Terminally Ill Ex-Wife
 Talk About Marriage
  The Marriage Advice and Relationship Help Forums
  right
Forums - For Therapists - Link to Us - Advertise  

    A Public Forum Provided by The Family & Marriage Counseling Directory
Register FAQ Community Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Navigation »Talk About Marriage »Focused Topics »Physical & Mental Health Issues » Terminally Ill Ex-Wife

Physical & Mental Health Issues Marriage and relationships are difficult by themselves, but coping with physical or mental health problems can make things even more difficult.

Like Tree51Likes

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 06-21-2013, 11:26 AM   #1 (permalink)
Member
 
ShockwaveRider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 70
Default Terminally Ill Ex-Wife

My ex-wife was diagnosed with colon cancer in January, 2013. She called me and I chose to go out to see her (she had moved away). We'd been divorced over five years.

I offered to let her stay with me while she received cancer treatment. The medical facilities near my home are much better than those where she had moved. She suffered through two horrific surgeries and a failed attempt at chemotherapy. I cared for her the entire time, treated her wounds, cooked her meals, did everything in my power (to be best of my belief) to attempt to help her survive this.

Now they're suggesting hospice. She's currently staying in assisted living (a nursing home).

I've been pretty much a complete and utter emotional wreck through all of this. I'd estimate I've spent 300 - 400 hours in various hospitals over the past 6 months. In addition to this, I (of course) still work full-time in a professional technical field. Some days I had to go for a walk around outside to cry. I just couldn't compose myself. While our marriage was difficult, I surely never wanted her to suffer, certainly not like this. There are no mere words that can adequately convey the true horror of colorectal cancer.

Now she wants to come "home" to die.

We had a big fight about this last night. I battled like heck to get her transferred out of a terrible rehabilitation hospital and into a nice one. She has a nice, sunny room. The meals are adequate. The nursing staff is (in general) attentive and competent. I just can't come to grips with having to care for her 24/7 in her last days. The enormity of the task overwhelms me. I've cleaned up an ocean of vomit and a mountain of stool. I've washed soiled bed linens and mopped soiled bathroom floors. I feel like I have been completely "used up" as a caregiver.

Where does my responsibility end? Do I have any right to self-preservation? I feel like a piece of human garbage for not wanting her to come back to my place again.

She's 58; I'm 53. We were married 15 years (no kids).

Shockwave
ShockwaveRider is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 06-21-2013, 03:16 PM   #2 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 2,617
Default Re: Terminally Ill Ex-Wife

Some sad , true and harsh words

She is your ex wife, your divorced, your no longer accountable for her. All this is doing is wearing you down as well as harming you emotionally and physically. Get off the KISS syndrome and look after yourself. (Should have typed KISA)

You can show empathy, sympathy, pray for her if you so wish but your not there to catch her when she falls. She knew this when you divorced.

Take care

Last edited by Eli-Zor; 06-22-2013 at 06:22 AM.
Eli-Zor is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-21-2013, 03:28 PM   #3 (permalink)
Member
 
ShockwaveRider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 70
Default Re: Terminally Ill Ex-Wife

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eli-Zor View Post
Get off the KISS syndrome and look after yourself.
KISS Syndrome?

Kinematic Imbalances due to Sub-occipital Strain?

Keep It Simple Stupid?

(????)

Thanks for caring enough to respond.
ShockwaveRider is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-21-2013, 03:30 PM   #4 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: midwest
Posts: 9,047
Default Re: Terminally Ill Ex-Wife

Sorry man. Does she have any family around that can help. It is nice of you to be doing this I admire you for it but where is the immediate family, just sayin.
tom67 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-21-2013, 03:41 PM   #5 (permalink)
Member
 
ShockwaveRider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 70
Default Re: Terminally Ill Ex-Wife

Quote:
Originally Posted by tom67 View Post
where is the immediate family
She has two sisters, neither of whom seem to particularly care about her. They're more than happy to allow me to bear the burden while they go on with their lives.

Granted, it's my fault for have offering to let her stay with me. The deal was supposed to be that she could stay "until she got on her feet" and then move back home. I never volunteered for home hospice care.

I feel terrible about what's happening to her. That being said, I'm also intelligent enough to know there is absolutely nothing I can do to prevent the inevitable. It's like her final great act of revenge against me (for whatever perceived marital transgressions). I should probably mention that she's been clinically diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder / Borderline Personality Disorder.

She's a wonderful person.

But it's been 21 years (15 married, 5 divorced, and now) of pure living hell.
ShockwaveRider is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-21-2013, 03:45 PM   #6 (permalink)
Member
 
lenzi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 2,108
Default Re: Terminally Ill Ex-Wife

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShockwaveRider View Post
Where does my responsibility end? Do I have any right to self-preservation? I feel like a piece of human garbage for not wanting her to come back to my place again.
When you filed for divorce, yes you do, and sorry you feel that way.

