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REVIEW of Focus 01
One Carer's Journey
Breast Cancer from the viewpoint of a carer

The day my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, it seemed the sunshine of my world had suddenly been snuffed out. Before that, life had been really good to us and we were planning an even better future. Then she discovered the lump. It was hard to believe how something so small could have such a huge influence; but it did, and that became clearer as we were swallowed by the consequences.

At the time, I still had two years to go before official retirement and had decided to carry on working well afterwards. That was no longer an option because I was about to become a full-time carer. I doubt many who have never experienced my situation could appreciate its true meaning. Even I didn't at first. It wasn't just looking after my wife, doing the cooking and washing, cleaning the house and driving her to and from appointments. I expected that. What I was unprepared for was stumbling to cope with the extras, trying to cover all of those things that my wife usually handled. The form-filling, phone calls and day-to-day decision-making had all been dumped on me. Then I had to keep her positive, not an easy task under the circumstances. I was suffering a disease by proxy, and with the responsibilities on top I was both afraid and bitter. That sounds selfish, I know, but it was how I felt. Being utterly confused by the situation and an abundance of support that was almost suffocating, I was starting to despise this "Journey" we had been forced to take.

Thanks to some truly amazing medical professionals, the cancer is gone. We are under no illusions that this is forever; but we are well down the track now and are both eternally grateful for all of the help we received back then. Without it, there would have been no future, nothing worthwhile, anyway. Now we have started planning again, just little by little, the same way we dealt with everything in the dark times. The fact that we got through them, for us anyway, seemed to come with an obligation - here's your new life, now do something with it. And that's exactly what we intend to do.

To read the complete article or download the PDF of Focus 01 click here

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