I LOST MY WIFE TO THIS ILLNESS 15 YEARS AGO, NOTHING CAN HURT MORE THAN THAT
RETIRED company director Martin Waring, 63, is a widower and lives in the Wirral with his children Jack, 26, and Jasmine, 22. IF I have cancer then I want to know about it as soon as possible to increase my chance of making a full recovery. Fifteen years ago I lost my wife Alison to the disease. I had to tell the kids, then aged seven and 11, who were sat on the sofa, ready for school in their uniforms, that their mum had died.
We knew it was coming but even so, nothing in my life will ever be as hard as that. Alison was only 47 and died of a mass — a cancer in her stomach — 18 months after first being diagnosed with myelofibrosis, a form of blood cancer.
She went to see her GP about aches up her arms and around her body and was initially told it was hormonal. But it got no better and eventually — about 12 months later — we saw a haematologist who did bone marrow biopsies and diagnosed her, and things went very fast.
The experience has changed me in a thousand ways. I had the responsibility of the kids so I suddenly became very focused on preserving my health.
Overnight I stopped riding motorbikes — something I’d loved doing for years — because I was scared of having an accident. I’d never been a big boozer but I cut that out and started eating healthily — and tried going to the gym, although I had less success with that.
I also went for private wellbeing checks every year.
Although the kids are bigger and able to look after themselves, now I have a real sense that I don’t want what’s left of my life taken away prematurely.
That’s why I want this test. I volunteered just over a week ago after hearing about it through a family member of a friend who works at the Clatterbridge Hospital near me. I had to answer basic questions such as my age and if I was being investigated for cancer, and within a week I had a letter to say that I was one of the lucky ones to get it.
I was due to have the test yesterday but it’s been delayed. I won’t be sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for the results — having lost my wife, nothing will ever hurt me more than that so I don’t fear bad news.
None of the doctors could ever explain why Alison developed cancer — it was just bad luck.
So although I’ve done what I can to look after myself, I know that these things happen.
I have a feeling Alison would want me to have this test — my daughter has been very supportive of me having it.
My attitude is that to be forewarned is to be forearmed — and this test will help me be that.