Pancreatic Cancer
exploding star

My husband has pancreatic cancer. It is almost always a death sentence. When it would have been treatable, there were no symptoms. Even if there were symptoms, there are no blood tests that will diagnose it.

It is nasty, painful, and relentless. I watch my husband as he works through the physical decline and the emotional toll – both he refuses to give in to.

I think to myself, would I be as strong, would I keep trying? Or would I just give in. He inspires me and encourages me with his smiles.

I know I will loose him, this man that I have loved for so very long. I don’t know when it will happen but I don’t want to know. I don’t want our days together destroyed.

So how do I handle the rogue, highly charged and very random thoughts that pop into my mind’s eye that have to do with his final days, moments? My life experiences have put me into end of life situations with family members, too many for this old heart of mine. So when I say highly charged in the above sentence, I mean it. Total panic.

Will I fail him when all is said and done? I am not sure what that exactly means. But that seems to be one of the fears. Truth be told, I am not sure if it’s even “not to fail” for his benefit or is it so I can live with myself in the aftermath. Is this selfish? Is it for survival? Is it altruistic and for him?

More questions than answers, but I do know that I HATE CANCER in all forms with the passion of an exploding death star.

Written by DeAnn

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  1. I too am going to lose my husband due to stage 4 emphysema, stomach cancer, and stage 2 antitrypsin disease. I am very scared. We have been married 16 yrs.. He was scared to death when he almost lost me due to Squamous cell cancer. I am still fighting cancer. He tells the Drs. that he is still alive because of me.

  2. I just found out a few months ago that a very dear old friend had passed away from pancreatic cancer. He was a physician, so he knew what he faced. He had accomplished his bucket list of climbing 14’ers in winter; he only lasted 4 months after his diagnosis and he spent it locating and reaching out to people he had known. It broke my heart, I always thought I’d see him again some day. (cue: “Fire and Rain”) Here is a link to his book that was compiled for him posthumously… please enjoy… celebrate your guy’s life. Peace!!

  3. I’ve lost my mother from pancreatic cancer. It’s the most progressive cancer. I had took care of my mother ’till the end.

    • my dad had this as well. 6 months from diagnosis to death. Like you, I took care of him from day 1 until his final breath. Horrible disease.

  4. Nope, no easier. Mine is stage 4 lung. So far it’s been four years.

  5. I understand my husband has cancer as well. And yes i to will lose my husband as well saying it still doesn’t make it any easier

  6. My husband doesn’t have cancer, he has Heart Failure stage 3/4. I am a recently retired cardiac nurse so living with this is a two edged sword. I know to much (great when it involves looking out for his symptoms etc) but so awful because I know what lies ahead. I only hope he doesn’t have to suffer. We have had 13 and a half good years together, second marriage for both of us. I dread the thought of losing him and hope that I have the courage to reach out to others for mutual support when the time comes. May God bless all of you that are hurting right now.

  7. Exactly how I am currently feeling as my husband is losing his battle wuth Cancer

  8. De Ann, thank you for sharing your “story”. I too was caregiver for my mother and then my husband. We care for our loved ones as we would have them care for us. Our efforts are for them as well as for us. Do not Ever doubt that you are appreciated and loved, even when they no longer recognize You. The hardest thing is to Ask and Accept all assistance that is offered and/or applied for. Do have as much help as you can, whether it be family, friends or Home Care Attendants. If you wear yourself out physically and emotionally, you will not be able to do the hard “work”. However, if conditions become too serious for you to handle even with some assistance, DO NOT FEEL GUILTY that your loved one must be transferred to a medical facility…..that would NOT be due to lack of effort on your part but rather the full and honest realization that he/she would be cared for 24/7 by a TEAM, every member of which is well-trained, well-rested, and truly caring in temperament. Some times it takes greater strength to LET GO AND LET GOD than to keep on struggling by yourself. With heartfelt prayers to you from me.

  9. Thank you DeAnn for sharing your thoughts and feelings, my heart goes out to you and your husband. My mother-in-law had pancreatic cancer and I agree that it is particularly cruel because it is so stealthy. Having experienced my mother’s decline and eventual death from colon cancer, I would recommend not stifling your feelings, whether they be positive or negative. Outlets like writing such as you did here, support groups, etc. can allow you to express difficult emotions in a welcoming environment. But don’t waste time on guilt as I did.

    The single piece of advice I recommend the most is just trying to enjoy the good days/moments as fully and completely as you can with your loved one. It is easy to get caught up in the appointments, the medication schedules, the basic caregiving duties. But after your husband is gone, you will treasure most the good memories, like the smile that you wrote about. Eventually, these good moments will overcome the wave of misery that cancer delivers, so make sure your store up as many as you can.

  10. You are loving your husband right up to the end. When that time comes, you can say, with all certainty, “I did not fail him.” Right now, you are going through anticipatory grief, a powerful series of emotions. You may wish to read my article, “Why is Anticipatory Grief So Powerful?” (It’s on this website.)


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