Widowed AF

#87 - Dan Frost

December 18, 2023 Rosie Gill-Moss Season 1 Episode 87
#87 - Dan Frost
Widowed AF
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Widowed AF
#87 - Dan Frost
Dec 18, 2023 Season 1 Episode 87
Rosie Gill-Moss

In this episode, Dan Frost talks to Rosie about devastating loss of his wife, Lisa, to cancer. He shares the profound impact her illness had on their family and the unique challenges he now faces as a widowed male parent.

Hosted by Rosie Gill-Moss, this conversation explores the search for meaning and support in the face of unimaginable pain. Dan's open and honest storytelling serves as an inspiration to anyone who has experienced loss and is in the process of rebuilding their life.

Dan is convinced by the power of running for mental health, and it gives him a way to fundraise in Lisa's memory, keeping that all important legacy alive. Rosie may or may not have mentioned her marathon 😉.

As the episode comes to a close, Dan leaves listeners with a powerful message of hope and encouragement, reminding them that they are not alone. His strength and determination are evident as he shares the highs and lows of his journey, offering hope to those In the eye of the storm.



Web: (https://www.widowedaf.com)
Instagram (@widowed_af)
Watch on (YouTube)

Don't forget to subscribe !

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, Dan Frost talks to Rosie about devastating loss of his wife, Lisa, to cancer. He shares the profound impact her illness had on their family and the unique challenges he now faces as a widowed male parent.

Hosted by Rosie Gill-Moss, this conversation explores the search for meaning and support in the face of unimaginable pain. Dan's open and honest storytelling serves as an inspiration to anyone who has experienced loss and is in the process of rebuilding their life.

Dan is convinced by the power of running for mental health, and it gives him a way to fundraise in Lisa's memory, keeping that all important legacy alive. Rosie may or may not have mentioned her marathon 😉.

As the episode comes to a close, Dan leaves listeners with a powerful message of hope and encouragement, reminding them that they are not alone. His strength and determination are evident as he shares the highs and lows of his journey, offering hope to those In the eye of the storm.



Web: (https://www.widowedaf.com)
Instagram (@widowed_af)
Watch on (YouTube)

Don't forget to subscribe !

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Welcome back to Widowed AF. You're here with your host, Rosie Gilmoss, and joining me is Dan Frost. Hello, Dan. Welcome to the podcast.

Dan Frost:

for inviting me on.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

wow. I'm so pleased to finally speak to you because, um, you've been a follower of the show from the beginning, haven't you? And you've, you've commented and messaged and you, and I know you and John have had some dialogue and it just feels, I don't know, you sort of feel part of the WAF family. So it's nice to be sitting.

Dan Frost:

Yeah, it's nice to get here and um, get a chance to talk to you both. Um, it's been really interesting following.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

you and John had a little bit of a bloke chat before we came on air, didn't you? Which was sweet. Cause I was obviously fannying around until the last minute, screeching in five minutes before record time. That's, that's how things roll here.

Dan Frost:

was good to chat to him. It was really good. Yeah. I've heard, heard a lot from him and, um, the messaging through Instagram is, is being good, but it's been nice to see him face to face.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah. And I think blokes.

Dan Frost:

as well.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, well, I think it's, it's, it's finding that common theme. It's like, you know, how many blokes do you know that, whose wives have died of the same cancer, right? You know, it's, you feel, it's all about finding your, your tribe again, I suppose. But anyway, I've already gone off on a tangent. We just discussed going off on tangents, didn't we? Um, so Dan's wife, Lisa, she died, she died from bowel cancer. That's right. Which is the same cancer that. That took Sarah's,

Dan Frost:

Yeah, it's classed as metastatic colorectal cancer or colon cancer. But yeah, it's in that, in that group, in that area. Yeah.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

in that area. Um, and she was just 43. And one of the things Dan and I spoke about just very briefly is I said it seems to be I obviously speak to more women than men um, just by the nature of the beast um, and men do seem to die younger but women often it is a sort of, it's a cancer that goes unnoticed because perhaps of embarrassment you know they might be ovarian where you're used to getting pains and with bowel obviously it's It's, you know, it's not something that we talk about much as women, and you said yourself that was exactly the case, and it was to do with the sort of embarrassment that led to Lisa's diagnosis being delayed.

Dan Frost:

I think, again, that was. It's part of how she, um, wasn't so much shut herself down towards the end, but not wanting to discuss it with me so much because I was a husband and, and you don't want to talk, she wouldn't want to talk about that to me about that area, uh, is still a taboo subject as well. And, and it's, it's, it's great now that we're talking about it more in the public because of the bowel babe and, and, and other things that have happened recently. Um, so the messages is getting across, but. For Lisa, personally, it was really difficult for her to talk to me about it. And,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

yeah, and I can imagine, because I'm a bit that way, you know, I'm very much a bathroom door closed kind of girl, um, and I always have been, and Having been, you know, listening to John's story, obviously the recording of it, and also by nature of living with him. Um, and it is, it's, it's grim, isn't it? And it's dehumanizing, and it transitions you from being the husband and the, the, the, to the carer. And that's a real, real difficult transition, especially if you're used to feeling attractive and, you know. Um, having a, a, a sort of normal loving relationship, but anyway, Dan, I'm, I'm sort of, you know, predicting the future. Really. I haven't actually heard your story through this. I'll just probably let you do that before I start, uh, making grand declarations. So Dan, tell me a little bit about you and Lisa. Tell me, start with the love story. Tell me, tell me about when you met.

Dan Frost:

the age of 21, um, where I worked. The company she had been working for had chosen to rent out a property, an office. Um, I've been in and out of our yard a lot, being a farmer and we've got a haulage company. So I was on the lorries quite a lot and, uh, I'd come in the yard and then I'd see Lisa walking down the yard, didn't know her, but, um, As a young lad, you sort of, you, you, you have a, who's that, you know, and, and she'd always say hello. Um, and then it just progressed from there as friends, we always caught up with each other and she'd ask about my day and, um, because her office was so close to where I worked, we, we couldn't avoid each other. So, um, that, that went on for a long time and we became. more like best friends, really. Um, and you know, you have that person where you can ring them anytime of the day or night. You can say anything you want to them. Doesn't matter where you are. Um, and they're always checking in on your messaging all the time. And we just had that. That trust, that connection. Um,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And that's so special,

Dan Frost:

yeah, it was special and you find that person that they seem to be like your home. So. if you know how you feel about that, it's, um, sometimes at home doesn't have to be a place. It's sometimes a person. So if you can, if you can sort of relate to having that person is knowing that they're your home, um, And that's how we felt. Um, it went on like that for a long while. We stayed really good friends. We, we done social stuff together. It took us a few years to realize that we were meant to be with each other. We went off a couple of times, realized then, um, that we, we weren't so good apart. It was, it was meant to be, but I think we needed to do that to realize that we, that we were meant to be together. Um,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, especially meeting so young as

Dan Frost:

Yeah, yeah. And at that time, though, you don't think you're that young. Do you think, Oh, I'm in my early twenties. We need to, we need to settle down now and get a house and have children. But I'm glad we did that, that few years of just staying friends because we got to know each other a lot more. And, um, We sort of worked out each other's traits and she knew I was hardworking, done a lot of hours, but I think she respected that. And Lisa herself, she'd been doing an office manager's job. She'd been in that role for quite a few years. And, um, she lived in Newmarket, which is about 35 minutes from where I lived. So I'd go and see her. She had her own house at the time. And then I bought a house in our local village, my first house, and she helped me do that up. brought all the ideas in as well. All the color schemes and everything. So that helped me loads. Uh, and she was my, just that advice all the time and pushed me to, to try and go further in life. Not, and, and try and progress as well as I could. Uh,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

just like your supporter and your number one fan. And I can really feel that in how you're describing your relationship because that's how I felt about Ben. And I, when he died, I just thought, who's my person now? Like the person that I'm gonna call for anything or who will always be the champion in my corner. Um, and I'm very fortunate that I found it with Jon, but it's hearing you say that, you know, the benefit of knowing each other as friends and that kind of warts of all, and all. So, when Jon and I became romantically involved, like, there was no coyness, there was no secrets, you know, everything was known, you're a known quantity, I suppose.

Dan Frost:

that's a lovely way to do it because you've worked out each other's ways and then when you become a proper couple that, that just goes as it is then you, you just become a

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, and it's magic, right?

Dan Frost:

It is, you don't really have to try as much, well you have to try obviously, but it's just natural, that's that, and it's a lovely onward step to know that, you know, you can now go, go as a couple and, um, and, and make that new move, but yeah, so we, uh, we moved in together, I think it was, um, 2020, 2020. Sorry, no, I'll get the dates wrong now. Um, anyway, yeah, we

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Don't worry too much, I can barely remember my own date of birth.

Dan Frost:

But yeah, we moved into the first house that I'd done up. Um, I lived in it on my own for probably about eight months to a year. While Lisa was still in Newmarket, but then we realized that, um, it was time to sort of make that step. So Lisa moved, moved in with me because she lives, if she lived with me, it would mean that work would only be about a mile away. So it was a lot easier for her to do that. And then, um, Lisa fell pregnant with James and had James, uh, I think I was 28 and Lisa would have been 29 when she had James. Um,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Same as me when I had my first.

Dan Frost:

Yeah, it was, and we, we had a lovely start to life in, in this house that we'd, we'd done up together. Um, then we, we've sort of moved into a different village, into a bigger house, which was probably a step I wouldn't have taken on my own. I needed Lisa to try and encourage me to do that, really. But she said, let's, let's go for it and have that bigger house for if we have more children. Um, and that's when we had Amber then, I think I was about 33. So six years later, we, we had Amber. Um, and spent, spent some lovely years in, in, in that village as well. Um,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

this is just kind of, you know, perfect family scenario, you know, this, And because I know that this is all going to go

Dan Frost:

yeah, you know, there's no happy

Rosie Gill-Moss:

listening to this and thinking, Oh, this, you know, wonderful, idyllic village, you know, 2. 4 children, you know,

Dan Frost:

exactly. What was that? You've got the

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Um,

Dan Frost:

with parties outside on the green. And you think then, Oh, this is what life's all about. This is just perfect. The children are healthy. We've got, I've got a lovely wife and work was busy. Work was good. Um, and, and then. Um, we then done the next step again and we sold that place and took on a very small 70s bungalow, which we completely more or less flattened. Um, was.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

You like our project?

Dan Frost:

It was a big project. Yeah, probably too much, but I've got friends that, that were in, in the business and they took it on for me and it went, it went well in the end, but it was, it was really stressful at the time.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

A labor of love,

Dan Frost:

Yeah, it was, we, we both had to go through it to, to get where we needed to be, but knowing that when it was done, it was going to be a beautiful place for us all to, to sort of live on with. Um, fortunately Lisa had. A couple of years. Uh, yeah, so we moved in in 2017 and she, she died in 2019. So she had two years in, in the house that we'd sort of renovated or, or prepared for, it took a good two to three years to try and get it all finished. So,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

your sort of forever home?

Dan Frost:

yeah, that's where we are now. So, um, the kitchen I'm in now, this kitchen table was one that Lisa did not designed. The place, Lisa put a touch on it. It was kind of her plan really, just to get it done with, with quite a big garden. So, but I think that's helped the children, uh, that's helped support them knowing that this, this is a nice area. This is a nice place and

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And they're staying in a stable

Dan Frost:

Yeah. So that, yeah, and then it all kind of went downhill after that as such, it was, um.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

So what happened? What were the, what were the first indicators that something may be wrong? Yeah.

