I've been wondering just how long I've been living through various types of grief since the cancer diagnosis in Feb 2015.
There's the obvious "my partner died" grief that's the newest.
There was the end-game grief after he washed out of the trial drugs because the tumor had entered the inferior vena cava and formed a thrombosis. That was partially anticipatory grief, but also loss of the hopes and possibilities for debulking the tumor or surviving 'til CRISPR,
There was the initial shock and loss at diagnosis, then all the various losses as cancer took over our lives, the struggle to keep jobs and insurance and sanity.
Several people have commented to me that for 5.5 years my whole life was focused on my husband and his cancer. Largely, that's accurate. Trying to keep him comfortable, trying to be wife/nurse/care giver/maid/therapist/mindreader. Being sure he got the care he needed, advocating for him when he couldn't/wouldn't speak back at the medical staff, keeping him honest when he under-reported his symptoms. Making sure he had enough blankets, enough warm clothes, food he wanted to eat that he actually was allowed to eat. In the meantime, my being diagnosed with low-thyroid, being forced to address my medical phobias and anxiety and PTSD and C-PTSD, my eventual acceptance of mood-management drugs and realizing I should have been on them a long time ago. And then seeing that my husband had also developed PTSD from the hospital traumas, then having to help manage his panic attacks.
Then for the last 4 months addressing his increasing delirium as the cancer affected more bodily functions. Not getting an uninterrupted night's sleep unless he was in the hospital, and even then I'd have to talk him out of a delusion that he wasn't imprisoned.
Now that's all over. It's just me and the dogs and the "my partner died" grief with all its exhaustion and everything. And my regular health problems and mental illness. I have a good support team, sure. Still, the work is on me.
I don't even know how to address what I'm trying to describe. Years of steady loss, I guess. Something to talk to my therapist about this week.