It's been a couple of months since my last entry. I needed an emergency hysterectomy on 8/31/07. (It's been a very rough summer!) After eight weeks of resting and healing, I am feeling physically strong. But with Dave's prostatectomy scheduled for November 5th, I'm having a hard time holding it all together. And I need help.
Our 14 year old son has some very serious conditions including Asperger's Syndrome (an autism spectrum disorder), OCD and schizoaffective disorder. He's emotionally about a 7 year old. He's in therapy and has a great psychiatrist to help him learn to cope with every day anxieties. He's in a special ed program and just began his freshman year in high school. For these reasons, with his providers blessings, we did NOT tell him about Dave's cancer.
The good people at Mass General, Dr. Donald Kaufman, Dr. Young, & others led us to Dr. Francis McGovern, who specializes in "nerve sparing" procedures. They dropped him from a Gleason 7 to a Gleason 6. Still, everyone agrees he needs surgery. We are very hopeful. Nevertheless, we are frightened and anxious. My husband recently had his hair dyed. I thought, okay, if it makes you feel good, do it. He said, "I just want to look good in the box." I tell him that he promised to love and cherish me and that I have no intent of getting the short end of that deal. Still, all the joking and hugs can't hide our fear.
Today I called MGH and asked for advice about our son. A very kind social worker called me back. I don't know why but I cried so hard I could barely breathe. She was patient and managed to figure out what I was saying between sobs. She said he needs to hear this from us. It's too risky that he'll hear it from someone else.
Under her guidance, I did call both my son's therapist and his psychiatrist and told them we plan to tell our child on Saturday November 3rd, 2 days before the procedure to give him time to process it, but to also know that Dave will be "cured" within the next couple of days.
But what do we say? How can we prepare? He's had teachers in the past with breast cancer. His therapist has a 5 year old son with leukemia. My mother had a patch of skin cancer on her arm this summer. Our son asked me, "Memere hugged me, will I get cancer?" I told him no, naturally. But for several months, he wouldn't hug my Mom.
I welcome any and alll advice.
A husband with cancer and a son with Autism and associated mental illness. How did we end up like this?
Thanks in advance for your help-
Supportive wife (age 46) of Dave (age 50)