It never struck me at first that I had become a carer, you just know that your wife is ill, so you start doing things for her, for the house – without realising that you have become a full-time carer.
I probably only realised I was a carer about halfway into Renate’s treatment, when the effects of the radiotherapy were making her feel very poorly and very, very tired. You start finding that you’re doing things around the house that you weren’t doing before. That’s really the point when it hits home that you’ve got a caring role – and that caring role grows.
As a carer, your number one consideration is for the person that you’re looking after. You can’t go and dig the allotment, you can’t go and play a game of bowls, you can’t go off fishing – because you’ve got to be at home looking after that person. You go and do the shopping, you do some of the housework, the cooking – it’s a total commitment.
Any carer needs to have a break and Macmillan help you to achieve that because they can provide somebody to support you. We’re very lucky; we get a lady who comes in each week and I’m not sure I could cope alone. Your stress level builds up and you have to look after yourself as well.
Marriage is for better or for worse. When I first retired, it was nice for both of us because I could go off and do my thing and she could do what she wanted to do. Now, with the cancer, she’s very limited in what she can do. I want to be here because it’s necessary to look after her. In my own small way, I’m now giving back a little bit of what she’s given to me over the years.