I am a widow.
My husband Phil and I had been married 44 years when he died October 27th,2013 at age 62 . We had known each other since we were 12 years old.
He had been sick for about a year. He wasn't officially diagnosed with lung cancer until February of this year. He started out with a cold and cough that wouldn't go away since October of 2012.He had been on three rounds of antibiotics. He was finally convinced to see a pulmonary specialist. The doctor ordered x-rays,then a cat-scan, then a PET followed by a bronchoscope biopsy. One week later he was hospitalized because of a lung collapse from the biopsy. We got the biopsy results while he was in the hospital. The doctors told us it was an early stage 3 and that because of the location inoperable. He started radiation treatments the same week.
Chemo started in April, once a week and radiation 5 days a week. He tolerated the chemo well but the radiation eventually wore him down. He was so exhausted he would fall asleep in his recliner every afternoon. He had a total of 36 radiation treatments. I continued to work throughout his illness,primarily because his treatments were on the same campus where I worked. I could drive him and take him home.
The 2nd PET was done in July. The oncologist was cautiously optimistic, meaning that because of the radiation there were still some dark spots that could not be ruled out. The oncologist wanted to do have another PET in November after all the radiation had cooled down.
We took a vacation in August to our favorite beach destination which was also our favorite fishing place. Never thought it would be our last. We started making plans for my retirement in January 2014. Places we wanted to see,things we wanted to do. We started a list of possible destinations. We were so optimistic.
Charles starting coughing again in September,went to the pulmonologist towards the end of the month and had another x-ray done. It showed some pneumonia in the lung. He took another round of antibiotics and began additional breathing treatments because he also had COPD and asthma. He never went back to the doctor. When I mentioned that he should see the GP because of the severe cough(sounded like he was coughing up a lung) he would let me know the doctors had it handled.
He never really thought he would die so soon. Neither did I. Three weeks before he died he bought us a used fifth wheel camper. He was so excited about it. You could hear it in his voice as he described it to me on voice mail. He brought it home 2 weeks before he died.
October 26th was a normal day. I was not feeling well so he insisted I see the urgent care. We spent the day together doing nothing. He got me some hot and sour soup and basically nursed me. We added 2 more destinations to our trip list. We went to bed. My regret is that I didn't kiss him good night because I didn't want him to get my cold. I will always regret that.
I woke up Oct 27th alone in bed which was not unusual. He was always an early riser. It was around 7:40. I went into the living room,he wasn't there. I got some coffee from the pot that was still half full and still hot because it had not cut off yet. I sat down in the corner of the sofa, I never said anything to him. I heard video game music from the office from the game he liked to play. I got up and peeked around the corner. He wasn't at his desk but the bathroom door across the hall was closed. I sat back down and drank more coffee assuming he was in the bathroom doing his morning routine.
One of our three dogs pushed the bathroom door open just a little, I could see this from my seat. Phil never said anything. I got up from the sofa and pushed on the door as well. It would not open all the way. I pushed harder realizing as I'm doing this that something is horribly wrong. He is slumped against the bathroom wall. He had coughed himself to death. (Pulmonary embolism my doctor nephew said.) I will never forget the scene.
I called 911,the operator stayed on the line and she had me doing compressions. An officer came into the house and took over,then the paramedics came in and took me into another room. Resuscitation was not possible. I know they tried shocking him because I could hear it. They called his time of death at 8:45 AM.
How can so much happen in such a short amount of time? In a matter of minutes I lost my life companion, my best friend ,my lover, my soul mate. In a matter of minutes I am a widow.