Cancer Poverty: The financial burden of metastatic breast cancer… Emma’s Story

As a partner of someone with metastatic cancer, it can be very difficult to know what the right amount of paid work is to do. Sometimes it feels like I could work a full-time job but other times like one day a week would be too much with all the caring and support needed.  

The problem is jobs and benefits don’t usually work in such flexible ways. Therefore, it leaves me sometimes feeling lazy when I could work more and like I’m being neglectful when I work too much. It’s a very difficult balance to strike and it changes continually with each line of treatment and how my wife’s health is changing. 

During covid the decision was taken away from me, but since then it’s very difficult. The balance we’ve struck is me working one day a week. It’s a good balance and helps top up the benefits. Yet I still feel left out of the regular work world. Friends talk about new jobs, promotions and other changes but I just pop in, do a day and know that’s it for now. 

Even moaning about it makes me feel guilty. When I worked full-time this was just what I wanted but now I’ve been in this situation for years, it feels very different. It’s as if there’s a world happening over there and me not being involved. Yet at the same time, knowing that working more is the last thing my partner needs when she’s not feeling great, can’t drive or even get out of bed. 

Therefore, the situation is what it is. And I need to accept this somewhat in between feeling. I know my one day a week is the best decision, but it still gives me that mixed feeling.  

I know it seems minor compared to my wife’s situation but that then makes the moaning about it seem worse. What a loop! 

Anyway, I hope this helps other partners who I imagine go through the same torn dilemma when it comes to how much work to do. 

Nick Haines Husband & carer to Tassia – Nick cycled the whole length of Wales 310 miles in one day for the 31 women that die every day.