My Dying Legacy Part 1

On the 11th of November, I went to the doctors to get my migraines and chesty cough finally get checked as I could no longer cope with the pain. I was told I had a lower chest infection, so, I understood it to mean I had bronchitis. I was prescribed some antibiotics and some migraleve (or something of the sort). On the Tuesday, I went to work and did a 14 hour shift. I had been working there for a month and I loved my post, to the point I considered to return to nursing.

However, an hour before my shift ended, I had a debilitating and blinding headache. I thought I was going to throw up. I was sent home. Two buses faced me before reaching my partner for solace and comfort. Boarding each bus just led me to slowly walk to a seat, where I crouched and leaned over two seats worth and held my head, trying not to throw up and cry out aloud.

I finally reached my final destination and some how I reached Tom’s parents place, where we were staying whilst we were looking for our own place, as we are homeless. I then managed to climb two sets of stairs and collapsed onto my thin cot mattress and unable to move, I tried to sleep in between coughing and holding my head. Morning came and my headache was cope-able but my cough was just as dreadful.

I walked to my doctors and I was sent to A&E. My children drove me and took me to A&E. After an x-ray, I was diagnosed with Pneumonia but something alarmed the doctors and the radiographer, I had a large round patch filling my lower right lung. Hence, I was admitted; given several more tests; pumped with some intravenous antibiotics and fluids. The next morning, I was consulted and asked how long I had my cough; headaches; bone pain; weight loss and my horsey throat. I sort of knew something was amiss.

I replied, I had my cough for several months but my cough began when I went over to live in France. It wasn’t long after I arrived in France, in fact it confused me as to why I started a cough. The reason I was confused was due to starting a terrible cough in the intense heat, in August 2017. The cough came and went, and I thought, “well, it is probably a smokers cough”. So being in France, I didn’t want to waste the little money we had on paying a doctor to be seen and wasting his time for having to tend to someone having the flue or something. Then, the cough seemed not to go away for very long at all. I would choke on my phlegm, it was terrible. 

I couldn’t find a job, so I began editing my book, in fact I totally revamped it. I originally wrote it so it began in 1978 and kept going back to certain events but it was dreadful. I certainly am no born writer. Hence, I began again from 1970 to 1978 (Perpetual Helix). It was hard work but I persevered. Then, my dearest Tom began taking ill and eventually lost his apprenticeship and we soon became destitute and luckily for us we didn’t hit poverty until October and in France, you can not be thrown out between October to March. God had given us a reprieve.

But Although Tom tried to get us both to feel positive, things were going down hill. His mental health was deteriorating and my health was too. My cough was horrendous and I thought I had bronchitis and left it at that as had no money for the doctors’ costs and worse still, my migraines began to become more of an intense experience. In May we received news of Tom’s pension. We received a lump sum and we planned to pay our bills and return to England, but catastrophe hit us.

Tom went ahead travelling to the UK to buy a van. We had it all planned, I would sell self published author books as well as publish mine and sell them on the market and Tom would begin his wooden cigarette holder business and deliver for Amazon. All was planned but it didn’t work out as planned, but still we attempted to pursue our endeavours. He went ahead to London to buy the van but one disaster hit another. I forced him to go to his parents. I needed him to seek help. 

His arrival plummeted his mental health. Yet somehow, he managed to return with a van and fetch me, our stuff and our wonderful dog, Bobbie ( how ever you spell his name, even though, I chose the name). The reason I kept forgetting how to spell his name is confusing to me, but on his passport he is named ‘Lost’, as he was an abandoned dog. Our precious Bobbie came with us but both to England but we were very ill. 

Tom got mental health help and was diagnosed with severe stress. So I delayed the doctors for me and we got a job on a campsite as a couple warden. It was hard work, but Tom’s mental health deteriorated and he totally broke down. We returned back to Chesterfield to visit his mother for her birthday on the 12th August. One look at him and she made him stop at theirs. Bobbie had to be passed on to my sister for her to kindly and wonderfully care for him. We were both devastated. My dog which I had for two most wonderful years had to be out of our care. 