Dan Frost:

an office, office manager, office worker. And I noticed more then that she was getting, uh, really fatigued, tired, um, a lot of sickness. And it was after tea at night, it would be down, I've just got to go to bed. She'd just say, I've had enough, I've got to go and lay down. Um. And I, we just put it down to, to busy work life with two young children, um, house to run, everything else that is just generally that time of your life that that's natural, isn't it? But.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

isn't it? Yeah, it is an exhausting time.

Dan Frost:

Yeah. And I've got to admit, I did, I did worry because I thought this, this shouldn't really be like this, but what, what could you say? It was just one of them things where I just had to respect that and, and I was just hoping

Rosie Gill-Moss:

also, your mind doesn't automatically go to cancer,

Dan Frost:

Not at

Rosie Gill-Moss:

my wife's tired. You don't automatically go, it's cancer. You're perhaps thinking maybe she's, you know, low in iron or something, right?

Dan Frost:

Yeah. That, that is completely right. And you just don't look for that. I think now. Now that the awareness is out there more, you'd probably be the first thing you thought about, but in, in them days, it was, we, even

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh, and I think having lived through what we've lived through, you know, the first sign of, you know, I'm constantly checking moles on people and, you know, you are now, that is where your mind would go. But back in the, as I like to call them, the, the innocent years before our lives had been blasted to pieces, it wasn't on your radar, presumably.

Dan Frost:

No, it wasn't. It wasn't on the radar at all. And it's the same as everything now, isn't it? Once you've been through that worst experience, then you always think the worst. If someone goes out for the day, you worry about what might happen or, because before that in, in that perfect life, you just hadn't experienced that before. So no, they didn't. It was, it didn't happen to you. It didn't happen to us. It was always someone else. no.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And especially, I'm sorry, I was just going to say, especially it tends to be when people are quite young and they're fit and they're well and often the cancer goes unnoticed or undiagnosed because their body is so fit and well that you don't notice it. So

Dan Frost:

and we didn't, we didn't notice it, but,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

guys, I'm sorry, I was talking to one whose husbands were running marathons with cancer. They just didn't know they had it. I mean, it's insane, isn't it?

Dan Frost:

yeah, and there's, there's no, there's no sign, like you say, there's people still, still keeping fit, still running, uh, and that's how it is, you can't see someone when they've got cancer, you can't tell until it gets that bad, that's what happened to Lisa, there was, we tried all we could and She presented herself at A& E, she presented herself at the GP. Unfortunately, it just didn't, didn't get spotted at all. It was just far too, too little, too late, really. It all started

Rosie Gill-Moss:

it similar to Sarah in that they thought in things like norovirus and, you know, irritable bowel and

Dan Frost:

I've got a bit of a timeline of 2019, was when things really started to show up.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

yeah, you talk me through it. I'll try not to interrupt you.

Dan Frost:

And it went from that year where Lisa had got a friend's wedding where she was bridesmaid in the November. And she came in to me. She got the dress on and said, I just don't feel right, Dan. I just feel really clammy and pale and low of energy. Just don't look myself. Don't feel myself. And I'm just trying to be positive and say, well, you look lovely. Just go and do your best. I'm sure you'll be fine. Uh, and, and so that, that went on and she got the photos back from that wedding and she could see herself that she just felt really bloated and, and not comfortable enough. And she tried to eat properly, she tried to exercise more, but she just had no energy at all. And this had gone on really for, if I look back and I've got records of it. probably for a couple of years before that as well. So whether that was connected or not, it may well have been, but, uh, so yeah, that was November then kind of progressively got worse with the tiredness through that month. And then we had the Christmas of 2020, um, sorry, uh, 2019, which was, was fine. Didn't go too bad. It was, it was nice, um, into the new year. I think we were hoping to plan to go away somewhere for, for a few nights, just maybe abroad, a little trip. I remember I was about to book it and Lisa had said, Dan, I'll just wait if I was you. So just don't feel, feel up to it. And that wasn't like her. She'd be up for going away. We always usually went away in the UK, like a touring caravan or, or a cottage somewhere, but. This was going to be a bit of a treat just to, I think we thought we'd go to Prague or somewhere like that, somewhere

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh, Prague!

Dan Frost:

Yeah, somewhere just in a, in a city just for a bit of sightseeing, but she said, I'm not gonna be able to walk around. I've not got the energy. So we just had a night in a local town. Um, there's like a restaurant pub, really nice place. We had a night there and it was just, she didn't. Really, you could see that night, she just wanted to go to bed and sleep. She was overtired. And I went down to the bar that night and just sat there and thought, something's not right here. We've got to try and get to the bottom of it. Cause I just felt really bad for her because life was just, she wasn't enjoying life as much because she couldn't really do anything. She carried on working. She was getting the tests done. They'd done different blood tests and everything. Um, been to the doctors loads of times. They kept sending her back with, um, gastronomical problems and, uh, gastritis, abdominal, abdominal issues, uh, gallbladder problems, perhaps. They couldn't really put the finger on it, but we just wasn't getting any answers. So This really got to the point of that January, uh, she was in severe pain at home and the, the hospital, we'd phoned the hospital and got the ambulance out. So she'd been into A& E then, I think over the space of two or three years, she'd had the ambulance out probably three or four times just for the pain and the ambulance had took her in and she'd had a night in the hospital. And I always think. Right, now we'll get some answers because she's been into the hospital. We'll finally get some answers here and we might know what's going on. But we never really got any clarification at all. It was just maybe a stomach upset or an infection. But then when it got to that January of 2020, we could see there was really an issue and we needed to, we were then forced to try and get some more answers.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah.

Dan Frost:

Uh, so she went in. Um, February the 27th was the worst time and she,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I'm just thinking what time of year for this to happen as well, because we're right on the cusp of lockdown.

Dan Frost:

yeah, this was just before lockdown as, as I'm, yeah, so we, we got February 27th is when she presented herself into A& E with severe pain. Like she was, the only way I can, I can probably relate it to was when I'd seen Lisa. Um, in labor, having, having the children, that helplessness, that, that look as if to say, you need to help me because I don't know what's going on. I'm, I'm just in so much pain.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

That

Dan Frost:

so it's

Rosie Gill-Moss:

difficult to see, to see your wife like that and to

Dan Frost:

just the look in her eyes, you know, when you've got a child and they look at you when they've fallen over or they're there and it's just that I just need someone to help me, please, please just get me somewhere to take some pain away. So we.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

made me go all It's

Dan Frost:

I think that the ambulance came out that time to take her in. And I do know the exact births, but when I'm talking to you, I kind of lose that, that track of thought really. But, um,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

it doesn't matter.

Dan Frost:

So she went in that time and I thought, okay, we're finally getting somewhere now. It's got to be sorted out because it's got that bad. And then they sent her back home again with a, with, they've given her medication for a gastronomical infection, or it could be possibly diverticulitis. So, all right, okay, so we've got all the notes of the diet she has to change to and everything else like, um, fiber and, I know you can look into it, I know there's, there's different ways of dealing with that,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I'm trying to spell the word diverge, I'm just gonna

Dan Frost:

tough one. So that was on the 27th. And then, two days later on February the 29th, it was a Friday evening, she was on the bathroom floor again, rolling, just curled up on a towel on the bathroom floor, crying and shouting. And I don't know if I, I think I, I think I got a little bit angry, not with her, but I said like, we've just been in and we've had no answers and it's getting worse. It's obviously not what they've said it is because. that we're not getting anywhere with it at all. It's just getting, getting worse. So she went back in that Friday night and we picked her up on the Saturday morning, came home. They'd given her the Senna, they'd given her paracetamol to settle it down and then had booked her in for a colonoscopy that Monday, which I think was the first or second of March, whatever day that was. It was a Monday. Which is, I thought, great, now we're going to find out exactly what's going on. We're going to get a colonoscopy, which is what we've been waiting for for a long time. And we probably should have pushed quicker, but Lisa was really selfless, never really put herself first. So she wouldn't be the sort of person to ring up and go that you need to sort me out here. This is getting too bad. It was like, Oh, do you mind if you can fit me in? It was, she was always so polite. It was always. She didn't want to trouble anybody. And it was the same like that right up until the end of the hospice. She was really more worried about everybody else than herself. And which was a downfall towards it in that time. Because I think you have to be pushy to get somewhere with, especially with that kind of disease. You need to keep phoning up and trying to get these appointments.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

wheel, haven't you? It's, it shouldn't be that way, but.

Dan Frost:

No. So that Monday it was left that, so I took her in on a Sunday afternoon. into the hospital where she was meant to stay there the evening and night where they put the iodine into a system which so when they have the colonoscopy they can then see what's going on. So it was a routine night in the hospital for a morning appointment to have a checkup and colonoscopy. So I said to Lisa, I'll stay at home. I'll come and pick you up on Monday. No problem. And she said, no, you might as well go to work because I can get someone else to pick me up. There's no point you worrying. So I went off in the truck that day, over, somewhere over, over Birmingham Way. Just didn't think nothing, nothing of it. And I just thought to myself, well, at least now we're hopefully going to get some answers. Uh, I hadn't heard nothing during the day, which was a bit alarming. Cause I thought I'd get a text message or a phone call. She said, well, I'll let you know how I get on. And as the day went on, I heard less and less. And then. Lisa's, uh, close friend, or best friend, and one of our close friends, Cara, had texted me and said, I've heard from Lisa. She's messaged to say they've, they're not going to do the colonoscopy now. They've checked her over and they're concerned, but they're going to send her down for a minor operation. But please don't worry. Everything's going to be okay. It's just a minor operation. So obviously, naturally, you do start to worry.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Well, of course. And also, um, why hadn't, um, why hadn't Lisa message you direct?

Dan Frost:

No, no,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

didn't want to worry

Dan Frost:

didn't want to worry me. No, this is Lisa.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah.

Dan Frost:

and I think because she knew I was at work and driving that day, she didn't want to, and I would have panicked because you do, because you're, you're helpless. You're, I'm too, too far away from home to

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And you love her.

Dan Frost:

help. Yeah. Yeah. Um, So I'm on my way back, hadn't heard nothing back. Got home that evening and the children were both around my mum and dad's for tea. And I got to half seven at night. they? were at the time, um, Amber was eight and James was 14. So I'd got home, I'd heard nothing at all at half seven at night. I'm thinking, I'm starting to get more concerned now. And Cara hadn't heard nothing else either. I'm thinking, okay, this is, This is more serious than what we thought because if it was a minor operation then we'd have heard more because it's now, you know, we're getting on late evening. And then this, um, unrecognized number came up from a mobile, picked it up and it was the surgeon from the hospital. And he said, um, we've got your wife here, Dan. Uh, she's now being put into, um, intensive care. We've just finished a major operation. It's took seven hours and we've, we've removed a tumor the size of a large orange. Um, luckily enough, she's made it through. Um, but it could have been a different story. She could have been in a different part of the hospital. And then I've got the phone thinking this is not what was meant to happen. Um. And I, I was just shocked because then your whole life changes, doesn't it? Because you think,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

With the big C's been mentioned.

