Mar 31, 2014 03:53PM Moderators wrote:
Dedicated 77, you sound like an amazingly supportive husband. Your wife is very lucky, and it sounds as though you are fortunate to have her too! Really hoping we get more husbands to chime in.
A place to share your struggles and concerns about supporting and caring for a person you love diagnosed with breast cancer with others who understand.
Posted on: Mar 31, 2014 03:43PM
Well to start off. I’m new to this forum. I have been so moved that their're people out there who care. I’m a Husband of a wonderful woman. BC is so hard to deal with and everyone on this forum has been so supportive to my wife and has really helped her. Too all you all... Thank you sooooo much. I came on here not to just say thank you, but also to give support to my beautiful wife and to lend my support to everyone else as well. To the husbands, boyfriends, friends and family the emotional ups and downs can be trying at times for all of us. First and for most, we have to support our wives/ friends/family in any way possible. They are the ones who matter most in our lives. But it does take an emotional toll on us as well. I know as a husband it’s hard to keep her spirits high. I was very lucky to have married such a wonderful person. She is truly the woman of my dreams. To see her go through this is heartbreaking. I feel like I'm helpless to help her. I find ways to put a smile on her face every day though. I get so sad when I can hear my wife crying in the bathroom when she’s taking a shower or covering up quickly so she can limit the time she sees her scares from the mastectomy, or keeping me from seeing her scares. The extended time she takes out in the gardan (her personal sanctuary). I see her trying to hold her tears back when she looks at her daughter from across the room. Her trying to hide herself from the world. What can a person do in these situations? I’m still trying to find out. Every day since I met my wife i have thanked her for being a part of my life. Every day i have told her how beautiful she is. I would gladly trade places with her. I don’t know what to say, but, it’s just hard. I’m so focused on beating this disease. I’m not giving up my wife to a bunch of deranged cells. Me and my wife are going to kick cancer ass!!! Plain and simple!!!
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Mar 31, 2014 03:53PM Moderators wrote:
Dedicated 77, you sound like an amazingly supportive husband. Your wife is very lucky, and it sounds as though you are fortunate to have her too! Really hoping we get more husbands to chime in.
Apr 1, 2014 11:21PM Michele2013 wrote:
I wanted to share with you (An Open Letter) by husband Colt45
I am a husband/ caregiver...
I didn't know where this should be posted---and since my wife is going through treatment now, I just picked here.
I have lurked since my wife's diagnosis and have been posting only for a few days. I can recognize a sisterhood when I see one. An army of kind souls.
I am humbled by your humanity. Your grace. Your power.
My wife says she's just doing what she has to when I tell her I'm proud of her. But she's doing more than enduring treatment for self serving means. She's doing it with a grace that doesn't frighten our 2 small, sensitive girls. THAT is strength. I see my wife comforting our 4 year old over something trivial (the kind of thing only 4 year olds think is apocalyptic) and I see a women of strength and beauty the likes of which I cannot imagine life without.
I read your posts and I see my wife or sister or mom. I see a beautiful woman who is power and grace and humanity.
I read accounts of people letting you down or failing to support you.
It breaks my heart to think that you aren't being held or hugged or listened to to the degree that you deserve or more importantly NEED.
You are beautiful. Worthy of love and support and someone is missing out on YOU. It's not your fault. People with a heart and a soul and a brain are inspired by you. Touched by you... whether you think you deserve it or not.
People in pain don't reach out like you do to comfort others. You ask very little. You deliver day after day for others. And you think you aren't worthy of praise or wonderment or fanfare. You are wrong.
You are to be cherished and held and loved. And even on days when someone in your physical environment doesn't seem to be doing quite enough of this, you are being cherished and held and loved from afar by someone you have touched----even if quite by accident.
Know this to be true.
Jun 17, 2014 09:20AM Niloc wrote:
Another husband here. I hope I can be supportive to other husbands/partners/fathers/sons/friends in some way. If we males can support each other in some ways, the same as the women on these forums support each other, it may help.
I have read these threads for almost two years now but had not posted under my own Profile until recently, as this is very much a womans' forum and I didn't want to be seen to intrude. However, there is much on here for husbands to read, so I thought I'd join and post. As a male, you'll find that many of the women will find it strange to have a male posting questions. Just accept that and only post questions where really relevant to your needs and you may get some great responses and guidance.
