Topic: I'm lost...
I'm not sure why I'm posting or if there's any point now but I need to reach out to people who understand. I am so lonely and angry right now.
On 15th December 2011 my lovely husband was diagnosed with liver cancer. He had been feeling nauseous and tired for a few weeks and the doctors thought he had gallstones but a biopsy showed liver cancer or so we were told. Our world fell apart.
He was so positive and determined to fight it every step of the way. We met with the oncologist for the first time on December 21st. The oncologist said that the cancer had spread to the lining of the bowel so surgery was not an option. This was devastating. He said the only treatment would be chemotherapy beginning in the middle of January. His prognosis was 1-2 years. We were told that, other than chemotherapy and its side effects, he would lead a relatively normal life for the coming months and then start to decline.
We have three children - two sons who are 17 and 15 and a daughter, 7 at the time (she turned 8 last week). We told our sons everything but we told our little girl that Dad was still sick and that the doctors were trying to help.
We left with me feeling lost and confused but my husband was determined to fight. Just two days later he couldn't get out of bed and he was vomiting all the time. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day he tried to hard, God bless him, to be with us but after just 2 hours out of bed he had to go back. I texted the oncologist and told him how bad things were. His medication was adjusted.
By 29th December I brought him to the hospital as he was very jaundiced and in a lot of pain. We met the oncologist who diagnosed a blocked bile duct. We still thought at this point that he had gallstones as well as cancer so we thought the blockage was caused by the gallstones. At no point was bile duct cancer mentioned yet. The doctor said he would simply need a stent put in and the fluid drained.
Days went by. Finally on January 5th a radiologist and doctor sat us down and said that it was more serious than they thought. They couldn't put in the stent because the tumour had grown so much it was blocking the bile duct completely. This is when bile duct cancer was first mentioned. Up to now he was treated for liver cancer. Even when bile duct cancer was now mentioned, I didn't, at the time, realise how much more serious it was than liver cancer. I thought they were much of a muchness. The radiologist said he would try to put in a tiny tube in the side of the liver to relieve the build up of bile. This was a success, much to our delight.
A few days later we were told that he was back on track for chemotherapy but that night he developed an infection at the site of the tube. The next day the hospice team came to his bedside and suggested that he go there the following day. We were shocked and horrified. I thought it was crazy for him to go to a hospice because I still thought he'd be home soon.
The next morning a team of doctors spoke to me. They said that he was declining rapidly. They were shocked themselves. I asked if the initial prognosis was now changed and they said yes, he had just a few weeks to live. All I remember now of that day is crying and blindness. It was like I could hear voices but my tears and shock made them seem far away and all I could see was darkness.
He was transferred to the hospice that afternoon, believing that it was just for respite (he was too drowsy for the doctor to explain how serious it was). I cried in the ambulance and he caught my hand and said "hey love, why are you crying? I'll be home in a few days." I felt so alone.
Two days later, the doctor and counsellor sat us down to explain to my children exactly what was happening. The boys were completely up to date with everything but our little 7 year old didn't realise what was happening at all. We talked and they explained in a kind, loving way that they had tried everything and nothing had worked. My precious girl was getting very scared and then I had to say "daddy's going to heaven". Everyone cried their hearts out. It was the saddest day of my life, watching my children's hearts break. After this meeting my little girl ran down to her Dad's room, hugged him and cried. Her daddy said "hey, what's wrong princess?" She just cried and cried. At the point I think reality dawned on Diarmuid, that perhaps the end could be closer than he thought but he still had hope, lots of it. Why wouldn't he, when just 4 weeks before he was given a prognosis of 1-2 years.
After just five days in the hospice, the most beautiful, loving facility on earth, he fell asleep and we knew he wouldn't wake again, not fully. The next day, Tuesday 17th, he passed away holding our sons' hands, with me running down the corridor from the day room and getting there just in time to say goodbye and kiss him.
He was 47. Diagnosis of cancer to his passing away was just 33 days.
We stayed with him day and night for those 6 days in the hospice. It was a privilege and a blessing.
Now 2 months on, I'm sitting here bereft. I miss him so much I find it hard to breathe. He was everything to the children and everything to me. He brought them to school and collected them every single day. He was there for all their music lessons. He brought our daughter to drama, swimming, the playground etc. He did everything with them.
I don't know how we're going to carry on.