About this Blog

This blog started as an online diary and place for me to rant about annoyances in my family.

However since July it has become a place for me to catalogue and express my views and opinions on the treatment I have recieved following the diagnosis of a potentially cancerous tumor in my bowel.

On 3rd August 2011 I was told that it was cancerous. In April 2012 I was given the all clear.

October 15th 2013 I was diagnosed with peritoneal disease and liver metastases. The cancer was back and this time it is inoperable.

It is a little bit out of date as the NHS doesn't tend to have a WiFi connection in hospital and I can only post when I get home and posts take a while to write.

It is NOT about individuals or the nursing profession. It is about some of the inadequacies in the system and the way the NHS is failing some people.

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Sunday, 11 January 2015

It's Guinness Time!

Well, they say that you have to wait for the best things in life, Guinness takes a long time to pour properly and I have learnt many fascinating things either whilst drinking the black stuff or talking about it.  For example, if there are bubbles on the inside of the glass once it has been poured, then the glass is not properly clean!

Right back onto task....apologies for the break in communication.  Some of you will be aware that things have taken a rather unexpected turn of events.  I have met someone.  Her name is Kathleen and she is a widow too, with 2 adorable kids and they all live over just outside of Bristol.

Whilst this isn't completely out of the blue, I must say that it was not something I was looking for however we have really hit it off over the last few months.

The kids met her and her kids for the first time during December and we then spent New Year at their house and have just got back from another trip westward.  Kathleen and her children have been over to the east twice too.  The distance will not be an issue as long as we choose to not make it so.

So now that is completely out in the open, I can now say that we did genuinely have an excellent Christmas break.

It all started off the weekend before with me taking Kathleen and all 5 of the kids on a pilgrimage to the Bluebell and a trip on a Santa Special; this is something very dear to my heart as I used to manage one of the 3 sets of trains running from a on-board hospitality point of view but in the change in family circumstances, this is something I had to give up this year.  Well we all had a lovely day.

Then fast forward to Xmas eve and again back to the Bluebell, this time I volunteered for the full day and on the last train, as per tradition, the kids joined me on the journey.  This time it was my 3 plus my Godson (Thomas) and my future Godson (William - yes, I have been asked to be a Godfather again which I am absolutely thrilled about!) with their parents, Rob & Vicky and my dear Mother.

Christmas day had been planned for a while but I had to fit a visit into Bristol at Kathleen's for a cuppa on the way past.  So it was presents at home, pile the kids into the car, drive to Kathleen's, then down to Barbara & Martins (Ruth's Parents) for Christmas Dinner.  Barbara (and her army of helpers) put on a great spread as always.  It was lovely to see so many people around the table (Me, Isaac, Imogen, Hope, Geraldine (my mum), Barbara, Martin, Jo (Ruth's Sister), Sharon (Ruth's other sister) and Jamie (Sharon's lovely husband).  Boxing day was a busy affair too, with the addition of another 4 (Phil - (Ruth's Brother) and his Wife Rebecca and their kids Alfie and Hattie).

Then, I popped to Bristol for a couple of days, back to Taunton for a couple of days and then took the kids to Bristol for 6 days over new year.

The kids are back at school, Isaac's reading is fabulous, Imogen is learning so fast it is impressive and Hope is starting to show an interest in the potty (at 19 months).  Isaac has really taken a shine to learning and this has been accelerated by using computer based learning software; the main one being called "Mathletics".  I think this software is great and have already told the school that it is great they are integrating learning in this way - they introduced Isaac to it; not me!

What else has happened?  Oh yes!  The School play!!  Isaac was a Snowflake, wearing a handcrafted outfit made by Ruby's Nan (Ruby being Isaac's best friend as School).  Imogen was one of the Mary's (Her class of approx 30 were Josephs, Mary's and Donkeys!).  Both were great and sung well.  Hope likes singing the title song "A Christmas Recipe" too.

So it is 11th January, there are toys everywhere, the house looks like a bomb has hit it and then an earthquake has followed through.  Looks like I will have to tidy up a bit tomorrow.

So to sign off, apologies again for the delay in writing but with so much happening the last 2 months it was more of a case of what to say and what not to say!  Being in a position that I can not say all, I have.

Love to you all and as always, feel free to drop me a message or come round for a coffee (that's something else that's changed; I now drink it black and no (yes, NO) sugar!

Anthony (Tony) "Daddy" Hayllar

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Just The One (you know you shouldn't do it.....)

The end of someone's life is a sad time and invariably leaves a big gap in the people remaining lives.  This is true for me too.  I am lucky that family and friends are supportive and continue to be so.  Through WAY (Widowed and Young) I am meeting new people all with their own stories of loss and it really puts life back into perspective.  I feel a lot of sadness for those who are struggling to come to terms with the loss of their loved one. 

However I need to be objective, I cannot change the past.  Ruth was my wife for 12 years who bore 3 lovely children who look like her (and unfortunately for them, like me too).  There are more progressive widows who I talk to a lot who have dealt with these demons and I find them the biggest source of strength and joy at the moment.

