Seventeen days ago I started a the worst phase of my life, I became a widow. My how I hate that word. It’s a label no woman wants and one I don’t carry proudly except it does mean that the love of my life was here and is now gone. I guess in a way it honors my husband and lets people know that I’m a survivor.
It all started a little over a year ago with Don’s cancer diagnosis. At the time we were in shock and then denial set it. The denial was because nothing was adding up to pancreatic cancer except the numbers on a blood test. No tumors were found and except for pneumonia and a pleural effusion Don appeared otherwise healthy. That was all an illusion.
We went for a second opinion and that again didn’t find anything out of the ordinary except for that blood test. The diagnosis of pancreatic cancer was again given and he was told to start with aggressive treatment which we did.
Don did fairly well with the first round of chemo with the exception of a cold neuropathy which had us laughing at times when he stuck his hand in the freezer to get me some ice and had electric shocks going up his arm or when he couldn’t open his own carton of yogurt due to the coldness of the plastic. Of course going to a restaurant was fun trying to get them to understand that he wanted a glass of water from the tap with no ice and no chill to it.
After his first round of that treatment the numbers on the blood test were going down but the scan showed lesions on his bones which they said was the cancer. With this he went to another chemo cocktail and according to the doctor, the only one left. Don went through his first round of this and the numbers on the blood tests went up slightly but the lesions on the bone looked the same. The only thing the doctor said was an improvement was a blood test showing the bone health. With that he started on his second round of the same therapy with the addition of Procrit for his blood since he was becoming very anemic. That was the beginning of the end for Don. He was so sick with this final round of treatment. He hardly ate, he was tired ALL the time and he had horrible back and leg pain. His final scan showed worsening of the bone cancer and his tumor market was sky high. He was told to go home and make himself comfortable.
Now willing to take this news lying down we headed to Mayo Clinic for another opinion. The doctor there was so thorough going through EVERY test with us and explaining why the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer was correct and that Don had two mutations that they’re looking at very closely and if he was in better health he’d qualify for clinical trials. His prognosis was the same as our regular oncologist. Go home and make yourself comfortable.
Two days later we got Hospice involved and four weeks later, surrounded my his family Don passed. We got to say goodbye to each other, we got to comfort each other and we got to share his final moments together.
Now I’m a widow and my life will never be the same. It’s going to be hard but I promised Don I’d be OK and for that reason alone I will be. I will not dishonor him by going back on my promise to be anything but. I have great friends and a family that I can lean on when I need support and I have the memories of our short life together to remind me that I was loved by the best man I’ve ever met. I also have my relationship with the Lord to comfort me and hold me when I feel like I can’t go on. My faith in Him lets me know where Don’s at and I have the assurance that we’ll see each other again. Even though I’m in a new phase of my life, one I can’t share with Don I know this is only temporary and I will be sharing eternity with him and at that time I’ll let him show me around our new home.