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I Guess It's Grief.

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Hi, I am new to this site. I needed someone to talk to. I guess I am going through the anticipatory grief. My husban is 42 years old with Stage IV breast cancer with mets to the bones. I just lost my mother to colon cancer this past Jan. 2011. My husband has not been given over to hospice. Most days he is in the bed, hurting. Cancer has engulfed his spine. It was in every bone in his body. He has been stumbling, falling at least 3 or 4 times a month. He's constantly short of breath, and a raspy voice.Hard to breath. In bed most of the days.

I am angry because I see him suffer so much. I am not in his shoes, but he suffers so much, but will not take the morphine because of the name. I am constantly awakened in the night from him falling. I am the only one that works. We have an 11 year old. He has severe peripheal polyneurothapy (I think I spelled it correctly). But he insists on driving. I worry he will hit someone. He lifts his legs to drive.

He suffers, but sugarcoats it with the dr. I feel my hands are tied. He is not honest with the dr.

He is losing weight at a tremendous speed. Has has gone from 180 to 160 since February. He started out weighing 255. We have been going through this sickness for a year and a half. I am nervous in my stomach, because I don't know what to expect. I have started to cry and hurt on the inside because I just don't know what to expect. He performs for others, and many times I feel like he locks me out. I am his caretaker, but he seems happier with others. I don't know. He has more bad days, than good days. He has not been given a time...he told the dr. he did not want to know. So much more, but I will save it for later. I read about anticipatory grief. I wonder if this is what I am dealing with.

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I am so sorry you are going through this. In October 2009 my husband was diagnosed with stomach cancer, and one month later entered the Hospice program at his own insistance. Hospice has EXTENDED my husbands life. He was ready to give up and quit eating in June 2010, and sat down with the medicine pack provided by Hospice and tried each medicine, one at a time. He left the morphine to last. because he was afraid of the name. Morphine has kept my husband alive since June 2010. At this point he is still on the short acting morphine, Hospice calls it Roxonal, and it eases his spasms and pain and has enabled him to eat.

I went to a Hospice grief counselor who explained anticipatory grief to me.

Hospice is not what you think. Morphine is not what you think. My husband can write computer software programs and ride his motorcycle while taking morphine.

I highly recommend looking into Hospice.

All the Best to you.

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Salley, dear, thank you so much for responding to this post, and for offering your experience with hospice.

And to Hesnmyheart, yes, I do think that you are "going through anticipatory grief" ~ see, for example, my article, Coping As You Anticipate a Loss.

There is so much help available to you and your husband, my dear, and it hurts my heart to think of you trying to manage this situation all by yourself.

I strongly encourage you to contact your husband's physician and share with him/her exactly what you've shared with us. Just because your husband "sugarcoats it" with his physician does not mean that you must do so as well.

In order for your husband to be placed in hospice care, our present health care system requires that you will need a physician's certification that your husband is in need of hospice care. Nevertheless, you can contact hospice yourself at any time, simply because you want to discuss future plans. Whatever hospice you select will be able to guide you in how to go about obtaining whatever is required from your husband's doctor. (To locate a hospice service in your own community, go to Locate a Hospice).

Before you do any of that, it may be helpful for you to do some reading about hospice so you'll know exactly what you're looking for and why. You can start by clicking on these links, all of which you'll find listed on the Caregiving page of my Grief Healing Web site:

8 Facts to Know about Hospice and Palliative Care

Frequently Asked Questions about Hospice Care

Hospice Care: Consider Hidden Benefits (Article by Kathie Campbell)

Hospice: Avoiding the Call to Hospice

Hospice: Myths and Facts

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