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Hi from Mrs. DeanCarl, Gay - I'm too young to be a widow


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Hello kind, caring folks!!! I turned 46 yesterday (I highly recommend 18oz of Prime Rib and a neat Thomas Kinkade music box - really kool) and would like to thank you all for the Birthday wishes - I've been "lurking" into eyestrain and many tears for a while. My family(?) has completely turned away from me (my Mom "is too busy to talk on the phone to Dean", my older brother said: "oh" & hung up on me. - they all are mainly in Chicago area; and a younger sister in MT; she at least calls; but turns the conversation to all about her). NO ONE calls just to say: "Hi!, How are you doing?"- I hurt for Dean, I hurt for me. I thought I had to handle Dean's Cancer alone. This board is a lifeline for Dean and I'm hooked into "reality" by the Survivors encouragement - being there for each other by just being yourselves.

On Oct 3, 2003 (at the VA ER) - the word "Cancer" got stamped in my brain. My best friend of almost 20 years is "leaving". I went through a horrible phase; what about me? what happens to me, me, me? How will I make it in this world without Dean at my side. Dean & I met in 1984 at San Diego City College as Psychology Majors - what do you get when a Recovering Alcoholic and a Recovering "Nut" (Bipolar Affective Disorder; 4 Psychotic Episodes) get together as a "couple?" = Many, fun, rock & rolling years, highs, lows and lots of life's "happenings" we seemed to get through, together on a problem - I do the "tap, tap, tap" while Dean uses the "sledge hammer approach". Dean had a "summer job' working with Mentally Ill Homeless People that catapulted him into all sorts of Human Service Jobs, mostly Developmentally Delayed children and Adults for 15 years. Then another Human Service Job as a Bus Driver for the past 5 years. I went on to get a Bachelor's degree at SDSU (1989); even got an "A" in a Death & Bereavement class - that class did not prepare me for the real world. I am disabled, yet will "get it together" to go back to work (not to brag; but I have a talent working with Alzheimer's patients and also D.D. kids). I do have a bit of brain damage from 2 Lithium Toxicities, almost died in April 2002 and then again in July 2003 - the second one could have been avoided. So, Dean's helped me by talking out his feelings during the April toxicity where he did not know for days if I would "make it". Durig the July toxicity the communication was horrible in the hospital - 2 months after the Toxicity; I had a follow up with young Nephrologist who said: "He" was scared and that I had a 50/50 chance of "making it" through that night - news to me, news to Dean. Also someone in the ER ripped off my Visa Check card. I'm glad Dean/we chose in home Hospice. Annie, the Hospice Nurse is neat and explains things to me if I don't quite "get" the concept or chain reaction in the physical stuff in Cancer.

Next week Dean will finally meet his "gem" of a VA Primary Care MD and hopefully have the scooter by Fri. Dr. "GEM" went out on a limb for Dean; getting the VA Committee to reverse it's decison, denying Dean the use of a scooter last week to getting it approved this week - oh what a "rollercoaster ride". Dr. Gem called Dean in Oct - just to introduce himself and ask Dean "how he was doing" 'cause the "system" had Dean down for a Jan 29 appt; back then Jan 29th seemed so far away. Dean's DSL modem had gone down, the day before his Cancer diagnosis and aol (after making sure it wasn't the phone co's fault, etc) and couldn't have a Tech(?) out until the next Fri between 1 - 3pm. Dean talked to Dr. GEM for about 15 mins in that time period and we guess the Tech(?) got a busy signal and decided to call it quits for the day. (Obviously someone was home if the phone was in use). So it would have been another week to get a new DSL modem, but scheduling aol was such a hassle. So, since Oct Dean & I have been sharing one dial-up modem. I'm brandy knew to computers and it takes my brain a long time to type, plus I'm giving Dean many computer "challenges" to "fix" - plus I have the anxiety thinking I must have to learn e v e r y t h i n g at once = overwhelmed at times.

I am weak at times, I feel very strong at other times - people treat me "different" and are surprised that my overall attitude towards Dean's Cancer is matter of fact and I can still go out in the world with a smile.

I just love my partner in this life, Dean, so very much!!! I read something somewhere; that I need to love Dean enough to "let him go". I do. I will.

