I read with interest the article with John Newlands wrote for the Independent this week it brought back a lot of memories of my Steve and his cancer journey. In case you missed it click on the image to read the article.
My Stephen had been admitted to hospital for tests following a routine optician appointment. His diagnosis came a few weeks later. We remained positive throughout this time though and encouraged his parents to go on the holiday they had booked, after all there was nothing they could do here except worry and wait to be seen by his consultant.
Whilst his parents were away on holiday we received the devastating news that Stephens Brain Tumour was terminal. A Glioblastoma Multiforme, described by Wikipedia as, ‘the most aggressive cancer that begins within the brain’ a description that anyone who has encountered the disease would say undersells how deadly it can be.
Those few days between us hearing the news and his parents returning from holiday bought us enough time to compose our thoughts and process the initial rush of emotions from fear and disbelief to anger and grief. When his parents arrived home though I was charged with one of the most difficult jobs I had ever had to do up to then, I had to tell two people whom I cared for that their Son, whom we all loved dearly has an incurable disease.
The days that followed were filled with hospital appointments that seemed to become part of life from then on. Most importantly though there were lots of conversations, with friends, family and loved ones. Some frivolous some funny, and some practical but all of those conversations helped Stephen stay positive and focussed and helped him feel like he was still in control of some of his own destiny. Those conversations also helped us, those ultimately left behind to know that we were doing what he wanted in the way he wanted.
By having conversations and sharing his thoughts through his blog Stephen could be sure that his wishes would carried out. In his own way he also helped us prepare for what was to come. None of us knew when but by having those conversations we were all able to support each other.
Not every story ends as Stephen’s did. Cancer Research UK states half (50%) of people diagnosed with cancer in England and Wales survive their disease for ten years or more (2010-11) and that Cancer survival is improving and has doubled in the last 40 years in the UK. It’s OK to worry what the future may hold but talking about it will help. At your pace and in your own way reach out for support, there are many people who want to be there for you.
If you or someone you know would like to chat then please join us on Twitter, every Sunday from 8-9pm for #LGBTCancerHour, if you don’t want to share your story then feel free to message us privately message us on Facebook or contact us through our website. We know you don’t want to ask but we also know what a difference that support can make.