I have been obsessed with thoughts of losing my wife lately. She has brain cancer and the literature says she might be gone in as few as three years. We've had an awesome marriage and the thought of losing her so soon has made me depressed and suicidal.
Last night we went to the art walk. This is usually a fun event for us, but this time I saw it through different eyes. It seemed like an unfriendly environment filled with cold strangers. I kept thinking about my future without my wife, among people I don't know, who don't want me. Even with my wife there with me, I felt very alone. My only thought was to get my wife through her illness, then kill myself after she's gone.
Before her diagnosis, we had plans to retire early and enjoy life. Now I see no future for either of us. My doctor gave me antidepressants, but they didn't work, so I stopped talking them.
I feel like my wife and I are both "walking dead" and are just killing time on our way to early graves. I see no future that I want to be a part of.
To make things worse, I have a neighbor whose husband died several years ago. She's younger than us, but she has not found anyone else in all these years, and she posts on Facebook, saying how lonely and miserable she is. I feel like killing myself when I read what her life is like.
Is it normal for the caregiving spouse to feel this way?
Whoaaaaaa ----- back up there my friend. You DO sound depressed. Why did you toss your meds away without consulting your doctor? Did you give them enough time to work? It takes at least a month before you feel different.
It's NATURAL to feel blue about the idea of losing your spouse, but what the heck are you doing to yourself? You LOVE HER, RIGHT? Why are you ruining the time you've got left with her by detaching or feeling alone around HER?
You have to stop obsessing. Usually it hits home pretty hard upon diagnosis and the realization that the love of your life isn't going to be there forever. Then, once treatment and the fight to survive begins, you have to put on your best poker face to help HER through this journey --- whatever the outcome. Sure you have times where you have your own pity-parties, but do it in private and be the darned Rock of Gibraltar for HER SAKE.
How is SHE doing? Does SHE express HER feelings about what is going on?
Notice how I keep emphasizing HER???? That's because this isn't about YOU, it's about HER. It's her illness and what you can do to make whatever remains of her life the best it can be!!!
Naturally we fear the unknown, but don't put the darn cart before the horse. PLEASE KNOW that I haved walked in your shoes and UNDERSTAND what you are feeling. If this is overwhelming you -- this was a good start to write your feelings in a safe place and begin exploring how to change what you're feeling to a positive.
A POSITIVE -- you ask??? YES -- you need to look for the silver lining in the cloud you are living in right now. For me it was how much deeper and closer my relationship became with my husband. It was about how much he taught me about grace, dignity, strength of character, and the gift of laughter. It was about knowing that God was present with us through-out our journey EVEN during times we felt alone.
Above all --- don't fret about a future that you can't do a darn thing about. Live in the moment and savor it because once they are gone, they don't come back. Trust me, the less regrets you have IF they should pass away, the better off you are.
Get to the doctor and on some new meds. Find a support group. Above all, keep writing your feelings here because there are many who understand.
If I sound tough --- that's because I'm expecting a lot out of you. I'll be looking for you to respond and keep in touch, with my hand on my hip and tapping my toe.
(I know it took a LOT to write this post for you and do not think I don't realize the strength it took to talk about this. Don't feel bad that you wrote it at a low point -- that's when it's best to reach out.)
Many hugs of understanding and God bless,
P.S. Thanks for reminding ME of the precious gift of life and how I NEED to focus better on walking the walk and not just talking the talk.
Husband diagnosed with NSCLC Stage IV in 3/2005. Fought & lived over 2 1/2 years with multiple lines of treatment.
Left my embrace to live with our Heavenly Father in October of 2007 and now breathes with ease forever. I will miss this gentle, giving soul with the easy smile for the rest of my days, but have faith we will be together again. He's just getting a little break from me!
My wife is a very intelligent person, and she knows her cancer is fatal. (My mother, likewise, knew her lung cancer was fatal.) She knows the reality, and no poker face can convince her that there's a rosy future for us. She's a psychologist, and all the things we all say about dealing with these situations are very well known to her. We're living our lives as normally as possible, and you could say we're both putting on our poker face to some extent, but we also both know what our futures hold.
To give you a little more insight, I had been pre-traumatized before we knew of my wife's cancer. I was in a mentor-type relationship with a young single mom (as part of my job), and had become emotionally attached to her. Her life deteriorated to the point that she committed suicide. This was like a kick in the gut to me. I've never had children, but I was a father figure to this young girl, and I really adored her. Following her death, I cried night and day, and I visit her still-unmarked grave often. This was the most painful experience of my life... yet just weeks later, it was punctuated by my wife's cancer diagnosis. I was already in an emotional free fall, and had to pull myself together for my wife's sake. My wife is well aware that I am battling demons on two fronts, and that when I cry, the tears are not always for her. There was no way I could go from deep grief to rolled-sleeves and poker face just like that.
I have to stop typing now. This is too difficult, and I don't want to spend the rest of the day crying. I'll return to this thread later.
I have told my twin sister, that if something should happened to me, I do not want you to give up on life. Instead, continue to fight this thing without me!
pbj11 advised you well, you are looking from the perspective of how this effects you and not looking at how you are effecting her now! She needs you more than she ever has in her entire life! How can you be her rock and anchor, when you have turned inward, and are now focusing on your own pain?
Yes, your pain is valid, I do not dispute it. But suicide will not resolve anything. Why let this disease claim two people in this circumstance? Fight, and continue to fight it, even after she is gone!
