As my husband Jeremy, 48, chased our two girls around the pool, pretending to be a shark, they giggled as he caught them and threw them up into the air. It was December 2017 and Jeremy and I were enjoying life in Dubai, where we’d lived for the past 10 years.
While our family and friends in the UK were enjoying a wintry Christmas, we loved spending the festivities in our home in the sun.
I was a freelance journalist and Jeremy was in the insurance industry. Although his job was high-pressured, our daughters Charlotte, then 11, and Emily, nine, and I were his priority. Every day, he made sure he was back for dinner, and read to the girls before tucking them into bed. And we always made Christmas extra special by having a champagne breakfast, with orange juice for the girls.
We’d been together for 28 years, after meeting at university, and were still as madly in love as we’d been at the start.
But one evening, two weeks before Christmas, Jeremy came back from playing golf in agony. His back had been playing up for a year, but now it was getting worse.
He went to see his doctor and three months later, the results were back. Jeremy had multiple myeloma, a rare type of blood cancer, which accounts for just 2% of all cancers. We both went into shock. ‘This can’t be happening,’ I sobbed. We were distraught, but we both adopted a positive attitude. ‘Let’s fight this,’ we agreed.
After researching the condition, though, I was devastated to read this type of cancer rips through patients’ bones, creating untold pain, and while it can be treated with a limited number of drugs, there was no cure.
Suddenly, I realised this was going to be a long battle with only one outcome – Jeremy was going to die.
I couldn’t fathom a life without him and the thought of the girls growing up without their dad was awful. But I didn’t want to frighten or worry Jeremy, plus I had to stay strong for the girls, so I put on a brave face.
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