My wife Lynette (Lyn) has been fighting breast cancer for more than 34 years. We are now in our 70s.
We have four brilliant sons, who were very young when Lyn was diagnosed. It was a terrifying time for us as we didn’t know she would live more than 30 years! We have just celebrated our 50 year wedding anniversary, on 2nd September, and have been a part of our six grandchildren’s lives.
Finding out my darling wife had cancer was devastating! I think the real devastation came after the lumpectomy when the surgeon told us that Lyn would need to have her breast removed.
I don’t think my reactions changed much with every new diagnosis – of which there were several as the cancer occurred in other parts of her body. She has had liver cancer, kidney cancer and a second mastectomy. In later years it became more of a thought process of thinking “well she’s beaten it previously so we just keep on fighting!”.
When I was working as an ambulance officer in the late ‘70s we transported quite a few cancer patients to hospital outpatients appointments and I’d see the hope and fierce determination in their eyes. I’d see how quickly they’d deteriorate when they lost that hope. I was never going to let that happen to Lyn.
I became a client of Bloomhill Cancer Care this year. I go to the group gym classes which help my back, and psychology sessions help my head. I learned that what I’m going through psychologically is normal given the situation.
Lyn goes to mini gym, has acupuncture, lymphoedema massage and check-ups with the wonderful nursing staff.
Lyn had always talked about going to Bloomhill to do meditation but never got around to it.
We very nearly lost her recently when she was having trouble breathing and was rushed to hospital. It was after a traumatic hospital experience that ensued that Lyn wanted to do meditation at Bloomhill. She had to have a tracheotomy, as it was discovered both her vocal cords were paralysed from a tumour pressing on them.
But this wasn’t originally diagnosed. When she first arrived at the hospital, she was given morphine and told she wouldn’t see the morning. All the family came together to say goodbye to her. But in the morning, she woke up! Lyn doesn’t like being told what to do!
I would say that sometimes I struggle emotionally, but also there’s a lot of laughter and humour in our life. Our children joke that nothing can kill their Mum.
I recently heard a client of Bloomhill describe walking in Bloomhill as “like walking into a great big hug”. I think that describes Bloomhill perfectly. From the receptionists, to the people in the office, to the volunteers; they all care deeply for the clients they’re dealing with. Our only regret is that we left it so long before stepping into that big warm hug.
Along the way she has had Liver Re-section (part of her liver was removed), Liver Ablation and lost a kidney to kidney cancer. She had a separate mastectomy. She has also investigated both traditional and alternative medicines.
I’m very happy to share our experience as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2022, and hope the community digs deep to help Bloomhill continue supporting people like us – and people with any cancer, because Bloomhill is there for all people regardless of their cancer type.
By Dennis Taylor, October 2022
Published: Nicky Moffat October 2022 Images: Patrick Woods Photography