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angespo1
Posts: 20
Joined: Sep 2008

My name is Angie and I am new to this site. My husband is 33 and has terminal colon cancer. This has been the most horrible and rewarding year of my life, and now that I know he is coming to the end of his, I have been overwhelmed. I have three young children who will be devasted when he is gone, how do I hold myself together and pick up the pieces of their hearts? My inlaws also lean on my for alot of support, sometimes I think too much. If anyone can realte and is looking for someone to chat with, I am here.

slickwilly's picture
slickwilly
Posts: 339
Joined: Feb 2007

Angie. First of all I am so sorry for what you and your family are going through. I am sure this will be the first of many letters you will get off this web site. There are no silver bullets as every situation is different. I have been on both sides of the coin from having cancer to being a caregiver. I am sorry that your in-laws are leaning on you but I suspect its because your husband is so young. Parents can't imagine losing a child before they are gone themselves. And they ask a million questions about his medical treatment and things that were already tried or taken care of months ago. I know it gets frustrating. If there is nothing else that can be done, I would ask that you call a local Hospice if one is available. A volunteer will visit and get to know your situation. They can give you a needed break as you really need some time for yourself to think. Just a few hours away can help alot. You will become the foundation of the family as you are strong and have made it this far. You didn't mention the age of your children but I assume they are quite young. When I didn't think I was going to survive cancer I wrote letters and made video tapes for each of my 3 daughters to let them know how special they were in my life. Of all my hopes and dreams for them. It was quite hard I will admit. But even if I was not around they could look back and know how I felt about many subjects they would face while growing into adults. It allowed me to still be part of their lives. I never missed an opportunity to tell my children I loved them. Even to this day I never miss a chance, and they know that I am so proud of them. On your husbands side of things its very hard. Dignity is a major issue. After going through cancer treatments and operations we lose a lot of dignity. Everyone seems to want to invade our bodies for some reason. We feel we have not done enough and let the family down. There are so many things left on the table that we didn't get done. If there are home projects or something the family or friends can help him complete it helps alot. On his bad days maintain his privacy. On his good days have others over who don't dwell on his problems. I have never seen a situation like this where some family members did not second guess decissions. You can get mad and say this is the way it is. Or you can listen and make an informed choice on things as you have to live with it. Never forget that your a very special person yourself. Your here because you want to do what is right for your family and husband. That makes you very special in my book. We wake up and take a breath. We look at our bedroom ceiling and pray today will be better than yesterday. For a while it will be one second of one minute of one day. But it will get better with time. We never forget, we just learn to live again. God bless you and your family. Slickwilly

TereB
Posts: 288
Joined: May 2003

That was a very nice message, slickwilly.
Angie, slickwilly is right, you need to take time for yourself. Maybe a nurse from the local hospice could help so you can have some time for yourself and for yourself with the kids. Maybe a neighbor can do it.

You anad your family are in my prayers.
TereB

angespo1
Posts: 20
Joined: Sep 2008

Thank you so much for your kind letter. We are involved with hospice and I have a wonderful family support system, it's just very hard for family to understand what this feels like. I am glad I joined this site, it's helpful to able to get advice from people hwo have been through this. My boys are 10, 6, and 3 and I know they will get through this terrible time and I will too from the help of people like you. God bless you.

