Ally McLaws shares an insight into his relationship with his wife Laura

22nd April 2021 16:00

"I can also thank my lucky stars that I have the love and care of Laura at my side in this difficult battle – there to organise drugs, inject me, protect me and comfort me in weak moments."

What a cruel twist of fate for my Laura

What a cruel twist of fate for my Laura

22nd April 2021


"I can also thank my lucky stars that I have the love and care of Laura at my side in this difficult battle – there to organise drugs, inject me, protect me and comfort me in weak moments."

 

These past few days have been like a slow-motion roller-coaster ride of emotions.

That my terminal lung diagnosis has developed into a terminal brain cancer diagnosis is no more than a detail of disease progression.

These past 18 months I’ve become a bit of a lay expert on lung surgery and chemotherapy.

Now I am getting my head around brain tumours and stereotactic radiosurgery.

Treatment now moves from the chemo ward of Crosshouse Hospital to the radiography specialists in The Beatson in Glasgow.

I find myself lying in a room with a hot plastic head mould forming tightly on my face. This will be used, alongside detailed MRI imaging scans, to ensure precision aiming of very large doses of radiation directly to the tumours.

This is all new to me - tragically not new to Laura though.

I was divorced and Laura a widow when we fell in love 12 years.

Laura had lost her husband Archie to cancer. Years later we were brought together and during our many long searching conversations in the wee-small hours of the morning, about life and love and history and intimate feelings I can remember her making me promise I’d never make her go through the grief she had gone through losing her Archie.

What a cruel twist of fate that this repeat hand of cancer should be dealt to her now.

It is easier for me to accept my cancer. I reflect that I have had a marvellous life with wonderful joy and happiness and family and career highlights that made my heart and pride soar.

I can also thank my lucky stars that I have the love and care of Laura at my side in this difficult battle – there to organise drugs, inject me, protect me and comfort me in weak moments.

But her heart is breaking. I catch her crying on the stairs. I hear her voice crack as she tries to stay strong. She’s having to relive something that no-one should have to live through even once… 

It’s so hard to talk out loud about our innermost emotional of thoughts to each other … the voice just won’t hold up. The eyes won’t behave. Instead, I put words down as I write these columns.

I write what I would find almost impossible to coherently say to her … and Laura proofreads it alone and I know she will cry. Then she suggests a few tweaks and flags up a typo before I send it to the editor. 

We are finding our own way to get through and out the other end. 

Emotional honesty is helping us get through this and continue to make more wonderful memories as we stumble along.

 

 


Ally McLaws is a journalist and former Director of Communications with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

His newspaper column “Living with cancer in a pandemic” is published weekly in The Herald on Sunday. Back copies of his columns can be read on his website (under the charity section) at www.mclawsconsultancy.com

Follow Ally on Twitter @allymclaws 

You can also read Ally's Beatson blog on Living with cancer in a pandemic, here

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