Ashley first found a lump and talked about it coming and going, so I simply put it down to swollen glands. I think I’d assumed that because he’d been clear for over 20 years, the cancer was never coming back.
Ashley went to get the test results from the hospital, which is about a 50-minute drive away, so I knew he’d be gone quite a few hours. But I didn’t hear from him for hours, which made me quite anxious. As each hour went past, the more I thought that it was bad news.
I called the hospital and the consultant’s office told me that he’d left hours before. That put a lot of fear into me as to what he might have done or where he might have gone.
When he finally arrived home I knew it was going to be bad news. Ashley seemed quite calm but I went to pieces and was crying and shouting hysterically in the garden. Ashley had to calm me down and bring me in.
Partly I was relieved that he had actually come home. I was afraid he wasn’t actually going to because the news was so bad.
At that point I went numb, I was not thinking straight at all. I knew little about cancer and so I just assumed that this was it and that, very soon, Ashley would die.
I think possibly the hardest feeling is the instability – the fact that everything that’s laid out and mapped out for you in your life has just been taken out from underneath you.
The things I’d say to anyone who’s going through this themselves is, first of all, get the number of a Macmillan nurse and call them as soon as possible. Secondly, don’t assume that a cancer diagnosis automatically means that person’s going to die. And thirdly, try not to isolate yourself and keep in all your concerns. It’s amazing how many people out there actually really care and want to help, whether you know them or not.