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Alan Monelle

At the age of 52 I had never been in the hospital in my life. Then, out of the blue, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in October 2018. At first, I thought – that’s ok, a bit of positive attitude and I’ll be alright in 6-8 weeks after the operation. But 10 months later I still couldn’t walk properly.

After the surgery, I was told to expect a fairly straightforward recovery. So, when I collapsed in pain around 3 weeks in, I knew things weren’t right. I couldn’t move or speak so I was rushed into A&E. It took nine months, another four or five A&E visits and another operation to find out what was wrong – it turned out that I’d had a post-surgery infection.

After I came back from the hospital, it became clear that I wouldn’t be able to go back to work anytime soon. This was a big change from my usual day-to-day routine. I’d been a telecoms maintenance engineer for same company since I left school 34 years ago and was used to problem-solving and being active. I was now stuck at home, using crutches and a stairlift to get around.

That’s when my wife Sharon and I started talking about how we were going manage financially – we have two teenage daughters so a significant drop in income was going to have a huge effect on the whole family. We were lucky to have some savings we could use until I could work again.

But two to three months became four, and we thought – hang on, we need to do something about this. We had started the process for claiming Universal Credit which was incredibly stressful. I was thinking about other benefits I had access to, and I knew that Foothold could help so I thought I’d give them a call.

Jonas was great – he talked me through the different kinds of support I could have, and applying was really straightforward too. The financial support has alleviated so many problems for us. I can’t express how much it helped. It’s enabled us to live a life rather limit the heating at home or having our daughters miss out on things. We’ve kept life as normal as it can be for the girls – their happiness is the most important thing for me.

We were also able to go away for a few days as a family to Dorset. It was nice to get away from everything for a while – I don’t think we would’ve been able to do it without the support, simply because of the limited finances. It was an absolute godsend for us.

I’m getting better day by day and have just received a job offer which I’m very excited to take up! The last year or so has been a big commitment for the entire family – my daughters are in college now, and have their own challenges, like any other teenager, I suppose. But we’ve dealt with it all as a family, and I’ve always had a smile on my face.

Tips on emotional wellbeing

This means a lot to me and my family.

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