You may think the worst day of my life was the night Mike died. It certainly was a bad day and night, but it wasn’t the worst. By the time he died, I was on auto pilot. I have always been able to compartmentalize my feelings for short periods of time, and I was a super woman. As a long time business owner, I was used to making decisions on my own, i was operating on little sleep, high emotion, and as Mike got sicker I just surrendered to it all. By the end, we had all lost hope, and wanted Mike to be out of pain, even though we knew our pain as a family was just starting.
One of the worst days was when they told us down at Ohio State that the clinical trial wasn’t working anymore, and the cancer was growing again. Mike had had some premonitions, his instincts were telling him about a month before we found out that he was getting sicker again. I kept trying to reassure him, but he knew. When they told us, he kind of collapsed into the chair, and put his head in his hands. I was kind of sitting in shock. It took me a minute to get it together, and go over and console him. The Dr came in, and she was very positive, telling us we had time, and that she was scheduling a biopsy, and that we had options. We never saw her again. On the way home, I was driving. I started having a panic attack in the car, and had to pull over and Mike took over driving. I just could not keep it together. He was dead exactly 4 months to the day later.
The absolute worst day of my life was the day the hope died. The day when he was in the hospital, and they tried to put in the stent and they couldn’t because the tumor had grown too large. The doctor who tried was pretty matter of fact with me and my sister in law. She pretty much told us that Mike would starve to death within 2 weeks- 2 months, and even if they could get the feeding tube in he had very little time to live.
I knew then that it was over. There would be no miracle. She told me that if it were her husband she would try to get the feeding tube placed, and then she would take her husband home. I remember i laid my head down on Mike sobbing. He was still under anesthesia, and he came out to my sobs.
Of course he asked his sister why i was crying. I told him it was because I was sad. He asked her if she was consoling me. That was who he was. He was dying, had been told that there was nothing else they could do for him, and he was worried about how i was taking it.
Two days later they were able to place the feeding tube, but he had two months of misery with it before he died. There just wasn’t any room in his stomach. The tumors, the bleeding ulcers, dead tumor tissue all that stuff combined to make very little room. He wasn’t able to sit up for very long, had nausea and vomiting pretty relentlessly, and was able to only leave our house a few times because he was so miserable in the sitting position.
He kept a positive attitude. He smiled, and he consoled all of us who loved him, while he made sure his affairs were in order, and that we would all be taken care of financially. He signed over titles to his prized possessions, discussed his wishes freely, all the while knowing he had very little time remaining on this earth.
I want him here to take the wheel again.
I can’t do this alone.
I don’t want to do this alone.
I don’t want to do this at all.