"DON'T tell me how strong you THINK I am.. I AM SURVIVING because I HAVE to.."
So we had waited nearly 3 weeks for this appointment to determine our fate. The day came when we attended the hospital. It was sickening to the stomach, waiting in the room with a lot of other people there for the same reason.
The nurse from the previous hospital attended the appointment with us for support, our appointment was 1430, Colin was ill, he felt so sick, the disease was already eating away at him.
It was time for us to go in. I felt sick, so sick, it was like our whole future was in the hands of a stranger, a no-one to us.
We walked in and there sat a very well dressed woman who welcomed us, she was very well spoken. The room was blank with hope written on the wall as this was the name of this section of the hospital, ironic aye? She explained the severity of Colin’s cancer after full testing of the biopsy, it was stage 3-4, I was in tears and in shock. The doctor also advised us that he had a small lesion on the base of his spine however this is the secondary cancer and asymptomatic. She told us the treatment Colin would be receiving is paliative care. I’d never even heard of this, this is end of life treatment.
End of life? WTF, he has just been diagnosed. What the actual F***!
She explained that we could enter an american clinical trial and there would be a chance he would get a very good treatment however it was randomised. We selected this option against standard chemotherapy as it would be silly to not take the chance up.
I asked the dreaded question, how long? She told us he had approximately 5 years. I felt relieved, we could still get married, have a baby, more of a life.
Colin was quiet until she spoke to him, I did the majority of the talking. I expressed how angry I was about this being missed. She apologised but it wasn’t her fault. She let us go, with medication and advised we would get a letter through about the next steps. We shook her hand, I took Colin’s hand and left the room.
The nurse came out the room with us and talked us through what had happened in finer details as a lot of it was a blur. She was a lovely lady, always made everything simple, always answered our questions.
The whole 45 minute journey home was pure silence. Neither of us knew what to say. We didn’t eat this night and we didn’t sleep very well either.
After a long 6 weeks in Glenfield hospital and countless tests later it was final results time. We had to see the specialist who originally admitted him.
We were anxious as to why he wasn’t getting better, I was tired as long visits at the hospital after a while wear you down. I had been signed off work due to being generally shattered, the doctor had told me that until it all calms down I need to be off work as I was close to having a breakdown. Colin was concerned for me too. He was fed up of being prodded, injected, scanned and not being at home.
The final test he had before this appointment was a CT guided needle lung biopsy and this was results day.
The time came, it was 1359 and we were called into a meeting room on the ward, 2 nurses were in the room and the specialist doctor. Colin and I sat down, I had an awful feeling about this and so did he. She straight away said after doing further testing the mass on his lung which had doubled in size was stage 3 – 4 lung cancer, she said we would be referred to Leicester Royal Infirmary to a top professor who would advise on treatment plans and any other questions we had she would answer.
Hold on, we were told this wasn’t cancer, we were told this was pneumonia… What has just happened here? I was in tears, Colin didn’t look surprised. The doctor apologised for the length of time this had taken. 17 weeks to diagnose a young man with terminal cancer at this stage.
We were terrified, we didn’t know what to think.
Then we had to tell people, his children, mum and dad, brothers and sisters. How? We’ve never done this…. So many questions were running through my head but ultimately, is he going to get through this?
We stepped outside to get air, then collected Colin’s belongings as he was discharged. I phoned my family, he phoned his and then I phoned our director at work as Colin had worked there for 23 years.
Colin just wanted to get home, I drove us home, we sat down and just cried all night.. I tried to remain positive for both of us but in the back of my mind our world had just shattered into a million pieces right before our eyes….
We had been in our house for 3 months it was May 2016, Colin had the flu, he had been ill for a couple of weeks. Colin would never go to the doctors for anthing. He continued his normal life feeling shit, going to work etc. He got better and a cough developed, it wasn’t getting any better so I managed to convince him to visit the doctor, i made the appointment and we went after work. I thought a short course of antibiotics would resolve the cough however the doctor had different ideas.
The day of the appointment he was anxious and trying to talk his way out of it but I couldn’t watch him feeling this rough anymore, he went in and I waited outside, Colin was very private. When he came out the doctor had said he wanted him to have a chest x-ray to see what was going on, we thought nothing of this and carried on our normal day.
The appointment came through very quickly, he went on the wednesday (2 days after the docs appointment), we left work early and had it done. After he’d had it done we went out for dinner. On friday of this week at about 1730 he had a phone call from the doctor saying he wanted Colin to attend the surgery at 0900 on the monday morning. Why? why has he got to go in so quickly? We didn’t have a relaxing weekend we were concerned about this appointment.
Monday came, we both organised to be off work for the appointment, we both went in to this one. The doctor said they found a small mass on his right lung, it was at the top and the doctor assured us this could be a range of different problems, it could be pneumona, chest infection etc…
The doctor referred us to Glenfield Hospital in Leicester, this was a heart and lung hospital where we were to be seen by a specialist who could further diagnose the problem, at this point, Colin’s cough had worsened and was making him quite ill. We had tried every medicine we could buy from the pharmacy and nothing was clearing it up.
