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my wife passed away monday


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i will not lie beside you 
on the morrow
nor shall I reach out
and touch your hand
your voice will not call out
like your countenance 
or a lock from your hair
I will not hold you
closer than can be
corporeal disappearance
no breakfast across from thee
yet somehow I see your soul
safely inside of me

My wife had bladder and ureter cancer in 2012. It was doing well enough that on Dec 6th they were going to reduce her scopes to every 6 months from every 3 months

By Christmas an adjacent cancer had taken hold called urothelial carcinoma of the renal pelvis. It was like cheesecloth instead of a dense mass and it is invading or crushing organs, veins, and ducts. In December it shutdown her right kidney and small intestine and by January it had encased or compromised the small intestine, common bile duct, psoas muscle, and inferior vena cava

These attacks from the cancer were accompanied by constant pain which often exceeded 7 out of ten and sometimes exceeded 9 out of 10 (and Ellen is very pain tolerant)

Ellen could not even eat at the beginning of February.They had to do surgery for a bowel bypass to handle the small intestine issue in February so she could eat again. she has spent over 30 days inpatient in the hospital this year not including infusion center and urgent care visits. She has also had a DVT and pressure ulcer due to her compromised situation

Ellen failed one chemotherapy (gem carbo) in January and immunotherapy (keytruda) in February. The tumor kept growing and spreading hence the failure.

They had done a milder chemotherapy because Ellen's kidney was so compromised in January but her kidney numbers got good enough in March to  get the gold standard chemotherapy called MVAC. the chemotherapy reduced the tumor by 30% during the first four weeks but failed to reduce it further after that. It was very toxic to Ellen including symptoms of neutropenia, anemia, massive vomiting and fatigue. MVAC reduced her pain to zero

They did not believe that more MVAC would likely help anymore and the toxicity risk was too high. After MVAC they just monitored Ellen and restarted the immunotherapy in the hopes it can be effective with a weakened tumor

They discussed and discarded surgery because of the infiltrating nature of Ellen's tumor where they may have started removing the kidney and ureter and find that the tumor was so connected to other organs they would have had to start removing more and more. They were not sure she would have any quality of life afterward

A July PET/CT showed the tumor to be active but not growing but lymph nodes were slightly growing.

The mid-August PET/CT showed renewed growth of the original tumor and broad growth of new tumors around her kidney and stomach regions. The doctors declared her terminal. two weeks before the scan her pain had begun to return so we were not surprised.

They stopped all curative treatment efforts and put her in hospice

She was deteriorating rapidly and the pain was rising. incontinence, constipation, diarrhea, fungal infections, pressure ulcer, distended stomach, loss of mental acuity. pain slope was steep

She passed away in her sleep on September 26th 2016. She is not suffering anymore.

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I cannot imagine the pain your wife suffered, but I do have an idea of the pain you are beginning to deal with. 

The next few weeks are going to go by in a flash and creep along too slowly at the same time. Your memory of this time will be blurry. You'll feel like a robot. You'll feel overwhelming sadness one second and complete emptiness the next. 

Remember to only take one step at a time these next few weeks. You'll be busy with all the logistics of arrangments, financials, and all that other unpleasant paperwork that accompanies the death of a loved one. Take each second as it comes. Allow yourself to feel what you are going to feel, and don't be alarmed if you don't feel anything. Remember to be kind to yourself. 

Please continue to reach out as well. You are going to need all the support you can get. 

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I'm so sorry for you loss.  Like Claribassist13 said,  the next few weeks you will be in a fog and on auto pilot.  I thought I was handling my husband's death well but in the last few days reality has starting to creep in and the enormity of it all is becoming very clear.

You are probably still in shock and are on auto-pilot. I think this is our body's way of protecting us until we are a little bit stronger.

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I am so sorry, cancer is such a horrid thing.  I would imagine you'd be somewhat in shock right now, it will be important to stay in touch here and see a grief counselor when you are able to.  This is very soon, and I imagine you are very busy right now, but perhaps when things slow down a bit.

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Hello. . Your loss like mine is very new and I'm just letting you know I understand what you are going through. All I can say is just try to get through one day at a time. Don't look beyond that. And talk to people on here. They are very supportive. X


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