Hi, my name is Carol Malpas. I married my lovely husband, Joe, on his 25th birthday in 1974. Throughout the years we had our ups and downs, as all couples do, but we happily raised three wonderful children who have brought us great joy, extra special partners and four beautiful grandchildren.
Joe developed a slight cough, one day, while he was at the gym with our two sons, he coughed up some blood. The boys were quite shocked and told him in no uncertain terms to make an urgent appointment with our GP, which he did. He was sent to the local hospital for a chest X-ray, the results of which showed he had a large tumour in his left lung. It appeared that not only did Joe have a large tumour, there was another smaller one in the lung and the cancer looked as if it had spread into his adrenal gland. On 9th August 2012 we received the devastating diagnosis of lung cancer.
Joe had started to have really bad headaches and we had to take him to A&E where they requested a CT scan, the results showed the cancer had spread to his brain. We met with the oncologist and the prognosis was that he had possibly six months left. Never in our years together had we imagined receiving such news and we were stunned, to say the least.
We were invited to Beechwood for an assessment for the patient and carer programme they provide. We had never heard of Beechwood and weren’t quite sure if it would be our ‘thing’. We had the idea that it would be all doom and gloom and people sitting around talking about their illnesses all the time. We never dreamed we would meet such fabulous people, including the other patients on the programme. It helped to reinforce our positive mental attitude! We were welcomed into the lovely environment that is Beechwood, chatted to our individual counsellors and were amazed at how different it was from our imagination. Joe was invited for the 8 week patient programme and I was able to meet with my own counsellor and enjoy the complementary therapies offered there.
There was a ray of hope with the birth of our darling twin grandsons who were lucky enough to meet their Grampy, even though it was only for 10 days. Beechwood are also caring for our daughter with counselling, and helping her to come to terms with the loss of her beloved dad, whilst at the same time coping with the joy of her beautiful babies.
Sadly Joe only got to attend the first day of his programme, he was in hospital for the second week, too poorly for the third and by the fourth week he had grown his angel wings and, I hope, gone on to a better place free from pain. I was in shock, but I have continued to attend my counselling sessions at Beechwood where I can ask questions, tell them my innermost thoughts and deal with all the doubts and fears.
Ideally, we would never have had to have this experience but the world is far from ideal. However, I thank my darling husband every day for leaving me in the care, not only of our wonderful family, but of all the amazing staff and volunteers at Beechwood, who work tirelessly to raise funds and do everything they can to help and care for people touched by this evil disease.