About Amanda P.
My husband was 40 yrs old when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. This was on NO one’s radar. We have four children (12,10, 6 and 4) so we were deep in the surviving the toddler/elementary years mode of life. During the time from Thanksgiving /Christmas 2016- late January 2017 we went through the diagnosis process and were told we were dealing with stage IV prostate cancer which had spread to abdominal lymph nodes and some small spots on the spine. 2017 began with test after test and then the decision to throw everything we could at this.
What has followed is 3 years for chemo, recovery, major surgery, recovery and finally radiation with recovery. My husband has also been on 2 hormone drugs to suppress the amount of testosterone in his system. To say this has been challenging is an understatement. We are now at a place of having scans every 6 months until we decide to stop the hormone treatment and begin the watch and wait period to see how successful the treatments have been.
I have had to choose to be there for my kids or attend Dr appointments with my husband. We have had many nights with “daddy’s not feeling well” or even staying with his father during recovery. As the primary parent I have had to keep the lives of my four active babies running as smoothly as possible. We have kept them up with Daddy’s health but honestly there isn’t a lot of detail a small child can absorb, just that daddy can’t play or isn’t home…again. Cancer has taken him from them even before we had a diagnosis when he had to be out of town for testing and missed two of our children’s birthday. I hope to have managed to keep their lives routine but this has not been easy. We do not have much family in the area so while they help when they can much of the caregiving is left to me. Luckily, my husband is younger and has recovered well and treatment has proceeded through the steps smoothly but to say I feel like I am losing my mind is probably half the story. Keeping the number of medical appointments, tests, school activities, sporting schedules and birthday parties organized doesn’t leave a lot of room for normal chores. The caregiving doesn’t stop with the medical. My family needs clean clothes and, as you can imagine, four kids don’t feed themselves much and seem to need to eat daily. I have spent more of my mental energy on what to feed them while exhausted and stressed about a pending surgery than I’d like to admit. We have had multiple weekends where we escaped the house to let my husband heal but this means that I am left to take care of my four kids around the clock. We have had significant financial burdens to deal with even with great insurance and the stress that comes with that is almost as much as the stress of the illness. PTO has been used for covering medical appointments not the family vacations we once dreamt of. It is a difficult choice to not be home with an ill child so you can have PTO available when you need to attend a Dr appointment. The sacrifices may seem small but over the last 3 years but the mountain they have created is huge.
Medically, my husband continues to heal and has had positive responses to his treatment course. Our family is left digging out of the rubble of the plans we had before cancer came calling. I am in a constant state of tired and the house is never clean. But I do get to see my babies smiles everyday. I just hope they know how much I’ve given up to keep them safe and their lives as normal as possible through all this.