Being told by my Mesothelioma Specialist Nurse that my first CT scan post-surgery and post chemo showed ‘no current sign of the disease’ was an amazing emotional feeling – absolutely fantastic. It felt like the ‘toughest decision of my life’ proved correct at this stage even if the treatment was extremely tough. However, having then spoken to another nurse 2 days later, who said fantastic news Dave, however it could be very different again in 3 months, it brought us back down to earth with an almighty bump! …. We knew that it could come back at any stage, but to hear it voiced, made it very hard to digest and still does! But we still try to remain very positive and feel fortunate that very sadly not many Meso Warriors get to hear this news at any stage and so I am still very lucky!
We had the appointments with Mr Waller (my Surgeon) & then Dr Taylor’s (my Oncologist) Registrar who both reconfirmed the results. Mr Waller advised to go and enjoy life as much as I can, as I am on borrowed time! Not sure I like the phrase ‘borrowed time’ & that is taking us a while to digest, but I understand what he means. He mentioned out of his 400+ patients, he sees 2 groups of patients handling this news and from his experience those patients who get on with life, switch of from meso and try and not get worried about it coming back, fair better… Therefore that’s what we plan to do as best possible. Continue with the positive approach, build my fitness up, get back to work and our ‘new normal’, and most importantly enjoy time with Ali & the kids, family and friends. Ali is now dreaming of trips/ holidays to Mauritius (honeymoon again she wishes!), Disney World etc:… I’m thinking of an EFC season ticket etc!! Mr Waller recommends that so long as no symptoms occur in the meantime, I enjoy Christmas without ‘scanxiety’ and have my next CT scan in January which the Registrar to my Oncologist agrees to, but they will see me in October for a follow up and X-ray still.
So following surgery and chemo, I have now been focussing on nutrition & exercise. Ali has got me on the nutri bullets etc and I have attended weekly sessions with Macmillan & the Giants Basketball team which has helped enormously. In addition, (and for those of you who have known me for years, don’t fall over in shock…) I am paying for a weekly personal trainer. The difference it is making is noticeable and I am getting fitter! I even managed a small jog for 10 minutes and some walking in between to get my breath back in this last week’s heat. It was a struggle but I hope over time it improves. If it doesn’t, at least I will know what my limits are and in the meantime Ali and I can continue to compete on plank times!!! It’s all about learning, understanding and accepting what my body can now do with the one lung.
But, I’m not the only one doing lots of exercise …. Alison’s brother and also her closest friend Emma are cycling the Bike100 next Sunday in London raising money for the British Lung Foundation and Mesothelioma UK – all to give vital money to research for a cure. The 100 miles is a huge challenge in itself, but it’s the sheer dedication and sacrifice of their own time continually building up strength to do this week in week out that also is so impressive and humbling. Simon & Karen and Emma & Andy have been amazing support to us for years but especially in these last 9 months, so if you can very generously donate, it really is much appreciated.
Simon’s page for British Lung Foundation:
Emma’s page for Meso Uk
To close with, unfortunately, I attended the funeral recently of a wonderful family friend – Freda. During the service words that stuck in my mind:
Wives love your husbands
Husbands love your wives
Kids love your parents
Parents love your kids
All – tell them you love them everyday and go and create memories that will stay with you all forever…
I feel fortunate with the cancer I have, that I was diagnosed so early. Many Meso Warriors don’t survive 12 months, and not many get the opportunity to hear the news of ‘currently no sign of the disease’. Recently 2 Meso Warriors of a very similar age to me and diagnosed at a very similar time to me, with wives & young children too have very sadly passed away and therefore those words of creating memories are so prominent. None of us know what’s around the corner, and therefore perhaps we are all on ‘borrowed time’, but I would like to share with you my thoughts that we all need to ensure we create those special memories with family and friends and do all that we can to enjoy life, whilst we can (I bit philosophical for me for a Monday morning I know – maybe it’s all my exercise!! J).
Thank you continuously for all your support, words of encouragement, childcare, donations, supporting Ali and I (it’s the best ‘pass out of an evening for drinks still’!), it still means so much to us. Mesothelioma is now with us forever and we do still have our difficult times so thank you so very much.
Have a great summer creating memories
Lots of love
Dave & Ali xxxM