Sunday, 21 June 2020

Cancer and Coronavirus



 I can't believe I haven't written a blog since December...how time flies when you're having fun! 
Actually, I haven't really felt like writing a blog with all that's been going on in the world...my problems seem a bit trivial in the scheme of things (of course it's not trivial to me)
I'm writing a blog now though for my own benefit. I feel I need to process what's been going on and get up to date.

Christmas was the best Christmas I've had for a long time. I stayed at my parents and took Tommy (my dog) with me. It was lovely to spend time with my family. I didn't worry too much about anything for a week and it was great. 
 I'm not sure how but I ended up with a new oncologist in Ipswich. I really like him. He's much more positive and doesn't get the hump when I ask non stop questions. When we got my pet scan results it was decided that surgery was going to be the best option for the largest lung spot. He didn't faff about ... "you're young, lets get rid of it" he said. So in February I had a lung resection at the Cardiothoracic Centre in Basildon. They had to take the bottom half of my left lung away by something called VATS lobectomy (video assisted thoracic surgery). It is truly amazing what surgeons can do.
So, another bit of my body cut out and another scar to remind me. I thought the surgery would be a lot easier than my last op to remove the bowel and ovarian tumours but it turned out to be equally as horrendous as I developed something called a pleural effusion and ended up in back in hospital. Not being able to breathe properly is one of the most frightening things I've ever experienced. Makes the thought of Coronavirus even more worrying.
I got through it though and all things considered I feel reasonably good now.
I'm "lucky" I had it done when I did because any later and it would definitely have been cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Maybe lucky isn't the best word to use when talking about cancer ... there's nothing lucky about any of it. Fortunate is probably a better word. Fortunate I got my op just in time.
I do consider myself lucky to have such good support from friends and family though. I couldn't have got through it without all the help I had. I'll never forget what people have done for me and I'm so grateful. Walking my dog, gardening, shopping, collecting my prescriptions, positive messages ... people are amazing. 
My son stayed with me for a couple of weeks after my op, which he did the last time too. Having him with me was so nice as we don't get to spend as much time together as we'd like and having him there definitely speeded up my recovery. The worst thing was my back. It doesn't take long to lose mobility. I could hardly walk without pain and losing the feelings in my legs and was still getting a bit breathless when my son had to go, so I asked for help and had a whole army of friends turned out. Every day for nearly 3 weeks I had someone with me to help walk Tommy. I'm a great believer in the saying " if you don't use it you lose it" and I'm 100% sure keeping active has helped me get past the two year mark with this shitty disease.
When they did the biopsy from the lung it was confirmed that it was a metastasis ... the bowel cancer has definitely spread to my lungs.
It was all quite positive though ...they completely removed it and apart from an annoying cough and slight breathlessness I don't have any major problems from it. We discussed chemo again and even though some oncologists recommend it after surgery mine didn't. The only way I would ever consider chemo is if it will do me more good than harm. I'm trying not to think about that yet but I will at have to some point. The plan was to have a post surgery scan and then one every three months. 
 
