Tag Archives: Cancer

Welcome to Grief!

When somebody dies whos super close to you , in my case my husband Paul, you have a lot of time to think and reflect on what if, what happens next, what happens to me, what am I going to do, why am I still here?. 

My lovely hubby died of stage 4 cancer that originated in the bowel and then spread like a weed all over his body 05/03/2022 . It went into his bones, head, lung, right eye and bowel before finally doing its worse. He also had multiple myeloma cancer and a chronic pain condition called CRPS. My darling cheeky Paul was ill for years, he never complained, he was kind, patient and such a generous and thoughtful person. He fought like a “superman” and was incredibly brave even when the pain had him crying out with the horror as the pain was so intense. All the consultants loved him because he was so cheery, positive and smiley, I loved him because he was my cheeky chappie who made me smile and laugh at his really bad jokes.

Paul was even born with a cancerous lump on his right shoulder. 

So you see the world had it in for him from an early stage.

 He survived numerous cancer treatments, chemo, and operations for almost six whole years. 

I loved and adored Paul our whole married life and still do, he was my soulmate. I cared for him and loved him so much. People commented often, how did I manage working full time and also look after a poorly husband plus growing veggies for him and doing the music, writing and photography. Well its simple I loved him and we where married so of course I’d look after him – who wouldn’t right?. We/He thought he was invincible, I called him my super man and there is even a Skyeladder song about him. 


You see, he survived three cancer operations and a Stem cell transplant, he did amazingly and was/is a super strong man.  

But now he’s died and I have this massive void that just keeps getting bigger and bigger. 

I have a hollowness in my tummy, I am angry ( still, I don’t know why). I have tightness above my breast on my right and just feel a complete and utter emptiness which to be honest gets worse with every single hour of every day.  I cant sleep , I’m cold all of the time, I feel anxious and you’d think I should be able to sleep as I’m so exhausted.

 I cry for no reason, I’m sure Mindles the dog is getting stressed. ( I’m crying now – go figure) .

Plus I cant seem to do anything apart from mechanical things like clean the house, feed the pup and do the washing. I’ve been staring at peeling paint for months thinking oh I should really sort that and repaint, but I haven’t. 

Pauls everywhere, from his rings on my fingers , the pictures on the wall , to the clothes in the wardrobe and drawers and the meat ball casserole in the freezer that was waiting for him to come out of hospital so he could enjoy as it was his favourite.

I organised the funeral for Paul on my own. You see when you are caring for someone so poorly you don’t have many friends and sometimes those who know that its cancer/you’re dying get a bit afraid and distance themselves. To be honest , I was glad I was on my own, all I did was take a few deep breaths and walked in to the funeral parlour and talked about what Paul wanted or that I hope he wanted. 

They said after the funeral ( people, friends, family) that it was a fitting ceremony and that I did him proud and I even stood up to talk about personal stuff which I can tell you now is not me. I even played one of our songs, it was written about him https://soundcloud.com/skye-ladder/im-looking-for-you

I was even told by a friend, don’t worry you’re still young , you’ll meet somebody else. ( Yep thanks for that I’ve just seen my husband die and you’re already trying to fix me up, unbelievable! But my sister explained they probably don’t know what to say for the best. )

I’m trying to get out more, see people, do my music and other hobbies again.  But when I take a picture  or grow something or stand up on my own for the first time playing the guitar and singing , I think well Pauls not going to see this ,so what’s the point.?  I mean what is the point really?

I close the curtains when it all gets too much, I’ve cancelled invites, I’ve not answered the door or phone , because to be honest I’m having a bad day. Is that okay?

Easter came and went, I had covid who knew that you can get covid by not seeing anybody at all  ( even though I had all the pointless injections) .  I spent that long Easter weekend with me feeling sad , having a sense of dread and being very lonely in bed ( no chocolate egg as we used to buy each other one.)  Nobody to make me a cup of tea.  Paul before he became really ill made the best cups of tea he really did.  I think I ate mostly toast that weekend. 

I’m lonely and very sad all the time, I mean who would want to be around a lonely sad grieving widow hey?

I’m struggling to get myself organised re food, I’ve lost over a stone in weight.  When I do cook, it  tastes bland even though I’ve cooked it the same way.  The world just isn’t the same without my cheeky Paul in it. I think a lot about when I’ll see Paul next, I miss him so much ( Doc says thats the grief talking)

Paul and I had booked a week in Anglesey back in January for the Jubilee week.  I cancelled last minute ( sorry) , as I just couldn’t face driving somewhere without Paul.  I just feel that I don’t want to do or experience anything without my Paul.  Dying is shit ( well thats what my doctor said), he even said that when Paul was first diagnosed with Cancer ( he said its shit news) , go figure. !

I talk to him when I’m in bed you know, Paul that is , people probably think I’m crackers. But I still have his pillows on the bed next to me.  Its surprising how cold  the bed is when theres only one of you in it.   In fact I feel cold most days.  Paul was basically a big cuddly heating blanket for me that I could cuddle up to and feel safe and warm.    Last night I was so cold in bed that I got out put socks on and my cuddly dressing gown. 

I think about his birthday 09/11 and mine 24/12  our wedding anniversary 05/12 , Christmas , Valentines day, Easter, Mothers and fathers day- its just not going to be the same again.  Why couldn’t they have found a cure for Cancer , I mean how much more money needs throwing at the research, why couldn’t they save him?

Sometimes I feel I’m going bonkers.  Luckily for me I have a brilliant sister  and brother in law who have invited me up for some weekends at her house and basically looked after me.  Making me meals, chatting and being very sweet with me and understanding that I’m just sad and I think I’ll be like this for a long time as I can’t currently see a way out.  Plus I have a great brother who always knows what to say to make me feel a smidge better.

