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I had to take one of my dogs into the vet today.  We have been going to this vet for years and know everyone there.  My husband always went with me when I took the dogs.  Since he passed away in March, I've only been there once and did not mention his death.  They knew he was having health issues though. 

When I was paying the bill, the one woman said she just saw the note in the records that my husband had passed away.  I guess my vet knew but probably didn't know what to say.  He always used to tease her about how we were contributing to her retirement plan with all of the dogs that we had.  Anyway, I didn't totally fall apart explaining all of what happened, but came close.  On  the way home, it all seemed to hit all over again.

A lot of it is anger that he had to go thru what he did.  Plus, I feel that the doctors let him down in several instances.  I don't know why they didn't suspect that his shoulder pain was caused by lung cancer that had spread.  They suspected lung cancer because of a couple of small nodules.  They were watching the nodules by CT scans every 3 months last year.  He would not agree to a biopsy because they said they couldn't operate because of his emphysema and also because they said his lung could collapse during the procedure.  He was going for pulm therapy 3 or 4 times a week and was actually feeling really good - except for the shoulder pain.  They dx'd it as rotator cuff injury.  By the time they finally did an MRI, it was really too late.  He had 2 chemo treatments, ending up in ICU after the 1st one due to blood clots in his leg.  Even though he complained about pain in his leg before the chemo, they did it anyway and never told us about the possibility of blood clots. 

There were other things that happened while he was in the hospital that just weren't right.  I try to not keep going over it, but today, it's just all coming back.  His bday is 2 weeks from today, and I know that isn't helping.

I just needed to vent somewhere so came here.  Hated to call either of my sons because they're both working.  A friend is going thru cancer treatment with her mom, so didn't want to call her.  My SIL just lost her sister to lung cancer, so didn't want to call her.  And my good friend lost her husband last October and is struggling too.

Somehow, I guess we just have to get thru days like this.

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Replies to This Discussion

@Mary:  These days do happen. and if it helps at all, they do pass. I'm not sure if "Here's why they may have decided the way they did" helps, so if it doesn't, please feel free to skip the next paragraph.  I have found that when I do the "If only"s, I remind myself that ultimately my husband's outcome would have been the same except it would have taken longer and been more uncomfortable for him helps me.

You didn't say where the nodules were.  I assume they were in the lung?  If so, and the nodules were less than 5mm, that is not considered "clinically significant", especially if they had not changed, and especially if your husband would not agree to a biopsy.  A mass can ONLY be determined to be cancerous by doing a biopsy.  Some chemotherapies ARE associated with elevated risk of stroke (the platinum drugs like Cisplatin and Carboplatin are common ones).  It does seem negligent that he had leg pain and they did not consider clots. Of course I cannot tell or determine whether your husband received substandard care.

I'm not going to hash out my husband's whole story again here, you can plow through my many posts if you're curious.  But his neurosurgeon actually DID say he believed my husband received substandard care at the local hospital he was taken to by the ambulance after a stroke (a different from the one that handled his cerebrovascular bypass.

My husband had bladder cancer AND a rare congenital brain disease that was diagnosed while he was in treatment.  Your husband had emphysema. My mother had that too.  She died before she could end up gasping for breath.  Emphysema is progressive and there is no cure.  It's possible that your husband's already-known illness, combined with his unwillingness to have a biopsy, made them less aggressive in pursuing the shoulder issue than they might have.

I can only pass along something that one of the clinical care fellows at NY Presbyterian-Weill Cornell said to me when we had our dreaded "family meeting" where I made the decision to take my husband off the ventilator, since there were no longer any signs of cognition but they could not say definitively if he was clinically "brain dead."  He was a pompous, arrogant man, but in this case, his forthrightness was what I clung to for years during those moments of "What if....?"  He said (paraphrasing) "We are interventionists.  This is what we do. We thump on people's chests and crack their ribs in the name of "doing everything."  We pump chemo into them when we know it won't work because they are not ready to go and their families aren't ready.  Your husband has bladder cancer.  It isn't currently being treated because he's being treated for the seizures.  We have no idea if he will wake up, and until he is, he cannot have further treatment.  He has told you that he doesn't fear death, and his advance directive states specifically that he does not want a tracheotomy and breathing tube.  Deciding not to continue is wholly consistent with what your husband would wish for you to do."  

This doctor was direct, forthright, and brutal.  And I have been grateful to him every single day for the last it-will-be-six-years-this-Saturday.  Because he told me the hard truth, and that was that for my husband, there was to be no happy ending.  The same is true for yours.

Periodically I have wanted to send a letter to the director of the hospital that botched my husband's care, especially since it has since received a number of awards for stroke care.  I even considered suing them.  Then I realized that with a comorbidity of bladder cancer, even if I won a lawsuit, what would it give me?  Money?  That wouldn't bring him back.

