This is the lowest I've been in a long time

My wife is really having a hard time with her brain cancer right now. She started back up on Avastin on Wednesday, and it's really beginning to feel like she may not make it out of this. It's hard to write this because I've always been positive and tried to be optimisitic. You have to be.

She had started showing signs of weakening on one side of her face a couple weeks back and it's progressing. She has coughing attacks when she tries to drink, and spits up whatever she's sipped.

Her breathing sounds labored. She loses her balance and I have to help her up from the couch or bed more and more. The oncologist said that when she took a break from Avastin (to let an incision heal), there may have been time to let some tumor grow near her brain stem which is pushing and giving her these problems. He made it sound like it would clear up once the Avastin kicks in, but it sure doesn't seem to be workign yet.

I'm in a cloud...a hazy, sad, dark and lonely cloud. I'm sorry to be a bummer to all of you brave, brave people fighting so hard, but I have no one to talk to who might understand. Thanks for letting me vent and please be well.


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  • if it's like the doctor said, a tumor pressing on the brain stem causing these symptoms and it will just take time for the medication to start shrinking it, then you should just try to hold out and watch for (and celebrate) what small improvements you see.

    I had swelling of my brain around the area of my brain stem, and it messed me up pretty good for a time. but once the swelling started to go down, things improved pretty rapidly.

    just hold on to what the doctor says for now and try to keep your positivity until you have evidence to prove otherwise.
  • This is a really tough time for you and your wife. My heart goes out to both of you. While I am very new to this website, I would encourage you to post as often and as much as you need to. If you need to vent, then vent. If you need to cry, then cry. If you need to be angry, then be angry. All of the range of emotions is very normal, so please allow yourself to feel whatever you feel without apology. Also, from my own experience with breast cancer and my husband and adult children going through it with me, I would strongly recommend that you seek some emotional support. My husband's children basically abandoned him when they found out I had breast cancer. He has no family close by, and he doesn't have very many close friends (our closest friends were also going through a battle with cancer, so had their own concerns to deal with). He struggled through the whole ordeal, but he suffered greatly. After I had finished radiation, he did decide to seek therapy - he wishes he had gone sooner. There are many organizations which can help you find support. Our hospital offered the services of a social worker. The American Cancer society also can provide some support. The Live Strong program also has indicated that they have support services available. Please know, though, that others on this site care and you are not burdening or offending anyone who is here. We all need support - those who have been diagnosed with cancer and those who help care for those who have been diagnosed with cancer.
  • Thank you for your replies. As my wife approaches her five year anniversary of the original diagnosis, I am contemplating some form of counseling or therapy, if only to talk to someone who understands the pressure of not knowing what to expect. However, I worry that it might upset my wife who is my priority. I think she has a hard time admitting that she has a very serious problem and would like to keep our lives as normal as possible. It's all part of my job: being strong and supportive for her.

    Has anyone had any experience with ACS or Live Strong? I'd be curious to know how that works.

    Thanks again for your thoughtful replies.
  • You might wanna look up Imerman's Angels. It's a more informal peer-to-peer support network, and probably less likely to bother your wife.

    I visited the Livestrong HQ awhile back during a retreat they sponsored. The retreat was helpful, but I have no experience with the counseling services they offer now. They hadn't even opened that section of the HQ yet when I saw it.
  • Firstly, it's okay to vent. It's more than okay to vent. One needs to express fears and frustrations, or the crazy isn't far behind. Plus, that's what this place is for. Support and caring are part and parcel in this journey we've all been sent on.

    Secondly, as a caregiver, you deserve for your emotions to be taken care of, too. I can't speak to your experience, but I know that I concern myself with how my boyfriend feels and is processing the fact of, the effects of, my cancer and all that it's brought into our lives. If you feel like counseling would be valuable to you, if you need support, don't hesitate. Life is what it is. Pretending your situation is different won't make it so, but talking about your feelings and sharing your worries makes them a little easier to deal with.
    I really hope you and she are able to find comfort, laughter, and sweet time together, for however long you have each other.