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Michael’s positivity is an inspiration

When Michael Adams’ wife died of breast cancer, he was determined to celebrate’ the positives rather than wallowing in grief – so he started writing a blog. Now his positive approach to living without the love of his life is inspiring other people to cope with their grief. Here, Michael tells his story.


y wife, Helen, and I met in April 2006. Once we became an item there was no stopping us. We moved in together later that year

and got engaged in December. We married in July 2007 and our first baby was born a year later. We were happy, just starting our lives together, in love and life was perfect. Then in 2009 just a few days after our

daughter’s first birthday and three months pregnant with our second child, our lives were to change forever. Helen was diagnosed with breast cancer. Initially there were doubts about the pregnancy but, after some proactive work liaising with the right professionals, Helen underwent surgery and four bouts of chemotherapy before delivering our beautiful baby boy, Marley. Helen then went on to have four further, and much stronger, chemo treatments plus Herceptin and radiotherapy. The side effects of the treatment hit Helen hard and, what with a new baby and a toddler, I reduced my hours at work to part time to look after them all. Eighteen months went by while we started to rebuild our lives and bring up our two small

18 Farewell Magazine

children. We thought we had seen the last of cancer but we knew there was always that possibility that it would return. We knew how lucky we were to have our family and so we lived life to the fullest. Then at the end of 2011 the cancer did return - Helen had a small re-occurrence, which was dealt with by surgery. Oncologists and surgeons didn’t seem overly concerned. In April 2012 Helen had another biopsy, which

was found to be cancerous. Deciding to get to the bottom of these occurrences, and with the will to get the best treatment possible, we made a few trips to London to see one of the UK’s leading breast cancer specialists. After a number of scans the worst was to come - the cancer had spread to the lungs, bones, brain and liver. This then sparked off the biggest battle of all. Helen was treated with numerous types of chemotherapy in an attempt to shrink the cancer plus countless other treatments to help manage the side effects. The treatments were quite frankly barbaric and in themselves almost drew out the life from Helen. Her whole body changed and I was left to become her carer and counsellor as both the treatment and cancer

sapped her energy. I also had to somehow deal with my own thoughts and emotions as I watched parts of my wife slowly disappear. Towards the end I knew my wife’s fate and I

had to start the process of helping her come to terms with what was to come. I focused Helen on what she had achieved rather than what she was going to lose. All she ever wanted was to be a mum and have a happy family. Obviously losing that is hard, but she realised in the end that she had achieved what she had always wanted and that was better than not having it at all. Although initially the cancers did shrink and stabilise they became too aggressive and sadly on 1st March 2013 that horrible disease took her away from us. A terrible story, but there was a difference. We both had an amazing drive to ensure we still had a happy life. We knew we couldn’t control the cancer but we were not about to let it control how we lived our lives. We would not let it bring us down. Helen was a tower of strength through the whole journey and we both remained positive and optimistic throughout. Yes of course there were times of despair but we

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