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Too Many Issues To Cope With


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As a new poster here, I wouldn't know where to begin to describe all the issues in my life right now. As a long time foreigner abroad, without much of a support system, I was recently given disablitity after fighting with depression for a long time. At nearly the same time, my husband was diagnosed with lung cancer, and we lost him after a mere three months in which he suffered horribly. I didn't leave his side for the whole time, and was with him when he passed, whispering him out of this world. Just eleven months earlier, I had been with my daughter, a single mother, when she brought our granddaughter into the world, even cutting the umbilical cord myself. I was dumb enough to tell people that it was the thought of the baby what kept me from committing suicide. It was true, but my words hurt my children. Anyway, enough of all that for right now. But it is the latest issue which has me losing my mind. I have been told that I may have lung cancer myself. I had the bronchioscope yesterday, and was surprisingly positive about it, but only after a long session of meditation. But most days I can only cry.

I can't believe thiis is happening. How cruel can life be? I don't know what to do, as I can't be positive about the disease (which is so necessary) because of my bereavement (plus the other things), nor can I concentrate on dealing with my grieving because of my fear.

Not sure what anyone could do or say. I have counsellors who are at a loss, as well. But just getting this off my chest feels good. I haven't told anyone in my family back in the States, because they would be devastated.

Thanks for reading.

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Hello Jo got the keys,

I am sorry that you had to find us, but am also glad that you have because this is the most understanding and supportive group of people you can hope to meet.

Your situation is mind-blowing to me, to say the least ... to be dealing with your grief and now having the fear of having this dreadful disease yourself. I just hope and pray that the medics' suspicions are unfounded ... please keep talking to us and posting here, because it has helped me immeasurably. Most of all, please come back and tell us what your diagnosis is and how you are, PLEASE. I know that your family would be devastated but this is happening to YOU, and it is YOU that will need the support ... that said, you are probably right to hold off telling them until you actually have something definite to tell them.

Sending you a hug.

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Hello, Boo,

And many thanks for your kind, prompt response, as well as that much appreciated hug. Just hearing that you think I have done the right thing by waiting to tell my family felt wonderful, as at this stage, I am so confused and mind-boggled that I don´t know what I am doing. Even the simplest decisions can be horribly difficult.

I feel badly about jumping right into the forum without first learning something about you folks who are here, each dealing with your own pain and losses, but it just felt that I didn't have the time to "lurk" before posting. However, since doing so, I read about a mother who was battling cancer herself after losing a son. That, in my mind, must be the utmost loss; our soul mate is the most important person in our lives, but as a mother, I can't even imagine what it must be like to lose a child. Nor do I want to. So, in a way, comparing myself to that mother has somehow helped me put my own situation into perspective. But I think that what I find most horrible in my own particular is that just recently I experienced first-hand the horror of my husband's disease. But right now I don't want to dwell on that, as your response has me feeling better and more positive, and I don`t want to lose that feeling. Again, many thanks. I hope that I will be here down the road to help others!

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Bless your heart, Jo ~ I too am pleased that you found us, although so very sorry to learn what you're facing in the wake of your dear husband's illness and death :( . I hope you will feel our embrace as we join our dear Boo in wrapping our collective arms around you. And please don't feel bad about "jumping right in" ~ that is why we are here: to catch and hold you until you are ready and able to stand on your own . . .

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Dear friend,

It must be mind-boggling to look past one day, let alone one minute as you face this new challenge. I am glad you found us because there is so much involved emotionally, physically, spiritually when grieving that it is extremely difficult without support. That's our specialty. We care and will help you and listen to your story over and over if it helps. Please take good care of yourself. With the possibility of your own illness, it will be really important to maintain a healthy diet.

In prayer,

Kath

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Thank you, Marty. That collective hug feels wonderful, and it is something to look forward to as I bounce back and forth between the irrationality of over-confidence and total denial to knee-knocking, heart-pounding fear. And all without Jose at my side. This is awful to admit, but I remember wondering at one point while I was caring for him if I would be alone when faced with my own end, but I never ever could have imagined this. It hasn't even been two months yet. And this coming Friday would have been our 25th anniversary. That's when I will get the results.

