What happens when anticipatory grief hits?

I have written about anticipatory grief before (https://mywifehascancer.blog/archives/387), but wanted to put down some words on how what I can only describe as an episode can come along. I am trying to put my head in a better place, through exercise and journaling, but this morning, after doing my bike ride, I felt overcome with emotion taking a shower.

I got waves flowing into my brain, all at once, overwhelming me. It is impossible to focus and concentrate on one item, there is so much coming. Thoughts about what my wife has lost, the pain she is constantly in. The never ending issues she faces on a daily basis.

Thoughts about we have lost as a family, and what we are going to lose. Thoughts about how my children cope now, and how they will cope in the future when the inevitable day comes.

Thoughts about what I have lost, the lack of a partner, the loss of someone I love to just hold and be held by. The hole in my heart that cannot be filled, whatever I try to do.

The overwhelming kindness and support from friends and family that can never be repaid. The pointlessness of getting up in the morning, when everything you had worked for, everything you wanted can so easily and painfully be taken away.

How unfair life can be when someone who would only be there to help people, to look after people, is reduced to a husk of what she once was, reliant on people for so many tasks, fearful of eating regular food, fearful of any small bruise and ache and pain being a sign of the end coming. The way cancer has destroyed her body, wasting away until bones poke through, her swollen stomach and dark bruises.

This will all come along at once, overpowering my mind. If it happens in the shower, I can almost cope, tears joining the water running down my face, but if it comes along in work, there is very little option to escape. My focus will be destroyed for the day, my mind struggling to clear the thoughts and emotions away, unable to easily compartmentalise what is going on. Impossible to comprehend.

I have lost so many working days to being unable to focus, which I then make up at another time, adding guilt to my feelings of grief, so that all that goes round my mind are negative thoughts and feelings. Many days and nights can be spent in a downward mental spiral.

Nothing can resolve these feelings, the root cause is not going away any time soon, but I try to utilise coping mechanisms. However, these incidences are becoming much more frequent, as the stress and strain of the last 8 years starts to toll.


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We all need to take a break now and then

This last week has been school half term holiday, and after the recent events (https://mywifehascancer.blog/archives/858) it was well needed. The school holiday means no need for the stress of the school run, and last week it also meant my wife and our son went to stay with my mother in law for the week.

In the days before her diagnosis and losing her ability to drive (recounted in this post from a while back https://mywifehascancer.blog/archives/66) my wife would take both children down to her mums by herself. Now there has to be a little more planning as logistically it means either me driving all the way, or meeting my mother in law and swapping over at the motorway services.

We have to be aware of the time in the car for her as well, because she gets back pain and stomach pain from sitting for too long. So it is a long morning driving and sorting her out, making sure she is comfortable and not in pain.

I always needed the break when they went away for a weekend in the past, and now even more so. I have the kind of brain that needs alone time. The strain of worry and the role of being a carer can be put aside for a short while, and give me time to try and reset my brain. It is a time of mental recovery for me, when I can meet friends, get some jobs done around the house, even blast my favourite music without having to wear headphones!

We all need this kind of break, otherwise we would go mad. The stress of daily life takes its toll, and relaxation is key. Regardless what pressures people face, everyone deserves the chance to step away from them now and then.

I never find the break long enough now. There is so much I would like to do, and the need for downtime is far greater than in the past, that five days doesnt work. Before I realise it, we are back into the routine again, and facing our battles. It is a stark reminder that the pressures and strains we are under will not go away, and are permanent. It is also a stark reminder that my wife cannot escape from constant pain, aching, food intolerance and tiredness. My selfish need to have some downtime cannot even compare.

Keeping Track

Current weight – 110.9KG

Books finished:

Matthew Green – Shadowlands – about lost places in Britain, either villages that fell off cliffs or were abandoned and so on. Very interesting.

New music listened to:

  • Ash – Race The Night
  • Captain Beefheart – Safe As Milk
  • The Cult – Under the Midnight Sun
  • Shed Seven – A Matter of Time
  • Bill Ryder Jones – Iechyd Da
  • BC Camplight – The Last Rotation of Earth
  • Black Grape – Orange Head
  • Kula Shaker – Natural Magick (not listened to their new music since the 90s, and was pleasently taken aback. Great tunes)
  • The Last Dinner Party – Prelude to Ecstasy (Baroque pop? Could be a number one album, and deserves it)


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Bloody hell, that was a freezing cold week ahead of the scan results

So we had another eventful week last week and the start of this. The Monday before last we were having smart meters fitted for our gas and electricity, against my best wishes, but required for our new deals. It saved us money, which in the current climate was a no brainer. Or so we thought.

