Tag Archives: cancer awareness

From “the Can Opener”

Image by autumnsgoddess0 from Pixabay

Monday will mark one month

This Monday will be Valentine’s Day- and it will also mark one month since my husband passed. It still feels like it was yesterday. How do I celebrate Valentine’s Day without him after 40 years?

I thought I was doing okay until I had to go pick up his death certificate and his ashes from the funeral home. I had known it wasn’t going to be easy, but nothing can really prepare you for bringing your spouse home that way.

I don’t want to dwell on this for too long. But it has taken me days to be up to writing about this and I will be starting grief counseling (hopefully this week)- and I know this will be one thing recommended. I had bought a new journal to write about the whole cancer diagnosis and why it wasn’t diagnosed until it was too late.

But I have yet to write a single word in that journal, because I stare at the blank page and my mind instantly starts seeing him doubled over in continual pain and struggling to breathe as he had been daily since about May of last year. I want to watch tv, and I remember the countless times we would “watch something together” and he would retreat into the bedroom in too much pain to care. Then I remember hearing him breathing at night and saying, “I think you should go to ER” (but he was in too much pain).

I start seeing the countless dinners I’d prepared for us, from which he would take one or two bites, then retreat into the bedroom in pain saying he was “full.” I remember the vain attempts to offer him something that would maybe- just MAYBE help him have a little relief – only to have him refuse it because he already knew it wouldn’t help.

I constantly feel the helplessness all over again of thinking he was going to die, and we wouldn’t even know why. I feel the anger at the doctors again also who saw his “something” on his small intestine that “they didn’t think was cancer”- and didn’t give him anything at all to relieve his constant pain and other symptoms while he waited an average of 3 months to be seen by another specialist who said the same things and referred him to yet another specialist– (with yet another month or two or three in between).

The last specialist he was referred to was 110 miles away – and when he finally was called (in November) by that specialist it was for a phone consultation. Still no relief for him symptoms meanwhile. The next thing we knew he was being rushed to the ER because of a blood clot- and nothing was the same after that.

I need to stop this for now – (though I hadn’t planned to)- There is so much more to say- but I want to encourage you all to not take for granted the time you have with your loved ones. Especially your spouses. When we celebrated the New Year this year, we knew something was wrong with my husband, but we had no idea that the Christmas we had was going to be our last Christmas together- and that the New Year we celebrated would be the last time we would ring in a New Year.

Whatever you do- treat your loved ones – with respect and consideration – don’t say things in anger and frustration that you can never take back. Don’t be oblivious to their emotional needs or frustrated with them when they don’t see things the way you do. Let them be who they are- don’t try to make them a copy of yourself. You have one chance in this life to BE the “someone special” to the “special someone” in your life.

Sheild and protect each other. Uphold each other’s dignity- and don’t tolerate anyone speaking evil of your spouse. BE SOMEONE SPECIAL to them while you can- today! Tomorrow everything could change.



The Surprise at the Hospital

I’ve been stressed and I’m going to let Mom do this post. I don’t understand all that medical stuff.

“There’s no more Treatment”

In my last post (more than a week ago)- I wrote that my husband had finished the first chemo treatment. I discovered the next day when I went back to the hospital, that he had completed the first part of the first treatment. It took 3 days altogether for it to be done. I was thankful that they had finally allowed me to visit him, so during and after the chemo, I stayed with him and tried my best to get him to drink fluids and eat what he could.

He seemed to be doing well after the chemo – (except for having no appetite) – but he kept bleeding from his intestines and after about 5 different transfusions, it was clear that the bleeding wouldn’t stop and they didn’t want to do more transfusions (because of a blood shortage). That meant they also couldn’t give him blood thinners to get rid of the clot (still in) his leg, either.

On January 6, I came to see him and his countenance had completely changed. It was as if all hope of recovery had evaporated from him and the first thing he said to me was, “Call my sister.” I was surprised, because I had thought he had already told her about the cancer- so I took my phone to a quiet place to call her and had to let her know what was happening. Of course, she burst into tears, as I had known she would.

She asked if he was conscious and if he could talk, and I answered yes, and headed back to his room to hold the phone for him (on speaker phone), so they could talk. The chemo had somehow affected his eyes, so after the chemo he wasn’t able to see messages on his phone.

Right after I walked into the room with the phone on speaker still, a man appeared in the doorway, and asked if I was his wife. Then he simply said, “Here’s the thing. There’s no more treatment. We’ve done all we can do, and we are changing (him) to DNR (do not rescusitate). And we are sending him home for hospice care. He and I discussed this this morning and this is what he wants.”

I looked at my husband and knew He had wanted the Hospice Coordinator to tell me, and so it was. Within an hour, we were on our way back home in an ambulance.

And that began the last chapter of my husband’s life. I will write more tomorrow. It has taken me several days to get this far.

Thank you for bearing with me and for all your prayers and support. I love you all.