I got up this morning, had porridge, walked the pup, had a shower  ( cried in the shower) got dressed and logged on work for the first time in 3 plus months.  Now sat here looking at the clock its 13:23, lunch time, I need to think about eating lunch but instead I’m writing this and yes yet again I’m crying.

Life goes on, things change even though I feel I am standing still. 

Thats the grief they tell me, will it get better? I just don’t know, I’m so sad everyday that I don’t know what to do for the best. Take it step by step they tell me, but to be honest I wake up feeing sad, I go to bed feeling sad, life is a challenge currently.

I guess I just keep on treading water and we’ll see what happens!. 

Speak soon. 

Janie B x

Fighting Cancer and his new chemo pump

Well as you may or may not know , my hubby Paul has been struggling with Cancer for a few years as well as having three Pulmonary Embolisms and a Chronic Pain condition called CRPS.

It started off with bowel cancer in which he had an operation to remove the cancer , they decided no chemo needed and we thought that’s it all done and dusted and back to normal life. But then he started to feel unwell a number of months later , was tested and it turns out he had developed Multiple Myeloma cancer. Fast forward six months hes had a Stem cell transplant and seemed okay for a bit. Then a secondary cancer in the lung in 2020 decided to come and visit so he had another operation but at Blackpool Victoria this time.

Well its happened again he has got another secondary cancer from the bowel in his lung. It all started before Christmas he was very very tired falling asleep at the drop of a hat. We spoke to the doctors they put it down to his CRPS complex regional pain syndrome and just generally recovering from the cancers that he had.

It was only when his Bowel consultant decided to sign him off as she was happy with him that she decided as part of the sign off to do one last blood test. The results came back quickly to show he had raised CEA cancer markers.

So a CT scan later and it showed a lot of fluid around his lungs. So in he goes to have the pleural effusion drained from his lung at Blackburn Hospital and the results came back, saying the fluid was malignant.

We met with the consultant who seemed to quite like our lighthearted chillness we’re happy people and like to be positive , however this time its worse again. He has secondary cancer in his lung again called metastic adeno carinoma. The consultant said the cancer is not curable and any chemo will be palliative/disease control based. So he will have 6 sessions of Chemo and they will then review to see if its working.

I am totally floored I know I have to be strong for Paul but how do I do this when my heart is breaking and I feel somebody has just pulled my guts out and pulled them over my head.? Please tell me how, this can be happening again!, if they had done chemo the first time around would he still have these problems and why on earth is everything he gets not cureable?

Paul started chemo at the new unit in Burnley on Friday after having a pic line inserted on the Thursday and of course having a covid test prior to all of this. He went in for his chemo at 9am and I picked him up at 1pm, I waited for him sat in the car doing emails, walked the pup and just generally sat worrying.

Now he’s home, what has surprised me is how totally wiped out Paul ( hubby) is, he was exhausted because of the pleural effusion but this tiredness is on a new level. He’s been sick, constipated and totally off his food which is so unlike Paul. He’s been in bed since Friday not having the strength to go down stairs and just looks really ill , which to be honest is a first as during his other cancers he really didn’t look that bad.

As part of the chemo treatment hes on something called FolFox https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cancer-in-general/treatment/cancer-drugs/drugs/folfox which goes in via his pic line into his blood stream then he also has a chemo pump which stays on for 48 hours with the district nurse coming in to disconnect the pump and clean the pic line.

Paul and his new pal ( PITA)

Paul said this is his new friend PITA ( you can work out the meaning yourselves) , Its a chemo pump.. The pump slowly pushes the chemo drug through his blood stream via the pic line and slowly inflates the ballon – clever hey. So welcome PITA to the Britton household.

On a happier note hes upbeat, still exhausted and in pain but look at my lovely chap he still has a fighting sparkle in his eyes.

#fightingcanceragain #secondarycancersucks #palliativechemo #multiplemyeloma #bowelcancer #secondarycancerinlung#anotherflippingcancer

Sleep – its a mattress maze out there!

Hey all, I’ve been looking around , well virtually, for a new mattress as ours is at least 9 years old. There are five specific things that I am looking for.

1 – Supportive for both head and back. 2 – comfort, I don’t want it too soft or too hard. 3 – Length of the mattress, I need at least King size as I’m 5:8 and my hubby is 6:4. 4 – Tough enough to support a plus sized babe and chappy. 5 – Quality of sleep.

For myself personally I need a mattress that is going to support my lower back. I struggle to get a good night sleep as I usually wake up with pain in my lower back and shoulders. For my hubby as you know he has a chronic pain condition called CRPS and also Multiple Myeloma Cancer and is recovering from a lung cancer operation which was a secondary cancer from his original bowel cancer. He spends a lot of time in bed resting so needs something that is going to keep its shape, stay supportive and help him to get some good healing rest. Plus we are both big and tall – hubby is 6:4 and I’m tallish at 5:8 , so we so need something firm and supportive and very importantly, long lasting.

I’m quite happy to pay a bit more than an average mattress, any recommendations anyone?

I’ve been looking at OTTY Mattress Hypnos Beds , Emma Mattress’s , Nectar Sleep and Simba Sleep. Most of the above seem to have discounts on their mattress’s currently so it is a really good time to get out there ( virtually) and make sure you get the best sleep of your life x

Let me know which mattress is good for you and I’ll check it out . I’ll let you know which one I choose and if my sleep has improved.

Email: janie@skyeladder.net