My name is Michael Stalter and when the oncologist told my wife and me that there was nothing more that could be done to cure her and she was going to die from the cancer, I felt the weight of the world fall on me. I was literally in shock. I had tried to prepare myself for this, I had imagined the cancer doctor saying this, but when he did, I still couldn’t comprehend what this would mean to me. How was I going to keep going, how was I going to finish raising our two children, and how was I going to be able to do all the things that a wife does for a family? I was a man and I could face death myself, I had felt that I had many times working in a maximum security prison but how could I face my wife’s death? How could I face my children?
Those were the first things I thought of after the shock of having our doctor tell my wife and me that the breast cancer was going to kill her. My mind raced but it was like an engine racing in neutral. I thought of so many things that Mary did not only for me but for our kids, our parents and how could I do all the things that she did? Who was going to put up all the Christmas decorations, who was going to help our kids with their homework, who was going to clean the house, bake the birthday cakes, make us a family? Mary was the foundation, she was the glue, and she was the one that bound us all together into a family with love and affection.
In my book Still Have Faith, I describe how Mary’s terminal cancer destroyed our fairy tale life together and how we were able to function as a family and plan for the eventual death of the heart of our family. I talk about my struggles as a husband and how I was able to not be like 70% of the men who leave their terminally ill spouse within 2 years of finding out their wife is dying of cancer! I stayed when so many others like John Edwards and Newt Gingrich left. I made some mistakes and I felt lost and alone but I didn’t abandon my wife and children like some coward on a battle field running away. I stayed and became a hero to my wife and children, although I didn’t feel like one. Mary, Tom and Sarah looked at me like I was their hero.
There were no books or guides or anything to help me realize how much my family, Mary, Tom, and Sarah, needed me back in 2001 when Dr. Jeong told Mary and me that there was nothing more medical science could do to cure Mary and that we need to tell the kids that she was going to die. It was a few weeks before Christmas in 2001 and Mary asked if we could wait until after Christmas to tell our children, Tom, who was 12, and Sarah, who was 6, that mommy was going to die. He told us we could wait but not to wait too long after Christmas to tell them.
I wrote a book about my wife’s 17 ½ year battle with breast cancer and the 4 years since her death. I talk about these issues and many more that a couple has to deal with when the wife has cancer. My story is about a husband’s emotions, feelings, and struggles in dealing with his wife’s battle with breast cancer and her death. Over this time period, I had to deal with the deaths of other family members, raising my two children and rebuilding my life. It is a very compelling story, written from a man’s perspective on how men think and feel in a very down-to-earth style like it is being told to the reader by a friend.
The book is entitled Still Have Faith because I still have my faith in God. My website is StillHaveFaith.com and the book is 261 pages and priced at $14.99 plus shipping or $4.99 for the e-book version which is sold on Amazon.com. I think my story can help others understand what a man goes through when his wife has breast cancer or any terminal illness and then dies from it.
Still Have Faith has 8 reviews on Amazon.com and they are all 5 out of 5s. Please check out my website and the reviews on Amazon.com.
Michael D. Stalter spent 17 ½ years being his wife’s primary caregiver and helping her battle breast cancer. Mike has a Bachelor’s of Science with majors in History, Education, and English, with minors in Political Science and Special Education. He retired from the Illinois Department of Corrections as the Chief Fiscal Officer of the Maximum Security Prison in Pontiac IL. For more information, please visit StillHaveFaith.com.