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Wow, so much good feeling wafting my way within the space of just a few short hours. I really do appreciate it, as the support from my husband's family and friends rather dried up shortly after the funeral, but I suppose that is normal. And right now, because I am so frightened, I am avoiding any contact with my own folks back home in order to keep my secret from them.

Thanks, Kath, for reminding me about my diet. I used the Anti-Cancer Diet book religiously for my husband, insisting on green tea, dark chocolate, bright fruits and vegetables, etc., and yet, I have survived on peanut butter sandwiches myself since he passed away. I just don't have any energy or interest in preparing anything. But I will try to solve some issues with my daughter, who is very much an organic-minded cook, and hopefully, she'll step in to help there.

Also, I hope I won't be here too often or too much. I mean, I know you say that you'll listen to my story again and again, and I appreciate that, but too much is too much!

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jo got the keys?

I am so sorry for all of your loss and news. I hope with you that the lung cancer is not true, but please keep us abreast of any news. To your children, they are understandably thinking they alone are not enough for you to live for...I would tell them quite simply that when you are freshly grieving of such magnitude, you are not in your right mind and your ability to think straight is removed...that much is true for most all of us. It is not that your kids are not important, it is that your loss is so great that it overpowers any and all else...only a sweet little grandbaby can begin to penetrate a loss such as that...ask some of those here.

Please come on this site frequently, we all walk here together and are here to pray for, encourage, and cry with those who are in need. (((hugs)))

Kay

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Jo got the keys?

I am sad to hear of another person going through this terrible heartache. I am also sorry to hear of what you are going through. Please do not feel bad about posting, telling your story, venting or anything on this site. I have been through so much stuff this last almost 2 years, its mind boggling, but I continued to post and talk, everyone always posted, talked, prayed, sent love and offered their hearts and care to me. It has made a big difference to me. After Dan died, I lost interest in everything and lost my best friend, husband and father to our children, but when I found this site, I found peace, hope, encouragement and most importantly love. We all will be here for you regardless if you post once or a million times, I just hope you keep coming back and keep us posted. Love, Kim

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Dear Jo,

Here is a hug from me in Canada reaching all the way to you. Like you, when I found this site I jumped right in, I had too. I needed to put my feelings out there, to empty a bit of pain.

I will think of you tomorrow...Friday...on your 25th anniversary and hope that you get some positive news from the doctors.

I also used the anti-cancer diet with my husband. I also said things to my children that maybe they took the wrong way because we were all so emotional and in a place we had never gone to before, into the well of grief. They do know that I love them, always and ever, and if I said something inapproriate, then forgiveness is what will have to happen. Love is much stronger than any comment that may seem odd or wrong at the moment.

Again, much love to you, Valley

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I haven't words to thank all you kind folks who took the time to reach out to me, nor can I express how much it has meant to me. Suddenly, when the support was faltering, I found this forum and you are all there. The laws of the universe, indeed! THANK YOU!

I have now been told that the results will not be ready until Monday. A dear friend of my husband's is an anasthesiologist (sp?) at the hospital where I had the bronchioscope, and he just called to tell me. Funny, I was sedated for it, but thought I had been aware of it all. But that night, I suddenly remembered that someone had been holding my hand through it all, and I couldn't figure out who it was, because Paco (husband's friend) had been standing at my feet, massaging my ankles, when they gave me the shot. And I convinced myself that it had been my husband, as the touch was so familiar. And of course, nobody has held my hand in that way in all this time. Funny, how much love and caring is esconced in that seemingly carefree, casual way in which long-time lovers hold hands. Dear me, I just realized that. It's his hands, and my head resting on his chest, which I physically miss most right now.

I'm so sorry for the side-tracking there, quite painful for all of us, I am sure. Just babbling away. But anyway, what I meant to say is that I asked Paco when he called if it had been him, and he said, "Of course I held your hand. Who else would it have been?" Naturally, I couldn't tell him it was José using his friend's hands to comfort me, but I will believe it.

