People are nice…

Right then – day two of the blog, day four of the chemo cycle.

Still no major side effects – although my teeth feel a little bit loose. Not sure if that’s due to chemo or not going to a dentist since we first moved to Kent 5 years ago. With all the cancer stuff that’s happened over that time, fillings and whether I need my wisdom teeth out has never seemed that much of a priority. On the plus side, by staying away from a dentist for all that time I have maintained my record of not ever having any fillings (see, I told you this blog would also contain good news!).

So, to pick up where I left off yesterday, I wanted to write a little about the extraordinary generosity and support we have received over the last month from family, friends, colleagues, employers, and even complete strangers. We have been genuinely moved, surprised and humbled by the lengths that people have gone to on our behalf. And to know that all these people are out there, doing what they can for you, really provides a great boost to my motivation to beat this.

Our families have been amazing – driving me to hospital when I didn’t feel like the train, or babysitting Saskia while Sally and I go to hospital; helping us keep on top of the housework, filling our cupboards, taking Saskia off our hands to give us a break, paying hospital travel expenses, helping with DIY, offering us holidays, helping to whip the garden into shape for summer after a winter of neglect, and much, much more.

We have received countless cards and messages of support and hope from family and friends, as well as donations, gifts, prayers and masses said for our cause, distance Reiki performed, and yet more. People have been researching my illness on the internet, and sending us any relevant information that they find.

Friends have also been looking after Saskia while we go on hospital trips. We’ve been incredibly kindly given money to go on holiday, given loan of a flat in Faversham for our visitors to stay in, and had Tesco deliveries sent to our door, among other things.

My employers have signed me off work to concentrate on my treatment and family, and are being incredibly supportive and understanding.

Sally’s employers have, at very short notice, allowed her to extend her maternity period to the full year, and have offered to pay the last three months at the statutory maternity rate (usually unpaid). Her colleagues have been dropping round goody boxes of food, magazines, toiletries, etc, and even raising money for us – the company MD has given up smoking and is donating the money he saves; another colleague is catching the bus to work and donating petrol money saved; several others are doing a sponsored swim for us. The husband of another colleague (a professional driving instructor) is giving Sally driving lessons free of charge to get her back on the road. Plus we have a long list of volunteers for help around the house, babysitting, etc.

I even had a complete stranger on the train home from my first chemo session the other day give me a pep talk after overhearing that I had just been for treatment.

This outpouring of support in all its different forms has been incredible – it has been amazing to witness people pulling together to help us out. The warmth and support we have felt has shed an awful lot of light into what would otherwise be an incredibly dark time, and in no small part has helped us to pick ourselves up from the bad news and stay positive. And it has meant that thankfully we have not had to worry too much about the financial impact of our situation – which is a massive relief.

So this post is a massive, massive thank you to everyone for all you have done – the above is by no means an exhaustive list, and not intended as a list of credits. But you all know who you are – and you have our sincerest gratitude.


Filed under Battle with Melanoma

4 responses to “People are nice…

  1. Victoria Jack (the clue's in the email address)

    Hi Ben. Brilliant idea about the blog. Yours shall be the only blog I have ever and maybe will ever read as I’m not too much of a social media kinda gal but, for you mate, I shall read with interest and a huge sackful of positive vibes. I love the bit about the mind doing the body not a lot of good, I know I make myself sick with my negative thoughts sometimes so am practising the Eckhart Toll method of observing the thinker. You just have to realise when your mind is going off on one and witness what it does. I’ve found it pretty good as, as soon as I’ve witnessed it, I get a little wave of calm wash over me (hope you like the sea analogy as a surfy type!) no matter how calamity-focussed my thoughts were. Then concentrating on that little wave, just gives your body a break from the worrying. Take it easy Ben, I’ll be checking back in with you soon. Sending you loads of love and positive thinking xxxx PS Eckhart Toll – The Power of Now…great book. Hugs Vic xxxxxxxxx

  2. Hi Ben,
    Thank you so much for writing this blog. Your second one moved me to tears. I can really feel your humility and your gratitude in your words.
    Like Vic, this is the first blog I have ever been inspired to read. Keep writing!

    As a workmate of Sally, I want you to know how luscious it has been to watch everyone at work galvanize around the mission of supporting you and your family. It has changed the office forever. There is a team spirit like never before and a sense of how much good we can generate when we pool our resources. People have done amazing things in their efforts to contribute to your well-being. I am surrounded by giants ๐Ÿ™‚

    Apart from cooking healthy food which you don’t particularly enjoy because it has far too much green stuff in it (!), I feel my greatest gift to you is to work with and for you at the level of thought. It was encouraging to read that you had instant feedback from your body when your thoughts sunk into fear and defeat and that you made the connection between your thoughts and your physical reactions. YES!! I am right behind you as you endeavour to keep your thoughts tuned into a positive reality. I have found that I cannot say ‘Life is good’ when everything is telling me that it is crap, but I can always find something to be grateful for. Gratitude is a wonderful door-opener into a more positive frame of mind.

    So here is my spiritual perspective…..
    In the Mind of the Divine, the cancer is not real. It is nothing trying to become something. I wont deny that it looks and feels real at the level of your human experience but there is no essential truth in it. Disease has no universal laws to sustain it since the universe and everything in it functions after a pattern of Life and Wholeness. All that is real is your spiritual essence which is whole and perfect.
    I am busy tuning in to the spiritual reality of your being, which is birthless and deathless and cannot be hurt harmed or destroyed by a human concept called ‘cancer’. I affirm with and for your that every atom, cell, organ, tissue, muscle and bone of your being is functioning is accordance with a pattern of perfection. I know that, in Truth, you are fully alive, whole and free!

    I have faith that you can come out the other side of this experience, not because you fought the battle with cancer but because your choice to live automatically nullified any other options. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Blessed be.
    With much love and consistent thought in the direction of your greatest good,
    recovering reverend

  3. Justin

    Well you’ve done it now we are gona hassle you if this is not kept up to date…. actually not sure i wanted to leave a message but just want the updates and did not how to do it without! Thick me see! …. Oh phone cann’t write any more saved by the bell.

  4. Lynsey

    Thank you so much for taking the time to update us with your blogs Ben, we are all eager to learn about your progress and it is so reassuring to read your positive comments. I see that despite everything you have been going through, you haven’t lost your sense of humour! You’re an inspiration to us all!

    It was so moving to hear about all the wonderful things people have done to help and how it has given you an incredible amount of motivation.

    Like Steph said, there has been an amazing amount of team spirit around the office in our support for you, Sally and Saskia. You are always in our thoughts.

    Sending huge positive vibes your way.

    Lynsey xx

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