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Personality and outlook on life

From Neville Peter Arnold

I think how to cope with cancer is up to the sufferers personality and outlook on life. We are all different. I have had cancer twice. The first time was 2001 and I was told on Christmas Eve! I had non Hodgkin's Lymphoma (NHL) of the aggressive strain. I just presumed from being told that I would beat it and had 18 weeks of chemotherapy and 40 days of radiotherapy. It was not as bad as I thought it would be but as I have said, we are all different.

The second lot of cancer I was told I had was cancer of the tongue. Once again I presumed I would come out on top. Well I am now OK, but it was a grueling time. I had a 10 hour operation just to mention one thing. I was fairly weak after it all for about a year. About 3 weeks after I was told of my tongue cancer, my wife was told she had lung cancer (non smoker). That was at the end of March 2008, so we were both told we had cancer within weeks of each other.

My wife sadly died on 16th November that year. I was able to look after my wife Fay until the very last few weeks but I still feel terrible guilt that she died and I am still here. I am a smoker and Fay was always telling me to stop. Having to look after Fay took my mind off my own physical problems and I can see now that I would have had a harder time.

So it was a case of help someone else to help yourself. I think that is the message to all adult cancer sufferers - do for others to take your mind off yourself.

My first oncologist said to me that many people get cancer but more live on than die. I watched my wife Fay make it as easy as she could for our children and our grandchildren and her brothers and sisters. And all and I knew she was doing it for herself as well. God bless her.

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Updated: 5 October 2011