40,000-49,999 SparkPoints 42,500


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

We are all dying. Every day of our lives, we are one day closer to our own deaths. We don't like to think that way, but when the thing that is going to kill you is already growing inside of you, the reality of death is all too real.

Our doctor appointment went just about like I expected. There is no cure. We can only slow the growth of the prostate cancer that is already is his bones. I knew this pretty much, of course hearing the doctor say it, gives it authenticity. Hubby didn't know. He still was hopeful they could cut out the prostate and he would be cured of cancer. So I think the appointment was harder on him. He is still at least pretending to be upbeat, but I'm fearing the day when the reality all crashes down on him and he quits being so positive. I think right now he's keeping up the cheerful front for me. But when he lets go of that facade, we are both in trouble, because I'm not sure I'm in that place yet where I can be strong for him. Maybe I can do it. I hope I can. I heard him get out of bed sometime in the middle of the night. Towards morning, about 5 a.m., I woke up again and thought to myself, "He shouldn't be alone downstairs." I remember those lonely nights when I used to wake up with pain in my chest, terrified that I was having a heart attack, and even though hubby was in the bedroom with me, I was all alone in my fear--nobody who is married--should have to be terrified alone! So I headed downstairs. Son was in the kitchen, preparing to go to work, while hubby was stretched out in the recliner in the family room, fast asleep. So I went back to bed. Sometime later hubby came back upstairs and got ready for work, I didn't even wake up. Like I said, sleep is my one escape.

He had two hormone shots after the doctor consultation yesterday. The brain (the pituitary gland) makes 95% of a man's testosterone, while the adrenal gland is responsible for 5% of it. The hormone shots will fool the brain into thinking it already has made the testosterone (I believe that's how the doctor explained it), and hubby will take a pill to limit the adrenal gland's production of it. The goal is to get rid of that testosterone which feeds the prostate cancer.

I remember blogs I wrote about how lucky I was that my problem was something I could fix, and compared it with people who have cancer or other life-threatening diseases, and how they got these diseases through no fault of their own, and could not just FIX them, like I could, simply by eating a little less. Now I realize by first-hand experience how true that is. We ARE the lucky ones--we can fix our health problems.

Doctor suggested hubby pursue getting healthier. He said he could walk and it would be even better if he started running, since his knees are okay. That gave me hope that hubby will be able to continue working, since our health insurance depends upon that. I worried too much activity on his weakened bones would cause them to fracture, as my dad's did, but that isn't the case, at least not yet. The doctor told him to eat healthy and try to lose weight, because the hormone pills will cause weight gain, lethargy, and hot flashes. He told hubby to lift weights, because he will lose strength. Hubby has always been very strong. I depend upon his strength more than I realize. When I need something, he takes care of it. We have a traditional relationship--I take care of the inside of the house, he does the outside: yard and cars, and that is a lot since we live on 3 acres and have 3 vehicles. Right now, he doesn't have to do much outside of course, with snow on the ground. And 27-year old son lives at home, we depend upon him for a lot. I texted all 3 of the boys last night and told them my focus would now have to be exclusively on their dad, and that I would probably be asking them for help and knew I could count on them to help.

My two oldest sons questioned the doctor's diagnosis. I wish they would have gone with us to the doctor, because they both think the goal should be a CURE of the cancer. I told him this is no longer possible. My middle son, with no medical knowledge whatsoever, said why don't they take the prostate out and cut the cancer out of his hip. "NOT POSSIBLE," I texted him. I went with my dad the day he had his initial consultation with his urologist after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I wish my sons would have come with us. I can't explain it all--I'm NOT a doctor. But once that cancer has spread beyond the prostate, treatment options are pretty limited, and are geared exclusively to slowing the growth, since it is then incurable.