slickwilly's picture
slickwilly
Posts: 339
Joined: Feb 2007

Its great that you have a family support system and Hospice is a wonderful thing. Many times people feel guilty about leaving the side of those that are suffering. But keeping your own mental health strong through all this is very important. If there is anyone your husband would really like to talk too or have around let that person know. When I had cancer a friend also had cancer. His wife called and mentioned he wanted to see me. We spent many hours together talking about treatments, side effects and life. And his wife got a needed break and lunch with my wife. Those conversations were something I will never forget as he never quit talking about how much he loved his wife for what she was doing. I suspect your husband feels that same. Surround him with the things he loves, right down to his favorite bedding. It might sound funny, but when our bodies hurt the little things matter. You with 3 boys and me with 3 girls. I can understand some of the thoughts going through your head. But be open and honest as children are smarter than we give them credit for. I actually had a 22 year old daughter sit down with me yesterday and talk about relationships. Its amazing what happens when you keep the lines of communication open with your children. Many times the children feel they might not be taken care of after a parent is gone. Be it divorce or death. I know because I have been there. They won't say anything but they are thinking about it. Its the worst feeling in the world for a child to carry. The kids need a face to face talk so they understand that the whole family is there for them. In my younger years my family went from living in a house with a pool and all the good things in life, to living in a garage with no bathroom. But it didn't matter because we were together. My brother and I would sweep streets and clean up the cemetaries in town. Then give the checks to our mother so we could eat. It was hard but we were still a family and dug ourselves out of that hole together. I know its never easy and it hurts. Life does not seem fair. We all think "why us". It takes months to get things settled down and then some medical bill will show up to remind us of what we have lost. But at some point life will start again. Many times friends we had for years just disappear. It seems to be almost a given fact. But others that lived on the outside edges of our lives step up to the plate and its truly amazing. Please keep in touch as there are people here that really care about you and your family. God bless you and your family Slickwilly

angespo1
Posts: 20
Joined: Sep 2008

You have an amazing insight, I know you have been there, but you amazing for that as well. I do believe in communication and I think it is key. We are working with a counselor in order to tell our kids what they should know at the right times. It's funny, so many people talk to me and ask me how I am doing and how my inlaws are doing, and very few ask about the kids. They are all I worry about. I know God does not give us anything we can't handle and I know as hard as it will be, I will go on and so will my kids and we will be stronger having gone through this. I hope that someday I can give encouragement and strength to someone else as so many have inspired me. I also come from a strong family unit and I believe in it, it is hard to think of anyone dealing with illness especially cancer not to have that support. I am glad I found this site and that I found you. Thank you for you caring thoughts and for being a person who is willing to reach out to others.

slickwilly's picture
slickwilly
Posts: 339
Joined: Feb 2007

I appreciate the kind words. I try to find the right things to say and write but I am not perfect. I just do the best I can and hope it helps. I had my cancer 5 years ago and ever since I seem to draw local people with cancer to me. Its either a phone call or standing at the local post office. But they will find me and I am not about to let them fight alone. This would be a slow time for me as I am helping one on her second fight with breast cancer and one man with prostate cancer. And I will admit it rips me apart inside as I never feel I have done enough. I think all caregivers feel that way. We try to help without hurting and hope we made the right choices. I always mix personal stories in with my letters it seems so here is another. A close friend recently lost her husband to cancer. She kept him at home until his death. She always kept second guessing herself on things and I kept telling her she was doing great. She kept him dressed in his favorite clothes even thought he could not leave his bed. She used her softest blankets and sheets to help comfort him. And per his wishes she bathed him after his death, before anyone else could see him. I cannot even imagine how hard that was for her. But 2 months out she is doing great and knows she did her best. I see her every week and there is always a smile and a hug. So life goes on and I get lots of hugs that make it worth the fight. Helping others is a blessing and there will be a time when you can help make this world better. Right now your doing the right things for your family. There are many that don't step up to the plate and fight like you. Your children and husband are very blessed to have you in their lives. God bless you and your family Slickwilly

angespo1
Posts: 20
Joined: Sep 2008

Your words are a special comfort today, as it has been one week exactly since my husband has passed. It was more sudden than we thought, and it seemed as though he was waiting for our finances to get in order, as soon as they did, he went. I have had a swarm of family in my house "comforting" me and driving me crazy. I was okay with his passing because I knew it was his time, but now they want life to go on and I only burried him on Thursday. I don't have the energy to fight them, I have asked that they just let me be sad for a while, but it seems that is not in the cards, until they all leave. I have spent so much of the last year fighting cancer and social security and work, I can't fight them now. I will wait until they leave, then I will mourn my husband. Thank you for your kind words, and the day you wrote them, it was the day he died.