Then Covid happened. I was just starting to feel better and looking forward to getting out more when I got the letter saying I was in the shielding group and the advise was not to leave the house or have any contact with anyone for 12 weeks. That sent me into a panic. I'd worked so hard to get myself fitter and I knew that staying behind the same four walls for 3 months would finish me off, mentally and physically. What would be the point? Might as well just give up and die now.
I talked to my oncologist, my sister and friends and we all came to the conclusion that staying home would do me more harm than good, so I decided to carry on taking Tommy out every day. It's easy where I live to stay away from people and as I like to go out so early I figured I wasn't putting myself or anyone else at risk.
That's what's keeps me going ... getting out in the fresh air with my dog. Some days it's a real struggle physically but it's worth it. That and talking to my sisters and Mum every day and staying in contact with friends by phone and social media. Photography is another lifeline for me and even if I only use my phone if I'm too knackered to carry my camera there's always something to see and take pictures of. Even though I'm used to living alone and like my own space I've found it hard being isolated.
I knew that Covid was going to have an impact on healthcare so I wasn't surprised when my endocrinology appointment was cancelled and that I didn't get my scan at 3 months. They told me I'd get my scan as soon as it was safe to do so. I didn't worry too much until it started getting close to 6 months since the last one. I didn't want to keep pestering the hospital but my Macmillan counsellor, who is amazing and a great support, persuaded me that it wasn't pestering them and that I should push to get it done. So much can change from scan to scan and I figured they wouldn't have said have a scan every three months if there wasn't a risk of the cancer progressing. I eventually got it a week before the 6 months was up.
The results weren't the best news but could have been worse. I really hate it when people say that to me but I'm allowed to say it to myself!
The scan showed three more lung metastases on my other lung. The good news is that the lung where I had my op is clear. My oncologist has referred me to a radiologist for something called Radiofrequency ablation (RFA). Zap the buggers! Hopefully it will get rid of them or at least keep them at bay.
The radiologist rang me and explained everything. It's much less invasive than surgery and causes little damage or side effects. He's confident he can treat them.
The only thing is he's got a backlog of patients due to Coronavirus so I've got to wait 6 to 8 weeks. He's put me somewhere in the middle of his list. He thinks that the rate which they are growing is quite slow so I should be ok to wait that long. I hope he's right because if not I'm buggered as once they get past a certain size they can't do it and the only treatment will be chemo for life. So I'm now waiting for a date.
I wasn't really surprised that the scan showed more metastasis. It was inevitable really. I know what I've got isn't cureable.
I'm trying not to think too deeply about it or too far ahead. I need to focus on the now and right now they can do something which could prolong my life for weeks, months ...maybe even years.
Coronavirus is obviously something that could kill me if I got it but cancer is definitely going to kill me eventually so I'm not going to get bogged down with it. I'm being sensible but I'm not being a prisoner in my own home and I'm not following the shielding guidelines that say I can only go out and meet with one other person. I won't go shopping or anywhere busy but I've had my sister and close friends round in my garden and I've met friends outside at a distance. It's up to me to keep myself safe and I am doing just that.
Sometimes I feel a bit useless and not sure what I actually contribute to this world but right now I'm just trying to get through each day the best I can and hope I get the treatment I need as soon a possible. 

* The picture I've posted was taken just after lockdown and made me realise how lucky I am to live where I do and have my dog and to be able to get out every day. 









Saturday, 7 December 2019

Ticking Time Bomb






 I've been trying to write an up to date blog for weeks. I keep writing stuff then deleting it. Probably sums up my mood at the moment...bit up and down and all over the place!
I had a really lovely phonecall the other day from a friend who I haven't seen for a while and she's inspired me to get writing. I've met up with friends, had some great days and evenings out and I'm loving having my new dog, so I shouldn't really complain.
Nothing much has changed as far as the cancer goes. My last scan didn't show up anything new and there was minimal growth in one of the lung mets and the other is still stable. Compared to a lot of people with Stage 4 cancer it's a brilliant position to be in. It's still an incredibly difficult situation mentally though, it's a real head fuck , excuse my language. I've got cancer growing inside me, just lurking there and cure isn't in the doctor's vocabulary. I do feel like a ticking time bomb. No one, not even the most experienced oncologist, surgeon or nurse can tell me how long it will be before things change. It's really hard to put it to the back of my mind. I feel like I should be grateful that things are stable and I'm able to carry on with a relatively "normal" life at the moment but sometimes I just feel scared, pissed off and not very grateful at all!
I've seen how quickly things can change for people in my situation and it's frightening.
The most frustrating thing is not feeling in control of the future. I guess nobody is really in control of their future but it's still bloody hard to deal with. If there was an end to it all maybe it would be easier.  "Have this done and you'll be be better and can move on". That isn't something I'm going to hear. I try to keep positive and there's always hope that there'll be some new treatment or something that will stop the cancer in its tracks. It's just hard when there's no real plan to move forward.
I feel ok at the moment. Sometimes I get ridiculously tired, sometimes I struggle with my back and sometimes I have to really push myself to do anything but I do try. I have had a few really bad days. I find myself waking up at silly o'clock in a panic. I feel like I should be doing things and making the most of life. Mostly I do but there have been times lately when anxiety and just tiredness gets the better of me and I end up missing out. Then I feel like I've wasted a day and get frustrated about that. 
I'm not going to have back surgery now. I don't want to tempt fate. It's a huge op with a long recovery time and even though it's not great I'm managing it. It's been put off so many times I think maybe it's not meant to be.  It does affect me on a daily basis but I just get on with it. I still probably do more exercise than a lot of people. If I didn't have cancer I'd definitely have it done but after a long discussion with the surgeon we decided to leave it. I don't want to spend time in hospital or be out of action for months when I don't know what is happening with the cancer.
My thyroid levels are within the normal range now (well they were a month ago) and I'm going to stay on a maintenance dose of medication to hopefully keep it in check. The first Endocrinologist I saw was pushing for me to have a thyroidectomy but again I'm not going to have an operation unless it's essential.
So where am I now ? Fuck knows. Back in limbo land!
My oncologist says he can't do anything for me at the moment and I went to see the lung specialist in London again and he said he could operate and remove both lung metastases (yay) but that there's no evidence that doing that would make any difference to my length of life ( oh 😣). He wouldn't say that he would be operating with curative intent. It would mean two operations as they can't do both at the same time. He was very nice and quite positive but not exactly enthusiastic. It's all ifs and buts and maybes. We asked about something called Cyberknife ( a type of radiation) and he said why not! He referred me to the Royal Marsden. I don't know what's happening there yet as I've been referred back to Colchester to a radiology oncologist.
I had a PET/CT scan last week ... I'm assuming to make sure nothing else is lurking before any treatment. I have no idea how long before I get an appointment or any results. Waiting for scan results are always the worst. I hope it won't be too long. I don't want that hanging over me over Christmas.
So, once I've seen the radiology oncologist I'll need to make a choice....
Do nothing yet, have chemo, have lung surgery or get my lungs zapped! It's hard to know what to do when no one in the medical profession will advise me either way. When I asked my oncologist what he would do in my situation he said that wasn't a valid question, same with the surgeon and the specialist nurse. They have no answers.
It will be my choice. I guess I'll have to wait for the scan results and see what the radiology oncologist has to say then make a decision. 
On the positive side I've got plenty of things planned to look forward to. I have amazing friends, family, a great hobby and my dog ... so not all doom and gloom. 

