Dear Ann Landers, I lost my wife of 38 years, the love of my life, to cancer, and now I feel that her death was my fault. Years ago, she had a bruise on her breast that would not go away, but she refused to see a doctor. After a while, the skin on her breast took on a thick "orange peel" appearance. Despite my pleading, she would not see her doctor about it. More time passed.
She started leaning against walls in order to navigate and thought it was probably an inner-ear infection. She agreed to see the doctor for an antibiotic. After many tests, the doctor determined she had multiple brain tumors that had metastasized from breast cancer.
I'm convinced that if I had dragged my wife to a doctor when I found out the bruise wouldn't go away, the cancer might have been controllable. Because of neglect, my wife went through two years of radiation and chemotherapy -- all the while wondering when the inevitable would occur. We spent that time traveling and doing things we had always wanted to do together.
When we returned from Hawaii last August, my wife began to deteriorate. Caring for her those last few weeks and watching her slip away was a nightmare. I beg your readers to see a doctor immediately if they detect a bruise that won't go away or if they find a lump or a mole anywhere. Because we waited too long, I lost my lover, my wife and my pal. -- A.V.
Dear A.V., I hope it will be a comfort to you in your time of grief to know that because you wrote to me, the lives of countless other women will be saved. Your description of the symptoms was wonderfully explicit. Thirty-eight years with the love of your life isn't a bad run. Thank you, good friend. You've performed a marvelous service today.
Hi! It's Margo here. I'd love to know what you think of the letters -- and the answers!
Also, any additional thoughts you might have. Thanks!
For goodness sake, Ann! WHY didn't you reassure this man that his wife's death was NOT his fault? He encouraged her to go to the Dr. and she chose not to. He sounds like a good, loving husband who is experiencing very common guilt after the death of a loved one. You failed to give him the comfort and reassurance he needed.
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Our Reader to Reader Question of the Week:
Dear Readers, , whatever they needed I provided. What really hurt my son and I the most was the obituary - we were not mentioned at all. Our friends (mine and hers) were appalled. I was embarrassed and upset for not just me, but for my son-who loved her also. I never been so upset. Her x-husband put his wife and kids and their grandchildren in the obituary, who my girlfriend barely knew. They live an hour away from us. I know its silly to be mad over a little section of the newspaper, but it still hurts. Will time let this devastating loss of her and this article ever go away? I am so angry at this whole situation, its not like we can go and rewrite an obituary notice.