My husband died of cancer at 28

hurtstobreatheSeptember 15, 2009

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.

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Bless your broken heart, that is way too much for anyone your age should have to go through.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2009 at 4:55PM
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i wish i could hold you and comfort you. there are no words adequate to express my deep sorrow for your loss. i, too, lost my husband, my best friend, the light of my life, to cancer.

at this point, you are still in shock, denial. you know he's gone but you are not ready to accept it. i can only tell you it takes time. your grief, like my own, will never go away but it will get "different", more tolerable, as time goes on.

i wish there were words that would help but i know there are none. ((((hugs))))

    Bookmark   September 15, 2009 at 9:48PM
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I am soo soo sorry for the lost of your husband. It sounds like you went through hell and back.

My mom passed away a week and a half ago so I don't know comforting words. Hang in there and everybody says time will ease the pain. We need to stay strong for our children.

Do you have a good support system?

    Bookmark   September 15, 2009 at 11:16PM
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Thank you for reading, and for responding. I do have a wonderful sister and 3 fantastic friends, they however, are all happily married and I catch my self being bitter and thinking....why do they get to be happy, why do their kids get to know thier fathers. I'm a mess I guess.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2009 at 12:02AM
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I am so sorry for your loss. I hope you can find a support group or someone who can help you through this. My husband works in Radiation Therapy and although he doesn't talk about the patients specifically, he always says he admires the ones who don't give up. Your husband certaintly didn't.

Give yourself time to grieve. Take it a day at a time and hold that beautiful daughter close to you. You have been though so much in a relatively short time. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2009 at 7:34PM
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Sweetheart I am so sorry. I lost my husband (of 37 years) to cancer too, it isn't fair that the two of you had barely begun your life together. Your life is so painfull right now and it will be for quite a while but you will feel better some day and remember all the wonderful times you had together, especially your darling little girl who is a large part of your husband. A support group was very helpfull to me. I will keep you and your little one in my prayers and thoughts. God Bless.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2009 at 11:07PM
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Oh, I hurt, too.

Your husband never gave up. And you won't either.

And no one can take your love of him away from you--ever.

We pay such a high price for it--love.

May you find peace. May you find how to live.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2009 at 12:38PM
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I have no words to say to you except I am so very deeply sorry. I cannot imagine your pain. I do not know you but wished I could give you a huge hug. There are no words anyone can say right now. I know when I lost my mom and dad that there was nothing anyone could say. All anyone can say is they are there for you if you need them.

You and your little one will be in my thoughts.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2009 at 7:56PM
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Reading your story made me cry. I am so sorry and will pray that time is healing for you. I hope you have found a support group in your church, if not please seek one.
I have found much healing through my faith.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2009 at 12:09PM
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I'm so sorry for your terrible loss. Your husband was certainly brave. Faith truly will help you through. It helps me after I lost my daughter, my mom, my only niece, and my dad just a few weeks ago.
Seek help from others. I wish I had a magic wand to make your pain go away. We are always here.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 9:07PM
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Sending you blessings and peace for your broken heart. My soulmate died suddenly, and he was 28, the same age as your husband. There are no words that can truly capture the pain of this kind of loss....My heart goes out to you. May comfort enfold your heart when you need it most.....

    Bookmark   December 13, 2009 at 8:21PM
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