If you are a new male on here looking you will find a wealth of info that may help you understand this very complex and traumatic problem of cancer in breasts of women and sometimes men too. Browsing without posting is invisible and will not upset anyone, yet provide a wealth of details and experiences to read, that may help you to understand what your wife, partner, parent, daughter, sister, or friend is facing or going through.
The initial waiting for diagnosis is a time when they will need a lot of support as they are incredibly scared. After diagnosis they need support and love in helping them make the most informed decision possible. After surgery etc, they need support and love as times may get tough. Emotions run like a roller coaster, with ups and downs and they are entitled to be affected by these feelings. Just be there for them and please don't shun them or force your feeling too strongly upon them. It is their body and what they decide to do or not do should be largely their decision.
I certainly do not claim to be a saint or perfect hubby, I still get my wife annoyed and frustrated as I did before all this. I'm still a 'bloke'. However, I do feel that in some way husbands and partners need to find out how we can best help before during and after, as it is such a traumatic event.
My wife and I have for over a decade (before breast cancer) had a joke that: "It's not all about you", but this is one case where it is "all about her", and so it should be.
If I can help, please feel free to PM me.
Jun 21, 2014 04:29AM - edited Jun 21, 2014 06:11AM by Niloc
After almost two years of my wife showing me relevant posts, discussing issues and threads, here are the rules my wife has drilled into me before she let me post.
So for those males new to these forums, here is some advice to save you getting into trouble with your wife or the others on here:
Welcome, because if you are here, it's because you care. There aren't many males posting, but we sometimes have something we want to say.
Jun 23, 2014 10:30AM Dedicated77 wrote:
I have a question.
Does your wives take an estrigen blocking pill for the next five years? if so does it cause extreme mood swings? I have been noticing some changes in my wife that is really worrying me. Her mood swings are horendous. one minute she will be smiling and laughing and the next she will be so angry. I have never seen her so angry. Im mean to the point she was throughing stuff. Im walking on egg shells here. I don't want to say the wrong thing or do something that sets her off. I have never seen this side of her in the seven years i have been with her. she was never like this. I know she gets so made at times she questions why we are even together. I take some comfort thinking that its just the pills or metapause. I just keep quiet and try to comfort her but keep getting pushed away. I know it has something to do with this disease. I just wish i knew the best way to help her. and befor you ask i have tryed over and over to get her to talk to someone about this. she just refuses. Now shes in the phyc field. Have you ever heard the expression its imposible for a doctor to diagnose himself. she thinks they can't do anything for her. Maybe shes right, but anything is better than nothing. Right? Sorry for unloading here... I just don't know what to do. Im afraid my whole relationship with her is introuble. I don't want to loose her in anyway shape or form. Shes my Best friend. My whole world. I have been quiet in here but i read all the posts.
Jun 24, 2014 09:51PM Niloc wrote:
I'm not in any position to comment as my wife is not on Estrogen blockers. I can appreciate that you are only trying to help the one you love. Those in the medical fields can be very difficult when ill - doctors and nurses don't adapt well to being a patient. I have no advice except to understand that it is likely the hormone fluctuations caused by the blocker pills and additionally the whole process she is going through, are making her very emotional and scaring her.
All you can do is stick by her, she'll appreciate that when she stabilizes. All my best and I hope she will talk to someone. You could seek professional advice too if you felt the need as you've gone through more than you realize as her companion on this journey. You may be able to notify her Doctor (on the quiet) about the mood swings, as it may need a dosage modification and it is important he is aware of the side effects.
Feel free to unload as that is what we are here for. Others may be able to advise better than I through experience with Estrogen Blockers.
Jun 25, 2014 07:00PM Niloc wrote:
I have been thinking of you, here's some other input to your situation. With your wife being on Estrogen blockers, dependent on her age but mainly whether she had gone though the change of life - hot flashes, mood swings, etc., she may not have gone through that previously.
If not, the Estrogen blockers will have forced her, with no gentle lead up, into full blown Menopause! If this is the case then you have to deal with a wife with severe mood swings (as you describe) and this is every husband's nightmare time.
Check out the Hormone Therapy area for great info at https://community.breastcancer.org/forum/78 where there is lots of information that may assist you and even help your wife understand what she is going through is 'normal' but severe when you are thrust straight into it by HT.
