Once I stopped worrying about myself, the practicalities sank in. What’s my family going to do? What will I do about work? Who’ll pay the mortgage? You begin to realise cancer affects every aspect of your life, in all sorts of ways.
I lost my father to cancer when I was 12, so I could see what my kids were going through. Particularly my youngest son who was 13 at the time. He felt the need to stay with me and be supportive, but I wanted to say to him, ‘Go out and be a child!’. Because I know how a parent’s illness can almost take a kid’s childhood away.
For me, the financial worries are a big concern. In many ways, it’s almost easier to come to terms with the diagnosis. Even though my kids are pretty much grown up, I worry what will happen to them and my wife if I’m not here. Sometimes it’s very hard to keep a lid on all the stress.
There were an awful lot of concerns about how the family would cope financially. I’d been offered medical retirement, which I accepted, but I had a pretty small pension. Macmillan was there with advice on completing forms for benefits.