I’m one of the lucky ones.
I married my best friend.
There is no one who makes me laugh more. He is the first person to tell me ‘if anyone can do it you can’….even if what I’m suggesting is utterly ridiculous. He supports me in every decision I make…even the bad ones like painting our bathroom pink(!)…(a story for another day).
He’s always been my confidant and companion and now…well now he’s also my ‘carer’.
I remember so vividly the moment following my diagnosis when my GP broached the subject of noting my husband as my carer in my medical records. My what? I’m 30! How is this possible? What does this mean? How will this affect our relationship? So many questions about a situation you don’t expect to face just weeks after celebrating your two year wedding anniversary in Vienna.
Most of the time I continue to fight for my independence because of this fact floating in my head. Most of the time I refuse to accept that my medical file has a name in the box labelled ‘carer’. Most of the time I battle through doing things around the house even on days when I know I’ll suffer afterwards (actually more so on these days because I’m stubborn and often trying to prove a point).
Most of the time….
But sometimes I get frustrated. Sometimes I have to sit down half way through hanging up the washing or cooking dinner or changing the bed covers because the chemo has made me too tired; because the fluid on my lung is making me too breathless; because my blood levels are too low; because my body is too weak; because I need a carer….
In those moments I’m still married to my best friend. He tells me to take my time. He helps. He supports me in the way he always has to do everything I do.
Other times, like tonight, I’m too weak to even try to do anything. Instead, whilst I’m lying on the sofa wrapped in a blanket, my husband, who has already done a full day at work and then picked up some food shopping, comes home and does the dishes I’ve not managed from during the day, cooks dinner, tidies the kitchen, takes our dog for his daily walk, hangs up two loads of washing, and puts away the washing he took down this morning before work. He does all this whilst intermittently checking on me.
By the time he stops doing everything it is past 10pm and he hasn’t sat down since he got in the door. Not for a second. Not even once.
This is on top of our dog waking through the night and my husband getting up to let him out and settle him.
He does all this whilst working a full time job.
He does all this whilst worrying about me and my diagnosis and treatment and surgery.
He does all this whilst not complaining.
And I realise, as I watch this man I love doing everything he can to support me, that I don’t have to worry about him being labelled my ‘carer’ because I married my best friend…
He is doing what he has always done….he is doing whatever he can to make sure I can do whatever I need to do.
When I was well and didn’t have cancer (or didn’t know I had cancer) I commuted two hours to my job, studied for a hypnotherapy course, volunteered and maintained a regular exercise routine. At the time I thought I managed it all because I was well organised and motivated (and, admittedly, stubborn) but, on reflection, I managed it all because I married my best friend who, as it turns out, has always been my ‘carer’. He has always done whatever he can to make sure I could do whatever I needed to do.
You see, as it turns out, having a ‘carer’ doesn’t need to label you as critically unwell. It doesn’t need to change anything. It doesn’t need to be a weakness. It’s just about being supported by someone you love. It’s about returning that support. All that’s changed is the exchange of support.
As it turns out, I didn’t just marry my best friend. I married my hero.
I love you Mr Munro.
People ask how I manage to stay so positive. The answer – you.
People ask how I remain so grateful. The answer – you.
People ask how I get through everything. The answer – you.
I love you to the moon and back.
I couldn’t do any of it without you xxx
*This post was inspired by a telephone chat I had today with a lovely woman from Stand Up to Cancer. She asked me what my support network was like and how my husband was coping with my diagnosis and treatment and as I answered my mind filled with intense love and gratitude for the wonderful man I call my other half xx