The man came to fit them on a bitterly cold day, and to be honest didnt sound very convincing. I was work, and my wife was at home texting me, saying he wasnt filling her with confidence. Then he dropped a bomb shell.

During his tests to check our gas supply, he thought he had detected a loss in pressure. A loss in pressure meant a leak somewhere. And that would have meant turning the gas off at the meter, capping the pipe, and leaving us with no gas until we could get it fixed.

Now, my wife gets tired easily, and struggles to hear, and so I jumped straight in the car to come home from work and argue the point. ‘My wife is terminally ill’ I would say, persuading him to not turn it off. However, all his tests did seem conclusive, and I couldnt really leave gas leaking, especially when we didnt know where it was leaking from.

So he left us with no gas, which meant no heating or hot water, and a hob that didnt work. Luckily the gas emergency folk gave us some heaters and a hot plate, especially when they heard my wife was very vulnerable. This did mean we could spot heat the house, ensuring my wife was warm. I have mentioned before that she doesnt react well to getting cold, and having a cold house could have really injured her.

We had some hot water in the tank, and I thought the immersion would top it up, but it seems that was broken, so from Weds onwards we had none. A cold shower at this time of year wasnt fun, and the only to make it close to bearable was to have a heater in the bathroom, so the room was tropical. Not very safe though.

Our gas engineer friend was unfortunately away on holiday until the Friday, but did come as soon as he got home, worked out what to do, and then came and fixed it on Monday this week. So nearly a week of cold weather, and cold showers, during a time when the temperature was hovering around zero.

Oh and we had my mother in law staying as she and my daughter were going to see Moulin Rouge, a Christmas present, that by all accounts was very good. She was also staying to take my wife to her latest scans, which were a little traumatic with my wifes bad back.

She had to have an MRI, and as anyone who has had one will know, you need to lie still for 40 minutes, which wasnt easy with the pain she had. I stayed at home and made sure the house was warm when she got back.

The results arrived today, and they are a similar tale to recent results days. The disease is close to stable in some areas, but there is some small growth in the newer areas, including the liver, muscles, kidneys etc. My wife has already said she doesnt want any treatment right now, as she is in a good place, and there is no guarantee that whatever they give her will do anything. However she is concerned about these new growths, even if her oncologist seems calm right now.

I feel frustrated. I want the doctor to give us some definitive news. I feel like they are not doing anything, even though I know they are. By saying that we will scan again in April, I feel that we are still waiting, twiddling our thumbs. I see my wife, and she is very frail. Her arms and legs have skin hanging off them, while her stomach (where the main disease is) looks swollen and tight. She struggles for breath, and gets really tired very quickly.

She takes a long time to heal from the smallest cut, or bang. This injury she got at new year when she fell over is still not healed, and she has a bump on her ankle that alternates bright red and painful to touch.

I will admit I cried on the way home from getting the message about the results. After nearly 8 years post diagnosis, with the last few years, I feel so powerless.I see her deteriorating, see the daily and hourly struggles she has and I want someone to do something. Surely there must be someway that can guarantee to help her, some tablet she could take.

There isnt. All that we have is a slow death, marked by visits to see a doctor and the mental anguish of going into hospital, constantly in pain and unable to do most of things that she enjoyed doing 8 years ago.

How am I coping right now? My new years resolution was to try and prioritise my mental well being a little more than previously (https://mywifehascancer.blog/archives/829) and this has now been knocked off course with the gas problem and the strain of the scans. I feel at times that I have a limited amount of mental capacity to deal with things, and with caring for my wife, looking after our children, work and just the general household chores, I take a back seat. A good friend told me at the weekend that I need to do more, that I am suffering, and when I am suffering I cannot help my wife.

So I will dig deep and find the resolve to cope. Now the heating is back on I can start with the exercise again, and will use my time wisely. My wife and I are spending more time together watching box sets, something we used to do, and are enjoying being back together (Vigil series 2 was very good). We started to drift apart (https://mywifehascancer.blog/archives/802), but are starting to find each other again, which is easier when I am less stressed with everything.

I also have to change my mindset. Try to turn the negatives into positives. My wife has been given a few more months at minimum, and every month we have, we must be a month closer to a cure.

