For want of anything else to say today, the first in a random list of shit we have lost to cancer. It almost goes without saying that as a disease it sucks, and I cannot emphasise how much I probably under estimate what it is like to have a terminal diagnosis. I cant even imagine how crap that is.
What I can talk about though are some of the things we have lost following my wifes diagnosis way back in 2016. I’ll start with some obvious, then some more surprising items. Buckle up.
- My wifes health. As I said, starting obvious. But she has gone from a fit and healthy 40 year old, regular gym going, running, swimming and so on, to being unable to walk very far, requiring a disabled badge, and has lost a serious amount of weight and body definition. The difference were you to put a before and after photo would be incredible.
- Her career and income. I’m going to lump this in one category, but could almost be a blog post by itself. My wife worked hard, and was a high flyer until she was knocked over by the disease. As a family we have lost that income, and struggle to barely get by, let alone have the extra nice things that we could buy our children previously. And aside from the immense worry over money, this has also meant a loss of part of my wifes identity. I have said before that her disease is the main topic of conversation, whereas before she was well respected in her field.
- Independence. It is tricky when you are unable to drive, having been able to do so previously. Tricky and soul destroying. Following her stroke, my wife has lost peripheral vision on her left side, so driving is illegal, let alone blooming dangerous. The loss of vision also makes basic walking on a pavement hard, as she cannot see people coming at her quickly, can get bumped into, and knocked over. The weight loss also means that she doesnt have the strength to withstand this. For a formally strong woman to have to be so cautious when out is heartbreaking.
- ‘Adult relations’. For want of a more polite way to say it, our sex life has gone. My wife lives in constant pain, and has an uncomfortable stomach, which doesnt really match with having a bit. Regardless of desires, that is something that has to be lived with.
- Childrens happy childhood. My son has had over half his life with a sick mother, and they have both been into more hospital rooms than they should have at their ages. My daughter has navigated the very tricky waters of becoming a young woman with this constantly at home. I wonder at times how they have managed it. Well, I know counselling has been involved. And should any young child be doing that?
- Friends. Those we dont see as I mentioned previously https://mywifehascancer.blog/archives/592 lost to cancer ghosting, but also the new friends we have made and lost along the way. You dont get told when getting a diagnosis, that you will meet lots of new people in the hospital waiting rooms, and will see them quite frequently as your appointments coincide. You also dont get told that one day you wont see them anymore, or will hear from someone else that sadly they have passed. Comrades in the world you now inhabit, that just leave in horrible circumstances, foreshadowing what will happen to you. As if the terminal diagnosis for yourself and family wasnt enough of a kick in the balls.
- Food. My wife has a lack of appetite, and her food choices are also limited. Anything she eats or drinks while having chemo, often cannot be eaten or drunk outside the hospital as it triggers bad memories. We cannot have carrots in the house, and have to take them out of her food if we buy a salad. For a while water was a struggle. Coca Cola is not allowed as it will give her a reaction. Pringles tubes were not allowed in the kitchen. Keeping track can be tricky.
- I would guess that most people going through similar will have the same list unfortunately. It is amazing when you take a step back and realise how the tentacles of cancer can creep into every aspect of a family life. From the obvious health, to the longer mental aspects, it is unrelenting. And that probably gives me one final thing to mention, about how we have lost our general peace of mind and ability to rest. A holiday is not the same relaxing time, a break from your life. A holiday for us will still involve counting tablets, making sure my wife can get to places, making sure she can eat without being sick.
I want to mention one last thing. It is https://www.childrensmentalhealthweek.org.uk/ this week. As I have said, my son does have counselling, and I think this is vitally important. In this country we dont discuss mental health enough. I dont recall any such initiative when I was at school, but can think of a few who could have used it. So, please, talk about mental health with your kids, and click the link above to get some ideas.
Two things to promote today. For my mental health I have started publishing some short stories. The link can be found here. I think they are good, but I would though, wouldnt I?
The other is thanks for reading, and if you feel so inclined, please support us to help keep my blog going. Please click on the button below: