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Thread: Lost wife one month ago today to this insidious disease

  1. #1

    Lost wife one month ago today to this insidious disease

    I lost my dear wife of 25yrs to this vicious disease on 12-14-18. Everything happened so quickly, from first symptoms, to diagnosis, to her passing, all in just a matter of mere weeks....I feel as though she were stolen from me, my head is still spinning just trying to comprehend what happened to our happy lives and turned my world upside down. Her passing has left a huge hole in my life, one that will never be filled again. I am sharing my story simply to let others know they are not alone and just maybe it will bring some peace to someone who finds themselves in my shoes.

    Shelia was for the most part a healthy active 70yr old without any serious health issues, in fact she had just undergone her annual wellness exam on 9-19-18 and other than some unintended weight loss and general fatigue she was given a "clean bill of health" with one exception, her blood work revealed her glucose levels were slightly elevated and in the pre-diabetes range, which would explain the weight loss/fatigue. She was told to cut back on the carbs and sodas, we went about our lives thinking no big deal we will make the recommended dietary changes to bring her glucose numbers back into normal range.

    In early October Shelia noticed she was belching frequently and occasionally vomiting up "coffee ground" emesis, having visited her doctor just 2wks prior she was hesitant to make another appointment and just assumed it was indigestion and/or acid reflux and would quickly pass, after nearly 2wks with no improvement with her digestive issues I insisted she schedule another appointment with her doctor. On 10-17-18 she went in to see her doctor and had more blood tests done, the tests revealed she was anemic/dehydrated with an elevated white blood cell count and higher than normal lactic acid level, on 10-18-18 she was admitted to the ER for a blood transfusion, IV fluids and acid reflux meds.

    Doctors suspected an issue with her upper GI tract, perhaps a stomach ulcer. Shelia was released from the hospital on 10-20-18 with an endoscopy scheduled for 10-24-18. The endoscopy revealed no abnormalities, no bleeding, no signs of injury, etc., we were scheduled to meet with the doctor the following week on 10-31-18 for follow-up and the biopsy report, the biopsy came back negative so a colonoscopy was scheduled for December and Shelia was sent home with instructions to stay on her acid reflux meds, stay hydrated, drink ensure and put on some weight. Since her hospital stay the belching/vomiting decreased greatly, almost ceased (most likely because her food intake had also decreased), though fatigue and weight loss were still an issue we thought we were on our way to improved health.

    On the morning of 11-3-18 Shelia had drank two bottles of ensure and went back to bed, she immediately vomited the entire two bottles of ensure and without hesitation I said we're going back to the ER! Shelia agreed. After a myriad of tests and questions the ER doctor looked at my dear Shelia and said "I'm worried about you young lady" and scheduled a CT scan with full contrast, four hours later Shelia was carted off for the CT scan and we were told we would have results back in around 30min, well after 2hrs and no results I knew something was wrong, my suspicions were confirmed when the ER doctor remained in the hall and motioned me through the door and into a small side room, it was the worst day of my life... his first words to me were "you're going to lose her before Christmas"....he then went on to explain that Shelia had inoperable stage 4 pancreatic cancer. To this day that horrifying moment is still etched in my mind and always will be.

    Needless to say I was devastated and stricken to my core, how does an otherwise healthy 70yr old go from first symptoms (belching/vomiting) to being diagnosed with inoperable stage 4 pancreatic cancer in just 4wks time??? and given less than 2mos to live??? I simply could not comprehend this fact, still can't. At the time I knew absolutely nothing about pancreatic cancer, but I have, unfortunately, become and armchair expert on this insidious cancer ever since my wife's diagnosis and now understand my wife's experience is all too common when it comes to this silent killer. The ER doctor was correct, I did lose my beloved Shelia before Christmas, she peacefully passed on 12-14-18 just six short weeks after her diagnosis.

