A personal story – part 1

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Earlier this year my wife Sharon was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer in one of her Thyroid Glands, naturally it was a big shock to us all but we remained positive and hoped that the operation to remove it would go well and it would be fine…

Now I don’t expect comments on these articles because i am using this as a way to share and express how i feel, but if you want to share similar experiences then feel free to post.  I spoke to my wife last night and mentioned that i needed to blog about it to help remove a lot of the “over active” thinking i do.   My wife and I talk all the time (that is one of our strong points), but i am aware that there is only so much talking you can do and my brain thinks about this all the time, why, because she is my wife and i naturally feel feelings of helplessness and fear and loss etc and I love her.

The first operation went well, but they noticed after examining the removed Thyroid that the cancer had spread, so recommended that the second Thyroid be removed as a precautionary measure. There were a number of challenges to get through other than just the operation. the most emotionally challenging was how we managed the children, in particular our eldest Ewan who is 4. he is so connected to his mother that during the period Sharon had her operation and she was recovering at home, he struggled at nursery, struggled at home and we learnt a lot about how we should communicate we our kids. We decide the truth, perhaps not the full detail was the best approach

The second operation went well although they also removed two lymph glands which “looked dodgy” according to the surgeon. However after examining the second Thyroid they said that the cancer had spread further than originally thought, so would need to take further action.

We had ensured that we explained what was happening to “mummy” to Ewan and he was amazing the second time around, partly perhaps due to the experience of the first operation.

The biggest thing we realised was that in the beginning we told Ewan that mummy was going into hospital to get her “baddie” removed and mummy would be better when she come back home.

Now what we didn’t expect was what was really happening for him, let me explain:

  1. Mummy goes into hospital looking fine and feeling fine, after all she wasn’t going to die.
  2. Mummy has operation
  3. Mummy comes home with a very big plaster across her throat where she had a 7/8″ cut.

So what Ewan saw was mummy going to hospital OK and returning home with a big plaster, feeling very tired and unable to cuddle him or pick him up….This does not equate to getting better in Ewan’s eyes…nor does it to me.

So before the second operation we explained that mummy needed to go back in and when she comes back out, she would have another plaster and need time to recover but would be home and able to kiss and cuddle gently.  He was amazing, i am so proud as a dad.

Now the next stage, is that Sharon now needs to have a series of scans, which will highlight any additional cancers or not, but may result in Radiotherapy

Now on one hand this is great that the doctors want to be sure that they get rid of it as best possible, but when we found out what having Radiotherapy would mean, we were, well i was very concerned not just for Sharon, or me, but for the kids and in particular Ewan.

If Sharon does have to go through with radiotherapy, then she is not allowed near children for a minimum of two weeks, which basically means moving out of home for that period. Holy S**T!!  a huge emotional challenge for us all to get through, but we will.

Now this also means that Sharon has to rethink her life, (shopping, buses etc are not options) but it is only for two weeks and we are trying to remain positive and trying to have a laugh about it. I have already used the “Hulk” jokes and wondered whether she could make our allotment veg grow super sized or if she can see read minds or some other ability.

Just as important though, it means we need to work out a plan for the kids  – where will mummy go? We are keen to tell them that mummy is going to have special medicine and isn’t allowed home whilst she is taking it, but we don’t want to say she is close by as they will naturally want to visit.

So this is our current challenge and this is something that worries me daily. I will be blogging about this often so feel free to ignore them, i won’t take it personally.

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4 thoughts on “A personal story – part 1

  1. carlhaggerty

    Thank you for your kind words Jeremy. If i do crack the communication challenge i shall pass on the secrets to everyone via the blog 🙂

  2. Nic Williams

    Blimey Carl I’ve just sat and read this post with my mouth wide open. How shocking it must have been for you and your family.

    I’ve had some experience dealing with 4 year olds and cancer, and all the other “stuff” that comes with it. I found honesty is the best policy, to a point, obviously without scaring them. Like you said, telling Ewan mummy would come home with a plaster on her neck unable to cuddle him – honest, to the point and easy for a child to understand. And I’ll bet he kind of skipped off and started playing with his toys? Kids are more resiliant than we think at times, and can take in so much more than us and still be standing at the end of it.

    My daughter quite often says something to me, brings me to tears then buggers off to play with her puzzle! And I’m stood, in a crumpled heap trying to get myself together!

    Take care Carl, much love to you, Sharon and your family. xx

  3. Mitz

    Hi Carl, your a great father and a husband too. I also undergo RAI same theraphy as your wife. your right it’s very difficult that you can’t hug and kiss your loved ones because of radiation in our body. I was isolated for a month but we’re on the same house. I’m alone at our master’s bedroom.They just bring me food and drinks,they just leave the food infront of the door and call me that the food was there then they will leave right away.It was terrible that time but I keep my faith to GOD that I will pass his test.I’ll be back for my whole body scan next yr. of feb. to know if there’s still thyroid tissue left that would spread. I had 2 kids 5 and 3 yrs. old, and it’s very hard to explain what I’m going through.

    How’s your wife? Hope she’s doing great now. just keep your faith in GOD because nothing impossible with him.
    I admire you for sharing your story.

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