Dan Frost:

yeah, that's it, yeah. And then we're, we're in a different, different world already. So,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

gone quite cold hearing that, Dan. I'm so sorry. Poor woman.

Dan Frost:

so I spoke to the surgeon. Uh, I wasn't able to see her until,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Shit.

Dan Frost:

it on Tuesday. And I was able to go and visit her on the Wednesday. And they'd, um, she'd had a right hemolectomy. So that's, so they partly removed the large bowel and then reconnected it to remove the tumour. So, what we found out then was, that evening, uh, when the doctor had done his rounds to check on everybody, He realized that Lisa was in such severe pain, he'd spoken to her and asked her what the pain level was and she'd said I'm not making a fuss, but it's definitely a 10. I'm not exaggerating, I'm in that much pain. He said, well, I'm not going to wait and wait for tomorrow for a colonoscopy. We're going to get you down straight away because we're more than worried. And, um, thankfully he made that decision because he said to me afterwards, had he have left her, then her bowel would have burst and then you've got. Septicemia

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Sepsis.

Dan Frost:

and then you're, you're then trying to fight or losing battle because it, it can be severe and fatal. So she knew as well as I

Rosie Gill-Moss:

a lot with sepsis.

Dan Frost:

Lisa knew as well as I did that night. She could have died then. that night. We wouldn't have known anything. There'd be no warning. She'd have gone in for a routine colonoscopy and never came home. So we were thankful that, that he found what he did and he was able to sort of save a life basically.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And give you, I mean, some time to, to, to process and to be together rather than having that just the shock.

Dan Frost:

yeah. Well, I visited her on the Wednesday and she was out within a week, which was amazing for her. Her recovery was incredible. But then That week of visitor was the final week of, of not being in lockdown. After that, everything was, was full lockdown. So we've then got appointments which were then, um, delayed. Follow ups were delayed. Um, there was, it was just a different world, as you know, because we didn't know what was happening there, did we? It was, it was quite scary because everything completely was being just shut right down. And.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, but I can't imagine, I mean obviously I had a fairly traumatic lockdown experience myself, but to know that your wife has got cancer now, this word has been mentioned, but the whole country's gone, well the whole world's gone into lockdown. And you know that speed is of the essence with cancer. We all know this.

Dan Frost:

it is Rosie. Yeah. But the thing is, when the, when the operation was done, they said to us, they're going to send the tumor off for biopsy and then contact us or give or have a meeting to let us know what the results are. So we still had that, that little bit of hope that it might be a, um, benign, that's the word, isn't it? Yeah. Hold on. And, um, We thought, well, there'll be a proper meeting and we'll get to see someone face to face and find out what it is. And we'd waited about a week and we'd heard nothing at all because COVID had then kicked in or COVID lockdown. And Lisa got a phone call to tell her that it was cancer. There wasn't any meeting. It was over the phone. So she was sitting at home. I was outside with a friend. We were doing some work on a drive. And she. Kate said, Dan, you need to come in, I've got something to tell you. So we sat down and she said, they've just phoned me up and they've found that the tumour is cancerous. And me being the typical bloke said, oh, I'm going to go back outside and finish off. I'll be in in an hour. We'll have a chat about it then. Because I was in total shock.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

But that would be your brain protecting you, giving you a job to do, a bloke thing. I can go and do something practical whilst my brain processes what I've just

Dan Frost:

Yeah, it was totally the wrong thing to do because I should have just sat there with her and gone through it at the time. But. Yeah, so it was a phone

Rosie Gill-Moss:

or wrong when your world's blown apart.

Dan Frost:

Yeah, exactly. It was, it was, uh, to have that news over the phone was, was really shocking.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I just,

Dan Frost:

Uh, and then, uh, feeling so helpless as well because you're, you expect to be able to see someone professionally, but there isn't any appointments at the time because they're only letting the most important cases into the hospital. So it was then the start of a journey of knowing. How and what the cancer is, has it spread? Um, is it treatable? Um, and, and what, what course are we

Rosie Gill-Moss:

one, isn't it?

Dan Frost:

Yeah, and, and, and what, what avenue are we going down now? Are we going, how, how is the chemo going to work? Lisa was obviously then conscious about, is it going to be, um, tablet form or, you know, They were going to go to Macmillan to have the interviews and everything and, and visits. So it was a real tough start then because, you know, hopefully a rebuild, because we knew as little as we did about cancer then, we thought we'd succeeded by removing the tumor and being clear.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah.

Dan Frost:

realized is the damage had already been done because that tumor had grown to the size of an orange. And then I found out since then that. Even when a cancerous tumor is the size of a pea, it can still spread around the body. So, whilst it's grown from that size to the size of an orange, it's been spreading all that time. So, really, she was probably terminal at that point of that operation, but we didn't get 2021, like nearly just over a year later.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

So she must have been I mean, she must have been in quite significant discomfort, at the very least. Throughout, sorry, I've pushed forward a little bit, just because, um, the way my mind works, but I'm just thinking, you've, she's been told that she's got this cancer. It's really brutal cancer, and that it's progressed. And then you, she has a year until she dies. And what's that year like for you guys? Because, what, I hate asking this because I really feel like this is the point where the hope disappears. And I think that's when your whole outlook on life changes. Um, I'm just wondering how it affected your relationship, and your relationship with your children, how you hold your children. Um, that's a lot of questions to ask you in one go, sorry.

Dan Frost:

Yeah, so we'll skip forward a bit to, so after the operation,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

you do it at your own pace. I'm sorry, I

Dan Frost:

had, that's fine, no, no, it's fine, Rosie. We had the adjuvant chemo, which gave, that started off quite well. It seemed to be going quite well. And then, um, she had, uh, she was offered the adjuvant chemo. to treat the residual disease, but she had a coronary artery spasm, which is like a heart spasm, which was due to the chemo tablets. So they wanted to keep her on the tablets because then if the spasm happened, they could then stop her taking the tablets. Whereas if they did it induced, or I don't know what the form of how they call it now in, in, in Macmillan, if they'd have done it that way, then they can't take it back out again. It's in there, in the system. So, because of this risk, they decided to stop the chemo because it was more risk to her having a heart issue. maybe a long term heart damage issue than it would have been for what help the chemo might be doing. The adjuvant chemo was like a cleanup chemo, which we thought was going to clear up what, what might have spread. But it had spread to, yeah, it spread to 13 lymph nodes. So it was classed as then really serious, not quite stage four, but. get, get in there. Yeah. Um, this went on, we had a holiday in 2020. We went to Devon when they had that COVID scheme where they tried to get you out, didn't they, to eat. It was like the pubs were doing special offers and everything. So eat out to, to help out

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Eat out to help

Dan Frost:

Yeah.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah.

Dan Frost:

Yeah. We'd got a pla a trip planned to Devon and Lisa had said you should go with James and Amber. I'm, I'm gonna stay here because I'm vulnerable. Um,'cause of, of the cancer, which. the COVID lockdown kind of helped that because people wouldn't visit anyway because of lockdown. So she didn't have to try and explain to people that they shouldn't be coming around worried about giving a cold or a sickness bug or something. But then we thought this, and she was encouraged by the oncologist team at Macmillan to have a holiday. They kind of worked the chemo around it. They lessened it towards the holiday. They brought it off early so she could go on holiday as fit and well as possible. Uh, and, and that holiday went quite well. She was able to do quite a bit with this because in our eyes we'd, we'd got over that, that operation and we were in recovery and it was then now basically a matter of keeping an eye on, on the, on the cancer, had, had it spread. Uh, you know, quite frequent checkups and scans, and then try and deal with it if it gets worse. So we, we weren't in the definite terminal, terminal time at that point. So we'd had that holiday, it went well, and we'd come home really positive. I think it's like July, August time, that autumn went, went okay. And then we had our last proper Christmas together then. Christmas 2020, again, still thinking that we were just riding that, that crest of a wave, we'd had that scare, but we'd been put in that position then when life had changed, because you'd had such a scare, knowing that life's so delicate, everything had kind of changed, and we're all going through the COVID lockdown, thinking, well, Life's a lot more precious now. We've just seen this, this fact that Lisa's nearly died. We're now all spending more time together at home. So everyone's outlook has changed. And I think that was a general outlook for most people as well. A lot of people working from home. I'd spent then, um, so 2021, I'd carried on working as much as I could, and then she'd had a few more scans and checkups. And we got into March, April 2021, and then she was due another, another scan, uh, she'd not had chemo for a while and she was looking the best she'd looked for a long time. I can remember that morning saying to her, it's such a shame that you've got to have the chemo now because you're, you're, you're looking healthy. She was feeling fit and it was, we, we knew what was coming because we knew this next. cycle of chemotherapy was going to be really harsh. And it would already been told the risks, and she was going to lose her hair, and it was going to be a, it's like on a cycle where, I don't know if Jon can relate to that, where you have the chemo treatment and then you have like three weeks before your next one. So you've got the week off. The chemo treatment is terrible. Cause she's getting over that, that hit. She's had the second week is. And then the second week, she's a little bit better, but she's still, you know, still fatigued and still in pain. And then that third week where you're meant to be a lot better, or she's meant to be a lot more healthy and feeling better. The anxiety is coming back because you know you're going back in for that chemo again the following week. So there's, there's never a good week. You've either got, you're dealing with what you've just had or you're thinking about what you're about to have next. Anyway, so she, she'd gone in and, and. Um, had this next scan and then we were due a, a, an appointment. I hadn't been to any appointments with Lisa because I wasn't allowed to go in. So all the information she was getting from the oncologist was all dealt with by Lisa. So I had to then question

Rosie Gill-Moss:

to go in and hear this stuff herself, without you to hold her hand. I mean, I've heard people going and having babies on their own and things, but this is, this is really, really cruel, isn't it?

Dan Frost:

I went to the first appointment at Macmillan to meet the nurses there with Lisa. Which was a, a, a shocking, it was, it hadn't really sunk in then because you're in this new place looking around thinking this is what we've got, we've got now, this is life. But then after that, I didn't go to any other appointments up until only a few months before she died. So that was just to hear that the sort of worst, worst news. So we'd got this, these scan results had come back and we were hoping that because of lockdown, it was going to be. a phone call on the results because I'd said to Lisa, well, if they phone you, it's good news because then obviously they don't want you in. If it's serious, I'm sure they're going to want to see you. So we're waiting for a letter and they'd given us a letter and it had said that, you know, you've got an appointment at the hospital to see the oncologist. So it was a face to face appointment. And I just took it that I wasn't allowed in it again. So we went to hospital and I sat in the car park in the car and Lisa wandered in and I think she knew more than what I did then, but she wanted to try and protect me. And so she went in and then the oncologist told her, the pastor was in there as well, the priest sat her down and said, we've just found the scan results and it's spread now to your liver and we're now treating it as terminal. So it's now. We can now keep an eye on it, but it's a case of the chemo is just going to keep it at bay and we'll just keep a track of how we can keep the pain in control and then maybe talk about immunotherapy nearer the time. So she went into that meeting and I remember sitting in the car and the next thing I saw was Lisa walking across the car park and I just saw that dejected face of just defeat. And I knew then straight away what the news was going to be because obviously if it was different she'd have been a lot happier. And she just opened the door and said, there's no easy way to tell you Dan, they've just told me it's terminal and, you know, I will die of bowel cancer, but it's just a matter of when. So, I'm that sort of bloke where I'd always drive. I'd be the sort of person at the weekend, if we were going out with the family, it was like, I'm driving, you can, you can have a rest. I feel quite bad now because she got in the car and I said. You're going to have to drive home. I just, I can't get my head around this one. Cause I'd sat in the passenger side anyway, when I was waiting for her and, um, she drove us home and it was the most, it was the most silent journey I've ever had back from town. We just didn't hardly say a word because we'd battled so hard to, to get through this and then to have that news as well. And then you start thinking, right, we now got to try and. So I'm going to let you in on a little story about how I got the idea to actually get this message over to the family, to the children. How'd you tell them? So she dropped me off at home and she went, she went down to speak to my mum and I said, I'll come with you and she said, no, I can deal with that. I'm going to go and tell your mum about it. So she went and

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And she went to see your mum, was she very close to your mum?

