CANCER…A JOURNEY WE NEVER THOUGHT WE WOULD BE GOING ON

CANCER…A JOURNEY WE NEVER THOUGHT WE WOULD BE GOING ON

CANCER…A JOURNEY WE NEVER THOUGHT WE WOULD BE GOING ON

Gosh, I don’t even know if I can find the words to write this post. I feel very, very numb right now and also a little bit in denial that this is even happening.

But, for a really long while now I’ve felt like I should share our story and let you know what is happening to us. I mostly want to share it to explain why things have been a little bit quiet on Life Unexpected recently and I also want to share it in case it might spark action and potentially help to save at least one other persons life.

I’m going to apologise in advance if this post sounds quite disconnected. I’m kind of writing it from a place of shock and I’m just going to pour it all out as quickly as possible.

I recently shared on Instagram that my fiancee, Aitan, had found a cancerous lump. We first made the discovery a few weeks ago now and honestly, the journey since then has been completely surreal.

Aitan actually had his surgery yesterday to remove the lump. The surgery went really well and he’s in recovery now. But what happened next we’re still trying to process. Just before the surgery the Doctor sat us down and shared Aitan’s scan results. They explained that the cancer has already spread and that although the surgery removed the lump, the cancer is in the lymph nodes in his abdomen and he also has several spots on his lungs.

To say we are all floored is an understatement. I’m not sure if any emotions have even processed in my mind yet and our whole family is kind of struggling to accept this right now. I feel kind of like a robot just going through the motions and I can’t even begin to imagine what is going through Aitan’s head right now.

Even worse, we’re still not sure if that is even it. More tests are going to be done shortly to let us know. But chemotherapy is imminent and the next year of our life together is, to put it bluntly, going to be terrifying.

A Message To You

I’m writing this today, because we both feel like there is such a huge message here that we really need to share.

Mostly because Aitan is not exactly the most likely candidate to have cancer. Not only is he 22 years old, but he is the healthiest person I know and even the Doctors were a little bit taken a back by just how healthy he is.

Before I get into his story, I really need to say to anyone reading this. If you have a lump or a bump that you are unsure about and you think it might be nothing, please, please, please go and get it checked. Don’t feel silly about going to get it checked, don’t feel like you are wasting anyones time, don’t put something off because you’re embarrassed or because you think it might be nothing.

Please just go and make sure! Get peace of mind straight away. It might be nothing, yes, but it could also be something more. The earlier you catch something like this the better. Also please don’t be naive enough to think ‘well, this can’t happen to me’. We thought that too.

I mentioned above that Aitan is the healthiest person I know. He clean eats, he rarely consumes sugar, he goes to the gym, he takes vitamins, he doesn’t smoke, he never eats junk foods and he never, ever binge drinks. He gets enough rest, he looks after his body and he is also so, so young! In fact, he is pretty much the last person I would ever imagine to have cancer and yet this is happening.

Finding Out

The scariest thing is, he was sitting on this for a while, thinking it was absolutely nothing and it was so insignificant. We don’t even know how many months it’s been (maybe even a year) since he first noticed that he had a growing lump. It was literally a chance conversation he had with a work colleague that became the spark to take action.

Literally a few weeks ago he fell into a random conversation with a work colleague. They got speaking about the UK healthcare service and about his colleagues fathers experience with a certain strand of cancer.

The conversation clearly spooked Aitan enough to come home that night and to head straight to google. When I probed him about what was up, he was very lost in his thoughts. I definitely didn’t expect him to say that he thought he might have cancer. In fact, when he did tell me, I thought he was joking.

Then he explained the random conversation that he’d had with the guy he works with. He told me that he’d googled the strand of cancer that his colleagues dad had experienced and that all the symptoms seemed to match what he was experiencing himself right now.

That whole next 24 hours definitely felt like it lasted forever. It was the weekend and the general doctors surgery wasn’t open. We thought it might be silly to go to the hospital based on a hunch, so we waited until Monday morning and drove to the Doctors, literally just in time for the doors to swing open for the day.

