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Inspiring message from a patient living with cancer. All names have been protected for data protection. 

I am a 77 year old guy with a complex medical history, and have been dealing with cancer since 1994.

 

I was chatting to Adam, my oncology nurse, a few days ago and we were discussing the importance of a positive attitude in living with cancer. 

 

I know it’s difficult.

 

So, a bit of context.

 

In 1994 I was diagnosed with kidney cancer and whipped into hospital 3 days later to have one kidney removed.

6 weeks off work recovering but a complete success. I was regularly scanned for about 2 years until I was given the “all clear” and I could get on with my life as normal.

 

In 2009 my wife was diagnosed with Lung Cancer, which meant looking after her for about 4 years as she battled with the chemotherapy so bravely

 

Just before she passed away, I was diagnosed with a return of the Kidney Cancer and had half my remaining kidney removed.

A few months after that I had a heart attack while I was in a doctors’ waiting room of all places.

Within half an hour I had been ambulanced to the local “Heart Unit” and straight onto the operating table to have 2 stents implanted.

I was in the recovery ward within 2.5 hours from the attack

 

Back home to continue looking after Brenda until she passed away in August 2013.

 

In December 2013 I discovered that my Kidney Cancer had metastasised into my lungs so I started over 10 years of chemotherapy.

 

In the mean time in 2016 I was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer and undertook 6 months of hormone therapy followed by a daily dose of radiation for a month.

 

This was followed by being diagnosed with Type2 Diabetes.

 

I mention all this, not for sympathy, but to illustrate the point of this message.

 

 

 

When people hear about all this, they usual say

You have really been unlucky

 

On the contrary, I say.

 “I have been incredibly lucky, after all, I am still here”.

 

 

I have found over the years, that focussing on the positives makes it much easier to deal with problems as they occur.

 

I like to think of myself as a, 30 year, Cancer Survivor rather than a Cancer Sufferer.

Sure, there is some suffering involved and it’s not always “A bowl of Cherries”, but the big plus is surviving and making every day as “worth living” as possible

 

After I had my first kidney removed, I was only in my 40s and had recently separated from my wife and was raising 2 teenage children.

 

I had plenty to live for but was not sure how long I would last so I resolved to live my life with as positive outlook as possible.

I didn’t expect to still be here 30 years later

My positive attitude has been rewarded by an incredibly fulfilling and enjoyable 30 years despite a few setbacks.

 

Both my children did well at school and went on to graduate at University

 

I met my future wife and married her in 2006

Sadly, she was diagnosed with lung cancer In 2009 and passed away in 2013 just as my kidney cancer reappeared

 

I ended up having half the remaining kidney removed

 

By that time, I was well into my 60s and made a conscious decision NOT to seek a new partner, as I did not expect to be so lucky a third time, with all the baggage that comes with a new partner and I did not want to burden someone with ultimately ending up as my carer. Perhaps sooner rather than later

 

So instead of pursuing a new partner I decided to indulge my other passions, my family and “modern classic cars”

 

So that same year, 2013, I went out and bought myself a yellow 1994 Lotus Esprit.

The car I had always wanted.

2 months later I heard that the cancer had metastasised into my lungs and have been on Chemo and Immunotherapy ever since, over 10 years now.

 

I have made sure that I have made the most of those 10 years, I have been blessed with, and enjoyed them with my family and friends

 

I have also owned the Lotus ever since and fought hard to keep the cancer in the background of my life as I never wanted it to “define me”

 

I am happy to say that people say

Aren’t you the bloke with the yellow Lotus”

 

Rather than

“Oh, you’re the bloke with cancer”

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