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Treatable not Cureable




So much has gone on over the last couple of months I almost forgot about having cancer ... no, that's a lie. It's something that's always in the back of my mind in varying degrees.
After all the weeks of being in limbo I finally got to see my oncologist. I wasn't surprised by what he told me. So there's no question that I have secondary cancer in my lungs. From all the scans I've had they can say it's definitely not lung cancer and its definitely not "nothing". It's the bowel cancer spread to my lungs and it's not going to go away. He said not cureable but definitely treatable. The positive in all this is that it's only 2 small spots which so far have grown slowly and there's no evidence of spread anywhere else. I don't have any lung symptoms either. The treatment for lung metastasis is chemotherapy. Chemotherapy won't cure me. It's used to shrink any tumours and keep the cancer at bay. I don't see any point in having it at the moment and neither does my oncologist. There's not much point in putting my body through something so harsh when it's not going to cure me or make any improvement to my quality of life. It could shrink the tiny spots so they don't show on the scan but they'll still be there. I feel ok at the moment so I'm staying as I am.  I'll be on active surveillance with scans every three months. There's no telling how it will progress or at what pace but so far I've managed 14 months since my surgery ...which in the scheme of things is pretty good going. I already beat the statistics for bowel cancer with krukenberg tumour. 
I don't really know how I feel about it at the moment. I'm not about to die tomorrow that's for sure. Right now things are stable. I know people who have been having treatment to keep their cancer at bay ...some for a few months, some for years. It's a very individual thing. There's always the small chance that if nothing else pops up I could have surgery on my lungs and treatments are advancing all the time.
I just have to carry on and make the most of things right now ... live for today, carry on as normal.... which means doing what I can, when I can and while I still can. Yes it's shit ... really shit and really frightening but I've got amazing support.
I've spoken to people about it because I've needed to but I don't want my whole life to revolve around the fact I've got stage 4 bowel cancer. I need to be realistic and optimistic but I don't want to go on about it non stop ...which is why I've written this blog. I need other people to be realistic too. So... please don't tell me I can cure myself by eating X, Y or Z. Yes, there are plenty of things I can try to do to help myself but no, there isn't a conspiracy around a cancer cure.  Please don't tell me not to be stupid when I say it will eventually kill me and please don't tell me you could get run over by a bus tomorrow!  You could ... but most likely not and the thought of dying from being run over by a bus isn't going to be hanging over you every day. 
Losing my little dog Libby had a far worse impact on me than any of the cancer stuff. She was what kept me going on a day to day basis. No, my entire life didn't revolve around her, I have friends, a great hobby, amazing family but she was always there at the end of the day when everyone else goes back to getting on with their own lives. She was my reason to carry on through all the shit because she needed me.
I've now got another dog, Tommy. He's given me a purpose again. I've only had him for a couple of weeks and I've done nothing but worry if it's selfish or not to have him here when I don't know how long I'll be able to look after him. The truth is if I didn't have him he'd still be stuck in kennels. No one can predict the future. Realistically I doubt I'll live to be 70 but I'm alive now and I've got so much to give. Tommy and I have been good for each other already. 


