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My LO has suffered with chronic leukemia and small cell lymphoma for the past 7 years and now has morphed into a more aggressive cancer called Richter’s Transformation which has a very poor prognosis. He has gone through 3 immunotherapy clinical trials and two chemotherapy treatments all which have run their course and then failed or started to effect other organs. My LO refused the offer of a fourth clinical trial which would have put him in the hospital 3-4 days each week for the next 5 cycles (months) because of other conditions such as CHF, kidney stage 3, AFib, edema and diabetes which had to be monitored while on these drugs. He has chosen to have more of a quality of his years rather than quantity of years. I agree with him. However, now I find myself so sad wondering what will happen to me when he passes. I went food shopping today and realized that everything I brought was for myself because he no longer has an appetite for anything he use to like. He eats sparsely, and has a diabetic supplement once in a while. This realization really hit me really hard that he will soon pass and not be physically present. I will be 70 years old in November but I am a young 70 who could pass for someone in their 50s. I worried that I will not know how to navigate being single again. My child are in their 40s and 50s and have their own lives with their careers and children. I don’t want to be a drag on their lifestyle. I’m scared and worried that I will be at a lost on how to live again. This is a second marriage for both of us. We have had a fantastic marriage and will be married 26 years in October 7. We have been together for a total of 35 years. For clarification, I have never been by myself because In my first marriage I married young straight from my parents house at age 18 then divorced after 11 years of marriage and moved back into my parents home with my kids. Then I met and married my current husband (LO). So I have never lived alone and by myself. I’m a little scared. Any suggestions?

May I extend my care that since you are in the midst of anticipatory grief. I am sure that if you look at your life, you will realize there were moments of being without others around - when the children were at school and spouse was at work, going for a walk alone, working on a project for a bit... - it's the longer moments that are scaring you. Might I suggest that you reach out to the cancer hospital to see if there is a support group you may join. If that doesn't work, please consider joining a grief group such as GriefShare. The participants in these groups give the best advice on how to cope with the loss of your loved one.

Meanwhile, it would be helpful to focus on the present time you have with your spouse. Make sure his will is up to date as well as financials and other legal affairs. If your spouse normally handles some tasks, it is time to talk with him about taking those over or finding another person to do so. It may seem morbid, but some people find peace in planning their celebration of life - music, speakers, pictures, meal... whatever allows folks to mingle and remember. When those tasks are accomplished, then enjoy time together.
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Reply to Taarna
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Dbthomas282: Of course you are scared. Find support groups that can help you.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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I'd suggest sharing your feelings/fears with his hospice team. Nurses, social workers, and spiritual care staff are all prepared to provide support....

as a nurse, sometimes all I could tell families was that they would get through this (everyone does), and to try for now to be close and connected and support each other.
and to tell their loved one all that they wanted or needed to say - or ask - now.
support groups via hospice are usually very good...and free.
it helps to be with others who are experiencing a similar loss...
though each of us experiences it differently.
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Reply to Clairesmum
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You are strong and will get through this. It is hard being alone after years of companionship and when someone you love is dwindling away it is so hard to watch. It is the start of the grieving process. I am in a similar situation. My husband has Parkinson's and dementia, and after a serious illness (sepsis), he declined where I couldn't take care of him at home any longer. He is now in a memory care facility and has been declining there. Fortunately, he still knows who I am and we can hold hands, share a Dairy Queen, and kiss each other hello and goodbye. I cherish those moments every day but I am filled with guilt, worry and of course extreme sadness. I did live alone in my early twenties, so I'm not super concerned about being alone, but it is lonely. There is a difference. Do something each day that brings you joy - take a walk, pet a dog, garden, etc. I find solace talking to people who are going through the same thing and try to participate in a couple monthly support groups. My daugther is a huge support but I can't expect her to always be here with me. Look into the future as a journey to a new life. You will be just fine being alone. Find some peace with the "quiet". Meet with friends. Get a pet. Best of luck to you.
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Reply to RainboCaregiver
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Take your time. The reality is that you will probably soon be on your own. Be grateful that you are in good health and can still manage your own affairs.

After your husband dies, ask for help where needed like at your bank, brokerage, insurance, home and motor vehicle titles etc. Let people who know how to do it help with legal matters and paperwork. Take tasks one at a time. There is no need to rush.

