I’ve got what? Less than 9 months ago I was working, going to the gym most days, playing tennis and planning all the things one does. Life as usual. A trip to the local GP thinking that I was a bit ‘run down’ and had a cold I could not clear resulted in a sudden barrage of tests and medical referrals to the point where I have completed 8 cycles of chemo treatment for non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and recently received the all clear from my doctor.
The next stage was a Stem Cell collection for possible later use which I have recently had completed. Everything moved at lightning speed from the time I was referred to a Hematologist and Oncologist, who has done a fantastic job with my treatment.
Never smoked, hardly ever drink alcohol, not overweight, and lead a moderate lifestyle. Yet when the news of such an illness arrives there is little you can do – past history seems to count for little, but it may just help with the recovery.
Shattering initially, but one has to just mentally adjust and move ahead. I call it the ‘big adventure’ - every experience new from being poked and prodded to injections into the spine to PET and CT scans, one has to have trust in the medical professionals and do what they advise.
The care from the hospital staff at Cabrini Malvern where I have treatment has been fantastic – no matter which shift, or who I encountered there is a consistently high standard.
I managed to maintain a routine as close to normal as possible having only started a new job a few months prior to being diagnosed. I continued to work throughout and would be in the office the day after the chemo treatment, though some days were hard. One reads in the press of the ‘battle’ with cancer. It is not really a battle. It is rather an invasion by an insidious illness that one has no real control over.
Yes, high profile people who have an illness certainly draw attention to it – and I do wish them well and a full recovery. But there are many unsung heroes fighting for their health every day in oncology centres and will continue to do so long after the initial treatment has ended. Their photos or stories may not make the press, but their struggles and the dedication of the medical professionals that support them are no less courageous.
We include these stories to give readers an insight into the experience of cancer. Each experience is unique. Different people react differently to the same treatments, and treatments can vary depending on a person's age, the stage of their cancer and other factors.
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