Even when my wife doesnt have active treatment, our lives are still chaotic and hard to navigate. We never know what may be around the corner, and that is what plays tricks with our resiliance and mental health. We have until late April now to make the most of the extra few months we have been given, until we hopefully find out we have been given some more months. Not just living waiting for the scans now, but we will start enjoying the extra time the doctors have bought us, and make the most of that gift.

Keeping Track

Current weight – 110.7KG (possibly higher as I havent been on the bike with not having a hot shower)

Books finished – none yet

New music listened to:

  • Ash – Race The Night
  • Captain Beefheart – Safe As Milk
  • The Cult – Under the Midnight Sun
  • Shed Seven – A Matter of Time (they got to number one – 30 years after Britpop! And it is a bloody good album, full of sing along bangers with big choruses)
  • Bill Ryder Jones – Iechyd Da (embarrassingly even with a Welsh wife I had to look up the spelling here. Nice and gentle, great sounding)


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Escaping with Sherlock and facing down challenges

A week of getting back into things. In the office, which has been much less stressful than at the end of last year. I ended the year covering a second job in a department that had been facing serious delays and issues, and for the six months I was involved, we were fighting a constant battle with auditors.

So into December I was not in a good place mentally, and really needed the break. I wasnt able to interact with anything at home, and wasnt really a good person to be around. I cant recall a time when I have been so stressed through work in a long time.

Even the times when my wife was in hospital I always coped better then last month. I was very relieved when Christmas came round.

My wife has been struggling a little with her bruised back following her fall at New Year. The chiropractor put it back in place, but it is still painful, with a cut that hurts as well. She is really finding it hard, and has been prone most of the week. This means she is majorly pissed off as well.

We did manage to get out to a Sherlock Holmes experience in Shepherds Bush in London (https://www.thegameisnow.com/?gclid=Cj0KCQiAtOmsBhCnARIsAGPa5ybk_Es8OyMw4PeWVMob5HVSZCUzeZTzgyNw5hxbnSpI5-Flmod-gEUaAooGEALw_wcB) . I can really recommend this, it was great fun, with the actors from the TV show on film, and some great recreations of sets from the show. As my daughter is Sherlock obsessed, this had been a Christmas present that went down very well. It ended with an hour long escape room, which we managed with only a minute and a half to spare. Very thrilling, and brain taxing for a Sunday morning!

The other focus for me has been concentrating on my resolutions (https://mywifehascancer.blog/archives/829). It is tough getting up to ride my spin bike when it is dark and wet, but I have been doing it. I think there has been some weight loss, but I will need to keep at it to really tell.

Listening to some new music has been much easier, and I have loved the Ash and Cult albums I have tried this week. Both anthemic and rocky, and right up my alley. I have tried again with Captain Beefheart, and prefer Safe As Milk to Trout Mask Replica. Though it might be time to give that album my annual listen.

The major thing stopping me reaching these goals though is the thought that ultimately none of my resolutions are going to change my situation. They are just ways to help me cope, and keep my brain occupied so it doesnt think about the situation with my wife. They cant and havent stopped the sadness that can creep into my daily commute at any moment, the jealousy of the healthy and happy looking couples I see around, when at home my wife is lying with an injured back, her legs getting skinnier and skinnier, veins showing through, with her clothes hanging off her. Getting fit and listening to new music wont change that.

She takes longer and longer to get over this type of injury, and to be honest get over any type of illness full stop. Her body is so battered, so bruised and broken that there is very little reserve available to fight things. I fear that any potential serious illness will knock her out very quickly.

There are scans this week, and results the week after, so we will see our new fate after that. I would wish for a cure, but that is a long way off I’m sure.

I always thought that my marriage with my wife was the one, our ultimate romance. I had never been great with women when I was younger, and so had been shocked and so happy when she said yes to marrying me. I never thought anyone, let alone anyone as amazing as her would say yes to me. Now I dont know what to do to cope with the thought of losing her, and losing my rock and stability. Both of us are scared silly at what we have and are facing, and there is no manual to help chart the path through. And for one of us it is a one way path only. Even typing that sets me to tears.

And so I keep on with my resolutions for 2024, trying to improve myself on the outside, all the while knowing that inside I am broken, and unfixable, but trying to paint on a happy smile and keep facing the challenges that still come. I said to someone last year that I feel I have a superpower that most people dont have, and really I mean that my wife has a superpower most people dont have, I just have some by proximity.