Thanks for listening. Gay

I love Dean so very much. Thanks for being there for us.

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So happy that you posted and we get to know the Mrs. Dean Carl. I hope you will continue to post (if DC lets you have some computer time) sorry that you had to meet us this way but glad you did. Great bunch of people on this board, I don't know what I would have done without it this past year. Please come back often, its a great place to vent about everything and make some wonderful friends who are always ready to listen.


Bess B

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Hi Gay

I have only just joined this group, but have been reading the postings for a couple of months following my mother's diagnosis of stage IV lung cancer.

I have been so impressed by Dean's attitude, and his insight and compassion with regard to what others are going through. I always look forward to reading his posts, and hope to do so for some time to come!!

Wishing you both strength and courage for the road ahead.


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Hi Gay!

So you are the lucky lady who gets to hear Dean's words of wisdom all day every day!! So nice to meet you. We all think your husband is just wonderful - he has helped and inspired so many!!!

Take care of yourself and know that you and Dean are in our prayers daily....

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Dear Gay,

I read your post last night before I went to bed. I got up this morning saying to myself "what a heart felt letter." Your post is wonderful. I'm new here too, I think it was four days ago that I found this site. I have, before I found this site, been posting to a head and neck cancer board. Last March-03 I found myself with cancer in my life too. My father, who's squamous cell carcinoma on his ear had moved to his head and neck. I dove at the computer in the beginning frantically trying to find out exactly what it was that my father had. After searching for message boards I found a head and neck board that I have called home for the last ten months. These people helped more than I have words to express.

I have been in contact over the phone and met one supporter like me in person. I will tell you, that without the help of these people I would still be searching for answers to some of my questions deep within google somewhere. When using a message board you also help others too. Just as I feel you have done here. When you mentioned the analogy of a roller coaster, you are so right...My analogy of my experiences are that of an winter olimpic speed skater. We have to pump hard around the corners and then glide on the straights....but sometimes it feels like we are pumping hard all the time, not just when things get really tuff, but all the time. And, just as the speed skaters do, we fall on the ice and it's a cold place when we do. But, unlike speed skaters, who do not stop to help a skater that has fallen, message boards stop all the time and help us up off the cold ice. Not just other supporters, but people who are in remission, and those still fighting. Someone told me once that their is only one game in town. And, from that insight, we must stay ahead of the game. But also, my wonderful friend John, who's one year out...meaning one year cancer free, told me that it is a balance. I must do my best to balance my life so that I do not let the cancer control me just as it tries to do to those that have it. I made the mistake of letting it be my only vocabulary, and I missed out on conversations with my family, my dad, that could have been full of happiness and lauphter, something cancer does not want us to have. Not long after my dad's cancer spead to his lungs, my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. Cancer is trying to play a nasty game with my family, but I have news for it, we won't give up, and no matter what the doctor's say, there is one game in town and we will play the hardest we can until the game is over and a winner has crossed the finish line. It is a battle, but we can play hard ball too.

I also wanted to mention to you that I have a little niece with bipolar also. I have researched this too, although not as intensively as cancer. There is a site called Bipolar World that if you wanted to, if you don't already know of it, go into their message boards when you need a little time out for yourself.

Thank you for your post...


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I don't think I need to tell you how much of an inspiration Dean is. Others have told you that already. You have known it much longer because he has been your "other half" for so long.

I too was fortunate enough to have someone so very special in my life. He gave me strength that I never knew that I had. In so many ways we found ourselves alone in the battle against cancer, anxiety and all of the other things that make up the rollercoaster ride.

The biggest mistake I made was trying to protect him from my fear. I saw his fear and thought adding mine would make it worse. That was a mistake. It cost us dearly. The fear of what was to come robbed us of time that we should have spent sharing. I know now that had we talked about it and shared what we were feeling the burdon would have be so much easier for both of us. My fear made him want to protect me and his made me want to protect him. The problem was that we both knew how the other felt but being afraid to share those feelings made them far worse instead of better.

I spent so much time worrying about what would or could happen that I lost precious time that could have be spent sharing. Had I not ran from my fear and feelings of helplessnes I could have been more help to the love of my life.

