Monday, 14 December 2015

Launching Meso 100 Winter Walk Campaign 2015

One year ago Jackie and Richard Elsom launched the Meso 100 Winter Walk Campaign to raise funds (and awareness) for vital research into Mesothelioma for Mesothelioma UK.  Last year the campaign raised over £2,000 which was an amazing achievement!

Sadly in September of this year Richard, who was a four and a half year survivor of mesothelioma, passed away.  Paul and I met Richard and his wife Jackie at the Papworth Mesothelioma Support Group.  We will always remember Richards strength, positivity and most of all his sense of humour.

The initiative of winter walk is a simple one!  100 steps for 100 pennies.  100 steps might not sound like a lot, but for someone with a lung condition like mesothelioma 100 steps can be an impossible task.  Mesothelioma can leave a sufferer breathless and tired during only the simplest of tasks.

This year, at the request of Jackie, my husband (Paul) and I are going to be running the campaign.

Paul is a mesothelioma survivor of three years.  He was diagnosed in 2012 at the age of 34.  In a nut shell Paul's disease was found by accident while the hospital were investigating him for something unrelated.  A few CT scans later and one needle biopsy and Paul was diagnosed with Mesothelioma.  Following diagnosis, Paul had more scans, a VATs biopsy and then a major debulking operation.  Within a month of his operation he was advised to start chemotherapy which finished in April 2013.  Since then, and confirmed by two and now three monthly checks, Paul has been stable.  

Paul is not your average mesothelioma patient.  His age, good health and no history of asbestos exposure make him unusual.  

We are a young family with our son who, at diagnosis, had yet to turn two.  He has just turned five.

Since completing treatment it has been both Paul and my hope that we would be able to raise awareness of mesothelioma with our 'out of the ordinary' story.  We hope that heading up the Meso 100 Campaign this year will add to this hope. 

So please, next time you go out for a walk, count those 100 steps, think of us and donate your 100 pennies!

Text SWPX78 £1 to 70070

Find us on Facebook - Meso 100 Campaign
Follow us on Twitter @meso100campaign

We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a very Happy 2016!

Thursday, 3 December 2015

December Emotions

December is upon us and another year is almost over!  December for the last few years, for us, has been a particularly busy month.  This year is no different, but over the last few days I find myself experiencing a variety of emotions.  All normal for the wife of a terminally ill cancer patient and Mummy of a (very soon to be) five year old.  But I found myself compelled to write them down.

The first event for us in December is tomorrow, our now not so little boy turns five!  Yep, a whole hand and I can't believe it.  It doesn't really seem five minutes ago that I was sat here 37 weeks and 3 days pregnant with the knowledge I would be induced the next week (due to high blood pressure).  Ethan had other ideas and entered the world the very next day via emergency c-section.  His birth is still somewhat of a blur to me.  I've just read him the book "On the night you were born" a lovely book which we gave him on his first birthday.  I'm sure tomorrow he will be hugely excited and we will be only too happy to help him celebrate and spoil him rotten.

Ethan hadn't even turned two when Paul was diagnosed with Mesothelioma.  No one could guarantee that Paul would see Ethan turn three or four and here we are at his fifth birthday.

Next week, once Birthday celebrations are over, we are taking Ethan away to Center Parcs Winter Wonderland.  Our pre-Christmas holidays there have become a tradition.  In 2012 before Paul's diagnosis we had booked a weekend in November to go.  Once Paul was diagnosed we thought we would have to cancel, but we were lucky it fell between operations and we were given the go ahead we could have our holiday.  In 2013 and 2014 we booked mid-week breaks in December and this year we decided to do the same.  Now Ethan is in full time school we had to ask permission of his Headteacher to take him out of school.  But given our exceptional circumstance we were granted that permission.  We expect Ethan will have a fantastic week with visits to Elf Academy, Father Christmas Woodland Workshop, Fireworks and lots of other Christmas related excitement.

After our week away come the Christmas Parties and the excitement of finishing school for the holidays.  More so this term as when Ethan returns to school in the new year he will actually be returning to his brand new, all singing, all dancing, brand new build school!  We are all very excited to see it.

Then the main event of December will be just a stones throw away.  Christmas!  Just a few days before will mark the third anniversary of Paul starting his chemotherapy.  We will never forget Christmas 2012 because of the horrendous first cycle side effects he suffered.  But again just like Ethan's Birthdays no one could guarantee he would see Christmas 2013 or Christmas 2014 and here we are staring Christmas 2015 in the face!

Mesothelioma, the terminal cancer Paul has is never far from our minds.  Some days are harder than others and bring a mix of emotions.  Happiness, sadness, gratefulness have all rated high on my emotions list this week.  Happiness that Paul has survived to see his son turn five and to see Christmas 2015.  Sadness thinking about what 2016 could bring and will things still be the same in a years time.  Gratefulness for all the things we have been able to do and achieve in 2015.

I know that I am now not the same person I was in October 2012, the cancer diagnosis of my husband has changed me.  I know I am stronger than I every imagined I could be, but also feel things much more emotionally than I ever have before.  Our lives over the last two years, while Paul has been treatment free, have been just the best years of enjoying our child grow.  No doubt, whatever 2016 has to throw at us, we will get through it, together.