The last time I completed the Cancer Research UK walk 10,000 steps a day challenge was after I was diagnosed, but before I had chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant for mantle cell lymphoma. My life-saving treatment was successful because of research carried out into this and other cancers, in part funded by this charity.
After my wife’s diagnosis of ovarian cancer last Easter and treatment, Jane is now benefiting from a newly available drug, Olaparib. Again, this drug and the hope that it brings wouldn’t have happened without research.
But research costs money.
So I’m doing this challenge again, in part to improve my fitness, in part to say f*** you cancer, but mostly to raise some more funds for this vital research.
If you can spare a couple of pounds, that would be fantastic. If not, please just cheer me on as I wander around trying my best not to bump into too many people, animals and inanimate objects.
Click here to sponsor me, or the weird bloke in the picture might eat Jane’s head 🙂
How am I?
There’s a simple answer – worried, anxious and fatigued. But that’s far too simple an answer, as I’m also hopeful, grateful and optimistic. I feel as if I’m swinging between these two extremes very easily at the moment. Having cancer, and caring for someone with cancer at the same time, is confusing. Nothing I’ve experienced before has prepared me for this.
All of our family and friends have been hugely supportive during the last few months. Thank you to everyone for all that you’ve done for us so far. Jane’s been home a week and the house is filled with flowers. Surgery was successful and her response to chemotherapy has been amazing. The best her surgeon has seen for someone in her condition, so he said.
The day before Jane went in for surgery I had a one year checkup following my stem cell transplant. That news is really positive too – my consultant thinks there’s a 60% chance that I’ll still be in remission in six or seven years. The pessimist in me whispers that there’s a 40% chance I won’t be, but I’m going to ignore that voice for the moment.
All of these things make me hopeful, grateful and optimistic.
The worries, anxiety and fatigue feel just as real though. All things being equal, I’m a few years away from retirement. I enjoy work. Software AG is a great company, my colleagues are good to be around and I love working with our customers and potential customers. But given how unpredictable our prognoses may be, perhaps it’s selfish to carry on. Maybe I should retire early and focus on making other memories instead. Perhaps there’s a middle way and I can do both. I hope so, but what if I do the wrong thing, make the wrong decision? I don’t want (for example) finance to become a problem if we both continue to defy the odds. And I want us to continue to defy the odds and believe that we will! The Bastard Beast™ isn’t going to push us around.
So I have no answer as to the future at the moment and that’s what I’m finding exhausting, both physically and psychologically. I’m not going to rush into making changes. Jane is an equal partner in my decision making and she needs much more time to recover. I thought that having a stem cell transplant was pretty tough, but it is nothing in comparison to being treated for ovarian cancer.
Join me, my family and friends and say Bollocks to Cancer.
Also please use your vote tomorrow to say Bollocks to Brexit.
The two requests are connected. The development of novel cancer therapies relies on close European and international co-operation. The vacuum left by a mad no-deal Brexit that Farage, half the Tory cabinet and their elitist chums want will kill the sick.
So vote for a genuinely pro-remain party. I recommend supporting the Liberal Democrats as they have the best chance of frustrating the Brexiters, but whatever. Just vote. Defeat the unpatriotic nationalist elites. And tell your family, friends and neighbours to do the same.
This is no time for our great country to become the twenty-first century equivalent of the GDR, isolated and poorer in an increasingly dangerous world.
Today is world ovarian cancer awareness day. This cancer is the 6th most common to affect women – currently around 33,000 in the UK have it.
7,400 more women are diagnosed with this cancer each year. My wife’s diagnosis was in April.
It can strike at any age, but more than 80% of patients are 50 or older. The next highest risk factor after age is a family history of the cancer.
The four most common symptoms are bloating, loss of appetite, stomach pains and an increased need to urinate. These symptoms are often mistaken for irritable bowel syndrome, but a blood test for high levels of a protein known as CA125 can indicate cancer. Ask your GP to perform this test if you’re worried, as early diagnosis helps.
More information and help is available from Target Ovarian Cancer and Ovarian Cancer Action.
Our Australian neighbours seem to have a pants way of raising awareness though …