Room 8

Dear reader, perhaps surprisingly for someone who writes I don’t usually like to delve into anything too personal on my blog. But today I’ve had news that has been huge, and wonderful, for my family and I felt I just had to share it.

Over the past five months, my husband has been having chemotherapy for an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. His diagnosis came as a shock to us, his only real symptom a sudden wheeziness back in April. Despite being a marathon runner, within a week or so he found himself unable to run further than a couple of hundred yards. Naturally I did the wifely thing and nagged him to go to the doctor in case it was a chest infection. Everything turned surreal from then on, a blur of hospital corridors and scans and worry.

Once we had a diagnosis, he was immediately started on the first of six rounds of chemo – one week in hospital followed by two weeks at home, and repeat. For each round, he was admitted to the same room in the same ward. We encountered a lot of people passing through room 8 over those months, most of whom walked out the door with the incredible medical teams’ help, one or two who tragically didn’t. We can barely bring ourselves to talk about them, reminders of how merciless this terrible illness can be.

While I tend to keep things to myself, Roger maintained his sanity by recording everything through Instagram posts, drawing cartoons and even sending out a very funny/poignant weekly newsletter to friends and family. He has used the waiting period of the past month to compile everything into an ebook. Throughout the whole frightening five months, he has been dignified and as cheerful as a person can be when every time they look in the mirror they see a hairless version of themselves, a constant reminder of what is hanging over them.

But today, all that changed again. Today Roger was given the all-clear – demonstrated by the oncologist showing the before-and-after PET scans in a sort of bizarre medical makeover. On one, a fire raged in his upper chest, on the other all was calm. We were so braced for further bad news that it took a while for it to sink in. This was done.

We are enormously grateful to everyone who has helped him along the way to recovery, the oncologist and doctors, the nursing staff at Cork University Hospital, the catering staff who snuck us extra treats wherever they could – on one occasion even providing an impromptu afternoon tea as we watched Harry & Meghan’s wedding on the central TV in the ward. People have been so kind and caring, often well beyond their job description. They are remarkable people who do an incredibly difficult job.

We’ve also been surrounded by much love and support from our friends and families, which we will never forget. It’s all pretty overwhelming, really.

So, onwards. We are now impatient for the return of Roger’s mighty beard and crazy hair, I am looking forward to hopefully having a clear head for writing again, and – despite our deep affection and admiration for the astonishing carers – we fervently hope never to see the inside of room 8 again.

12 thoughts on “Room 8

  1. Anne, I am so thrilled with Roger’s fantastic news. I know what a relief it must be and how difficult the past few months have been. Roger’s positive attentive and your unfailing support surely helped, as well as the professionalism of the medical staff. I wish you all the best – you have certainly earned it.

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  2. That’s a beautiful account of a such difficult time. And to think Roger has been beavering away making an e-book. Some people are hard to suppress! Looking forward to that clear head Anne.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wasn’t at all sure about sharing this information, but Roger’s been so open about it. And hopefully it will help someone else to see that there can be light at the end of the tunnel.Thanks, Laura

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  3. I hope all goes really well for you and your family Anne… must have been a very stressful time indeed. I’ve had a lot of chronic illness myself this last year… only just getting my grip on some kind of normality again. It’s not something you always want to tell the world, I fully understand that, but I’m glad you did feel you were able to share your news.

    I wish Roger all the very best of health and rally hope he finds a new strength and life even better than it was before. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Suzy, I’m sorry to hear you’ve been unwell. I did notice your absence from Twitter but assumed you were too busy creating to spend time on social media. So good to see your message pop up. I really hope you return to full health soon, if you haven’t already done so.

      Roger’s doing well, thank you for the kinds thoughts, x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I left Twitter a while back Anne… I was finding it all a bit too many pages to keep up, and not sure if it was really achieving anything being on Twitter anyway. Sorry to abandon you! I felt bad about leaving all my nice friends behind (some were only on Twitter) but it’s turned out the right thing for me to do. Just going to concentrate on my photography and two blogs now. It’s easy to overdo things online… finding a relaxing balance is a good and peaceful feeling. 🙂

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