Whilst I am in hospital recovering from surgery, after having my thyroid removed (due to Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma), I thought you might like to read a guest post from someone else whose life has been changed by Cancer. Cameron had to be a carer for his wife, whilst she suffered a rare form of Cancer, whilst also caring for their newborn daughter. Cameron and Heather both blog about their journey and try to raise awareness of mesothelioma and give others hope. This is Cameron’s story…
My wife Heather and I will never forget the day our lives changes forever. It was November 21, 2005, and on that date Heather was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma, a rare and extremely deadly form of cancer. It was also on that day that I realized I had become a caregiver for a cancer patient, a job for which, to say the least, I was incredibly unprepared.
It was only three months before her cancer diagnosis that Heather and I celebrated the birth of our daughter Lily, who was our first and only child. The holidays were coming and we were looking forward to celebrating Lily’s first Christmas. Instead, the diagnosis sent out lives into chaos, and we started down a long and difficult road to beat cancer.
Our doctor discussed with us the nature of the disease and the various treatment options. He provided us with three options, including a doctor based in Boston who is a specialist in the treatment of mesothelioma. I looked at my wife and expected her to express interest in one of them, to ask questions or to say anything. However, she remained silent. It was her expression that spoke for her, clearly saying, “Oh God, please help me!” I realized that it was up to me to make the decision. “Get us to Boston,” I said out loud. It was the first of many difficult decisions I would have to help make as Heather’s caregiver.
The next two months were marked by chaos that would shatter our daily routines. In addition to working, I spent time making travel arrangements, traveling to Boston with Heather and caring for Lily. I also had to face the fears of losing my wife to cancer. On more than one occasion, I found myself on the kitchen floor balling my eyes out.
I soon realized that I was not alone, and that there were others who cared. Support came from family members, friends and even complete strangers. People offered everything from kind words of encouragement to much needed financial assistance. My strongest advice to anyone else in this situation is to accept every offer of help you receive, big or small. I learned the hard way that there is no room for pride in a fight with cancer.
It’s not easy to care for someone with cancer. Besides the chaos, there is uncertainty and stress. There will be plenty of bad days; this is inevitable and even necessary at times. Anyone in such a situation should use every resource available, and should never give up hope.
Heather went through mesothelioma surgery, radiation treatments and chemotherapy, and against all odds managed to beat the disease. We have been blessed with nearly seven healthy years, cancer free since the diagnosis, and look forward to many more. We hope that by sharing our story, we can help inspire others in their own battles with cancer today.