Gaby We Miss You

My beautiful cousin Gaby succumbed to cancer on the 17th of October 2008. She was a wonderful artist, funny, kind, clever and brave. Above all she was humane. I miss her every day.

This tribute to Gaby was composed and performed by the very talented Rory Lankester. I still cry every time I see it.

If you would like to pay tribute to someone you love, please get in touch.

Acceptance is the Key to Freedom

We were utterly blown away by Sim Warren’s unexpected news of remission. After she’d finished partying all night, we asked her to tell us a bit more about what happened:

Last July I was told that the chemo for my relapsed lymphoma had not worked. My tumour had in fact grown. I was given ‘options’.

Option  A – stronger chemo, then more chemo, then a bone marrow transplant. This carried a significant risk of death or long term morbidity (a posh term for other conditions caused by the treatment, for example: heart disease; leukaemia and hypothyroidism).  Continue reading

A Letter to My Last Born

Eloise Hopkins wrote a letter that helped her to process some difficult emotions:

There are no notes to refer to of that time. The emotions so raw and powerful they couldn’t bear analysis. Could be barely lived through.

I found the lump in my breast whilst feeding you, sat cuddled up close on my bed. Investigations followed with me curious to know the cause. A blocked milk duct was my guess but the consultant soon disabused me of that notion. “We found something. It’s cancer.”

My tears at diagnosis were not for mortality but for the loss. Our loss. Desperate phone calls to experts for advice followed. Hurriedly rushing to every door, every opportunity explored. The answer emerged clearer and clearer. The feeding must stop. The milk must stop. And it must stop quickly.  Continue reading

A Man’s Perspective

When I was going through chemotherapy my boyfriend Nick was on the other side of the world. He  watched helplessly from a distance as my hair fell out and I became physically ill. On Skype, he shared my night terrors. He talked to me constantly as I slipped in and out of anxiety and depression.

I knew how difficult it must have been to cope with the fact that the woman he had found so attractive was no longer vibrant and sexy. That in fact she might die. I constantly stuffed down my fear that he might leave me. Later I learned that Nick had indeed started having an affair.

I have tried to understand what it is like for men whose partners are diagnosed with breast cancer.

Dominic’s wife Lucinda was diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago. She had a lumpectomy and refused further treatment. Recently the cancer returned. This time she has had a mastectomy. This is Dominic’s story. I am immensely grateful to him for his honesty and courage.

Dominic’s Story

“I’d just returned from a business trip. Lucinda went for a routine check up and a lump was found. Very small, in exactly the same place as she’d had a tumour four years ago. Lucinda had a lumpectomy the first time around. She refused further treatment back then. She was adamant that she didn’t want radiation and so on.

Meanwhile she was doing a lot of healing work and meditation. Everything she could do she did. She wanted to be one of the ones who magicked the lump away. But that wasn’t to be.

Now she has to hear all the doctors saying “You didn’t listen. Now you have to completely surrender to us.” And she holds her own. She just refuses to be bullied. But she does try to listen to them as well.

My wife is a strong character. She tends to put on a tough front but she is really vulnerable emotionally. Continue reading

Some Days Are Harder Than Others

Today I’m seeing Suzy Cleator. Remember her? My oncologist. She went off to have a baby. Well she had a little girl and now she’s back.

In the waiting room is a woman who is obviously having chemotherapy. She’s wearing a wig and her eyebrows are pencilled on. Her partner is with her: husband, boyfriend, whatever. I can’t tell if they are married or not but what I can see is that he is being so tender and kind to her. I start to cry. I dash to the loo and splash water on my face but I can’t stop. When Suzy calls my name the tears are still coursing down my face.

How or when will I ever cross this ocean of grief? I feel I’ve been adrift here for so long.

I think it’s time to give the anti-depressants a go.

Have you experienced grief or depression? We care. Share your thoughts.