I read yesterday about BBC Radio Derby presenter Andy Potter disclosing on air that he has been diagnosed with Cancer and that it is inoperable. I listened to the broadcast too and it struck me how very stoic he was. This is a man who had only learned the previous day what his prognosis was and yet he presented himself in a calm and composed manner. His fortitude is admirable and we send warm wishes and support for the future.
This set me thinking about Stephen and the way he, and we dealt with his prognosis. We were in complete shock, especially as he hadn’t been ill but had simply been referred back to his GP by his optician following a routine eye test. Within just a few weeks he had been admitted to hospital, tested, medicated, scanned, undergone major brain surgery and here we were little more than three weeks from him having an eye test being told that our future looked much bleaker than we had feared; and considerably shorter than we had hoped.
Our walk through the hospital corridors that afternoon is a blur, arm in arm each holding the other up as we sobbed and grieved for the future that had just been stolen from us. When we got home Steve decided he needed to vacuum the lounge, I didn’t see the point; life would never be the same and a clean floor was the least of our worries but Steve was practical.
A few days later we sat and chatted, it seemed thats all we did for a very long time but this time I asked Steve what he wanted to do. Was there anywhere in the world he wanted to see, was there anything he had a burning desire to do and how did he want to spend the rest of the time we had together? His answer was simply that he wanted to carry on as normal. He wanted to work and just see what happens. It was September so we discussed cancelling christmas as how could we possibly celebrate with the impending doom but he found the idea abhorrent! Steve loved christmas and if there was one thing we did well, that was it so, it was business as usual. This continued to be the case as much as possible right up until his passing. He even worked right up until the Friday before he was admitted to hospital for the last time on Sunday much the same as Andy, his stoicism shined through.
The point is none of us really know how we would react in such a situation, we can imagine what we would do but until it happens we can only guess. What really is important though is that we are supported in the difficult times, thats what helps us pull through. Steve had my support and I his and each of us had the support of family and friends. On reflection that really was the most important thing at that time for us, and for me since then too.
Dealing with cancer can be lonely and isolating, much like how we felt walking though those corridors in a haze. That is why we exist, to support and help care for our community. If you’d like to learn more about us visit www.lgbtcancer.org.uk we are here when you need us.