On the 11th of November, I went to the doctors to get my migraines and chesty cough finally get checked as I could no longer cope with the pain. I was told I had a lower chest infection, so, I understood it to mean I had bronchitis.I was prescribed some antibiotics and some migraleve (or something of the sort). On the Tuesday, I went to work my works and did a 14 hour shift. I had been working there for a month and I loved my post, to the point I considered to return to nursing.
However, an hour before my shift ended, I was debilitated with a sickening and blinding headache. I was sent home. Two buses faced me before reaching my partner for solace and comfort. boarding each bus just led me to slowly walk to a seat, where I crouched and leaned over two seats worth and held my head, trying not to throw up and cry out aloud.
I finally reached my final destination and some how I reached Tom’s parents place, where we are staying whilst we were looking for our own place, as we are homeless. I then managed to climb two sets of stairs and collapsed onto my thin cot mattress and unable to move, I tried to sleep in between coughing and holding my head. Morning came and my headache was cope able and my cough was just as dreadful.
I walked to my doctors and I was sent to A&E. my children took me in and after an x-ray, I was diagnosed with Pneumonia but something alarmed the doctors and the radiographer, I had a large round patch filling my lower right lung. I was admitted after several more tests and some intravenous antibiotics and fluids. The next morning, I was consulted and asked how long I had my cough; headaches; bone pain; weight loss and my horsey throat.
I replied, I had my cough for several months but my cough began when I went over to live in France. Shortly after I arrived in France, I remember starting a terrible cough in the intense heat, in August 2017. It came and went so being in France I didn’t want to waste the little money we had on paying a doctor to be seen and wasting his time for having the flue or something. Then, the cough seemed not to go for very long at all. I would choke on my phlegm, it was terrible.
I couldn’t find a job, so I began editing my book, in fact I totally revamped it. I originally wrote it so it began in 1978 and kept going back to certain events but it was dreadful. So I began again from 1970 to 1978 (Perpetual Helix). It was hard work but I persevered. Then, my dearest Tom began taking ill and eventually lost his apprenticeship and we soon became destitute and luckily for us we didn’t hit poverty until October and in France, you can not be thrown out in October to March, God had given us a reprieve.
But Although Tom tried to get us both to feel positive, things were going down hill. His mental health was deteriorating and my health was too. My cough was horrendous and I thought I had bronchitis and left it at that as had no money for the doctors’ cost and worse still, my migraines began to become an intense experience. In May we received new of Tom’s pension. We received a lump sum and we planned to pay our bills and return to England. but catastrophe hit us.
Tom went ahead to buy a van. We had it all planned, I would sell self published author books as well as publish mine and sell them on the market and Tom would begin his wooden cigarette holder business and deliver for Amazon. All was planned but it didn’t work out as planned. He went ahead to London to buy the van but one disaster hit another. I forced him to go to his parents. I needed him to seek help.
His arrival plummeted his mental health. Yet somehow, he managed to return with a van and fetch me, our stuff and our wonderful dog, Bobbie ( how ever you spell his name, even though, I chose the name as on his passport he is named lost as he was an abandoned dog. Our precious Bobbie came with us but both Tom and myself were very ill.
Tom got mental health help and was diagnosed with severe stress. So I delayed the doctors for me and we got a campsite job as a couple, as wardens. It was hard work, but Tom totally broke down. We returned back to Chesterfield to visit his mother for her birthday on the 12th August. One look at him and she made him stop at his parent’s house. Bobbie had to be passed on to my sister for her to kindly and wonderfully care for him. We were both devastated. My dog which I had for two most wonderful years had to be out of our care.
My cough persisted and Tom’s mental health was declining, he finally accepted more help and I found a job, a good job. Although the job didn’t start until the 7th of October as I had to wait for my references and DBS. I even began doing volunteer talk for ‘Global Poetry tv‘ I was so proud, to finally speak of my favourite health topics. Of course not under my pseudonym but none the less, I was finally rising back up. I bought cough syrup after cough syrup and for a week, the cough subsided and work began well. But the headaches intensified and I was soon on a daily dose of paracetamol and Ibuprofen and then from a daily dose to three then, four daily doses.
