Carer Story: Terry Lown
Terry Lown describes the shock of discovering that his new wife Penny had pancreatic cancer and how it has affected both her and their families lives.
My wife Penny was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer five years ago. We had just got married and celebrated her 50th birthday in New York. The diagnosis was devastating as it was terminal. We clung to each other and together as a family whilst Penny endured a year of unpleasant treatment which was hard for all of us. It was especially hard to watch Penny deal with all the side effects she had to cope with alongside the inevitable depression and anxiety which we also had. We were all ‘at sea’ as the disease ran its course. I felt helpless and sad and wished many times it was me not her. Penny’s disease, against the odds became operable and she has managed to get herself fit and well. Her original attitude to fitness helped and after she recovered from the surgery she completed her yoga teacher training.
Pancreatic cancer is still with us as Penny waits out the remaining years of a 10 year remission period. She does have ongoing health issues such as diabetes and gastric problems but she manages it with minimal help from health professionals. Survival is rare so it can be a lonely for her and she has become more inward as she self preserves. We keep talking and help each other. I have a close family and good friends who have supported both of us. The help and support she has received from PCA has been invaluable and Penny has used her experience to raise awareness and help others cope. The disease has changed our lives. We live in a new version of what we had expected. A simpler life, we now live by the sea and are looking to the future. We have friends and family coming to stay and love our beach and coastal walks with our dog Stanley. We take each day and never look too far ahead. I went with her to an annual check up at the hospital yesterday and all is well.