Her superpower is the ability to get out of bed every day and face down these horrendous, life changing and life destroying challenges, and still keep doing the normal things like Christmas and escape rooms and just cooking tea. This is a superpower that few people ever have to learn, and thank god for that. For unfortunately,this is one escape room we will not manage to beat.

Keeping Track

Current weight – 110.7KG

Books finished – none yet

New music listened to:

  • Ash – Race The Night
  • Captain Beefheart – Safe As Milk
  • The Cult – Under the Midnight Sun


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New Year Resolutions time!

Happy New Year – 2024 is upon us. We had a good end to the festive period, with a trip to Port Lympne animal and safari park in Kent (link here for info – I highly recommend it https://www.aspinallfoundation.org/port-lympne/). Unfortunately it was raining most of the time, so that did put a little dampner on everything, but we still got to see most of the animals there, especially the lions and tigers.

We have a domestic cat, and are always amazed at the similarity between her and the tigers. The same mannerisms, and movements, despite being significantly different in size!

The weather did cause one big problem. When we were on the safari, the ground was really muddy and rutted. We were all jolted around in the vehicle, and on one particular hole, my wife was bounced off the seat and landed on the floor. She didnt have a seatbelt on, and didnt really have quick enough reactions to catch herself. Some very kind people helped to pick her up, but she had a bang on her head, knocked her back and legs, and we later found out cut her back.

I may have mentioned before that she has a long standing pre-cancer back problem, and with her weight loss this becomes more and more prevalent.I think being fairly sedentary and lying down alot doesnt help ease it. So the concern now is that she has done more damage to her back. The long hours of driving over Christmas will now have helped either, and the sudden jolt on the safari has pushed some bones to stick out.

This seems to be a recurring theme in our lives. We have a good time, but something will always come along to take the edge off it and try to spoil the occasion. I cant moan though, we are luckier than most I guess.

Hopefully the injury will not impact too much into 2024, and she wont start the year off with unnecessary pain, but as ever the chances are slim. The best we can hope for is that the chiropractor can fix it before it gets too bad. We dont need this cycle of pain and correction throughout the new year.

Which brings me onto the new year, and my thoughts for resolutions. On a personal front I ended last year really badly, with work being much too stressful, and me being in a really awful place mentally. I was struggling to engage with people, like my capacity for interaction had been used up. So the Christmas break has been good to try and recharge my batteries, but I must focus on my mental well being on a regular basis as well. So my resolutions are an attempt to try that, without being too over selfish.

  1. First up is being more considerate to my wife. I find myself being frustrated and not being as thoughtful as I could be at times. My frustration should be with cancer and not her, so I am endeavouring to be better. Her life is hard enough without me being angry at the situation.
  2. My next few are linked with the first one in some ways. I realise my mental health is not good, so will do something about it. First up is to lose weight. A previous post talked of this need (https://mywifehascancer.blog/archives/760) and now I will be more serious about it.My weight is too high, and so I will bring it down. This blog will be where I keep track, and first up is a shot of the scales on the 1st Jan.

3. Next is to keep up my interests, and read more and listen to more new music. I will list the finished books here (currently reading a couple so hopefully soon), and new music I have listened to. I started with the 2023 Ash album Race The Night, which I cant believe I missed last year. The title track is brilliant.

4. I am also kicking on my guitar practice. I started lessons last year, and will now try to practice more. So far only a couple of Beatles tunes sound any good, but with a bit of work more will come through.

5. Finally try to engage more with friends, in person and on the phone. When I get low I shut myself away from people, which is an awful reaction and makes things worse, so I will start to shy away from doing that.

I see 2024 as a year to work on my mental wellbeing, and use that strength to help my wife with whatever happens this year. I feel yet again we will be in for a tough 12 months, so I need to be fighting fit physically and mentally.

Keeping Track

Current weight – 111.6KG

Books finished – none yet

New music listened to:

  • Ash – Race The Night


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I want to talk about mental health

It has been a strange weekend. We were invited to a birthday meal for a close friend on Saturday night, however my wife was in tears ahead of going as she was nervous about the occasion.

She was worried about her outfit, worried about being able to sit at a table for a long period of time, worried about not being able to hear people at the table, worried about not being able to eat. She hates not being the same sociable person she once was. She physically cannot do the same as the rest of use when out. And she also knows she will pay for any social situation the next day. And that was borne out – she was very tired on Sunday, though did manage to meet some different friends for a while. She thus managed two social events in 24 hours, which will do alot for her mental well being.

