11 years with cancer

by Eric
(Palmer, Alaska)

1 month ago I lost my wife of 18 years. She was my best friend and lover. Almost 11 years ago she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Many doctors told us how rare the cancer was however when you are the 1 in a million, it's not rare. Anyway, we fought the cancer as best we could. She never lost faith, never lost hope. She was always willing to tell anybody about the disease and willing to support anyone else in their battle. She went through surgeries, chemo, and radiation, too many times to count. She did her best to always have a smile on her face, a smile that was infectious and would fill the room. We always talked about growing old together, watching the boys (15 & 23) grow, get married, and have their own kids.
We went on a cruise in January, we knew without saying anything to each other that it was our last vacation together. She ended up having surgery right after we got back. She never totally recovered. She became increasingly weak and eventually was not able to walk. She was bed bound, something that neither of us dealt with very well.
The last few days before she passed away I will never forget. She slowly slipped away. A good friend of ours is a nurse. She knew what was going as did I. (I was a paramedic for 17 years and have seen a lot of death). Anyway, she would stop by, hold her hand, help me clean her up, fix something for her to eat, etc. I could never explain how much having her here helped. For almost a week before she passed away, when we were alone, and she was asleep, I would stand at the foot of the bed looking at her. I would pray that if it were God's will for her to go with him that it would happen quickly. Neither of us wanted her to live this way.
On the day she passed away, I knew it was time. Our friend, the nurse, felt it too. She called me first thing in the morning and I told her that I thought it was about time. She immediately left work. About an hour after she arrived, my dear wife went to be with the Lord. She died in my arms. I will never forget that feeling and her life ended and mine forever changing.
I do not blame God for the cancer or for taking her from me. She did not die of cancer, she beat cancer and is living pain and cancer free in heaven.
I am learning to adapt to her not being here. It has not been easy. The little things still get me. The other day I changed all the calendars and cried through the whole thing. It was like I was closing the last chapter in a book. Life goes on and this I know. Where it leads from here only God knows.

Comments for 11 years with cancer

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Jun 13, 2014
Deepest sympathy
by: Lawrence

Dear Eric,
You have been through a terrible nightmare, seeing the one person you loved more than life itself suffer as you did is soul destroying, and after just one month the pain and agony must be overwhelming, all I can really suggest is something you must be doing already which is to CRY and CRY and help your body release some of the anguish of your terrible loss.
There are no soothing words to help you because there are none, except to say you will never feel as bad again in your life as you do now.
Don’t expect anyone to understand your pain, because you have to lose someone you love deeply to know that feeling of utter hopelessness, grief and sadness.
I lost a precious wonderful wife suddenly, in the blink of an eye on Christmas day 2012,
Thankfully I didn’t see her suffer a long drawn out illness, one minute we were talking and shortly afterwards I was closing her eyes and kissing her goodbye on her deathbed and thanking her for an exquisite seventy years of love and passion
So I have stood in your shoes and even after eighteen months I still haven’t recovered from the shock and still wake every morning hoping it was just a bad dream and cry when I can’t feel her warm body beside me.
BUT Eric, the fact that I am writing this comment to you, will show that one can’t grieve for too long before realization dawns and you finally accept that she has gone
It is such early days for you but may I suggest you get out of the house and do anything but stay and wallow in your agony, go to the local library and read the newspapers, join a social club where you will meet fellow widowers, anything at all just keep your mind away from your pain.
I do all those things and many more like learning to play bridge and having violin lessons and writing novels, total rubbish most of them, but it keeps me away from dwelling on my loss.
You have joined a web site of fellow heartbroken sufferers, read them all,and I hope they help you as they did me, when truthfully I didn’t want to go on living without the first girl I ever kissed.
With deepest sympathy

Jun 13, 2014
me too
by: Doreen UK

Dear Anonymous
Married 56yrs. is a Blessing. I am sorry for your wife's 11yr. battle with cancer. Such a dreaded disease that few have remission from. There is always the fear of cancer returning and then fighting another battle. It wears you out.
My husband had a cancer growing inside him for 40yrs. from cutting asbestos as a young man in his 20's. He developed MESOTHELIOMA. It was a horrendous cancer journey. I am glad he is not suffering anymore but I MISS HIM SO MUCH. I Think it is a common feeling. "We don't know what to do with ourselves when our other half has gone. The older one gets it is harder to re-structure one's life. Making us wonder where to go and what to do. It is a very hollow feeling. I had to reply so that you know that many of us feel the same way and you are not alone here in how you feel. I hope life gets better for you and all of us. Best wishes.

Jun 11, 2014
me too
by: Anonymous

my wife of 56 years died last November after a 11 year struggle with cancer. I am having a very tough time with grief. I don't know what to do with myself.

Jun 10, 2014
11 years with cancer
by: Doreen UK

Eric I am sorry for your loss of your wife from cancer. This dreaded scourge of a disease. Just hearing the word Cancer fills our hearts with fear. We know it is a hard disease to overcome and few get remission.
My husband worked with asbestos and cut it and the fibres lodged in his lungs for 40years when the cancer becomes incurable, inoperable, aggressive, rare, and always terminal. I nursed him through one of the worst cancers and he was in severe pain a lot of the time. It was such a very CRUEL cancer journey watching and caring for the one I loved and watch him die slowly. I could do nothing to help him and he died 2yrs. ago. We were married 44yrs. and this is the worst loneliness one can go through. I am happy he is not suffering anymore. But Oh! How I miss him. Unlike you I was angry with God for not Healing my husband. I Prayed and believed for a miracle. Because God does HEAL cancer. This is a Solo journey I am not looking forward to. Difficult time of life to start re-structuring my life and how I go on each day. It will take us some time now to get our lives into some sort of shape to continue our solo journey. I am sorry for your loss.

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