My husband died of cancer at 28
In exactly 30 minutes it will have been one week since I lost my husband to head and neck cancer.
Though 7 days have passed it still hurts to breate, think, eat and sleep. We were together for just over 6 years. When I was 8 months pregnant with our first and only child he was diagnosed with cancer of the tongue.
When he was first diagnosed the doctors were optimistic and a bit puzzled. He had just turned 27 and head and neck cancer isn't something younger people get the doctors told us. In fact we saw a ENT cancer specialist in Indianapolis and my husband was his youngest paitent, ever. The cacner was at the base of his tongue and the doctors told us they could cut it out and he'd be fine. They'd said several times, this is a cure, not a treatment. We were scared about the operation but foolishly comforted by the word cure.
My husband had a 12 hour surgery removing half his tongue and replacing it with a prothestic and removing several lymph nodes throughout the head and neck. When the surgery was over the Dr. said everything went well. He was in the hospital for 9 days, and I stayed every night they'd let me. There was only one they wouldn't. We didn't understand why but we felt like somehow we'd been tested and vowed to become better people after this expeirence, love a little harder, give a little more. He left the hospital and began radiation for as what the Dr. refered to as "just a precaution". Because the raditation was on his mouth he lost the ability to eat and had to use a feeding tube. His quality of life really went down hill. He also took mild IV chemo therapy. All of this "precautionary" as the Dr. staged his cancer at 3a and said he got it all.
After the radiation was done he went in for a another PET scan only to find the cancer had spread. Now it was all around his head and neck, in the lungs and in the chest. We couldn't believe it. We weren't expecting it at all. As soon as the scan came back the Dr. changed into a complete different person. He told us there was nothing he could do for us as he was a surgeon and my husband now had to rely solely on chemo.
The whole drive home (2 hours) neither of us said a word, we couldn't, we didn't have words for what had just happened. When my husband arrived home he went to the bathroom and punched a hole right through the wall. I would have done worse I thought so I gave him a hug and told him we'd get through this. We'd fight it and we'd win. A few hours later an oncologist called and made an appointment with him. He began some heavy duty chemo that made him sicker than I've ever seen anyone before. He quickly lost 60 pounds but kept with it. His will to live was so strong. He never gave up, not even the day he died. As things went from bad to worse we sought out other options.
We went to the Cancer treatment center of America in Chicago, and the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Mayo said his current oncologist was doing everything right. Cancer treatment center's said there was no hope for him and said they couldn't help him. I was so upset with them I began to scream and yell and cry. My husband stopped me and said. That's there opinion. I'm not giving up, you don't give up either. It was at that moment I realized how truely brave he was. He'd been enduring this for 14 months, lost the ability to eat solid foods, speak clearly and he was in consitant pain and had still never given up.
We came home from Chicago on Friday. On Monday he said he felt weak. It was hard for him to walk. Because it was labor day his Dr. was out and I told him I'd call first thing in the morning. He got weaker and weaker and had no appitite. He was forcing himself to eat because he knew he had to get calories in. That morning I called the Dr. and the earliest appointment they had was 2:45. I asked my husband if that were ok and he said he was going to ask the Dr. to put him on an IV because he felt dehydrated. My husband was still getting weaker. At 1pm I decided to call an ambulance because he started to get even weaker and he wasn't making much sense when he was talking. The ambulance came and took him and I followed behind in the car. When I arrived and asked what was going on a nurse came out and escorted me to a private consulatation room. She said "the Dr. will be with you shortly" and I knew. A few minutes later he came in and said my husband didn't make it. He then proceeded to tell me he wasn't in pain anymore and his struggle was over, like this was somehow supposed to make it ok. I'm now 26 years old a widow, and a single mom to a one year old little girl. I have no idea what I'm supposed to do next. I lost the best friend I ever had. It hurts, everything hurts. I miss him so much.
I guess I just needed to tell someone my story. Thank's for reading it.