(Perth Western Australia)
On 9th November 2009, my husband of 29 years was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer, also in the liver and intestines. The prognosis was 6 months with no treatment and 12 months with treatment. The Oncologist suggested chemotherapy, which commenced the following week. I should point out that prior to 9th November, Brian had only once complained of a sore stomach and thought that it could possibly just be an ulcer or some such thing.
We have 2 children, Leanne 26 and Grant 18. The news was devastating to us all. We had moved to Australia to start a new life 3 years ago and had just bought our first home in Perth.
The chemotherapy commenced the following week. The day after the Chemo Brian became ill. We had to rush him to an emergency room for assistance one Friday evening. After certain tests were performed I was advised by the Oncologist that the Chemotherapy had not worked and that I should just take Brian home and pain manage him myself. Suddenly the 6 months became a matter of weeks.
I was then forced to enlist the services of Silver Chain, an organisation specialising in palliative care in the home. Our home became like a hospital ward, with oxygen and hospital bed, comode etc. I became the nurse and had to stop work. Brian was on very high dosages of Morphine and by that stage was not able to communicate with us very well. He had all but stopped eating.
We got his brother to come over from South Africa to be with him for a short time. My own brother came from America to help me, as we had no family in Australia. Finally, Brian's deterioration was very rapid and he was moved to Palliative care in a hospital, where he finally died after all his organs failed. It was 4 weeks after diagnosis on 7th December.
The children and I have been left with this enormous hole in our lives, had to try to get through Christmas and New Year and it was all very hard. Thank goodness for the support of good friends and colleagues who have helped us through. I feel extremely alone in all of this, as everyone has now gone back to their lives and don't contact us anymore, we are still dealing with all the legal issues which are ongoing.
It's a daily struggle knowing how to cope with this new life. I cry every day. I have gone back to work, as I feel that when I am busy I don't think too much, although I speak very openly all day long to my colleagues who ask how I am doing.
This is by far the hardest road I have had to travel and I find life unbearable without Brian. I miss him so. We travelled the world together and did everything together for 29 years, he was my everything and now he has gone. I miss him more than words can say.