With the scan appointments booked, we collect the kids and make our way to the car. I will have to let some people know what’s going on. And I’m supposed to be going out tonight for some beers. As Michelle gets the kids in the car and closes the doors, I telephone my mate Rick from the car park and tell him I can’t make it out this evening because I have cancer. It’s a surreal and brief conversation. I keep it together and drive home. On arrival, I’m dazed. Michelle sorts the kids out for bedtime.
As she walks downstairs, Michelle asks: “Are you up to calling your Mum and Dad?”
“I have to give them the bad news,” I reply.
I must be strong and it starts now, so I do things myself. I make the difficult call to my parents and explain “I’ve got cancer.” I ask them to tell both my brothers. Michelle says I’m brave. I don’t know about that, but we talk for the rest of the evening about getting through this together. She shakily says she’ll always be there for me. I wish I could say the same to her.
I text my news to some friends as I can’t talk to anyone else just now. When they call, Michelle speaks to them. We decide not to tell Lucy and Jack because they’re only six and four years old. That’s too young to handle the word ‘Cancer.’ I don’t want some know-it-all at school saying “Everyone dies from that” and having to deal with the consequences. The fact is I could die, but I may also live. I don’t want my kids full of worry and sadness. They should be happy. Before long, I go to bed. Sleep is elusive because the next day will be a big one. I’m scared as I try to come to terms with what’s happening to me and I cry in the silence. During the night, I feel a grim determination. I have my life and I’m going to fight for it. I stare into the darkness as defiantly as I can manage.