However the bigger news had happened earlier on Saturday, with a sad call to tell me that my sisters boyfriend had killed himself. My sister had been the unfortunate person to find him. Even a day later, I have no idea how to process the news, and am in a state of shock. I cannot fathom what my sister is going through right now.

I have mentioned mental health on a few occasions, and touched on my own personal battles at times. The events of this weekend go to show that you can never know what is going on behind someones eyes, their outward appearance may be fine, but their head may be in a totally different place. I have said before that you need to talk and let someone know if that is you, and if you suspect someone you know is having a hard time, try to talk to them, offer them a helping hand or even a shoulder to cry on. I have friends I talk to regularly, but also friends that know that sometimes all I need is a coffee in peace.

There are also organisations that can take you call. The Samaritans are always there – https://www.samaritans.org/ – with qualified phone operatives who will take your call and chat with you. Other charities help deal with mental health such as https://www.mind.org.uk/. The people who work for these charities do amazing work helping people.

There are also various forums and groups that you can contact, and my other post with information for carers will soon have some on there. One other thing I have found has been the support that can be found on Twitter – ahead of our night out on Saturday, I received lots of encouraging messages from people I have never met or heard from before. I can be found there on http://www.twitter.com/mywifehascance1.


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Anger is an energy?

I feel really fucking angry alot of the time these days. But it is impotent anger. As the title and lyric from Rise by Public Image says, anger is an energy, but I feel I am generating that anger with no way of using it.

I get pissed off at the traffic on the roads, I get wound up by the cat meowing at me all evening, I get annoyed by the children being slow to dinner. Anything can get to me, driving me into a fug that will last a long time.

Of course, the main reason is the damned disease my wife has. Cancer. Ruining our whole lives. Destroying our dreams. Causing pain and suffering to my wife, and driving all of us into a state of depression. It is enough to drive any one to anger.

I dont understand at times why the world seems to get angry at the wrong things. We have in the UK people angry about Prince Harry, annoyed at immigrants, and abuse screamed at so many people. Why cant the country direct this energy at cancer. Work together to defeat a common enemy.

According to the NHS, 1 in 2 of us will develop a form of cancer in our lifetimes. 1 in 2. 50%. That is really sodding high. Why are people not pissed off at it?

I’m pissed off especially this week as after taking my wife for scans we have to wait a week for the results. I am unsure of how good those scans will turn out to be, and am annoyed at how slow the process is. Dealing with cancer seems to take forever, when I want some form of definitive answer. I want to be told they can do X and the disease will be gone. I want this to be over, its been long enough now.

Back to the start this makes me feel impotent. My role as a carer is to take care of my wife, pick up the pieces of our family, and support her. I cannot do any more than that. There is nothing I can direct my anger at. There is no one to confront, no one who I can shout at and ask them to solve this nightmare. No one.

Anger is an energy yes, but that generates more anger when it cannot be put to good use.

If you feel like this, the following link has some good information, and advice on dealing with it.


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How to cope when my spouse has terminal cancer?

How to cope when my wife has cancer? Things I’ve learned from the time since my wife was diagnosed with cancer, and ways we manage

Since my wife was diagnosed in 2016, I’ve often asked myself the question, how do i cope? I’ve said elsewhere that the diagnosis day itself went by in a blur, and in the time since we have been on a rollercoaster of both emotions and physical health. Most of the time I feel we react by instinct, rather than being able to properly learn how to manage.

I suspect that is a normal human reaction. You face the challenge immediately in front of you, never seemingly realising when they become too big to overcome.

From a mental health perspective this has been tough. Not only is there the anguish of watching your loved one, wife and mother of your children suffer horrendous pain, and waste away, but also the loss of a partner and lover. Mental health guidelines talk around how a stable and happy marriage has a positive impact on your mental health. To thus lose that critical relationship knocks one of the legs away that keep you on an even keel. The person you confide in, discuss plans for the future, have date nights with, is gone. My wife is still with us, but our relationship has moved away from the one it used to be.

There is also then the loss of intimacy, and for me, the worry of whether you will ever regain that kind of relationship again. When one partner is unable to maintain a ‘normal’ relationship, the other partner does suffer. Rightly or wrongly, I feel really guilty for being this way – I am not the one with the terminal diagnosis, and so why should I feel bad for myself? And this increases the mental toll – I pine for the loss of my marriage and physical relationship with my loved one, but am then guilty for feeling that way. And on a really selfish note, I worry that I will never have that intimacy again.

