One Month as a Widow

Today marks 31 days since my beloved husband died. This is an update on how I and my four year old are managing.

To be honest, I haven’t dealt with the list of things they say you have to deal with. I haven’t taken his name off of anything except the mailbox.

My daughter and I are just trying to survive each next minute. I do my best to not think about my Jason at all, ever. It doesn’t always work, but when I can be so busy I don’t have a single second to let my thoughts wander I can be gloriously numb for large portions of time and it is wonderful. It is so wonderful when I can forget that he won’t be home soon or that I won’t be sleeping beside him tonight. It is wonderful when I am so caught up in a book or a youtube video or work that I don’t have to think about anything else at all, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

When distraction fails I’m pulled deeply in to despair. I cry and am unable to stop. I beg for my Jason to come back to me. I wail and scream that it isn’t fair, that horrible people live to an old age and my amazing, kind, brilliant, loving husband died so horribly at just 42. I hurt more than I would ever have thought I could bear. It hurts to think. It hurts to breathe. I hurts to just keep living and I don’t want to.

If I had my wish I would be dead. I don’t know how to live without my Jason and I don’t want to.

The only reason I am still here is because of Pepper. She needs me to be here. With her. Even if I don’t want to be. I finally told myself that I have to be alive because she needs me to be, but I don’t have to like it. I never have to want to be alive. I don’t have to appreciate that I’m alive. I just have to do it, because Pepper deserves for me to do so. So I’m coping, minute to minute, for her.

A few things that are helping to keep us going are:

  • Not being home all alone for more than one day
  • Giant check lists of things that need to be done, from laundry, to showers, to reading, everything goes on the list
  • To make sure I eat even though it makes me nauseous to even think about it, I have a deal. Every time Pepper asks for food I have to eat something too. Even if it’s a slice of bread. I have to eat something.
  • We keep a gratitude journal together, even when I can’t think of something I have to come up with an answer because Pepper wants to know what I write.
  • Keeping the easiest food possible on hand always, pre-cut fruit and veg, bread, protein shakes when I literally can’t make myself eat a bite.
  • Plastic/paper dishes. I can’t use any of our dishes. The mugs especially have far too many memories of holidays and love and I wasn’t eating or drinking at all when those were my only options. I keep the house stocked with disposable things and it makes it easier for me.
  • Mindless apps on my phone that I can stare at or play until I finally pass out.
  • Talking to an aunt that was also a young widow. I’m 32 and a widow and a single mother with no money. She understands me the best of anyone I’ve ever met. We talk nightly and I can complain about stupid things people said to me or about how worried about money I am, or about how much I miss my Jason and wish I were dead. And she just gets it and loves me no matter what.
  • I’ve also started grief counseling. I had the set up visit last week and have my first actual appointment tomorrow.

It’s so hard. I spend more time wishing I were dead than not wishing. I can’t imagine ever feeling happy or wanting to be alive again. I can’t imagine ever caring about anything ever again either. My entire life goal at this point is to be numb and to be here as long as Pepper needs me.

Pepper is largely as joyful as ever. We had some behavioral issues for the first couple of weeks after Jason’s death, but she is doing wonderfully now. We stay very busy with crafts and school and work. And we’re managing to keep going by holding on to each other as tightly as we can. She asks questions that I answer to the best of my ability and though I never bring up Jason if I can help it, I never stop her from talking about him or asking about him. She misses him, but she is doing well and that is the one thing I am grateful for in this whole horrendous mess.

 

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Cancer Update 05/11/2019

My husband’s health has been declining rapidly the past couple of weeks. He has a lot of trouble standing up, he has stopped using the bathroom and only uses diapers. He has no energy to do anything, but sleep. He doesn’t even have the energy to respond verbally to questions.

 

I purchased him a wheelchair using funds that were donated through his gofundme. We needed it because for this weekend we are taking him to the hospital every 6 hours to get him injected with steroids through the picc line that was installed yesterday. I’m totally exhausted. We’ve been in and out of the hospital for two full days so far and we have two more days to go. Other appointments are still scheduled in between and we’re trying to balance all of this with using his Optune device, new as of last week. Our lives are kind of hell right now.