In 2 weeks time I will be heading upto Dudley to meet 89 of these more "fun loving" widows for a Christmas meal, disco and general chit chat.  I have been out for a meal as a group and also with a few people individually who have lost their partners and all of them want the same thing and that's the company of others.  I am smiling again now I have met like minded people who understand first hand what I have been through.

No one likes sitting at home alone in the evening drinking wine or beer.  I have proven to myself (and others) that I do not need the drink but I enjoy it - and for me there is a difference.  So the message in this rambling passage is grab a bottle of wine and pop around to any friend who is on their own this evening and have a chat.  They will appreciate the company.  (p.s. I have a thing for Red Wine, Cheese and Crackers!)

Night all.

Monday, 20 October 2014

A Bitter-sweet Symphony

A bit of a different post, apologies for the rant:

I must say that sometime I lack tact and talk over others.  This is at work and with friends.  It has been highlighted to me in my recent peer review feedback and is something that I am working on. Another thing I am working on is comments I make socially and on social media and the impact of those comments.  

I post a lot on Facebook, some are on how the kids are growing up, some are me just being me and a bit silly and others are requests for help with the challenge of looking after 3 kids on my own.  I have a life too.  Some people seem to think that I should be sat in the house every evening, even if the kids are asleep in their own beds.  

The "mums" have been great in helping me keep on Scouting.  Ruth would be distraught if I had of stopped it as she was when she had to stop Guiding due to her failing health.  Since September, 6 different people have helped me out on that front, thanks, Debbie, Nicola, Rob, Vicky, Emma & Lex.

I have joined a support group, again I see this as a positive thing.  All of the people I have met and spoken to via this have got kids, most work too.  The only time that like minded people can meet is therefore evenings and weekends.  To cover these, I have decided that I cannot use goodwill and am happily employing the services of a babysitter.  Unfortunately, someone has made the comment that they feel I should be staying at home with the kids.  Am I being unreasonable to ask to be out of the house 3 nights every fortnight for some stimulating adult company and conversation?  

I rely on MY mums (Geraldine & Barbara) a lot for support with childcare; which they do without any question.  Barbara (and Martin) are having the kids for the half term week.  This is giving me the opportunity to redo my bedroom, renewing furniture that is nearly 10 years old.  I am also getting the time to visit friends and go walking in Wales.  

I also got two things through the post today.  St Catherine's Hospice hold an annual remembrance service for loved ones in December, something I shall do with the kids.  The other was an email from MacMillan.  They are looking to become the charity of the year for Argos & Homebase's parent company Home Retail Group.  If you work for them, please vote and if you know anyone who does work for them, please mention it to them and make sure that they use their voice.

It is strange, I am sat here, 20 days since my last alcoholic drink and for the first time in 20 days I have not got the need to have a drink; please don't misunderstand this, I am not going sober all of the time!  I am looking forward to seeing friends on the 1st & 2nd November and having a beer (or two) with them.  

If anyone would like to donate to MacMillan they can do so (shameless plug coming) via my GoSober profile, or my good friend Rob Pullinger who suggested I did it!

Until next time.  Best of health and luck.


Friday, 10 October 2014

Que Sera, Sera!

Everyone deals with things in different ways.  Grief is no different.  People who know me will know I keep things close to my chest but have a reasonably soft, squidgy centre (and not just the belly).  Emotions can and will bubble to the surface and I will be the first to admit I have a bit of a short temper which is just a bit shorter than it used to be.  

I mentioned in my last post, some 3 weeks ago that I had joined a support group called WAY, which is for the Widowed and Young.  Now this cuts out a massive part of society who are dealing with grief and loss, those who were 'just' boyfriend and girlfriend for a start.  I have a friend who falls into this section and they are just over a year since they lost their partner and finding it hard going for various reasons which are not mine to tell.

But there are some incredible people I have met online through this group, two of whom I have been fortunate enough to meet in person.  The first is a tenacious young lady who tragically lost their husband whilst they were pregnant and they have a strong mindset of not letting the world beat them.  The other lady is just over 2 years down the long road.  They're dealing with it in their own way; and to be honest that is the only way that I can deal with it too.

However I am not the only one to have suffered from Ruth's death.  There is her family, who to celebrate her birthday have released balloons, a really touching thing to do.  Then there are her (and my) 3 children.  Hope will not remember a thing unfortunately but at the moment that is also making things easier.  But with Isaac and Imogen (Imogen  more) you can see that they are missing her.  To this end I sat down with them at the end of last week and they asked to see a councillor.  I was in town, about to pop into St Catherines to arrange it and then the school rang.  "Hello Mr Hayllar, don't worry...."  Shit.  What's happened now? I thought, but "We have a vacancy with our play therapist and will have another coming up soon, would you be interested in Isaac & Imogen attending?"  So the intention is that Imogen will start now, Isaac when they can get him in.  

