Yes I am writing this from our rental apartment in Los Alcazares in the Mar Menor.
We made it,I won’t pretend that it was an easy journey without heartache and tears even up to the moment the aircraft doors closed .
Being the ultimate planner helps , taxi turned up fast track worked the £52 for the executive lounge worth every penny,ok i nibbled a tuna sandwich and drunk soda water but the privacy and space it offered was worth every penny. Boarding went fine ,then all of a sudden we were surrounded by toddlers 3 behind us 3 in in front of us and 2 to the side of us. To day I wanted to get off was an understatement! Don’t get me wrong I understand children travel but why on my day ! Anyway we took off in spite of being kicked from behind and little hands prodding me through the gap,eventually they calmed down or maybe it was the ear plugs and Ora Morph that numbed everything.Speaking with John we decided it could have been worse we could have been surrounded by a hen party or a stag party.
We arrived at the apartment it was like we had never been away,our daughter son in law and grandson has been in the summer for 3 weeks but nothing was out of place . The military precision of what to bring worked well,I had enough high calorie drinks to last well into the 2nd week,so later we set off to find where we could buy extras .That was a bit of a nightmare one pharmacy wanted €200 for 24bottles ,John said pay it I said no way as that was only a few days supply,we found another chemist selling Ensure in powder form and all was well,€32 euros a better price.
I have managed 2 bike rides 12 km and 14 km the freedom that this gave me words can’t say,plus simple walk on the sea front.i am eating toast or cereal for breakfast ok takes 45 mins but hey it’s better than nothing .Am hitting target of 1900 calories most days ok the majority is in the form of high calorie drinks but cakes ice cream and the odd sweet are all being eaten. Today I stopped a co codomol 30mg codeine for paracetamol baby steps all
I have to say not everything has been a bed of roses and will let John explain in his own words why world war 3 nearly started after a few days.
THE HUSBANDS BIT
“And how are you John?” People would ask. Each and every time my standard reply would be “Me I’m fine, it’s not me that’s Ill. In truth the 2nd part is 100% accurate but the 1st part was nowhere near the truth.
Anyone that knows me would tell you I am not, never have been or will be a touchy feely, caring sharing emotional type of person. After nearly 40 years of working in the masculine world of mining I am one of those people who absorbs what happens and deals with it the best I can on my terms.
So when Hazel was diagnosed, to say that the bottom fell out of our world was an understatement. 39 years earlier in our wedding vows we signed up for better or worse and sickness and health. Well we have had a lot of good times and now it was tome to face the sickness, there could be no running away because that’s what we had signed up for.
Emotionally you now experience extremes, which it has to be said are mainly in the negative.
SCARED: I was thinking am I about to lose the person I have shared 2/3rds of my life with and what’s going to happen. Thankfully Dr Sen Hazels consultant presented a positive and believable treatment plan which instilled confidence.I’m still scared of what changes we might have to make going forward, but being together is what matters and in that respect togetherness wins every time.
ANGER:Just when you’ve stepped off the rat race, are enjoying the fruits of your labours and plans and ideas for the future it feels like it’s all being taken away. You want to shout and scream WHY US!
LONELINESS: No matter what friends said to me, I was unable to express my feelings. It was always the same line “fine, it’s not me that’s ill ,Hazel has her network of fellow sufferers at St James hospital in Leeds and her internet pals who are experiencing a similar path, so they share experiences on a regular basis. I on the other hand could not connect on shared experiences. The closest I got was with a friend and neighbour who lost his wife to cancer some 20 years ago. Our weekly cycling rides were a welcome distraction from the day to day worries. Thanks Rob Marshall you allowed me to remain human.
FRUSTRATION: I was powerless to influence the outcome of Hazels treatment or her day to day well being. All I could do was be there, transport her to appointments and just do whatever it was that she wanted doing.
So what would I suggest to anyone walking in similar footsteps as a I have: simply find someone who you can open to, this process is hard enough but festering feelings can overwhelm and become a problem.
There are support groups out there but as a said to Hazel can you honestly see me in a group meeting standing up and saying to a bunch of strangers “my names John, I’m a SCARED, ANGRY, FRUSTRATED and LONELY B*****d”. Never, never, never
I have to say that this break has been good for us both, Hazel now knows what I’m thinking and she is getting stronger, wonder when we’ll do the 100k ride again. All in good time
Yes we’ve biked, ok maximum 14 km but that 14 more than we thought I could do before we left.
Eating is still problematic some days I can manage some days I exist on the high calorie shakes which are doing their job.I can now eat a few sweets ,small cakes smothered in ice cream and occasionally we’ve managed a cafe con leche just sat in a bar admiring the view. I am still,on my cocktail if co codomol ibuprofen and ora morph, tried to reduce the co cocodomol this week but not ready yet as the pain was too intense ,It’s a long and winding road but will get there together.
What’s next well hospital appointment with the Macmillan team ,then the following week what I think will be my last meeting at St James with Dr Sen before my Pet CT Scan late December early January.Am I scared ,honestly no I have faith in the treatment I’ve received and in Dr Sens words .Apart from why worry over something that I have no control over Karma will get us through the next stages .Ferry already booked for our next visit ,and maybe sneak a quick trip in after results!