The doctor said hubby could bowl again, if his pubic catheter doesn't bleed. Hubby's not sure about that yet. They will get the catheter out eventually, hopefully. As the prostate shrinks from the hormone pills, hopefully his ability to urinate normally will return. I think that as soon as he returns to normal activity, life will be better. Right now it's hard not to obsess over the "sickness" in his body.

I told hubby on the way home last night that once we got over this initial shock, that we really really need to start enjoying life. We are now on a time budget. And when I say "enjoy," I mean to just appreciate the normal aspects of life, and appreciate each other more. I know he is so precious to me, he always has been, but this makes my appreciation for him and my love even more intense.

I have written often about how wonderful it is to be normal at last. That's all I ever wanted. I hated being morbidly obese and how it limited me from looking normal and participating in normal life activities. This return to normalcy during these last two years has been wonderful, and now it feels like "Normal" has once again been ripped from my life.

My weight loss was instigated by my fear of being immobile or even dying as I was getting close to 60 years old. Today, I feel like all that work I did was....useless. If I have to live my retirement years alone, what was the point? Those years I bought myself are meaningless without him.

The doctor said sometimes the hormone pills will work to suppress the cancer's growth for as long as 10 years. But with hubby's very aggressive cancer, I doubt we will get 10 years. He also said there are cutting edge treatments being developed every day to use when the shots quit working. I will have to do some more reading. Sometimes reading scares me. Like I said, because I bought two books the doctor recommended and read most of them before our appointment yesterday, I was aware of what the doctor would probably be telling us. Hubby's philosophy has always been to ignore things. He had a normal PSA a year ago. Then somehow in a year, he got cancer and it spread outside his prostate--this is rare, the doctor said, it is shocking for it to grow so quickly. I know hubby complained about his urinary problems all during the last year, and I wish he'd have gone to the doctor then. He hates going to the doctor, and the urologist is the WORST place, as far as he is concerned. He always puts off going as long as he possibly can. Even yesterday he complained about being there and talked about how much he hated shots. I told him those shots were going to keep him alive and his fear of them were the least of our worries. I held his hand while she gave him two shots in his belly. He squeezed tight. Later he told me he hardly felt them. Since he will have to have shots monthly, at least at first, he better get used to being poked. For some reason, the blood tests don't bother him. For me the blood tests are much worse, but that is probably because they used to struggle so to find a vein through all my fat. Blood tests for me always involved multiple pokes, while shots were over quickly.

Sometimes I fleetingly think, "Oh screw it all. Hubby's sick, will probably die younger than we had hoped, I might as well eat and get fat again." And then immediately I realize it is more important now than ever before to keep this weight off. I need to be strong so that I can be a good caregiver. And since the doctor has suggested that hubby would be smart to drop a few pounds and start exercising to combat his treatment's side effects, I have a good excuse to make healthier meals. Lots of fruit, salad, fish and chicken! I have kind of gotten away from that lately. And maybe hubby will join me on my walks, when the roads dry up again after this latest snow. I'm thinking we can go on bike rides together this summer too. That would be fun.

If anyone has read this whole rambling blog, thank you. When I woke up this morning, I thought about blogging about all of this and it didn't sound like something I wanted to do. But just like my earlier blogs about this latest health development of hubby's, when I came downstairs, I sat down to the computer and starting writing. I think getting it all out helps. And your comments help me more than you know.
Share This Post With Others
Member Comments About This Blog Post
    1826 days ago
    I will hold you and your husband in my prayers. I walked through cancer & hospice for both my 44 year old sister & my is so hard and it can be draining. Try to take care of yourself and get all the help & support you can...
    1827 days ago
    bless your heart. I have walked in your shoes. Cancer is a hard walk. Not only does your Husband have cancer, all of you do too. It affects the hole family. It's a hard walk. Keep your faith in God that he will see you thru this. Trust that he will guide you and give you the strength you need. He will also prepare you for the battles you have to face down the road.

