Archive for the ‘Cancer’ Category

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Until You Die, Live.

June 28, 2011

Dear World,

I’m pretty sure unless you’re 24, nursed your husband through 14 months of sickness, knowing all along that the cancer would get him eventually and then watched him die…. you have no idea what I’m feeling!

It makes me so cross that people think I should feel a certain way. That I should be crying all day. That I should be miserable.

I made my peace with the fact that I was losing my husband back in December. I started saying goodbye in March. I prayed over him as he slipped away and gave him over to God.

When I think of the countless people who, every single day, have their loved ones ripped from them – through war and accidents and heart attacks, who never have a chance to sort things and make peace and say goodbye… I feel lucky. Everyone has to die. I got the gift of being there when he did.

I’ve also got the gift of being alive. I’ve got the gift of joy. I’ve got the gift of Salvation. And I’m going to live my life.  I’m not going to sit at home and mope. I’m going to hang out with my friends and make new ones and go on adventures.

Stop judging me for being ok. Stop judging me because I’m not grieving in the same way or on the same time scale as you are or “think” you would be. I loved him more than you could ever know. It’s because I love him that I’m going to make the best of the short time we have on this earth.

I’m 24. I’m far too young to die too, to just exist. I’m going to live.

Ses

(picture from Howies – sadly it was limited edition and no longer available.)

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Andy

May 19, 2011

My darling Andy went to be with Jesus at 4.15pm today.

He was surrounded by both our families and our best friends. I kissed him, and told him that I loved him, that I’d miss him, that we’d look after each other. And that it was time for him to go home, Jesus was waiting for him. I prayed over him, and he slowly, peacefully stopped breathing.

He was a wonderful man, and I feel indescribably blessed to have been married to him for one year, ten months and a day. I can’t express how much I’m going to miss him.

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Heading Home

May 17, 2011

We think Andy is heading to his heavenly home quite soon.

Last night he told us that he didn’t want to fight any more. And we said that’s ok.

So we’ve had a day of seeing friends and saying goodbyes. Still waiting on my sisters and Dad to arrive from various places, but Andy is comfortable, relaxed and breathing easily.

He’s not really talking very much, but last night I asked him if he was scared. He said no.

I asked him if he was sad. He said no. He is just so tired.

My selfish desire to keep him with me has been eclipsed by the fact that I just love him too much to see him suffer any further. I’m sure my rage and longing and denial will come, but for now I’m just so sad that I’m losing my husband, my lover, my best friend.

And so relieved that he’s finally going to a place of no more tears, no more pain. To a new body that works, to be together with the God whom he loves and who loves him.

Please keep praying for us – that Andy will have peace. And that I can somehow make it through this without losing all the pieces of my broken heart.

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Prayer Requests

May 16, 2011

Got some specific prayer requests for the week:

We are booked into a beautiful hotel in Oxford for this coming weekend and I would dearly love to make it, we both need some serious relaxation. However, they have a 48 hour cancellation period, so I have to let them know by tomorrow (Tuesday) at 3pm whether we can go. For us to go we need to get the OK from the doctor, have found a wheelchair and for Andy not to be needing Oxygen all the time. Bit of a tall order really, but still, please pray (really really hard!) that it’ll all be ok.

Also pray for rest – Andy had a good night’s sleep last night and is napping again now, I’m hoping this can be a bit of a turnaround for this episode as his energy and breathing is starting to pick up a bit. But decent sleep is paramount to everything so please pray that his rest is multiplied, that many hours of sleep are packed into each hour that he does get.

Finally, for peace. He is having a lot of anxiety about weird, little things… sometimes he doesn’t even know why he’s having anxiety attacks. Bit scary really.

Thanks, Ses

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Keep Calm & Carry On

May 11, 2011

The last few weeks have been interesting …

Lots of visits to the GP – Andy’s been prescribed diazepam and amitriptyline to try and tackle the awful stress-induced back pain he’s in. Also, as I’m super-wife, I picked up on the fact that he was anaemic and he’s now on iron tablets to try and sort out his energy levels.

Also had a few trips to hospital – 2 nights for a small bowel obstruction which thankfully sorted itself out pretty quickly. As usual they wanted to discharge him too quickly, but we’ve learnt our lesson and he refused to leave until everything was ok (it wasn’t and it was just as well, he needed another night on the drip)

Also had many visits for a prolapsed stoma – yeah, that was fun! Pretty scary feeling (I didn’t watch!!) the stoma being about
6″ long instead of about 1.5″. I won’t repeat how Andy described it to the nurse!! Andy’s currently still in the QE2 as the stoma prolapsed and it just wouldn’t go back in – the surgeons have taken the decision not to do anything as it’d be too dangerous to do any surgery. So we’ve been talking to Alison (the stoma nurse) about support bands and seem to have found something that works.

Annoyingly due to the swelling in his liver he’s been having a few issues with breathing – his oxygen sats have been dropping to about 87ish so he’s on oxygen and is going to move to the hospice here in Letchworth tomorrow to be looked after for a few days while he catches up on all the sleep he’s lost and the new meds (steroids and whatnot) are sorted out. But even a couple of nights in hospital have really made a difference to his energy levels and he’s looking a lot more awake compared to the last week!

Please keep praying for us, all this back and forth to hospital is getting very tiring and there are lots of fun things planned for the next few weeks that we don’t want to miss.

Ses

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Latest Update

April 5, 2011

Well, a long silence on the blog normally means one of two things – everything is moving along nicely, or something bad happens and it’s just too hard to find the words.

