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Gotta get this out

willendorf
Posts: 14
Joined: Apr 2010

My partner is dying, I think. We just got the newest in the round of bad news after a scan. This is the third time in two years. I am starting to recognize it on everyone's face when they talk to me. If they talk to me. I am freaking out. Is it possible that three times could really be the last time or are we on this spiral down? wish anyone knew or if they did they'd tell us. Then maybe it would encourage my dearest to not even have to think about whether or not she wants to go through more treatment. And how do I respond to that? I have always been in support of her and her needs and I understand, I do...but what IF this could be the last time? I am pretty good at going through the motions; I come from a long line of compartmentalize-rs. At least for right now. Who do I talk to when I don't even want to say these things out loud but I gotta get them out or I obsess over them. Deep, dark fears are popping out and I am scared. **** my pants scared that I could even think some of these things but they appear before my eyes without even trying. Her funeral is the worst. I can't shake it off. I don't want to talk about these things with people who love us, because it puts out bad mojo, I know, but they still come in. Please, please please make this stop.

womack1424
Posts: 38
Joined: May 2011

I just lost my partner 2 weeks ago, we had been together for 12 years. I had those thoughts too, about the funeral I mean. What was it going to be like? How do you deal with the family? Where do I fit in? How will I handle it, all those are normal. It is a very scary thing loosing the one you love. We knew it was coming as they told us last January that it would be a miracle of she lived till Christmas. She died the morning after her 49th birthday, in our living room. I have been surrounded by family and friends until this morning when I dropped my mom off at the airport. Not sure how to deal with this coming home alone thing yet, only time will tell. I am glad I found your post, there have not been many on this discussion board at all and it's nice to share with someone in the same boat. I will be glad to chat with you maybe we can help each other through this difficult time.

willendorf
Posts: 14
Joined: Apr 2010

I am so sorry your lost your girl. Has it been ok since the grievers have left? I'm not sure if I want to be alone or surrounded by people. Most of our friends have moved on in the last couple of years. I imagine they don't like being around cancer either, right? This is the only place I am 100% open and honest cuz it's too hard other places. I had to come out to my principal (I teach elementary) because I needed her to know why I would need time off. I feel alone and scared but I'm not ready for anything to change, either. I am glad you responded, too, but sorry we even have to be here. Melissa and I celebrated 13 years this summer. I wonder if there will be 14? I will be thinking of you and how you are handling this. Do you have pets? I know it's lesbian cliche but my kitties are helping my hurt.

womack1424
Posts: 38
Joined: May 2011

Funny, are you kidding I have 2 chihuahuas, and 2 labs, and a cat:) They help a lot. I am also a teacher, and I applied and got FMLA leave when I had to put Susan in hospice care, I was off for 5 weeks. I was very fortunate that most of the people i work with already new since most have been around since she was dx in 2004. My friends have been great calling and checking coming over and hanging out, but I know that will wear off in time. However, I do have a great support group, of which I couldn't face this without. The first night at home alone was tough but I made it and today was my first Saturday at home alone, and I have made it. So progress is being made.
I will be praying for you and Melissa, the road is tough, but hold each other through it, don't miss a moment to say I love you. Susan and I had a morning ritual whenever we woke up one of us would say Thank you Lord, and the other would say For another Blessed day. That still brings me comfort each morning because every day is precious.
Thanks for responding, nice to finally find another lesbian to talk to there is not much activity on this board:

willendorf
Posts: 14
Joined: Apr 2010

It is nice to talk with you - another lesbian teacher with cancer in the forefront. It really helps to know you're there. I am sorry and grateful that we have been brought together. We are trying as much as we can to take advantage of every moment we have. We have really good communication and we are each other's support, though not our only support. We have great friends and family around, and I am getting a little better about using them for support. I was under the impression that FMLA only was for family and I wouldn't qualify since we're not "family" legally. I just started to look into what days I have and what I will need to do once we get to that point. I hear her stirring and I am going to check on her - she's had some pain in the last few days, moreso than normal. Enjoy the rest of your weekend as best you can. Know that you will be in my thoughts.

