It was about 5pm on Friday evening in late October. I was in my classroom alone; the headteacher, deputy headteacher and caretaker were the only other people in school, as we had just broken up for half-term. It was dark outside but I had all the lights on in the room, and I had just finished my English marking and was preparing to cut out some letters for display when my phone rang. Glancing at the screen, I saw my mum's mobile number and answered it with a smile.
The smile quickly faded as she told me news I'd never expected to hear; dad had bowel cancer. I found out exactly what had happened, where they were and when I could see them and then hung up. I packed my cutting out away, took the books back to my cupboard and as I opened the door and was temporarily hidden from the world, I burst into tears and sobbed hysterically. At some point, I managed to phone my husband and he came and retrieved me from the cupboard where I was still hiding, tears pouring down my face.
That was five years ago and he is in remission from that cancer, although last year he had an operation for liver cancer which he had successful surgery for, and is in remission from that too.
I was so shocked by the diagnosis because he is not the parent that I'd expected to hear this news about; having lost every adult in my mother's family to some form of cancer, it was her that I had steeled myself for. Not the hulking man who is my father. Luckily, it was caught early and thanks to the wonderful treatment he received in our local hospital, he was out within a month. The nurses and doctors on his ward were amazing and dealt with everything, even the consultant would roll up his sleeves and muck in. None of us could ever say or do enough to thank them, but I hope they know how much their care was appreciated.
For my father we luckily never needed the help of the wonderful bunch of nurses who had previously nursed, cared for and provided advice during my nan's illness. Macmillan nurses do an amazing job caring for those suffering from cancer and their families, giving practical, medical and financial support.
For those who they help, there are not enough words to thank them.
This is a sponsored post. I have donated half of my fee to Macmillan to help them continue to do their work.