Sunday, 30 June 2019

Limbo Land


Of course it's fantastic news to hear the words stable disease. So how come I'm feeling more anxious than ever?
I just had my latest scan results and apart from being told "you're cured", which isn't going to happen any time soon, it was a great outcome. The suspicious lung nodule that grew at the last 2 scans has grown but only by a few millimeters, so is classed as stable disease. There's always a slight discrepancy in measurements apparently. There's a tiny 2.5 mm nodule on my other lung which they say isn't a concern. There's no evidence of disease anywhere else which is amazing and a huge relief. So really I should be jumping through hoops ! It's mostly good news.
Don't get me wrong I was so relieved. I'd worked myself up into such a state over the last few weeks imagining every worst case scenario possible, so the fact that nothing has really changed is a miracle.
I don't know, maybe it's an accumulation of 18 months of uncertainty and all the other health and personal things going on. It just seems to be an endless cycle of don't knows ! It still is. Nothing ever gets resolved. I go to these appointments and I think I understand what's going on then I get a copy of the report and I get confused again.
In the meeting we talked about chemotherapy and the fact that it would be palliative not curative and would be to shrink a tumour and alleviate symptoms. Well as I don't have any lung symptoms and the lung nodule is small, and they still can't 100% confirm what it is, it wouldn't really be doing anything apart from making me ill. Then when I get the letter it says Mrs Browning is not keen on having any chemotherapy at the moment, as if I've just decided off my own bat. So then I start worrying about that.
Maybe I'm analysing everything too much. I can't help it, it's what I do !
Honestly this week has been shit and I daren't say anything because everyone thinks I should be thankful it wasn't really bad news. I feel guilty if I say well actually I'm not over the moon about it all. I should just forget about it and get on with life. Well I am trying but what I really wanted was for them to say no evidence of disease anywhere. Probably only people who have or have had cancer will know what I mean.
Anyway, I'm having my thyroid levels tested again tomorrow to see if the Graves Disease is under control enough to be able to have my back op.
I know I'm pretty depressed at the moment. Having my back op cancelled again really set me back and Graves disease is shit too. It's one of those things most people haven't even heard of but it just makes you feel awful.
I am trying to do things but it's hard. In my head I want to do so much but I'm just too knackered. Some days I take Libby out first thing and that's it ... I'm done for the day. When I do end up doing something I usually get carried away and end up paying for it for the next few days. I've had some really great times out with friends over the last few weeks so at least if I feel ill it's not for nothing. I couldn't stand to be stuck in 24/7. I'd rather go for a walk in pain than sit on my backside all day!
When I talk to people about it I'm so sensible and rational. In my head I'm thinking the opposite. I hate the thought of people thinking I'm always complaining or feeling sorry for myself so I try not to say too much. I wish I could listen to my own advice.
Anyway I've got an appointment with the oncologist coming up to discuss what next so hopefully things will be a bit clearer..probably not. I'm guessing it'll be wait until the next scan to see if anything changes. I feel like I'm living in Limbo Land, just waiting for the next thing to crop up.
I'm moaning again I know. It's hard to shake off the negative thoughts at the moment.
Maybe I should blame Brexit or the weather ... I know I'll be ok because I've still got a sense of humour through the tears and I've got a whole host of amazing people keeping me from completely losing it !






Sunday, 5 May 2019

Woe Is Me !