There is also no need to rush your more personal decisions. You will have a few months where your world is something of a blur and you cannot concentrate and you have no patience with ordinary inconveniences. Focus on one thing at a time. Celebrate accomplishments even simple ones like "I put on my shoes!" "I combed my hair."

When you are ready to talk to people, look for a bereavement support group where people can share their experiences and listen to each other. It is very reassuring to learn you are probably not crazy after all.

Consider your own interests and what you like to spend your time doing and find ways to participate in these activities. Community activities? Theater? Travel? Volunteering?
Choose activities you enjoy. You can do any activity you want to by yourself.. Do not wait for or rely on anyone else to go with you. Just go.

Do not beat yourself up if it takes a while to adjust to your new reality. Do not despair when you have "bad days" after a period of less sadness. It is all part of the "journey."

For now, take the best care you can of your husband. He is making the right choice to not pursue every last medical experiment some doctor might suggest. What for? To prolong life at all costs while waiting for "the next thing" to come along? Make the best use you both can of the time he has left. Remind yourself that "this is what we are doing right now."

Take care of each other.
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Reply to RedVanAnnie
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Your awareness of these feelings is a sign of strength and resilience. Let them enter, accept them as fitting the sad loss and adjustment difficulties you are facing. Talk to someone or someone’s with whom you feel comfortable. A friend, clergy, therapist, children…your husband. Sounds like he too is meeting these challenges head on. Bless you.
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Reply to Moxies
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My mother is currently dealing with this, My father suffered a stroke and suddenly everything is up to my mother. She doesn’t know how to cook, pay bills, or do anything. As her daughter, I’m trying to set services up to help her (cleaning lady, lawn care, snow removal), and teach her how to plan meals, short cuts on cooking, how to pay bills online, etc so that she can be independent. I didn’t want to become a substitute for my father, me suddenly doing everything for her. You can do the same. Ask for help for things that are beyond your scope (ie: mowing the lawn). Ask help from friends and loved ones who can TEACH you how to do things you think you can learn to handle (ie: paying bills online).

It is scary and overwhelming, and at the same time, you are suffering a profound loss (even if he has not yet passed, you are grieving how your life used to be and won’t be again). Validate your own feelings. It’s honorable that you don’t want to burden your children, but as a child going through this, I don’t mind helping. You’ll find your way. I pray that your husband isn’t in pain.

HUGS.
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Reply to Lizbitty
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My DH (also a 2nd marriage for both of us) has had some very serious health issues over the past year and is now facing a liver transplant in February or March of 2022. He is visiting his kids and grandkids in Missouri this past week because he doesn't know if he'll make it through the transplant surgery (he has heart issues, too) so he wants what may be his last chance to see them. I am faced with losing him and for the first time, I'm imagining what life may be like alone. I don't know if he will live or die with this transplant, but in reality, life is terminal; we just don't know when we'll leave the Earth. You have a more exact idea of when the time will be, and that's a scary prospect. I'm feeling somewhat nerved up myself these days, so I feel your pain.

The two Grandma's have given you wonderful advice because they've both walked the path you're on now. I think volunteering is an excellent way to put yourself back out there & involving yourself with others; doing that makes you feel a bit less alone in life, you know? Reaching out to support groups such as this one and in-person meetings also helps. I think it takes time to find one's center again after suffering a profound loss, and the timeframe differs for each of us. I have 2 children myself and while both of them have lives of their own, I know for a fact that they're here for me when I need them, as I'm sure your children are too. While we don't want to be a 'drag on their lifestyles', we also shouldn't feel like we can't reach out to our own children and family members in our time of need. My daughter is a cardiac RN and let me tell you something; she has been a lifesaver for DH and I during his various heart surgeries this past year. She's been a rock for BOTH of us and didn't make us feel like we were a burden to her. That's what love does: it nurtures and supports and helps out when necessary. Don't write your kids off as a source of emotional support to you in your time of need: you're not moving in with them or asking them to change your Depends, after all!

