I first found this forum a couple of months ago but until now I have just been reading other people's stories. I don't know why, but somehow it helps.
I have been tempted to post some replies and messages of support but somehow they always seem inadequate or presumptious. What do I know about other people's lives, challenges, treatments or other circumstances ? So I thought I'd share our story and maybe it just might help someone else.
For almost 4 years I have been supporting my beautiful partner Mary thru her battle with metastatic bowel cancer. The prognosis at diagnosis was 'possibly 5 years', so the finish line has all of a sudden gotten way too close.
Mary has had some significant health challenges this year, including a couple of extended stays in hospital since Easter. Each time I have bought her home from the hospital as soon as I could convince the doctors to release her. I wanted to be the person to care for her and I gave here the best care I knew how to give. I tried to get her anything she needed to make her life comfortable. But still her health continued to deteriorate. She had no appetite, was unable to eat for almost a month, living only on liquid sustagen and had lost almost 15kg in the space of 2 months. She could hardly stand by herself and when she did, she was in a world of pain.
One week ago we were given the terrible news that the prognosis is now less than 6 months.
Five days later her condition deteriorated suddenly and I had to take her back to the hospital. Her pain & nausea medication gave her no relief whatsoever and she was in a lot of pain and distress. I feared that I was losing her that very night and that she would spend the last hours of her life in pain and misery.
Mary has now been in hospital for only 3 days and the transformation is truly remarkable. The doctors have changed up her medications and are slowly getting the pain and nausea under control. Today she began eating solid food without throwing it straight up again. Only small amounts but it's a promising start. Today she took 3 steps by herself without cringing in pain. Today she smiled (several times) .... something I haven't seen for quite a while.
We learned a valuable lesson today. We learned that my love, care and good intentions weren't enough. We learned that Mary's stoic tolerance of the pain and nausea wasn't enough. We learned that we don't have the expertise or the resources to cope with the effects of this insidious disease. We learned to let the medical professionals do their jobs and to have faith in them to do it properly.
Mary's prognosis hasn't changed but we now have hope. We hope that she will be able to once again sleep in her own bed or sit in the back garden patting her dogs. We have hope that she can watch our grandchildren opening presents on Christmas day. We hope that she can see out her days in peace and comfort.
One day the disease will win and I will lose my beautiful Mary.
But not today.....
Hi Ian, such a beautiful story of love for your wife Mary. It reminds me of my husbands care for me during my chemo for lymphoma. He said he would be with me every step of the treatment and he was, even fasting when I had to fast. I’m so glad the docs have controlled the pain and nausea for your Mary. Lots of love and prayers to you both. It’s not over til it’s over. Xx Linda G
Be part of this supportive community