It's been weeks since my last blog. I was hoping the next blog I wrote was going to be full of positives and good news. Wishful thinking. I'm so fed up right now and unmotivated, even though I'm trying my hardest not to be. Maybe I'm feeling sorry for myself, which isn't the best of moods but sometimes it all gets to me. Sometimes I just wonder what the fuck have I done to deserve all the crap life keeps throwing my way.
So, this week, over a year after being told I needed it, I should have had my spinal surgery. I can't say I was looking forward to more major surgery but I'd psyched myself up for it and was looking forward to getting fitter and hopefully being pain free. I was hoping to get at least one health problem sorted and get back to some sort of normality. I don't think I'm ever going to get back to normality. I can't even remember what that means. Maybe there's no such thing.
Instead my surgery was cancelled the day before. Cancelled due to my thyroid levels being too high, making it too dangerous to go under anaesthetic. I have Graves disease which is an overactive thyroid. It's  been in remission for months but has now come back with a vengeance. I don't know why. They say stress can trigger it. It's not been the easiest of times so stress is unavoidable really. Graves disease is a bastard and can cause all sorts of problems. I've gone back on medication, which I hate but can't avoid. It's not working very quickly. My back operation is on hold until the Graves is under control. I've no idea how long that will take.
I'd been feeling ok. I never feel 100% but I was alright. I have a high pain threshold and I've sort of got used to illness. Everyone keeps telling me I look well ! Obviously they're not here first thing in the morning before hair and makeup!
I had a feeling something wasn't quite right a few weeks ago but it's hard when you have so many things wrong to know what symptoms belong to what.
Is it the Bipolar? Is it the Graves? Is it the Cancer? Is it to do with my spine? Is it my heart? Is it nothing and I'm being a hypochondriac? Do I ignore it or do I tell someone? It all seems to mingle into one. 

My mood is all over the place, I feel ridiculously tired, my skin is dry and itchy and my hair ... it's like straw! I can cope with all sorts but my hair is really getting to me which may seem shallow but I cant help it. Basically I feel a wreck. I'm seeing the Endocrinologist next week so hopefully he can work out what to do. 
What I'm really worried about is that I've missed the window of opportunity to get my back done. I'm worried that when I have my next Colonoscopy and CT scan at the end of this month, something will show up and it will be too late. I can't seem to get out of this negative thinking. I'm worried that the Graves has flared up because of the cancer. I'm getting on my own nerves at the moment.... I just seem to be moaning !
I try to get out and do things but some days lately it's all too much like hard work. I'm tired and I've lost my enthusiasm. I plan something then I haven't got the oomph to do it. Even taking Libby out is a chore. I used to take my camera everywhere and I've even lost my enthusiasm with that. I try not to bang on about it and bring other people down. I try to carry on smiling and making jokes. Sometimes that works and for a while everything seems ok.

I wrote all that last night and I've just read it back ...what a miserable  cow! I need to turn it around and think of some positives.
Of course there are plenty of positives. 
It's not all been doom and gloom over the last few weeks.
 My son was staying to look after Libby and be here to help after my op, so he stayed anyway for a few days, which was really lovely as we don't get that much time together. 
I've had some great days out with friends.
I went to my granddaughter's birthday party.
I still manage to get out every day with my dog Libby.
I still have my parents and even though I don't get to see them as much as I'd like I can speak to them whenever I want.
I've got so many friends and my sisters helping me out. I know that I've got people I can call on if I need help.
For some Facebook is superficial but it's been a lifeline for me and I've connected with some amazing people. 
I've made some really good friends through Facebook. 
 There's so much that's good, sometimes I have to take a step back and put things into perspective. I have so much support I really should be grateful .. and I am. 

On 14th May it will be one year since I was told I definitely had cancer. Some people call milestones like that a Cancerversary! So I really should be celebrating that I'm still here instead of sitting here moaning ! 

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Living With Cancer








It's been a really hard couple of weeks. At the moment I feel like my head is about to explode. I'm finding it hard to concentrate on anything so I'm hoping writing it down will help organise my mind a bit.
Someone wrote a comment on my last blog post. She said "you're not dying of cancer you're living with cancer".
That really resonated with me and I've tried to keep that in my mind.  How things are at the moment, no one, not even the consultants can predict how things will pan out. Until I'm told "you're cured" or "sorry there's nothing we can do" ...then I am living with cancer and I have to get used to it and try not to think too far ahead.