What do you think she wants to see? I believe, even from my perspective of having being diagnosed myself, and now facing another threat of it, that I want to know my loved ones will continue without me if I should die! I want that more than I want anything in this world! My twin and I are beyond close, God knows this to be the truth, I would take a bullet for her.
This thread has talked about a poker face. Who is it for? Who is facing death? I can say in all sincerity, If I was upon my death bed, I would want to see my twin demonstrating to me she could live on!
When I was first diagnosed, I spent more time propping her up, then studying treatment methods. I spent more time, worrying about her, than possibly dying. God knows it is true. I had to tell her "your fears, your distress, is tearing me apart. I am not afraid to die as I am afraid of what this is doing to you". I told her you are going to make my fight or possibly last days worse.
I do not know if it was a poker face, but she became strong around me. And jefuchs, I cannot tell you how much good it did me, how it inspired me to fight.
Do not let this disease claim both you and her. It robs, steals, and kills too much already.
Believe me, we know how difficult this must be. pbj11 was in the same position you are, not too long ago. Do not let your pain consume you. We are here for you.
Boy, do I know how you are feeling - and the ones before me are right. My Ben could not have fought as long as he did if I had not toughened myself up. He could not have been as brave as he was , if all he could see when he looked at me , was my misery at being without him. I had to learn how to treasure EVERY MOMENT with him - no matter what we were doing. And he needed to know I would be okay before he could let go, and rest with God.
I fell apart in the shower- the car - walking the dog - anyplace I was alone. I refused to add to his guilt at leaving me by making him see how miserable I was.
I needed the meds, and it took time to get the right ones; and they do help if you let them. There will be plenty of time for misery - enjoy the love of your life while you still can. Don't bury her yet- you still have time - and time is all any of us have. And do not cut your time short- how would she feel about that? She's worrying about leaving you- love her now- the here and now is all we have.
Kathy: still hearing Ben's music, and feeling his love: but from the Heavens now
I hope you are feeling better, even slightly, since your last post. I just want to emphasize that even though the members who replied to your post have experience with cancer and offered great advice, if you are feeling suicidal you need to seek professional help immediately. It may be very difficult, if not impossible, to snap out of it on your own. Please seek help.
I have been affected by suicide in the past and believe me, all it does is bring pain to those who you love and care about. It's not the answer. I hope you get help soon.
I understand how you feel. Five years into our marriage we were told my wife could expect to live for 12 years, due to Lupus. That was 11 years ago, and she is doing great. (They have come a long way with understanding Lupus).
I didn't take the news well. Visions of growing old together vanished.
Now it is me that might not be there in her future.
The thing is, none of us know when our time is up. Everyone on this Earth shares that same fate. The best thing to do is to enjoy everyday you wake up. The past is gone, and the future is uncertain for everyone. So enjoy today.
10/01/07 - Removal of Colon Cancer Tumor & Temporary Colostomy
11-07-07 to 04-09-08 FOLFOX and Avastin. 04-28-08 Colostomy Reversal
June 2009 3 Tumors in the Peritoneal tissue- FOLFIRI and ERBITUX.
11-25-09 Tumors inactive(Oct). Finish FOLFIRI, continue ERBITUX
Jan 2010-May 2010 FOLFIRI and ERBITUX.
June 2010 Cancer in Liver. Nov 2010 - Oxyplatinum, Avastin and IROX
Age Diagnosed 40. Current Age:44
I've been feeling better this week. Thanks for your concern.
I'm trying to keep my wife focused on the positives. Tomorrow we'll meet with her oncologist to review the first MRI since treatment began. I'm confident that it will show no new growth. Even though this is an incurable cancer, it is treatable, and at this early stage I'm certain that the tumor can be controlled for some time to come.
Everyone has given you wonderful responses and you sound so much better. We all, those with cancer and those who are caregivers have to keep working on being positive and sure there are going to come times when the realities or the depressive aspects hit us (I cried this morning while Tom was sleeping and I was outside reading the newspaper while I read the obituaries of my local paper, knowing one day I will be in there)
But there are times to let out the emotions; to cry, to vent, etc. as we are all human and therefore have all the emotions that come with such. For me Tom is my strength, he has cried once that I know of when we talked about my passing. But other than that every day he tries to make special, even if we do no more than snuggle in bed all day (like today, and watch LOST on netflix until we catch up to the current season).
I think that the positivity is much more productive as if I was alone and let my depressive emotions overtake me I would be in a horrible situation. So, for me, once in awhile I let the fears, the tears, the knowledge of what will come although when is not a certainty and then I pull myself up with help of the wonderful people here and of Tom and go on.
Hugs and you are in my thoughts and prayers this day.
Total hysterectomy July 23 2008, mass in colon.
Colonoscopy Aug 2008
Rigid Sigmoidoscopy with a laparoscopic-assisted partial colectemy with enbloc small bowel resection Sep 2008
Diagnosed: Stage IV Colon Cancer mets to lungs and liver. (T3,N2,M1,G2) KRAS Mutation
Started chemotherapy: 09/14/09 Folfox-6/Avastin then Camptosar/Avastin & last Folfox-6/Avastin
On Hospice, started 11/12/10
Last PET scan: Oct 12th
Most recent CEA Level: 09/27/10: 696.7 up from 08/16/10: 284.8