Dan Frost:

yeah, she was. Yeah, she went and dealt with that and she said, there's no point in you coming in. You don't need to hear it. It's just something I can deal with and she was incredibly

Rosie Gill-Moss:

even, even with this, she was protecting you.

Dan Frost:

Yeah. Yeah, she

Rosie Gill-Moss:

a woman.

Dan Frost:

Yeah. She was very strong with that. So yeah, we found that out in, in April and, uh, and then from, from that point onwards, it was just, just really bad news. We didn't get any luck at all after that. I think at least would say the whole journey we had, apart from that operation with the luck that we had, the fact that they, caught the tumor. The most positive thing, well it wasn't positive, but if you know what I mean, the most, the most comforting period of that, that journey was actually the hospice. The fact that she could go and have that pain relief that would actually work. Everything else went against her. The fact it was through COVID without, you know, with the lack of chasing up the appointments, um, The chemo never really worked for her. Everything they tried, it just, it was a, it was a matter of chasing something that was always ahead of us. Lisa was

Rosie Gill-Moss:

a mole.

Dan Frost:

yeah, yeah, she was treated, she was diagnosed with, um, it's called BRAF, BRAF V600, which is a, a bowel cancer mutation, which is, aggressive than normal and it's hard to keep up with.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Tell me the name of that one more time, sorry.

Dan Frost:

it's BRAF, B R A F, V600.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I only ask this because I, I, I know that Sarah had a particularly vicious, um, version of this herself.

Dan Frost:

There's a group that I'm in touch with now that are all BRAF patients. I've got a friend of mine as well who I've done some fundraising for who's um, who's BRAF and it just. It takes a lot more knowledge. I think a lot, the trouble is a lot of the patients now are having to do their own work to try and get treatment. Even the oncologists don't quite know how to really deal with it because it's such an aggressive form of cancer. They can't, there's no cure, but there's obviously no cure for terminal cancer, but there's no, there's no way of keeping up with it. It's such a quick form. I went down to the research centre in London, Bowery Research Centre, and they told me that they're probably still 10, 15 years away from being able to comfortably treat someone with the BRAF version. So, if you get diagnosed with that, it's a lot harder to come to terms with because it It's so aggressive, um, they can't really do anything for it.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, it's just heartbreaking and I'm just wondering now about the kids and I know it's, they must be, um, well, uh, your eldest must be grown men by now, just

Dan Frost:

He's now, yeah, 16 now,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

16, yeah, yeah. So, um, I'm also aware that they may not wish to, um, be spoken about, so, um, respect their privacy, but, um, at what point did you tell them and, and how did they take it? I mean,

Dan Frost:

Well this is where it's really different, Rosie, and, you know, we, we can talk about this because ideally you'd think, right, let's have a family sit down and go through it all and explain what's going on and how it's going to play out and that Lisa was going to. at some point fairly soon. And I don't really use Pass Away, I'm quite,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

No, we don't, we

Dan Frost:

quite point, just get to the point. It's how it is.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah.

Dan Frost:

And we just thought that's how it was going to be. You see, again, you see these things on TV, don't you? Go by the programs where you live in that kind of life where you think it's like a nightmare, isn't it?

Rosie Gill-Moss:

It's like being part of a television show.

Dan Frost:

television show and you're in it. And what possibly more can go wrong. So, we'd got past, we'd been given that news in April. I then decided to, to go into work part time, just mornings. And I'd spend every afternoon. So, I'd, I'd get Lisa breakfast in the morning, make sure she was okay. I live, I work very close to home, so I could be home within 10 minutes and I then going, that helped me because not that I wanted to be away from Lisa at all, it just gave me a sense of just a bit of normality for a few hours. And then I can bring myself, yeah, bring myself back into that environment in the afternoon where it's just care and being patient and, and trying to make sure she's comfortable. But the earlier times there, so through, throughout that summer, we, we spent time in the garden. We, we spoke a lot, but I'd like to think we spoke about what was going to happen afterwards, but you'd think you would, but you can't. It's just, it's just too difficult. I found it was too difficult for Lisa to talk about. She'd pass comment. I think we were doing these grapevines that Lisa had set up herself. She'd done them all, um, up the side of the house. And she said to me, Dan, you've got to watch what I'm doing here, because I'm not going to be here next year. And I'd go, don't talk like that. But, and, and she was right. She wasn't here the following year. And she'd be quite straight to the point about it, but still very scared. And she'd say to me,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

course.

Dan Frost:

you're on that journey with someone, you go for every decision with them. And you're so close from start to finish. But, again, when they've been given that diagnosis, it then becomes very different because they're on their journey and you're on your journey then. You're that close together, but their fate, they know they're not going to be here for very long. And then you know that you're going to lose them and you've got this life ahead of you with the children, which becomes unthinkable. And you, you don't really think about it at the time, because you're still waiting for that event to happen, and you still can't believe it's happening. And you're, I think like I mentioned to John earlier, even though you've been told that it's terminal, there's still that hope that something

Rosie Gill-Moss:

be some magic, mystery, claw. Yeah. And you do hear of it, don't you? You do hear of miracle patients. I've heard John use this term, you know. The idea that once they become, they are diagnosed as terminal, their journey and your journey become different. Because, yes, you're right, their life is going to end, yours isn't. But you're going to have to do a deep digging to carry on. And that's really scary to have that hanging over you. Um, I mean, did you access counselling or anything as a family?

Dan Frost:

No, we didn't. No, I didn't. I was offered counseling, but I said to Lisa, the time I'm going to take counseling for myself is time away from her and the

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Time with you, yeah.

Dan Frost:

I don't think any counselling then would have prepared me for what was about to come. I think counselling would have been something that I could have looked at afterwards. Lisa didn't take any counselling. She had chats with the cancer team at Macmillan, but we felt It was just something that I think it was something that as a team we felt like we were battling, we tried everything and I don't know if you've seen that you try apricot kernels, um, different diets thinking that you can still beat it right up towards the end. Yeah, this CBD oil and everything. It was just. And you're looking at all the information you can get online about what you can eat, what you should cut out sugar. At that point in time, when we were looking at that, it was far too late, but there's still that, I can beat this. I can help Lisa beat this. We can. So when we found out really, it was really towards the end, especially that, that trip to the hospice, which we'll get to in a little while, that, that feeling of defeat then was no matter how hard we've tried is there's no getting away from this, you know, you can. It's not about what you eat and drink and how you conduct yourself. Bowel cancer is evil and it's, it's, there's no getting away from it. It's just the most important thing at that time is in making sure she's as comfortable as possible, which is a fight in its own to try and keep that pain away is constant. So,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

John's told me once he came back and, um, someone else had looked after Sarah and there was, there were, he could hear her screaming in pain and there'd been like a, you know, half an hour late changing the fentanyl patch or something and, The agony that just, I mean, the only thing I can compare it to is my upper jaw wearing off during

Dan Frost:

yeah,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

childbirth as my uterus ruptured. But it's that sudden going from having the relief to just suddenly being back in pain. Um,

Dan Frost:

worrying when it's coming again. It's when you're out of pain. It's the fear of when it might come back again. And it's not only the fear that Lisa's feeling. It's, it's the fear. I can only put it back down again of, of when you have, have your little, when you, when you've got a newborn and they've been crying for hours and hours and hours and you just then settle them down and you think, Uh, I think I'd flat, you know, they've settled and that was, yeah, when Lisa was in that much pain, we'd try the levels of oxycodone, morphine, we'd try paracetamol, we'd give her everything that she could have up to its limit and then just fingers crossed, hope for the best, hot water bottle, rub her back or whatever and then I can remember laying beside her or just being with her every night and when she finally went to sleep, it was just that, yeah. Relief. You know, she's, she's now calm. Uh, yes.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

little bit of respite from it.

Dan Frost:

Hmm. So yeah, so that was that terminal diagnosis and that time at home with her was one thing that I found was a positive from the COVID, um, COVID situation, had it not been for that, I wouldn't have been furloughed. I was furloughed to be a, um, to shield Lisa. I was able to do that for a little while, which really helped, but I still went into work for a little while just to keep my mind, um, my mind occupied. Uh, yeah. So then that, that summer went on really weirdly because we kind of knew, we kind of knew what was coming, but. we didn't know how long. And I think my issue was, you tend to Google things. When we found out it spread to the liver, I know you shouldn't, but I looked into it and if, if it's treated and they can keep on top of it, you can still get three to four years. So although it was a massive shock, there wasn't that panic of, we've only got a few months left. If we'd have been told at the terminal point, you've only got till December, which we had, everything would have been so, so different. We'd have spent every day talking. We'd have spent, done loads of photos, loads of videos, letters, but you just think, oh, well, we're, we're, we're going to be all right for now. Let's just keep an eye on things, scans, checkups, and we'll be able to assess it as time goes on. But we've got time.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah.

Dan Frost:

So we had another holiday planned down to St. Ives in Cornwall with a touring caravan. And Lisa had gone in for this last lot of chemo in July and it had really hit her hard. She'd lost all her hair. She'd lost loads of energy. She'd lost loads of weight. She was really weak. And it really knocked her back. And we were concerned that she could even come on holiday with us. But Lisa's way was always putting the children first.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah.