hopeful36
Posts: 9
Joined: Feb 2008

Hi, I am new to this site as well this is my first approach. When reading your situation am quite sad to say that I can relate, but comforted also that I'm not the only one. My husband who just turned 37yrs old was diagnoised with a Gliomas brain stem tumor that is inoperable, although it was found in 2001 and he went through radiation and was fine for 7yrs after they said he would live for only 2, We figured we beat the odds and he was going to be fine. Well in Feb of 06 we started planning our wedding for Oct 07, everything was going great we had just had our yearly visit at Duke Brain Tumor Center in July 07 and they said he was looking great and the MRI's were good. Then Aug 23 exactly 1 month from our doctor visit, things about my husband started to change, his speech, vision,hearing & walking etc... I immediately called the doctors and they ordered another MRI and thats when we learned that the tumor started to grow. My husband started chemo Sept 17,07 and his physical abilities became worse, we had our wedding party as well as us seated during our ceremony(it was the cutest thing)so no one would wonder why we were just seated. He wasn't ready for anyone to know including our son who is now 14y. My husband now has to walk with a walker, his vision and hearing is poor and he has developed blood clots in his legs and lungs although with all of this I am still thankful. I understand about being tired, too much of others depending on you to be strong. There are times I just want to scream and I literally leave out of my house and go in my car and SCREAM to the top of my lungs and just cry my heart out, then I wipe my tears put a little makeup on and go back in so that he can see me be strong for him and my son. Last week was the first time I sat down with my son and explained to him what was really wrong with his dad. It has been a big relief now that he knows,he was only told that his dad has seizures and thats what the meds are for, after telling him and he did online research he said he now understands why his dad is the way he is, oppose to being afraid he is now more aware of his dad habits, he's more attentive and very helpful and that has been a big help. He now assist with making sure his dad has is proper med in the medicine box, he is learning how to give his dad his injections although he does not like that part. As much as I love my family, I have come to terms that in order for me to help them I must help myself. I take one day out of the week just for me, I ask someone (family) in advance to sit with them while I have my day out (what's funny is that some people felt that I was being selfish for needing time for me)I also felt that at one point, but then realized that while he is going through it all physically and emotionally, I am emotionally drained and need time to regroup. I also make sure my son has his time, and then we do family time altogether. It's hard but we try to get out and enjoy life more than ever. This is a life changing situation that has no guide on how to cope, we know that some day it's our time to go, but when you have to live out and watch some go through pain of dying is emotionally hard. Now instead of dreaming of growing old together we just dream for the next second in our lives.
Thank you for sharing......this is the first time that I have expressed my feelings to anyone.

slickwilly's picture
slickwilly
Posts: 339
Joined: Feb 2007

I am so sorry for what you and your family are going through. Your doing an awesome job if no one has told you that. Having delt with cancer and many caregivers its always a struggle to get the caregiver away for some time alone. And there are always those that will think you are being selfish. But they have not been through what your going through. If they had a brain they would stay with your husband and give you money to go out and have lunch. Or get your hair done as you proubly feel bad about spending any money on yourself. And I am not above working with the husband to send the wives flowers as they can't get out to do it themselves. Some people just don't think about the caregiver and I am so sorry about that. God bless you and your family Slickwilly

angespo1
Posts: 20
Joined: Sep 2008

I am glad you were able to share your story with me. I wish I was able to respond to you sooner. Your are a strong and brave woman and you are taking the precious moments of your life one at a time. I wish everyone could see exactly how precious time is. Its good that your son is involved, it will give him a strength of character you could never imagine. My husband passed last week and my 10 year old stood up and helped carry his dad's casket, there are not words to express how proud I was of him, I am sure you feel the same. Thank you for sharing your story with me, and I hope you continue to do so, I will be sending you my prayers.

slickwilly's picture
slickwilly
Posts: 339
Joined: Feb 2007

Angesop1. To say I am sorry seems like empty words on the internet. I am sitting here with my eyes dripping on the key board and searching for words. The loss of anyone to cancer hits so close to home for many of us. You and your children are in my prayers of course. Your husband is now surrounder by love and no longer in pain and I know God will take good care of him. But the loss to you and your children is something I can't even imagine. What your son did at 10 years old was amazing. I do understand the need for you to have healing time alone with your children. I hope your friends and family will also understand this. I know that your life will be a blur for a while as there seems to be a never ending amount of things to do. Sometimes people don't know when to back off and give you space. There is nothing wrong with just telling everyone you need some time alone. Or better yet having a close friend or relative call everyone and express your wishes. I was just through this with an Aunt 3 months ago and my Uncle needed time for himself as he was being smothered. Everyone understood and he is doing fine and has learned to live alone after having a wife around for 55 years. God bless you and your family and keep in touch when you can. Slickwilly

