This time last year I had just seen my GP and we had a conversation about the biopsies that I had had done. The results weren’t back from the biopsies, but we were aware that there was a tumour in the stomach and I was anxious to find out if the tumour was malignant or benign. My GP was not sounding to hopeful about the outcome, and I remember as I got up to leave he also stood up, moved around his desk and hugged me. I only just kept it together, but as soon as I left the surgery I spoke with my wife Leonie and then called my mum. On the phone to my mum I broke down and had to hang up. Although I hadn’t received any results, it had suddenly dawned on me that this could be the beginning of the end.
That night was also the works Christmas party, and I went along. Everyone was enjoying themselves and was so happy, I put on a brave face and made it out like I was having a good time. All the time my own mortality was on my mind, I was asking myself questions like “if this is it, what do I do until the end?” My mind was on different things, and I got drunk to try and forget it. It was a difficult weekend for me and probably one of the hardest, and at this point I was even sure if I had cancer.
Roll on 12 months, and I have had cancer and beaten it. What a difference a year makes. Having being told you have cancer, the whole world changes, your view on the world shifts. It is hard to put it into words but I know many people are delivered similar news and in many cases, worse news than I have got. But at the time, I remember speaking with Leonie and saying that we can’t change anything like this, it is bigger than us and what will be, will be. The most important thing is to stay strong and be positive, and more so if there are kids around. We decided that we would carry on as normal as possible for the sake of the children. I am glad we decided on this, as to them I have been a little ill, but they were never aware that this potentially has the capability to take me away. I was lucky that it was found in time to be treated and removed, and that I still here, and that I have a full life ahead of me again. It would have been devastating if it hadn’t gone this way. I am extremely happy still to be here and able to enjoy time with my family.
This week has been a bit of a mixed bag of events. We visited our friend in Poulton-Le-Fylde on Friday eveing and had a walk around the town to see the lights with the children. Then we had some Christmas drinks in the evening, a bit of mulled wine. On Saturday we took all the children for a walk along the beach at Cleveleys before heading home in the afternoon. Saturday night we went out again to see all our friends. We went to the Ferret on Fylde Road and had a drink and dance, it was good to see so many of our friends out and we all enjoyed ourselves. This meant that Sunday was spent recovering. I was back at work on Monday, but on Tuesday afternoon, I had an appointment with my Oncologist and Specialist Nurse in preparation for another dose of treatment on Wednesday. This Avastin treatment is quite easy to take; it is only a IV drip for half an hour. Before treatment I went to Cop Lane School to see both Oscar and Sidney in their school play, “Children Of The World”. I was so proud of my two little boys, and they looked happy to be taking part. It is amazing how much both of them have developed since starting school, Sidney only being at school since September, and now he is writing all his own Christmas cards and having a part in the school production, completely amazing.
Tonight I am going to the Rosemere Volunteers Celebratory evening at Deepdale and a few of my supporters are coming along with me. I am looking forward to a night out to celebrate all their efforts and help they have shown throughout the last year, there are so many people that I owe a great deal of thanks too for the last 12 months, I am eternally grateful to every single last one of them. This Christmas is a special one, the first one of my new life, my second chance. I will treasure these moments with my family and close friends as I am lucky to be here.