Love, Loss, Cancer & Advocacy

Discussion in 'Loss of Spouse' started by heartbrokenartist, Nov 22, 2021.

  1. heartbrokenartist

    heartbrokenartist New Member

    I’m new here and this is my first post…

    In June my wife died in my arms from triple-negative metastatic breast cancer caused by an inherited mutation in a BRCA2 gene. Her nearly 4-year cancer struggle was a nightmare journey through some of the darkest regions of hell for her, for me as her caregiver, and for my adult daughter. But none of it should have ever happened! Despite a devastating family history of cancer, there was an inexcusable failure to communicate the urgent need to be genetically tested by relatives acutely aware of a germline BRCA2 mutation. Our hopes and dreams were wiped out because nobody cared enough to speak up.

    My life has been absolutely shattered and moving forward seems impossible. But, since my daughter also carries the mutation she inherited from her mother, I’m making it a personal mission to tell her story and to help prevent others from suffering like my wife did.

    (On my blog I tell the whole story and along with the post I have created a list of numerous resources where more hereditary cancer information can be found, including links on how to talk to your family about health history and genetic cancer risks: https://www.carefreeartist.com/p/love-loss-cancer-advocacy.html)

    Nobody should suffer and die of a preventable cancer.
    Van Gogh likes this.
  2. DEB321

    DEB321 Well-Known Member


    I don't have the words to tell you how very sorry I am for your loss... My husband, Bob died in April. He had many chronic health conditions, one of them being kidney cancer that spread to his vena cava and lungs. In 2015 he had all the classic signs of kidney cancer, but was misdiagnosed. Long story short, by the time he received the correct diagnoses, the cancer had spread. He underwent a seven and a half hour procedure where one of his kidney's had to be removed, and the cancer had to be scraped from inside his vena cava. The cancer that had metastasized to his lungs was inoperable. While I had to help him with many of his ADL's, it wasn't until the beginning of 2018 that I became his full time caregiver. I totally "get" that nightmare journey you described...

    While my situation is similar to yours in some ways, it's also very different in other ways. Although I'm not comfortable sharing details on such a public site, I believe that all of Bob's chronic health conditions were caused by chemicals he was exposed to at work years ago. I haven't read your blog (yet), but want to thank you for sharing information here, information that I'm sure others can benefit from.

    I'm totally emotionally and physically worn out from grieving, otherwise I would probably be texting you a "book." I've found this site to be full of the most wonderful people imaginable. I have made many friends here, and honestly, if it wasn't for them, I'm not sure how I would have survived this total heartbreak, the kind of heartbreak that only others who have had to experience, can even begin to possibly understand.

    I'm so sorry you have to be here, but so glad you found us. I hope you'll stick around and give us the opportunity to get to "know" you better.

    Sending you hugs, wishing you peace, all of us peace. DEB
    Van Gogh likes this.
  3. Van Gogh

    Van Gogh Well-Known Member

    Dear Heartbroken Artist, the horror of
    holding your dear wife & soulmate in your
    arms, as you watched her die, is an
    indescribable anguish, that no one but
    fellow widowed persons could understand.
    My wife, Linda, went into the hospital
    with a lump in her breast and extreme
    pain in her back. She was sent to a rehab.
    unit in a nursing home. While being
    monitored for breast cancer, and pain
    medicine for her back, she underwent
    physical therapy ( which she hated),to
    enable her walk without her walker. One
    day, she fell, in a twisted way, on the edge
    of the bed. I ran frantically for help. The last image I saw of Linda was her nurses
    lifting her off the floor. The rescue
    squad sped in to try to revive her, but
    she died from a pulmonary embolism.I had PTSD for 6 months, seeing a grief therapist. We were married 25 years, no children.
    Linda was 68. She died exactly 3 years
    ago.My name Lou. I'm 72. May I ask
    your first name & that of your wife? I
    find that it helps us make a more personal
    connection. I see that my close friend,Deb,
    has also reached out to you. Lou
  4. heartbrokenartist

    heartbrokenartist New Member

    Thank you, Deb. Sorry for your loss.

    I am truly hoping to meet others who get it and care here – because I’ve sure met a lot of people along my painful and traumatic cancer-caregiver and grief journey so far who haven’t a clue.
    DEB321 and Van Gogh like this.
  5. heartbrokenartist

    heartbrokenartist New Member

    Thanks for your reply. And sorry for your loss.

    My wife's name was Donna. She was only 58. We were married for 40 years.
    Van Gogh and DEB321 like this.
  6. Van Gogh

    Van Gogh Well-Known Member

    So sorry to hear that your wife, Donna,
    was only 58. It is so hard to say goodbye
    after a long marriage. I highly recommend
    The Widower's Notebook, a memoir,by
    Jonathan Santlofer. His story is similar top
    our stories, in some respects. His wife.
    Joy, died suddenly in front of him. They had been married 40 years, like you. Other
    people here have found wisdom, comfort,
    and even humor in his book. Thank you
    for telling me Donna's name. I hope you
    will also tell me your first name, when
    you're ready. Lou