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I lost my husband June 30, 2008.

Terry_s wife
Posts: 21
Joined: Mar 2009

I lost my husband to throat cancer on June 30, 2008. We had celebrated our 21st anniversary on June 6. One of his oncology nurses suggested I get involved with other families and share things learned. I don't know where to begin. When he was diagnosed we found out that running to the drug store for supplies wasn't in the cards. I contacted the support group for larengectomee patients and offered to share what we learned and never heard from them. There are so many things we found out and did that made things easier for him. I just want to share and would be willing to do so with other caregivers. I just need a direction. It has been almost a year and time to share with others. Thanks for reading.

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

I am sorry for your loss. Helping others will help you move on with your life. You don't have to limit yourself to a specific type of cancer. I am sure many new caregivers on the discussion boards would be glad to hear from you. And you can also go to the head and neck section and offer advice. Many of us offer advice or ideas as we are not doctors and everyone and every case is different. Things such as diets you used, maintaining dignity and adding comfort to a spouse are important. And sometimes its those little things that someone has not thought of that make a big difference in someone's life. I help people in my local area as they just seem to find me. Since my cancer 6 years ago I have not had a time when I was not helping someone through cancer. But staying inside a home is not going to make a person available or able to meet people with cancer or to offer help. It seems everyone knows me and I can work with as many as I can deal with at one time. So I would get to know the people at the local hospital and offer your assistance to anyone that would like help. I just walk into the chemo clinic as they all know me. Some I find through church or friends. I talk to them once and offer my assistance and someone to vent on. Then I wait for them to come back to me on their own terms. I don't push myself on anyone. Usually after the first chemo treatment and side effects start to kick in I get a call. The hardest part of helping others is the fact that we cannot fix everything. We cannot afford to pull everyone out of the financial trouble that comes with cancer. Keeping some people in treatments can be a struggle as giving up sometimes seems easier. Its a constant learning process. Good luck and stick with it. Slickwilly

Terry_s wife
Posts: 21
Joined: Mar 2009

Thank you for your guidance. I appreciate your suggestions some of which I have already done. I appreciate it.

MichelleRee
Posts: 4
Joined: Mar 2009

You will find many opportunities, even out and about in the world, to share what you have learned with others. Even the simplest things will matter. I have shared a recipe for soup that my husband was able to eat when he wanted to eat (I say that because I do not believe we should pressure dying people to eat when they do not want to) with so many people with husbands, children or parents in similar straits, and it has often led to important opportunities to support others, let them cry on my shoulder, share my strength and hope. (My husband died almost 4 years ago.)

It took me more than a year (really, a couple of years) to be able to see past my own pain and grief to others and how I could help, and I can testify that once I did, it helped SO MUCH. It brings some beauty out of the ashes.

Know that I am holding you in my heart right now. I came here to ask people to share stories for a book I am writing, as partial fulfillment of a promise to my husband, but I'm just reading posts now, and the tears are streaming down my face, and I'm realizing I'm here for me, for my healing (what remains), too... Sometimes God (or Spirit, the Universe, whatever name you want to use) just finds a way to meet us where we are in ways beyond our understanding.

I still have so much grief - the past several years are somewhat foggy - and I'm having a hard time as the weather here starts to feel the way the weather felt when the hell we were going through (because my husband had a prolonged, painful death) became an even greater hell... but when I remember that, I also have to remember that there was a grace that carried us through... part of the reason that this agnostic eventually started developing a spiritual life...

I'm just blathering, but I suppose it's because I'm feeling like there are people here who can understand... and I'm crying because I didn't visit any kind of support group after my husband died, and maybe if I had (online or offline), I wouldn't have spent so many, many hours curled up in pain... or made some of the mistakes I made with his pain pills just before and after his death. (I was in an accident a few weeks before he died but could not get away to get help for my pain, so like an idiot, I started breaking his old pain pills up and taking them, out of desperation - and it led me into making so many bad financial and other decisions in the next year.)

I also learned many practical things and gathered so much "don't do what I did" knowledge that I want to share with others...

Terry_s wife
Posts: 21
Joined: Mar 2009

I didn't really start talking to anyone until January of this year. I just went through the motions. Evenings were and are still my worst time but I'm doing better with them. I lost my routine when Terry died. I didn't want to leave the house but knew I had to. I had a lot of bitterness to my job - my boss called me two weeks after Terry died and wanted to know when I was coming back to work. I went back the following Monday he didn't have time to talk to me until Tuesday at which time I told him I wasn't ready to be fulltime there were still alot of things to do and I had two dogs to deal with. Of course that went in one ear and out the other - I've been fulltime since. Healthwise I was and still am struggling. I got shingles in my eye and that quadrant the day after Terry died and am still dealing with that. My eye doctor has put me out of work three times and my boss has been an ### about it. Ironically tomorrow, I will have 15 years with the company. I've been on vacation this week and gotten some things done and really don't want to go in tomorrow. I just take it a day at a time and do a little here and there. I just started on this site and it seems to be helping. I can vent and rant and ya'll don't know me!! Best thoughts to you.