    I think the hardest part is trying to be strong all the time. Find someone that you can share your weak moments with now so you can be strong for your husband. He will need your strength. There are support groups out there both on line and locally. I wish I had of known about them back then. The hardest thing in the world is not having a support system.

    Take care of yourself. You have to do this. Take it from me. I didn't during those years and had so much ground to make up both emotionally and physically. Allow yourself some time for you. Don't feel guilty. It will keep you and give you an outlet.

    My strength and prayers go out to you.

    1828 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1828 days ago
    Oh my dear, I'm thinking of you so much with love and care! Here's lots of emoticon to you.
    1828 days ago
    It's very surreal to sit with the doctor and try to process all this information. Your comment about your sons coming to the doctor's visits are very true. My 79 year old Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer 2 years ago. The whole family went to the initial appointments (Mom, Dad & 3 daughters). One reason is because my parents are elderly and my Mom can't hear well, but the main reason is it took all 5 of us to understand and discuss what the doctor's were saying so we could formalize a "Plan". We would go out to lunch after the appointments and discuss what we heard (it's amazing that we all heard something different).

    My oldest sister (retired with no children) took care of most of the coordination, but we all 3 split up the appointments, especially when she started radiation and it was every day. Twice a week for 7 weeks I would leave work at lunch, pick her up and take her to the treatment center (fortunately everything was pretty close). My Mom actually enjoyed these sessions because she got to "spend more time with her daughters"!

    You should include your son's in this process. That way they'll know first hand and maybe understand more and also to help you. Don't be afraid to ask for help - it's often harder sometimes on the caregiver.

    You loosing the weight and becoming healthy is a good thing! You'll have more energy to help your husband. Plus, him eating right & exercising is very important. My Mom is 81 and almost 2 years after her surgery/treatment, the first thing the oncologist asks is "are you exercising" (at 81!)? Fortunately she's healthy and has always enjoyed walking & gardening.

    You'll also find you'll get a lot of advice - like from me :)

    Keep the faith. Hugs & Prayers to you.

    1828 days ago
    Pam, you already ARE a great caregiver--to your entire family! I know that, no matter how short or how long your time is with your hubby, you will do what you can to make it great and him comfortable. He's very lucky to you have you looking after him! Maybe all the work you did to lose the weight was practice for helping him take care of himself now, when it really matters the most. You learned quite a bit about nutrition, I'm sure!
    1828 days ago
    You are in my thoughts and prayers. This is my wish for you:

    1829 days ago
    Some days you'll be strong, some days you won't. And some days your husband will be the strong one and other days...not.

    You are stronger than you know. Really. That you could sit and write what you have written--the good, the bad, the ups and the downs--you are amazing.

    Unfortunately, not one single one of us, absolutely none of us, knows what the future has in store for us. Maybe that's the whole point. We have to just live it, and live it and deal up and deal down with it.

    And we are here for you.
    1829 days ago
    This isn't fair at all--and no one said it would be. You WILL get lots of living into these next years--I know you will. Hang in there--vent here and know that prayers are being said for you and hubby!!
    1829 days ago
  • EFAY32
    You said two things that heavily struck me that I wanted to share. You said you got healthy so you could enjoy life, be normal. Then you said you weren't going to enjoy life because you were going to lose him and what did it matter. But I think... or maybe I just feel... like you were MEANT to be healthy so you could enjoy your life with him, no matter how long it is. If you were where you used to be, this time would be so different. You would be even more helpless. Now, perhaps, you can make it the best days yet. Maybe you being healthy can help him stay healthier and live a few years longer. You could be his best medicine.
    1829 days ago
    Thank you for always openly sharing your pains, your fears, you joys and your thoughts - your open sharing brings tears to my eyes but makes me think and even talk with my hubby about how much we value each other and how much we need to make sure that we remember that, remember our health, watch each other's health .. yes all the things that we think we take care of and prioritize but really do not prioritize enough.

    Thank you - my sincere thoughts and prayers and love and strength are with you through each day and night.

