100 lb. Club - Serious Illness - Seeking Support

View Full Version : Serious Illness - Seeking Support

09-21-2005, 09:26 PM
Hi Folks,

I have recently (the last few months) been seeing a man I like very much. In fact, I haven't met any one I liked this much in MANY years. Last night I found out that he has a very serious illness that means at best he is expected to live no more than 5-10 years. In fact he is pretty much on borrowed time already. 15 years ago I was engaged to marry a man who 3 months before our wedding found out he had a brain tumor. All day today I have just kept seeing in my mind the scene when we went to our wedding site (a beautiful park in Berkeley, California) and cried knowing we weren't getting married there. (He eventually survived the ordeal but abandoned our relationship).

I really need help in just staying focused. I have the sense of this being too painful to even (mentally) stay in my body. I doubt I will be posting much in my usual spots. I tried today but just couldn't do it. I have also had the feeling what does it mater what I eat... It all goes to h**l anyways. I started a new job this week and just want to stay present, be in my body and feel what I need to feel. I have to believe in the end this will be healing or else I think I would go crazy right here and now. Thanks for being there for me.

Denise aka activeadventurer

09-21-2005, 09:57 PM
What is wrong with him, if you don't mind my asking? Keep in mind (even though it sounds trite and cliched) that none of us knows how much longer we have. Potentially you could meet an entirely healthy man who would die sooner than this one in an accident or of illness. I didn't mean that to sound like a downer, my only point is just to appreciate the love you have. That being said, don't screw yourself out of happiness and health because of your disappointment over his condition. I'm so sorry you're having a hard time and sorry you're having to revisit a painful time in your life. :( My thoughts are with you.

09-21-2005, 10:44 PM
Oh Denise, I'm so sorry. I know how scary it is when someone you care deeply about becomes ill and you feel powerless to help and may even want to separate yourself from the situation out of fear for that person and how his/her situation will affect your life.

I don't know what kind of illness your dear friend has, but so much can happen in 5-15 years from a medical standpoint; everything from advances to prolong life (and the quality of life) to a cure being found. Then there is the acceptance that life may be shorter than expected, but can still be very fulfilling. My father has recently been diagnosed with cancer and is of the attitude that a whole lot of living can be packed into the two years his doctors have predicted for him.

My own sweetie wasn't given the greatest odds to survive his 17hr. surgery, yet he did (as well as fighting off a couple of bouts of meningitis and a stroke during his recovery ~ which included several months of hospital stay). There were so many times he could have given up but I'm proud to say he fought back and vowed to stay alive so he could be there for his children as they grew. He was left totally deaf in one ear, has vision problems and is paralysed on one side of his face, but considers himself the luckiest man on earth (and not just because he has me :D ). Sure, he could get sick again tomorrow, but then so could I. Its so terribly difficult to control your own destiny when you have such little control! :tantrum: So, what can we do other than carry on? After all, what's the alternative? As difficult as it is to think about it, you have to decide whether it will be more painful to stay with or away from your friend.

Please don't give up the fight to improve your own health. You've fought too long and too hard to beat cancer to give up now because someone else close to you is in a bad way. Yes, its terribly sad that these things happen to people, but such things have always and always will, yet the world goes on and you just have to cherish the time that's granted you. A perfectly healthy person can get hit by a bus tomorrow and a deathly ill person can miraculously recover from a devastating illness ~ its all part of the life process and we have to appreciate each day as it comes and hope that we, and those we care about, have the opportunity to make the most we can possibly make of our lives. :grouphug:

09-21-2005, 11:18 PM
Let me start with a little bit of something that no one here knows about me.

I started a group about a year and a half ago (actually a pretty sucessful message board) for a little girl named Allison Scott (www.scotthousehold.com) she had cancer, she unfortunantly joined the many million other angels in heaven that had cancer a few days shy of her 9 month birthday.

We now focus all our energy towards support of cancer kiddos and their families.

Let me tell you about a little boy I "follow"... Jacob D. about a month ago, this little guy was given mearly a few days left to live. His tumor in his tummy basically exploaded, and spread. I will spare the gorey detailes but.. the kid was on a DNR, and MANY pain meds "for comfort" he was not going to make it another week, if that.

This was about a month ago, this little boy is now looking at going home in the near future because his cancer is subsideing. The decided, since he started acting slightly better to look one last time at his tumor marker numbers, low and behold, they dropped SUBSTANTIALLY!

