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Lost my wife to the beast while fighting my own battle...
9 Posts
I haven’t posted in several weeks because I’ve been reeling from the recent turn of events. I was diagnosed with colon cancer in mid July, had a right hemicolectomy in Aug to remove a foot of my colon and 14 lymph nodes. I bounced back, no bag, good healing and more energy than in a couple of years. Sept. 29, 2020 I began CAPOX chemo treatments. The capecitabine caused a terrible reaction as I am missing the DPD enzyme needed to metabolize the drug. After a collapse that put me in the hospital for 3 weeks, when my kidneys shut down, my heart did weird things, three blood clots formed and a lesion appeared on my liver. I came home from the hospital using a walker with appointments with multiple specialists. My wife was my rock. My strength. Boxing Day saw me put away the walker as my strength was returning and I was anxious to get back to living my life. I’d lived, I thought, to do all those bucket things my wife and I had dreamed of during my illness. Even after my “crash” I was heading in the right direction. On January 28, 2020, I heard those precious words...No Evidence of Disease”. I had the hope of a future again, EXCEPT...that my wife had fallen ill in late December. No appetite, nothing tasted right, night sweats, fluid gathering in her abdomen, nausea...leading to not being able to keep anything down. Her family doctor, refusing to see her kept insisting it was Covid, even though we’d been isolating since the past March. She got two Covid tests, both negative. Her strength was dwindling. I called for an ambulance on January 17, 2021 and sent her alone to the hospital where I’d spent October. After 7 hours in the ER for tests and hydration, a CT scan revealed a large mass on her right ovary and the appearance of “shadows” all through her lower abdomen. I brought her home that evening and we mentally began to prepare for the battle ahead of her while we waited to get the call from the cancer center assigning her an oncologist and a treatment plan. January 27, I again called ft an ambulance as she couldn’t keep even water down at that point. She was admitted and they took her off everything by mouth and began a serious hydration plan. She was there for 6 days while they settled her system down some. She had a biopsy of the grapefruit sized tumour and the pathology was to be sent to the cancer center. On February 2, she came home. I was now the caregiver for her. She eventually became able to eat soup, scrambled eggs and finally French toast. That was her last dinner choice...French toast. We had a relaxing evening on February 10, chatting with friends online and on the phone. When we went to bed we were laughing about a recent video chat with my daughter and our 4 year old granddaughter. We haven’t seen them since March 22, 2020, due to Covid...they are in Indiana and we’re in Ontario. My granddaughter loved her Nana unconditionally. We talked in the dark about how much my kids (daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter) loved her. I told her they REALLY loved her and she replied that she loved them just as much. We fell asleep on those happy thoughts. At 4 a.m., February 11, she woke me that she was having trouble breathing, couldn’t get her breath. Rushing to her side of the bed I could tell she wasn’t laboring to breathe but was breathing very shallowly and very slowly. I knew she was in trouble. I called 911 for a third time in less than a month. The EMTS were here in less than 10 minutes, but my gentle, soulmate slipped away as they arrived. They tried to resuscitate her but she was gone. How could this happen so quickly after my lengthy battle? Not for me to know, I guess. I am a new cancer survivor. I am a widow. A lonely, 68 year old woman with no family in Canada at a time when family can’t feasibly come with the border closed and lengthy quarantine rules. Hug your loved ones tightly for me. Wear the new shirt, eat the cake, tell everyone what you feel. Tomorrow is never promised. I know now that I didn’t survive my battle to fulfill our bucket list. I lived to care for my love those last 7 weeks of her life. I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I’m so grateful to the doctors that sent her home those last 11 precious days. I am broken. Life will never be the same, but the good friends and love of my family will sustain me while my good memories of our years together flood my mind.
15 Replies
Runner Girl
1509 Posts

Please accept my most sincere condolences on the loss of your dear wife.

I am so glad you had a wonderful day/night that turned out to be her last. Hold onto those memories of the laughter and love. Know that you will never truly be alone as she will always be with you.

We are here for you if you need us in your time of grief.

Runner Girl
6457 Posts
Gymrat‍ I'm so heartbroken for you. I'm so sorry. Please know we all all here to support you so lean on us whenever you need,whatever you need. I'm thinking you might like to chat with. @kKuching‍. and WestCoastSailor‍ who went through something similar. Thry might be able to tell you how they managed to cope. Agsin,I'm sorry and dont hesitate to ask for anything.

Thank you for trusting us with the news of your beloved wife's passing.

She was so blessed to have your wonderful care for those 7 weeks and those last days at home in her bed reminiscing with you. It sounds like you had a really beautiful relationship.

I'm so glad you have great family. You have us here too. Have you considered talking to someone about what you have been through this last year? I found the site MyGrief very helpful after the loss of my father. It takes you through information to help you process your grief.

Sending hugs,

And once again I sit with tears streaming down my face. Transported back to my own experience but knowing how devastating it feels to have the tables turned. Expecting and preparing for my own death. Then my wife being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and dying six weeks later. That was two years ago. While in many ways my life has moved on, I'm still working through the grief that comes with the loss of my partner and caregiver.

I posted a eulogy for a cat yesterday on my blog. He was the last of three brothers that we had adopted. As I mourned his loss, the memories were deeply connected to my late wife. Some of the memories were good. Some funny. And some were just said. As I said to someone, I"m just way too familiar with the heartbreak emoji.

That you had those last moments together is special. Cling to those memories. I was sitting with a group of metastatic patients this morning and there is something about the companionship of people who have been where you are that brings hope. There will be challenges. I have posted elsewhere some funny stories about hearing her calling me from another room a few days after her death. But there is the challenges of dealing with all the well wishers, disposing of the artifacts of a life together, and creating lasting legacies to her. All of this while you are facing your own diagnosis and treatment.

