Stage 4 Survivor

This is one of the easy ones to write, some of you will have heard the news already, so I’ll get straight to the the point. I am clear of cancer. Yes, you read that right, I AM CLEAR OF CANCER. Thursday I was at The Christie to learn the result of the CT scan I had last week, and it couldn’t be much better. OK there is a caveat to that, but let’s concentrate on the good news. We went through the report line by line. Chest – clear. Abdomen-clear. Pelvis-clear. Bones-clear. All my blood tests were fine, liver function test-normal. Kidneys-normal. Bowel – no sign of abnormalities. Lungs- no sign of abnormalities. Liver…….ah ! The caveat. The scan showed up two small nodules on my liver, thought to be benign and small enough not to have to worry about them at this stage. So I won’t, I’m concentrating on the things to celebrate. I’m not sure it has sunk in yet, I was inundated with messages of goodwill yesterday, my phone was going so often that I had to turn it off while I caught my breath. Stage 4 cancer survivor – sounds good doesn’t it. Now all I’ve got to do is keep it going for another 5 years before I become a meaningful statistic.

It was almost two years ago to the day that I first went to see my GP. I could never have imagined what was ahead of me at that time. Chemotherapy, radiotherapy, the blocked bowel that nearly killed me. The surgery to remove the primary tumour. A further 6 months intensive chemotherapy. Surgery that removed two thirds of my liver, followed by the complications that kept me in hospital over Christmas and again took me too close to seeing my maker than I ever wanted. I think the scar count is 17 across my chest abdomen and pelvis. It’s left me with side effects that dramatically affect my life and disrupted my sleep, awareness and even my temperament. And I’m still taking a cocktail of drugs that would knock out an Ox. I didn’t use the horse analogy, I don’t that. Am I grateful? You bet I am. Despite the hurt and pain they have caused me, I bow in admiration at the skill of the surgeons who have rid me of my cancer. Some of the techniques used would not have been possible even 5 years ago and my story would have been so much different. Despite being ‘stage 4 cancer’, I know how incredibly fortunate I have been that I was considered suitable for surgery. The nursing care has been exceptional at times, particularly the intensive care and high dependency units at North Manchester General, and the Critical care unit and ward 10 at The Christie. Again, I consider myself so fortunate that I’ve had my treatment managed by The Christie. 

My god it’s sounding like the Oscars ! My family have been brilliant, I couldn’t have asked for any more help and support. My two wonderful children have been more of an inspiration to me than anyone will ever know. Lew has been with me almost from the start, when I first told him of my illness as we sat among the stones in the sacred space at Glastonbury 2 years ago. He travelled up and down the country to hold my hand. I’ll never forget the look on his face as he was ushered away from my bedside as doctors and nurses gowned up to perform an emergency procedure on me as my condition nosedived following liver surgery. For me the memory of the experience faded quickly. I don’t think the same can be said for Lew. Phew – gulp ! I’m not going to let myself get carried away with euphoria at my ‘all clear’.I have known many others who have been in the same position, only for the cancer to return a few months later. There are also many, far too many, who haven’t been able to complete their journey. You are all in my thoughts today. This isn’t the end, just the beginning of a new chapter, and it’s begun without cancer. That’s a good start and I’m hoping to keep it that way.

And so to Glasto ! Here it is, just days away. Now it’s here I don’t know what to say. Excited – yes. Unprepared – yes. Stressed – no way. I’ve just had the “have you got a spare……..” phone call from Lew. Sleeping bag this time. My lounge and my bedroom are scattered with piles of clothes, camping stuff, guitars, CD’s, medicines, I’ll need a bag just for that lot. Oh and boots. Why did I buy those boots? Panic buy, bad move. I know it will all come together once I start to put things in the car. Must remember though that I’ve got a 100w Fender amp to get in the car also. I haven’t worked out how the hell I’m going to manage that. No I’m not taking it to glasto, there’s no plug sockets silly. I’m hoping Jiiiim phones over the weekend, we need to co-ordinate on burgers,and tents, we need to save spaces. Deb is, as usual taking everything in her stride..i.e. she’s allowing everybody else to take everything she needs. Charcoal, I need to put that somewhere I won’t forget it, so that I trip over it. Today all I’ve got to do is run around sorting things out for other people. Sunday, I have an exciting new venture beginning, hopefully. Watch this space. Monday, last minute panic buying. I’ve got to spend a big wad of notes on things I don’t need for me to be happy. And that’s it, Tuesday I’m off. Once I get there everything will be fine. The plan is, there’s no plan. We’ll be chilling out in the sun, and watching the sunset and sunrise from the Stone circle. Everything else will just fall into place. 

So that’s it. You might get a couple of weeks peace now, no mention of Glastonbury. Don’t you think I’ve gone on enough about it over the last two years? I’m going now, to run around like a headless chicken for a couple of days. Love you all x x x

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This entry was posted in Be Clear On Cancer, Bowel Cancer, Cancer, chemotherapy, Collapsed Lung, colonic stent, colonoscopy, Colorectal Cancer, CT scan, Drug trials, Festivals, Glastonbury, Keyhole surgery, Laprascopic surgery, Liver, Lung Function Test, Manchester, Metastatic Bowel Cancer, Michael Eavis, Music, Oldham, pneumothorax, Posterolateral Thoracotomy, radiotherapy, Rolling Stones, Saddleworth, Springhead, The Christie, Thoracotomy, Uncategorized, Video Assisted Thorasic Surgery and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Stage 4 Survivor

  1. I have waited almost two years to read this blog. So so thrilled for you xx

  2. Utterly brilliant news! It must have seemed endless at times, but you have taught us all to keep going. Now enjoy the summer and Glasto! X

  3. sampshill@tiscali.co.uk says:

    Hi there,

    I have been following your blog from the beginning. I remember your musings on the Glastowatch site too. Iam so thrilled for you that you have had this momentous news just before your beloved Glastonbury. Go and have the best time with your nearest and dearest! What a way to celebrate!

    Love Sarah ps – I didnt manage to get tickets this year. Boohoo. >

    • Thanks so much Sarah, at the risk of upsetting friends, it means so much more when I hear from someone I don’t know (yet). The Spirit of Avalon.So so sorry you didn’t get tickets. I’ll be thinking of you x

  4. Alec Norton says:

    I’m so glad to hear you’ve finally got the all-clear, having read through the ordeal you’ve been through, it’s a relief to know it’s resulted in a happy ending, and just in time for you to enjoy Glastonbury too.

    My hopes go out for a similar outcome for anyone else or their families who are affected by cancer and reading this.

  5. Vicky says:

    What wonderful news and what an inspiration you are.
    *Grinning from ear to ear*

  6. FreeMan TheFestivalSpirit says:

    Hey Mate… I am / we are going to be sending strength waves for you all through the week… Real pleased to know you have had the news you needed and don’t forget you have our utmost…

    Love Peace and Respect
    HummingBird and FreeMan

  7. I’ve not been on twitter or my blog for a while and this was the first one I read! How absolutley amazing!!!!! So pleased for you & hope Glasto is amazing! Lots of love xxx

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