Dan Frost:

In all aspects, from when this started, it was always protect the children. Make sure they're as less damaged as they can be. Some people might agree, some might not. Maybe it would have been better to give them the full picture from the start, but if I look at them now, we're lucky that it hasn't damaged them so much. They seem really positive children.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I was going to ask you how they were now. Yeah, it, because it's a, both of them are very tricky aged. Because I am a teenage boy myself, and I have a ten year old girl myself. So it's, they are difficult ages

Dan Frost:

That is difficult. Very emotional ages and James now. Just done his exams this summer. So he's now gone into, um, college to do carpentry. Amber just turned double digits, 10. Big milestone for her, of course. So

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yes, Holly was

Dan Frost:

all that and her, her image, her, her ways have changed. It's now given more time in the mornings to do her hair before we go to school, not just

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh, and a bit of

Dan Frost:

out the door. Yeah. So the, the holiday had, had been like, we'll book this, this. Uh, touring holiday in Cornwall, where it was a place we'd been to before. We really enjoyed it. And it was like, Lisa was determined to get down there. We knew it was going to be tough, but it was like, she's got to get down there. When we were loading the caravan up, her mum and my mum were helping. And, um, I'd obviously had more time off to get, to get prepared for this trip. Cause it's an eight hour journey from, from where we are. So it's, it's a bit of a long slog. And. When we were getting things ready for the trip, I noticed more myself, how more deteriorated Lisa had been. And she was getting, uh, like more and more weak, where I just didn't think it was a good idea to go. I felt, I felt that she wasn't really ready for it. And I questioned it and she said, no, we've got to go down because the kids need the holiday as much as anybody else. So, um, We loaded up the caravan, I got in the car, we, we had a terrible journey down there through the night. Lisa was being sick into a, one of them sick bowls. We must've stopped three or four times on the way down there, chucking down with rain. Then you get down there and you've got the day to set everything up with your big awning and that. And when we'd got a good setup, once it was set up, it was lovely, but it was hard work to do it with Lisa being ill as well. But that was just something we had to do. And we got down there the day we set up. Lisa hadn't eaten nothing all day. She was feeling quite faint, um, looking really pale, just wanting to lay down all the time, and I'm thinking, oh, you know, we shouldn't have come down here, but I don't know, it's what she wanted, so we, we've just got to get on with it. And Our good friends came with us with their touring caravan. They'd set their lot up. And we'd got another group of friends stand on a site just down the road as well in a big tent. So we, I'd got a support group down there to help, which was good. I'd got a lot of people at home as well that I could call on. So I'd got help at the time. That Sunday, the first day there, she really didn't show any signs of improvement and I was getting quite worried. I'd been down to St. Ives Pharmacy and they'd done a transfer of prescription from our local GP. I'd managed to pick a few things up. And we're all just thinking, what I'd done, Rosie, I'd put it down to a whole cycle of chemo. And this was the end of it where it just really had taken everything out of her. But at least now things were going to get a little bit better because she's had that chemo. So it was a matter of now the holiday had come at the best time because she can then try and get some energy and some rest in a place she loved being. Um, but it didn't seem to happen that day. So I said to my friend, Ollie, I was like, if things don't improve tomorrow, we're going to have to go to, to INE. I'm going to have to take Lisa in because it's, it's getting quite serious now. I'm worried about the fact she hasn't hardly eaten. So

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah. And I know that dehydration is, is a real risk,

Dan Frost:

yeah. Yeah.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

patients? Yeah,

Dan Frost:

And it's just such a worry about, she looked so unwell as well. It was, it was terrible to see. Um. Anyway, I'd said to Ollie, I'm going to go and speak to Lisa, we have to get to hospital. As I'd gone in the caravan to, to get her out, I'd, I'd got her, got her up, and she collapsed. And her eyes went up into her head, and she just completely passed out. And I, I worried, I thought the worst.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

of

Dan Frost:

We managed to get her out of the caravan and sit her down, and couldn't get any response from her at all, until Ollie had come rushing out with a Bottle of Lucozade. Managed to get her to drink some of that and get some, something into her. Phoned the ambulance up. They were brilliant. I think they were there within seven or eight minutes. Um, they'd done their bit. They got her into the ambulance and done all the checks. Made her comfortable. And it was a mad panic because when she collapsed, James was there. And James was like, he's, Dad, what's going on? What's happened to Mum? I just thought it was a case of the fact that she hadn't eaten, she'd been really unwell, and just hadn't got over the chemo. So she went in, and I thought, well I'll just follow the ambulance like you do. But then because it was still COVID, it was 2021, I think it was July, no August, July, August? Beginning of August. And it was still Like hospitals were still having that protocol where you couldn't just go and visit, you had to do all your tests and everything so I wasn't allowed to go in with her. It was, I was told I had to stay away until they found out what the problem was and just keep phone call information, that was all. So when the ambulance went. I was left just, now what do I do? What, what is the problem? How bad is it? And again, her words were to

Rosie Gill-Moss:

looking to you for answers,

Dan Frost:

yeah. And Lisa said, when she came round, she said, just make sure you take the kids out. Give them a normal day. We'll talk later. And you, all I can, all I could do for Lisa when we were going through this period was, just carry out her wishes. If that's what she said, that's what we did. And I said to the rest of the group, we've just got to go on what she says because she's going through this. We're able to take the kids out. What's the point of sitting around here? It's going to make them worse. Let's just

Rosie Gill-Moss:

as I'm. As a mum, I know that even if I'm mildly ill, I feel so guilty that my kids aren't going out and doing things. So for her, to know that you were taking care of them and giving them experiences. And actually, I've written a couple of pages back, um, in my notes, in many notes, I've just written here. I'm just hearing that he tried so hard to give her everything that she needed and wanted during this. I'm hearing a lot of this as you talk, this desperate need to help her and the love that you felt for her and this, this willingness to do whatever she asked of you, Dan. Like, it's so kind. I'm hearing so much kindness from you and so much love and it's making me feel really sad listening to this, but anyway, as you were, carry

Dan Frost:

a sad, it is a sad story. It really is. Um, and, and nothing went for us. So we, she'd gone off to Truro hospital. right, yeah, we'll take the kids out then let's go. So. Um, that first day, it wasn't so bad because I just thought it was a case of her being, um, just, you know, dehydrated or, or something anyway. So

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah.

Dan Frost:

we just went off thinking it was going to be fine, we'll be all right, we'll just find out later, we'll go and pick her up later. And then it got to like eight o'clock that night and I'd not heard nothing, I couldn't get hold of anybody at the hospital and we'd had that first day out and then all of a sudden from that point on, you're on your own, aren't you? Everything you're doing in that. That, that caravan, it's a decent caravan. It's not, it, it wasn't like we were slumming it, but you've got, you've got everything to do on your own. You've got to keep that brave face. You've got all the cooking to do, the washing the kids stuff. You've got to give them answers that you think are not going to hurt them too much, but be honest enough to say,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

know. That's,

Dan Frost:

And

Rosie Gill-Moss:

is the,

Dan Frost:

it was like, to me as well, it was more of a. It's not like a pre grief. I, I haven't cried much through all of this, but I remember being really emotional, just going around the side of the caravan, not knowing, just not being able to hold it in. Because I felt it wasn't, it wasn't, obviously I was upset. It wasn't for me. I felt so sorry for Lisa. I felt that she'd, she'd tried, tried so hard to get on this, this bloody holiday. She'd pushed herself so much and she'd not even got a day down there before she's back in hospital again. So she'd gone into, into the hospital and um, I then got some information on the Monday night saying they've got Lisa in. She's severely dehydrated. She's on a drip. It's serious, we're not sure how it's going to go, but what we've done is we've, we've done some tests, we've found out there's another bowel obstruction. So the bowel cancer is, is now obviously back, it's, it's caused, uh, um, another obstruction. and all we can do is hope that we can fit a stent in her bowel, which is quite a, it's a keyhole procedure, so it's not straightforward, but it's something that should work. As long as we can get this stent done, then she should be able to come back and you'll be able to go home. Otherwise, if we can't do the stent, then It's looking quite serious. We just need to get, and they said we can't do the stent until we've got some nutrients into her to build her energy up because at the moment she's not strong enough for the procedure. So then the next day we go down to Watergate Bay in Newquay. I've known this and I'm knowing that, so you're putting on that, that real weird atmosphere of you're seeing life going around you. Everyone's having happy smiley faces in the summer, ice creams. The children are playing on the beach, and I'm waiting for this call to think, is she going to have the stent? Because I was going to find out on the Tuesday if the stent was going to go ahead or not. And if it, if it wasn't, then it was going to be a case of Russia back home in the ambulance straight into palliative care. So we've gone away on holiday, knowing that she might come home that week in the palliative care ambulance straight back to Suffolk. I'm thinking, well, I really hope this stent works. Hope they can just do it. That's then they just.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

on to the

Dan Frost:

Yeah, at least then I know I can carry on this week with the children and just somehow, just buy us some time.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, just keep, keep putting one foot in front of the other until we have to deal with the next thing.

Dan Frost:

Exactly. Um, so yeah, that day on Watergate by Crenba is really weird. Usually I'd be really worried, but we'd set up all the, the other gang had set up all the beach stuff on, on the beach and the tide would come in. And you know, when you think Oh, we'll be fine. It's not going to get our stuff. Yeah. And it was getting closer and closer with the chairs. Usually I'm the sort of person to go, right,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

playing chicken with the tide, aren't you?

Dan Frost:

Yeah. I'm the sort of person to be really OCD and go, we need to move everything now and make sure it doesn't get wet and covered in sand. But I sat there and I just couldn't care less,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

No, it doesn't matter, does it?

Dan Frost:

it did come in and everyone's flip flops and chairs and bags were all in the sea. And I think this is such a surreal day, you know, everything's going on around you, but you're living this real weird life. Um, that day when I told the children that mum was really ill in hospital, it was serious. But hopefully they're going to be able to give her the stent and she'll come back and we'll have the rest of the holiday together. They told me that evening that I could go and see her. And I, I went in and um, I was a bit of a, bit of a mess. I've always tried to keep really strong because I thought I might not see her again. I thought that might've been it. So when I did get a chance to go and see her, she sat up in bed and said, what's wrong? I was like, well, I thought we'd lost you. She said, well, I'm not going yet, you know, I'm, we're going to get the stent done and it'll be fine and I'll come out and then we'll have the rest of the holiday. And then I just went back with that energy just knowing that,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

That she'd managed to give you, even in that stage of her disease,

Dan Frost:

When I think it's when you go for that, knowing that you might have lost someone and then being told that news is such a, a rush. It's just so exhilarating to think. I think we all need a bit of that. I know we shouldn't, but sometimes in life you take people for granted and then, I know we, we know this, we've been through it. You've lost your person, but when you go down the street and you hear couples arguing, you just feel like saying to them sometimes, if only you really knew that you could lose this person tomorrow and you'd never want this situation. I know that's just life, isn't it? But I can remember having that exhilarating, that exhilarating feeling of knowing that I wasn't going to lose it. We've got, we've got another chance.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

there's more time.

Dan Frost:

yeah, so they did the stent. It was, it was tough. That week was really hard because I knew then that we were in, in a real tough situation of not knowing where it was going to go. And I'd, again, I'd got on the phone. You, you kind of look in the information about what stents do. And, they were right as well, a stent can, should usually give you about another three months. Because in the end, a stent can't contain them blockages, it's just opening it up for a certain amount of time until things get worse. But it was just a matter of buying some time and it did that for us.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And I'm thinking this is kind of the desire for Lisa to stay around, obviously for you but also for the children. You, as a mother, you, you, father of course, I can't just speak for mother but, the idea of missing a second of your children growing up must be so scary. And, I'm sort of struggling to put it into words, really. Um, because I often think about Sarah, and how knowing that she was going to leave Holly without a mum, and John without a wife, and to know that that's coming. Yes, you can have the conversations about it, should you wish to, but you're waiting for that, um, what was it? Out in the hammer to drop, you know, you're just, you're living under this fear. Um, it's,

Dan Frost:

living a, a kind of a false life. It is torture, every moment is torture. But she, that went, the stent was successful, she came back out of hospital, the day I went to bring her out of trial hospital was the best day ever because we'd got, we'd got her back for a little while and she couldn't do much back at the site. She sat and rested and Lisa knew that she wasn't able to do much, but she got to see James and Amber do a bit of swimming and it was then preparing for the trip home. And then we were then told that all the information had gathered at Truro, which I must say Truro were absolutely amazing. I'd got told, there was something, a little snippet there, I'd got told via phone call from one of the nurses, when I'd rung in one morning, that Elisa's cancer had spread to every other organ. It was a case of she'd have to go home straight away for palliative care, and I need to call the family. And I've told two girls next door this, that, that Lisa's two friends have gone and relayed that information. And it's just so, it's really, it was so weird because we're obviously then thinking it's got so much worse. Then that same afternoon, the doctor had rung me and said that information I'd just been given was false information. They'd made, they'd had a problem that day at the hospital. And they'd given me information with somebody else's records. So although Lisa's

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh my god.

