I wasn’t there when Chris was told by our GP he had a tumour.
He went to the appointment by himself.
If I’m honest I don’t think at that point either of us believed that it would ever be anything really serious.
Really life changing.
I was at work.
He rang me.
It was the first thing he said to me.
No hello, no I’ve just got back from the doctors.
Instead a panicked voice told me ‘It’s a tumour in my bone’
‘A fucking bone tumour’
I was surprised I got upset.
A bone tumour could be anything and Chris often has a habit of being glass half empty.
Maybe they didn’t actually mean tumour, maybe that’s just what he heard.
I still didn’t think Cancer.
‘Cause you don’t, do you.
I needed to be with him.
To try to keep him calm, to stop him panicking, to stop him feeling scared.
I couldn’t stop thinking that I should have been there with him. I could have somehow helped to cushion the blow.
That he shouldn’t have been alone to hear that.
I had brushed it off as nothing, not taken it seriously.
I felt, still feel, so guilty.
I have never missed an appointment since that day.
I was with him when the ‘big C’ was officially diagnosed.
I was with him on Christmas Eve when they told him he was definitely going to lose his leg.
I have been with him and waited, for often hours, on the days he is due to start chemo.
I have sat with him to keep him company in the afternoons he is in hospital.
I have attended appointments with surgeons and physios.
I have juggled work and kids. I have driven miles in days to make sure he is not alone.
Make sure I am with him.
Until this week.
This week will be the first time I am unable to do any of that.
I have shingles.
It would be irresponsible of me to go to a place where people have a weakened immune system.
So I can’t go.
I couldn’t take him yesterday and wait with him. We were unable to sneak out for dinner and talk about nonsense.
Laugh about silly things.
I can’t visit him to keep him company.
And I know this is already a bad experience for him.
I worry about me not being there, about him being alone.
I know he says he is ok but I know he likes company even when he says he doesn’t. He gets bored being by himself quickly.
He finds it hard to relax and isn’t accustomed to just going with the flow, although this year he has had to.
I know that he hates to be in there, that he wants to be home.
My glass half full balances his glass half empty.
Being there, being the person who lifts him when he is at his lowest, reminding him he can get through anything has been my role.
Has made me feel like I have helped him get through this.
Made me feel useful.
I somehow manage to drag him from the darkness into the light.
This week I can’t.
I can only sit at home wishing I could be there, hoping he’s not lonely, that he doesn’t get too down.
I feel helpless, a little lost.
And really fed up.