I’m so shocked how fast things have moved since that first consultation. Straight away the Doctor confirmed that it was a lump and that it was likely to be cancerous. There and then he arranged for more tests to be done. We thought that the whole process would take months! But, within a space of a week, Aitan had to attend a whole variety of appointments at the doctors. Some a lot less pleasant than others. Then, just yesterday he went in for the surgery.

That very first appointment was less than three weeks ago now, but honestly, it feels like months have passed. We are definitely so grateful to the NHS for how swift this process has been and also for how supportive, kind and compassionate the nurses and doctors have been.

The next road we have to go down is chemotherapy. I’m so grateful that the option is there to get this treated. But, at the same time I know how terrified he is and how terrified we all are. Not knowing when this will be over or what the chemo is going to be like for him, is kind of hard to cope with.

Not only is he dealing with the changes in his body, especially post surgery, but we don’t know how is body is going to react in the next few months and he is still very much in shock that this is happening to him. I have to be honest, this whole experience so far, has been very surreal.

The hardest part of this has been sharing it with people. How are you supposed to tell people something like this? Even your close family?

It took Aitan a while to even find the words to share with his close family and friends. When you say the word out loud…cancer…it just sounds so bizarre. It’s not exactly something you can casually drop into conversation over a coffee… ‘Oh hey, I’ve got cancer’.

And then there is telling people that it has spread. Telling his Mum who has to watch her baby go through this, telling his Dad, his brothers, his friends, his family. No words can describe those feelings and to be in that position where you have to say those words out loud and watch the people you love so much just crumble, it’s so horrific.

Our journey has just begun and I’m already really struggling to watch someone I love so much go through this. I wish I could swap places and do it all for him because I feel incredibly helpless right now and I honestly don’t know how to be. Aitan is the closest person in the world to me. He is my best friend and my life partner. Yet, for some stupid reason I’m struggling to know what to do.

What do you even say to someone going through this, what can you do to make things better?

I’m trying so hard to be his support system and be brave and strong. But I’m really, really struggling to get it right. Without meaning to I think I’ve been both a help and a hindrance, overbearing and insensitive. It’s hard to know when to laugh and it’s hard to know if it’s ok to cry.

If there is one thing I have learnt in the last few weeks it’s how important it is to build a strong unit around yourself. His friends and our family have been so incredible. Despite all of us collectively just wanting to curl up in a ball and cry! You really can’t go through things like this as a one man band. You need others to be there for you too.

That is where we are at with our journey so far. I have no idea how things are going to look next month, or even in the next six months. Right now we’re just going to take things one day at a time.

If anyone has been through something similar and you’ve had a really positive outcome, please reach out to us. I know we’d both love to hear some really good things right now. Or if anyone knows any mind frame books we should read to help keep us strong through this, again please let me know. We are going to do everything we can to stay positive.

Just before I end this post, I just want to reiterate to anyone reading this. If you have a lump or any kind of health niggles, please don’t hesitate to speak to your Doctors. Not only that, but speak to your partners, speak to your family and speak to your friends. Make sure that no one else is sitting on anything that they think might be nothing or that they’re too afraid to share.

The lump that Aitan found was so small it could have been missed. The fact that it has spread so much and so fast is extremely frightening. Please do not take the risk. Please go and just check, no matter how small, no matter how insignificant you think it is.

I don’t even know how to end this post. I do need to say thank you though. Thank you so much to everyone who has reached out and supported Aitan so far. He has some incredible people in his life. Some of his friends and some of our family are just absolute angels and I know that he is (and I am too) eternally grateful to all of you.

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34 Comments

  1. June 6, 2018 / 1:07 pm

    I am so so sorry, I can only imagine what shock you must be in over this. I am offering you all the hugs possible xx

  2. June 6, 2018 / 1:18 pm

    Oh Chloe. So sorry to hear you and Aitan are in this situation. Thinking of you all xx

  3. June 6, 2018 / 1:46 pm

    Thinking of you Chloe, what a scary journey you are on. Keep supporting each other and you will get through it xx

  4. June 6, 2018 / 1:47 pm

    Really sorry to hear this. What a shock. Sending positive wishes and love to you all xx

  5. June 6, 2018 / 1:52 pm

    Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry that you and Aitan are going through this. Thank goodness he did decide to take action and is now getting the treatment he needs. Will be thinking of you all over the coming months and I hope that the surgery and chemo do their job and he eventually gets the all clear. Sending love and strength from one Chloe to another xx

  6. June 6, 2018 / 2:17 pm

    god, im so so sorry for you and your family. just heartbreaking. my mum was diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this year and it’s been a tough journey. she can be operated on but chemo has def helped. it has now shrunk from the size of a grapefruit to the size of a ping pong ball. who knows what is next though really. wishing you lots of love xx

  7. Katie
    June 6, 2018 / 4:43 pm

    Oh how scary this must’ve been for you and your family wishing Aitan all the luck and best wishes for a full recovery.

