Martin and I had a row at the weekend - a real humdinger of one. Not so unusual you may think but in our case it is. We have hardly had a cross word for the past two and a half years.
We used to. Like most couples I guess over the space of 27 years we had our fair share of blazing rows. On the whole though we have always been a happy couple. But caring for and supporting each other seemed natural in normal circumstances. Everything changes when one partner is diagnosed with a terminal illness.
When this happens society expects the sufferer to move into sainthood mode, whilst the partner becomes a ministering angel. But of course the reality isn't like that.
The reality for Martin has been that shortly after retiring from 30 years service in the Police Force all our plans for the future had to change dramatically. The children were almost grown up and we were going to move to the coast, something Martin has always wanted to do. Now our lives are caught in the stranglehold of cancer treatment, unable to move house, unable to plan anything very far in advance. Now he has so much more to deal with - he works full time in a job he enjoys but which can be very stressful, he has had to take over certain jobs around the house which I'm not capable of doing any more, with my critical eye on him. And of course he worries about me constantly.
You never think about something like this when you get married. You think that you will be together for 40 or 50 years and then one of you will simply fade away. You can't imagine your relationship being ended in such a dramatic fashion.
So far we have coped with our, slightly warped at times, sense of humour. Trying to treat each hurdle I come up against as lightheartedly as possible. But it isn't easy. I'm very conscious of not being selfish or self absorbed, of trying to keep life as normal as possible under the circumstances, of being upbeat and positive (which can be irritating at times I know) and of making however long I have left as happy as I can for everyone.
I've never been angry about my illness. I've been through the stages of the cancer journey, some of them several times, but I've never felt anger. I don't think Martin does either but he gets very frustrated at times. He has never been one to show his emotions but in the past couple of years I've seen him cry - and it breaks my heart. We have talked about what life will be like without me - he plans to buy a Harley Davidson and ride across America (slightly pissed off because I would love to do that !) but when the time comes I know it is going to be so hard for him.
I have the easy part in this - his is far more difficult because he will have to carry on afterwards and cope with the fallout of my death with the children.
So I guess the odd row or two is inevitable - and healthy. He still feels able to shout at me, he's not treating me as an invalid who mustn't be upset. The very last thing I want is for him to feel resentment towards me because of the illness I've brought into our life which has turned it upside down.