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Oct 26, 2014 03:30PM
Roy and Joseph,
So sorry that Life has put this in your paths...
As far as what will come next, and then after that -- every woman is different, and every cancer is unique. Stage 4 sounds so scary, but can mean many things. Don't believe any predictions of time, as no one really knows, and everyone is unique... sometimes shorter time can even be a blessing.
Your job is just to do the best you can to help your wives, children, and YOURSELF stay as calm and as positive as possible. Try to keep a gentle sense of humor, and stop often to appreciate the best moments... make an effort to spend quiet time together, and don't forget to take quick moments of peaceful rest for yourself....
For us it was outdoors -- a quiet walk and then sitting in the sun to watch the fall leaves rustle in the trees -- it is amazing what sorts of incredibly deep conversations can arise from these quiet moments.
If you can manage it and her health is stable, maybe you could plan a long weekend (or vacation) to go somewhere she has always wanted -- and don't expect to do much -- just relax together. Maybe just take a drive, have a picnic on a blanket in the grass -- take pillows and blanket and have a nap in the sun. Take her out in the back yard and hold her in your arms as you both look up at the stars... Notice the full moon and tell her it belongs to the two of you -- that forever when you see it you will think of her... Buy her some pretty earrings or a bracelet and give it to her right before her next treatment/surgery -- tell her the jewelry is so she will "feel beautiful in the hospital" -- My new husband said just that when he gave me earrings the day before my double mastectomy 2 years ago... and he asked me to marry him when we got my first clean bill of health last fall... the timing of these romantic gestures were SO powerful for me... I am tearing up just remembering how potent the love felt in those moments... You can give your wives those same sorts of gifts-of-love.
It may sound odd, but these days ahead are a wonderful opportunity to become closer to your wives than you have ever been before. An opportunity to share the incredible experience ahead and to demonstrate your strength and love in amazing new ways. Hold her hand. Rub her feet. Spoon her at night. Open your heart as fully and consciously imagine connecting your soul to hers. Then, no matter what happens, you always have that to fall back on -- the magic of a connection so deep that most people will never be blessed to know.
There is no such thing as "fair" -- so we just have to make the best of it and look for the silver linings. Drastic change brings with it a blossoming of the soul -- it is only "difficult" if we choose to see it that way.
I was my dear father's caretaker through his stage 4 brain tumor. I was his caretaker through a year of chemo/radiation and other treatments -- and then lived the last 6 weeks of his life with him in Hospice.
It changed my life in extremely powerful (and positive) ways -- The honor of helping someone through this passing is something impossible to describe. Yes, there are painful and sometimes difficult moments --- but there is incredible beauty, too. When Dad passed, we were closer than we had ever been before. It may sound strange, but I still feel his influence and his presence -- every time I think of him -- every time I welcome him to take a nature walk with me or enjoy the gorgeous sunset -- I feel him there... there is an extra sparkle in the sunshine.
I still have conversation with him.
A real connection does not have to end... for the rest of your life you will have her with you in your heart and mind.
So foster all the love you have for her now... and say all the things to express your appreciation for all the time you have shared and whatever time is left. Vow to make every second count. Bask in each other's love... take it to the next level and connect as fully as you possibly can. It will make everything so much easier for you both to know you will always be connected by your love, no matter what comes.
One more thing -- when my dear father was dying... my last lucid conversation with him, we joked that I had never had much luck with finding a good mate.... and I asked Dad that if he was bored when he got to Heaven, could he maybe pull some Heavenly strings and send a good man my way? That afternoon, Dad slipped into a coma. I like to think it was because he couldn't wait to start working on the challenge of sending my husband to me. That very afternoon, Les showed up in my E-Harmony mailbox, and I love to think that my Dad sent him to me. Dad taught Boy Scouts for 50 years... and I was his tomboy -- his hiking and canoeing buddy. Now I (almost magically) live on a large ranch in the mountains, surrounded by elk, bears, deer, antelope, cougars and bobcats... a life I never would have dreamed possible, with the sweetest/kindest husband (who is a wildlife biologist).
I see Dad's Heavenly fingerprints all over this.
I am telling you this because of the joy it gives me to still "have Dad in my life". Every windfall of cash, I see it as a gift from Pop. My mom lamented how sad it was that Dad and Les (my husband) never met -- that Dad couldn't have walked me down the aisle this summer... and I just laughed -- told her that it was Dad who picked Les out and sent him to me... and that of course Dad walked me down the aisle...
Both you, your children, and your wives might be able to benefit from this idea -- that our loved ones stay with us forever and continue to send their love and guidance... that even "from the other side" your wives may have the power to help and guide the ones she loves... At the least it can't hurt, and at the best, you will rejoice in "seeing your wife's Heavenly fingerprints" all over your future successes...
You have the opportunity through this journey to grow in ways you could never have guessed, and become stronger, more peaceful men.
All my best,
Dx IDC 5/30/12. LumpX 8/24/12 (1 of 2 nodes + for BC) DCIS/tumors in margins. BMX + DIEP recon 11-6-2012. (11 more nodes x’d/none +). Began Letrozole 12-3-2012 (NO SE's so far!). Cording/pain/limited ROM in node-removed arm- but PT helping a lot!
5/30/2012, IDC, <1cm, Stage II, Grade 1, 1/13 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
8/23/2012 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel
11/5/2012 Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap
12/2/2012 Femara (letrozole)