Tag Archives: caregiver


31 Aug

If you’ve been reading my blog awhile you’ll remember me writing about my radiation friend ‘B’ or Bob. If not, please read about him here before reading the rest of this blog. This past week I had an emotional conversation with his widow Judy almost a year after his passing about her role as his caregiver.

How long were you married? 26 years

Were you with Bob the first time he was told he had cancer? Of course. I was with him from the diagnosis to death. I took a leave of absence from work. I was with him 24/7.

How did you feel when you first heard he had cancer? The doctor spoke to me privately and told me I would be lucky to have him 6 more months. Bob and I never kept secrets from each other but this I kept secret. I didn’t want him to know because I wanted him to fight as hard as he could. It was very difficult.

Did you feel like you always had to be positive? Did he see you scared? We were there for each other. We both saw each other scared, we cried alot, but we were there for each other to comfort each other. I didn’t feel like I had to pretend being positive when I wasn’t.

Did you end up telling Bob about the original diagnosis, the 6 months? Yes. When he got his ‘cancer free’ status after radiation I told him what the first doctor said. Bob laughed, he felt he had a new lease on life but I still doubted. I had my doubts because of our family history of cancer so I encouraged him to take trips and pursue his hobbies. We went to Disneyworld shortly after radiation.

Did you have anyone to talk to during all of this? My family, but I kept things to myself.

How did you feel when he was told the cancer was back? That was bad. The doctor spoke to me privately and said ‘There’s nothing left we can do,’ followed by ‘you’re going to have to tell him because I have other patients’ then she walked away. I had to walk into the room and tell my husband he was dying. Bob was angry, not about dying, but because he told the doctor that if it was bad news, he wanted to be told first then he would be the one to tell me.

The story goes on from there, Bob got more sick and was hospitalized. I received a good-bye letter from him just weeks before his passing last year. The morning of his birthday Judy said he was told he could leave the hospital. The nurses and doctors got him a cake and balloons and he went home. She says he had a look of peace on his face so she knew and thought maybe he knew it was time too. Bob always had a ‘love’ signal to Judy during the times he couldn’t speak, he would punch his chest twice and point to her, which meant ‘I love you.’ Later that day, in their home, he started hemorrhaging. He did the ‘love’ signal and died just minutes later in her arms. I loved Bob and I love Judy. They were my angels, my support, and my family during the 7 weeks of radiation because I was mostly alone. Judy said throughout Bob’s cancer journey that time didn’t matter, it was day to day, minute to minute. Why do we wait to really live like this? We have no guarantees. No lipstick today, just me and my chapstick. Live life!

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