28th September marks one year since we first heard the 'C' word and 4th October marks one year since Paul was diagnosed with Mesothelioma. We have had a whirlwind year....
This coming weekend would be a year ago since we came home from holiday to find a letter telling us Paul had been referred to Papworth Hospital as his CT scans had shown up something Addenbrookes were unsure about.
I remember our first visit to Papworth (for Paul's needle biopsy) and the week following it like it was yesterday. I can clearly remember the doctor and her conversation with us. At one point she turned to me and said "Mrs Cowley, tell me your concerns". The sentence after that contained the words no one ever wants to hear. They were concerned Paul had cancer. At that moment our lives changed forever....
The next six months were to be a whirlwind of VATs biopsies, major surgery and chemotherapy. Thrown in there somewhere was our 2 year old son having his tonsils out and a Christmas we would probably rather forget.
The last six months haven't been as hectic but that little 'c' word is never far from our minds. Paul has now had 3 follow up appointments at Papworth, each 2 months apart. At the last appointment we were pleased to hear that the meso is stable and therefore inactive at present. Paul has been trying to carry on as normal as he has no symptoms, but he has been urged to cut his hours at work to deal with the constant exhaustion he has been feeling. He is now having a day and a half a week off work.
Since finishing chemo in April we have made the most of our time together. We took a week long holiday straight after, which was fantastic. We have had a couple of weekends away together and next week we are off again.
We have never asked the question of 'how long' as we feel the only thing they can tell us are statistics and we know at Paul's age (now 35), the fact it was found accidentally and that he has no symptoms, he does not conform to statistics.
We will remain strong, positive and make the most of what life has thrown at us!
That just leaves me to thank those without which we would not have 'survived' the first year of our cancer journey.
My parents, who have been absolutely fantastic looking after Ethan for us every single hospital visit and chemo session, having him overnight for us too. I know they really do not mind and have enjoyed it thoroughly but without them it would have been so much more difficult. Ethan loves them to pieces!
Numerous other family and friends who have been there for us in good times and bad, listened, been there while I've cried and offered a reassuring word. All the messages we get offering good wishes before hospital visits and calls etc wanting to know how we got on truly make us feel loved.
And although I know she won't read this our fantastic Specialist Nurse, Claire at Papworth Hospital. Who has never ever made us feel like just another patient. Phone calls when your not expecting them and hugs in the waiting room make a world of difference, believe me.
I almost forgot the most important person of all, our 2 year old son Ethan who doesn't understand what has happened this past year but without whom it would have been a whole lot harder to keep smiling. He makes us laugh every single day and is a huge part of the reason we are able to keep going. Love you to the moon and back little man xx
So onto the next year..........