First and foremost, thank you for having a look at my blog. My name is Richard Bingham, I am currently 40 years old and I am married to my wonderful wife, Bekky.
We live in a small cottage with our beautiful and ever faithful dog Lola, on a farm overlooking the sea in rural East Sussex . I am an estate agent when I am able to work, and Bekky is a professional ceramicist and art teacher.
In April 2016, I was diagnosed with Sigmoid Cancer of the Colon with Liver and Lung Metastasis. This is a blog charting our journey so far.
I'm writing it for various reasons – primarily it is a kind of diary over which Bekky and I can look back further down the road; but it is also a means to keep busy during my period of treatment; and I suppose I am writing it for cathartic reasons too.
I also feel it is essential to try to get across the impact cancer has on those nearest to you - in my case my friends and family but mostly my amazing, supportive, loving, caring wife. Despite having her own problems, she has remained steadfast by my side from the moment I was diagnosed and her support has been invaluable. But more than that, she too has suffered profoundly in the hands of cancer.
Many people use the adjective "roller coaster" to describe a journey such as the one we have been on. I don't believe this goes far enough. And a roller coaster can be fun. This has been the opposite. This is like being kidnapped, stuffed in the boot of a car and driven miles and miles at high speed across ploughed fields while trying to extinguish a fire that has already consumed your trousers.
It has been intense, terrifying, life-altering, both mentally and physically scarring, and while not suffering from cancer, Bekky has suffered immensely with me. I hope to be able to shed more light on this as the blog unfolds.
Why “The Next Corner”, I hear you ask. Well, if it isn't immediately obvious, it's because we never know what’s around it – if you had told me a week prior to my diagnosis that I would be in this position now, I would never have believed you. And, perhaps more importantly, cancer is still something of an unknown, filled with vagueness and we do not know what is around the Next Corner, the one we are travelling towards right now. Will the treatments work? Will I recover? How long do I realistically have on this planet? There are, unfortunately, more unknowns than there are knowns. Indeed, we can’t know until we have actually gone around that Next Corner. So this is all about the Next Corner, towards which we are continually hurtling at high speed.
More importantly than revelling in the glory of coming up with a profound, meaningful and enormously clever title for my ramblings, we have been genuinely overwhelmed by the number of calls, cards, texts, emails, Facebook messages and Whatsapp messages we have received since my diagnosis, not to mention books, parcels, jigsaw postcards (brilliant!), flowers, biscuits, cakes, food drops, and so on . Thank you all SO, SO much. It boggles our tiny little minds how many people care and want to know what is going on. As I have said to a number of you, it puts an entirely new spin on the word “support” which I had never before considered.
Being diagnosed with cancer leaves your head spinning and has turned my and Bekky's world completely upside down. Added to which, not knowing if it’s all going to be OK inevitably opens up a yawning, black void beneath us. We were initially very confident but more recently my oncologist has upgraded her prognosis to "it's unlikely to be erradicated"...but it is the support of others - friends, family, acquaintances and even complete strangers - that actually feels as though it is holding us from dropping into that yawning, black void. It is a vital element in keeping positive, and both Bekky and I are eternally grateful to you all.
Thanks for reading this far though - and thank you again for your concern and support. It is truly invaluable.
Big love to you all,
R & B xx