I really put my feelings to one side then, so that I could support Waheed. Compared to what she was going through, my situation was extremely fortunate – so I didn’t feel that I wanted to burden anyone else, particularly not my wife. When Waheed was going through the treatment, I really focused on the practical. I didn’t feel there was really time or space to connect much with my feelings, and I put all my effort into supporting my wife through the treatment. Practically I just had to make every arrangement so that she could focus on getting better, or minimizing the pain that she was in.
In the earlier meetings with doctors you’re still very much in shock with the news that you've received. It’s hard to be present and completely connected with everything that’s being told to you at the time. I would just jot down some of the terms and the things they’d been telling us, knowing that I’d have to re-read it to properly process it. At the same time, when you’re in the oncology section of a hospital and waiting in a room full of people – all of whom you know are there for similar reasons – you don’t really feel like taking up too much of the doctor’s time.
When Waheed was going through treatment, I wanted to know as much as possible about what was going on – to understand the options, understand the condition. And the Macmillan website had volumes and volumes of relevant information to help me with that.
If we hadn't had Macmillan, our nurse, Maggie, and the information that was in the hospital and on the website, I think I’d be a lot more unsure about what was going on, about how to cope and how to handle what was going on. One of the things that the Macmillan nurse talked to her about was how we could explain to our children – who were six and seven at the time – that Waheed was suffering from cancer. The Macmillan nurse helped us figure out what might be the best way to talk to our young children about her condition and explain it in a way that they would understand.
Macmillan had leaflets that covered things you didn’t think that you might need to think about. When you saw the leaflet you thought, ‘Actually, I haven’t thought about that. I should go through this and read the information and see how it applies to our situation’.