 

It’s at least a two hour process to get him up, undressed, dry diaper and clothes on, in to the wheelchair and out to the car. In to to the car, to the hospital, out of the car and back in to the wheelchair and then up to the fourth floor to wait for them to take vitals, give him his injections, take vitals again, and then get him back down to the main floor, to the car, in the car, and back home to get out of the car, in to his wheelchair, in to the house, out of the wheelchair and in to either bed or his recliner to try and nap for a couple hours before we have to start all over again.

 

Our whole house is awake every four or so hours to get him to and from the hospital right now. We’re all exhausted and cranky. New updates soon hopefully. Today I’m too tired.

This or That

This is kind of a ridiculous post. I saw this list of 89 Extremely Good This or That Questions on Lifehacks and decided to just have a bit of silly fun. I think I deserve a bit of that from time to time.

► Cookies or cake? Cake, especially if it’s chocolate

► Cat or dog? Cat

► Computer games or video games? Video Games

► Pop music or Rock music? Pop music

► Stuff animals or dolls? Stuffed animals

► Pancakes or waffles? Pancakes

► Hot chocolate or coffee? Coffee. All day, every day.

► Morning or evening? Morning

► Day or night? Day

► Text message or call? Text message

► Library or museums? Library

► French or Spanish? French

► Summer or winter? Summer

► Theater or cinema? Theater

► Love or money? Love

► Book or movie? Book

► Tea or coffee? Coffee

► Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate

► Coca-Cola or Pepsi? Pepsi

► Rain or snow? Rain

► Car or motorcycle? Car

► Comedy or horror? Comedy

► Hamburgers or hot dogs? Hot dogs

► Paper or plastic? Plastic

► Boat or plane? Boat

► Painting or drawing? Painting

► Reading or writing? Reading

► Singing or dancing? Singing

► T-Shirts or sweaters? T-shirts

► Flowers or trees? Trees

► Phone or computer? Phone

► Brown or black hair? Brown

► Superman or Batman? Batman

► Doctor Who or the Walking Dead? I’ve never seen either

► Lions or Bears? Lions

► Milk or juice? Juice

► Gold or silver? Silver

► 50’s or 80’s music? 50’s

► Google or Bing? Google

► Frozen yogurt or ice cream? Ice cream

► Blue or green eyes? Green eyes

► Witches or wizards? Wizards

► Fire or ice? Fire

► Straight or curly hair? Curly

► Fruits or vegetables? Fruit

► Burgers or tacos? Tacos, but neither really

► Roses or daisies? Daisy

► Pandas or whales? Panda

► McDonald’s or Burger King? Burger King

► Books or magazines? Books

► Circles or squares? Circle

► Ketchup or mustard? Mustard

► Money or fame? Money

► Piercings or tattoos? Tattoos

► Puzzles or board games? Puzzle

► Living room or bedroom? Livingroom

► Sandals or sneakers? Sandals

► Apples or oranges? Apples

► Bagels or toast? Toast

► Weird or crazy? Weird

► Skates or bike? Bike

► Go skiing or snowboarding? Skiing, but neither  really.

► Watch or play sports? watch, but neither really.

► Swim in a pool or in the sea? Pool

► Sweet or salty? Sweet

► Cars or trucks? Cars

► Leather or lace? Lace

► Steak or chicken? Chicken

► Alaska or Hawaii? Hawaii

► Shower or tub? Shower

► TV Shows or movies? TV Shows

► Breakfast or dinner? Dinner

► Bananas or apples? Apples

► Facebook or Twitter? Facebook

► What’s up or Viber? I don’t know what either of those are

► Mountains or beach? Mountains

► Digital watch or analog? Digital

► Freedom or hope? Hope

► Alice in Wonderland or Robinson Crusoe? Alice in Wonderland

► Snow White or Cinderella? Cinderella, but neither really.