I had my appointment last week with the thoracic surgeon. He said the lung nodule is most likely a metastasis from the colon cancer but there is a possibility it could be lung cancer. That would be bad luck having two separate cancers. They can't biopsy it so won't know until its removed.
He said he could remove it now if I wanted but that because of the position of it he'd have to remove half my lung and it would be major surgery because he can't get to it without opening me right up.
He couldn't guarantee that it would be curative as he said there is a chance that there are more spots that can't be seen on scans at the moment. I'd lose 25% of my lung capacity through surgery and then if more spots did appear it might be more difficult to treat. He didn't think radiation is an option because that could damage the nerves because of where it is.
He suggested that chemotherapy might be a better treatment option but I'd have to discuss that with the oncologist.
The other option is to leave it for now and watch it closely. He said it could take months for it to grow to a size where it causes symptoms and that I could have the surgery at any time and it would be the same outcome whatever size it is.
He suggested that as my spinal stenosis is the thing that's causing me the most problems now, that I have that surgery asap and once I've recovered from that look at the options again. Basically he couldn't predict the outcome but it's not likely to go away and I will have to have treatment at some point but it doesn't have to be done right now. I think they want to make sure there isn't any cancer lurking anywhere else.
I've decided there's no point in having major lung surgery if there's no guarantee it's going to cure me. I'll be monitored by the colorectal and lung multidisciplinary teams and have regular scans. Who knows really but I'm going to go with my gut feeling and get my back done.
I had an appointment with the Orthopaedic surgeon this week and he's given the go ahead. I have my operation on 5th April. I've been waiting for over a year for this and while the thought of more major surgery is daunting I'm hoping it will give me a new lease of life. I've lost my motivation for just about everything lately. I try to get out and do things but its hard work and exhausting. If I can be pain free and get fitter, I'm sure it will make anything else I might have to deal with much easier.

I did get backlash from my last blog. I had messages accusing me of enjoying playing the victim, telling me how I've ruined people's lives, asking me to "prove" I'm not lying. I've had people trying to make me feel guilty. I've had it all really. It's been horrible. I've had to block certain people and I've deleted everything to do with him but it's virtually impossible to get him out of my mind and I feel like I have a huge gap in my life. I don't get any joy in conflict. When I get upset I have to remind myself of all the lies. I guess it will get easier with time. I need to concentrate on myself now.

So, even though it's been a tough time and I've still got a lot to face, there are some real positives.....I'm definitely not about to peg it any day soon. So "living" is what I'm doing !

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Playing the Cancer Card?




I got sent a text message this week ...

"You can't go around fucking people and playing the cancer card"

I can't say I'd heard that phrase before. Cancer card... what does it even mean? Cancer isn't a fucking game. Sorry for swearing but I'm angry. I feel mortified to be honest, really upset and hurt and I can't get that phrase out of my head. I looked it up ... from what I read I think it means using a cancer diagnosis as a way to get what you want. I don't know.
Yes, I write my blog, which I've been doing for the last 6 years, way before I had cancer. It's not in your face, it's easy to scroll past, no one has to read it unless they choose to click on the link.
No I don't hide the fact I have cancer but I don't go on about it non stop. I write my blog as a way to cope with it all. I talk to people about it when they ask me but I try not to drag other people down with my problems. I've never consciously used having cancer as a way to get what I want.
I like to think that the people in my life are there because they want to be, not because they feel sorry for me. I like to think my friends are my friends because they actually like me, not because I have cancer.
I've always felt very strongly that having any illness, no matter how awful, doesn't give people an excuse to be an asshole.
Sometimes it might be the reason why I may act out of character but I'm still the same person and I've never used any of my illnesses as an excuse for anything I do.

