Thriving, not just surviving

Cancer is not always the end.

It’s hard, it’s awful, it hurts, it’s scary, it can make you lose all hope.

When I was diagnosed, I literally felt that I had no future. When I look back, I had no hope, mentally, I had just about given up and in my mind, all doors were closed.

Happily, this was just not the case.

I am 8 years passed diagnosis, I have now gone 3 years without any ‘cancer check ups’. I have spent the last few years, rebuilding my life, I have an amazing wife, an absolutely awesome little girl (with another on the way and due soon!). I have a great job and maybe more importantly than all that, I am now a keen runner despite my constant pain (post surgery pain never resolved).

I run a lot, I deal with the chronic pain caused by surgery, the running actually helps with this, combine all that with my work, which is in business improvement, I keep myself busy. Soyou see, I’m not actually a cancer survivor, I am a cancer thriver! Cancer actually changed the direction of my life, it made me really aware of the tenuous grip we have on life and made me realise I needed to really go for everything I want.

If you are dealing with cancer right now, please please do not give up, none of us know the future, you can take control, maybe to a greater or lesser degree than me, but you can control your life, do not be a victim.

Adam.

The first and last!

Below are the first and last posts of my blog that I used to diarise my experience of cancer, not knowing to start with, if I was going to survive.

You can see the rest of my posts here

If you have just been diagnosed, it might give you a good insight into what may lay ahead, I had no idea, so if this helps someone, that’s great.

If you have been diagnosed, have a read and reach out to me, happy to talk more and point you in the direction of great resources.

 

Adam

Quite something

Its quite something….

 

A few years ago, I was dying of cancer.

 

I went through all that, came out the other side, have a successful job, a wonderful wife and an absolutely gorgeous little girl. 

 

 

Do you know what? I’m still here, but I am still affected by cancer. Not the physical, actually having the disease (I hope!), but the mental scars are still playing on the mind, there is still physical pain, but the worst part is the mental scars. Weird, just now I considered suicide, for the first time in many years, just for a moment, and not seriously, but it was just, let’s take these pills then I won’t have to worry about cancer! Of course, I didn’t, but it surprised me, caught me off guard, this is not normal for me, sure, I’ve had my moments when I’ve been down but this was not that, this was just a very casual, screw it, let’s go.

Diagnosis

Hi, so just a little catch up, seeing as I’ve just decided to start this blog now.

For the past year I have had pain in lower right section of my abdomen. I initially went to A+E thinking I had appendicitis but was sent away after some tests showed I didn’t. I then went to my gp who told me I had a grumbling appendix, this I believed and consequently just ignored the pain.

After marrying my beautiful wife Emily on the 7th of January 2012 we registered at our new doctors after moving in together. I went and saw him and he sent me for an ultrasound scan.
On my wife’s birthday, February 10th, a doctor from my old gp surgery rang me up because the hospital had sent the results to them and said I have a lesion on my liver which may be cancer, not a great present for my poor wife.
I have BUPA cover from my employer which i am very grateful for so decided to go private to investigate this whilst the gp arranged follow up through the NHS.
Very soon after this I went to see a liver specialist in the Chaucer hospital in Canterbury, who promptly arranged a ct scan. The ct scan itself was fine but it was at this point that I was going to find out that my veins were difficult to get cannulas into, over the next 3 days there were 7 attempts to get my veins for just one ct scan and an MRI scan!
When myself and my wife went back for the results of the ct scan, the consultant said he was 90% certain this was a hemangioma, basically a large blood blister on the liver but that he was to send me for an MRI scan because of the 10% uncertainty.
MRI scan done, I went back for the results and when he called me in he said “oh is your wife not with you?” this immediately made me suspect the worst. Emily couldn’t be with me as she was working and we were 90% certain all was ok! So the consultant then went on to explain that he was not happy with the MRI results and was going to refer me to a surgeon in London. All of this took a little over a week!
The following week, after having been put on half pay by my employer, forcing me to return to work, even though I was in severe pain, we went to see the surgeon in London at kings college hospital. After some initial discussion he asked me what I knew so far, I told him not a lot! He then told us that I have primary liver cancer. This knocked me sideways. I was in shock and so was my poor darling wife. He then went on to explain that because the tumor is inside my liver, there is too much risk in doing a biopsy for fear of spreading the cancer but that a liver resection would be needed. Basically the man was telling me that he was going to cut out half of my liver and that I had a 30% chance of 5 year survival.

Driving home was traumatic!

I told my employer the diagnosis and, to be fair, they have basically told me not to worry about money now as this changes everything.

I then had to go and have a PET scan at st.Thomas’s hospital, this again was fine apart from the vein issue! I looked at the images on the cd they gave me and decided that actually I didnt have cancer 🙂

I then got a phone call confirming my operation for Sunday 18th of march 2012 and admission on the 17th. I am currently in kings college hospital private ward, nervous as hell lol but grateful for my wonderful wife and that the operation can be done.
I have just spoken to a doctor who has told me that the operation will last 6-8 hours and that I am not going to know much about the next few days. Suits me! I will update this again as I go along.

Love to all my family and most of all to my amazing wife.

Adam.