My own diagnosis of cancer back in 2007 unfortunately wasn’t my first close experience of this terrible disease. More than twenty years ago, my mother had breast cancer, and has managed to survive, but my father died of bowel cancer several years ago. Statistics currently show that one in three of us are affected by cancer now, with that figure rising to one in two by 2020! Put that into perspective for a minute, half your friends and family will be affected by cancer, a quite shocking thought. Thankfully, cancer is spoken about much more openly now, certainly more than it was in my mum’s day. I remember very clearly that she did not want to tell people she had the ‘big c.’ But let’s be honest, it is still a very awkward subject to
Archive for the Cancer Support Category
I was always aware that this year was going to be a big one for me and my family, and I am seeing so many important things I never thought I would live to see, and none more so than my youngest son getting married this weekend. Since my cancer diagnosis and poor prognosis in 2007, living to see 2008 was my ambition, but since then I have two grandchildren, my son has qualified as a chartered accountant and is now getting married and my wife has a big birthday later in the year. But if I think back to the many dark days I have had in the last few years, I could never have thought that I would be seeing these events. But hope is something I never lost
The start to my year has been incredibly interesting, and I have been contacted by many different areas of the cancer sector. From large corporate health companies, PR organisations and charities, to private doctors, the mix has been extremely diverse, but there has been a common theme so far, and that is communication. How to better engage with people about cancer? I think we are now beginning to learn that because we have followers, subscribers, likes etc for our social media platforms, it does not necessarily guarantee proper engagement. Unless you communicate in an interesting way, then why will people interact with you? This is something that I have always been aware of whilst talking and writing in the cancer market, and was brought home to me by a recent conversation I had after doing an
These days it seems that every cause has a special day/week/month during the year, and this week Macmillan Cancer Support have Cancer Talk Week. Don’t we talk enough about cancer I hear you ask? Unfortunately not, would be my reply to that, although in my own case I probably do! Of course we don’t need a special week to talk about cancer, but it means that there is a lot more coordinated work being done, and it is not cancer specific. In previous years I have seen many interesting subjects being talked about prompted by this particular week, and in this blog I would like to talk about some of my recent experiences of talking to people about cancer. All very different settings and very different audiences, and how despite my own personal
I have just seen the new advert for Macmillan Cancer Support and my feeling was that it really summed up exactly how I feel at times. Even after more than seven long years there are times I feel totally confused and lost, so it prompted me to share some thoughts about feeling alone.The feeling of isolation is one of the major side effects of a cancer diagnosis, and one that unfortunately is very difficult to deal with. It can be a very destructive force, both mentally and then eventually physically. The first major hurdle is actually recognising the problem,then an even bigger issue is acceptance. If you have never had those feelings it will be very difficult to understand, how someone can feel that way, particularly when they are continually surrounded by family and
As I have mentioned before I like to use the festive period as a time for reflection. A quiet time when I can review the past year, what was good and what wasn’t, and what I might like to do with my time going forward. This will be the first time, I have little physical treatment in front of me, although I do have issues caused from the regular treatment, such as problems with my eyes and some dental work required, so I will still have much to do, to get myself in working order! 2014 was my busiest year yet, and I was invited to do numerous key health presentations, both national and international, and I went to many important meetings to discuss how we can improve things for people affected by cancer.
For most of us, Christmas is a particularly emotional time. An opportunity to spend time with friends and family and away from work and the things that keep us busy during the year. Personally, I have always used this time for reflection, but since 2007 it has a very special significance. It was then that I received a gift, like no other, the gift of life! My stem cell transplant took place on the 19th December and is a time I will never forget. This treatment was my only chance of surviving my cancer, and the cells had been donated by a young man aged 22 from London. No one could say if I would even survive the process let alone continue to live, but I did, and I am!
As many of you may know, this week I finished three years of fortnightly sessions to have my blood treated. This involved being plugged into a machine for up to four hours on two consecutive days. It was very time consuming and tiring but like everything else that has happened since my diagnosis you have to readjust and deal with it. When I started, no one was really sure if the treatment would even work, and if it did, how long it would take, and there is also a combination of medication that I have to take with it, so things are quite complex. I find a lot of this quite ironic really because when I was diagnosed, it was suspected that my cancer may kill me. I was offered a