When Dreams are Shattered by a Cancer Diagnosis

Prior to my cancer diagnosis, me, my hubby and our boys loved to travel. We wanted to see as much of the world as we could. Taking every opportunity that came up, whether it was taking a short break to a European city or visiting some far flung place that most of our family had never heard of.

Planning our future

We married at a young age. I was 20 and my husband turned 22 on the day we married (he would never have an excuse to forget our wedding anniversary). We chose to have our family young, so that when they grew up we would still be young and fit enough to travel and to do the “things” that we wanted to do.

Over the years, we both worked exceptionally hard. I supported hubby while he undertook a degree, while he was still working full time and later on, he supported me while I set about creating my own career path.

Planning for our retirement

Our boys grew up, and we started making plans for our retirement. We would both be entitled to company pensions, and financially, we had prepared for our retirement as best we could.

We would spend many an evening discussing our plans for when we both retired. Travel always came back to the top of the list. We made our “bucket list” of where we would like to go and what we wanted to see.

The recurring UTIs

Our life was mapped out. We continued to work and everything was “normal”. Until I started to fall ill. I kept getting recurring UTIs, I had also identified blood in my urine, a lot of blood! I immediately called my Doctor who agreed to see me the same day. I went armed with my little pot of bright red “pee”. The Doctor said it looked like “a nice claret”, mmm my Doctor has a strange sense of humor. Anyway, she arranged for me to see a Urologist at our local Hospital as an “urgent referral”.

I spent the next several months being treated for UTI’s. The infections were persistent and had now become resistant to a number of the regularly prescribed antibiotics. I was now on long term, low dose antibiotics to try and keep the UTI’s at bay, and life carried on.

Exciting times ahead

An opportunity arose for hubby to take early retirement. Almost without hesitation, the decision for him to retire early was made. He had to give 12 months notice, but that gave us time to plan. Plan a list of all those countries we wanted to visit. To plan which “sights” we both wanted to see. To plan the next stage in our lives. The stage that we had planned pretty much all our married life for. It was an exciting time. Still in our fifties, we had time, time to do all those things we’d dreamed of doing.

Discovering I had cancer

However, my health was deteriorating, I lost my appetite, felt continually nauseous and weak, oh so weak. I was pretty much bed bound with the constant fatigue. I had lost 3 stones (42 pounds) in weight and hadn’t a clue as to why I was feeling like this. Then, just 5 months before hubby was due to retire, I went for a routine cystoscopy. It was during this procedure that I received that devastating news, that bitter blow that gets you in the pit of your stomach, “you have cancer”. My heart stopped, my head was whizzing as I saw on screen for the first time the large tumor inside of my bladder.

My plans, our plans, had, in just three small words “you have cancer”  been completely and utterly shattered.

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