Tess has asked me (Alan) to continue with her blog for now, as her condition weakens.
It was on 25 September 2010 that Tess went into hospital suffering from breathlessness. She underwent a number of tests and they took a sample of fluid from her chest cavity. She came home the next day.
The following week we went back for the results of the tests - and got the awful news that Tess had terminal cancer. Mesothelioma was a complete unknown to us then, but gradually over the next few weeks and months we discovered so much about this terrible asbestos-related disease of the lining of the lung. Life-expectancy was usually a few months or one, possibly two years if you were lucky. Very few lived any longer.
Tess has fought several battles over the four years since diagnosis. The chemotherapy worked well for some time to shrink the cancer, but it takes its own toll on the body. Surgery was also very effective in keeping the fluid in the chest (produced by the cancer) under control. This was so helpful in dealing with breathlessness and other symptoms.
Despite the wonderful support of family and friends, and the combined efforts of all the all the medical teams, Tess's condition is deteriorating. The cancer is growing and more painful, she continues to lose weight, and we are gradually losing the war.
We now have a care team commissioned by the Health Service to assist me in looking after Tess, rather than the Hospice carers (which was always only on a temporary basis). So far, the girls are very good and gentle with Tess as they provide for her needs. The Hospice team are wonderful at providing palliative care on demand, with the support of our GP and district nurses.
Thank you once again for your kind support, good wishes and prayers.