I expected to be the one gone first so too there is the guilt of being the survivor. I hear a little bit of that too in your post. There are lots of good support groups that can help you recognize that grief is something that we move through and that it doesn't last forever. When I found myself overwhelmed with some relationship challenges, I found a therapist that helped me with the specific issues that needed addressing. Create a support team, friends, family and experts that can help you on the really bad days.

If I can support you in some way don't hesitate to ask.

449 Posts
Gymrat‍ I am so sorry to hear about your wife's relative sudden passing and my heart is breaking for you and your family. How wonderful it was that your last conversation with her was one of love and laughter. Know that we are here to support you through this and hopefully, over time, the good memories will replace your overwhelming feeling of grief.
1418 Posts
Gymrat‍ thank you for sharing your story. What a terrible time you’ve had...words just aren’t enough.

Just know you are among friends here, who’s are here for you xx

best wishes, Essjay xx
244 Posts
Dear Gymrat‍ , my heart breaks for you. A year ago, I was where you are now. All I can tell you is, it does get better, but so slowly you hardly notice. And that you are not alone. There are others on this website that have walked in your shoes, which I hope will be some comfort to you.

I was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in 2019. Four months later, while I was still going through all the scans and tests and treatment plans, my husband was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer. He died in February a year ago. (A year and 10 days, but who’s counting?) We had both been disgustingly healthy all our lives, so I just couldn’t get my head around us both getting cancer at the same time. We joked about how it was taking togetherness a bit too far.

And Covid doesn’t help, does it? Just when you most need hugs, there are none. No funeral or memorial gathering. I got a memorial bench put in, in the local park, and that has helped a lot - it’s a place to go and talk to him.

I’m just a few years older than you, and I have no family, either in Canada or anywhere else, so I hear you about the loneliness. So - heartfelt hugs from one lonely old Ontario widow to another.

2007 Posts

You said "Life will never be the same", and that is the so very difficult and painful truth. I am happy to read that you have both family and those good friends that will sustain you, and you need to keep that sense as you move forward, and backward and sideways. Loss and grief take time to realize, understand and start to deal with. So take your time. Your ability to share here with those of us on the site will serve you well in keeping your thoughts and emotions from becoming too much. And I sense you will seek out assistance and an ear and shoulder as needed. And that is what we all need to do - and have.

Please keep well, and keep moving forward at your pace.

Hello Gymrat

I am so sorry for the loss of your dear wife. Beyond your beautiful conversation of love and light in her last evening, your post truly does read as a love story.

There is little we ccan say to take your pain away, but please know that we are collectively putting our arms around you, albeit virtually. We will be here to support you as best we can. Continue to reach out as you need.

In addition, please also accept my congratulations on your NED - no evidence of disease. That is no small feat. It not only allowed you to care for her in those last 2 months but also to continue to shine a light on her and your wonderful life together.


9 Posts
Thank you everyone. It helps to know others have survived a similar blow. The fact that I was resuscitated twice after my crash in October, only to lose her so quickly, reminds me that we’re not in control and that there’s a greater plan. It’s been a struggle to forge on this week as my little family received another blow. My 40 year old daughter and son-in-law and granddaughter are in Indiana and not able to come to me, but more importantly, in this time of sorrow they were waiting to tell me this weekend that they were 3 months pregnant. Unfortunately, before they could deliver some happy news, my daughter fell ill and after a trip to her OB-GYN was told the baby had stopped growing at 6 weeks and there was no heartbeat. She needed her mom and I needed to be there to hug her as she had the D&C to end her pregnancy. Of course, none of that could happen with Covid. We’ve spent days crying together during our video chats and will try to forge on with the knowledge that Nana was there to welcome their little rainbow baby. I am so tired of sorrow and loss. Living in a rural part of Ontario, we don’t know how soon the vaccine will reach here, but that and the border opening, can’t happen soon enough.
2052 Posts
Gymrat‍ Powerful, touching, heart breaking. Thank you for your courage and strength to share your story. Your story will help others and you remind me of how precious life is. We just don't know - so it is time to embrace our loved ones, tell them we love them, enjoy those simple moments.

How you shared that night of joy - the story of the grandchild - talking about the love continuing on to the next generation is love. Your wife was surrounded by love, reminded of that love and was able to reach out to you as she made her journey on. A true love story.

I can't imagine the heart ache now for you.Reaching out to our loved ones, however we need to now - text, zoom, embrace the love from others. I'm sure you feel her presence in your soul, in your heart and in your home. You are not alone.

We are here. I am so sorry.
959 Posts
So sorry you have to endure more loss and pain in your family gymn rat‍ . I can imagine how tired you are. Lean on us and your family and friends during this difficult time.

Warmest hugs

And the tears flow again. Sometimes it does just seem to get so overwhelming. And when so many things are beyond our control it is just hard.

Thanks for coming and sharing the additional heartbreak. Know that we are holding you in our thoughts.

506 Posts
Gymrat‍ As others here have said, yours is a true love story. With that depth of love it will remain as part of you for ever, both the sad and happy times. Thank you for sharing your memories of your wife with us.

The news about the loss of your yet to be born grandchild must have been a true roller coaster of joy and sorrow. My heart as a mother goes out to you and your family. The vaccine I think will soon be distributed in Ontario and I wonder if you might be able to be vaccinated sooner because of your history of cancer.

I join the others in saying that we are here for you.


4 Posts
I understand the feeling. I lost my grandfather to cancer as well. He was my world since I was his favorite grandchild. He passed away due to liver cancer. I would do anything to spend another moment with him. I am sorry for your loss.
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