angespo1
Posts: 20
Joined: Sep 2008

Hello, I am glad to say the kids and I are doing a little better today. I got a day without family and was able to get my bearings a bit. I hate being home and knowing he's not there, but we still talk to him and know that he is with God. My husband was a good, stong, brave man and we will miss him always, but we will be ok. Thanks again for all your kind words, this site and you have helped me so much, because I am able to express here what I can't say to family and friends. What a comfort you are.

hopeful36
Posts: 9
Joined: Feb 2008

Hello Angespo1, I was just checking on you and the family. One day at a time. Let me know how things are.

Wishing you comfort'
hopeful

angespo1
Posts: 20
Joined: Sep 2008

Hi Hopeful,

We are doing okay, my two youngest boys are finally starting to express their grief and although it's hard, I know it's good for them. We are going slow and I still feel out of touch with close friends and family, but we are getting back into the swing of things. How are you doing? Are you getting through each day? I am here if you need me.

Angespo1

NoQuiSi
Posts: 106
Joined: Sep 2008

Ange, I'm so very sorry you and your family have been given such to go through and my heart weeps for you as well as for 'hopeful'. I hope you realize what special people you are and the fact that you were and are chosen to face such difficult issues in your lives just goes to show that The Creator knows you make such fine examples others can learn from. Others can learn from the example of your strength of heart, your kindness and love. Others can learn how to find the light within themselves and how to turn it outward, warming other souls in like kind. The Creator knew how strong you'd be, what fine 'ambassadors' you'd be...and I don't think just anyone is chosen for this. You're both a credit to humanity...to the goodness in humanity. So many of us need to know of that.

Please take some time for yourselves as that's very much needed when dealing with traumas as you are. The Creator gives you ways to sustain yourselves, please allow yourselves to do so without any feelings of guilt or such. I'm a survivor and have been a caregiver. I understand the many ambivalent emotions involved with being a caregiver. Cry when you need to, grieve as you must, laugh when you can.

Slickwilly, all I can say is, you're a very special soul. You are amazing and I just put you on my 'my heroes' list.

Love, light and laughter to all,
~NoQuiSi~

hopeful36
Posts: 9
Joined: Feb 2008

Angespo1, please know that my heart and my prays for comfort goes out to you and your family. Your Children will be your strenght. You will find it because of them, everytime you look at your beautiful angels be it putting them to bed, watching them play,watching them eat, whatever you will find the strength to be strong and slowly move on if not for yourself for them. It's something about kids, my son has truly been a angel to us. What a young man you have his daddy is proud he took his stand. Take some time for you. Cancer does change your life......it will make you stronger to fight or destroy you and I refuse to let it destroy us I will tell anyone to enjoy your life...live your life....it can change at any second. My son came up with the idea of creating a family scrapbook, so every week we do something and take pictures and he has each of us write about what we like or dislike about our event/activity he said we are going to lots of memories that will last forever....(we rarely ever take pictures) if something should happen to anyone of us....you see something as simple as taking pictures and writing about it we take for granted, but in the end we will have so much to look back on and share with our families and friends. I'm still SCREAMING in the car at night (smile) and its OK you do what you feel is BEST for you first. If I can be of any assistance and I mean it, Please, please just tell me.

Much Love,
Hopeful36

angespo1
Posts: 20
Joined: Sep 2008

Hopeful,your comment made me smile today. I know life goes on, and with three boys, it goes on immediately. I look at all they are doing and see Tony in so much of what they do its hard not to be happy. We will get through this, but it's hard to come home and know he's not there, I don't know if I will ever get used to it, but I except it. Tony made his peace with God and was ready to complete his journey, I'm ok because I know he is.