Best of luck.
Jul 8, 2014 07:20PM sailman wrote:
Hello, this is Sailman, my wife found these forums when she was diagnosed BRCA1. She had an irregular mammogram after Christmas which they biopsied the first of January. With her family history, they strongly urged her to get the genetic testing, especially since her cousin was also BRCA1. When the results came back, she and I were devastated but determined to gain as much information as possible. She began posting on a regular basis and has become extremely close to a group of women on here. She had a dissectional biopsy and lumpectomy in March. Thankfully, it was benign. We scheduled her bilateral mastectomy for mid April. All came back benign. We were on top of the world. She began the process of scheduling her hysterectomy so that she would beat the odds. Last Tuesday, she had the hysterectomy and the results were not so positive. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, serous carcinoma grade 3C, unknown stage. It was in both tubes and both ovaries and was in the cavity wash when they did her surgery. This led them to conclude it had spread to some other part of her body. So, we see a cancer doctor on Friday and will have exploratory surgery one day next week. Her friends on here have been so loving and supportive and I am so thankful for them. I know this is a BC forum, but at this point, cancer is cancer, and we all have to support each other. I look forward to being here and know that we can all help each other through this.
Jul 8, 2014 07:43PM oddducklady wrote:
Sailman- I am so sorry this is happening to you and your wife. I know the roller coaster ride cancer and its treatment can be. And believe me I know how hard it is to watch someone you love go through this from the first shock of the dx, through surgery with horrid news and now chemo. My husband has BC-was dx in Feb and it has been one rough ride. And when the cancer is so far ahead of you then you can even imagine it is just devastating. My husband had the genetic testing as BC is so rare in men and waiting for the results was terribly hard for him with the fear he could have passed the gene along to his children. We were lucky he was negative. My hope is after you see the oncologist you can feel hopeful about a treatment plan-it gives you something to hang on to. I hope that knowing others out here are wishing good thoughts and thinking about you will help.
Jul 8, 2014 08:00PM sailman wrote:
oddduck- I guess my biggest fear is that during her surgery the doctor will find that it is spread to much to treat. He thinks that we found out early and he will be able to remove any more cancer that might have spread but what if he is wrong. the other worries would be about chemo I do not know what to expect. All I know is that she will lose her hair and it will make her sick and he said she would start a 6 month chemo treatment about 4 weeks after her surgery. So will she be sick for 6 months? How sick? what to do for her then? But I try to stay focused on one thing at a time and right now that will be the apt. Friday and surgery next week Monday I think. She is doing so good and staying positive and I will be there for her every step of the way.
Jul 9, 2014 01:14AM Moderators wrote:
Great to see some husbands and wives posting here to support one another, as the sisters with BC do elsewhere. It is important for partners and family get some comradery and feedback too as they often go through the stress with their partners.
The more partners are supported, the better they can support the family member going through the 'journey'. Keep up the postings.
Jul 9, 2014 12:33PM oddducklady wrote:
Sailman- First remember to take some deep breaths and stop and clear your own head sometimes. Next try not to ever get too far ahead of yourself. One thing I wish I had been prepared for is the extreme highs and lows of the situation. It's never wrong to hope for the good news-and remember that when all the info is there usually the good thing about Drs is that they can come up with a treatment plan for almost everything these days. Take it a step at a time cause that is what it's all about-continuing to put one foot in front of the other. In the beginning what helped me was too be super organized. I got a small calendar book for writing appts, recording events, etc. Plus a small blank notebook to write all kinds of stuff down. Questions to ask various Drs., etc. Later when we did start chemo and it seemed I was juggling all these meds to be given and stuff I wrote it down cause it helped me remember. The other thing-nobody can really predict with chemo how anybody is going to react, or what SE's, etc. It was somewhat predicted that my husband would do OK with chemo as he has no other health problems (boy, we all couldn't have been more wrong about that thought). I read about people on these boards that take or have taken the same chemo and continue to work, take care of kids, etc. That was not our case. But not all days are bad. It is an up and down cycle. Right now you are doing the best thing possible- YOU are with her on this journey so she is not alone. Hang in there and I will be thinking of you both and wishing for the best news you can get given the situation. Which believe me I know sucks. Totally.
