Loss husband to stage 4 prostate and colon cancer

Posted by patty1963 @patty1963, May 21 4:26am

hi, this is my first time on this suite. But I'm at a loss and need some input. I was with my husband for 30 years.. I lost him 2017 to stage 4 prostate and colon cancer. I never knew he had it until he passed away and I found his Dr Papers. It said seen today for your malignant stage 4 prostate and colon cancer. I was totally devastated. He was an alcoholic as well so I thought that's what killed him . He had a spell of starting to bleed out and I got him to hospital in time. Was this the cancer or alcohol causing it. Also how long do you have it before stage 4

Hello @patty1963 I am Scott and it is nice to e-meet you here on Mayo Connect. I am sorry for your loss. I was my wife's caregiver during her almost decade and a half war with brain cancer. While I am not a medical professional at all I am willing to offer any help I can, which I gained from my wife's journey.

I think the only way to know the cause of death would be to see what the doctors put on the death certificate. It might be that one was a primary cause while something else was a contributing factor.

Also, if I can ask a question, How long do you have what before Stage 4?

Glad you found Connect too!
Strength, Courage, & Peace

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Patti, I am a Grief Support Professional with Hospice. I really hate what you are having to go through. Things like this make your grieving process even more difficult. I do believe it would help you to find outC exactly what he died from and if the alcoholism and the cancer interacted in any way. Scott is right…an easy way to find out is to just check the death certificate. If that's not satisfying to you for any reason, I think a good step 2 would be to talk to the doctor who signed the death certificate, and/or his primary care physician, and/or his oncologist or gastroenterologist, if you can find paperwork for those. Do your own investigation to whatever extent you need to feel assured that you have some idea of what happened.

The question you'll never get an answer to is, "Why didn't he tell me?" That one may haunt you for a while. My heart goes out to you. I have seen this happen to people and understand that it can make you question everything about your relationship with him. But I can tell you that there do seem to be some common reasons why a patient keeps a secret like that: perhaps he felt guilty for some things and decided that the last act he could do would be to protect you from worry and from having to be his caregiver. Perhaps he felt shame because he believed he had caused the cancer in some way or that it was a consequence of some past behavior. Or perhaps he just wasn't emotionally prepared to have those conversations with you. You will have to find an answer that most fits your relationship and his personality…then choose to believe that, knowing that even if it's not 100% accurate, it's the best you can do at this point. We all choose to believe something, about ourselves, about others, and in this case you need to choose whatever will bring you the most comfort.

I would also suggest that you find a grief professional in your area to talk all this out with. And there are tons of online resources as well.
I pray that you are able now to navigate this journey, as brutal as it can be, with success as your outcome. You can do this!

Blessings,
Lynda

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