So these opposing ideas play out fairly regularly in my head, the worry for my wife and her health, and the worry about my own life going forward along with the loss of the life we have built together over nearly 20 years of marriage. Then throw in the worry about how my children will be and what I can do to look after them, and my brain doesnt feel big enough to compute all those thoughts.

In the build up to Christmas, I also realise that I dont have a clue how to ‘do’ Christmas. I mean, I know how to cook the dinner, and go to the carol concerts, and buy presents (even though I cant wrap them), but it is the little special things that I dont know how to do. My wife manages to find small gifts, and decorations, and treats for everyone, that while I may moan about the tweeness, do make the magic happen. And I dont know how I will go about copying her when the time comes. Could be next year, or the year after, and I wont have a clue. And so I have extra worry about making sure my children have a great time this year.

So back to how to cope. Various web sites give lists. An example follows from the Macmillan website, and talks about how to support a partner with cancer.


They stress the importance of communication, making time for each other, talking to professionals, getting support for children, asking for help from friends and family, and letting your spouse having as much control as they can take. These are all great pieces of advice.

In our relationship, we have talked about things. We have planned funerals, which was an horrible experience, we have discussed inheritance and wills, and ensured they are up to date. We maybe dont always address our fears with each other – my concerns as written earlier would add too much guilt to my wife to talk about with her, while sometimes the things she may wish to address would be too painful for her to think about on top of the physical pain she may have. I feel though that is part of communication between a couple – knowing when to discuss something, and when to shield the other.

We have used professional help, especially where the children are concerned. Counselling has helped them both, and we have also been lucky that their schools have been very supportive. We have encouraged them to keep up hobbies outside of school, and push themselves to try new things. I have also tried counselling, and have to admit it didnt work for me. I found it not quick enough to answer my questions, but that may be a case of not finding the right counsellor. I felt that I wasnt being told anything I didnt already understand. I do feel though that I should have another crack – the thoughts and worries can be overwhelming. My wife has also spoken to various people, from counselling to healers to other alternative processes. They have worked wonders for her, and created a zen feeling for her!

Friends and family help a great deal, and I do appreciate that we are fortunate as a family to have a great circle around us. They have supported through the really low times when she has been hospitalised, and during the times when my wife just needs someone to take her shopping. It can be tempered with a warning though. Not seeing her on the day to day does lead to people not understanding her limits. Even an hour of talking will wear her out, and sitting in a car for a long period of time will lead to her feeling unwell. I dont want that to come across as ungrateful as we do appreciate the support.

Control is an interesting point. In our household my wife has always been in charge. She was always the one in control, and still has that, at least for moments. She has very lucid times, where she will be doing everything all at once, tempered by times shortly afterwards where she crashes. Every day will be a series of highs followed by a series of lows. So we do give her control, but have to be aware that it may not last.

However, I do see how control is important. For someone who has lost so much, there is a real need to put your arms around the bare minimum. Losing your job, your eyesight, and your independence means you cling to any small thing that you can control. And that is also true for the rest of us. We have to control what we can, living in a life that is a maelstrom of emotions and health issues.

It is tough watching as she sometimes struggles, but we need patience. Helping to make things easier, and picking up the pieces afterwards are a great help. However, I find we need to be watchful for the independence to go too far, as some aspects can become obsessive. Cleaning in our household is a prime example, and sometimes the smell of bleach can be overpowering. But, this is just a way of owning your life and being the boss in some areas, when you cant in others.

But back to how I cope. Short answer is that I dont think I do. Yes, the children get to school, I go to work, and we make it to the appointments. But scratch beneath the surface, and I lack motivation at work, but get annoyed with myself for that. I know what I need to do, but cant push myself to do it. Jobs at home dont always get done, as my mind is elsewhere. Finances are an absolute mess, and we are barely getting by each month. Having gone from two salaries to one, with all the extra expense needed is crippling. We are lucky we have health insurance, otherwise treatments would have ended long ago. We dont have as much of a social life as we used to, but I still like a drink at home.

Put bluntly, I dont feel our lives are advancing. I see friends moving forward, doing exciting things, making something of themselves, but feel I am stuck in a rut, unable to get out. This is why I dont feel I cope.

