Sunday, February 06, 2011

My feelings about my terminal wife

It's day 6 since my wife's oncologist informed us her liver is failing and the rest we let happen naturally and boy have I gone through emotions and have quite a few thoughts.

Initially I wanted this part to go quickly. She is not herself. She can hardly talk and what she can say doesn't make any sense. It happened so quickly, one day we could talk each other, the next she had so much trouble concentrating and couldn't give the right replies, that I feel robbed I didn't get to say goodbye even though I have told her in her confused state. I told her on Tuesday that I was going to miss her and have told her many many times that I love her. That is one of the few things she can respond to, she tells me she loves me back.

So I do want this part to go quickly. I don't think her parents do. Saturday was rough for me, I took our daughter to a birthday party and I felt bad the whole time because my wife wasn't with me nor could I tell her about it. My anxiety shot through the roof that day. Another thing I realized that day, I like taking care of her. Even though she isn't who she used to be, I like doing this because she is still some semblance of the woman I married. My selfishness to hang onto her and helping me realize this even though I still generally believe, it needs to end soon. It's best for me and for her, I know what she would want. We have talked about that many times. It does anger me euthanasia is illegal. We should have the right to go out how we want. I don't care how controversial it is, you are not in my shoes and if we both agreed it is the way to handle it in this kind of situation, we should have the right. We should know how to handle our loved ones, not a group of emotionless bureaucrats hundreds of miles away who think they know what's better for my family than us. Dr. Kevorkian was really a good and passionate and understanding man and he didn't deserve the treatment he received.

I'm fighting the feelings that I don't want her to go. If it's too much longer, I don't know how I'm going to take it when death comes. She doesn't want this. I don't want this. It's human nature to hold onto something we know we're losing, that is the selfish reason, not what I want.

Talking to your kids about the death of a loved one

I had the talk with my daughter about Mommy's poor health. I tried to do something for the two of them where my daughter could trace her mom's hand in a book about the afterlife. She seemed interested at first, but then withdrew and insisted she wanted to play. It was then I knew it was time to talk to her.

I took her upstairs into our bedroom where nothing could distract us. I told her that she already knew Mommy was sick. The next part I told her she had never heard from me. I told her that she was not going to get healthy again. I could see the sadness in her eyes. I told her that Mommy was going to die soon. She asked me a couple of questions.

"Will there be a new Mommy?" No I said.

"You mean it's just going to be Daddy and kids?" Yes I said.

She later asked me "When Mommy dies will she be able to see everything?"

I pulled out a book I got from a social worker called the Invisible String about a Mom's solid bond with her kids and how that bond remains in tact when the kids and Mom are separated. I had a tough time getting the words out but I made it through.

It's my plan to answer any questions my daughter might have. I'll even check with her regularly to see if she has any and put her at ease that she can ask anything and I will be honest with her.

I got more questions later that night. She asked me "Is Mommy going to die for real?" Yes I said somberly. She then asked me if there are other kids who don't have mommies. I said yes and that there were many who don't have daddies but that her Daddy was not going anywhere and was going to take very good care of her and her brother.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The Beginning of the End

Yesterday, February 1, 2011, on our daughter's 6th birthday, we got the word from my wife's oncologist that her liver is failing and there's nothing left to do. She is in her last days and very soon will die at the age of 37 from a cancer called pheochromocytoma. Our family is in grief to lose such a prominent member. I don't want to be widowed at 38. I shouldn't be.

I try to explain to my 6 year old daughter and 3 year old son that Mommy is very very sick. My daughter asks if it's the winter making her sick. Since we've had such a cold and long winter, it certainly seems that way.

Soon my wife will be discharged from the hospital and we will begin hospice care for her at home.

Your health is so important. Don't take it for granted and realize whatever crap is going on in your life, it's not really that bad. Relish in the fact that you have the chance to learn from it and come out a better person.

Friday, January 28, 2011

A miracle

A miracle is just another way of saying the odds are really low. They can still happen, but not very often. A miracle should surprise us since by definition it's supposed to be a rare occurrence.

Is it not a miracle that we can sit inside a steel cage and drive our bodies at 60 miles per hour and do it in a group of other drivers without harm? Is it not a miracle we can get from one coast of the country to the other in a matter of hours and by doing it five miles in the air? Is it not a miracle the sun burns as bright and as hot as it does to sustain life on our planet and will continue to do so for billions of years? If a miracle is supposed to be amazing things, those things are all miracles and they happen everyday.

When a rare occurrence becomes common as we continue to evolve and master control over things in nature, the idea of what was once a miracle changes from something that used to be impossible. Because of this, we take many wonderful things for granted and look for the new miracle that impresses us. Why not once a miracle, always a miracle?

At this point in my life, our family needs a miracle.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Everyone is shorter at home. At home, you don't have your shoes on so you don't notice. If you had your shoes on all the time at home, you notice how tall you are.

At work, you don't notice how tall you are until you take your shoes off. Then everything is a little bit taller than you without your shoes.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My wife went out to Bethesda, MD to the NIH as a follow up to her brain surgery in October. We knew before going out there, that her health was declining - she was getting worse, not better. We also knew there was a strong possibility that the series of scans they would do would find what we feared.

Before I went to bed Monday night, I realized the date come morning would be 1-1-11. Our species appreciates patterns such as this. Very gimicky, kinda neat, something fun. I also realized it would probably be the date we would get the worst news for our family and I wasn't going to need a repetitive numerical scheme to remember that date.

The call came about 3:30p from my wife. With tremor in her voice, speech that I could tell she had been crying, before she could say anything, I knew. She got the words out telling me that there's not much more her doctors can do for her. She asked them if she should prepare for the end and they told her that she should.

My wife is only 37 years old and her prognosis is terminal cancer. We have two kids, a son who is 3 and a daughter who is about to turn 6. The tragedy in this, the real hurt is she doesn't get to see them grow up. If my wife could last another 15 years, I think she'd be more ready and not as sad. I think we'd feel blessed if we could witness together the two of our kids growing up.

Of course I'll take any time life gives her.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

I love my kids, I really do but there are some days I think I'd trade them in for a 25 cents off coupon for deodorant.