Mark on looking after someone with cancer

Mark and Kate on a boat
Mark and Kate on a boat

Mark’s long-term partner, Kate, was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma after he urged her to visit a doctor.

At times he has found looking after Kate difficult, but he thinks the cancer has brought them closer together.

Mark's story

One of the hardest bits for me was seeing Kate before she was diagnosed. I first noticed something wasn’t quite right about two or three months before the end of the school term. She was losing an awful lot of weight very quickly. She was sweating at night. She was also very tired all the time and very short of short of breath. She was going downhill and did not know what was wrong. But she kept on saying that she was fine.

Normally Kate and I would talk about everything that’s going on in our lives. And it was really hard because, with this going on, she wouldn’t talk.

Eventually, I forced her to go to the doctor. It wasn’t just me that was asking her to go – it was a friend as well.

When I look back now I can kind of see why she was really scared of going to the doctors. It wasn’t that she didn't want to – she was just petrified that if she went they’d tell her it was going to be the end and there was nothing they could do.

Since the diagnosis, I’ve had to make changes to the way I do things. Work have been amazing and have allowed me to occasionally work from home, which means I can sort things out here – like doing the cooking, that sort of thing.

I think one of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with is that there is nothing I can do to help Kate at all. I can only be there for her. I can’t take this away and I really struggled with that.

One of the things that really helped with Kate’s recovery was being able to get out on her parents’ yacht. Just being able to go down to the harbour and relax, to enjoy the fresh air. It's really, really lovely.

I think the cancer has brought us closer together in terms of the way we do things. And we talk about absolutely everything now. Nothing’s off the table anymore.

Watch: all about Mark's experiences

Watch: all about Mark's experiences