Your Stories


In January 2012 my strong healthy partner, Len, was diagnosed with bladder cancer. His positive attitude made me believe that he would beat this disease. He lived a charmed life. After 23 years of unwedded bliss, he proposed to me on Valentine's day. Our daughters 20 & 22 were thrilled. Nothing prepared us for the journey that we would have to face. One minute hopeful, the next minute devastated. I would like to say that the communication from his doctors was excellent but unfortunately it was far from true. He went through radiation treatment and appeared to feel better except for pain. He ended up back in hospital after having a series of falls one evening from using too strong of pain patches. They kept him in to try to manage his pain. He was moved into palliative care with the reason being that they had the best pain management team. We waited to hear what the outcome of the radiation was. After weeks and weeks of waiting for the specialist to come and talk to us, the doctor from palliative care sat down with us and told us that it was terminal. We were devastated and angry that the specialist couldn't have found the time to tell us himself. Len decided that he wanted to come home. We chose not to hear what amount of time they thought he had left. The medical team had finally found a balance in his medication that helped him stay alert yet with minimal pain. As soon as he said he wanted to go home, they said they had to switch him to methadone. He fought them so hard. As an alcoholic (sober for 16 years) this went against everything he believed in. Besides, I had administered the original drug at home and he felt so good on it so we didn't understand the need to switch. They gave him no choice. How frightening a journey that was for our daughters and I. He was so out of it in the beginning. Gradually they lowered the dosage and believed they could get him clear headed and pain free. On Father's day we thought we were getting him home for the day and they set him free, totally. They said he could come back in a few days if he wanted but that was a joke. Of course he didn't want to go back. There were so many financial loose ends that he needed to clear up but the drugs made him too groggy to do them. The final month was in many ways a beautiful time. We were hurrying to pull a wedding together and the bond was so strong between us. A female doctor came in twice in his final weeks.The first time she was pushing for him to sign a DNR which he refused to do. By the time she left he was so depressed. He barely spoke for two days. The following week when she came, it became a battlefield around here as she pushed even harder to have that stupid paper signed and felt the need to point out how close he was to death.She had him just furious as well as me. I nearly threw her out of the house. After her visit he went to bed and never got up again. The nurse that was with her was so upset that she just stared at the floor the whole time. A week later in the early hours of what was to be our wedding day, he passed away. I will never forgive that doctor. The day following his death, my 86 year old mom and my best friend, was taken to the hospital with heart problems. For seven weeks we put our emotions into being with her while she was in there. She went from heart issues to kidney problems to falling and breaking her hip while in their care and ultimately her kidneys stopped working and we lost her too on September 6th. I am not sure that even now we have really begun to grieve. How do you grieve the loss of your two closest friends without losing your sanity.For the sake of my daughters I try to keep moving ahead but as time goes on and the reality sets in it becomes so much more difficult. One day at a time a little voice says inside my head. Yes, one day at a time is all that I can manage.