Golden Years?

My wife and I had to retire earlier than expected due to medical issues which prevented us from performing our jobs, but would not hamper our enjoying the "Golden" Years", or so we thought. Shortly after retiring my beloved wife was diagnosed with stage 4 colo-rectal cancer and underwent aggressive chemo and radiation therapy as well as several surgeries. The cancer was beaten although she ended up with devastating side effects of the treatments. Nonetheless, we still thought we could salvage what was left of the golden years. We purchased a modest motor home, took a couple of short trips getting familiar with the RV lifestyle planning on extending our trips around the country... Then my wife was diagnosed with dementia and a surprisingly rapid deterioration of her mental faculties ensued. Then I had to suddenly have bypass surgery. I recovered rapidly and feel fine. But now, due to my wife's mental decline and multiple other problems, instead of enjoying the golden years, I'm relagated to being my wife's around the clock caregiver.

I certainly realize and understand our situation is not unique and others have problems just as bed or worse, which makes me wonder, is there such a thing as "The Golden Years"? At least in my case, they are nonexistant.

7 Replies

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  • There is no tactful way to say this, but your golden years may begin after your wife passes (if she passes before you.) Until then, whether your wife can understand or not, you can share with her photos and memories of the golden days you had together. My husband died two years ago. My years are not golden, but I take time every day to reflect with gratitude that I live in a free country, have access to good medical care, am in full possession of my mind and that my children are caring, responsible adults.

  • It's great you have such a positive attitude.. At this point all my time is occupied with caring for my wife 24/7. Her situation requires she not be left alone for more than a few minutes.. When I am able to leave her my time is spent doing house/yard work, laundry,, grocery shopping, etc. The only positive thing in my life is the fact I'm here and able to care for her instead of placing her in a facility. I'm not looking for nor do I want any sympathy., I guess it's kind of theraupeutic just to have a place to unload once in a while.. There are many people in my same situation or worse. Good luck Jaykay and thanks for the reply.

  • Your wife is very lucky to have you Your golden years are being spent being a blessing to your wife Maybe once in awhile you could ask for some help and go do something for yourself You need a break to keep yourself healthy I admire your strength and how your so devoted to your wife This desease is a grieving process of what we thought our lives were going to look like It's a journey we all would rather not be on me personally thinks it hard cruel road to have to be on but in the end it will be ok

  • Thanks Lori.. I appreciate your words of encouragement.

  • Chuck08 so sorry for you guys. We got to spend 6 summers in our motor home before we got sick and it was the best years of our lives and we thank Gid fir them. Then we had to sale everything.

  • Hi Chuck,

    I believe I have a good understanding of what you are trying to say. In many ways you are describing my wife and my life together minus the cancer. We have spent the last two decades taking care of our parents who suffered from devastating dementias, strokes, Parkinson's, and COPD. And several years prior to all this starting I suffered my own major health issues requiring I retire. Then to ad insult, approximately 10 years ago my wife was diagnosed with moderate/severe rheumatoid arthritis requiring her retirement. Most of our parents have now passed so that portion of our lives has lightened (I don't mean to be cold hearted about that, it's just what it is) and our health has evened some so we start thinking about our "Golden Years" and doing some things we had always dreamed of.

    OK, you know the old saying. You want life to slap you in the face just make plans. Over the past 8-10 months I've really begun to notice cognitive and memory issues in myself and can trace them back at least two years now that I think about it. Long story short, I now have a probable diagnosis of DLB or as I like to put it, I've been given an expiration date. (Can't say that often, the wife doesn't like it) So, our Golden Years don't look so bright any longer. We're going to do as much as we can for as long as we can but either of us becoming the other's caregiver at this young age was not what we had in mind. We anticipated having much more time together and more quality time

    Now all we can do is make the best of the time we have left, enjoy and cherish any and all good times that come our way and support each other in what's left of our Golden Years.

    Wishing you and your family all the best,

    Randy .

  • Thanks Randy. Appreciate the note and clearly understand.. I so envy people that can and do enjoy the so called "GOLDEN YEARS". There are so many things we used to enjoy like golfing, fishing, sailing, traveling, etc... Problem is these are things we enjoyed before the golden years and which we are no longer able to enjoy, thanks to the golden years.. Best of luck to Randy

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