By Lois A. Troutman
I think the thing that I was most proud of was
that I saw Ken through this illness from beginning to end
and did it to the very best of my ability. I actually
learned a new skill and that was coping with all that needed
to be done, with taking charge of his care, learning to take
care of things at home that Ken always took care of, and
developed the will to do it.
My advice to others would be to stick by your loved one,
no matter how hard things will get, because dealing with the
illness of cancer can be the hardest thing you will ever
face in your lifetime. This is not an easy process,
but in the end you will be a much better person for it.
Ken and I became closer together because of this, too.
We could not be intimate any more, but we found other ways
to stay close. Yes, make ways that you can still
enjoy each other, at least in small ways, and interject a
sense of humor into your days because it is still possible
to enjoy laughter with each other. One thing we
did was pass a teddy bear back and forth and hold onto him.
His name was Binky and Binky helped us cope. Just
develop ways that will be suitable for you in your
It is also imperative to accept someoneís help to sit
with your very ill loved one. That is another helpful
coping mechanism that is vital. Yes, I was a
caregiver, but if I hadnít at least attempted to try to take
care of myself, too, this orderly process that I established
would have come crumbling down.
There are no set rules and regulations to deal with
something like this. Sometimes it takes trial and
error to find the combination that will work for you and
your spouse and sometimes nothing works. You
just do it and you get through it. Actually, that
motto is what I continue to espouse as I go through life
without my husband.
My husband became my hero for the way he fought this
disease with dignity and the will to overcome it. Yes,
he lost the fight, but he left me with a legacy that I try
to keep going today through my own life here on this earth.
Now it is very important for me to tell those people who
mean the most to me that I love them every single day and to
help friends whose husbands have recently passed on from
equally devastating illnesses.
In closing, the strength and wisdom that I acquired
through my life as a caregiver is seeing me through.
My race was tough, my battle was finally over. And,
yes, I can say I did it and I got through it. I
hope these words that I have shared will give you comfort,
peace, and strength. Yes, you can do it and get
through it, too.