul and try to acknowledge everything that is going on for me in this moment.

Ways to release trauma and guilt somatically

I have a technique that helps me release some of the negative feelings I may be experiencing that I would like to share with you:

  • I sit quietly and gently close my eyes. I take some long slow deep breaths, in through my nose and gently out through my mouth. I do this at least 6 times to slow down my nervous system. 


  • I then picture an empty bubble floating down from the clouds to stop right in front of me where I can catch it with my hands and hold it to my chest. 


  • I bring to mind all the words and emotions I’m currently feeling that I need to release.  For me the words guilt, anger and sadness come up.


  • I picture myself putting them into the empty bubble and releasing the bubble back up to the universe, watching those words float away, no longer needed to be stored in my body.


  • Then I take a few more deep breaths and bring back in another bubble some new words, kinder words like love, peace, acceptance, acknowledgement. 


  • I then take these new words and plant them into my heart. And with a few final deep breaths, I thank my soul for showing up for me today.


I hope you can give this a try if you too are experiencing any negative emotions or fears that need to be released.


On a brighter note, thankfully for now Rod is not showing any symptoms of Covid and hopefully we will be back on track in a few days.


Much love ~ Chris

Christine & Rod - through their cancer journey


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