In October last year, I was contacted through my blog by a man named Cameron from the United States of America.
He really connected with my writing and asked if he could share his story about how his wife dealt with an extremely rare and deadly cancer called Mesothelioma, a cancer that a person has a life expectancy of about 3-12 months, but after intense treatment and recovery she is still here 6 ½ years later.
I think this is a wonderful contribution to my blog as it is an example of showing living with cancer from the caregivers side. Something I touch on a lot with Adam, my family and how hard it is being the supporter.
If there is anyone out there reading my blog, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like your story posted 🙂 Thank you so much Cameron and I am sending you and your family lots of happy, warm vibes.
Fighting Cancer and Being a Caregiver
Three months after our daughter was born, my wife Heather was diagnosed with mesothelioma. The joy and happiness we’d been experiencing since Lily’s birth was ripped from our lives at that moment. As my wife cried, I wondered how we would get through this. I was so emotional, and I knew when the doctor started talking about medical decisions that’d we would be making a lot of very important decisions in the near future.
I knew that I had to be strong for my wife and daughter, but I couldn’t. I was so angry that I was reduced to yelling profanity as a way of communicating with others. It took me a while, but I was finally able to get myself together enough to be the rock that Heather needed me to be. It wasn’t easy with a to-do list a mile long. Aside from work, I had Heather and Lily and our pets to take care of, I had travel arrangements to make, a house to take care of, medical decisions to consider, and plenty more. I learned very quickly that the only way to get through this list was to prioritize everything on it. I also learned that I had to accept help from others when it was offered.
We were so lucky to have so many people in our lives who were willing to help us through this time, Heather’s parents included. While Heather was in surgery in Boston, her parents kept our daughter at their home in South Dakota. Immediately following her surgery, Heather flew to South Dakota to be with Lily and her parents to recover, and prepare for her next phase of mesothelioma treatment. I knew that I could not work and take care of Heather at the same time, which is why we had to make this difficult decision. I don’t regret the two months we spent apart, even though it was terribly hard to be away from my family. We were just lucky that we were in a position to even make this difficult decision.
One Friday after work, I drove the 11 hours to South Dakota to see Heather and Lily. There was a snowstorm happening when I left. I slept in the car and hoped that the roads would be clear when I woke up. I spent Saturday and a few hours on Sunday morning with my family before I had to get back into my car and drive home to go back to work on Monday morning. It wasn’t easy being away from my family, and that was probably the most difficult time for me, but it was necessary.
It’s been six years, and Heather is healthy. We look back on this time in our lives with the thought that we were very lucky. What I learned was that we were lucky to have so much help, and that I was smart to accept the help that was offered to us. Without the help offered by others, I’m not sure how I would have made it through this difficult time in our lives. I hope that this can help someone else who is suffering through cancer.