Two weeks later we went to the hospital for the appointment, we saw a specialist who said it could be a number of problems, it could be pneumonia, TB and the ‘C’ word was mentioned but they said this was highly unlikely as he was only 43 and it tends to affect older men? She organised for Colin to have a Bronchoscopy to test some of the fluid on his lungs to check further.
Two weeks later (again), i took him to Glenfield for the procedure to take place. He went in at 0900 and I waited in the waiting room, 2 & 1/2 hours later he came out, he said it was awful, very unpleasant.
One week later we had a call from Glenfield to make an appointment for the following week, we went back and saw a different specialist who advised nothing was found and they wanted to do a CT scan to confirm exactly what was going on.
Another two weeks passed and we went to the Leicester Royal Infirmary for the CT scan, he had to drink 800ml of a milky coloured drink so it would show anything up in more detail. Colin hated fuss and to him this was fuss. I assured him it was the best thing to do so we could find out what was going on.
We received a phone call from a nurse at Glenfield 1 week after the scan, she confirmed it was pneumonia, it’s never anything to be relieved about but at least it wasn’t the dreaded ‘c’, the nurse was so relieved for us as she knew we had been worried. Colin was prescribed strong antibiotics to clear up the infection. During the course of the antibiotics he was still very unwell, the cough was getting worse and he had pain in his chest. We spoke to the GP who advised it’s symptoms of the pneumonia and the tablets working.
Two weeks later we had a check-up appointment for the results at Glenfield, we saw another specialist, it was a clinic so you ‘got who you got’, we couldn’t keep seeing the same doctor which was annoying because we had to explain ourselves over and over again. He asked how Colin was feeling and took his temperature and other vitals, he had a raised temperature and was looking unwell, Colin had also lost a stone in weight as he hadn’t been eating properly. The specialist decided to give Colin another course of antibiotics and told us to return in 1 week to have another x-ray and he’ll see where we are then.
One week later arrived quickly, we were back in the car on the way from work, he had the x-ray first and then we went to wait to see the consultant. We saw the highest consultant, who said she isn’t happy with Colin’s progress and advised he is still being tested for TB, the results take 6 weeks to come back. She decided to admit Colin to the CD department (clinical decisions) for further testing..
Colin was so nervous to stay in a hospital, he loved being at home with me and in his own surroundings but we agreed it was for the best at this time to ‘fix him’.
To be continued in my next installment…
Colin had been abroad once before I met him. I had to beg him to come away with me to Turkey, he liked being at home, the normal.
It took me until 2014 to convince him and he agreed to come to Turkey with me, my mum, dad and uncle. Colin had a great time, he loved it, so much so we returned in 2015.
Colin loved sunbathing and went very brown. He always got prickley heat but had one day out of direct sunlight and would get straight back in the sun.
We had romantic walks along the beach in the evenings, meals out and not to forget loads of alcoholic beverages. Some of the best memories were made here in this beautiful country.
When we got home after the holiday we would compare suntans and his suntan would always hang around for a lot longer than mine which would annoy me.
As the months went on living together it became more and more normal, a lot of the time I was pinching myself to make sure it was real and he was actually there when I woke up.
Every work morning we would get up, get ready and leave together in the same car as we worked together. It was so lovely, we have gone from living 136 miles apart a few years earlier to doing everything together and we both loved it. Obviously, couples have their arguments and when we did it was a little awkward as we’d have to make ‘small talk’ in the car on the way to work or we would sit in silence 😊. The arguments would never last long, Colin was too nice, he would always talk to me first, I was a little stubborn.
We had our own chores, colin took the bins out, cooked some nights, sorted anything to do with the bills, tv, computer, putting furniture together. I cleaned, washed, dried, ironed, cooked. We always did the shopping for the week together, I think he secretly enjoyed using the scanner thing in the supermarket.
At the weekend, his daughter would come and stay with us, she loved having her own room and tv, PlayStation etc, we would all go into town for lunch, shopping and to watch Liverpool. Colin was a massive Liverpool fan and made me one too 😊.
In March 2016, my mum got us a tour around Anfield stadium and a night away in a hotel, we had a lovely time, we went and saw a football match, found the hotel and went out for a drink that night.
I loved our life it was wonderful.
A job became available where Colin worked in an industrial company, I instantly had butterflies in my tummy. I applied for the job, took a risk and got it! I handed my notice in at my previous company and gave my 4 weeks notice. There were a lot of emotions involved in this decision i felt; excited, anxious, curious, sad (to be leaving my family, friends and home essentially).
‘Sometimes you have to do what’s best for you and your life, not what’s best for everybody else’. So, I got brave and just did it! I packed all of my belongings and left my family home to live with Colin who I had been with for 5 years.
