[A note from Ceri: Below is a guest post from my Dad, who I’ve mentioned a number of times in this blog already. I wanted to note that he penned this, much to my delight and slight trepidation in case it was upsetting, completely unprompted by me and of his own accord. I didn’t even have to bribe him to say the nice things about me that he did!
If anyone out there would like me to pass on a message to him, ask him any questions or offer any advice, I will be showing him all comments and replies or you can drop me a message via the contact page. Right, enough from me.]
It all started with a call from our daughter to say that she might have cancer. At that point our lives changed forever.
Normally, we plan in advance for a trip to see her, but on this occasion we had to drop everything, relinquish our normality and routine, and travel in stunned silence from Aberystwyth to our new temporary home in Bath.
Nothing could have prepared us for what was in store. Ceri looked so healthy and normal when we arrived, but she had already become a patient and number.
The days before a definite, clinical diagnosis were excruciatingly painful, because we had to experience the person we love more than anyone in the world being subjected to invasive and painful medical procedures in order to diagnose a condition we knew nothing about.
We tried to rationalise this, of course, by saying that all this was a necessary means to a curative end, but it was nevertheless utterly devastating and heartbreaking. The day we received the diagnosis that Ceri had Hodgkin Lymphoma was actually and paradoxically a relief, as our trawl of the internet had shown that Ceri had at least a good prognosis.
At that point we were all plugged into the efficient and caring medical machine at the Royal United Hospitals in Bath, and we began the long, often overwhelming and technical, road to Ceri’s cure. Throughout all of this we have swung wildly from absolute despair and grief to a cautious optimism for the future.
But two things have kept us going through all of this.
Ceri is an amazing person with a dogged determination to get through this, and a resolve to be an even better person afterwards. Despite the adversity she faces, she is not bitter and introspective.
On the contrary, her compassion for others continues to shine through, such as giving away the lunch she craved straight after a gruelling medical procedure to a homeless person outside of McDonald’s, and her plans to design and make PICC sleeves (you may need to look this up!) whilst hooked up to a chemotherapy infusion pump. She is undoubtedly one of the most generous, selfless and kind-hearted people I have ever known.
We have also been loved and supported in innumerable ways by our family, friends and church which have to a large extent mitigated our feelings of disorientation through lack of a familiar support network, as we adjust to a temporary life elsewhere. But above all Ceri’s partner and family here have given us a safe and loving place to be, so we can together help Ceri to health.
I have never in my 62 years experienced a worse time. But isn’t it remarkable that it is still possible to laugh together at making unicorn and succulent cupcakes!