My cough persisted and Tom’s mental health was declining, he finally accepted more help and I found a job, a good job. Although the job didn’t start until the 7th of October as I had to wait for my references and DBS. I even began doing volunteer talk for ‘Global Poetry tv‘ I was so proud, to finally speak of my favourite health topics. Of course not under my pseudonym but none the less, I was finally rising back up. I was determined to rise back up in style and get fit again. I bought cough syrup after cough syrup and sometimes the cough subsided. I was on my way back, joining back into normal society. I was working, meeting friends again. But the headaches intensified and I was soon on a daily dose of paracetamol and Ibuprofen and then from a daily dose to three then, four daily doses.

This leads us back to my being discharged from hospital with pneumonia awaiting for my fourth set of antibiotics ‘ 300mg Clarithromycin’ to be finished and once they were finished I was to have a CT scan on the 24th of November, to ascertain if the big patch on my lungs was to diminish and to query metastasis. Although the Big ‘C’ was suspected by the health professional, I still thought I would be told it was COPD and severe Migraines.

On the 21st of November, Tom’s mother argued with Tom, and as a consequence we were thrown out. As ill as I was, I packed two bags and we went for the bus, to my sons. I could barely walk, but somehow I did. I held my head as I coughed and coughed. I don’t know how we got to my sons but we did.  On the 23rd of November, it was my fourth child’s birthday, my second  daughter’s birthday, she turned 23 and I was so proud of her but I was too ill to celebrate her birthday and sent her a Facebook birthday card and wished her all the best but I felt I had cheated her again.

We were also invited at Tom’s nephew’s birthday for the following day. I knew I was too ill and wanted Tom to go but he declined as he wanted to be with me, especially being my CT scan day. Although I think his family thought I was exaggerating my illness. How can you not grasp that someone who is ill with pneumonia is suffering. But I was too ill to care and Tom went later to his mum’s and our thoughts of how they felt were confirmed, still we didn’t care.

On the Wednesday the 27th, I received a phone call from the MacMillan unit, requesting my presence for Thursday the 28th at 10:30. My gut feeling told me it was not COPD, but I still held on to the thought it was. I rang my children and all was arranged to take Tom and me to my dreaded appointment. The journey began with my youngest daughter picking us up and taking us to a cooked breakfast. Sharing our moments with my adorable 9 month old grandchild, who too joined in coughing spouts as she was diagnosed with bronchitis ( to which I often wondered if I had passed it on to her). My daughter and Tom were nervous but they held it in and made small chit chats and furthermore, it didn’t stop Tom eating well.

We finally reached the car park at the hospital but we had to sprint to the unit as there was a long queue at the car park. My daughter and granddaughter arrived seconds before the consultant called me through. I had already been weighed and had my normal sets of oxygen saturation, blood pressure and respiration count done. We entered the room where a tearful MacMillan nurse invited us in to sit and the consultant greeted us all. The happy chit chat had barely took off before he showed me my scan and asked again if I had the cough a long time, and so forth. I nodded, and replied ‘Yes’.

The diagnosis was;

Lung cancer Stage 4

all Lymph nodes were invaded and

Metastatic Brain cancer, my brain was plastered with tumours and some oedema on the tumours 

I shook, and stared at my daughter and Tom. Tears came flooding down her face and Tom was numb, it was then I knew I had heard what the consultant had said. Then he said, 

It is not curable.

That did not sink in. The rest is now history. I have been booked for a biopsy on Tuesday the 3rd of December at 14:30 and depending on the result, the chemotherapy will be given a dose to the point I will be given chemo for 12 weeks.

My Macmillan nurse, Gill, guided us to another room as I could not take any more in. I sat crying wondering when I could return to work, as sick pay was not going to find us a new home or get our Bobbie back. Then I wondered as to why it had to happen to me; to us. Then it dawned on me, “how do I tell my family”. We were all devastated. I was shocked and totally numb.

We returned home and we broke the news to the rest of my 5 children and Tom to his family. But things soon escalated and in shock, my children requested help on Facebook and the rest of the family found out that way, rather than me telling them. Adele, my youngest, being determined to give me a good end of life began to request donations and gifts towards our wedding. We have been engaged since the 19th October, 2016 and planned to marry in April 2017 but life didn’t work our way then. And by the end of that night she had gifts coming left right and centre. Donations began to flow in.

Then, at the back of my mind was my manuscript, I suddenly realised that I would not reap the knowledge of it being published but instead of giving up, I decided that I would leave it as my legacy towards my wonderful loved children; grandchildren; my dearest loving Tom and some of my family. So now I am on an endeavouring path to have my memoir published for Christmas.

 

 

thank-you

 

Gemma Dupont