Dan Frost:

although the cancer was bad and she'd had the stent, it hadn't actually spread to the esophagus or the lungs or the brain. So I then had to go and have a sit down meeting with the doctor at Truro and he had to apologize to him to say, look, we've had a really bad day. Yeah, Lisa's got, it is severe, but what the information you were told earlier about it being a rush job back home, that isn't, it's bad, but it's not that bad.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yes.

Dan Frost:

in yourself all them situations all the time being,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Bloody hell.

Dan Frost:

yeah, but we got our back end. She had the rest of the holiday and a long journey home. And then after that, it was, it was an appointment at, um, at the hospital to check on the information which was given to us from Truro. And they then told us what we're going to do now is we're going to monitor it each month and then plan on immunotherapy and hopefully it will stabilize.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

What is immunotherapy? I probably should know this in my line of work, but what is it?

Dan Frost:

It's another, it's another way of treating Treating the symptoms and treating the cancer of trying to shut it down, stop it spreading. It's not, and

Rosie Gill-Moss:

and we're talking buying time

Dan Frost:

Yeah, yeah, it was, it was, of course we knew then it was, we'd been told months before it was terminal. But we were told then that it was something that we need to just hope that we can still keep getting through these months. Make sure we monitor it and keep, keep on top of, of all the appointments. So we were still again,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

of people living years with terminal cancer, don't you?

Dan Frost:

And that's

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I mean, I know

Dan Frost:

even after a stint, we thought that, but we really didn't know that when we came back from Cornwall, we'd only got till December, that was a trouble. So we'd got, Lisa's wishes were straight after the holiday was to have a trip into town and get Amber's ears pierced. She wanted to make sure that was done. And that was our real last trip into town together as a family. I'd got some time that day with them. And, uh, she sat with Amber and got her ears done. We had a little walk around town until she'd had enough, then came home. Um, September was a pretty good month. It was, it was weird because that month was no chemo, realizing what we'd just been through in Cornwall and being thankful for the fact that we'd got home and being quite. quite sort of open to the fact that we knew where things were going, but we just had to make the most of every, every moment. And then, uh, Going through all this as well, I'm still trying to train for two marathons. I've got, I'd done, um, I'd got Brighton and London coming up. So I decided to do back to back marathons for Bauer Research UK.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

As you do.

Dan Frost:

Yeah. So I'm trying to train for them. Then thinking to myself, I was a bit worried about going down there because I'd booked everywhere for Lisa to come as well. So she could support me, but she was clearly not well enough to come. So I said to her, I'm gonna, I'm gonna just cancel them. And I think everyone will understand that obviously I've raised the money. They've got the money, but I'll try and defer it until next year. And she said, no, you've got to go and do it. It's good for you. It's what you've trained for. It's kept your head in the right place.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

was going to say, I bet it helped your head immensely.

Dan Frost:

So you need to go and do it. Take, take a couple of, take your support group with you. Yes. few good friends, which, you know, they're amazing. Um, they came with me and we did Brighton, which was just ridiculous. It was a really hot day. I hadn't, I trained really hard, but how could I find the time to really train properly when I'm, you know, I'm fatigued anyway, by having them, them nights and days. No, I wasn't really, I was fit enough to do it. I'd done the running, I'd done the long runs, but. Um, I, I was, I was too fatigued. I'd lost too much weight myself because I hadn't really been eating properly because I was more concerned about Lisa. But I did it, I did Brighton and then about two, three weeks later, went and done, done London. But for me, it was just, just do them for Lisa. So if she, she can see me do them, that's something that, that she can be proud of as well. So. Yeah, she got to see me on the TV and do the London Marathon, so

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I wish I'd done London.

Dan Frost:

was an experience like no other, it really was, I mean, I'm just, if anyone ever gets a chance to sign up and do it for a

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Don't, don't, because I know what I'm like, I know what I'm like. I run about two miles every couple of days and I immediately went to, I'm going to do the London Landmarks half and then it'll be the London Marathon. But at the moment I'm trying to keep my running for pleasure because I found training for a marathon very, very hard and, I mean, I was in active addiction at the time so it didn't help. But it's It enabled me to, uh, in fact my dad bought me a book, I don't know whether you've heard of it, actually, called Outrunning the Demons. And it's a collection of stories of people that ran because terrible things happened to them. And it is my kind of, I'm not a runner, I'm not built like a runner, I'm never going to win any races. But there's something about using your body to be free and the power of your own body. pushing you forward at a time when you feel like you can barely walk through treacle. And I said to you just before we came on, Mike, look at me making this all about me, but when I crossed that finish line of the, I did the Manchester Marathon, um, I noticed I didn't say I ran, I ran most of it. And I remember holding Tabby in my arms and Monty's hand tucked with and crossing that finish line. And just feeling like, I'd done something incredible, you know? Something that the old me would never have been able to do because I can't even remember what I was saying to Ben. Do you reckon I could do a marathon if I put my mind to it? And he's like, no. So, yeah. Um, but I don't know if I could have necessarily trained for one whilst going through what you were. I mean, it's

Dan Frost:

think it was because I'd, we'd raved so much. The first one in Brighton was 426. And

Rosie Gill-Moss:

still so good.

Dan Frost:

a lot of people, um, towards the end were just keeling over with heat exhaustion because it was an exceptionally hot day, September the 12th, 2021. A real hot day. I'd gone off too quick. I'd got, I was silly. I'd gone, I'll be fine. I'm going to crack a sub four first time, which was really silly idea. And went off too fast. Just hit the wall. First time I'd ever hit the wall and it really hurt. And I learned a lot about marathon running in one day there completely. So London three weeks later was 4. 06 because I'd managed my hydration

Rosie Gill-Moss:

close.

Dan Frost:

So close. Yeah, it was so close as well. But I think it was the experience of London which was more

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh, I wish I'd done. I couldn't get into London. So I googled the flattest one and dragged a friend with me. And our aim was sub six hours. So you can see where my fitness level is compared to yours. And we came in, I came in actually before her and at 59 minutes. It's, I don't know, it's 42 seconds or something and I was like, Yes! I did it in under 6 hours.

Dan Frost:

The time shouldn't be, shouldn't be a focus, it's just finishing. I've always said to everybody, it's finish line, not finish time. We're all different, you know, it's still an

Rosie Gill-Moss:

even able to commit to something, stick to it, and do it. Which, I think just doing that is an achievement. Anyway, we have completely gone off on one of, uh, a

Dan Frost:

yes, I'd, I'd done the marathons.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

the hell that was your

Dan Frost:

that's it. Yeah, we got out, got out of it there for a bit, didn't we? Um,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, we escaped.

Dan Frost:

we'd got to September and October, done the marathons, and, and Lisa had decided that we'd have one, one more week away in the October half term up to the Norfolk Coast. That was her wish. And I'd said before, I don't think this is a good idea. You're really not well enough. She wanted to take our dog with us as well. It's a Labradoodle, which was only about a year old at the time.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I've got a golden doodle.

Dan Frost:

yeah. And you know what they're like, really energetic and R1 especially. Um, but I'd, I'd done it. I said, we've, we've, we've got to go for her. We've got to give it our best shot. So we went up to Chrome away. We took all the meds up there with us, all the morphine. We'd, we'd spoke to the, the um, Macmillan unit about what we might need. And then, we were then also in touch with the, the hospice team, the pain team to get advice off them. So we were given like five mil of oxycodone per night and more if needed. So it, it was just a matter of getting through that week and we'd even taken a wheelchair up with us just to try and perhaps get Lisa out. And still at that point in time, I still thought that we'd have more time. I remember sitting with a friend saying, let's get to Christmas, get through Christmas, and then what we'll do is we'll sit and have a proper chat with the children and tell them exactly where we're at and that we might only have weeks left. Um, so Croma went, it didn't go well. It was, uh, we're, we're in a caravan with the dog, two children and Lisa up all night in, you know, settling for an hour or two, but then needing more pain relief. So I'm, I'm literally awake 24 seven, um, trying to keep, keep things going. But the thing is, before that, it was like that at home. So there was no respite then. It was just a matter of, you

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Doing it in a smaller

Dan Frost:

out fires every day. And in a smaller space, somewhere different where you're, you're not used to it, was, was even harder. But we stuck it out and we, I'd, Lisa would stay there in the day. and rest, and I'd take the children with the other friends down, just down to the beach for a walk. and the weather, weather was quite good that week for October so we managed to do a little bit. And then it got to the Thursday and Lisa had phoned Kara and said, Kara was, was, had visited us that week and Lisa had said to her, I'm ringing you because I don't want to upset Dan. I need to come home. Can, if Dan's too busy, can you, can you organise for someone to come and get me? And I said, no, I'll definitely take you home. Don't worry. It's fine. You know, we've, we've done our best. So I managed to, to keep the children there with our other friends. I brought Lisa home straight to the doctors, got all the medications she needed, and she stayed at home with her mum for the rest of the week. It was only another day or two. Then I went back up the Norfolk coast on the Friday to pack everything up, to get back for the

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I can come back again.

Dan Frost:

