THE BLOG

My Cancer Diagnosis Left Me Unable to Speak to My Loved Ones

09/06/2015 07:59 BST | Updated 08/06/2016 10:59 BST

It's difficult to convey the shock of being told that I had cancer. I was terrified as I made my way out of the hospital along the long corridor that led to the car park.

I was in floods of tears and barely able to support myself. Stood leaning against the wall, I was looking at other people who were looking at me, trying to understand what they were thinking and really wishing that I could be in their shoes and not mine.

I was on my own at the hospital at that point and I felt very lonely. I'd only been able to speak to the consultant - there wasn't a nurse on hand to talk to me afterwards - so I left with hundreds of ideas and potential conclusions swimming around in my head, worrying about what was going to come.

I was feeling really nervous about having to go home and tell my wife. I wasn't sure how she would react, but I knew that it was going to be extremely difficult.

I'd turned off my phone at the hospital so I couldn't get any calls. I didn't turn it on again until I got home. When I got home, she was standing there waiting for me. She looked really cross and upset at the same time. Her eyes were filling with tears as she told me she'd phoned about ten times and wanted to know why I'd left the phone off.

I talked her through everything I'd been through. I explained about the long walk down the corridor, about feeling lonely, feeling sad and feeling guilty for my dad and my brother that they were going to have to go through this again after my mum died of cancer in 2006. And feeling dreadfully sorry that I had to give her bad news.

She was in floods of tears. I don't really think I've ever seen crying like it. I tried to help, I tried to put my arms around her and make her feel better, but I couldn't do it. It was so upsetting. I felt sad that I couldn't help and that I had made her so upset.

Our relationship suffered, and we slowly moved further and further apart as we buried our fears to a certain degree. I think we were drifting apart because I felt like I was sinking under the water. I felt like I was putting my hand up to her in a boat above the water, but she was withdrawing her hand because she felt that if I got hold of her, I would drag her in and we would both drown.

It was at that point that she went to the GP who recommended we contact Macmillan. We did, and they arranged for us to get some psychological support at home. She helped us to talk about things, and helped me to realise that a lot of the things I was feeling were okay. Being able to talk about those things helped us to work out our problems and, with our son, become stronger as a family.

No one should face cancer alone. For support or to find out more about Macmillan's holistic needs assessment tool, which can help ensure people get practical, physical and emotional support when they need it visit macmillan.org.uk/hna or call 0808 808 0000