I have calmed down quite a bit now, especially after finding this forum. In fact, I am prepared to face whatever the results are on Monday, but am now quite confident that it will NOT be the same disease that carried my Jose off. I have been asking to be allowed to stay here to help my daughter with her beautiful child, and I feel my prayers will be answered. But if not, I will battle it with everything at my disposal. That's what Jose did, and with good will and courage, and I could not ignore his example. Yet my knees shake when I think what he went through.

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Again, many thanks for your words, thoughts and prayers. But don't rush to judge, please! I am not at all as courageous as I may sound, although I bask in the compliment! Indeed, I believe I am putting on this front to fool myself, primarily. This morning I woke up scared sh--less, and feeling like a cancer victim. My back hurts, as did my husband's, and I can't seem to shake this breathing difficulty, which I know is mainly anxiety, but still, it's nerve-wracking, to say the least.

Plus, today is our 25th, although we were together 30 years. Back long, long ago, in my real life, and not this nightmarish existence, we had planned to spend this weekend in Paris. It is, after all, for lovers, and we had recommitted to one another, after lots of relationship difficulties. Ay, ay, ay... what pain.

Anyway, several weeks ago, an Internet ad for visits to Prague caught my eye, and I told my kids that I might go there this weekend, on my own. Since we've never been there, no memories, no pain, just time on my own to think of rebuilding my life. And in fact, last night I told my daughter that I would check the flights this morning, and if I decided to go, would call her so she could arrange a babysitter for this afternoon.

No go ... don`t have the heart or courage today. I just realized that I could be scared and grieving on my own in a strange city, leaving on the date of our anniversary and returning on the two-month anniversary of his death. So, see? Not as brave as I wanted to convince myself I was. Two weeks ago, I would have gone ... no doubt. But instead of booking a flight and packing, I am here unloading on you folks. And cleaning my daughter's apartment. When did picking up and organizing become such a stress-buster for me?!?!?!

All the best to each...

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You are facing a huge milestone today...Your 25th Anniversary. It was a day that we had looked forward to, although we had been together 27 years, we were married for 21. And packing and cleaning, to me that is the equivalent of staying busy and I found that to be a huge coping mechanism in the beginning. All the things you describe are normal reactions to what you are going through.

I liked how you put it "we had recommitted to one another, after lots of relationship difficulties". Going through the tough times together and coming out stronger at the end, brought a whole new dimension to my marriage. You were together a long time. Marriage gives us definition and purpose, to re-define those things takes time. Be patient with yourself. Two months is a very short time to take all the newness in.

(((Hugs to you this day.)))

Kath

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Jo,

Now is the time to lean on friends, to accept their hugs, to let them listen to you...as you and your husband did with your neighbor. I will be thinking of you this weekend as I clean and mow the lawn.

And I loved what Kath said about marriage...."marriage gives us definition and purpose". So simple, so true. For me the purpose is gone, at least in the way I had it with my Tom.

Hugs to all of you good and very kind people.

Valley

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Losing my identity, Boo? Oh, my - yes, especially in the first months. Jo, I had all these intentions of going away for a few weeks in January (when I close my deli) - went online, checked places out. Couldn't do it - couldn't leave my comfort zone. I was trying to do what I thought I SHOULD be doing, not what I wanted to do. This has been a big struggle for me. I try to let it flow (the grief processs, that is), and it does. But then I tend to try and resist it, beating myself up over it all the way. I journal incessantly, just getting the feelings out, getting the crap out, painful as it is. Bravery for you, Jo, is getting up every day, and you do it. Courage is living, moment to moment.

