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Pacreatic cancer

mats21
Posts: 1
Joined: May 2013

We have just been told my husband has pancreatic cancer that has spread to his liver. They removed a tumor on his liver last week but did not open him up to remove the tumor on his pancreas. He will see an oncologist next week and will star chemo sometime soon. The cancer is stage 4, so we know things are not looking good. I need information on how to support him without making him feel like I am going overboard. We are praying for the best, but know we have to face the worse. I try not to think about the bad things, but it is hard. I feel guilty when thoughts pop into my head about what is going to happen when he isn't with me. We have been married going on 44 years. Are there good books to read about how to deal with your loved ones having cancer? Any help would be appreciated.

grandmafay's picture
grandmafay
Posts: 1612
Joined: Aug 2009

I don't have any words of wisdom, just some experience. My husband passed away in 2009 after a six year battle with colon cancer. We felt blessed with the six years since the literature at the time suggested that the average was 22 months. I can tell you that the road ahead is a hard one.  After the first reoccurrence, we found that accepting that he was just buying time was easier for us than looking for a cure. My husband bought as much time as he could going through several surgeries and many rounds of chemo. When he felt well enough we spent time with friends and family making memories. We laughed together and cried together. I was blessed that Doug was a good patient most of the time. He had a very strong faith and a great sense of humor which helped carry us through. was am also blessed with a supportive family and church family.  We had been married for 42 years when Doug died. When he was first dx, I kept hearing in my head,"We were supposed to grow old together." Losing him was my greatest fear. I'm guessing you are feeling this way now. I won't tell you that it's easy. It's not. But somehow we find the strength to be there for them. Remember, too, they are finding me treatments and protocols all the time. Who knows what the future will bring? I wish you hope and love. Take care, Fay. 

smj123
Posts: 1
Joined: May 2013

Let me start by saying how sorry I am that you find yourself in your new role.  I was in much the same situation when my husband was diagnosed with stage 4 last September.  His, too, had spread to the liver but surgery was not an option for him.  He has been undergoing chemotherapy for 8 months now.  When he was first diagnosed they told me not to make plans for the upcoming holidays.  I am happy to report that not only did we enjoy a wonderful holiday season but were able to vacation for 4 weeks in March in Florida.  I write this to give you some hope - while it is a difficult prognosis to receive, everyone responds to treatments differently and only God truly knows the future.  We have been blessed with some wonderful days and live each day to the fullest.

I too was worried I would be overdoing it when I tried helping my husband.  What I found was most helpful was being a great listener and note taker at all appointments and treatments.  The patient gets overwhelmed with it without even realizing it and having someone that can help explain what was discussed after the fact was very helpful to him.  I read a wonderful book, "Cancer Journey, A Caregiver's View From the Passenger Seat" by Cynthia Zahm Siegfried.  She speaks honestly about being a spouse of a cancer patient and how cancer becomes your disease too even though you have not been diagnosed.  I highly recommend this one to get you started on this journey.

To help you with all the new language of pancreatic cancer, I recommend "The Chemotherapy Survival Guide" by Judith McKay, RN and Tamera Schacher, RN.  They give you a great idea of what chemotherapy means to your life.  It is easy to read and a good guide to reference as your husband begins his battle.  Additionally I would recommend you go to PANCAN.org to read about pancreatic cancer.  It contains lots of information on pancreatic cancer and will help you understand the terminology that will be coming your way.

Just for you, I recommend "Pebbling the Walk Surving Cancer Caregiving", by Steve Reed.  He will help you learn what it means to be a caregiver and how to find hope and joy in the most difficult times.  He gives lots of helpful suggestions and steps you can take to help manage your new role.

A good friend bought me a Kindle that has been a wonderful gift - especially when sitting in the chemo clinic with my husband as he gets his treatments. I have downloaded lots from Amazon that help me during this time-especially the books on praying through cancer. 

Most of all, know you will make mistakes and that is OK.  Do the best you can and it will be more than enough.  Especially, remember to try andtake deep breaths whenever you can.  Look for the beauty in each day and try to live with cancer in your life.

My prayers are with you.  Keep in touch and write back whenever you have questions or need someone to listen.

 

 

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