Remember, we women are stronger than we ever give ourselves credit for. We can live alone when the time comes, too, and make that situation work just as we've made other difficult situations work over the years. We're caring for ill husbands day in and day out, we gave birth to and raised children, held down jobs while taking care of homes and husbands, served as chief cooks & bottle-washers to families who were sick with measles while the dog had diarrhea and the husband was stranded in the snow with a flat tire. We can do this, too, my friend. One day at a time and with God's help.

Wishing you all the best of luck and Godspeed moving forward and sending you a hug & a prayer, too
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Reply to lealonnie1
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Dbthomas282 Sep 26, 2021
Thank you for the encouragement. Today is a bad day for LO. I will survive!
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Of course you are scared. Who wouldn't be?
You and he have had this hanging over your heads for years. I bet you were scared 7 years ago with the diagnosis.
You are going to have moments like the one you had in the store and sometimes it will pass other times it will be like a bolt of lightning struck you. All I can say is it is normal all the feelings that you are having.
Start now looking for something to do, volunteer for a few hours a week. It will get you out for a bit. Talking to people does wonders. When my Husband was on Hospice I started Volunteering for the Hospice 1 day a week. I had caregivers so at least 1 of those days was my Volunteer day. It was amazing what having something to do changed my day. There were days a month I had my Support Groups (I belonged to 2) they were incredibly helpful in keeping me sane. (although my sanity I sometimes question 😉)
If you do not have a Support Group please find one.
Hospice does have Volunteers that will come and visit with your husband if you need someone to stay with him.
All I can add is talk to each other. Tell him how you feel. I am sure he is just as frightened as you are.
Talk to Hospice Social Worker and Chaplain. They are there to help you both.
YOU are much stronger than you think you are.
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Reply to Grandma1954
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Dbthomas282 Sep 26, 2021
Thank you! I do belong to a hospice support group and it has been a wonderful place to share without judgement. I never thought of volunteering, especially at hospice. That is something I think I will consider. Thank you again.
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I too went from my parents home(at 18) to my first husbands home, and after we divorced 9 years later, I lived on my own with my 2 children for 8 years until I married my 2nd husband. We were also married 26 years. He had a massive stroke a year and a half after we were married at the age of 48(he was 12 years older than me)and never regained all that he had lost. As the years went on, he developed more and more health issues, and eventually was diagnosed with vascular dementia, which led to aspiration pneumonia, and almost killed. him. He did recover(if you want to call it that)and came home completely bedridden, where he remained the last 22 months of his life.
My husband died Sept. 14th 2020, and I too am a young 62 year old. It was very hard at first, as I was his caregiver for so many years, that I found myself wandering around the house for the first several months wondering what it was that I was supposed to be doing. Eventually I started to go and do more things, and it wasn't until perhaps this past July, that I finally felt like I could now move forward in my life. I had to remind myself that I wasn't the one who died, and that I still had a lot of living to do, and that is what I am now doing.
And because this is truly the first time that I have lived on my own, I am finding that I really enjoy it, as I can do what I want, if I want and when I want, and you just can't beat that.
It will be hard for you at first, but please allow yourself proper time to grieve, and to adjust to your "new normal." You will know when it's time to start getting back out there and enjoying your life, and it will more than likely start with some very small baby steps. Just make sure that you're brave enough to take those steps as they will lead to even bigger steps and before you know it, you will have found your joy again.
But for now, enjoy whatever time you have left with your husband, and make sure that you leave nothing left unsaid. And also make sure that you are taking time away for yourself as well, as you are just as important as he is.
My heart goes out to you, as I know all too well what you are going through. There is nothing easy about it, but I hope that you are leaning on your heavenly Father, as He will never leave you nor forsake you. And that my friend, you can take to the bank.
May God grant you His strength and peace in the days, weeks and months ahead.
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Reply to funkygrandma59
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Dbthomas282 Sep 26, 2021
We have such similar journeys. I know it is a day to day process. My faith will and has gotten me through difficult days. Thank you for sharing your story and encouragement.
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You might want to talk to the social worker and spiritual counselor connected to hospice. Also ask them for info on support groups in your area or on Zoom. There are many options to "living alone". Family, friends, roommates, living in an independent senior housing apartment. Worry and anxiety are to be expected but there are always changes ahead and we can face them. Ask for help.
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Reply to vegaslady
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Dbthomas282 Sep 26, 2021
Thank you! When the time is right those things mentioned I may consider.
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