► Sitting or standing? Sitting

► Comedy or drama? Comedy

► Being too warm or too cold? Too warm

► Pasta or pizza? Pizza

► Online shopping or in-person shopping? Online

► Writing poetry or reading poetry? Reading

► Wild animals or domestic animals? Wild animals

► Family or friends? Family

► Scooby Doo or Tom and Jerry? Scooby Doo

That was a lot of questions and none of them meant anything really haha Feel free to leave some of your answers down below.

Super Mom Tag

I don’t know who the original creator of this tag is. If you know please let me know and I’ll link them. There are 10 questions.

 

1) How many kids do you have and what age?

I have one four year old daughter.

2) Do you feel you have it all together most days? Cleaning/ laundry/beauty etc

I feel like I have it all together on zero days. Especially the past few months while dealing with my husbands terminal brain cancer and everything that goes along with that. Without my mother we would literally never have any clean dishes.

3) When do you make time for a shower? Day or night?

Whenever I can find a few minutes to leave my husband and daughter together and occupied or with another adult on hand in case they need anything. Usually it’s day time.

4) Do you wear makeup everyday?

No. Not even every year at this point.

5) Do you style your hair everyday or just ponytail it?

Neither. I had it cut off after the cancer diagnosis so that i don’t have to do anything to it. I don’t usually even remember to brush it.

6) When do you get time to style your hair and do your make up? When they are asleep or awake?

Never. I don’t style hair or wear makeup

7) Do you workout and when?

Not really. I try to squeeze a few of something, like jumping jacks or yoga with the kiddo when my husband is sleeping, but nothing too complicated or time consuming.

8) What is your cleaning routine? Do you clean everyday?

Again, not really. My husband and daughter take literally ever second of my time. I am only able to write this post because I stayed up past my bedtime to do so and it will be a very long exhausted day tomorrow because of it. I do laundry when it’s overflowing the basket and the rest of the chores pretty much follow suit. It wasn’t always that way though. Everything is so much different since the cancer took over our entire lives.

9) Do you ever get overwhelmed with all the responsibilities of being a mum?

Yes. I am overwhelmed nearly every moment

10) How often do you get some alone/me time and what do you do to relax?

I don’t have alone time any more. I have to take care of the kiddo and the hubby. Even when my daughter is taken to do something with either my parents or father in law I have to stay behind to watch over my husband. It feels more like I’m his babysitter than wife these days to be honest.

I do try to get some relaxation time in a few times a week though. If someone else is here to make sure my daughter and husband are okay I will close the bathroom door and take a shower that’s closer to 15 minutes instead of the usual 5 and just relish not being needed for a few minutes.

I also read. As often and as long as I can. When my daughter can keep herself entertained for a little while I like to try and sit on the comfortable armchair for an hour or so in the afternoon with my book.

 

I kind of wish I had my answers to these questions a half a year ago to see how much they have changed, but that might make me more sad.

 

Are you a mom that wears makeup every day? That was never me even before the chaos started.

Cancer Update 4/11/19

It has now been 71 days since my husband had a seizure that ended us in the hospital for several days. The seizure led to an cat scan that led to MRIs, EEGs, and other tests before they did a brain biopsy and told us that he has stage 4 Glioblastoma Multiforme and 18-24 months to live.

 

It’s been about a month since the last update. He finished chemo on the 8th and radiation on the 9th. He now has four weeks off from both. After four weeks he will have a new MRI to see if the treatments did any good or if the tumor is still growing despite the efforts.

 

After the four week MRI he will probably be starting chemo in some form again and will also be starting use of Optune, a device he wears on his head to send electric waves in to his brain 18 hours a day.

 

To be honest, every step of this whole process has been utterly horrific for me and I can’t begin to imagine how hard it all is for him. In total honesty, in an especially hard moment, I had the thought that it would have been so much easier for all three of us if we had lost him after the seizure instead of going through all of this to try and prolong his life a little bit longer. I didn’t mean it and I am grateful for all 71 of the days we have had together since the seizure that I thought was him dying. Everything is so hard though.