What's the point of divorce if you're still responsible for the person?
lenzi is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-22-2013, 05:45 AM   #7 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 2,617
Default Re: Terminally Ill Ex-Wife

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShockwaveRider View Post
KISS Syndrome?

Kinematic Imbalances due to Sub-occipital Strain?

Keep It Simple Stupid?

(????)

Thanks for caring enough to respond.

Iphone typo on my side , should have said KISA

KISA - Knight in shining armor

Last edited by Eli-Zor; 06-22-2013 at 05:49 AM.
Eli-Zor is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-22-2013, 05:48 AM   #8 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 2,617
Default Re: Terminally Ill Ex-Wife

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShockwaveRider View Post
She has two sisters, neither of whom seem to particularly care about her. They're more than happy to allow me to bear the burden while they go on with their lives.

Granted, it's my fault for have offering to let her stay with me. The deal was supposed to be that she could stay "until she got on her feet" and then move back home. I never volunteered for home hospice care.

I feel terrible about what's happening to her. That being said, I'm also intelligent enough to know there is absolutely nothing I can do to prevent the inevitable. It's like her final great act of revenge against me (for whatever perceived marital transgressions). I should probably mention that she's been clinically diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder / Borderline Personality Disorder.

She's a wonderful person.

But it's been 21 years (15 married, 5 divorced, and now) of pure living hell.
The bolded words tell it all. Pack her bags and move her out. She is not your problem , she made choices she lives by them.

Having a kind heart does not mean your accountable for other peoples problems particularly as in your case an ex.
Eli-Zor is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-22-2013, 06:31 AM   #9 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Canadian - eh
Posts: 2,115
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eli-Zor View Post
The bolded words tell it all. Pack her bags and move her out. She is not your problem , she made choices she lives by them.

Having a kind heart does not mean your accountable for other peoples problems particularly as in your case an ex.
Honest even if you were still married you are responsible to you first. She is where she needs to be. Your place isn't her home anymore.
Posted via Mobile Device
golfergirl is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-22-2013, 06:53 AM   #10 (permalink)
Member
 
I'mInLoveWithMyHubby's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 2,900
Default Terminally Ill Ex-Wife

I'm so sorry for your ex wife's condition, but this is not your problem to deal with anymore. This definitely one of the most difficult issues having to deal with.

If you don't want to care for her, then tell her that you "both" chose to divorce. She needs to accept the fact that she's no longer married to you and live on the best she can through other support.

You are one truly honorable man letting her stay and helping her through her treatments. My husbands the same way. I had a life changing health event that changed my life 5 years ago. My husband has stood by my side the entire time and always will.

Good luck getting this through to her. It does sound like you both still care very much for each other.
I'mInLoveWithMyHubby is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-22-2013, 07:15 AM   #11 (permalink)
Member
 
hambone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Louisiana
Posts: 3,691
Default Re: Terminally Ill Ex-Wife

It's true that you have no legal obligation to do anything for your wife... At the same time, obviously you're conflicted about this or you wouldn't be on TAM asking for advice.

Apparently, you still care for her or you wouldn't have done as much as you've done.

Like you, I would be conflicted.

Is there anyway you can get some help? If you are going to continue to work, you'll have to have someone to help while you're at work... And, you'll need help at night.. if it interrupts your sleep.
hambone is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-24-2013, 10:55 AM   #12 (permalink)
Member
 
ShockwaveRider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 70
Default Re: Terminally Ill Ex-Wife

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eli-Zor View Post
Iphone typo on my side , should have said KISA

KISA - Knight in shining armor
Ah....yes....I've been "accused" of KISA before.

I guess the fundamental issue I'm dealing with is do I accept or deny the wishes of a dying person. Her illness is indeed terminal, estimates have been anywhere from two months to five months remaining. With the failed chemotherapy it seems like two months is most realistic.

I wrestle with thoughts of "being selfish" and wanting to run away from all of this, only to leave her dying alone and unloved. I struggle to resolve whether I can bear the guilt of these feelings or whether they in themselves will destroy me. Or whether I will be destroyed by having to provide home hospice care. It's likely to get very, very ugly at the end.

Colon cancer is a vicious, brutal disease. Having your gut literally rot out of your body via tumor and infection. Anybody want to deal with this?

I was supposed to be on vacation next week; an opportunity to rejuvenate and refresh. Now it looks like nine days of impending doom and death.

I hate this.

