"Your scan is clear"
4 simple words we long to hear.
Seriously, these words are MAGICAL..like winning the lottery but ten times over. The joy and relief you feel when you hear them is overwhelming..especially when you know it could easily have gone either way..
I refer, of course, to Paul's latest Petscan results.
I've never quite figured out whether punching the air, maniacally screaming "Thank youuu!!" at our oncologist (& God!), hugging Paul (whose hand I've crushed to bits) or vomiting with relief is the most appropriate response..
When you live life with terminal cancer hanging over your husband's existence, there is no handbook on rights and wrongs.
Paul was diagnosed in Nov 2017 and told he had 6-12 months to live..
Devastation,tears,cheers..mostly mine.. Paul has remained calm, energetic and stubbornly positive throughout. He really has been a pillar of strength, resilience and determination.
He shouldn't really be here..and how amazing.. he somehow is..?
6 months until next scan.
We live our lives in 6 month segments.. and don't take these times for granted.
Amidst all the upheaval and chaos of COVID19 we can exhale again and just enjoy the simple things in life.. being together as a family and being safe and most importantly, alive.
COVID19 has been a horrendous epidemic that has viciously stolen lives and turned our world upside down.
Yet we've grown used to living with the slow epidemic that is mesothelioma - asbestos cancer - the never-ceasing killer surrounding us.
90,000 people die of asbestos related disease every year and yet our world has been in no urgency to react.. and despite the ban asbestos still lurks in over 50% of our UK homes, 70% of state schools and 9 out of 10 hospital trusts..
Via Erase Meso (set up in 2018) we are raising funds for a cure.
We've been fortunate enough to secure a rock-star medical advisory board
- who are currently all fighting on the front line..
Professor Mary o'Brien, who heads up our board, tells us she hasn't done a wash or cleaned her house since March 13th when all this kicked off. She is working ridiculous hours. Hats off to her and all the incredible medical staff who have devoted all their energy to keeping us safe and alive. I honestly don't know how they do it..?
Whilst juggling the day job, home ZOOM-schooling, and failing at domestic challenges it's easy to moan, but actually we've had a pretty positive experience.
Paul has played more sports and spent real quality time (without devices) with our 7 year old..
-Actually sat down to eat together..
-Baked (badly.."Mummy these truffles taste GREAT..but they look like dog poop" & "that bread looks fab..but i can't risk my own teeth"),
-Crafted "Cool clown mask!"..(actually an African Head mask),
-Met new neighbours over bin sheds, "How have we never met in 6 years??!"
-Held camping adventures in the garden,
-Learned to waste much less food & plan meals better ("Alsacien stew? French or dog??")
-Clapped our hands and pyrexes off for keyworkers,
-Cried thanking the bin men
-Played board games..
-Cleared out cupboards "Mummy that looks ancient. Did you date Christopher Columbus before daddy?"
-Danced like eejits... even trying out Tiktok..& must admit wine consumption has gone up considerably! (our new pal wine supplier has been like the 5th emergency service)
There's been a lot of laughter despite the circumstances.
We've also hit the green button on finding a cavapoo puppy and getting our kitchen done.
My best pal Sarah set up https://www.sarahquinnenpt.com and I hate to say it, but I've actually toned up, becoming weirdly addicted.. and feel great! Fitness has saved my head from flying off and self-imploding these past 2 months.
Our wonderful warrior friend (& marvellous Matriarch of Meso)Mavis Nye refers to mesothelioma as "Mr Nasty"
I'd have other, possibly ruder descriptions of it.
Mavis & hubby Ray campaign endlessly and never complain about their own ailments...utterly astounding human beings.
It is indeed an abomination of a cancer. So many mesowarriors have suffered because their treatments have had to halt during lockdown.. or maybe not been diagnosed when time is of the essence.. or been susceptible to COVID. Soo many vulnerable warriors out there fighting this dreaded disease against the already hideous odds.
*If you are diagnosed with mesothelioma, you have just a 6.6pc chance of surviving, according to the WHO. That’s only slightly worse than pancreatic cancer (6.9pc), but considerably worse than brain, liver, or lung cancer.
Pancreatic cancer (6.9%)
Brain cancer (11.5%)
Hence we need to FUND A CURE..sooner rather than later..
Hats off to Liz Darlinson and the Meso UK team who have been working their socks off to support those with meso throughout this rough time.. and also on the front line. Amazing work from an awesome nursing and charity team.
I am so grateful for our present health.
I love my family and friends SO much! (Thank you all for continuing to put up with us)
I'm appreciative that every day spent on this earth with Paul is a real gift.
Here's to eliminating 2 pandemics soon! xx
PS Please stay safe.. and if you're interested in reading Paul's fight with mesothelioma please start with my very first entry..
Just after we had the call to say still cancer-free..
*(see full article here in Telegraph )