It’s 3.15pm, and I’ve just got out of bed.
I tried to get up earlier – several times – but I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t face it. The enormity of what I’m about to go through hit me in the night and I just sank into a black hole of worry.
How will I cope with the impending treatment? What will happen if the treatment isn’t successful? Will this leave me susceptible to another attack in years to come?
Most of you won’t know that – in addition to my asthma and now the cancer, I also suffer from clinical depression. I’ve been on anti-depressants for years now, and they’re working well.
Or, at least, they were.
When I saw my doctor the other day, she assured me that this wasn’t a death sentence. But, she did discuss the danger of the cancer spreading further from its current location. If it goes lower, it could attack my larynx – and that could result in surgery that would render me mute.
If it goes higher, it approaches my brain.
She said I’m lucky it has developed exactly where it is.
I don’t feel lucky.
I spent most of the night running worst case scenarios through my mind. How Kirsty and the boys would cope without me. Worrying that they would have to move house. That could mean Sam moving to a new school and Arran to a different college. I’d hate that to happen. They’re so happy where they are now.
I told Kirsty that I want her to meet someone else. Someone who can look after them all. Better than I can right now.
Shit. Crying now. Sorry.
I know this is my depression kicking in, and that I can’t let it. If I start spiralling down, I’ll lose the fight inside me. I’ll lose my anger at this thing and my resolve to beat it.
My mum used to call it my bounce. When I was low, she used to tell me to get my bounce back.
I wish I could talk to her now. My Dad, too. I’m terrified of going through this without them. But, I’ll have to.
I was an adult when I lost my parents to cancer and it tore me apart, both times. How will the boys cope if they lose me? They’re just kids.
I’m not a religious man. I used to be, but not any more.
I was brought up a catholic. In my teens, I was really into it. I played guitar at folk mass each week, and was part of a religious group at school. As I grew up, my beliefs began to melt away – but there was always something there. In the background.
Until my mum died.
I lost it all that day. As if someone had flipped a switch.
Click. Gone. Forever.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t preach atheism to my kids. I engage in discussions with them about religion, and I’ve told them that I believe that Grandma and Granddad are looking down at them from Heaven.
But I know I’ll never look down on them that way. And that hurts.
I’ve just read back over this post so far. Man, it’s dark. Quite a difference after two days of funny hat pictures. Sorry about that.
Looking back, I think I knew I was teetering on the edge of a black hole and I probably tried my best to sound cheerful.
I could do that now; pretend that everything is hunky dory – but that’s not what this blog is about. I promised I would be 100% open and honest, and that’s what I’m trying to do.
Cancer plus depression does not equal happy Tommy.
Please understand – I’m not trying to make you feel sorry for me. If it was up to me, I’d probably just stay in bed and not post anything today. But I started this blog to chart my battle against this disease, and that means writing on the bad days as well as the good.
I know it could be worse. I know they’ve caught the cancer in time to treat it, at least for now.
I know it’s not going to kill me. Yet.
And that scares me, too.
How stupid does that sound?
I know I’m going to be ill. Very ill. But I’ll still have to find a way to provide for my family. I’m terrified I’m going to let them down, more than I already have.
There – that’s the depression talking again. Bastard.
I’d better sign off now before you all click away and never come back. I’ll try to make tomorrow’s update a little more positive.
If I can.