I hate every moment of this.
ShockwaveRider is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-24-2013, 12:54 PM   #13 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 37
Default Re: Terminally Ill Ex-Wife

Shockwave, I admire you for helping your Ex-wife like you have. You must still have feeling for her. I am guessing that the feeling is more like a best friend. I lost my wife to High grade Glioma Brain Cancer 12 years ago. She died in our home with me caring for her. I know first-hand the work it takes to care for someone in this state of health. Home health was a God send, they were so helpful. I always thought the worst was going to be when she died. Turns out I was wrong. She had got down to only being able to breathe and barely talk. One of her last requests was for me to bathe her. Man I about killed my self-dragging her into the shower and getting her into the chair and bathing her, which she badly needed, and then back to bed. She didn’t want to be unclean when she went to the funeral home. She died the next morning at 6:45 am. I always wonder what labored breathing was like. I got to witness it first-hand during the last 24 hrs. of her life. She was sweating over her entire body from the exertion of trying to breathe.
Her last breaths were rather peaceful, then silence in the entire house. I realized at that point the hard part was what we had gone thru the past 9 months esp. the last month or two. I was at peace with the effort that I had giving for her care and there was no more I could have done. Hospice even tried to get me to quit giving her meds a couple weeks before she died. I said no way was I going to influence the outcome of her passing. If she wanted it, I would give it to her even smashing it up and using an eye dropper to give it.
I feel that it is an honor to be present when someone passes. It is my opinion that it is the closest to God and Heaven that we can get without going ourselves. I hope you offer to help her because otherwise it will be a cold and lonely death for her. The time will go fast, what is a month or two of your life worth to her and not so much yourself. You will go on with your life and feel right about her passing. Sorry this response is so long.
CondorTX19 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-24-2013, 01:22 PM   #14 (permalink)
Member
 
ShockwaveRider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 70
Default Re: Terminally Ill Ex-Wife

Quote:
Originally Posted by CondorTX19 View Post
I hope you offer to help her because otherwise it will be a cold and lonely death for her. The time will go fast, what is a month or two of your life worth to her and not so much yourself. You will go on with your life and feel right about her passing.
Thank you for your insightful reply. While you were writing that, I discovered an article in the New York Times called "The Reluctant Caregiver". One response to the article read:

"I strongly disagree with (the author's) claim that there's satisfaction in knowing you haven't turned your back, and you can take pride in that. I'm looking back with resentment and regret at the two years I've already spent in the caregiver role, and I can't imagine that I'll look back in 5 or 10 years or whenever it's over and feel anything but greater resentment and greater regret. I'm never getting these years back, after all, and by the time it's over it may be too late even to get a reasonable level of health back.

I think it does caregivers a disservice to sugar-coat the reality, and claim that even for the reluctant caregiver, there's a benefit there at that end. I'd much prefer to hear the unvarnished truth - that many of us are simply unfortunate enough to be conscripted into a lengthy period of life-wasting, soul-sucking servitude for which there is no compensation and no benefit. I think if more people started telling the truth about this, it might make a dent in everyone's expectation that adult children (daughters and daughters-in-law, in particular) should and will just suck it up and do it."

Right now, I'm kind of stuck between the "you will go on with your life and feel right about her passing" and the "simply unfortunate enough to be conscripted into a lengthy period of life-wasting, soul-sucking servitude for which there is no compensation and no benefit".

While it's true that I still care about this woman, it is similarly true that it was she who chose to sit down with an attorney and conspire to (literally) strip me of my life savings and have me kicked out into the street, under the completely false allegation of "domestic violence". There is still a significant undercurrent of resentment. Not so much that I wish for her to suffer, surely not like this, but just enough to have the thoughts of "as you sow, so shall you reap".

I'm meeting with her and the social worker and the assisted care administrator tomorrow.

May god have mercy on my soul.
ShockwaveRider is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-24-2013, 01:35 PM   #15 (permalink)
Banned
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 10,093
Default Re: Terminally Ill Ex-Wife

Wow, she really screwed you over didn't she.

I'd be firm and send her to a hospice as that is where she can be properly cared for.

You can visit her.

Btw, has she offered to return the money she connived or to exonerate you ?
Shaggy is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on Talk About Marriage, you must first register. Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

Important! Your username will be visible to the public next to anything you post and could show up in search engines like Google. If you are concerned about anonymity, PLEASE choose a username that will not be recognizable to anyone you know.
User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Ex Wife is critically ill, don't know what to do J Valley Coping with Infidelity 255 07-17-2013 10:05 PM
Lonely,depressed with Terminally Ill Spouse DotComDaddyO Physical & Mental Health Issues 2 06-29-2010 09:04 PM
Terminally Ill Mother Courtney Dealing with Grief and Loss 1 01-12-2010 02:16 PM

Member Area

Find a Therapist:


Sponsor Ads


Sponsor Ads




Get The Family & Marriage Counseling Directory Help Guide via Email:
Name:
Email:




All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:29 AM.



Copyright 2007 - 2013 © Talk About Marriage

SEO by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2 ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.