No matter how much time you have left together every second is precious. Don't think about the time when he will be gone. He is with you now. Make every second count. You have a very special man and you are a very special lady. He fills your heart and you fill his. That is a gift that you will always have.

Family can help and God knows how much we needed that but sometimes we don't have that as in our case. You do have family. The family that you have found here where Dean has endeared himself to all of us. Please don't be afraid to come here and vent whatever you feel and above all enjoy what you have together it is so special and will keep you going when the time comes that you need strength to face what ever the future holds.

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Welcome, Gay.

We are here for you, too. I understand your role all to well as I watch my husband in the same position. I post here when I feel strong, when I'm on an up - but my husband is the one that holds me at night, when the doubts attack me and I cry myself to sleep.

Thank you, Gay, for being the glue that holds Dean together when the wind threatens to blow out the flame of his candle of hope. You are the big strength for one of our most inspirational members. What a horrible, wonderful place to be. God bless you, Gay.

Anything you need, just ask. ANYTHING.


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A very belated welcome to the wives club Gay. None of us wants to be here and yet we find such comfort together. I know this is hard, it's gonna be the hardest thing you've ever done, we're all here for you. I mean that. Please lean on us and come here anytime and vent those feelings.


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Dear Gay, It is so nice to meet Dean's wife. Your message was very heart felt. There is only two people in this world you and Dean must worry about and that is each other. My husband's brother only lives two blocks away and he has only visited three times since 9/11/02 so what does that tell you. There are some people who cannot deal with problems and that is okay too. All of us on here are people who can help ourselves, our loved ones and each other here. God Bless and give Dean a big hug from me today. Give yourself one too.

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You are welcome now so stay with the group.

We all have to suffer from life one way or the other,

could be from a family that seem not to care or from

the lack of a family.

We do not choose our brothers and sisters, but we have

the right to choose our friends, that is more important.

Good luck to you and Dean



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Welcome to the family here. I think most of us have had issues with our "real" families and how they have handled the news. At least here you know the people are caring and honest in their feelings.

Dean has helped so many people here, he really is appreciated.

God Bless,


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Well, Gay, welcome to the family. As you can see, your Dean has quite a fan club here. Include me in that group, thank you very much. And it sounds to me as if you are an inspiration as well.

I, also, spent many years working with the Developmentally Disabled-mostly adults. I also worked with people living with mental illness, although I havn't 'worked' since the birth of my first daughter, so its been five years. I do miss it, though, especially when I worked for AHRC, I was a job coach, I just loved looking for and FINDING employment for people that wanted to work.

Anyway, just wanted to say "Aloha", and I am looking forward to your future posts. Take care, deb

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Hello Gay, so nice to meet Dean's Other- half. Dean is such a great person and he was one of the first to welcome me when I joined the group a little while back.

I hope you had a good birthday, (the same day as mine although you are years younger!) and you and Dean were able to enjoy your special day together.

It must be very hard without the support of your family. Mine thank Goodness, although not here with me, have been great. I do hope your folks will "come round a bit" soon.

I feel very much like you do, I try to keep from thinking what it will be like without my Dave, but those thoughts creep in now and again. I am sure it happens with all of us from time to time. Dave and I came out to this country some years ago from Africa, and being more or less on our own here brought us even closer to each other. I know I will have to go on, but I really don't know how. Thank Goodness for all the friends here who are in the same or similar boat and can help and encourage each other.

I do hope will keep in touch with us all,

Love, Paddy

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Gay...so glad you had a wonderful birthday! I'm also very happy about the news of Dean's new scooter! I know that will make things so very much easier for both of you. I am so glad you posted here on the board. As you already know, I am always just a few computer keys or a phone call away. I haven't learned all there is to know about surviving what this damned disease can throw our way but I'm well on my way! As I told you before, I'll be happy and proud to help you through this maze in every way I can.

After hearing your voice, I can tell that you're a really strong and vibrant person. I so envy the patience you have in working with alzheimer patients. The ability to do that work and love every minute, as you did, takes one very special person!

Please, Gay, continue your posts. I'm sure that there are often times we can use your professional opinion to help us get in touch with our thoughts and feelings! I'm so happy you're here with us!!!!!

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