Saturday, 17 March 2012

The one day take over!

Today I'll be handing control over my blog to Sarah. I'm going to let her give her experience of being the partner of a teenager with cancer. I'll hand you all over to her now, and for any keen female fans I'll be back tomorrow!

First off, I am really sorry about Nick his extremely big head! Secondly, I'm terrible with words and always have been, so I'm sorry if this part of the blog doesn't live up to the standards that Nicholas has reached.

Nick and I met in 2009 at a family friends and his best friends leaving party. We had met several times before this that consisted of me thinking he was a total idiot whilst he spilt fanta down himself (we were only 9 though...). We battled the 200 miles between us and made it a year and a half before the day I remember so well came.

We had spent so much time together in the summer holidays of 2010. The week before Nick got diagnosed we spent a day in London with his parents, going into shops, pubs and having food. It was such an amazing day, walking around in the sun with no worries accept whether I had enough money to buy something from GAP. Thinking back, everything was so easy and I had nothing really to complain about.

On the train to London
August 2010

It was Tuesday the 31st August. I don't remember much about the morning. I know Nick had gone to the doctors about his knee pain and he was having another appointment later on. I was creating a collage for a family friend, when my mum came into the dining room. I told her how worried I was about this appointment and how I thought it might be serious. She told me not to worry as it was probably nothing.

Nick text me clearly stating nothing was wrong, so I calmed down. Then the house phone rang. My younger sister passed it over saying it was Nick and he sounded funny. I went upstairs and closed the door.

That's went it happened. He had cancer. It hit me like a train. I cried. I remember crying often in the few months following but not as prominently as I remember this. I curled up into the space next to my door holding myself. I had done what no one should do, and I regret it every day since. I had killed him off. I was grieving for him before we knew the extent or even the type of cancer he had. I knew so prominently in my mind he was going to die. My grandmother had died of cancer and I would lose the person closest to me to cancer as well.

I started my first day of sixth form on the Thursday. My mum had phoned up in advance to tell them that I wouldn't be in all day because I was going to see Nick and spoke to my head of sixth form to explain the situation. I saw him, my lovely head of sixth form, after assembly and burst out crying. I couldn't control myself, I was doing what an overwhelmed child does. I was sobbing and I couldn't stop. I only learnt how to months afterwards. I've never known so many people who I thought wouldn't give a damn actually talk to me with words of comfort.

I went to Nick's house, unsure of what I was expecting. He had changed in my mind, but when I got there he was exactly the same. He was my Nick. Lanky, scruffy Nick. But he was Nick with cancer and that took me a while not to associate cancer with my best friend.

I didn't cry in front of him once. I am proud that I stayed strong enough to be able to say that. Every night, at the b&b I sobbed, and so did my mum. He had become like a son to her and my dad, and a brother to my sisters and now brother-in-law.

Over the next few days I learnt how he was going to become infertile and suffer from many different side effects.

For what seems like an eternity after I went to see Nick, I would go to school on the days that my mum could convince me to go in. I would come home and lie on my bed crying until dinner, eat a small portion of food then go back to crying in my room. Sometimes my mum would cuddle up next to me and cry with me. I know I put her through pain by being like this, but it was dark and there was no end. Nothing could change Nick having cancer.

My family and friends were amazing. Although, I am going to be slightly selfish now and say that as a word of advice, if you know anyone who has a partner/friend/family member suffering from cancer, remember that anyone. I was appreciative of everyone asking how Nick was doing, but I felt like screaming and pointing out that I was there too. I know I am wrong to say it, but I felt alone. Nick had everyone behind him and I felt that I didn't always have people behind me. I had to be there for Nick but no one was there for me.

I received a card from a woman I babysit for and even thinking about it now makes me want to shed tears. She told me how she had a boyfriend when she was 15, who had a heart attack and died. I was taken aback by this information. She said how she knew it was different, but she knows how it feels to be young and to lose someone close.

Nick and I both started to write letters and kept a cancer diary to try let our feelings out. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. I think it was just one of those things to try and help in a small way.

Over the next few months, I travelled to and from Nick's. I stayed only briefly in hospital with him twice. I watched him in pain, unable to help. I watched him have food, from bags going into his veins as he was unable to swallow. I didn't recognise him at the train station the first time I saw him bald.

I know I helped though. When he was feeling down, I was a phone call away, even at 3 in the morning. I bought him a 500 piece puzzle to keep him busy (still thinks he hates me for that though!). I made him watch a film instead of day time TV while he was on high dose, just so he wouldn't become more irritable with everyone around him (he definitely hates me for that one). I convinced him to get a shower every day, just to give him a bit of a boost and something to aim for.

We had our own Christmas together and spent New Year’s with each other. It was lovely, and I began to forget that he had cancer except on his bad days.

I would tease him something chronic. I put an afro wig on him and drew on his eyebrows.
Stunning, don't you think? I put googly eyes on the back of his head and would pretend he was a bongo drum. Oh the laughs we had!

Before I started this post, I thought of so many different things to say. But when it's finally come to it, it's hard to recall. It has gone so quickly and I am grateful for the speed, even if it meant the end of what Nick and I had at the time. We have grown now, matured beyond our years in some ways. But tried to reclaim the year and a half plus of what we miss on the last of our childhood.

There are a few key things I would like everyone to remember. When you feel low, there is always someone worse off then you. If you get some illness or symptom then DON'T go on the internet (at one point I thought Nick had Osteosarcoma and thought he might have to have his leg amputated). Never think the worst. Medical science is rapidly evolving and a cure or an alternative might be just round the corner.

Thank you to everyone for taking the time to read my post today, but mainly a massive thank you to everyone who has read any of these blogs. I am constantly being told by Nick how happy he is with it and after having cancer, well I suppose you try and get anything to be happy for. But this is more than that. Thank you for putting a smile on my best friends face, each and every day.


  1. Hi Sarah - thanks for giving the girlfriend/wife/partner point of view.

    1. It was my pleasure! I just hope it helps someone else out there and that they know that I'm here if they want a chat as well as Nick :)

  2. Beautiful, Sarah. I know this wasn't easy to do..and that makes it even more awesome. I am fighting cancer too, and I know how much best close friends mean to me, specially now! It helps keep you going!

  3. Sarah, I know what you mean about the partner thing, and no I don't think you're being self fish. Years ago I had to be very supportive when my wife had constant misscarrages, and again everyone asked how she was and not one person asked how I was..they somehow failed to see that I had also lost our unborn child. But I know one thing without all that bad that happened to us,neither would be the people we are today, and we are much closer because of it and stronger! Thanks for being there for Nick x