Only in the last maybe six months have I finally accepted that there was no other outcome.  His brain disease (moyamoya -- Google it) is progressive even with surgery.  Bladder cancer is notorious for recurring.  After six years, there is no "If he were still here...." -- because he wouldn't be. It has been a hard road to get here.  And still I vent about it, just as you're doing here.  It's necessary.  It helps.  It will get better, I promise.  The acceptance doesn't bring them back or change anything, but it does bring peace.  I wish that for you.  (((HUGS)))

No worries about complaining here. There are days that just suck. So many reminders and nowhere to go with the pain. Glad you came here 

wishing you better days. 

Hi Mary,  I just read your post and want you to know that’s why we’re all here.  The world is to preoccupied for our ups and downs.  I think of this site as my support family.  I’ve given up long ago to reach out to my blood family because they seem to think after 5,6,7,8 years, I should have moved on and healed.  We here know better.

I’m sorry your vet didn’t offer her condolences unless it’s like you said, they don’t know what to say.  I hated how friends and family avoided saying his name.  Always made me mad.  He existed for 63 years so don’t erase him from our lives.  We just have to give everyone a pass for not knowing how to relate to us.

Hope you pups are okay.  Hugs and good vibes to you.


NoLongerinBergenJC, I'm glad you've reached some level of peace with what happened to your husband.  I'm sure that was very difficult.  You don't realize how true the phrase "life isn't fair" is until you go thru something like that with someone you love.

My husband did have a biopsy done on his shoulder, but this was months after he first complained about it.  It actually showed up on a CT scan taken at another hospital months earlier, but they didn't see it until the 2nd hospital found it and they went back and reviewed the results.  I think as long as he was keeping dr appts, taking his meds, going for pulm therapy and ct scans when they recommended, they had an obligation to treat him regardless of his decision about the biopsy.  He agreed to a biopsy on the shoulder in January and would have agreed to it if the first hospital would have done a better job of reading the results.

I actually did write a letter to one of the dept heads about our experience there.  He asked me to come in and talk to him about it, which I did.  We spent about an hour and a half going over things.  He did tell me that during one procedure I was questioning, the wrong type of tube had been inserted to drain fluid.  So, they had to remove it the next day and insert the correct one.  That day, my husbands bp went low and he never recovered.  What bothers me is that my husband told me after the first tube was inserted that "the doctor didn't know what he was doing" and that "it was like a dog and pony show".  I was so upset at the time and so exhausted that I didn't ask him to explain further.

Thank you for your support and for taking the time to reply.

Ultra2015, I've read many, many posts here over the last few months and do feel this is a place where others truly understand. It's almost amazing how people you don't even know understand so much better than ones that you have known for years.  I don't fault them though because it really is something you have to go thru to "get" it.  Thanks for the kind words and for being here.

Barzan, you're so right - this is a support family.  I tried a grief support group but just don't feel it's for me.  Coming here and reading others posts has actually helped more.

I know my vet feels bad.  Maybe she thought saying something would upset me, and it would have.  I do understand though.  She's a wonderful person and I'm okay with her not saying anything.  I do agree that at times it seems like my husband never existed, and that's hard to accept.  It's bad enough going thru taking his name off of the deed, transferring the cars, etc.  I hated doing all of that, but it has to be done.

I am worried about my little dog.  This seemed to come on suddenly, and I'm not 100% sure that I think it's only a respiratory infection.  The breed has a history of heart disease, but the vet assures me that her heart is okay.  We lost our previous 4 dogs in a little over 2 years time due to chf, and I'm sure not ready to lose another. 

We'll take the hug and the good vibes!  Thanks.


I think we all have those "mad as hell and not going to take it anymore" days.  It's like everything just piles on and we can't take one more thing.  Grief is difficult.  Being alone sucks. We are all just doing the best we can.  I'm here to listen and share with everyone else.  Having someplace to vent these feelings is helpful. Just getting it off our chest can make it a bit better.  

I agree, Claire.  Being alone is terrible.  Worse than I could ever imagine.  Somehow we have to find a way though. 

I don't think it's totally sunk in yet that this is the way it's going to be from now on.

Mary, I tell people I'm getting used to the "new normal".  

       Mary: My prayers and a hug go out to you.This Saturday will be 7 years that I lost my husband(my soulmate) Fibrosis of the lungs. We had just moved into our retirement home.Eight months later I was alone. I still look over on his side of the bed int the middle of the night. We all understand how you feel and what you are going through. You are not alone. I now know what "one day,sometimes one minute at a time" really means. I wish you Peace and Comfort.


Thank you so much.  I'm sorry we're all having to go thru this.  It's so difficult.  Doesn't seem fair that you lost your husband just months after moving into your retirement home.  

I'm finding the days that I consider "good" days are really just days that I kind of block out reality.  But it always creeps back in and then it hits all over again. It's so hard to deal with things that we would have dealt with much easier together.

I hope we are able to find some peace with all of it.

Aloha Fam!

I have been offsite for a while. Happy to be back. There is no where like here. By the way, is Chat still a feature? Can't seem to find the Chat room. Have I been away that long??"

Damianino---how are you?   It seems chat has disappeared....I do not know why.   If I recall your wife died about 5 years ago as did my husband.  I don't visit this site much anymore

Sorry I missed this. 


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