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Meet Nigel.

Nigel is raising money for Tenovus Cancer Care, after receiving support from our Benefit Advisors when his wife Lynn was ill

What appeared to be sciatica, tragically turned out to be stage 4 lung cancer for Nigel’s beloved wife and devoted mum-of-four Lynn.

She passed away in November, just four months after diagnosis, and too late for treatment.

“Lynn was the love of my life, and I’m heartbroken,” said Nigel, 58, a window frame maker from Dolgellau.

“The consultant said the cancer was aggressive and dire. I could tell by his face she didn’t have long.

We could not understand it as there had been none of the usual symptoms of lung cancer, such as breathlessness and fatigue.

We were hoping for two more years together, but sadly it was just four months. It is still raw.”

Lynn, a domestic cleaner, had been suffering from what she thought was sciatica, a condition she didn’t feel serious enough to go to the doctor with. Then, last spring, she started to complain of numbness in her bottom.

“It just kept on getting worse, and in the end, I told her not to be silly and to see the doctor. That was in June last year.

Lynn had tests and the doctor said she had some kind of pulmonary muscle thing; I can’t remember the exact words and she was prescribed steroids.

We went home and thanked God it was all over, but then Lynn started to feel sick, and we went back to the doctor.

The doctor knew something was wrong immediately and referred Lynn to our local hospital for an X-ray. She had the X-ray one afternoon, and within a couple of hours the consultant called us back in.

They said they had found two lesions in Lynn’s body - one at the top and the other lower down.

Lynn asked then if it was cancer, and the doctor said he wasn’t going to lie, and that it might be. We left the surgery, we hugged, we cried, and we waited.”

A series of scans confirmed Lynn had cancer. She had a lesion in her right lung and a secondary lesion in her groin that had been pressing on the sciatic nerve, the cause of the numbness.

“They were the only symptoms Lynn had,” said Nigel.

There were no breathing difficulties, anything like that, and she was running around busy as a bee, like she normally did. Nothing else had changed.

First it was sciatica, then numbness in her bottom and out of nowhere stage 4 incurable lung cancer!

There was further heartache for Lynn when she waved a tearful goodbye to her youngest son Jack, 18, who was jetting off to the States just days later.

“Jack had got himself a football scholarship,” explained Nigel.

“We talked, and we wanted him to go. We told Jack he needed to do this. We all said he must follow his dream. He left on 29 July last year.

Lynn had managed to get herself downstairs to say goodbye, but her health had been deteriorating quickly.

Jack was in tears, and he said to his mum he was worried he might never see her again. Lynn gave him a hug, and replied, “Yes you will. I will be right here when you come home on 9 December for the Christmas break”.

That was one of the last times Lynn got out of bed. Thankfully, Jack made it home in time to see his mum before she passed away.

"Lynn saw his face and cried. It was like she had waited for him to come home so she could go in peace. By then Lynn had seen everybody and she knew the children were all home and okay.”

Nigel cared for Lynn at home the last few months of her life with the help of their eldest son James, 26, and the support of district nurses.

“When the consultant diagnosed Lynn there was so much to sort. I had to take over what she had always done, and it was hard.

I looked after her, she wanted to be at home, and I wasn’t letting her go anywhere. I fed her, I bathed her, and I washed her hair. Lynn would have done the same for me.

My eldest son, James, was my rock during that time. I don’t know what I would have done without his help. He is so knowledgeable and taught me how to do things I’d never done, such as send emails, that sort of thing.”

Nigel is receiving counselling to help him come to terms with the loss of his wife, the “love of his life,” and believes it is important to talk through the trauma of cancer.

“Lynn was a down-to-earth bubbly woman, and I didn’t realise how much she did until she had gone.

She spoke to everybody when we went on holiday, anywhere we went, and we had such a laugh. She was my soul mate.”

Nigel hopes his fundraiser will help raise awareness of the importance of checking out every symptom, however small, with the doctor.

Please go to the doctor if in doubt. I wish Lynn had gone sooner. Okay, it might not have changed the outcome, but it might have done, and that is the point. Your symptoms might not be cancer but, if they are, make everyday count. Just make happy memories.

Nigel took a work break to look after Lynn. The window solutions company he works for - REHAU based in Blaenau Ffestiniog - were supportive but the family had still lost an income.

“Nurses told us about Tenovus Cancer Care at Glan Clwyd Hospital. Benefits Advisors at the charity helped Lynn claim PIP (Personal Independence Payment). It took the pressure off, and the charity has been fantastic.”

Nigel is now looking forward to the walk to try and bring closure for his family.

“I had heart surgery in 2021 so unable to run the route, but it is a beautiful walk and if I can raise awareness of lung cancer to mark Lynn’s big birthday, and give something back, that will be amazing.

Having my boys beside me, my friends too, will be brilliant.

Jack is going back to the States later this year, to retake his college year, and I’m so proud of him. I am proud of all of them.

Lynn has two children from an earlier relationship – Kelly and Mark – and as a family we’ve all been through so much.

Hopefully, the walk will give us all some comfort and closure.”

If you have been moved by Nigel's story, please consider donating to Tenovus Cancer Care

If you or someone you love has been affected by cancer, our free Support Line is there for you. Just call 0808 808 1010