The times when treatment is happening are the hardest parts for me. I don’t go into the hospital and do spend hours waiting for some news. But also the recovery days afterwards I find really hard. I can’t concentrate in work, I can’t enjoy things at home (apart from alcohol), and then have severe regret, worrying about things. Was the work I did manage to do sufficient, will people allow me some slack, am I doing enough,
I have said before that I have a real feeling of helplessness. Aside from keeping the house tidy, looking after the kids and fetching food and drink, I can’t do anything practical for my wife. I can’t cut out the tumours, I can’t meet them away, I can’t take away the pain, I can’t stop the depression, I can’t make her human again. I am utterly hopeless and question why we are here.
I worry about work. Not everyone knows, and not everyone remembers timings, and why should they. To other people my life is a story – “did you hear about his wife, glad it’s not me”. My manager hasn’t even asked about the latest round of treatment, we are a side show. And to this backdrop, colleagues will question my commitment, compare me to others and draw their own conclusions.
Radiotherapy has not been easy. Dehydration and tiredness with the threat of a blood transfusion are the current high lights, which is pretty fucking depressing. No idea if it has done any good, no idea if that 6cm tumour on the liver is smaller or bigger or gone. What we do know is that another two weeks of her young life have been taken over by hospital visits, and not playing with children, not eating in fancy restaurants, not even meeting friends for a drink. Those things have all gone in without us, while we shut away from the world, scared that any visit could bring an infection into our house, scared of every cough, every ache, every sleepless night.
Cancer robs everything, it doesn’t just kill, it destroys the quality of life and kills relationships and family.
I would end on an upbeat note, but tonight don’t feel one. Instead I want to mention 25 years of OK Computer by Radiohead, arguably one of the greatest albums ever made. It fits this week, so try this tune.