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It is a little bit out of date as the NHS doesn't tend to have a WiFi connection in hospital and I can only post when I get home and posts take a while to write.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

Anthony.

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
Anthony.

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

Rocks

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

Friday, 5 September 2014

So, yesterday was talking about Day 0, today is logically the first day after Ruth died.  

There are many things that you say to your children that you don't want to; "Stop That!" probably being the number 1 offender.  However there is something that you never want to have to tell them and that is that their mother has died.  This was my task on the 21st June 2014.  I had been lent a book about Water Beetles and Dragonflies and this seemed to put it into a good context for me to help my kids understand. Isaac had stayed at his friends house overnight, so I went to pick him up and tell him.  His , reaction was that of total shock, then the tears.  Imogen too had stayed at a friends and she didn't come home until the afternoon.  I took her upstairs and seeing her face melt with the words that I was saying was, well, heartbreaking.

The next few days all seemed to blur into one.  All I can tell you is that the funeral was planned, financial affairs were started to be put into some sort of order (more about this at a later date) and life, well it just carried on.  Isaac went back to School on the Monday, then the Tuesday was his birthday.  Imogen & Hope went to the childminder as planned and then Imogen went to pre-school on the Wednesday.

Gradually the family migrated back westward, Martin first, then Jo and last but not least the fabulous Barbara.  I will talk about rocks of various types in my next post.  Until then, love to you all xx

Thursday, 4 September 2014

I have decided that the best thing that I can do, for myself and the children and in the memory of Ruth, my wife to carry on this page.  I intend to write about how the kids are doing more than me, but this opening post from me is about one day, Day 0.  Lots of love, Anthony.

Everyone says I am doing well.  I hope I am and gradually things are getting back together.  A thick skin and a great smile put the illusion on that all is under control.  Getting the call from my boss to ring the hospice that your wife needs me urgently is not the call anyone should get. Less than 24 hours earlier Ruth was fine, well chatty and apparently over the funny turn she'd had earlier that day. Emotions ran wild, I grabbed my bag and ran for the door stopped briefly on the way out to tell the deputy manager I had to go. In the car I rang my mother in law and told her to go. I rang my mum and told her to go, I was stuck at a level crossing just outside Bognor Regis.  I screamed and cried and screamed to Ruth not to leave me, the journey back seemed to take hours. I got there, straight down the corridor with nurses looking at me as if the worst thing had happened and into the room I burst.  Ruth lay there motionless, silent but breathing.  Relief.  Then the tears. I held her close, talking to her. My mum and mother in law were there too. Emotions filled the room. Hours passed, a few friends popped in which was really nice (thanks Rob, Lex, Francis and Nicola). Ruth's dad arrived, Ruth's sister arrived.  Then she opened her eyes. It was a eerie stare no pain but full of fear. She needn't have felt scared. Around 10:30pm Ruth fell asleep and my world fell apart.