    The CT scan revealed a tennis ball sized tumor in the head/neck of the pancreas with metastasis... plum sized tumors on both adrenal glands, tumors on the peritoneum, lymph nodes and mets to the liver. Surgery was not an option at this point and Shelia went home to receive hospice care (these souls are gods angels on earth). Other than being borderline pre-diabetic with weight loss/fatigue Shelia had no other symptoms just 6wks prior to diagnosis, no jaundice, no abdominal pain, no back pain, nothing. She only experienced digestive symptoms just 4wks prior to diagnosis, this cancer truly is a silent killer.

    The one saving grace I can take away from this horrid experience is that my dear Shelia never experienced any of the debilitating pain I so often read about that's associated with end stage pancreatic cancer, by the mercy of god she passed away free of pain, hospice assured us she would eventually need pain meds and we had them at the ready but they were never needed or used, thank god, and were tossed away the day of her passing. This is a cruel and aggressive disease that starves the body and turns once vibrant souls into a shell of their former selves, very cruel indeed. My heart goes out to anyone dealing with this vicious cancer. God bless.

  2. #2
    Regular User
    Join Date
    May 2018
    I am so sorry for your great loss - I can only imagine what you must be experiencing right now. As hard as it may seem to do, keep all of the wonderful and loving memories of Sheila close at hand and review those when life seems just too hard. This forum is a wonderful resource for obtaining advice and similar experiences - everyone here is incredibly kind.

  3. #3
    Moderator Top User IndyLou's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    I'm so very sorry to hear of your loss - it's almost unbelievable the speed at quick this disease worked against your lovely wife. Thank you for sharing your story, and welcome to this forum. Please feel free to vent, ask questions, or anything else you like. I'm sure that the loss of your wife is still very raw and weighs on you with heavy pain.
    Age 54 Male
    early Feb, 2013 - Noticed almond-sized lump in shaving area, right side of neck. No other "classic" cancer symptoms
    late Feb, 2013 - Visited PCP for check-up, PCP advised as lymphoma. Did blood work, orders for CT-scan, referred to ENT
    3/7/13 - CT-scan inconclusive, endoscopy negative
    3/9/13 - FNA of neck mass
    3/14/13 - Received dx of squamous-cell carcinoma, unknown primary
    3/25/13 - CT-PET scan reveals no other active tumors
    3/26/13 - work/up for IMRT
    4/1/13 - W1, D1 of weekly cetuximab
    4/8/13 - W1, D1 of IMRT
    5/20/13 - complete 8 week regimen of weekly cetuximab
    5/24/13 - Complete 35-day regimen of daily IMRT
    mid-July 2013 - CT-PET scan reveals no active tumors, but shows necrotic tissue at site of original tumor
    early Sept 2013 - partial neck dissection to remove necrotic tissue. Assay shows no cancer present.
    Spring 2014 - No signs of cancer
    Spring 2015 - NED
    Spring 2016 - NED
    Spring 2017 - NED
    Spring 2018 - NED
    Spring 2019 - NED

  4. #4
    I feel so bad for you. I hope being in the hospice gave you some peace. My husband passed away from Lymphoma a little over a year ago after a three year battle. He did have a 15 month NED that was wonderful. But it returned with a vengeance. He passed Jan.2,2018 at the hospice. They were wonderful to him keeping him pain free. The hospice offered us a wonderful support group plus a years free counseling every other week. They just told us they will extend the counseling. I was so grateful. It does help.
    Be good to yourself, take day by day. You never get over it,you just get through it. The people here have always been so wonderful to me. I sometimes post in Coping and Support. Special thanks to POGuy who helped guide me through the roller coaster of emotions that I still have.
    God bless you.
    His fight is over. How brave he was. 47 years of love.