 

The current worry is that his red blood counts are too high and they may have to take a pint of blood out to thin it out next week if we can’t get it thinner with more water and exercise. They are also talking about a sleep study to check for sleep apnea. We’re not sure we’re on board for that, but will cross that road when we get there.
We’re trying really hard to take things just one day at a time and to keep things as normal as we possibly can. I’m hoping being off of chemo and radiation for a month means he will need less sleep, currently he is sleeping about 14 hours a day between night and nap.

 

Unfortunately we’re also terrified because he will be off treatment for four weeks. His tumor grew another half an inch in 19 days before he started treatment. What will it do while left to its own devices for four full weeks plus some days for analysis and appointments to be made? There is nothing we can do about it though. That’s protocol. We just have to hope the tumor doesn’t grow rapidly enough to kill him before we see another doctor and start the next phase of treatment.

 

In the mean time I check a dozen times a day to make sure he’s still breathing. I bought a security camera to face the bed so I can check on him if I have to be out of the home briefly while he is napping. I check his fitbit multiple times a day to be sure he is sleeping soundly and his heart rate isn’t getting too high. I worry constantly about how to best care for him while still being able to take the best care of my four year old. Since the seizure it feels like every choice I have to make is to choose between my husband and my child and I hate it so much. It is so much work and so much stress and so unfair to all of us, my four year old especially.

But for now we wait and we do our best.

 

ETA: An Aunt has started a Gofundme campaign for my husband, daughter, and I. If you would like the information on how to find it let me know.

Cancer Update 3/16/19

This is an update on my husband’s brain tumor. As a recap, he had a seizure 44 days ago, on January 31st. His first, and only so far. We were taken to two hospitals by the paramedics and after three days of various cat scans, MRIs and finally a brain biopsy it was determined that he has glioblastoma multiform and was given 18-24 months to live with treatment.

We have since found out that it is a wild style tumor which means it’s the most aggressive form of cancer our neurosurgeon has ever seen. It grew from 1.5 inches at the time of his seizure to 2 inches 19 days later when they took another MRI to finish plotting his radiation treatments.

Depending on which of his doctors you talk to the treatments he is having could do anything from nothing at all, to slowing the growth, to shrinking the tumor.

So far he has had 13 of 33 radiation treatments and 18 of 42 chemo pills. Until this past week the only real symptoms of treatment he was experiencing were being tired all the time and being hungry all the time.

This week though we ended up with a more visual reminder of his oncoming death. He began to lose his hair from the radiation. We both took it poorly. Neither of us are attached to his hair, but for me, when he looked normal I could keep the panic at bay and sometimes even forget that he was dying before my eyes for minutes at a time. Now whenever I look at him I’m hit in the face with a reminder that I’m losing my husband and best friend, probably soon. It kills me over and over every day.

Today we’re going to the girl that has cut his hair longer than I’ve known him to let her take his hair off all the way so we don’t have to slowly watch him lose the rest of it all over the house.

We have no idea what size his tumor might be at this point. They will do another MRI in a month or so when his treatments have ended for this session. We just don’t know what to expect next or how much time to really hope for. Right now life is lived minute to minute focusing only on the exact next thing I need to accomplish. I don’t know how to live it any other way.

Good Bye Birthday Month

This is the last post for birthday month. I somehow managed to keep up with a goal I made before my husband was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Because my life was permanently changed just days before this month was due to start a lot of the posts I had planned to write were forgotten about. A lot of things that were important before just aren’t now. Other posts were kept in only because they were fairly simple to write to keep me on target for the 28 days of posting.

I posted 30 times this month. I also posted about more personal things than I have before. That seems to happen when your world crashes down around you over and over again. Sorry book lovers. Back to largely bookish content from here on out. An occasional life update is sure to be included too.

I gained 18 followers. Hello new friends!

I think the most important thing this month gave me though was a small task each day that I could accomplish and keep my mind off of everything else going on in my life for a few moments.

Thanks to everyone here that reads my posts and leaves likes and comments. You’re helping more than you think to keep me going during this horrendous time in my life.

Thank you!

See you on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday again from here on out.