I have lost about 25 lbs since my husband died in April -- that's okay -- I could stand to lose a few more, I suppose.  Of more concern is this stupid rash on the backs of my hands -- little blister-type bumps that itch and turn into rough dry patches.  I suppose, maybe stress-related. It's been hanging around now for about two months and is just a nuisance.   I could see my doctor about it, but it just doesn't seem important enough -- though, irritating.    My doctor was also my husband's doctor and I just hate going there -- not blaming the doctor, but we spent so many weeks trying to find what was making him so ill -- 

Also, I have started smoking again.  Had quit for years.  My husband was a non-smoker and died of the kind of lung cancer the doctor said was associated with smoking -- doctor's comment was, "Doesn't seem fair, does it?" 

Anyway, wondering if anyone else has experienced physical changes or illnesses after losing a loved one.

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I was reading what you wrote about feeling 10 years older and I realized I feel like I have aged a lifetime. My eyes used to have a sparkle to them but now they are dark and dull. I wish something would make me smile for awhile.

Marsha H said:

Hi Barbara ...

Yes, I have experienced many physical changes. First, I asked specialist about trauma of losing a spouse and they said that our brain chemistry as well as hormones are all over the place (that includes men!  Our bodies are in sheer stress with little to no reprieve with the exception of crying and sleep a great deal which is the best thing one can do.  It is not hard to understand how much a caregiver goes through and the many faces we have to produce to keep things on an even keel for our spouses while we are slowly dying inside.  We don't notice the pressure that happens during this time as we feel useful helping our spouses and it isn't until they pass away that health issues can rear their ugly heads which includes weight gain, weight loss, insomnia, sleeping too much, vivid unpleasant dreams to nightmares, panic attacks, unexplained rashes, etc. 

When my Ernie was in hospital dying of pancreatic cancer I weighed a good weigh 140 lbs., and when he passed away April 27, 2011 and two weeks later I had his Celebration of Life, I had lost 15 lbs.  Of course I was in a fog-like state during the first year and I ate, but certainly not properly and felt exhausted wishing I could have gone with him.  I was shocked at in 4 months I went down to 90 lbs.!!!!  I am now 94 lbs., eating far better and eat like a logger, but the weight doesn't stay on my body.  I've had spasms all over my body especially in the arches of my feet or the calves and the odd itchy rash, bruising very easily, losing muscle mass, loss of hair and on and on it goes.  It's the reaction associated with the release of the stress of looking after our spouses, but now we are faced with a new journey of grieving over our dear ones. I feel I've aged 10 years or more.

I too am a smoker and my smoking level has gone up from stress (stress smoker.)  I have begun to cut-back fairly drastically as I know I'm asking for trouble.  I haven't had a cold or flu for years and caught the cold or flu bug just recently, but slowly getting better although I worry I'm headed for Bronchitis.

Whether one smokes or not people still pass away and some doctors will blame second-hand smoke and not take into consideration the environment in general, the foods we eat, where our spouse may have worked that could have caused the cancer.  My husband use to be smoker and quit for 4 years until his death and he built yachts for a living and I begged him at age 40 to change his line of work because of the toxins he worked with, but he loved his job. He was 65 years old when he died.  I am sure this had something to do with his cancer as one other friend of his at work had pancreatic cancer at the same time and another kidney cancer.

What you are going through Barbara is normal believe it or not.  Do what you have to do to get through the bad days, but at least try to pace the cigarette smoking and if you feel things are getting out of hand talk to your doctor for anxiety medication or to be put on short-term antidepressants (it will not completely get rid of the grief and it's best to go through it, but it will help make life a little more tolerable.)

I'm praying for you girlie and big hugs


Hello. I'm so grateful to have found this group,but really hate the circumstances that brought us all here. Please pardon all the typos.also,I get off on tangents and loose my train of thought. I read that a couple of you were talking about physical changes...I have scars on my stomach where I had 'nervous bumps',and the first 3weeks my husband was in the hospital a lot of my hair fell out,lost a lot of weight,too. Sounds real attractive,at the time I didn't even notice..was walking around in shock,and couldn't make sense of anything.I was with Rick from 17years old.He lived 1 1/2years,and when he passed dec 13 2013,to now,I have just been trying to get through each day. I was always a homemaker and answered the phone,did payroll for his small business,so we spent a lot of time together.I feel for each person here. Anyone in a long relationship must feel like this...like 1/2 of a whole..my best part gone forever.I saw one post that said they wished they would go to sleep and not wake up....I have thought that so many times. I keep wondering if and when I will feel alive again,and anything will matter? Hoping you all will get some peace. Trina

Hello Trina -- Sorry you had a reason to find this forum, but want to welcome you.  I am so sorry for the loss of your husband.  Please do not worry or apologize for typos or spelling or any of that -- we are all here for each other and there is never any judgement.  I lost my husband to cancer nine months ago and I am still taking "baby steps" -- but there are many on this forum who have helped me stay sane -- and I know these good people will be here to offer hope, comfort and encouragement to you, too.

I am interested in your mention of "nervous bumps".  The rash on my hands is bad enough, and it comes and goes.  But yesterday, after a particularly stressful event, when I had to take my sister to the same Cancer Center where my husband was treated, after I got home, I kept feeling something like a pin stick in my torso/upper abdomen.  When I looked it was a angry red bump that had not been there before.  Today, the bump is still there but, no longer feels like anything, except a bump, and it isn't red any more.  Does this sound like what you had?  It was only one bump -- I don't want any more -- but was wondering if this was similar to what you experienced.  Did the bumps come on, one at a time, or all at once?

Anyway, I hope you will keep coming back to this site -- we all know what you are experiencing -- and there are so many good people here -- I don't know how I would have managed to get through these past months without them.  

Sending hugs and prayers



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