The point is, no one can really say how long any of us will be left. We also have kiddos that are doing WONDERFUL and bam.. out of the blue pass on.

Enjoy today, what comes tomarrow will come. Make these happy memories last forever in your heart. Live now, and live happy. You cant deprive yourself happiness because you think in 5 years things might end. It will make you a much stronger, but happy person in the end.

HUGS, we are here for support. YOU are worth this, and YOU are worth your happiness.

09-22-2005, 01:12 AM
I'm so sorry you're faced with this, Denise. :grouphug: It's one of those difficult things we have to cope with throughout our lives.

I'm very much a live-for-the-moment type of person because who can ever predict what's lurking around the next corner? From the age of eight, I lived with the very real possibility of my dad dying at any moment. He actually died over 25 years later--ironically, of something completely unrelated. On the other hand, when I was sixteen, my boyfriend was killed instantaneously in a motorcycle accident.

I agree with Jilly when she says not to abandon your quest for good health. Life can be harsh, dealing out situations over which we have no control. I hope you're able to continue devoting time to your own well-being. You deserve it. Take care and know you have support here.

09-22-2005, 08:58 AM
So many great replies already posted. I have to agree with what the others have said.

I'd live for the moment like DishyFishy said. You have no way of knowing what the future will hold. You can make predictions but nothing is a sure thing. Enjoy every precious moment. Don't give up on your own efforts because of an uncertainty that may lie ahead.


09-22-2005, 08:59 AM
Denise, I am so sorry you have to deal with a love one being seriously ill. I lost my brother at the age of 45 a year and a half ago. His son and daughter in law had twins, a boy and a girl June 29. It made me so sad he was not here to love on them. I believe he is watching over them. Anyway, I watched my brother get weaker and weaker for 5 years (had lupus and it attacked his intire body) I flew home (Oklahoma to Nevada) every school break and during the summer. My husband and children understood and knew that I wanted to make the best of every minute I had left with my brother. I spent hours and hours reading to him and playing Nevada trivia with him while he lay in the hospital bed to help keep his mind busy. We use to hear answers to the triva come from the hall as nurses passed by. (Happy memory)I use to stop at all of Bret's favorite resaurants and bring him food, he was so tired of hospital food. I gained a lot of wait those few years becasue I sat at his bed side in the hospital or at his bed side at home. Saturday would have been his 47 birthday. I could go on and on but my point is.
If you really love/like this guys, stick by him and make every day worth living and take care of your self while doing it. I am sure he is just a frightened as you.

09-22-2005, 12:36 PM
Just wanted to give you a great big ((((CYBER HUG)))).

09-22-2005, 02:01 PM
Oh, Denise. :grouphug: Everyone has already given you so much valuable feedback, but I'll just add my voice to the chorus. I'm in the process of recovering from six months of high dose chemo, which effectively put me in remission from what was Stage IIIB (almost IV but they decided to go with III) cancer. Like plenty of other survivors, I know intimately that every minute of life you're given is a gift, just as love is a gift and good health is a gift. It's completely understandable that you would be reeling from the knowledge that again you're in love with a man about whom you cannot say, "He will be mine for the rest of my life." Of COURSE you're going to have a profound reaction to that realization. My heart goes out to you, Denise, it really does. The thing that I urge you to remember is that you don't have control over who you love, just as none of us can predict what will transpire in the next minute, much less the next day. You love him, he loves you, and that's it. Your time with him is a gift, so hold it close! Your health and life also are gifts, so do not squander them -- no matter how badly you're feeling right now. Throwing up your hands and shutting down will not help you. :grouphug:

I'd like to mention also that my form of lymphoma was much more frequently lethal 10 years ago than it is today -- so you never know what medical advances will transpire. You don't have a crystal ball, so don't anticipate pain and loss when what you really have is love given you by someone you love back. It all boils down to that.

I feel such tenderness for what you're going through, so I fear that what I'm about to say will sound callous -- that's the last thing I want. I really feel strongly, though, that this falls into the category of "It is what it is." You simply don't have control over what happens to this man, or how it affects your life, or even how it will be in the interim. And that is terrifying. I dreamt last night that my cancer returned, and that an enormous tumor was growing in my abdomen. When I woke up I was panicked and so frightened -- I was shaking and my heart was racing. But you know what? It was just a dream. The reality is that I, like you, only have control over my own actions, and how I react to what life throws in my path. Life is uncertain, we all live with that -- the difference in your case, as in my case, is that we can give a name to that uncertainty. I know that if my cancer returns, I want to look back at the days I had after fighting it the first time and know that I loved my life and this world and didn't take either of them for granted, that I showered the people I love with love.

