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New joiner, widowed in January


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Hi all,

I'm here after three months of being widowed by this vile disease. Taking the first step towards contributing to research and making some sense of my amazing brave and beautiful husband, Mal, of only 11 years. I'm coming out of the initial shock of his sudden deterioration and subsequent demise....for a long time my recent memory of him dying right there in front of me was too traumatic. Fortunately he was granted his wish to end his days at home by the hospice. He was diagnosed in May 2017, treated with Folfirinox from July, became diabetic, then subsequent treatment in November because the tumour grew - GemCap which ended on our 10th wedding anniversary. Radiotherapy ensued after a duodenal stent was fitted, and we were expecting to attend an appointment in January this year. Not to be, he got sick over Christmas. Christmas in hospital....After Christmas he was allowed home for New Years Eve before going into the Hospice for symptom control. After tests showed he was not long for this Earth, he was advised strongly to stay in the Hospice, but he wanted to come home. It was arranged speedily - hospital bed provided and walking aids etc. They expected him to die within a couple of days but he lasted 16, and we had excellent support form the community Hospice Team during this time. I held on to my emotions for his sake, but there were occasions where I would take myself off and have a good cry. I have had so much community and family support. I have also looked after myself very well, having what I call 'none-days', where not a lot gets done, I just rested up or took a bath. Or went out for a walk, played music, whatever I felt like at the time. Meditation and prayer have also helped me. Now I am looking to find a gentle undemanding part time job, get some routine back into my days. The paperwork after someone dies is relentless, even with the 'tell us once' form (very useful form). Finding things he has touched, paper and notepads with his handwriting on it. Photographs, doing something we used to do together - triggers another wave of grief. Facing the 11th Wedding anniversary, and before that, the 12th anniversary of us meeting for the first time (internet date). His birthday (he would have been 58). Facing the first anniversary of my Mum's death last year. Mal couldn't attend the funeral because he was in hospital with a suspected blocked stent/ infection. Facing long days of seeing nor hearing from anyone. Facing a lonely future. I can do the alone but I can't cope with not having Mal alive and with me. So I have to settle for him in the metaphysical, in a funeral urn, in my heart and my memories of him. I talk to him in the car (I was always schlepping him around in the latter days), and sometimes to his photograph. Him in his wedding garb, the Irish tartan regalia (he was cremated wearing it). I still have all of his shoes. His nickname at work was Mr Shoes....I have started thinking about the early days - I had been married before, had children and been single throughout their childhood. He had always been a bachelor, shy and unsure of himself. Until he met me and we matched, so he was confident with me. A new life for us both, hopes and dreams ahead of us, our motto being "together we can do anything". All gone and now I need to do everything myself. At first this seemed impossible. There seemed to be little point in anything that I did. I was pretty angry too, when my irresponsible ex husband died of cancer in February (not PC type) but his had been treated successfully in the 90's yet he continued to abuse his body after his remission and had 25 years on Earth. Mal had less than 2 years after diagnosis and he had always led a healthy lifestyle. Unfair, and I had to support my children through their double whammy grief. Unfair. Healthy people are dying of this disease....I want to know why. So this is the start. I want to help.

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PCUK Nurse Rachel R

Hi there ChrisTan,

My name is Rachel, I'm one of the Nurses that works on the support services at the charity. I'm sure the forum family will reply soon, I just wanted to briefly say hello and welcome you on behalf of the nurses. I also wanted to pass on my heartfelt sympathies for your loss of Mal.

Thank you very much for sharing yours and Mal's story with us. You sound such an amazing couple and I can only imagine the pain you've gone through and continue to face. You are incredibly brave to share and commit to taking a stand against this dreadful cancer.

Please consider phoning or emailing us if ever you wish to chat.

Thinking of you,


Rachel Richardson

Pancreatic Cancer Specialist Nurse

Support Team

Pancreatic Cancer UK

email: nurse@pancreaticcancer.org.uk

support line: 0808 801 0707

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Hi Rachel

Thank you for responding and your kind words. I'm sure someone will reply soon.It was good to get this all out in the open amongst people who know what it's like to go on this journey. My aim is to search for truths - the 'why?' that so many people must be asking. To share our story and maybe get someone through, somehow as well as helping myself cope with the myriad of emotions right now.

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Hi ChrisTan,

Your story is similar to so many of our that it’s hard to not relive the moments that I remember that parallel yours. But this isn’t about me, this is about you and your husband and the loss you’ve experienced. I just send out a virtual hug and hope there are people around you to give you the real thing when you need it.

Everything you describe is normal to feel, all the Whats, whys and who’s. But now you need to focus on yourself and try to allow yourself to heal. I’m nearly 2 years down the line and I still have moments where I fall apart for a moment when I see/hear/smell a trigger. But those moments are somehow a little bit therapeutic for me as I guess like most people I feel guilt I’m still here and those trigger events make me remember something that I might have forgotten or not thought about for a while. And gladly more of them are good memories not bad now.

Writing is a big help. I think my thread on here is 10s of pages long, and if you need to write what you feel and get it out.

Rob x

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