Meet the survivors and read their stories.
Remember when you were young; you shone like the sun. Now there's a look in your eye like black holes in the sky. CANCER!
In April 2012, the clinical nurse handed me the DS 1500 form so my benefits could be doled out immediately. My bulging eyeballs focused on the words TERMINAL ILLNESS before glancing back at the nurse. I whispered, "This means I'm gonna die."
She held my quivering hand and compassionately responded, " I am so sorry but your tumour is very large and very advanced." I gazed in uncomfortably numb shock at the cream wall as the silence drowned the screams.
Just a few months back I was sporting a deep golden tan, employed in the tropics as a Film Maker and right here,right now I am as white as a ghost, on benefits, with one foot in the grave.
I had inoperable Stage 4 neck cancer. Three courses of mind- bending chemotherapy to poison the tumour followed; after each of the first 2 courses I was admitted to an isolation ward for a week, with my very own Zimmer frame.
The oncologist then informed me that no further chemo was possible. At least my final hours wouldn't be in chemical La-la land before ending up as a stiff in a fridge in the morgue. Always look on the bright side of life.
The prognosis was now 12 months to live. However, I could burn the tumour by going on the harrowing chemo radiotherapy trip that only had a 1 in 5 shout of working.' More chance of Leicester City winning the premier league,' I laughed. Seems like death is the only thing I've got left to live for!
Two weeks of brain- damaging 'Should I stay or should I go' deliberation before the madcap finally laughed and opted for 6 weeks of treatment at Preston Royal Inferno! At the end of that ordeal I was a death warmed up, burnt and blistered bag of bones, sprawled on my sick sofa eight miles high on morphine, pouring sickly, yucky liquid into my peg tube to keep me alive to the fact that I was dying.
My mum died to join my dad on the other side. Next, my wife bent her mouth to my ear, and with her face twisted in anger and rage, she screamed, "Ghostface, hurry up and die." She then abandoned me and the kids aged 14 and 4. I was alone, taking care of 2 young children while fighting for my life. You may think you are the loneliest person in the world, but you'll never be as lonely as I was then.
It's not easy facing up when your whole world is black. With the help of a few close friends, the staff at the ENT department and The Swallows support group I fought. I cut out all processed food, and became a raw vegan, drinking a rainbow of fruit and vegetable juices, as well as forcing my broken body to exercise.
Now it is August 2016. To prove that sunshine always follows thunder, I am fit and healthy and have a tasty new female on my arm; my kids love her too. If someone had told me a few years back that I would be grinning like a Cheshire cat one day in the future I would have replied, "Not a moggy in hell's chance."
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