The Island of Denial.

Well, it’s been a fucking funny year, and no mistake. Oh – wait, no. It’s been shite.

The cancer we’ve been dealing with was always going to be a tricky one to manage – T3N2M0 adenocarcinoma oesophageal cancer, to be precise, which – just a year ago, would have been to me a random selection of consonants and vowels with no real meaning. Over the twelve months since my last blog, we’ve learned that they mean quite a lot – and if you boil it down to single facts and figures, the only definition you need is that there’s a 16% chance of being alive in two years following diagnosis.


After three months’ chemo, some major surgery (an oesophagogastrectomy, should you wish to google it – though I wouldn’t do it over dinner,) followed by a week in intensive care, and three more months’ chemo, we were so looking forward to a clear scan. My hubby was doing SO well – he’d dealt with everything with remarkable ease and good humour. He was feeling better, getting out and about, and most of all spending lots of lovely quality time with our fabulous boys who’d had a not-so-fabulous year of anger, upset, tears and stress, and who were both coming out of this dark period and being – quite frankly – wonderful.

He feels well. Six weeks after having his chemo stopped early because his cells were so battered, he’s just walked 10K for a cancer charity, and raised over £2000. He’s on the up, and so are we – looking forward to a future which, a year ago, seemed so uncertain.

So, after a scan to check the cancer was all gone, and our fingers poised to send a mass text to our nearest and dearest to tell them the good news… being told it was back – and this time incurable – was, just, WHAT? Wait.

I don’t know how it must feel to be him. To be told you have a year – maybe more, maybe less. Who knows? To wake every day from a fitful sleep to feel the Grim Reaper on your shoulder, who just won’t fuck off. To look at his wonderful boys – nearly ten, and with such spirit, such spark, and a promising future ahead for each of them – and realise he may not even see them through primary school. To know he might have just seen his last spring.

I can’t imagine. I wish I could feel something of what he’s feeling. Last year, after his diagnosis, I spent days – maybe weeks, maybe months – walking around in a cheerful daze, unable to access whatever my true feelings were. Making lists in my head (such as the ones in the last blog I wrote a year ago) which were irrelevant, distracting and irritating. I cried… oh, bucketloads. But not straight away.

“AutoFanny” has switched right back on since Tuesday, when we heard the news which would change our lives forever, and all I can do is pretend it isn’t happening. For now, the boys only know that the cancer hasn’t completely gone away, and that Daddy is going to have more chemo. You never know – miracles DO happen, so why write him off now? And why put such a cloud over what could be a wonderful few months or – hell – a few years? Even so, they’re in bits, so are the people around us, and my hubby is veering from deeply weepy to taking the piss out of himself. But taking the piss is pretty much ALL I can do. I’ve only cried once, and that was when we heard the news, while he held it together in that shitty little side room with the stupid fucking flowery wallpaper and held MY hand. Since then, I’ve simply cracked jokes.

“Oh, look, darling. That book’s called 1001 Albums To Listen To Before You Die. Better get cracking, eh?”

He laughed. Well, praise the Lord for that.

All we’ve ever done for the last fourteen years is laugh. Here’s to more laughter… for as long as we can find humour in, well, everything. Even so, when the rest of the world is crying and you’re taking the piss out of the situation on your own little island of denial, it’s a very lonely place to be.

In truth, all I want to do is scream, but I can’t even begin to know how.

Love Fanny x