Really, why are we doing all this?

I am currently reading Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harai, about the history of humankind. It is making me feel very small in the world, when learning that humans have existed 300,000 years give or take.

The book is brilliant by the way, and I am learning alot from it. Highly recommended (the link above will take you to Amazon if you want to get a copy).

Combining that with my wifes trip to hospital has made me consider the futility of our lives a little bit.

If humans have existed for 300,00 years, our individual lives are but a speck on the timeline. Pretty inconsequential you might say.

Which lead me to think about the battles facing my wife. What is the point of putting her through the mental and physical hardship of scans and maybe treatment, when our lives play such a tiny part of the human experience? Why do we do anything during our days?

The reason struck me though. Our purpose is to continue and expand our species. And in our case, that means our purpose is to look after and raise our children. Having their mother around is important for developing children.

We can see that from the recent furore surrounding Prince Harry and his book and interviews. He lost his mother at 12, and I cannot imagine the mental anguish that has caused him. To go through what he did was cruel. Had he not lost his mother he would have been a very different adult.

And so that is why we are going through what we have to for my wife. She needs to be around for my children. She needs to help my son and daughter to develop into adults, and help them develop into outstanding and contributing members of the human race. We never know what they may do in the future given the best start.

Out lives are not as futile and inconsequential as my recent reading has led me to think. I need to focus on the small world around my family and friends. That is where the reason behind the hospital trips is seen. It is the friend who cant contemplate losing a old friend. It is the parent unwilling to lose a child. It is the child not wanting to lose the parent.

We find the scan results next week. I am not feeling optimistic unfortunately. She is very frail and tired currently. I suspect the tumours may have grown, though hope this is the effect of her having had the bad cold type illness that has gone around. We can but hope.

Music therapy

Today has been a day of John Lennon and the Beach Boys. I wasnt sure which track to put here, and was favouring Gimme Some Truth by the ex Beatle, but I think the following written by Brian Wilson fits the mood a little better.


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Not so long road

My wife has amazing resilience, and was determined to recover quickly from the mother of all operations. After only a few days in intensive care, she was moved to a normal private room, and within a few more days was up and walking.

It would be tough for her to get back to full strength, but she was sent home earlier than we expected. I had resorted to driving back and forth to the hospital as I wanted the children to have some sense of normality, but I was knackered with it all. The motorway had constant roadworks, I was in work for a few hours, and it wasn’t good to be driving so much. Not something I wanted to do again (little did I know).

But the drive home was something else – an unexpected joy. It was also the third most careful drive I have ever done, after bringing my children home from hospital.

Of course, the news that they had been successful helped our mood, and we could now settle for a stint of recuperation, and hopefully normality.

The rest of 2017 was spent doing just that, and we even managed to get away as a family later that summer, but always having to be aware of how she was. We had a big party, mainly to celebrate life, and moved house – wanting to get all the stress in one year! Our daughter started secondary school – I am always amazed at how she coped with everything going on.

And then to 2018. Unfortunately, I have learnt with cancer that nothing ever stays the same. We found that the tumours had returned quicker than we hoped. Surgery was out of the question, but now a new line of treatment was available. And so we entered the world of immunotherapy.


After a good Christmas, with a lot of family, and getting some nourishment into my wife, we started 2017 with a new plan. It was decided no more rounds of chemo, but because the treatment had worked, the tumours were small enough to tackle with the operation.

This wasn’t to be taken lightly. The operation would take 10-12 hours, and involved opening the stomach up, removing any organs with visible signs of disease, and scrapping the tumours away from the wall of the peritoneal. I was told it was like a thick almost waxy substance on there. And there was a 2% chance of death, and 10-20% chance of serious complications. By this, they meant if they had to remove any of the colon or intestine, then that could lead to a colostomy bag. There would also be a full hysterectomy, leading to the menopause, and obviously no more chance of further children. Following that, hot chemo would be placed directly on the area to do a final stage. Recovery would be a couple of weeks in intensive care, and then a few more weeks in hospital recovering.

And this was lucky – we had health insurance that would cover the cost, and because of the chemo, a chance to even have the op. But it is a big step – this is a gamble no one wishes to take, and has side effects that are forced on you. The choice taken away about children, the potential life changing damage.

We left the children with my parents, and drove down to the hospital, with my mother in law and brother in law. We had a place rented close by, and had no idea how long we would need it. It was an early start, and we stayed for her to be wheeled out of the room, and off to theatre. I have never seen someone be so brave – I could never do that without having a major breakdown. Cancer shows all sides of people, but brings out the inner strength.

We were in a blur the rest of the day – killing time before we would get some news. I wanted to be alone – it is the main way I cope with things. Going for a walk, sitting in the car, anything to be by myself.

Thankfully the call came through late that afternoon. The operation had been a success, and she was now in the ICU. It would be a while before she would recognise us, but the first hurdle was jumped.

My wife has cancer? A surprising diagnosis

My wife can’t have cancer? The build up to her diagnosis and horrible first hearing of that word

It was in late 2015 that my wife started to have some issues – her stomach was becoming bloated, and she had some abdominal pain at times. Nothing serious, so we thought, and we put it down to a food intolerance. We did start trying the different tests – gluten, wheat, lactose, anything that might be the cause, but nothing came back.

So into March 2016, she had been finally referred to a gynaecology specialist, and he did a laparoscopy. This is keyhole surgery, and the aim is to drain of some of the ascites – a build up of fluid in the abdomen – mainly caused by irritation. The cause of the bloating. This could then be sent for testing – trying to find the markers in the fluid.

While waiting for this to come back, she developed a sore shoulder – what we thought was an injury from being lifted onto and off the surgery table. On a torrential evening, we found out that that wasn’t the case – our local GP (God bless him) took one look, and referred her to a specialist who hospitalised her and within hours had her on a drip for a Deep Vein Thrombosis. She was lucky – the clot was in an artery leaving her heart, and only a small clot entered her lungs, however she was left on daily injections of blood thinners for nearly two years. Never, ever dismiss something as minor (a mistake we have made time and again). And apparently blood thickening is a side effect of her disease.

The tests did come back. At first, we were told that the markers they were looking for were clear. I learnt however, that the disease is a tricky customer, and that not all types will show up in certain markers.

We did then have a meeting with the doctor who had performed the keyhole, and both went along to see him. Meeting with a doctor is strange – most of the time it is you, maybe your partner, and the doctor. However on this occasion, there were a lot more people in the room. And this was because the diagnosis was of cancer. My blood went cold at the word, and to be honest I didn’t hear much else, but all I can remember thinking was


As if, by not saying it, it wasn’t real. But they couldn’t stop. And in a blur we were then thrown into a whole new world.

The rest of the day flew by in a mix of further talks with nurses to try and explain. I didn’t take in much. Each chat would be in hushed tones, all very calm, when inside I wanted to scream, my back slick with sweat. I wanted out, wanted to leave all of this mess behind. How could they be so matter of fact about all this?

I cried in work the next day telling my team. I didn’t want her to die, I still don’t.


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