womack1424
Posts: 38
Joined: May 2011

I was able to get my leave based on the term "Household member" my district recognizes that as nepotism, so that is what got me qualified. Just thought you might want to know that.
Use your friends, you cannot do this alone, it is so important to take care of yourself through this time. I set up a calendar and had people sign up for days to come and sit with Susan. Get out, get angry, grieve, trust me it helps after to start the process. I know this is probably hard to hear, but, when the time comes do not hesitate to bring in hospice, we had the most wonderful experience with our hospice team, could not have done it without them. They are angels, and will help you to understand the dying process, I would never have been prepared had it not been for them.
I will be praying for manageable pain. Take care.

willendorf
Posts: 14
Joined: Apr 2010

Hi. Melissa died on December 29th. It's been real sucky. Just thought about you today and thought I'd drop a note. Hope life is going better for you than it was...now I know how silly those words are...

womack1424
Posts: 38
Joined: May 2011

I knew things must have gotten bad, been a long time since you have posted. I hope that you are taking care of yourself and finding your new norm. I am doing really well, still have those days of missing her terribly and today was one of those. Really strange I came here tonight, haven't been on in a couple of months myself.
I take joy in the memory of the time we had together, and look forward to the new future that is in store for me, I hope that you can find your way to do the same.

Prayers for you,
Michelle

willendorf
Posts: 14
Joined: Apr 2010

Hi Michelle,

I'm trying to do it. No one told me that absolutely everything would change. Everything. I thought I knew what I was in store for but I had no idea. I have taken a leave from school. I went back right away because I needed to have a schedule, some normalcy. But now I am glad I have taken some time. I will go back after Spring Break and finish the year with my sweet babies. Thanks for being there. I know our connection was minimal but I felt like you were out there, as a tow line, when I was freaking out in the hospital that last month. So, thanks. Sorry we have to be in the same club but I am awful glad we connected.

Good luck to you,
Jill

womack1424
Posts: 38
Joined: May 2011

Change is and understatement, this spring break has been very difficult for me. We always took a big trip, usually to the Caribbean, during this time. I think I have missed her more this week than almost any other time since her death. In fact I had a total melt down last night. Thank God for great friends being here to comfort me.
I hope that getting back to school will help you get to a good place. I know being there helps me, I am so not looking forward to the summer, way too much time on my hands. I may have to get a job to fill the time.

Good luck to you also,
Michelle

willendorf
Posts: 14
Joined: Apr 2010

Hi Michelle,

I'm so sorry about your most recent meltdown, I had one myself last night. You're right; without my good friends, I'm not sure what I would do. It felt crazy last night. So freshly painful. It's like what I would have felt, had I not been in shock those first few days.

Do you ever feel guilty about reaching out? I mean, I know that it helps me, and them, because they want to help in any way possible blah blah blah. But I also know that it is hurting them to see me in so much pain and they have their pain, too. Grief is weird and complicated. I really wish...I don't even know where to start with wishes, so I won't go there.

I try to do things but I have found that, for tight now, I'm only good for about 2 hours and then I am not shy about crying publicly. I don't always want people to come over here, though, because it makes me uncomfortable to get rid of them when I want to be alone! Ha!

I have two more weeks before I will go back to school; one more week of leave and then Spring Break for our district. I'll go back April 9th and finish the year (2months). Just found out that my school is estimated to lose 2 teachers next year due to enrollment, and I am 2nd lowest seniority. So, unless a teacher with more seniority chooses to leave, I will have to find a different position in another school in the district. I know I will have a job but it would mean moving (!) my classroom, learning about a new staff, principal, possibly grade depending on what positions are available. I am usually pretty good with change but I am hitting the wall here, seriously. Trying not to freak out because I know a lot can change in a few months and worrying doesn't change anything.

Thanks for listening, er, reading.
Jill

womack1424
Posts: 38
Joined: May 2011

Jill,

I really think the meltdowns are good for us, it is very cleansing and I usually feel much better after. I really don't feel guilty about calling on my friends, they are fabulous and I know they are grieving as well but I think it helps me to, being there for them as well, kinda off a two way street, makes me feel not so alone in my grief. I also know that I did so much of my grieving prior to Susan's death, that has helped me tremendously in the transition.
Going back to work will help, routine and structure, and being with the kids. Helped me a lot. Do you work in Louisiana? I'm in Texas, but originally from Louisiana. Hate to hear about the changing in the job I know that can be scary in itself but maybe it could be a good change. Hope it all works out for the best.
Enjoy your last couple of weeks and take care,

Michelle

willendorf
Posts: 14
Joined: Apr 2010

Hi Michelle,

My friend, Sharon, who lives in California with her partner, says that grief is like a bipolar roller coaster. I think that's pretty funny. And true. Our emotions seem to change regularly, sometimes without warning!
I think you're right about the meltdowns; what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right? I am getting more comfortable with relying on my friends. I just felt like they are having so much pain from losing Melissa, too, that I felt that I was burdening them. As time has passed there have been times when they needed me in their grief and that makes me feel more comfortable, if that makes sense. I am realizing the value of holding each other up in difficult times.
I am actually in Michigan. I am looking forward to having the routine again but I also am anxious for school to be done. I am thinking about taking some of my grad courses this summer. I also will be moving sometime this summer, once I find a house. Melissa was on the mortgage for the house we live in, which is a two family home, and we rented our 2nd floor. We were in the process of looking for a single family home for ourselves when she started treatment again. So, I have to find a place now. I'm usually pretty good with change. It's exciting to start fresh but I think 2012 will have enough change in it for a few years!
I know very little about Texas; I think about the Bush family, Dallas (both the TV series and I have heard the city has a HUGE nightlife, gay & straight) and cattle. I would like to go to Austin, I've heard that is a real nice city, too. Michigan is beautiful, in my opinion. Lake Michigan is only about 45 minutes away from me and it's incredible. It's like being at the ocean because it's so big you can't see land across it. Northern Michigan is beautiful, too. The Pictured Rocks, Tequamenon Falls, the Leelanau Peninsula. We also, however, have the Michigan Militia (some crazy non-tax paying, hiding in the woods with years of rations, kinda folks).
Be good to yourself,
Jill

womack1424
Posts: 38
Joined: May 2011

That is hilarious, and very true. I am glad to hear you are realizing the value of your friends and their support in your grief and theirs in yours. That will only make things better for you in the long run.
I am lucky in the housing dept., we built our home on lake Belton, 9 years ago, which is only 50 miles from Austin btw, and it was in Susan's name. When she was re-diagnosed in 2009 she made me buy it from her so there would be no complications. She was the baby of 9 children and there are a few crazy ones!
Michigan is on of the few states that we had not traveled too. However, one of our really close friends is from Michigan and her brother owns some kind of store that sells all things Cherry.
So if you ever make that trip to Austin we will have to get together and I could show you all the hot spots. It is truly a great city, I love going there to hang out. Headed down there for the weekend this week to celebrate a friends birthday.
Good luck with your house hunting, and be good to yourself as well,
Michelle

willendorf
Posts: 14
Joined: Apr 2010

Hi Michelle,
I found a house and I am moving in once school is out. A friend of mine is a real estate agent and her partner rehabs houses. She is working on it right now; it's a craftsman, hardwood, gorgeous doors and windows, and a big-ass clawfoot tub. It's exciting and miserable all at once. You know....

I have always wanted to go to Austin, but I have never been to Texas. We traveled a lot, too, LOVE taking car trips. I wonder if your friend's brothers' store is in Traverse City...there are MANY stores that sell all things cherry, believe it or not.

How is life for you going these days? The last 5 months have been...weird. Shock, sadness, anger, relief, fear, excitement, happiness...I explained to someone that is kinda feels like I am Tarzan; being a part of a world that seems strange and awkward and EVERYTHING seems brand new, so you just watch what other people are doing and imitate them. I have always been a strong person and I am pretty good at rolling with the punches and even as prepared as I thought I was, I had NO idea how everything would change? seem so new or foreign? That's the deal, though, so we pick up and keep going, right? At least the shock is over. I hated going through the motions of life without seeing any of it but I knew when it was happening it was all I could muster. Moving forward is good, at least for now. I'm sure that'll change after a while, too, right??!?!?!

I hope this finds you well. I am sending love and goodness your way,
Jill

Mary1024
Posts: 17
Joined: Apr 2012

I'm so sorry for your losses. In Sept 2010 I was diagnosed with late stage aggressive Uterine cancer. I'm having some symptoms that may mean a reoccurence - I go tomorrow for follow-up. Because my cancer was late stage and aggressive I have a high likelihood it'll return in the first two years.

My partner and I have been together for 15 years. I'm wondering if there is anything that I can do - pre-plan - etc, so that my partner won't have to deal with so much should the worst happen.

