TV presenter Simon Thomas has admitted he's 'wracked with guilt' after not getting his wife Gemma medical attention sooner.
In November 2017, 40-year-old Gemma passed away just three days after her acute myeloid leukaemia diagnosis. Since then, Simon has been struggling with the fact he didn’t get her help sooner.
Acute myeloid leukaemia mainly affects people over 80, and there’s only 3,100 annual cases in the UK. Symptoms of this disease include fatigue, weight loss, unexpected bruising and bleeding, and breathlessness.
Simon’s new book Love, Interrupted: Navigating Grief One Day At A Time looks back at his experience leading up to Gemma’s diagnosis. He talks about her ‘banging headaches’, thigh bruising and constant exhaustion that occurred in the weeks before her death.
In an emotionally charged excerpt, Simon wrote, “Somehow, we ignored its early signs. Gemma had suffered from insomnia ever since having Ethan, and we put the bruise down to a nasty recent fall from a kerb.
“In her final week, she went to the GP twice, but each time was sent home without even a blood test. Whenever I relive that time in my mind, the guilt is always there, nagging away at me.
“I’m still asking myself those same questions: Why the hell didn’t you do something? Why didn’t you pick her up, carry her to the car and take her straight to hospital before it got so bad?”
The couple had one son together, nine-year-old Ethan. In his book, Simon also expresses grief at not being able to have another child with Gemma. After discovering she had a low egg count, the couple tried IVF, but Gemma sadly miscarried at four weeks.
The TV presenter is now dating legal worker Derrina Jebb, who he has described as “an amazing woman who has stood shoulder to shoulder with me in some of my darkest hours and has become a rock not just for me, but for my boy, too”.
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Speaking on Loose Women in December, Simon opened up about entering a new relationship.
He said, “I think you’ve got two choices, you either give up on life and remain in a cage and if some people want to do that, that’s totally fine. It’s not for people to judge.
“I just want to be happy again and I know Gemma would want me to be happy.”