Others say differently. They are amazed when they hear the full story of every meeting with doctors, every round of treatment, and being able to make our children have a happyish life. That is an achievement in itself.

Coping is different for different people. And alot depends on what your expectations are. At the start of this post, I talked about sometimes we fight the battle in front of us, without realising how big the challenges actually are. You just eat them up one mouthful at a time. So that is really how you cope. You take what comes at you and overcome that, before moving on to the next problem and dealing with that.

One last comment – trying to switch off is really important. The mind needs to be occupied, and keeping up hobbies and interests is vital when under stress. I read, and listen to music, basically perfect introvert hobbies! I’m not a great sportsman, but go running when it isnt freezing cold. These all help combat things. And if you feel like helping with that process, there is a buy me a coffee link you can click on. Anything is appreciated as a sign that people do care and are interested. Thankyou.

Weekend Worries

After the mixed results last week following the scans, we settled in for the weekend. My wife had managed a fair amount of things during the week, and we then went out for dinner on Friday to meet some friends. That was very pleasant, and great to catch up.

Saturday was a morning of watching our son play school sports, before my wife was picked up by another friend to meet with the girls. She couldn’t eat a great deal though, the result of the tumours restricting the expansion of her stomach. The way this symptom was described to me was to imagine your stomach is like an inflatable water bottle. When you fill them up, they will expand to allow the liquid in. However, in her case, the expanding bottle has a hard case surrounding it, and this stops the bottle from reaching the full potential. Little and often is the only option. Couple this with her lack of ability to digest certain foods, and some restaurants can be out of the question. Anything spicy doesnt work.

The upshot of all these activities was that she was asleep by early evening on Sat, and then spent most of Sunday in or on the bed. She didn’t even get dressed. Partly due to a pain in the leg (some form of cramp we hope), but mainly the sheer exhaustion. I have discussed this on previous blogs. It can be amazing how the normal exertion we do can wear her out. The seemingly shortest walk or cooking a meal will have her done in.

This morning though was a scheduled trip to the doctors for a vitamin B12 injection, which hopefully will help combat this. Being low on B12 can lead to tiredness, and unfortunately her being vegetarian as well means that she doesnt always get the right amount. I understand cancer doesnt necessarily lead to a deficiency, but when taken in tandem they can be have an impact.

I have put a link here to a good article about the links between cancer and B12, and the importance of it:


So far though, no noticable effect. Dont you wish that some medicine had a quicker positive impact sometimes? I do miss the days in our house when you fixed a headache with a tablet, or a stomach ache could be slept away. Now we have to deal with degrees of illness. Is the stomach ache worse or better than before? Is that pain in your leg caused by sitting in a car for a long time, or is there something more sinister?

Other concerns I have are my sons mental health. He is happy in his new school, though misses friends from his old one, but does seem to sit doom scrolling on his phone, waiting for messages from the watsapp group. He picks up on things easily, and so his mum sleeping a great deal makes him feel down, and tired. He has slept in our bed with her for a couple of weeks. It makes him happy, and he doesnt disturb her in her sleep like I do apparently!

My mental health is still hovering around the lower levels. I suspect that wont change for a long time. I am starting to use some coping strategies, and am planning on detailing a few in the coming weeks. My wife has got full into yoga and healing crystals, but I havent yet resorted to them!

Whilst the results did show a small deterioration last week, and the specialist said no need right now for treatment, I do have concerns over her health. There seem to be many more small niggles, aches and pains. I wonder at times if she is keeping things from us. I know she doesnt want any more treatment this side of Christmas, but not being in the meeting with her specialist, I only have her word for how sensible that is. On the other though, the treatment was hellish, so I fully understand her position.

Ultimately she is sat between a rock and a hard place. Her life right now is very restricted and frustrating. Her ability to do the things she used to gets less and less every week. But again, the other option is horrendous as well. Hobsons choice I believe is the saying.

As ever, please follow my blog. Seeing readers does help keep my spirits up. I do this anonymously as I dont like attention, but I am real, and use this as an outlet for my thoughts, both factual and then deeper depressing ones! At this point I feel we are in a deep hole, and the escape ladder is being pulled away from us. I’m not sure how we are going to get out at this stage, so having the ability to write down what is happening helps.

And if you feel you have gained something, please click the link for my BuyMeACoffee site – I am running pretty much on caffeine and gin these days, so have a habit to maintain.

Mental Health

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.