to try and look at the issue we've got. come in. Basically it was, it was getting a lot worse. We're mid October and there just didn't seem any, any way out. It was just getting to the point where we were struggling to cope and it was getting to both of us. I think when you're really close and you need to vent, don't you? You need to take it out on someone and how much, it doesn't matter how much you love each other. Lisa had me there all the time. So it was going to be me that got some flack and I could see from what she was going through that she needed to tell someone and she would lay there. There was, there was nights where she'd lay there and say, Dan, I don't want to be here anymore. And for someone that loved the children that much to say that, to say that she didn't want to be here anymore, to go to show how much pain she was in. Um. Amber's birthday, I think it was a little bit before we went away actually, 17th of October. Again, being a great mum she was, she would always be the one that organised She'd have everything planned out to perfection, I just need to turn up and be there and help. And I knew something was really bad, I knew it was getting serious because, that birthday of Amber's, she'd got a couple of friends stayed over, we'd got some presents on the table, and I'd pop in the room to say to Lisa, I'd say, right, you know, um, We're going to open the presents soon, do you want to get up? And she didn't get out of bed all day. She didn't even see Amber that day. And that's someone that would have done her absolute best to have, to have been there. And that's just really sad. That, sad for her, sad for us to see. Knowing that it got to her that much where she couldn't leave the bed. So yeah, the caravan week came and went. We'd got back from that. And that end of October time, become one of the most more, more emotional nights where November the 5th, we always tried to do a bit of a firework do up here. We'd get the, the, the gang around and, and have, um, you know, the fire pits and, and then have a bit of a do. She said, you've got to do it this year, Dan. I need everyone here. I saw, you know, it's going to be a lot of work. I wasn't being negative, but I could see that she just needed the rest. But. We did it. We had, um, you know, hot chocolates and some food and Lisa's mum helped out as well. And I can remember standing outside and looking in the windows and could see Lisa sitting there and it was, it was her way of having everyone round here. And, and a little bit of a weird way of saying it, but it might have been a way of her, her way of knowing that it might be the last chance she gets to see people properly. And to. perhaps say goodbye, but do it in a less discreet way. Yeah. Um, because she got to eight o'clock that night and said, I can't take it no more. I'm just going to have a lay down. And she's got so tired. Um, but we did the night for her and it went as well as it could. That was November the 5th, obviously. Then we had some really tough nights where we were up all night. not managing too well with the pain. Um, we had to put a lidocaine patch on her back, which was meant to, that's got like an anesthetic way of dealing with some back pain. She was on steroids to reduce the tumors in the liver. I'd then, times where I'd lay beside her and put my hand on her waist and I could actually feel the, the, the lumps, the tumors. It was weird where you'd just think. How is this happening? And it's that shocking realisation that, why? And, um, she'd, we'd got to that point where we couldn't keep it at bay. The pain was too much, so we'd have the pain team round. They then said that we'll have to apply for a bed at the hospice. It might take a day or two, but we're going to try and get you in as soon as we can. Hopefully for some respite. Uh, that was on the Tuesday, they went at 10 o'clock in the morning after a visit, they'd got me and Lisa from the living room and checked her over, by 12 o'clock they'd already phoned up and said, actually we've already got a bed here, can you come in? And that was that quick, we've got to move, let's pack a bag, and bless us, she stood up and it was like, right, we've got to get this done. And she got up, packed a bag. I was quite angry because I just thought this might be the last time she sees home. And we drove to town, drove to the hospice that day, and it was just a real flat, quiet journey. Like I said earlier, no, no, they were at school and, uh, they weren't in the house, um, thankfully. We went off and it was just like we'd, we'd been beaten. That was like, you know, this is it. We can't do any more. We've tried it all ourselves. There's nothing more we can do at home. But we were hoping that she'd go into the hospice for a couple of days. And I've got to say, the St. Nicholas Hospice in Bury were absolutely amazing from start to finish. Everyone there, they were just all angels. Uh, we'd, we'd got there hoping it was going to be a couple of days and then home again. And unfortunately it wasn't. She left home on the 16th of November. And five weeks later, she died on the 19th of December. Um, and Lisa dealt with it very privately. Whereas during that five weeks in the hospice, she only saw me and the children. She saw her mum twice. She saw my mum once. And, and she only saw her friends the night or two before she died. But I, that was my decision. to do that because I felt at that time I had to try and open up and give others a chance to come and see her. Because if I didn't, it would just have been me sat there and I don't, don't think I'd have lived with myself afterwards, if you know what I mean. I would have felt too guilty. So she kept everything really private. She didn't want people seeing her in that condition. So, yeah, we, we were five weeks at the hospice and watching the bowel cancer take hold was just That's just something that you shouldn't have to see. It was just, uh, incredibly hard. Yeah,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

a version of them that you don't recognize because they can become, they can hallucinate, they can become quite angry or aggressive, and it's not directed at you, um, it's, it's a side effect of this evil fucking disease. That must have been very challenging. I'm, I'm assuming that, that, that, um, Lisa experienced similar sort of episodes.

Dan Frost:

it was. It was challenging. There was a time towards, towards the end where It's quite a private thing to sort of talk about. It was, she needed to go to the toilet, and they'd got a commode in there. And I said, look, I can help you get on the commode. I can, I can help you. That's what I'm here for. And she just broke down and started crying. And she said, can you just get out? I can't handle it now. I don't, I don't want you to see me like this. I said, well, I'm here to help. So the nurses came out and I went off and she said, Dan, go and get a coffee, come back, we'll help Lisa out. And Julie, the nurse came out and said, um, you've got to understand that she's still really conscious that, you know, you are a husband and this is something that she, the last thing she's going to want you to see at this point, even up to that, that moment, she was still thinking about what I might or might not see. And

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Well, cancer

Dan Frost:

be the same.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

it strips the humanity from you. It strips everything from you. Um, you know, it's taken her hair, it's taken her bowel, it's taken her, her life. Um, and perhaps her dignity she felt was the only thing that she could cling on to at this point.

Dan Frost:

Yeah, she was, she was selfless towards the end. She really was. Um, even towards the, the hospice team, she would always put them first and not worry about what she really wanted. But the hospice to her was a sanctuary. She's, she's documented that, but we never really got a chance to say a goodbye. There wasn't none of that because We'd, we'd thought there might be that time where we could sit and talk, but then there was that turn of the tide where things got progressively bad quicker and she became a lot more kind of out of it and then there was no way I could have a proper conversation with her then. It was just a matter of put, put on a brave face. So when she saw me, she thought things were still normal. It'd come full circle where she was. On the ball, right up until the end. But then there was that last few days where even you could see on, on the, the record of her text messages, she was really quite really good at grammar and spelling. Her texts were always spot on, but that was really vague towards the end. Like, uh, uh, a really weird message, which you couldn't work out. So the morphine had obviously taken more of an effect. And you

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I think Sarah thought there were chickens in the room at the end.

Dan Frost:

Yeah, yeah, we had a few things like that with Lisa, but, so you're watching that deterioration in front of you, knowing that you want to say what you want to say, but that's not the right thing to do it in front of her then, because it's going to make her feel worse. So she'd phone up my mum and dad and say, I'll be home for Christmas. Don't worry. I'll be out soon.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

So she didn't want to accept.

Dan Frost:

No, she didn't. I think she phoned, uh, she, 19th of December.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Were you

Dan Frost:

I think she, she phoned up on like the 17th, my mum and dad and said, you know, I won't be much longer. I'll get out soon and I can have a Christmas with you. But I sat there knowing that it wasn't going to happen, but, um, the hospice dealt with it brilliantly.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I interrupted you there just to ask if you were with her at the end.

Dan Frost:

Yeah, yeah, I was right, right. I was there and I'm glad I was

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I'm

Dan Frost:

and it could have been different because that morning. Um, I'd been there with her right through that Saturday night, and I didn't tend to do that because I had to get home to keep things normal for the kids. Because it was a Saturday night, there wasn't that rush, and I knew obviously it was getting a lot worse. So I decided, so that, that Saturday evening, we'd had a lot of people come up to the hospice that night to, to say their goodbyes, and I hadn't really seen Lisa that evening because I was. My job was to orchestrate it all and organize it all. So you're kind of getting people in the hospice, making sure they do the, the tests for COVID. Then kind of limit the time they spend with Lisa because you don't want to tire her out too much. And the whole evening just went and it was so exhausting because you've got that emotion of watching everybody say them last, last words to her. Then we had James up there as well. and the panic on his face when he knew that this was going to be the last evening with his mum. He went in to see her and then I had to have a few more honest words with him and then he decided to walk back down the corridor in a panic and just sit with her. So I went in with him and he sat on the chair, I sat next to him and I think that one of the main reasons he's doing so well now is because they've got time. to sit together and say the most, uh, it's got to be the most difficult time of his life. Where she said to him, James, be kind, look after Amber, look after dad. It'll all be okay. And I'm sitting there holding his hand while he's holding Lisa's hand. And it's like, you're looking down on it as if it's some kind of bad nightmare, but it's real life. But then you're also thinking. These words might be the most valuable thing that he ever hears because there is, there's going to be no more time. And this was the Saturday evening and she died on the Sunday afternoon. So he got that, he, he got them, they said goodbye to each other, which as heartbreaking as it was, means so much. Um, then on the Sunday, we, it was, I'd spent all Saturday night there with her holding her hand and she'd got a hand mount around my little finger. Um, and I knew then, because she'd got, like, it was just a case then of giving her a glass of water when she needed it, and the glass of water had a straw in, and it would be normal drink through the straw, and she got so weak she couldn't suck up through a straw, so that the hospice nurse gave her, like, one of them little, like, the kids beakers with the little teat things on, so she was having one of them.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Carry on.

Dan Frost:

She'd got this, this beaker of water, and she'd just shake my hand when she needed a drink. And it got to, like, half six in the morning, and the hospice nurse said, Right, are you going home, Dan? I was like, well, I think I'll stay. But I should go home, really, because I need to go home and have a shower, and have a few hours sleep so I'm ready for the next day. Because I obviously didn't realise it was going to happen that next day. Came home, and they said to me, if you don't go now, You're going to have to wait another hour because we're going to see you to another patient. So that kind of gave me the, the urge

Rosie Gill-Moss:

impetus.

Dan Frost:

Yeah, so I need to get back. Went back and came back up that afternoon. And Lisa's mum was there with her brother. And her friend, um, Sarah was there. And it was just the usual routine of you go in, let the others go in first, I'll just sort of hold, hold the fort and make sure everything's all right, make some cups of tea. And then Sarah went in to see Lisa and she came out within about 10 minutes and said, Dan, I think you need to go in. And I just, something came over me. I just knew, I just knew that, that that's weird. Why, why would you say that? And I went in and then she said also, um. Can I have my mum in here as well, and Billy, a brother? And we sat in there, and I'm not, I'm not a spiritual person really, I'm, I'm open minded. But it was like she knew what was happening. It was, it was to me, I'm going through this process, I don't know what's going to happen, just be here with me, hold my hand, and this, this is how it's going to play out. And I was, I was petrified. Lisa's mum was there with us. And she was obviously really upset. Then Lisa said, I just want Dan in the room now. So I'm in there on my own. And the nurse had said, look, this, if you need anything, just give me a shout. Lisa's wriggling about really in discomfort. And I, it's to that point where you just think, what is going on? How can this be happening? Because it's the worst thing, isn't it? It's the worst thing you can ever see. And, uh, She battled right to the end. She, she was conscious right to the end as well. Um, and we've since found out when I'd got letters back from the, from the hospital that it was more than likely a cardiac arrest right at the end because when it's a young person fighting cancer at the last moments, their heart is still quite healthy. So their heart really tries its hardest to fight it. And in the end, It can't do anymore, so it, it just, it was quick towards the end, but it, it wasn't nice. It was just really difficult to watch. And then you don't, you can't unwatch that, can you, you know, you can't erase that from your mind. It never goes. Think

Rosie Gill-Moss:

permanently on B roll in your head, right?

Dan Frost:

Yeah, definitely. Yeah. Yeah.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I'm so sorry. It's made me cry. I am so sorry. And I don't know whether it's the thought of sitting having to have that conversation with one of my children, having a son the same age, you know? Um, I don't know. It's, it's just so, so Waste of a, of, of a life. And then, and then a woman who sounded so full of life and love and kindness and compassion. And I know it's such a cliche, but why did the fucking good ones go first, man? It's,

Dan Frost:

Yeah, it's definitely right. Yeah. You shouldn't,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

assholes out there.