  8. June 6, 2018 / 6:00 pm

    I am sorry to hear this news Chloe. It is so, so frightening and unexpected so young. My best friend had breast cancer in her 20’s and I can remember the shock completely flooring me for days. She made a full recovery after surgery and chemo I am pleased to say. I have no helpful advice apart from to say just be there. That is all you can do but it will mean so much xx

  9. Rachel
    June 6, 2018 / 6:48 pm

    So sorry to hear this. Wishing you all the best xx

  10. June 6, 2018 / 8:25 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear this. I’ve been through a similar experience. My husband was diagnosed with kidney cancer in November that has also already spread to his lungs and abdomen. He had surgery and is now on treatment. His first 3 month scan showed all his tumours had shrunk by a third! It’s a rollercoaster of emotions and I find the uncertainty very difficult. It’s great to hear you have a strong support network as that’s what’s got me through this year. Thinking of you and your family x

  11. June 6, 2018 / 11:16 pm

    Chloe thank you for sharing this with us all, I’m sure it hasn’t been the easiest thing to write. My sister in law had stomach/bowl cancer which they discovered 2 christmases ago after her being mis-diagnosed with IBS for a very long time. After a year of chemo I’m pleased to say she is in remission and doing really well. Emily x

  12. June 7, 2018 / 11:00 am

    Oh I’m so sorry to hear this. Sending you lots of love and strength at this difficult time. I’ll share your post too, such an important message xx

  13. cyax59
    June 7, 2018 / 12:31 pm

    Sending healing prayers!!!!! xoxo

  14. June 7, 2018 / 2:13 pm

    I’m so sorry to read this Chloe. Sending lots of strength, love and positive thoughts your way at this difficult time xx

  15. June 9, 2018 / 1:20 pm

    Hi Chloe, I’m new to your blog and randomly came across your post. I am so sorry to hear this and praying for the next steps ahead for Aitan and the whole family. Thank you for sharing honestly about your journey, I can’t imagine what this season is like in the untold moments, but I hope you have a lot of support around you guys.

  16. June 11, 2018 / 10:20 am

    I’m so sorry to hear about this, it must be such a difficult time for you all! You’ll get a lot of horrible stories from people about their loves ones who have also suffered, but mine is a really positive one as my Mum is a survivor after 3 iterations of cancer and chemo, but it really is fantastic stuff and 14 years on from her first lump and she’s really healthy, off all drugs and thriving! There is a light at the end of the tunnel and you WILL get through this all together. You don’t always have to be strong, it’s bloody hard to deal with for all of you so find yourself someone you can confide in so you don’t have to bottle it up. Alice xxx

    http://www.woodewindowsills.co.uk

  17. Angela
    June 17, 2018 / 11:39 am

    I’m so sorry to read this, thoughts are with you for a positive and speedy outcome

  18. June 17, 2018 / 4:54 pm

    What an awful shock! You don’t mention what cancer but the prognosis now is so much better than even a few years ago. Positive thinking! He will beat this. My friend had breast cancer at a really young age, (early 20s) luckily she found a lump and had it checked. It was an aggressive cancer so she needed a mastectomy and chemo. That was ten years ago. She has another daughter now (she’s a year old) when they said she’d probabaly not be able to concieve again. Big hugs to you all xx
    Sally

  19. June 17, 2018 / 5:41 pm

    Lots of love to you all through this awful time, Chloe. Hope Aitan is on the mend real soon xx