    1829 days ago
    sending you some emoticon
    1829 days ago
  • SWAZY33
    I have lived through cancer diagnosis with both my parents and myself so, I can truly understand all your feelings and I work in oncology so feel like at times...I'm getting bombarded with hearing about cancer. What I do through the years...the ppl with positive outlooks (even with bad disease) do much better than the ones that are miserable. So, keep that positivity going! Hugs and prayers to BOTH of you :)
    1829 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    1829 days ago
  • AMBER281
    1829 days ago
  • RUNGRL2013
    Thank you for writing this blog. As I read it. I got the feeling that you're preparing for losing him as well acknowledging that you will make the most of all the time you have now. I think this is remarkable. You are remarkable. I'm praying for miracles. I'm praying for those 10 years that are possible. I'm in awe of your strength and I know you will be well not matter what. I'm all the way in Switzerland as I write this, so I want you to know that when it's night over there, someone across the world will take over praying for your husband, you and your family. emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1829 days ago
    May God be with you and your family. I know it will be difficult, but you will have to be strong for your husband. Enjoy the time you do have with him. The healthy eating and exercise does make a difference. I'm currently going through chemo, and my doctors have been big advocates of maintaining a wholistic approach towards a healthy lifestyle. It will help to keep his strength up. I'll keep you all in my prayers.
    1830 days ago
    Sending prayers your way.
    1830 days ago
    You needed to get this out and into the open. Otherwise,
    it is the elephant in the room that no one talks about. Arm
    yourself with knowledge and do what is best for him and
    you. His doctor was very wise to give him a few hints that
    will help him live better. You will lean on each other for
    strength so I know you will continue on your journey. I
    will be praying for both of you.
    1830 days ago
    keeping you and your family in my prayers.... emoticon
    1830 days ago
    Hopefully, even if there is not a cure right now, healthy eating exercise etc will enable your husband to maintain and a cure COULD be found during that time. You never know. I too have watched some of the Valerie Harper interviews....they will replay one at midnight on CNN. My SO and I watched it at 9:00pm and thought that her energy was amazing. You should watch her if you can because I think it will uplift you. In the meantime, I am sure that your weight loss has been really encouraging to your husband, so keep up your own inspirational work, and remember that we are all here with you if you need to let it all out!
    1830 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/12/2013 9:58:04 PM
    I know it must be extremely difficult and stressful to deal with this. Fortunately I haven't had to deal with any serious medical issues in my relatively short lifetime (28 yrs) yet, but my thoughts are with you.

    Do whatever you can to make your remaining time happy, fun, and memorable!

    1830 days ago
  • DOODIE59
    I'm glad to hear you are looking at the doctor's advice to eat healthy and exercise as a positive challenge. Now more than every you will want to look at each bite of food and ask, "Does this give the biggest nutritional bang for the buck?" because my hubby needs to be eating super foods right now. You will be strong enough. I wish I could give you a big, positive-energy providing hug right now. Don't be afraid to ask friends and family for help when they offer. They WANT to help; it's their way of showing their love for both of you. Let them love:) Soak it up, and grow strong:) Much hugs,
    1830 days ago
    I know that for me letting it all out makes me feel so much better. I am glad that you felt like you could share all your thoughts and concerns with us. You know that we will be here to support you in any way we can.

    Take care
    1830 days ago
    Cancer is such a cruel disease and it does not discriminate.
    Someday they will have a cure for ALL of them.
    But for now...we have to take what we can.
    Hopefully you will be able to have more years together than you think you will have and they will be full of great memories.
    Don't give up on your health and vent here when you need to. emoticon
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1830 days ago
    My prayers are with you and your family as you work on taking care of your hubby - do remember to take care of yourself as well.