This leads us back to my being discharged from hospital with pneumonia awaiting for my fourth set of antibiotics ‘ 300mg Clarithromycin’ to be finished and once they were finished I was to have a CT scan on the 24th of November, to ascertain if the big patch on my lungs was to diminish and to query metastasis. Although the Big ‘C’ was suspected by the health professional, I still thought I would be told it was COPD and severe Migraines.
On the 21st of November, Tom’s mother argued with Tom for not running down to her immediately and hence threw us out. As ill as I was, I packed two bags and we went for the bus, to my sons. Holding my head as I coughed and coughed. I don’t know how we got to my sons but we did. On the 23rd of November, it was my fourth child’s birthday, my second daughter’s birthday, she turned 23 and I was so proud of her but I was too ill to celebrate her birthday and sent her a Facebook birthday card and wished her all the best but I felt I had cheated her again.
We were also invited at Tom’s nephew’s birthday for the following day. I knew I was too ill and wanted Tom to go but he declined as he wanted to be with me, especially being my CT scan day. Although I think his family thought I was exaggerating my illness. How can you not grasp that someone who is ill with pneumonia is suffering. But I was too ill to care and Tom went later to his mum’s and our thoughts of how they felt were confirmed, still we didn’t care.
On the Wednesday the 27th, I received a phone call from the MacMillan unit, requesting my presence for Thursday the 28th at 10:30. My gut feeling told me it was not COPD, but I still held on to the thought it was. I rang my children and all was arranged to take Tom and me to my dreaded appointment. The journey began with my youngest daughter picking us up and taking us to a cooked breakfast. Sharing our moments with my adorable 9 month old grandchild, who too joined in coughing spouts as she was diagnosed with bronchitis ( I often wondered if I passed it her) and my darling daughter. Tom was nervous but held it in and ate well.
We finally reached the car park at the hospital but we had to sprint to the unit as there was a long queue at the car park. My daughter and granddaughter arrived seconds before the consultant called me through. I had already been weighed and had my normal sets of oxygen saturation, blood pressure and respiration count done. We entered the room where a tearful MacMillan nurse invited us in to sit and the consultant greeted us all. The happy chit chat had barely took off before he showed me my scan and asked again if I had the cough a long time, and so forth. I nodded, and replied ‘Yes’.
The diagnosis was;
Lung cancer Stage 4
all Lymph nodes were invaded and
Metastatic Brain cancer, my brain was plastered with tumours and some oedema on the tumours
I shook, and stared at my daughter and Tom. Tears came flooding down her face and Tom was numb, it was then I knew I had heard what the consultant had said. Then he said,
It is not curable.
That did not sink in. The rest is now history. I have been booked for a biopsy on Tuesday the 3rd of December at 14:30 and depending on the result, the chemotherapy will be given a dose to the point I will be given chemo for 12 weeks.
My Macmillan nurse, Gill guided us to another room as I could not take any more in. I sat crying wondering when I could return to work, why me and how do I tell my family. We were all devastated. I was shocked.
We returned home and we broke the news to the rest of my 5 children and Tom to his family. But not all the family. Adele, my youngest, being determined to give me a good end of life began to request donations and gifts towards our wedding. We have been engaged since the 19th October, 2016 and planned to marry in April 2017 but life didn’t work our way then. And by the end of that night she had gifts coming left right and centre. Donations began to flow in.
Then, at the back of my mind was my manuscript, I suddenly realised that I would not reap the knowledge of it being published but instead of giving up, I decided that I would leave it as my legacy towards my wonderful loved children; grandchildren; my dearest loving Tom and some of my family. So now I am on a devouring path to have my memoir published for Christmas.
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