Dan Frost:

there's so many. Yeah. And they live to their like 90 don't they? I know we shouldn't be bitter, but

Rosie Gill-Moss:

we can't help it. We're allowed to be a bit bitter, Dan. We're widowed. We were allowed a little bit of

Dan Frost:

We should, but then the next morning we're here and then I've got to tell Amber. And how do you tell

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Oh, I was just gonna say to you, I

Dan Frost:

know, you, you have to find them words that get, and if you can, I've always said, if you can get through that, you know, you've, you've been there, John's been there and everyone else that follows the show, if you get through them situations in life and have to go through them really uncomfortable times, you come out a different person. I think if you can survive that, you'll always be a strong person. You'll always be. able to deal with things as well as you can. You can have your bad days, but I just thought to myself, well, we've just got to do it. And there's no easy way of telling

Rosie Gill-Moss:

You don't have a

Dan Frost:

there's no chart. And I think I walked in the living room two or three times and walked back out again. So I can't do this. And my friend said, you've got to Dan, and there's, she can't wait. So I just bundled her up and just said, I'm really sorry. It's mom's gone. And, um, she was really unwell, in so much pain. And again, I don't know if anyone can relate to it, but when, when Lisa was in that pain towards the end, and don't take this the wrong way, you don't will them to go, because you shouldn't do, but you just want to, you don't want to see them go through it anymore. You know, once they've gone, that the pain is, pain is finished. And then there's that release as well, when it hits home, but you know it's going one way, so why, why see them suffer anymore? So,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

yeah. And it's, it's, John's spoken about this to me, and he said it's a really conflicting emotion because you don't want them to die, of course you don't, you don't want to never see them again, but you also cannot bear watching the person you love in that level of pain, and To know that there is absolutely no coming back from it. You just want them to be free of the pain.

Dan Frost:

Yeah, that's all you can, it's, it's so tough to, to come to terms with, but it's then over, isn't it? And then you start that, that process of wondering. Where you go next and

Rosie Gill-Moss:

what the fuck do I do now?

Dan Frost:

It's a different world, isn't it? Yeah, you're not,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

you're not the same person. You're not you you are a very different person. The world you inhabit is different. Um, every everything changes. And people tend to think you've lost your spouse, which is awful, and the children have lost their mother. But it's it's the loss of your your your best friend. And you're, you know You're confident, the lack of physical touch, it's, you lose your future plans, you, you are left as the keeper of the memories. And we talked a little bit in wash up that we put out today, it's Friday today, isn't it? Um, about this kind of responsibility of being keeper of the memories and you can become almost obsessed with it. Um, I have to say that being a dad, a widow dad, sounds tougher because you don't necessarily have that female network around you anyway. You know, you've got, John has talked about, you know, do people want their kids staying around the single bloke's house, you know, it's all a

Dan Frost:

that, yeah, last Friday, Amber had her birthday and on the Friday night she'd got this teepee set up, um, cosy dream set up, which is like all these little teepee tents in the kitchen here. And I'd got Amber and five school friends. It was an amazing set up, but Lisa would have been, come on girls, you should go to bed now. You know, your mum would want you to go to sleep now, it's getting late. I've got four or five girls running around the kitchen flat out, and I, I can't really tell them. I can only be subtle with what I say, because I'm a bloke. I'm, I'm like, right girls, it might be enough now, you've slipped over far too many times, or you've got, had 11 o'clock at

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, there's now three kilos of Haribo in you. Yeah, I think in those situations you just have to let it go. I had um, we, I bought a bell tent because I'm impulsive like that and because it costs less than hiring one. So we've had it up a couple of times in the summer, and one year I had Holly and her mates, but it was for her tenth birthday actually, too. I decorated it, and I slept out here in the studio. We have a guest bed, and I slept out here with the tent outside, so I thought, I'm not sleeping in the tent with them. But the house felt a little bit too far away, so I slept in the annex. I got about as much bloody sleep as they did. Um, but that's, even though you're managing to do that, you're managing to throw birthday parties. Like, be

Dan Frost:

have to show up, Rosie, you have to show up. That's what I've said before. There's no right or wrong. You can't judge anyone for how they deal with this. You shouldn't do. We're all different. But one thing you've got to do when you've got children, you have to show up each day.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, you do.

Dan Frost:

there's no getting away from it. The children need you. And if it's my job now to do that for Lisa, if I didn't, I'd be letting her down.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah,

Dan Frost:

then that's why the fundraising, we've fundraised now for, since I started doing the marathons, with, as a group. With the hikes, the girls walks, everything we've done, the dinner dances, we've now nearly touched 50, 000 pounds.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Goodness me. That's incredible. Well done. You,

Dan Frost:

support, a support group together, um, and friends and family, local businesses have all supported us, been really positive about the journey. Um, it's helped me with the, with the fitness and the running. It's helped us as a group

Rosie Gill-Moss:

are you still, still running? Eh?

Dan Frost:

Yeah, I'm, I'm doing this this month. Yeah, I'm terrible. I don't stop. I'm doing 5k or more a day in November for men's mental health awareness.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Nice.

Dan Frost:

yeah, just, and I think for me it's just keeping a target and keep out there, keep going, get, keep

Rosie Gill-Moss:

it you, the ice baths as well?

Dan Frost:

No, I haven't, I've never ice bathed. I, I've, I've not tried it yet. I know it's meant to be a good thing, but.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

We do it so.

Dan Frost:

it good?

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Yeah, well we started off with one of the inflatable ones, which is sort of like a tall paddling pool that you fill with, but they're quite labour intensive because you have to keep putting ice in them, and especially in the summer to keep the temperature down, and they get a bit gross, but the mental health benefit for me has, I mean it's difficult because I'm trying so many things, but I find it really helps with clarity, so I do seven minutes at seven degrees, and I do a seven minute meditation while I'm in there. Obviously I've got to overdo it, haven't I? Um, and then quickly run down the garden in my, uh, dry robe and into a boiling hot shower. But it's, it seems to be doing something. My energy levels are better. Um, I'm finding that I'm able to stack my thoughts a little bit better and not get quite so overwhelmed. Yeah, I mean, you can pick up the inflatable ones for about 70 quid. So they're always worth a try if, um, before you go as full throttle as we do and get one that's plum, uh, electric. But it's a

Dan Frost:

That sounds good, yeah, I think I'll give it a try, but it's just,

Rosie Gill-Moss:

get see.

Dan Frost:

it's really helped that. That being positive in an adverse situation has really helped with, with and creating a legacy as well. It's kept Lisa's name out there and, and it's given us all a purpose, more of a purpose. So I don't know how much further we'll go on. I think I'll always run, I'll always do something active, but how much more we can ask for, but everyone has been so amazing with, with the sponsorship. And, um, You know, and I've done stuff now that I could never have dreamt I would have done ultramarathons running like 30, 40 miles, but it's just something that it's made me a better person and to come out of this, to say that as well is, is something that I didn't think I'd ever say. I thought I was going to end up being a really angry bit of person. And being angry at the world because of what happened. I could have quite easily been, don't get me wrong, I still have my days where I am. You know, it's shocking. And it's hard, but that's been the one thing that's helped me, just getting out and trying to do the events and stuff, so.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And it gives you a, a sort of, uh, a purpose outside of the family and work. And this is what I always say about the marathon is I wouldn't have dragged my, my backside out for a run three times a week in training. I'd have said, Oh, I'll do couch to 5k and then stopped. But because I knew that I had money raised, that there was an expectation for me to do this, and because I'm quite stubborn, I You know, I mean, I, I rent out running so hung over, I threw up in bushes. I mean, I was not, I was not in the best physical state for running a marathon, but I look back now and I think, I think of that person as a girl, not a woman. I mean, I was 30 or something, but I look back at that girl and I just think you led a sheltered life, you know, I had issues as a teenager, but you. You, you pulled yourself back and you, you did something physical that you didn't think you could do just to prove that you could. And I think that's what it was. I think it was to prove that I could still do things because I've, I was very protected by Ben. He, you know, he, he took care of, really, really good care of me. Um, as does John, but I feel that I have to keep pushing myself to try scary things like a cold bath, you know, just things that are scary, but not dangerous.

Dan Frost:

Yeah, I can relate to that a lot, Rosie, because I think, well, it's still really difficult, isn't it? What we have to think about every day. And sometimes you just need that test every now and then to make sure. Things are still there, it's just that you're still you as well, you've, I think we're, we're kind of pushed into this, we've got to make a go of our lives even more now, because of, you, know, with, with you losing Ben and with Lisa and the same with John, we've all been through that process and we have to make a go of it now, otherwise it's, it's two lives lost then, isn't it? And you do have a choice, yeah.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

oh, that's, that's, that's just exactly, yeah. How we feel, it is that, and I was just like you, I was going to be this miserable old drunk, probably, just sitting spitefully, commenting on people's posts when they had a baby, well you better hope he has one and doesn't die. Um,

Dan Frost:

up. Yeah.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

veil. Um, or I could, Um, and I can just drag myself out when I don't feel like it and I can do the school mom where I have a lovely network of friends and I've took my kids on holiday on my own and you, you just keep fighting. You keep fighting. I learned how to run a wood business. I mean, I never thought that in my, saw that in my

Dan Frost:

Yeah. I couldn't be hearing about that on your, on your talks. That was just, Yeah.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

barely speak a word of French trying to deal with a guy in France, but you become a version of you that people say to you, Oh, you're so brave and so strong. And nobody had ever said that to me before. I was, I suppose.

Dan Frost:

before. I was

Rosie Gill-Moss:

I don't know, like, look, I get quite, Pat quite looks after and then people say, Oh, you're so, you're so strong. And I'm thinking. But I haven't really had a choice. But I do think you do have a choice. Because the other choice is that you lay in bed with a bottle of vodka and your kids get taken into care. Or somebody has to come and look after you and them. Or that you die because you don't take care of yourself. So it is a choice to be brave and it is a choice to be strong. And I I can only speak from what I've heard from you today, Dan, but I think you're incredible, and I think that your children will, if they haven't already told you, will tell you soon how proud they are of you and how much they appreciate it. Mine have just started to actually, and it means the world. And for everything you're doing, the fundraising for sharing this story so honestly, and I don't have as many male voices on here as I do female. So I am always grateful and I know how difficult it is for you guys to open up. So I'm really, really grateful to you, Dan. And I do mean that.

Dan Frost:

really grateful to you. I do mean well. For me, I've found it, it helps to talk the journey through and others that will listen, they might not want to listen and might get bored over it, but, um, it certainly helps. And we should all talk a bit more. I think it's something that we all need to try and concentrate on.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

Take off the capes right throw them to the ground and say all of us are struggling sometimes.

Dan Frost:

Yeah. We have to be honest.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

It has been an absolute honor to speak to you today, Dan. And I'm really grateful that you took the time. And, you know, we've talked for nearly two hours. How lovely is

Dan Frost:

Sorry. Kept

Rosie Gill-Moss:

No, don't apologize. You didn't know. Please don't apologize. It was, I've really enjoyed talking to you. Which is a strange thing to say when we just talked about the death of your wife. But, um, I wish you and the kids, I wish you Joy, and happiness, and adventure, and thank you for honouring Lisa so beautifully in the way you spoke about her. There won't be a person that listens to this that doesn't think, what a woman. So you've done her a great honour. And this story will be out there for as long as you want it to be. So, Until we meet again, which we will, because you will be invited to, um, any future events and, uh, if I'm down Felix's way, I shall look you up, but for now, um, take care of yourself, okay? You might feel a little bit jarred after this, but, uh, and from, from me and from all our listeners, thank you.

Dan Frost:

Thanks for listening. Thanks for your time.

Rosie Gill-Moss:

And to the listeners, um, if you have been affected by this, you know where we are. And, um, it's going to be a difficult one for John to listen back to this one. So it will be really interesting to hear his perspective on this. But, yes, for now, goodbye everybody. Take care.

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