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The other half


The other half

Hi my name is Helen and I thought its time I got on line to gee-up all those O/H.

My partner of 20 years and her daughter were diagnosed within a month of each other last Aug. Her daughter moved back home and so I cared for both of them through their journey.

I was there for every appointment, result, attended every op and took them both for their chemo sessions and never once missed a call for the sick bucket !!

After chemo they both had further surgery within 4 days of each other. So time to be creative, I took video's back and forth different hospitals, so they could keep in touch with each other.

We had fantastic support from friends, meals were delivered, flowers came by the bucket load for months. Often returning home from a little trip out, we would find flowers on our doorstep.

But it was the nights when they were both ill upstairs that I sat on my own downstairs and fretted, worried and tried to overcome my fears, lonely lonely nights !!

To watch those you love and care for go through this breast cancer journey is a tough call. This has been a journey of a thousand tears. But in the front of my mind I kept thinking WE WILL GET THROUGH THIS. The greatest challenge for those who give support is to overcome fear. As fear will get in the way of giving loving support.

There are also those practicalities to manage, what does the next day have in store? what's to eat?, managing the finances, planning little trips out, trying to keep their spirits up.. the list was endless.

Being a gay couple I am sure had its advantages, after all, women simply understand- don't they. We kept the communications open throughout, talked together long into the early hours, and incidentally had a few laughs.

Their journey is not over yet, but I think once you get on this bus, there is no getting off, just have to come to terms with this being part of our lives. This is a life changing experience, as my partner wrote on one of these discussion groups earlier this week- " I feel like I've landed in a foreign country without a road map" - so do I.

Now we live life day by day and take baby steps and often tumble backwards. I am tired and the emotional journey of carers/ partners is often similar to those who endure this journey. I haven't been cut open, injected with chemicals, but I've had to watch this being done to the two people I care about most in the world, and believe me that is a totally overwhelming experience to deal with.

So to those O/H be gentle on yourself, its normal to feel overwhelmed. Our better halves are going to kick off sometimes, cry and just be out of sorts..and so are you.

So I wish all who's life has been affected by B.C. well, cos it's a bumpy bumpy ride.