Before I go any further I want to say a heartfelt thank you for visiting the site and showing your support, it really is appreciated.
In April 2010 the idea of Never Alone was born. My husband, Mark and I had just received a bolt out of the blue as he had been diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma. He had been showing the usual symptoms of a cold but with a persistent "gland" which had not responded to 2 weeks of antibiotics. Thankfully, our doctor ordered the usual blood screenings followed by an ultrasound of his neck to ensure there was nothing more sinister going on. It was at this point that they discovered 10 lumps in his neck and the following tests showed that he had lumps on both sides of his neck and under his arms. He also had a large mass in his chest about the size of a grapefruit.
To say we were both shocked is an understatement. We'd just celebrated Mark's 30th birthday 3 months before and were looking forward to the next stage of our lives together. Suddenly we were hit with something neither of us saw coming.. I'm not sure there's anything that can prepare you for that type of news.
It's one of those things "that doesn't happen to you" and we found ourselves asking what I can only assume to be the usual questions... "how did I not realise before?"... "how can this happen?"... "what could I have done to prevent it?"... "why me/us?" etc. etc.
Following the questions, I automatically shutdown - on the outside I adopted the role of supporter/carer, asking the right questions and comforting my loved one. On the inside I went into complete shock and couldn't believe/didn't want to believe what I'd just been told.
It's now 4 months on and although the treatment and chemotherapy Mark has been receiving during that time has been working I still can't/don't believe that it's happening. Yes, we've received some good news but I'm watching my husband going through hell and I won't be able to feel positive until we know it's all over and been a complete success. I'm supporting Mark the best way I can and will continue to do so for as long as it takes.
To add to the "stress" Mark and I decided to try IVF, as we were about to start on this journey prior to his diagnosis, in June 2010. I had my doubts, was it a wise idea to do it not knowing what to expect from Mark's treatment? Was I strong enough to put myself under more pressure? However my mind was made up when Mark said that it would give him something positive to look forward to all I want to do is make it as easy and as painless a process for him as I can, outside of taking the chemo in his place. So we went ahead and tried IVF. I had 3 excellent embryos and 1 was used.
Unfortunately, more bad news, the process was unsuccessful and to say I was devastated would be an understatement. It was at this point that I think the news about Mark and our attempt of getting pregnant failing hit me. At the point of Mark's diagnosis I wasn't thinking about myself, I would worry about me later and now, I still couldn't collapse, I needed to remain strong to get Mark through it. We could try again later, when he was well.
Sounds easy but trust me it really wasn't. I have nights when all I want to do is scream, cry, hit something, or just get lost doing something else, my brain is active the whole time. What if the treatment doesn't work? What if this is just all a really bad dream? What if it goes and then comes back? Work issues, personal issues etc... etc... constantly going round and round in my head.
Although I have an amazing support network around me, which I know I'm fortunate to have, sometimes I just want to talk to someone who understands how I'm feeling but who isn't going to keep asking me how I'm feeling, do I still feel the same etc...
In all honesty I've never had so many people around me, supporting me, and yet felt so alone.
So in June 2010 I made the decision to set up Never Alone. It is to be a site which will offer exactly that service to other supporters/carers. A place for you to go to without having to leave your loved one/s alone. Somewhere you can get away from everything, talk to someone about how you're feeling and then change the subject and not discuss it again unless you want to. You have things going on with you as well but you don't want to burden your loved one with it, they have enough to deal with, but you do need to off load and this is the place to do it.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story, please share yours in the diary section of this site if you feel comfortable doing so, and remember: take care of you too...
I really hope you feel supported here at Never Alone, you are so important and special to your families and friends and a true inspiration.