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My Brush With Cancer

I first found out that my partner Rod had cancer on the 2nd of August 2005. We both went to BRI on the above date after Rod had been to see his GP. He had previously had his Asthma inhalers changed because he was starting to not actually suffer any difficulties, but had the start of a very gruff voice. I noticed I wasn't able to understand what he was saying and had to keep asking him to repeat his self. As time wore on his voice got steadily worse to the point were he could barely talk but still not suffering any discomfort. I and Rod's parents advised him to go and see his GP which he actually did. Rod was working very long and unsociable hours as a Bus Driver for Blackburn with Darwen Transport. Rod saw his GP late on in July 2005. Rod's GP recommended that he should see a specialist to anaylise Rod's problem. We went to BRI early in August were Rod had an appointment with Mr Timms. Rod went in to see Mr Timms on his own. For some reason Rod would not let me go in with him. When he came out I casually asked how he had gone on. (neither of us suspected cancer) He looked slightly taken aback and said to me that (these are Rod's words) "They think I have throat cancer". I took one look at him and automatically started to cry. A nurse happened to see that I was upset and brought us into a side room were she sat us down and explained the situation to us. She explained what was happening in Rod's throat so that I could take everything in. She was very precise and told us how it was. Rod was told he would have to have a biopsy, which took place at BRI on 8th Auqust 2005 performed by Mr Cherry. We had a long and agonising 10 day wait for the results. I spent most of the time in tears. Rod was diagnosed with cancer of the vocal cords on 17th August and that is when my world fell apart. I thought I was going to lose the only man I have ever truly loved. It was just gut wrenching. I felt sick almost instantly and found I wasn't much help to Rod. Rod was admitted into hospital on 11th September for the operation to go ahead the next day. I arrived at the hospital at 8am on 12th September all keyed up and feeling very anxious about the day ahead only to be told that Rod's operation was not going ahead because Rod had a chest infection and a hiqh temperature. We were both very upset (no fault of the hospitals) because we had both prepared ourselves for the operation to go ahead. Rod was visibly upset and angry because it meant we had to wait another fortniqht before he could be operated on. Another long and agonising wait for us both. Mv days were very dark and dreary. All I could think about was cancer and how it was affecting our lives. When I was not with Rod I spent my time just crying all day long. It made it harder for me because me and Rod do not live together. I look after my elderly Mother who was an absolute treasure. It was almost role reversal. She was trying as best she could to care for me and was as upset about Rod as I was. I received a lot of support from Rod's parents who are absolute diamonds. They were there for me throughout the whole time Rod was in hospital. Rod was aqain admitted into Ward 18 BRI on 25th September. The operation was due to take place the day after 26th September. Again I arrived at BRI at 8am on that day. The operation was going ahead. Inside I was secretly dreading it but tried my hardest to hide it from Rod. Rod was taken to theatre at 9.25am. I was then beside myself with grief and paced the hospital corridor for 7 hours. I was advised by numerous members of staff to go home and that they would ring when they had any news but I stubbornly refused to go. I wanted to be as near to Rod as possible. It was a very long and nerve racking day. I prayed and prayed over and over again. I said the rosary and the mass that was in my diary. 5.15 arrived and Rod was out of theatre and being transferred into ICU. I was allowed in almost immediately just had to wait a few minutes whilst the nurses got him settled. My first reaction on seeing Rod was to cry my eyes out but I knew that would not help him. After what he had just been throuqh he should have been the one crying which made me feel worse. I just wanted to hold him and knew instantly that I would look after him as best as I possibly could. The following day Rod was brought back to the ward. I was relieved he was out of ICU and that the only way was up. We had some good days and bad days between us. When Rod was having an off day I was distraught but when he was having a good day, We would laugh and joke about. The staff from Mr Morar downwards have been absolute gems. The nurses were fantastic and cared for Rod AND myself like true professionals. They looked after me with great sensitivity. The after care Rod received and is still receiving at home from Vanessa and Denise is truly brilliant. The dedication from all these people have helped me and Rod cope so much better. I am due to return to work on 14th November after having 10 weeks off sick. I hope and pray that I will be able to settle back into the routine after being off for so long. I know I will still worry about Rod. I just hope I can cope with it all.

Ann Weir 28th October 2005.

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