  5. #5
    Regular User
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    I’m so sorry for the loss of your dear wife Sheila. Pancreatic cancer is so very cruel. Sending my best wishes for your journey forward.
    Adoring wife and caregiver of Fred (67)
    May-Mid June 2018 - Fred has persistent mild symptoms - abdominal and back discomfort, a little weight loss (3lb), gassy belly.
    June 18th - CT scan - 2.5 cm tumor in head of pancreas, 4 small lesions in liver (largest 1cm), 4 enlarged abdominal lymph nodes (2-3cm)
    June 25th - CT guided biopsy confirms poorly differentiated adenocarcinona of pancreas and CA19-9 of 1583 on July 5
    July 12th - Abraxane/Gemzar - constipation, fever, chills and tired/weak feeling are main complaints.
    Sept 18th - Restaging CT - Marked tumor progression
    Sept 25th - 2nd line chemo begins- FOLFIRI
    Nov 18 CT shows further progression
    Dec 3-17 After 3 small strokes, clinical trials are ruled out and Onc advises no more can be done.
    Dec 18 Fred began hospice 6 months after diagnosis
    Jan 21, 2019 Farewell for now my sweet love.

  6. #6
    Experienced User
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    I am so sorry. I can totally feel you. We just wish we had more time with the ones we lose. Rest assured you will find purpose again. Time makes us understand that death is a necessity, the same fate for all. Love is the beam of light that can soothe your sadness. I hope you can find the support you deserve in your environment. Take care

  7. #7
    Thank you everyone for the kind words.

  8. #8
    Moderator Senior User BrigitteM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    I am heartbroken by your post narrating the loss of your dear wife. Without warning and so fast... I don't find words, I just feel a terrible sadness. I am so sorry that both of you had to experience the effects of this terrible disease. From the bottom of my heart. Brigitte
    __________________________________________________ ___________________
    1/12/2016 No symptoms except ongoing fatigue; blood test revealed elevated liver enzymes
    1/18/2016 Liver ultrasound, then MRI confirmed enlarged bile duct
    1/21/2016 ERCP and placement of a temporary stent
    1/28/2016 CT-Scan showed a lesion on the head of pancreas
    2/09/2016 2nd ERCP + EUS + FNA
    2/12/2016 DX Borderline resectable pancreas ductal adenocarcinoma - Stage 3 @ 61
    2/24/2016 FOLFIRINOX 3 cycles (6 infusions)
    5/12/2016 CYBER-KNIFE Stereotactic Radiation 3 sessions
    6/16/2016 WHIPPLE + portal vein and right hepatic artery reconstructions - 0/19 nodes pos - no mets. Restaged to 1A
    8/31/2016 FOLFOX for 3 cycles (6 infusions)
    Sept 2016 Know Your Tumor - PANCAN.org
    11/4/2016 CT Scan clear - NED
    May 2017 Liver lesion - DX mild fatty liver disease - NED
    Aug 2017 Several small lung nodules - slow growth - NED until August 2018
    Aug 2018 Pancreatic metastasis confirmed by biopsy.
    Sept 2018 Starting clinical trial with RX-3117 and Abraxane (NCT03189914)
    March 2019 Lung nodules are stable

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by BrigitteM View Post
    I am heartbroken by your post narrating the loss of your dear wife. Without warning and so fast...
    It will be two months tomorrow and I am still dumbfounded at how silently and how quickly this dreaded cancer stole my wife from me.

  10. #10
    Newbie New User
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    I lost my husband 6 weeks ago Friday. I'm heartbroken. He was just 54 years old. He had stage 3 when diagnosed 6 months earlier, was completing 4 rounds of chemo, and was suppose to be going to have a CT scan to restage the cancer the morning that he passed out at home and hemorrhaged to death in the matter of 2 hours....they could barely keep him alive on life support and blood transfusions long enough to have his son drive in from college to be there with us. It was a nightmare that I can't escape. He was never restaged, we never even knew where and what happened. I can feel your pain and disbelief because I feel the exact same way. I feel like I saw a terrible accident and there was nothing I could do to stop it and it was over and I was left lost and confused wondering what just happened. I have no words other than I know how you feel and just wanted to say that.


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