Fallout from a cancer diagnosis

Stiliyan Petrov to retire from football after leukaemia diagnosis, saying ‘football is over, this is the end’

Reading about the very sad case of Stiliyan Petrov the Aston Villa footballer, prompted me to write about the shock of  receiving a cancer diagnosis. I, like most people never thought that I would receive mine. I imagine that there are a lot of people out there now thinking, if it can happen to a fit guy like him, it can happen to anyone. Very possibly a lot of people are talking/ thinking about cancer for the very first time, having heard this very sad story. It is unfortunate but in the world which we live, we tend to take more notice of something when it happens to someone in the public gaze.

Stiliyan is 32, and has been playing top level football in this country for 13 years. I am just trying to imagine, what he and his family are going through right now. As you can see from the above headline, he has decided to bring the curtain down on his career to concentrate on his battle with Leukaemia.

In recent weeks, a good friend of mine has also been diagnosed with a similar disease. He was very fit previously, and had no history of illness. He is now currently undergoing chemotherapy in preparation for a stem cell transplant if a match can be found. My pal is a self employed tiler. Can you imagine what he and his young family are going through now?

Sure, there is one big difference between the two cases. I wouldn’t imagine that thoughts of financial implications will be worried about too much in the Petrov household, but other than that the issues are very similar.

That is what serious illness is. A great equaliser. Our problems are generally all the same when fighting for life. Whatever we have done in our lives counts for nothing, when facing our own mortality. Whatever money we have earned, whatever title we have, whatever nationality or religion we are, we all face the same issues.

From my experience as an inpatient, we were all there having the treatment we required. No one was interested in what we did for a living or how much money we had or not.We were all patients together facing similar issues. Some will make it through and others won’t. I met some very influential people, but in hospital their influence was the same as mine!

I have mentioned, in previous posts, how receiving a cancer diagnosis is a life changing experience, whatever the outcome. At a stroke, both of the above mentioned guys lives have changed. Also those of their family and friends. They will never look at life the same way again. Nothing can prepare you for that. Everyone handles it in a different way. There is no right or wrong way, only your way! It is all trial and error, and make it up as you go along.But they will need a lot of help and understanding from those around them. How can those people prepare too?

Now you can begin to see the psychological and emotional blows that can be dealt by a cancer diagnosis. As you can see from the above, when it comes down to it we are all similar despite what some of us might think.

I would like to end this post by sending my very best wishes to both the above guys and their families and friends.


  1. Hi Chris from Brian
    As you know I’m a great football fan. When I see cases like Fabrice Muamba and Stiliyan Petrov my initial thoughts are usually about the impact on them as players, their clubs having to perform without them, their rehab and possible return to the game and so on.
    Its only after a while I get things into perspective and recognise there are many other people in the same situation and having to deal with all that goes with illness. You quite rightly say this is a great leveller. Everybody deserves the same treatment, considerations from their family and all the other support agencies that are available.
    One benefit these famous people have is they can use their name for fund raising for many causes from which many benefit, and most do it without any publicity for themselves. However you are doing a great job with your fund raising activities and your fame is beginning to grow with your TV exploit.

  2. Hi Brian
    Many thanks for the above comments and observations.It is always sad when there are examples like you have mentioned, but on the positive side, it does raise awareness, and hopefully improve things for people in the future.For example, before Fabrice Muamba, there have been deaths on the pitch because there wasn’t the right equipment or doctors on hand. Now that has improved, and I would say, that is what saved his life.
    Let us also not forget Gary Ablett, the former Liverpool and Everton player, who died recently of non hodgkins lymphoma. He was aged 46 (the disease I have, is a strain of NHL)
    One positve experience from the TV show is that I will get more opportunities to improve things for people affected by cancer.You are also correct in what you say about famous people fundraising for different causes.I know a lot of celebs who work very hard raising money. Some people are very sceptical about why they do it, but the fact is that they do it! which will make a difference to someones life.
    I hope you continue to enjoy this blog and your future comments will be most welcome. Thanks again, Chris

  3. Hi
    Many thanks for your comment. I’m pleased that you found the article useful,and I look forward to welcoming you back to the blog. There is a lot of interesting content to come!

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