June the 2nd 2014 was my start date at the company where Colin worked, I’d never done a job like this before but the people were lovely and they made me feel so welcome (i think mainly because Colin had been there for 23 years and i was his fiancee). However good or bad it was doing something so daunting I didn’t care, I got to live with the love of my life and I was enjoying normality with him. I couldn’t help but feel like I was on an extended holiday for about 6 months.
We lived with Colin’s mum and dad while we got the money together to move out and ended up staying there over 2 years.
Colin and I got our first, little, terraced house on the 18th of February 2016. This was so exciting, new appliances, furniture etc… my mum and family helped out with everything we needed for our house, anything to make sure we were happy.
Finally, we are home 🏠 ♥️
For about 5 years my weekends consisted of finishing work early on a Friday afternoon and driving 136 miles to be precise to Loughborough. The journey could take anything between 3 and 6 hours and doing the same journey on a Sunday night to come home. I would spend most weekends in Loughborough with Colin and his 3 lovely children.
The excitement on a Thursday night never changed over the years, packing my bag, going to the petrol garage to fuel up and go to work for a few hours before my eager drive to Loughborough to see Colin. I cancelled lots of plans in order to visit every weekend, if I didn’t, the wait until the following weekend was so long and drawn out.
At the weekends we would go fishing, shopping, out for lunch/dinner just like we weren’t any different to any other family. Colin and I would go out on our own for drinks and we had many exciting times together. Sometimes, we would drive to Kent and visit my family, they loved him.
The drive home was always sad for me because I was leaving him for another week.
Colin asked me for months on end to meet, even though I had seen him numerous times on webcam as it was then it was still making me nervous. The 136 mile journey made me nervous too, I had only passed my driving test in the June and it was September. I had to drive as every weekend he had his 3 children and we didn’t want it to interfere with their time together.
I took a deep breath, phoned Colin, and said yes let’s meet up! He was so excited as was I so we arranged a date, I felt sick with nerves but he reassured me it would be fine. We arranged to meet on a Friday and both booked annual leave from work.
The day has arrived, I said goodbye to my family, put my overnight bag in the car and started my journey ‘up north’. The journey was good, i stopped at 2 services on the way, Toddington services was the first services on the M1 that I came to.
When I arrived at Junction 23 my heart was pounding and I had butterflies in my tummy, I remember this feeling so clearly like it had just happened to me. I pulled over in the lay-by as I came off the motorway just to gather myself, I phoned Colin to let him know I was there, he was nervous too. He explained where he was going to be and I picked him up on route to Loughborough town centre.
Driving down the road, I saw him, I pulled over and he got in the car, he was just how I imagined him and confirmed I had made the right decision to meet him. He was much more softly spoken than what he sounded like on the phone and his voice was lovely. He leant over and kissed me on the cheek, and told me he couldn’t believe we were finally sitting next to one another.
We went into the town centre and parked behind a pub/restaurant called Varsity, we got out the car and he cuddled me,it was so lovely, it had been a long time since I longed for his arms around me.
We had lunch, spoke like we had been together for years and had a wonderful time.
This was one of the best days of my life..
In 2008 I was 17 years old, albeit young I have always had an older mind, I joined Facebook this year and there was a new social game on there called ‘Social Me’, I thought, why not? what have i got to lose by playing this game? The idea of the game was to look at people’s photos and choose a word to describe the person in the photo, people could give you different words as many times as they wanted to providing you didn’t block them from doing so. One evening in February not long after my birthday, a man clicked on the word ‘interesting’ and sent that to me, i thought nothing of it and then 5 minutes later I got another message with ‘pretty’, ok, that’s nice, i accepted the compliment. Another 30 minutes passed and I thought to myself oh good, he hasn’t written anything else – I was beginning to think he was a bit weird sending me these nice words, previous to this, I had been playing the game with my friends or friends of friends.
A couple of days went by and I got another message telling me that the same man had voted again, this time he clicked on the word ‘intriguing’ – I thought ok, I need to find out who this man is so I investigated and found his Facebook profile. Just as I was snooping through I got a message on Facebook from him which read ‘ Hey gorgeous, how are you?’
A few months passed and it was August, we have been talking for some time now he was 35 had 3 children, 2 sons and a daughter and he lived in Loughborough, Leicestershire. We spoke every day and every evening sometimes until really late at night. He was instantly a lovely person and very honest. Every day that I spoke to him he got more and more interesting. I slowly found out he was quite a private, shy person which I liked. His name was Colin which initially I thought was a ‘old mans’ name but I didn’t care.
It was now August the 24th 2008 and I am about to travel with my family to Lanzarote. Colin and I had discussed for weeks previous to this day that we wouldn’t be able to speak while I was away (mobiles weren’t that advanced at this point). He phoned me as I was just about to board the flight and said ‘I have something to tell you’, I said ‘yes’, he said ‘ I love you’. I was stunned, we hadn’t met yet. I said ‘I love you too’ and the whole holiday all I could think about was this moment.
To be continued…