Jul 9, 2014 08:21PM sailman wrote:
I have positive outlook most of the time. I know my last post may not seem like it but I really do. That's not to say I do not have my bad days. I think that after her surgery and we know more will help. No matter what we will fight and kick cancers ass.
Jul 10, 2014 11:29AM oddducklady wrote:
Well it is good to be positive but it's sure normal to have fears too, when you love someone and can't imagine losing them. You can't always stop all the thoughts that go zipping through your head. And the loss of control. I mean, when someone you love is hurting (both physically and mentally) and what you can do is limited, especially when you are waiting for answers it makes it worse. It adds up. I couldn't help thinking at times watching what my husband has been through that it would be easier if it was me. But it is what it is. There was a discussion forum going on a few weeks ago about 'being positive' that I agreed with and just struck a nerve. It had to do with that if you are 'positive' and have the right 'attitude' it helps the cure, etc. Well sometimes you need the mad face not the happy face. It is a battle and real fight and I like your thought's about kicking cancer's ass. Cancer is evil. I know about good and bad feelings and sometimes you have to let them out, but not always to your spouse. I know your wife is active here but I hope you won't hesitate to let out what you need to. It does help. Hang in there.
Jul 10, 2014 11:58PM - edited Jul 11, 2014 12:01AM by Niloc
My experience was being as supportive as possible and providing a positive but realistic outlook (doesn't help to say everything is alright, because it isn't) to balance wife's low periods - especially the waiting. My wife's case was different, as a lot less serious in the end, but initially anything could have been the case.
It can be tough to try and put up a strong and confident front, while inside you are going through the similar "if-what-then-but-maybe-hope not-hope is- if only" type thoughts as the affected partner. You need to be like that for them then go away and have a bit of a weep to let the bottled up emotions out.
It is often hard to try to be the positive one! My thoughts are with you sailman and oddducklady.
Jul 11, 2014 01:12AM sailman wrote:
I have not told her how worried and scared I am about all this. I want her to focus on herself and not me. I try to be positive and optimistic. My sister came up to stay with us a while. She was a paramedic and her Husband is a colon cancer survivor. She will go to the Dr apt. with us she to help us ask questions we would not think about. She will also be able to stay for a while after my wife comes home and help out so that I can go to work.
Jul 11, 2014 12:43PM oddducklady wrote:
I know I appreciate any good thoughts that come my way and it sure helps not to be alone in this fight. I know I have tried hard not to get all weepy in front of my husband. The couple of times it came very close to happening I think it bothered him more then whatever issue we were dealing with. It doesn't mean I always hide my feelings with a false positive, but I do my best to keep a handle on it. We are in a tough spot that's for sure. I have felt really alone at times with not only being a caregiver (and I don't see many caregivers here) and that it's my husband with BC. I am glad he feels no stigma with that. As sailman said- cancer is cancer. And it sucks.
sailman- hope you get the info and answers you need today to help move forward. Having a plan, hearing the Drs talk about treatment can be hard (a real gut wrencher), but it also lets you focus on that treatment and that does help. We have to travel out of state for tx and coordinating that stuff helps me. Just remember to be flexible. I focused on the treatment and dates that we started with (including the dates chemo would end, etc), and due to problems we had everything change. The first time that happened it was so hard. Even now, as initially we were to be done with chemo around the 4th of July, I can't help but think I wish we could say that part was over.
Jul 13, 2014 08:46AM sailman wrote:
We did not really get any new news from doc. Just talked about the exploratory surgery Monday. He told us that he would remove any cancer he could see or feel and that it would probably last 4 hours. Also talked about her chemo would start 4 weeks after and she would do the chemo treatments every week for 6 months. So I am looking forward to Monday because that is when we get to fight back. We will kick this and ready to start fight.
Jul 15, 2014 12:46AM sailman wrote:
Surgery today went very well doc said he did not find any more cancer(thank god our prayers were answered). He did remove some limp nodes and her appendix just in case. She is in ICU doing good although in some pain. Such a relief all went so well. We can focus on getting her home and healed up so she can start chemo. The fight is not over but one battle behind us. We will win this war I know that we still got many battles yet to come and will not win overnight but can only fight one battle at a time It is so nice that we all have a place to post about our fight with cancer. The support and understanding that I found here has made the process so much easier. Just having a place to put down in words how I feel good bad or ugly. Those caregivers who might be reading this and have not posted for whatever reason should really think about sharing there story it has helped me. I hope my post might help someone else as well. I know that it has helped my wife to read all the post and know that she is not alone. She is much stronger and has gained so much knowledge. I am not saying this sight makes it easy but gives us a place to find support help and advise we would not otherwise have. Thanks to all.