So I've fallen out with someone who I thought was going to be in my life until the day I die. Someone who told me he'd never loved anyone as much as he loved me, who promised he'd always be there, who said I was his best friend and that he wanted me in his life forever.
For the best part of the last three years this person was a huge part of my life. We had a rocky start, mostly because of his behaviour, but I was taken in by him and somehow we always ended up drawn together. I fell in love with him. When I was recovering from my surgery he made so many promises about the future. He made me believe he was going to be by my side no matter what. We made plans for the future and things were looking up. Then out of the blue he told me he'd met someone else. He said he thought she could give him the family life he wanted. Something I'd never be able to do.  I gave him my blessing because I knew I couldn't compete. How could I when I don't even know what my future is? He made me feel guilty that I couldn't give him all those things yet wouldn't let me go. Every time I tried to break away he told me he didn't want to lose me. He kept our relationship alive by continuing to message me, call me and come and see me. He stayed involved. He shared my bed and he did just enough to make me believe that I was the one he really loved.  I'm not saying I never got upset. Maybe there were times when I was needy. Yes there were times when I cried and said I was scared and I didn't want him to leave me. There were times when I was distaught about my situation. I'm not going to apologise for that. I'm a human being and of course I opened up to him. That's not playing the cancer card is it? How can sharing my feelings about cancer and dying with someone who was supposed to be my friend and love me be wrong?  He knew I was vulnerable and he manipulated the situation. I was too stupid to realise it at the time.
After months of being in the shadows, I told him I'd had enough. I told him I wanted him to decide what he really wanted. I told him I didn't want to be second best. I wanted to make the most of life. I told him that all I had to give him was myself.  He told me he loved us both. Yes, I did get angry and say if he didn't make his mind up I'd tell his girlfriend. I told him I wanted to be more than just friends or a secret lover. I told him if it wasn't me he really wanted then just walk away .... leave me alone .... stay out of my life for good. He could have left, but no, he cried and cried and said he wanted me in his life. When he ended up in my bed yet again, making more promises, saying he couldnt resist me, when he looked me in the eye and told me he'd always love me, I believed every word. What an idiot I am.

In the end I did tell her. It was just going on and on, round in circles. I felt bad for her but really I was probably doing her a favour. He would have continued to make my life a misery and continued lying to her. I don't know what he thought would happen if things just carried on as they were. Maybe he thought eventually I'd just die and save him the bother. That's a horrible thought and probably a bit harsh but that's how he's made me feel.

He's now telling people that everything he ever did and said was because he felt sorry for me because I'm dying of cancer. Really? All those months and all those things he did and said were lies ? Everything was because he felt sorry for me?  What sort of person would do something like that?  He told his girlfriend he only had sex with me to pacify me and to stop me telling her. He told her I'd bribed him to have sex! I really can't get my head round that. Whatever way I look at it its a shit thing to do. He must have been a bloody good actor to manage that. He must have been a bloody good actor to carry on making out he cared for the last seven months. No I don't buy that at all. He told her that to try and justify the fact that he was cheating on her for their entire relationship.  That's just vile. What a coward. 

I'm struggling to comprehend how someone I was so close to and trusted could actually be so cruel.
I'm struggling to make sense of it all at the moment. I don't know how I'm supposed to act. I'm not perfect and maybe it was wrong to keep seeing him when I knew he was seeing someone else but it wasn't my responsibility to stop him cheating was it? I've gone over and over it in my head. What did I do wrong? Was I selfish wanting him to be with me when I've got nothing but problems? Did I read it all wrong? No ... I didn't do anything wrong apart from love someone who isn't worth it.
He knew  exactly what I wanted and how I felt because I've always been 100% honest.  He treated me like shit, he treated his girlfriend like shit and really he doesn't deserve either of us. 
I don't think he really truly loved either of us. He kept me in his life in case it all went wrong with her because he doesn't want to be alone. He thought she was his meal ticket out of his disastrous life. He wanted his cake and eat it too. I don't know if she'll forgive him. I can't. 

Playing the cancer card? No ...He's using my cancer as an excuse for his disgusting behaviour and that's even worse. That's got to be the lowest, most selfish thing anyone can do to another person. He's despicable. He's a cunt ...and I never use that word normally, I hate it but I can't think of any other word for him.
I feel devastated.  I doubt I'll ever speak to him or ever see him again. I wish I could hate him but I don't. I don't hate anyone. I actually feel sorry for him. I don't know how he can sleep at night. One day I hope he realises that you can't treat people the way he does. I doubt it though. He's too selfish. 
I'm not sure how I'm ever going to get over all this but I have to. 

So I've got four days to go before I see the Thoracic Surgeon in London to find out if he can do anything about the cancer that's spread to my lung. I'm trying to be positive about it. I'm trying to hold it all together.
The trouble now is that when I'm really down about it I'm too scared to say anything to anyone in case it's seen as playing the cancer card. I want to cry and sob and say I'm petrified but I won't. I'll do what I usually do. I'll smile and say I'm fine and get on with it.
  I have to believe that all the people in my life right now are there because they want to be. I consider myself to be one of the luckiest people alive to be surrounded by such amazing friends and family. I can't let one person make me bitter and suspicious of everyones motives.
I can't and I won't let one person ruin the rest of my life.