slickwilly's picture
slickwilly
Posts: 339
Joined: Feb 2007

Angesop1. As life moves forward I hope your family will give you the needed time for yourself. With a 3 year old at home I bet things are a riot sometimes. I had twin daughters and their older sister was good at directing them into trouble. I know there will be times like holidays that will be rough for a while. But they are also times that remind us of our faith in a higher power. I know you have learned there are many people that care about you and your children. Next summer when your wondering what to do with your boys think about driving to Northern Michigan. I have enough camping gear to set you and the boys up in a local campground. You would just need to get here with your clothes and I would take care of the rest. My home is close enough for showers, laundry ect. I have access to a private dock and all the fishing gear your boys would need and I would enjoy teaching them how to fish. My family has 2 beaches where they can throw stones in lake Superior or swim, and a 35 foot sailboat that has a rather calming effect on the mind. There is also private land to hike on. So if your an outdoor adventure kind of person and your kids would like it the offer is always there. I would also make sure your kids are taken care of if you wanted some time alone. I didn't have 3 daughters for nothing ha ha. Ahhh you gotta love kids. Just e-mail me at slickwilly007@msn.com

DonnaLynnReign
Posts: 4
Joined: Oct 2008

Hi slickwilly....I have a problem writing your name with lower case letters because it is reflex to want to pay honor and tribute to someone as generous as you.

Thank you for being God's Helping Hand to Angesop1.

I was a single Mum with 4 little boys and I know what it means when someone invites you to come camping and they KNOW you can;t be clean and neat and quiet all the time. God bless you.

DonnaLynnReign

slickwilly's picture
slickwilly
Posts: 339
Joined: Feb 2007

My name was stuck on me as I worked in the Michigan Dept of Corrections for 17 years. I would sneak around and catch the prisoners doing things wrong and they stuck the name on me. Other workers picked it up and now half the world calls me slickwilly. My real name is Garry Wilson. I had already lived a full 48 years before cancer. I raised 3 wonderful giving daughters and have had more abused, pregnant or raped kids through my house than I can count. There is nothing like being at the local Wall Mart and having some young kid yelling across the store to say hi. It sure makes your heart feel good. I didn't let cancer stop my life, it just slowed me down a bit. Anyway I do what I can and I hope that someday God will think I did ok with my life. Bless you and thanks for the comments. slickwilly

DonnaLynnReign
Posts: 4
Joined: Oct 2008

Slickwilly et al ....is there a way to chat slightly less publicly ? I am new to chat rooms and Facebook and blogs etc etc .....I like a 0ne-to-one - or a one -to -two......is there some way to chat slightly more privately ?

Just wondering - nothing weird here - just not used to discussing central life issues with the whole world !

Anybody got any advice ....or tips ?

slickwilly's picture
slickwilly
Posts: 339
Joined: Feb 2007

I understand how your feel about opening up on here and that is fine. And I don't think your wierd. I have not used the chat rooms here as its not my kind of thing. Many times people read something and pick up a whole different meaning and I am not into causing people pain as they have been through enough. I would rather they get to know me as a person better so they know where I am coming from. I have yahoo messenger where you can reach me. mad_man_wilson at yahoo messenger. That name came after I found out I had cancer and I really should change it. And you can reach me at my personal e-mail Slickwilly007@msn.com I hope to hear from you soon as I love meeting new people. Slickwilly

nsquirrely
Posts: 50
Joined: May 2007

Donna,
There is an option in the chat rooms to go to private chat. It's very simple to do and there are only two people in a private chat. A lot of new people preferr it expecially till they get more comfortable and accustom to the room. Most are willing to give that time you need (nothing weird)in private to give support and guidance. Next time you are in just ask someone you think you might feel comfortable with to go to private chat.
Hugs and prayers
Shirley
P.S. I belong to MSN chat that is more private as well. My address is ssn21154@hotmail.com or you could send me an email at Nsquirrely@aol.com.

ironhorsethegeneral
Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2008

Hi my name is Patricia. My husband is now 51 and in December of 2006 he was told he had a rare tumor on his Pancreas and that nine nodules had gone to his liver. They gave him 6 months to a year. He has been going through chemo since them and now it has been 1 year and almost 11 months. He just takes 1 day at a time. I would just liek to tell everyone to keep praying and thank the Lord each day for each new day that you have with each other. Do not think about what it would be without your spouse just think about all the good times you are having now. Take care and God Bless.

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