We knew it was coming but it still came as a shock. My wife’s liver cancer is not responding to treatment, the tumors have grown yet again and her oncologist has run out of types of chemotherapy to try. We were told when the secondary cancer in her liver was discovered almost 12 moths ago that the outlook was grim, but as long as treatment continues you still have some hope. Last Monday, my wife asked the question she has never wanted to ask before: how long? Three months was her oncologist’s estimate. Three months! What do you do? My wife is an incredible woman: that afternoon she told our children. She thought it best for them to know now rather than for them to learn it from the palliative care team at the family meeting they want to have with us all next Monday. My daughter sort of knew; my son who has been in denial exploded with tears and anger (he punched a hole in wall!). God it was awful. The medical profession and organizations like the cancer council have done a really good job at convincing us and the wider public that cancer can be cured, that you can survive. It was a great slogan ‘cancer is a word not a sentence’. The trouble is some words can be a sentence. I am now in the process of arranging to take 6 months off work.
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