Through the second period of cancer my personality changed, I think that’s quite an interesting one. I turned from a sort of happy outgoing kind of person to a sort of introspective, unhappy, certainly very angry - and this is only in retrospect now, I mean at the time I didn’t know it but, you know - I was really angry at this intrusion into, you know, my life, I think. And, you know, this had a detrimental effect on my marriage and all the people around me. And I found, you know, I was impossible to talk to, I wouldn’t listen to, you know, people saying that, you know, “Oh you’re changing”, or, “You’re not the person you used to be”, or, “You need to go and seek some help about your anger”, or, “This is affecting, you know, your relationships with your wife or children or your friends”, or, you know, “I don’t like the kind of person you’re turning into”. And certainly it was, you know, I wasn’t available to listen to this kind of stuff, even from professionals.
And people around me who, me having cancer affected them as much as it affected me, well of course at the time, you know, I never really, I couldn’t see it, you can only see the problem you’re going through. And this definitely affected all the people who were around me and who wanted me to get better and who cared for me. And I could’ve handled that much better if there’d been somewhere, someone there who I’d have been able to talk to. I couldn’t really talk to my consultant because, you know, he was dealing with, you know, another twenty people at the time and I considered myself to be a strong enough person. You know, I think of myself as a coper, you know, I can cope with anything but, you know, looking back obviously I coped quite badly with what I went through.
And through, once the second set of treatments had finished, the anger that I felt through that process, that carried on for a number of years and I think, you know, my personality changed and it was definitely a detrimental effect on my relationship with my wife and my son, you know. I’m not particularly pleased about the way I was during that my period, especially as my son was so young.
Were you ever offered any kind of counselling or anything to deal with your feelings?
Yes I was offered, well I was told where counselling was available. My wife independently went off to see the consultant and a cancer charity to talk about the problems that we were having through the process and after the process. I mean the fact that once the treatment finished and I was okay and then it never came back again for years afterwards, I mean I was never the same person, and I think I only got back to being the person I was before personality-wise maybe five or six or seven years after the event, by which time it was too late for, things had been said and done which couldn’t be unsaid and undone.
And if I’d been offered counseling, or if I’d gone for it, I think I was a little bit too proud to go for counselling as well, which was a mistake obviously. But if it had been more readily available or more strongly advised to me and I’d gone for it then maybe some of the things that were said and done wouldn’t have been said and done and maybe things would have turned out better after the event.
So it ended in the break-up of your marriage in the end, didn’t it?
Yes it ended up in the break-up of my marriage, and I have to say that my, I mean my ex-wife through the whole process, you know, she was fantastic, it wasn’t her fault. But cancer affects everybody, it just do