I’ve been having therapy for the last 10 months. I had my issues that kept cropping up and smacking me full force in the face which would floor me without warning. I thought it was all over with when I could say the word without it triggering me but little did I know that the stress of what we had been through would manifest itself with a vengeance with my nearest and dearest. After a misdiagnosis in January it was confirmed just after my birthday that the ulcer which we were told was not cancer and to “go and live your life” was in fact a Squamous Cell Carcinoma that was 11mm deep and needed to come out as soon as possible. Andy had tongue cancer.
When you get a diagnosis like that your world crumbles. That firm ground that I’d been standing on just gave way and I felt that I was free falling with no way of grabbing support. First thought. “How long?” Second thought. “I don’t want to lose him”. My mind just froze. My heart felt like it had fallen out of my chest.
Andy couldn’t look at me. His sister was in shock. I think Andy just couldn’t believe it. It felt like a dream, well nightmare, but felt unreal, like I was watching someone else’s life.
For months Andy had said that he thought it was cancer anyway so he just wanted it dealt with, but the waiting after you’re told is the worst. No one comes near you. You see on the TV when the go on about it that there’s people there to support you but there isn’t. There’s no one. They ignore you. I reached out to various organisations who promised to call me back to chat but nothing. You are left to just muddle through. Nurses who are supposed to be on the end of a phone to talk about your fears are there (if they can be bothered to call you back) and for a few days did answer Andy’s calls, but then they let them all go to answerphone and ring you back 2 weeks later. Andy asked to speak to someone that had already had it done and asked the nurse to sort it if she could. “Yes no problem” she said. It never materialised.
Each time Andy was told to go to hospital for more tests he came back more scared than ever. “Will I come out of the anaesthetic?” he asked. “Well we don’t know” said the anaesthetist. That’s no good for someone that’s scared! He went to see the “team” one day and came back in tears. He said it was like an interview but noone seemed to have “compassion” apart from the surgeon (who hasn’t bothered coming near since the operation) and not one of them explained what would happen to him. I did research, I had to, I had to be the one that would support him emotionally. But there was no one for us. The family of a cancer patient get no support. It broke my heart to see him in so much pain and took him nearly a month to get some pain relief from them.
Now I’m not knocking the NHS, far from it. Their treatment of Andy over the last few days has been amazing. They are so caring and upbeat you couldn’t wish for better. They make you feel very calm when you call and seem to be incredibly compassionate for their patients. That part is sensational, but the run up to it has been incredibly stressful. We didn’t know what to expect, and were just scared. Scared of what cancer would do and what it actually meant. Then you join groups online and realise that it’s all around us. It’s horrendous just how much of it is about. It doesn’t discriminate, it just doesn’t care who it affects. It’s a horrible disease and needs eradicating whatever method you use, be it by illegal means or not. Do what you have to do, fight it. It’s your journey, don’t let it punch your ticket as you’re in for the long haul by hook or by crook.
But Andy had his operation. He’s still in hospital and recovering nicely. Nurses say that he’s beaten the odds and progressing very fast having drips and drains out quicker than anyone else. He’s a fighter my man. But it has taught me one thing. Don’t let stress get the better of you. Once it does it has to come out one way and that manifested itself as cancer in my man.
You will never shut him up.