Mills and I got married in June last year. Just before Christmas, we found out that she had Stage 3 bowel cancer. I’d just left the British Army where I’d served as a Captain in the Infantry for eight years. I had to delay starting my new job so I could care for Mills. This has given me a great insight into the first hand care of someone with cancer and all the complications that go with it.
1. It’s OK to not have a clue what to do at the start, you’ll work it out. Just being there, supporting your wife, will have more of an effect than you’ll understand.
2. It’s totally fine to feel; you’re human. Just because you’re a man doesn’t mean that it won’t get to you and when it does, it’s OK to break down (even if you do it behind a curtain).
3. It’s all about perspective. You’ll have days darker than you think you can deal with, but you WILL come out the other side. You’ll be stronger for it as a person and as a couple.
4. Take time for yourself: Go to the gym, to the cinema, to the pub or just go for a walk. It’s not selfish to need some you time. Make sure to keep yourself healthy; part of that is your own mental health. You’re no good to her, if you’re not good to go.
5. You aren’t alone. There are and will be, many more like you who have to do this. The situation isn’t a choice, but you can choose not to take it all on alone. Reach out, speak to someone and seek the answers to help you be the best support you can, not just for her, but for you as well.
You can follow Chris on Instagram, where he shares relief, aid, tips and tricks with other husbands, who like him, had absolutely NO IDEA what to do when told their wife has cancer.