Jul 15, 2014 04:33AM Niloc wrote:
Sailman, so pleased to hear that. I hadn't posted anything as I didn't have anything more to add until this point. Give your beloved wife our best and pass on that we're thinking of her.
That is a major battle won, now you need to win the War, as you said. I'm typing this with tears of joy welling in my eyes just thinking of how you must feel, after what you both have gone through. You both must feel so pleased and relieved with the result.
We're thinking of you both and please keep us informed of progress.
Jul 15, 2014 09:06AM ChaosRains wrote:
I think that it is wonderful that you guys are so supportive and involved in your wives diagnosis and treatment!
Ive only been married for 9 months and now we are hit with breast cancer. My husband is very supportive as well and it does make a difference!
To be honest I worry about him going through this with me more than i worry about going through it myself... guess you want to protect those you love no matter what.
Just wanted to say to you all... you are doing a great job!
Jul 15, 2014 06:33PM oddducklady wrote:
Sailman- I was very glad and relieved to see your news! I was thinking about you both yesterday but have not had a chance to check until we got home today. We managed to complete the #2 Abraxane but it was touch and go for a little while as my heart sank when the nurse at infusion handed me the lab results. Not good results, but close enough for the MO to OK the chemo. I was so afraid we would have to postpone again. Now of course I get to worry about his WBC's crashing so I need to watch like a hawk. (How many times can I stick the thermometer in his ear before he really tells me where to stick it? hmm I may find out.) You are right about the many battles in this war. Gotta get those victories one at a time. I hope she is able to get home quickly (the hospital is no place to get any rest and feel better) and heal up. It's normal to want to get the chemo started-it makes you feel like you are finally fighting the evil stupid cancer. As caregivers, spouses, whatever, we have a big job to do. I agree with you it helps to get out how you're feeling and the support from others in our shoes means a lot.
Niloc-I gather that your wife is doing well and I am glad for you. But I'm sure you never forget the fear you have while you are waiting for answers.
I hope we also hear from others in our position. I know they are out there.
Jul 18, 2014 12:59PM sailman wrote:
well wife came home yesterday. When doc came in to relies her from hospital told her test results from biopsies. They took 20 from abdominal cavity (omentum) 14 had cancer so they say it is sage III cancer. The cancer cells could only be seen under microscope so not to bad I guess. She will still stay on track for chemo in about 3 weeks. Still waiting for results from the lymph nodes they removed but I guessing they too will have cancer in them.
ChaosRains sorry about the news will add you to our prayer list. Hope your husband will join us here. Helps me just to post things to get them off my chest. Also hope you have found a group to talk to here my wife is also a member jsjherman she is always looking for new friends.
Jul 18, 2014 06:19PM oddducklady wrote:
Sailman- I so wish the news had been better for you and your wife. Wishing her a good recovery from surgery so she is ready for chemo. It can be tough but everyone can react so differently. My prayers are that she will get through the chemo without problems. I have certainly been learning a lot about chemo for BC-don't know how different hers will be. Hang in there. For the first few months when I would wake up in the morning I would wish this was all just a bad nightmare, but that doesn't happen much anymore. It's just too real now I guess. We have no family close by either, although our youngest son just moved back to this state he is still 4 hours away. I think his decision to move was effected by what his Dad is going through. Hang in there and know I am thinking about you. You have it very tough with working and having a young child. Ours are all grown and any thoughts I had about returning to work (I'm a RN) are gone. I had not been working much anyway the last couple years as my mother who lived in another state was declining and I was needed to fly there for long periods but she died this past August. Not sure I was really OK from all of that when this came up with my husband. Oh, well. One day at a time, one treatment at a time.
Jul 18, 2014 06:29PM Niloc wrote:
Sailman, so sorry to hear was not as god as hoped. All my best to your wife and you. Remember, we're here for you as you must feel pretty drained now, and emotional. Hang in there mate and try to get some sleep over the weekend, even if small naps, it is something and you nbeed to stay well for your wife's sake. She is so lucky to have you right beside her all the way.