So Denise, while you've got this terrifying uncertainty, you've also got the very real certainties of love and hope and the promise of each new moment. Do not abandon these gifts because you're afraid. And let us help you with the fear -- don't stay away from sources of support when most need it! :grouphug:

I'm sending all KINDS of positive vibes your way, girl -- love, strength, and hope. :goodvibes :goodvibes :goodvibes

09-22-2005, 03:16 PM
Oh Denise, everyone has been so eloquent already; I really don't have anything useful to add other than that I'm sorry you are facing such a terrible time right now. But I have to agree, you must take care of yourself, regardless of what else is going on in your life. I know, it's easier said than done, but it is the truth. Good luck sweetie, you are in my thoughts.


09-22-2005, 08:13 PM
Thanks to every one for all the good vibes. I must be getting them as I did better today. Went to work, cried less and felt some what more grounded. Food has been OK. Not OP (some under and some over eating) but still not crazy.

I really appreciated your thoughts. I had a hard time going through this so "publically" but as one of you said so eloquently "throwing up your hands and shutting down will not help you". My greatest fear was that I would or was doing just that. Your kind words have helped pull me back from that edge. It still tempts me but hopefully with the help of all of you, I will keep backing up from that option. Also, I am frequently the " strong" one in my family and many relationships (I am sure many of you can relate) and I knew I was not up for that.

I really appreciated those of you who shared your own stories of struggle or loss. It really helps to know I am not alone. As I get a little distance on the news, I realize a lot of my tears and pain are about past losses. My fiance 15 years ago and two brothers and my favorite uncle in a short period of time when I was a teenager. The powerlessness of it all!!! My hope is that I can heal through this whole experience.

I have yet to talk to DF(Dear Friend? :) ) since he gave me the news. Most likely we will connect tonight. I will keep you posted on how that goes. Thanks a million. By showing up on this post you are helping me to show up in my life. No small feat!!!

:( Denise

09-24-2005, 08:58 AM
Thanks for you kind and wise words everyone.

I am learning bit by bit to integrate this new information into my life and to grieve old losses once again. I talked to my DF again last night. We both agree that we care for each other and want to continue to grow in knowing one another.

It really is one day at a time and I have no choice but to live and love as best I can. I told him his timing was perfect. If he had told me any sooner, I might have missed out on knowing him, any later and I may have felt betrayed. Even then, it still HURTS.

I feel so bad for him. I had a friend many years ago with the same illness (juvenile diabetes) who appeared to be the picture of health (trim, athletic, vital) like DF and three years later he was dead at 43. DF's older brother has already died from the disease, luckily both of his daughters (now in their early 20's) don't have it.

I have had trouble focusing over this last week and have not been sleeping much at all. I go to sleep fine, but wake up in the wee hours and can't go back to sleep.

The day before all this happened, I started a Lazy Man's Triathalon (see thread in 3FC Buddy section) I am hoping it will help motivate me to take good care of myself during this difficult time. I think I am a depressed/sad and exercise is some of the best medicine when I feel like that and the hardest to do.

This is a great and WISE group of people. I am doing much better than I would have if I weren't reading and posting on 3FC. The best to each of you.


09-24-2005, 09:13 AM
Oh Denise, it does sound like you're feeling a bit better, thank goodness!

It really is one day at a time and I have no choice but to live and love as best I can.
I know this is such a scary, stressful, uncertain time for you, but as long as you continue with this mentality, you're gonna be just fine.

I think I am a depressed/sad and exercise is some of the best medicine when I feel like that and the hardest to do.
Exactly! And it sure beats curling up with a pint of Ben & Jerry's, right?!

I love your Lazy Man's Triathalon idea, now that's MY kind of triathalon!

Just keep plugging away sweetie, you're doing great.


09-24-2005, 10:17 AM
Hey there, just checking in after a few days out of touch. I'm so sorry for your pain but agree with what folks have said. I'm glad you're doing better. Type I diabetes is a tough chronic illness. So much also depends on how your DF manages it and how his body responds. Medical advances happen all the time, so keep the faith. I have a friend in her 50's with the illness and have seen first hand all the ups and downs. A healthy lifestyle is so important for both of you. You will be a good support for him. Take care and stay strong.