  20. June 17, 2018 / 7:57 pm

    Sorry to read this. The next few weeks will be a roller coaster of emotions. I remember when I was told I had stage 3 cancer, I felt nothing for the first day and then the fear, anxiety and tears came. I was angry with the world and kept questioning ‘Why me?’ But once treatment started I began to feel more positive.
    I had drama therapy which is a lot like mindfulness, it really helped me. I still meditate now and have started yoga too.
    I’d say that the best thing to do is to talk, talk and talk. Don’t bottle up your feelings or emotions, you need a positive mindset to get through the next few months.
    2 years since my diagnosis and I have been back at work for over a year now. I live every day as it comes.
    Thinking of you both x

  21. June 17, 2018 / 9:13 pm

    I’m so so sorry to read this. Sending you so much love and strength ❤️ Xxxx

  22. June 17, 2018 / 11:13 pm

    So sorry to hear you’re going through this. Such a shock when Aitan’s so young and fit. But that will hopefully stand him in good stead for the treatment. I’d definitely recommend speaking to Macmillan or whichever your local support is. Sometimes it helps to talk to someone who’s not family or friends when you need to.
    Thinking of you all and wishing that the treatment is successful.

  23. June 18, 2018 / 12:14 pm

    So very very sorry to read this Chloe, you are very brave to write such an important post. I think we always assume when people are young and fit that this can’t happen. Sending love and strength over to you all.

  24. June 18, 2018 / 2:06 pm

    My thoughts and prayers are with you. It seems so cruel that someone so young and healthy should be experiencing this. I hope that finding it when you did, even with the news that it has spread, means there are still strong treatment options. So glad to hear you have support and know that in the blogging community there are even more of us silently pulling for y’all and sending good vibes. xo

  25. June 18, 2018 / 3:34 pm

    I’m so sorry to read this. Please bear in mind that everyone has heir own journey; my mum was a firm believer in the power of positivity and reiki healing and has beaten Grade 3b triple negative breast cancer back in 1996 and again last year so miracles do happen.

    Hoping for the best for you xx

  26. June 18, 2018 / 11:20 pm

    I’m so sorry Chloe. I don’t know what else to say, I am super shocked by this. I’m sorry that you’re all going through this and I’m thinking of you all.
    xx

  27. June 19, 2018 / 11:42 am

    Sending lots of love and hugs. It is such a shock. I hope he recovers quickly x

  28. June 19, 2018 / 3:42 pm

    Oh, Chloe, I’m so horribly sorry to hear. When things happen to loved ones who are so young and healthy, it’s understandable that it’s a huge shock. All you can do is let yourself feel what you feel, and keep walking, take it one day at a time. Sending you all our best wishes and positive vibes x

  29. Kate Sneeuwjagt
    June 24, 2018 / 7:43 pm

    HI Chloe, Im so sorry to hear you are going through this as a family. My husband was diagnosed with stage 3 tongue cancer 2 years ago when i was pregnant, he was healthy & a non-smoker!. I can thankfully say he is now cancer free!

    We would highly recommend that your husband reads a book called ‘The China Study’ Book by T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell. My husband completely changed his diet & we believe this made it possible to stay cancer free.

    Anyway, i wish you al the best xx

  30. June 26, 2018 / 1:24 pm

    Oh Chloe I’ve only just caught up and I’m so sorry to read about this. What a terrible time for you all. It sounds like you have a brilliant group around you and you’re right to stay positive, as hard as that must be. I do have a friend who had a similar experience and found a lump two years back. They found it in her lymph glands too and she responded so well to the treatment. She was given the all clear last year and it’s like a distant memory now. I really hope you’re all okay, sending lots of love xxx

  31. Sarah Hedley
    July 19, 2018 / 8:13 pm

    Sending you all the love <3 I just recently went on this emotional journey with my Dad and know how everyday is an emotional rollercoaster. It is okay to cry, it is okay to laugh, and it is so hard to be a rock for him but you can do it. Cherish every moment love. Try and make the best of chemo we used to make jokes, get breakfast, go to the driving range before treatments anything to keep his spirits up. God bless hope all goes well x

  32. September 19, 2018 / 6:45 am

    Sending love and positive wishes.
    So much respect for writing a post at such a time. I am sure it will help so many people for many years to come.
    So glad to hear you have such great support xx

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