“In 2017, I was diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer and told I only had five years to live. I was 54.
I’d been getting up six or seven times a night to go to the loo and at first treated it as a symptom of getting older and that ‘these things happen,’ but in the back of my mind I was aware that it could be something more serious because my Dad had died of prostate cancer. I do still think there was an element of thinking cancer wouldn’t happen to me though, and it was my wife who urged me to go and see my GP.
My initial MRI came back clear, but I knew something wasn’t right and insisted on a biopsy. You know your body best and it’s important to listen to it.
After the biopsy, I was told I had a particularly aggressive cancer. I found myself sitting down with my two daughters and telling them they were likely to lose their Dad fairly soon. When I look back, worrying about discussing my initial concerns with my GP seems so insignificant in comparison.
In January 2021, I was told that the cancer had mutated again for the fourth time and that I had two brain tumours. If my oncologist is right, I might not be here by next Summer, but I’m responding well to treatment and try to focus only on the next step ahead of me. My goal is to see my youngest daughter graduate in 2023 and I’ve told myself that’s possible. I think it’s important to remember when you’re diagnosed with cancer that your feelings are unique to you. Some people might tell you, ‘you’ve got this,’ but I don’t like that pressure. Just know you’re doing the best you can at the time. I’ve never really thought, ‘why me?’ Because, ‘why not me?’ Cancer can be hard and gruelling and there’s no right or wrong way to feel. That’s where Wessex Cancer Trust comes in.
Throughout our lives, cancer will touch us at some point. Either we’ll be diagnosed or we’ll know someone who is. I have good days and I have bad days. Having brain tumours has meant I’ve had to relinquish my driving licence and I hate not having the independence to ride my motorbike, and I particularly hate the impact cancer has on those close to me. Whatever’s important to you, Wessex Cancer Trust will always be there to support both you and your family, so please lean on them if you need to.
And a final word from me: If you take one message away from reading my story, it’s to please listen to your body. If you think something might be up – however small, please go and see your GP. It’s that simple.”