Sadly, this time it’s the latter.

 

Two weeks ago, Thursday 24th March, Andy started to lose his appetite. Then he started to get pain in his abdomen. By Friday morning he had a fever and the pain was worse, so we took him to A&E at the Lister in Stevenage. He had a chest and abdomen x-ray which showed nothing, and blood tests which showed his inflammation markers were up. Not dangerously up, just enough to raise concern in someone who’s had 9 months of chemo. So, much to our annoyance (as we were supposed to be leaving to go to Plymouth at 3pm that day and especially as three doctors had said he seemed ok) the gastro surgeon decided to keep him in overnight. A mystery pain and fever can indicate a tiny perforation of the bowel which, if left untreated can cause blood poisoning.

But paracetamol had dealt with the pain and his temperature was ok. So they promised to come back at 8.30am the next morning to discharge him so we could still get to Plymouth in time for the race. However, 8.30am came and went, and the bloods hadn’t even be done, and the doctors were now in surgery until half ten. So my wonderful, crazy husband discharged himself, we went home, put the bike in the car and drove for 4 and a half hours. Incredibly lucky with traffic, and not needing to stop much, we made it in time and he got to race. And he was SO good. He looked confident and quick coming down and finished 34th out of 58. They even called him out at the end and interviewed him about his battle with cancer, and then he went out clubbing until four in the morning. It was a wonderful day and I am so proud of him.

 

But the following morning the pain was back, so we decided to take him back to hospital. So lots more driving, and another 6 hours in A&E, in our usual bay. (At the QE2 in Welwyn this time as that’s where his surgeons are based, his oncologist has a clinic and we know the nurses on the surgical ward.)  They did a CT scan on Monday to search for the bowel perforation.

 

There was no bowel perforation. There was tumour in the liver. 3 times bigger than it had been 3 months ago.

There was no bowel perforation. There was, basically, a death sentence.

 

When I got the text from Andy asking me to come to the hospital on Tuesday I just knew that my heart was about to be broken. I ran into his room and I saw his face as he handed me the CT report and I felt that crushing weight of the inevitable just hit me.

 

And then, as Andy told me about how they told him, the anger kicked in.

Half 8 that morning a surgical registrar walked into his room, told him the facts, handed him the report and left.

 

He didn’t call me.

He didn’t ask a nurse to accompany him.

He didn’t even tell a nurse.

He didn’t stop for a moment to think about the implications of what he was saying.

 

Thankfully, a couple of the nurses who we knew from last year had spotted me running down the ward and were there to look after us and our family over the next few days. The registrar got verbally bitch slapped by the nurses, the ward manager and I think his consultant had a “chat” as well. He came and apologised the next day, and I hope he realises how much extra pain is caused when you give someone that news when they’re alone.

 

The rest of the week was just a case of seeing all sorts of people – the medics (I think we should mention Dr Raine who was just brilliant – really understanding and supportive. If you’re in the QE2 and want a gastro doctor – get them to page him!) and Dr Polychronis (the oncologist.) He has ordered tests on the original tumour to see whether there’s any biological drugs that could be used to possibly prolong Andy’s life – without treatment we’re looking at 6-9 months. If a new drug is a possibility that might lengthen that by a month or two, but we’ll have to see whether it’s worth spending the time in hospital, side effects etc etc.

 

We also met the palliative care nurses who take control of pain relief once you’re discharged from hospital. Between them and the medics they’ve come up with a plan of MST tablets (slow release morphine – 10mg twice a day) with codeine and Oramorph for any breakthrough pain. He’s also on a week of antibiotics to clear up any infection left and has started steroids to reduce the inflammation in the liver (which in turn will hopefully reduce the pain)

 

They released him for weekend leave, he drove to Shropshire, rode his bike a bit, stopped when it hurt too much, and watched his friends for the rest of the time.

 

He was officially discharged on Monday and now we’re back at work and just trying to carry on. We’ve booked holidays and a day trip to Paris and fun things to do, and we’re going to spend the summer together and just enjoy each other’s company.

Will write more when I’ve got the emotional energy to do so, but for now just a big thank you to all of our wonderful friends and family who have been so supportive over the last week. We love you stupid amounts.

Ses

 

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Running!

March 7, 2011

Still here!

Sorry for the rather epic lack of posting lately – we’re still here, just getting on with it really! Andy’s chemo is going pretty well, more tiring and more side effects than last time but he’s still feeling good and has been doing lots of running and biking to keep him entertained.

The main news is that yesterday Andy and his sister Sarah completed the Adidas Silverstone Half Marathon! (That’s 13.1 miles as we were constantly reminded) They did it in 2:45:13 which I just think is amazing, I am so stupidly proud of him for that incredible achievement, especially as it comes after 16 chemo sessions in 9 months. Between them they managed to raise over £4,000 to be split between Cancer Research UK  and the Willow foundation which is wonderful. We should have really posted the link up here, but don’t worry, there’ll be plenty of other opportunities to sponsor him in the future! (If you really want to donate retrospectively, you can do so here – http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/andrewhill101!)

There’s also lots to look forward to in the next couple of months – Andy is racing at the Plymouth Urban DH in about 3 weeks, then another race a week after that. Plus a trip to the Alps in August and a few more DH races in the summer, should be enough to keep him busy!

He  has another chemo starting on Wednesday, and in about a month’s time he’ll have another PET and/or CT scan to see how it’s going. Please pray that the chemo works properly this time and we can defy the odds and kick this cancer’s arse! There’s far too much to do to be held back by illness!