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Tracy was posted 02/12/2010 10:05 pm by Annie
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Tracy, your post breaks my heart. It reads very much like my first post (on another board) in 2007. (My husband had pancreas cancer.) I think I also used the words 'terrified,' 'how can I do this?' etc. Like your husband, mine was not really feeling that sick at diagnosis. Like you, we had to figure out how to live our daily lives with this horror hanging over our heads.

In those early weeks, I went to pieces. I was crying all the time, sick to my stomach, couldn't sleep, and an all around mess. Eventually, I got a little help from the doctor (Lexapro and Ativan) and got it together a little better. I eventually convinced myself that I only had two choices: Go on like I was crying and making things worse for him or buck up and try to make whatever time we had the best I could. Those early weeks were awful with the new diagnosis, fear, research and more and more bad news. However, I let my husband take the lead and he seemed to just want to do regular things....go out to dinner, take his daily walks with the dogs (how hard it was to watch that knowing that some day he wouldn't be able to walk), movies out, movies in, plays, etc.

I hate to tell you this but I'm sure you are already thinking it. His condition then deteriorated horribly. He had major radical surgery and many complications. Life became one doctor/clinic/chemotherapy, appointment after another. He required so much care. I ran IVs, managed his tubes, gave his meds, charted his vital signs, weight, ankle circumfurance, and things I cannot even remember now. I never slept more than 3 hours at a time. He had frequent emergency room visits and hospitalizations. I was no saint. I lost patience with him many times (so regret that now) and often accused him of waking me up for the littlest things and not doing enough for himself. It was hard. Not all patients have such a horrible time and I don't think your husband will. Regardless, just going through this is the hardest thing you will ever have to do but you will do it.

How did I get through that part? It sounds trite but it was one day at a time. When things got intense it became one hour at a time. What does he need from me at the moment? His physical care even became one body part at a time....does he need a shave? a tube change? a dressing change? why is that leg so swollen? etc. I purposely never looked at the whole picture of our lives or even the whole sight of his deteriorating body. I think your brain just protects you so you can do it. One day at a time. You will do it and you can do it because you have to and because you love him.

My thoughts and prayers are with you.

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