November is Family Caregivers' Month so I wanted to share this post from Denise Medley whose husband wrote last month for me.
A little over a year and a half ago, my husband was diagnosed with stage 3 rectal cancer. After many surgeries, 2 rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, and 16 months out of work he is still struggling mentally with it all. As a spouse it is very hard to watch and feel so helpless a lot of the time. His personality has dramatically changed. He went from being Mr. outgoing funny guy to self conscious, low self esteem, and depression. He was always the one that made the major decisions, to now question his every move. His one oncologist still considers him to be in the early stages of recovery with last chemotherapy/ radiation being 8 months ago. It is has been very hard to see all he has had to go through. I've never left his side. If he had to stay at the hospital for weeks on end, I was too!! We did it all together. With that being said, he now cannot handle being separated from me at all. He goes into panic mode if my schedule gets hectic and he's not included and I'm not around. He would be in the hospital and yell out my name and inconsolable until I returned. Then he would be ok. I can't imagine how on earth I could have gone through all this without the Lord and my church family and couple relatives! I felt such peace as I watched him in ICU. The prayers of those dear friends and family were my strength through it all. Even though he is back at work for the last 5 months, things do not feel the same. He hurts all the time. It's very sad to see as I stay home and homeschool our 2 daughters. I babysit on the side and house clean as well but feel so helpless. I had to have a couple of my own surgeries in the last couple months. My doctor found precancerous tumor in my ovary. He was a constant wreck!!! He just kept telling me that he could never be without me. That pressure was hard to handle. Thankfully I was ok.
I said that to say our lives are totally different from before. I now have new roles in our family and in our marriage. We are still getting used to it all. We take things day by day. We have more bad days it seems than good a lot of times. He had always been the optimistic one and me the pessimistic one, but those roles were forced to be changed. Because I am naturally pessimistic, he can affect me more easily. The Doctors have said that his "chemo brain" will get better, not sure how much better, but say that it could be a year and a half AFTER his last treatment. That's why they said they still consider him in the early stages of recovery.