And I would add, accept all the hugs you can. It's human to human contact, and it is healing. It's been a year, and the hugs that started out as comforting me, are now given freely, all the time. And HUGS to all of you, Marsha

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Night shift? No, I am sleeping better than in the beginning. My posts register 2 hours earlier than actual MN time. This forum is usuually my first stop in the morning and my last before bed. I love this Eskimo quote, also. Boo was thoughtful enough to share the whole poem in another post. On the 4th of July I was studying a very bright star before the fireworks beagan. I think I was in essence willing Bob to come sit with us. But having the sense that he could see us, gave some comfort.

Boo, identity was an issue I really struggled with and sometimes still do. I was so honored to be Bob's wife and worked really hard at being the best wife possible. Of course it's not all work when you are deeply in love, as I was, but it did take a great deal of effort at times. I still consider myself married and don't know if I'll ever be ready to reach out to another man. It's the longing for that connection and touch that I yearn for, but I'm not willing for it to come from anyone other than Bob. I thought my new identity was being a mom, and I don't find that is enough for me. I certainly work hard at it, but feel I fail more often than I succeed. It is a humbling identity to be sure. So now, after two years, when I think of myself as single I hate it. I am more willing to accept my widow status because it at least infers that I was in a loving, commited relationship to someone really special. Like all things in grief, it seems to be an evolving issue.

Take good care,

Kath

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Now is the time to lean on friends, to accept their hugs, to let them listen to you...as you and your husband did with your neighbor. I will be thinking of you this weekend as I clean and mow the lawn.

Valley

How you know, Valley, and how right you are. Although I always considered myself a "people person", over the years here, and especially during my depression, I isolated myself, relying only on my husband and children. While my husband was ill, I snapped out of it, and was forced to be in constant contact with people: friends, family, and here, the custom is to stay in the hospital 24/7, helping in caring for the family member. This I did, although with much heartache and stress. But afterwards, and espcially after hearing the possible diagnosis, I have fallen right back into the isolation.

But today, some friends dropped by unexpectedly, and because my daughter was here, she let them in. (I would have ignored the doorbell; I rarely answer the phone, either.) And I poured my heart out to them, and now feel so much better! They have infused me with their optimism, and I can now go to bed with a light heart ... except for missing Jose.

Which reminds me ... wow, what a roller coaster this is! Earlier today, I had one of the bitterest moments since his death. I was sitting in the side room (which we just finished last year) and thought my daughter was at the back, in the kitchen. Suddenly, the front door opened and my heart soared. It's hard to describe, but in a split second, my mind tricked me into thinking it was Jose, and I caught myself getting up to run to him and cry out to him for a hug, burning to tell him all the troubles I had been having, and knowing he would make it all better. Suddenly, my whole world had brightened. When I realized, I became hysterical, just racking with sobs, which lasted for at least an hour. Of course, my daughter, who had just walked in the door, had no idea what was going on. Nor did she ask me, as she is totally at a loss on how to help me in any way.

People had warned me that I might see him, out of force of habit. But this was something different. Has anything similar happened to any of you?

Sorry for rambling so. Once again, thanks to all for being there, and hugs to each. May your Sunday be peaceful.

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Jo - - My husband died here in Phoenix, AZ but he is buried in his hometown of Ft. Worth, TX. I have flown down several times to visit his grave, and, at first, I was even thinking of moving there so that I could be near him.

On one of my trips, his brother took me out to eat. His wife and son followed in their car. When his son got out of the car, I almost fainted. He looked exactly like my husband when he was young. For a fleeting moment, I thought that Stephen had come back to me. Like you, I got semi-hysterical. I just couldn't stop crying and I'm sure that no one understood why. Sometimes, even when I come in my own house, just from getting the mail, I expect to see Stephen on the couch smiling up at me. That empty spot alwways makes me cry with longing for my beloved husband. So, you see, what you felt and your response is not so different from what many of us have gone, and are still going, through. Your description of how you felt when that door opened really made my heart go out to you.

Boo - - I, too, have an identity crisis. For example, whenever I go the cleaners, I am greeted as Mrs. Papajohn, and I feel that is what I will always be as I still cannot picture my life without Stephen. Nor do I want to.

(((((hugs))))) to all and I hope your weekend is a peaceful one.

Kathy

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