I know this is Neil's blog but I felt a real urge to write today, and that doesn't happen often to a Mathematician so here goes!
I created this blog since the last time he was recovering from his cancer treatment he enjoyed updating everyone on facebook of Mum's and his day to day post surgery for the pair of them. I remember at the time thinking this was just the worst thing to happen. Both of them in recovery at the same time, not able to drive and isolating due to being high risk of covid-19 and myself feeling so helpless and so far away. So now I realise the successful operation wasn't so long ago, it was at the start of Covid. And here we go again. This time, the news is quite a bit worse. It's completely unexpected, shocking and pretty devastating.
When Neil got the news that his regular scan showed up that he now had Liver Cancer to deal with, we discussed doing the updates 'properly' and starting this blog. He wanted to make sure all of his 'fans' were updated like before and maybe reach more people going through various stages of Cancer in this awful time that is the pandemic. I won't give away his latest chemo outfits of choice but one option happened to have been advertised to him on facebook - they really do know everything about you! - it had the words 'it's Cancer not Covid' on the front, and with our dark sense of humour, this tickled us enough that it had to be his blog's name!
I'm beyond proud of his ability to write such truthful, optimistic and somehow entertaining blog posts. I guess that's his very personality that we all know and love. It's very rare to see him without a smile on his face or the people around him too for that matter! The doctors and nurses have always been pleased with his upbeat attitude throughout his previous Cancer treatments and long may that last. I'm really hoping that Neil's blog writing will help him stay focussed and keep his friends and family informed. Selfishly, I hope that it helps me stay connected, since Sydney never felt so far away.
The global pandemic situation currently means that it's very very VERY difficult for me to get home and give/receive all the hugs required. I'll need to obtain exemption to leave and return to Australia, find a very rare flight and quarantine for 2 weeks on both legs of the journey. At this stage I think the best plan is to see how Neil's first 3 months of chemotherapy goes and go from there. So please pass on some extra hugs from me!
Like many of you, I was waiting for news of Neil's consultation yesterday and didn't get a whole heap of sleep. So when I awoke to a message from Mum asking to call before I left for my daily sunrise walk, I knew I wasn't about to get good news. If you've read Neil's latest blog post, you know that unfortunately, not good news it was. News, that surgery isn't going to be possible, chemotherapy is his only option and this will only prolong his life never cure his Cancer.
Stunned. Absolutely stunned. I had no foresight that this was going to be the prognosis. I honestly didn't have this on my possible outcomes list in my head. Mum managed to hand the phone over to Neil who was able to talk to me for a bit. I can't remember anything that was said since to be honest this morning was a complete blur. Fortunately, Neil writes a blog, if you hadn't noticed, so I was able to get my proper update again a little later!
I rushed off the phone to them both in the hope that I'd still get a walk in before my training session I had booked in at 7:30am by the beach. I got off the phone just after 6:30, I know this because I'd just missed the sunrise. But I did not make it out of the house. I had a bloody good cry. It took my breath away. Somehow at 7:20 I managed to run down to the beach in time without tears running down my face. I told my trainer I'd had some bad news. We didn't talk about it. I think he could see I was only just holding it together. But what he did next could not have been better!
He got out a punch bag and some boxing gloves. I've never done any boxing before but I felt so good! I punched and I kicked with all of my might and I immediately had a smile on my face. One of my local wee fur friends Frank came up to check I wasn't in any danger from the man I was clearly having to fight off. Cuddles from Frank are also, always pure joy!
After finishing the session with my trainer I felt surprisingly good so attempted to go for a walk. I didn't get very far. I could feel myself crumble, so I power walked home to shower and as it happens fall on a heap on the bathroom floor.
It's been a bit of a blur from then.
I definitely didn't get much productive work done. But I was around to speak to Neil whenever he was awake in the night and the rest of his world was fast asleep. He keeps saying that he can't imagine what it must be like for me to be so far away and while it's true that it is god awful, he really needs to worry about himself and making sure he stays the wonderful happy chappy we all know and love.
We're with you every step of the way Neil, even if we're slightly far away...