Thanks for your thoughts.

womack1424
Posts: 38
Joined: May 2011

You can take care of so many things now that will make a huge difference for your partner when that time does come. That is the one reason I think I have maintained my sanity through all this. We began to make sure that everything we owned was in my name well over 2 years before Susan passed. Because of this there was no question about who got what. Life insurance, retirement annuity, cars, house, funeral planning. She told us exactly what she wanted at her service I mean exactly down to every detail. This made things so much easier for everyone.
Personally, she gave me peace, she told me " I may not always be here with you but I will always be with you in spirit, I want you to go and live a happy and abundant life" Wow, what a woman she was, those words have made it so much easier to get on with my life.
I hope that you will not have to deal with a relapse of your disease, but do be prepared.

Michelle

Mary1024
Posts: 17
Joined: Apr 2012

Found out yesterday the cancer is definately back. Thank you so much for your feedback - I'm going to start taking care of things and try to guide my partner to participate. She just doesn't want to face this - she is in denial. It weighs on my mind and heart so heavily - I want to get all the legal stuff out of the way, so there is no questions when I pass, and then we can just enjoy whatever time I have left. I wont be able to enjoy my time, unless I know that she is taken care of and things are secure legally.

womack1424
Posts: 38
Joined: May 2011

I am so sorry for you news, but know you are doing the right thing. Your partner will have to make her peace in her time. I know for me knowing that I was going to be okay financially was a huge burden off my shoulders. I did most of my grieving in the last year of Susan's life as our relationship changed from a romantic one to a patient and caretaker one. Although, the love we shared will never die, I was able to grasp the fact that I was losing her and come to terms with that, which made my grieving process much more bearable after her death.
I will be praying for you and your partner that you may find the right way to deal with all that is yet to come in your lives. Enjoy one another while you are still able and help her to realize that she must continue to live her life even after you are gone. I know these words may be hard to hear but from my experience that is what has helped me more than anything else.

God Bless you both,

Michelle

Mary1024
Posts: 17
Joined: Apr 2012

Last night we had "the talk". My Oncologist had called that day with confirmation that my cancer has returned and in his opinion treatment is not a good option. I wont go into all the details and whys of that.

Anyway, when she got home from work we sat down and I explained what the Dr said and that yes I'll get a second opinion, but I'm inclined to agree - I dont want more chemo/rads. I feel good physically most of the time, and I want to be able to enjoy the time we have left.

It was so hard to inflict that pain on her, knowing it's necessary and there is nothing I can do but let her work through her feelings.

I don't expect to pass soon, but I'm definately taking charge of pre-arranging, setting appt's with the lawyer and the bank, and get things settled financially. I do think once the financial stuff is out of the way, we can then relax and enjoy our time. She will resist at first, but once it's done she'll be glad. I think for her if she agrees to get the house transferred, etc it's like admitting defeat. While I will worry until it's done.

We are going to visit my family tomorrow and tell them. It's going to be extremely hard. I feel like I've got the easy part in all this. I feel so deeply for my partner and family. I want to do anything I can to ease their pain, but I know I can't erase it.

Luann and our families were there for me every step of the way through treatment. They were strong for me when I was weak physically and emotionally. Now it's my turn to be strong for them. To give them their space to grieve but also try to instill that life goes on and I want them to find their happiness sooner rather than later.

womack1424
Posts: 38
Joined: May 2011

Just wanted to check on you today, you have been on my mind. I hope that things went as good as possible with your family, and that your partner has started to accept her new reality. It is strange but this time with each other can be really and amazing process, Susan and I were so much closer and shared things so much deeper than ever before.
I am going tomorrow to present the first Memorial Scholarship in her name, so I guess that has me feeling a little blue.
I pray that God will give you both the strength that you need to endure whatever may come your way.

Michelle

willendorf
Posts: 14
Joined: Apr 2010

Hi, I'm Jill. I am so sorry for everything that is happening... It's hard to make all of those plans but that's the sucky part of loving someone so much. It's the beautiful part, too. Melissa and I had almost 14 years of love, we had known each other for 18 years. I wish that we never had to do this but I thank my lucky stars that we loved each other so much that it carried us through more than I ever thought I could handle. And it still does. Be patient with each other but say the things you need her to hear...

All the love I have,
Jill

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