Aug 10, 2014 11:56AM Tomboy wrote:
Hello, all you good people. I just wanted to say to you all, that i have been a caretaker for a close friend with another type of cancer, and now ive had it myself. And i cant really tell you which one is the harder to do. but i do suspect that it is harder to be the one who is loving the one who has cancer. i have been with my man for 15 years, and he is a pretty darn good one. it was through him that i met the woman i took care of, they were friends when i met him. it took a year or two, but her and i became extraordinary friends, and so i was counting myself as very blessed to have two wonderful people who actually put up with me, and showered me with affection! they would seek me out and not avoid me! i love them both dearly, although my friend did pass, i think of her often, and that her friendship was rare and good, and i miss her.
my man not only is experiencing 'my' cancer with me, he did also experience hers with me and with her. He saw what taking care of her and loving her did to me, and he suffered as well to see what happened with her. he is the one that has experienced the stresses of being a caretaker twice now.
and i would not wish it on anyone, to be the caretaker. even tho treatment and living with the knowledge of cancer being in me is hard, i do think it is harder being a almost helpless participant/caretaker.
please please please remember to take very good care of yourselves. i did not, and i was quite worn out, with my friend, and my relationship suffered with my man then. he was begging me to take a break and get some more help with her, but i was obstinate about that until i really almost broke down, when i finally did get some help, hospice, and just some people to sit with her, students and a few retired women. and they were awesome. she had brain mets, so she really could not be left alone, but she wanted to die at home, and stay with her dog until the end. She was way more gracefull than i was! she never complained, and i only saw her cry a couple of times, heartbreaking. all i could do was hold her and kiss her.
please: remember to take breaks from her for a short while each day, go for a walk and promise yourself to breath, and think about other things, things that make YOU happy. and if you start thinking about everything, try to stop. it is like a mental health break.
if you have a good friend who is not involved too closely with her, go and spend time talking with them, about her, or you, or them, it doesn't matter, as long as it is just different from what has become your 'usual'.
even if you havent ever really indulged in tubs, take one! and just think about the water, and the fragrance of the soap, and how good the water feels, and the sound it makes as you splash around a bit. it does wonders.
there are many other things like that to do, but all i am trying to say is: take care of YOU. you are her and your own self's most important and precious resource. And if you are tapped out, it is no good for anyone. You will not realize till much much later how exhausting it was, and how deeply it did affect you.
and just keep loving them up! that is what your 'Real job' is!
i think you guys are doing great, and i am so sorry that you guys are finding yourselves here.
Aug 10, 2014 12:02PM Tomboy wrote:
And i am just so afraid how all of this is affecting my man, and am scared that the stress of all of these things might be doing a number to his nerves or his heart, even though he appears healthy i KNOW he worries about me. And those pills? yeh, they make me murderously angry sometimes, and that is several years AFTER meno! So i can only imagine what they would do to a woman who hasn't been through that yet. Please encourage her to get something to help, an anti-anxiety or anti depression medicine really does work, while she is still processing all of what is happening to her.
Aug 10, 2014 01:47PM JohnSmith wrote:
"murderously angry sometimes" kathec? Holy smokes.
At age 45, my wife is premenopausal and about to start her hormone therapy in conjunction with ovarian suppression shots. She's fairly chill, but sometimes I wonder what's in store for me. I just brought home a battery of Yoga videos from the library (lol) and looking into other ways to make sure she remains her chill vibe, as it's definitely one of her redeeming qualities.
Aug 10, 2014 03:47PM oddducklady wrote:
You do feel like you need a break sometimes when you are watching someone you love deal with cancer. It's just very hard to do while my husband is still trying to get through chemo and still faces radiation. There are still so many unknowns. There have been some really bad times with complications trying to get through this. But as bad, mad, sad, and as lonely as I have felt and still feel, I don't know how it can compare to what he is going through. I wish I could always know what to do for him, but I know it can change every day. I hope it will get better. My husband has dealt very well with the fact he is the one with BC- I think I feel very alone because I have yet to meet anyone in my shoes, as a wife, dealing with this. But it does help to read what those of you going through this yourselves feel as well as other spouses (even if they all seem to be husbands). I am sorry we are all dealing with this.