Chris A
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Blood Cancer – a wife’s perspective

Chris A
Posted by
10 Mar 2017

My thoughts, feelings and perspective on my husband's experiences with leukaemia

It's all about context....

So, today is the day I've decided I'm ready to start a journal. I suppose my motivation for this is twofold. Firstly, I want to help others in a similar situation know they aren't alone as it can feel that way. I often feel like a spectator watching my own life from the side-lines whilst the Earth spins round on its axis. This is difficult to watch whilst you're having a real hard time just standing, watching, waiting for that day you can jump back on. So, if this even helps one family then it's been worth it.

Secondly, to be totally transparent I suppose there is also a selfish element to it, to help me process my own thoughts and feelings in the hope that it might make things a little easier. So here goes....

I'm currently on a train full of commuters on my second attempt at returning to work. Southern rail is a big topic at the moment with many commuters extremely disgruntled (quite rightly so) by the shocking service. That said although I also find it annoying and have empathy for everyone affected I find it hard to get angry or as fired up about the whole situation. I suppose I have this ability to see it in context: it could be a lot worse. In fact it has been a lot worse. I'm strangely grateful that I can partake in delayed and cancelled trains. This means I'm living again rather than having my whole life ‘on hold'.

My husband, Chris, and I have been living with what feels like a third person in our marriage, which is VERY unwelcome. This person has a huge personality, is extremely destructive, unsettling, and powerful. This is not someone you want to be hanging around. This is someone you'd cross the road to avoid if you could only see them coming. The problem is we didn't, we couldn't, and now they've moved in. We have to try and make the most of this unwanted visitor as they live with us now, whilst endlessly watching, waiting and hoping for the day when they can be evicted for good.

Our unwanted visitor came knocking on our door out of nowhere one cold December night in 2014. We didn't know much about them before, didn't even recognise their name at first. It was such bad timing, however there is never a good time for this person to come knocking on your door. We had just moved house a week before and every room was still full of boxes and boxes except our baby boy Alfie's room. We hadn't been able to unpack just yet as I'd my hands full looking after our son and Chris hadn't been well. 

Chris had been feeling under the weather for a few weeks but I suppose buying a house, running a business, and having a ten-month-old baby it's to be expected. He was extremely tired, pale, achy, and had this persistent cough, along with the odd night sweat. After a couple of visits to the doctor and after having paramedics out he was told he had pleurisy, to rest until the virus passed, and was advised to take ibuprofen for the pain. 

So there we were, surrounded in a sea of boxes, making the most of a few baby free hours, watching an episode of the X Factor. During the ad break Chris turned to me and said 'hey look at this' he pulled his sleeve up. 'I look like I've been stabbed with a marker pen' he said smiling. He was showing me this perfectly round blue / black mark on the inside of his wrist. I remember thinking, ‘well that's odd, this thing sitting on top of his vein like that’, so I asked him if he had any others. He went on to tell me that he's also had heat rash round his ankles for a few days and he pulled his trouser leg up to show me lots of little red dots on his ankles. With that I jumped up and sifted through a few boxes labelled 'kitchen', I was looking for a glass.

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