Cindy54's picture
Cindy54
Posts: 454
Joined: Aug 2006

How well I know the feeling...my Dad had lung cancer. It was something we did not find until he ended up in the hospital on a ventilator. He was sick for two weeks in the hospital. I took those two weeks off from work, mind you, at the time I was not even an employee with benefits even though I had worked at the company for a year plus. Every day I had to call in so that I could keep my job, which I badly needed. I hated having to do this. When I called to tell my boss the situation..we got the cancer news on a Friday...she said..."you'll be in on Monday then"...It made me so angry I wanted to reach through the phone and smack her. Finally, my Dad passed the day before my 33rd birthday, we buried him on a Tuesday. And I went back to work. But it stung that there was so little disregard for my situation. What was ironic, was that I stayed with this company for a long time, and the boss I had then also got cancer..lung cancer and eventually passed away. Cindy

green50
Posts: 318
Joined: Feb 2008

I could only take 60 day family leave which I did when I took chemo, my husband passed away from cancer and they said we can give you 3 days grieving then your time is up!! Uh I had just lost my husband and was trying to regain strength from chemo. The girls at work donated some of their PDO time to me so I could have a week. If it wasnt for them I don't know. Some places are so insensitive. Well I am on total disability now Dr. said no more have too much chemo to work. I am thankful for my friends.
Prayers and Hugs
Sandy

dapthx
Posts: 2
Joined: Aug 2009

Terry
My husband passed away July 1, 2009.He had lung cancer. I am not doing so good. I keep playing that last day in my mind over and over again. My daughter and I were in the hospital room that morning he died.He was admitted earlier that day at the ER. I went to sleep at 3:30am afraid that if I slept something is going to happen.I woke up suddenly at 6am and he's not breathing. The nurse told me she can't hear his heartbeat anymore and that was it. My daughter woke up and asked me with disbelief if her daddy had died. She is only 9. We are in counseling right now, but she's not communicating with me very much. We just can't believe he is gone. I just don't know how to handle the grief. My daughter hates it when I cry.

Terry_s wife
Posts: 21
Joined: Mar 2009

I too relived the day Terry died. I was in the room with him and like you woke up to him not breathing and going to get the nurse who told me he was gone. I didn't start seeing anyone until January of this year and it really did help. If you haven't started one already, I would recommend journaling. The doctor I saw really pushed it and it really does help. Your daughter can journal too. Buy a nice journal for each of you and WRITE don't use the computer. You'll understand when you start. Putting feelings down really does feel like a big relief - I guess because you can write, scream (all caps), cuss whatever makes you feel better and yes you will cry. Handling the grief will come - your daughter will be a great comfort. I didn't have anyone at home - just dogs and even though they are a pain in the butt they keep me grounded. Don't try and do too much right away and don't let anyone push you into making decisions you aren't ready for. Unfortunately there are people out there that make their living scamming widows and widowers. I didn't do anything in my house but just enough to get by. You'll keep hearing that time heals and it does but you have to take it one day at a time. I don't know where you live but check to see if there is a place called "Kate's Place" It may be Katie but it is a non-profit that was started for kids that lost a family member to cancer. It may be good for your daughter because it will let her open up to "strangers" which sometimes is best because she can share all of her feelings. Let me know where you live. I have made progress - my den is straight and I have found the top of my dining room table. :-) Remember one step, one day at a time. Paula

Terry_s wife
Posts: 21
Joined: Mar 2009

I too relived the day Terry died. I was in the room with him and like you woke up to him not breathing and going to get the nurse who told me he was gone. I didn't start seeing anyone until January of this year and it really did help. If you haven't started one already, I would recommend journaling. The doctor I saw really pushed it and it really does help. Your daughter can journal too. Buy a nice journal for each of you and WRITE don't use the computer. You'll understand when you start. Putting feelings down really does feel like a big relief - I guess because you can write, scream (all caps), cuss whatever makes you feel better and yes you will cry. Handling the grief will come - your daughter will be a great comfort. I didn't have anyone at home - just dogs and even though they are a pain in the butt they keep me grounded. Don't try and do too much right away and don't let anyone push you into making decisions you aren't ready for. Unfortunately there are people out there that make their living scamming widows and widowers. I didn't do anything in my house but just enough to get by. You'll keep hearing that time heals and it does but you have to take it one day at a time. I don't know where you live but check to see if there is a place called "Kate's Place" It may be Katie but it is a non-profit that was started for kids that lost a family member to cancer. It may be good for your daughter because it will let her open up to "strangers" which sometimes is best because she can share all of her feelings. Let me know where you live. I have made progress - my den is straight and I have found the top of my dining room table. :-) Remember one step, one day at a time. Paula

Cindy54's picture
Cindy54
Posts: 454
Joined: Aug 2006

Paula, I have been wondering how you were doing. While I am not happy to see you here on this board, I am glad to know that you are slowly getting back into life. I wish you all the best, hugs, Cindy

Terry_s wife
Posts: 21
Joined: Mar 2009

I still check the site and keep up with the comments. I have been doing pretty well. I have been staying busy at work and trying to get things in order at home. That is the hard one. Just so overwhelming. I am going to take my mom's suggestion and get the rooms like I want them and then have someone come in and clean. She said that would take a lot of the stress off of feeling like things just aren't getting done. Our youngest daughter is expecting and is due around Thanksgiving. The baby is a girl - Chloe McKenzee - my grandson and granddaughter are excited I think. Her husband is too it will be his first. He already says the bassinet will go on his side of the bed. I give that about 2 nights! Thank you for wondering how I have been. I appreciate knowing someone is thinking about me.

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