That brings me onto "Moving On".  Over the last few weeks, I have had a turbulent personal life but one thing has become clear.  You don't move on.  You accept the premis that you're alive and need to carry on living.  Does this mean you can't love again?  No it doesn't.  No two people are the same and you cannot compare them either.  But there needs to be an understanding that the past is there but it is that.  The past.  The future for me, who knows but one thing is certain Ruth lives on in her children and I cannot take that away from them.  Never.

I was also asked when I was going to change my Facebook status, which I have by the way, I am a Widower on Facebook but it is hidden so I have no status to the outside world.  I was also asked about my wedding ring.  That is staying firmly on my finger.  Technically I am no longer married but it is a part of me and I feel complete wearing it.  

So to end, to use the words of the mighty Doris Day, 

"Que Sera, Sera
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours, to see
Que Sera, Sera
What will be, will be"
Good night and sleep tight. xx

Thursday, 11 September 2014

WILL Power!

Since 1997, my finances have been a little bit on the ropey side.  This was worsened when I met Ruth in 1998.  Spending increased and to be fair so did income; but at the same rate!  We lived reasonably comfortably in Newcastle after our student days and also when we moved down to Sussex too.  There was enough money for everything we needed but nothing left over for a rainy day.  

This was the same until the turn of this year.  Ruth became entitled to higher amounts of benefits and for once we had more coming in than we could spend.  I am in the process of tweaking the income and expenses so that we do not have to go without and there is money available for the kids to enjoy being kids.

But essentially this is all background noise, the main thing I want to put out there is around the finances of death.  Not a great or gripping read (or write) I must say but all the same, we are all going to die!

So what can you do to make life easier for those who are left behind?

1. Make a will - Seriously, make a will, I am in the process of doing mine now it's cost £120 via my bank but will save a lot of time and effort when the time comes to execute it.
2. Put as much into joint names as possible - this means that it automatically goes to your partner in the event of the worst happening.  Fortunately for us, nearly everything was in joint names!
3. Even put the kids accounts into joint names! - Halifax forced me to close the kids accounts and wanted me to bring in their ID again to reopen them!  Doubtless to say, I closed them, then moved them to another more(?) caring(??) bank!
4. Make a list of your financial holdings - obscure bank accounts, online shopping accounts, anything that has a value - makes it easier to track it down.  Also a list of passwords for your digital life will make life easier for those you leave behind.  Ruth had the foresight to email me a list of passwords when she moved into the hospice.
5.  Did I say, MAKE A WILL????

The benefits system is great in this country but they don't come to you, you need to approach them and tell them what has happened.  The only time they come to you is if you or your former partner owes them money!  Again people like the hospice and MacMillan are very supportive but you need to ask.  With all of the offers of help you get at this vulnerable time, what you really need is specific offers of help and not just the generic ones.  

I have joined a support group whom I will eventually meet up with others like me through but there is a very good list on there of things to say and not to say to a widow!  

This leads quite nicely onto the next section in this little story, coping with / dealing with and moving on.  Until then. MAKE A WILL!!!

Sunday, 7 September 2014


I love rocks, I studied Geology at college and since then they have amazed me in the different textures and types there are that form our world.  Interestingly as I write this there has been a fascinating bit on Countryfile about the canals in the Midlands through the limestone quarries and caves, stunning and something I would love to see sometime.

Then you have the "human" rocks, the ones that have helped me to re-start my families lives.  Please do not feel offended if you are not on this list!

Joanne - My sister in law, someone who has been totally selfless in helping me with the initial bits of the funeral, for being there at the end, for coming to the pub with me and being exceptional with the kids.

Mum B - Putting her life on hold to come over and help with family life from the start of June until September.  Only today has she had the burden of the 3 kids lifted from her shoulders.  One thing is for sure, I would not have had to confidence or drive to clear as much of the house so quickly without her help and support.  I hope you have a lovely week in Blackpool x.

Martin, Phil, Becky & Jamie - For being there throughout this whole ordeal, for helping with the kids all summer and being genuinely nice guys and gals.

Sharon - For organising a lovely afternoon in Taunton for the "Western connection" towards the end of August, a fitting afternoon and possibly the first time ever I have chain drank cups of coffee (Thanks to Pauline & Sandra for lining the drinks up!).

Mum H - For your continuing support and offer to help with the kids on a daily basis going forward.

The School Mums - I would love to name you all, but for my own safety and not missing anyone out I am not going to! - Accepting me and talking to me and making me feel welcome in the playground, it is not just the kids who are intimidated by all the people in the morning - many many lovely ladies and ever so nice :)

The "Camden" Crew, the ones who helped plan and lay on a wonderful send off for Ruth in Crawley after the funeral.  The amount of personal effort that went into that is a testament to all of you and made it a special day.

I was asked if I was seeing a councillor by someone recently, to which I said, "Well yes and no".  You see I talk in the real world about what's happening in my life.  Since being back at work; I have done 6 weeks now, I probably have discussed my situation with 50 odd managers.  All are great listeners and some provide some excellent advice.  

Today is also a very poignant day too, as it was this day 12 years ago that myself and Ruth said "I do".  

So until next time when I will rant about finances, love to you all xxx