    1830 days ago
    My heart is breaking for you, but I know the Lord will keep both of you strong. We are all praying. emoticon
    1830 days ago
  • MARTY728
    emoticon emoticon
    1830 days ago
  • MYRTLE811
    I got to see a little of Valerie Harper's interview about her brain cancer. Although she is probably as terrified as you are, she said something I hope to remember. Don't hold the wake until it's time. I'm glad you're thinking of all the things you can do together; keeping your husband healthy as he can be so he can fight this disease, walking, biking and best of all enjoying each other.
    I applaud you for calling your sons and letting them know where your priorities are now. It was so important to do that. I would also suggest you scheduling an appt with the doctor for them to go and listen and ask questions about their dad's condition. You shouldn't have to let them know all the details; it must be hard for them to hear it from you as they don't want to believe it. A consult with the doctor would be a good thing for them and take the responsibility off you.
    Keep letting out the terrible feelings inside you; a blog is great for you to do this. Wish you were closer so I could hug you.

    1830 days ago
    Blogging helps to put words to our feelings and know you have people behind you who understand your feelings. You all are in my prayers.
    1830 days ago
    Please know I am thinking about you and will continue to keep you and your husband in my prayers. I am sorry the news was not better but glad you are doing your research and trying to maintain a positive attitude. One day at a time...
    1830 days ago
  • LINDAK25
    You sound very well informed. I can tell you my dad is on that same medication for his very aggressive prostate cancer. He has all the side effects. He hates it. He does tire more easily, and you'll have to take that into consideration. Staying active is the key, for the both of you. You can do this. You can. Let your family help, too. You are in my thoughts and prayers, Pam.

    1830 days ago
    Someone once said that you begin to die the day you're on that point you are right! is the time to be as positive as you can. There's a friend on Sparks who is going through something very similar .... her Spark name is SWDESERTLOVER.. Please read her Page and her blogs ---- I think you'll find great comfort there. She's fighting the same fight... in the moment and try not to think of what's to come. Like your doctor said - there are many, many innovative and new treatments coming down the pipe every day! Keep hopeful (I know I did during my treatment......)
    And - you are so right about keeping yourself healthy and fit --- now is NOT the time to find solace in food. Dear Lord - you've worked so hard!!!

    We're all thinking and praying for you and hubby -
    Stay Strong!!!

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1830 days ago
    I am so sorry about the news regarding your husband's health!! I wish I had the right words that could comfort you right now! I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers!
    1830 days ago
    I can imagine this was very difficult to write. I thank you for your courage in sharing your story.

    You are right - eat healthy to be strong for him when he is physically weak.

    Take it one day at a time, and never fail to tell him how much you love him.
    1830 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    1830 days ago
  • KERRYG155
    Sorry about the diagnosis. Hopefully the shots will help so he can get rid of the catheter sooner rather than later and then he can be back to a more normal life. Right now you need to take care of yourself so that you're able to take care of him later. I would also recommend you start doing some of the things you two have talked about doing "later" so he can enjoy life and build memories for the entire family.
    1830 days ago
  • MISSB8604
    You are not alone in this, your SparkFriends are here.
    1830 days ago
    Thank you for sharing ... know that you are surrounded each day by 10,000 angels who hear you. Blessings and love sent to you for you & your husband. AS they say, one day at a time. emoticon
    1830 days ago
    emoticon Thank You for sharing this Difficult time with us! I am sure that Blogging It Out will be a Great Release for you. And we are honored that you are Including Us all in your Family's Journey.
    emoticon You are RIGHT that Staying Healthy is More Important now than ever. We don't know the Future, and You need to be at Your Best Fighting Form going forward. I have No Doubt that when your Husband is "Weak" Your Strength will Shine! And the same is true for those moments when You are "Weak". Duane's Strength will sustain you like it always has.
    emoticon Rest Assured that MANY Prayers are being said for Your Family. And, since Spark People Friends are in MANY Different Time Zones, those Prayers are going up at all hours of the Day & Night.
    1830 days ago
  • Add Your Comment to the Blog Post

    Log in to post a comment

    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.