+ Reply
Log in or Register to participate in these discussions
Anticipatory Grief
Marj99
22 Posts

My husband has been managing his pancreatic cancer very well and is currently stable on his chemotherapy regime. But I am starting to face difficult issues relating to his illness. Somedays I just feel tired of being the ‘cheerleader’ and always upbeat and then I start wishing this was all over. Then I tell myself that I am an evil person for thinking that way when we are so lucky to have this time together. I am so conflicted. He is alive because of his chemo treatments, but at the same time the chemo is killing him. I am so afraid of what his end stage will be like and don't think I will have the mental strength to cope. Watching the slow decline of my much loved husband is more than I can stand. I am crying all the time and starting to turn to medication to help me. Even thinking of the future without him fills me with grief and thoughts of suicide go through my mind. I know I need counselling to help me through this but don't know where to start. Never in a million years did I think that I would come to this stage.

9 Replies
Brighty
8455 Posts

@Marj99 i hear you. What you are feeling is totally natural and normal. The conflict, the guilt, the torment. The inner turmoil. The conflicted feelings. The utter anguish. Please dont beat yourself up . You are in no way evil. There no worse torture then watching your loved one decline. I felt the same way. In some ways I wished it was over because the suffering was too much to bare. But I was grateful for the time too. I felt guilty for feeling the way I did. Like you ,I was suicidal, and didnt know if I could get through it. I didnt want to live without my fiance either. Start with your family doctor. I reached out to mine and told him of my condition. He got me in to a hospital therapy program immediately. There are also 24 hour phycholologists in emergency. There is also the social worker in oncology. I also called a suicide hotline. @Lacey_Moderator and @Lianne_Moderator can give you the number. I would advise to you to line up a plan with your doctor or social worker for when the time comes, so you are somewhat prepared … although we can never truly be prepared…. and a group of people you trust to be your support system. Tell them what is going on, and how you are feeling. Put them on speed dial . Call them whenever you feel this low. You never have to be alone in this. And you are stronger than you think you are. You can do this. It sounds cliche, yes. But it's been 4 years for me on Tuesday since I lost my fiance, but somehow you do get through it. One day at time, one moment at a time…. You find strength within yourself you never knew you had . The dark days begin to lift, and you will smile again. One day at a time… but you are not alone.

Runner Girl
2799 Posts

@Marj99

Please contact your husband's cancer centre. They have counselling available to both patients and family members.

Marj99
22 Posts

Thank you for your advice and kind words. I am not suicidal at this time, although once he passes away, I can see those thoughts could take over my mind. Hopefully this will be a few years in the future and I have time to prepare for those dark days. That is my concern right now. I would never leave him alone to deal with his final days, however much time it takes or how much pain it causes me.

Essjay
1995 Posts

@Marj99 please don’t feel guilty for your feelings xx

Your emotions must be all over the place. @Brighty and @Runner Girl have given you good advice about getting help and I hope you can. Counsellors can teach you some essential life skills for coping (why don’t we learn this stuff in school eh?).

The chemo isn't killing him…it is giving him some side effects that affect his day to day life, but his team will do everything they can to minimize those and to avoid harming him. They Have to find the balance between what he can cope with and what is enough to manage the cancer.

Pancreatic cancer is a tough one. We lost my MIL 18 years ago and it was one of the toughest times I’ve been through with my husbands family. Seeing someone you love fade from this disease is the worst thing.

Are you having time away from your husband to recharge, to do things that you need to do, to not think about cancer for a while? It’s so important.

This community is like an extended family - we are all here with virtual hugs xx

best wishes, Essjay xx

Trillium
2045 Posts

Hello @Marj99 - glad you have reached out to talk about this with all of us here. As others have said you are not alone with your feelings and stress.

I don’t know if you have met @WestCoastSailor or @Kuching who also lost spouses to pancreatic cancer. It must be so hard to watch your husband being so ill.

I also reached out to the oncology social worker at my sons cancer clinic when he was hospitalized ⅔ way through his treatment and she sent me to a therapist who recommended a class in yoga called shavasana yoga which I had never done before and I found it all so helpful.

Are you able to get out and have breaks away from caregiving? Do you have people helping you?

@Marj99

Thank you for trusting us with how you are feeling. This is a safe place.

Some great suggestions for getting support were mentioned above. I think you would also find it helpful to contact our Cancer Information Helpline at 1-888-939-3333, they are great listeners and can help you find resources.

I hope you are able to connect with some of the others mentioned above who have been through a similar situation.

Take it one day at a time,

Lacey

Kuching
391 Posts
Marj99‍ Greetings from Ontario. My husband had pancreatic cancer and I was his caregiver, so I know a little bit of what you are going through. And yes, it can get exhausting being the cheerleader all the time. Plus, you have to be the nurse, the psychiatrist, the physiotherapist, the social worker and the pharmacist. I found myself getting really stressed out worrying about messing up because I just didn’t know enough, but all you can do is your best. And of course you wish it was over sometimes. It would end your husband’s suffering, and the nightmare you are living in. Feeling that way is a normal reaction to a lousy situation. Don't feel guilty about it.

You say your are worried about the final stage. My husband was at home until the last two weeks of his life, when we moved him to the local hospital. This was partly because it was February, we got snowed in sometimes, and I was worried about being able to get help if there was a bad storm. He died very peacefully - he was asleep/unconscious for a day, and then he just stopped breathing.

While he was at home, we had visits from nurse, social worker, physiotherapist, and so on, but at the end of the day, the burden falls on the caregiver. Accept it, and just do the best you can. That’s all any of us can do. And as others have said, make sure you get time for yourself, even if it’s just to go for a walk. You need a break!
Marj99
22 Posts

Thank you for sharing and understanding. Somedays it just seems unbearably heartbreaking.

Lyn46
2 Posts

@Marj99 My heart goes out to you! The emotional rollercoaster you are going through is difficult to say the least. I too am a caregiver and my husband is in the end stages of HCC liver cancer. We all have our moments and then somehow, as I can see from your responses to others, you too pick yourself up and go another day. You are a strong person, stronger than you think - you will get through this. I tell myself that as much as this whole journey just sucks - there are millions of people are going through this everyday - doesn't make me feel any better some days but what does, is that they all survived this experience and we shall too.

@Brighty is absolutely right what you are feeling is normal, don't beat yourself up! Give yourself a pat on the back for your strength thus far and keep rowing that boat - even if you have to stop once in a while and just admire the scenery, gather your strength and row once again!

+ Reply