Scan in September 2018. Not so good news. Lung disease progression – 30 nodules, some have doubled in size. On the upside, the pelvic area is stable and there is no new disease. As a result, my oncologist has changed the drugs. Back down to earth with a bump. A big reality-check. It feels like I’m back to square one. New chemo regime means the old one is not producing the desired outcome. It’s an option gone, it’s a step closer to death. Fuck.

Started the new regime of six cycles on September 26th. Was very scared in case I reacted badly – that would wipe out another option! However, so far so good. Aside from the standard side effects of having your body decimated by drugs, I get something called First Bite Syndrome – every time I put food in my mouth for the first time my saliva glands go crazy and cause a burning sensation in the jaw.

To add to the pain, the day before my chemo started, we buried my wife’s Auntie. A very special lady not only to her, but also to my boys. Lung cancer. She’s been battling since November 2017. You cannot imagine how hard this has been to deal with. For me, I cannot escape the feeling that “I’m next” That I will soon be lying in a hospice, that I will be carried into a crematorium, as I carried her. That people will be toasting me at my wake. It made everything seem very real. For my wife having to grieve, and somehow cope with a husband with cancer. How can she show the love and care I think I need while hurting so badly herself? I fear for my boy’s wellbeing – how will this affect them long term? Not only dealing with the terrible situation but feeling the effects of the tension that surrounds us. It’s not easy.

How do the relationships work now?

Cancer changes you, its unavoidable. I see the world through a new lens, with a different perspective on life. Some of it bad. But some of it good too.

Therefore, relationships inevitably change. Roles change. I’ve gone from being the provider, supporter, advisor, carer, to almost the opposite. My wife needs to look after me (more!), my boys now worry about me, I’m less of the “big brother” to my sister, and my Dad faces burying a child.

The dynamics have changed.

No one wants to burden me with their problems.

How do you argue with someone in my position? Is my opinion more important because I’ve got cancer? Its tough. The strain on our little family is immense, and I see this as something I need to resolve.

And so, I pick myself up, take a deep breath, and I go again.

And try to live my life, with as much enjoyment as possible