It is now seven years since I was diagnosed with throat cancer and what a seven years it has been.
Once the radiotherapy finished and we returned home I was on heavy doses of pain killers and did not eat for about six months, living on health drinks and nothing at all solid. My weight went down to 50 klos (from 110 klos prior to being diagnosed. Could not sleep at night and waited till first light before I went to bed. I think now that it was because I feared that, if I went to sleep, I probably would not wake up. Others in similar situations have told me they felt the same.
My moods got deeper and deeper until I recognised that I had rapidly drifted into depression. Although others had observed this, especially my wife Gail, however it took my recognition of the condition to do something positive about it. With the help of my wonderful GP and Gail’s fighting spirit I was able, through medication, to gradually come out of the darkness and begin to regain the will to live and get on with life. (I’m now a bit overweight at 90klo’s but who cares)
In the meantime as the result of the radiotherapy I lost all my teeth after on operation to clean the remaining mess such as stumps etc. Was fitted with new teeth which brightened my smile a lot although I will never be able to enjoy the food I previously enjoyed but as Ned Kelly once said ‘SUCH IS LIFE’.
Then one day I ate a small carton of yogurt and then slowly built up my intake of soup and other soft food. My depression was under control, I gained weight and strength and became aware that there was a life after the big C and I could participate. It got a little dog, Millie, and undertook to train her and eventually we started walking every morning. That was nearly 5 years ago and we are walking better than ever. I was able to drive again use the ride-on mower and brush cutter and do other outside chores. Oh! how you enjoy being outdoors after having no interest in it for some time.
So, here I am at 73 years old and still getting a little better every day and enjoying life. More importantly, my wife can, and has, developed a social life. We have friends who have been very supportive and to them, I owe much although they probably do not know how much.
Our family have been wonderful, the district nurses, who came once a day during the first few months and put up with my moods went above and beyond dealing with my awful moods. My little dog who not only runs me, she runs the house (typically female) has given me the interest I needed. My old Apex and Tennis mates have been great, although sadly, we have lost a few of them. A couple of old travel industry mates have also clung on and have always showed interest and concern.
I developed a greater interest in technology and it has become a time consuming hobby. Ive gone all Apple with an IMac 27″, an IPad 2, IPod Touch and both Gail and I have IPhones.
To my wife Gail, I will never be able to express my love and gratitude for all she has done in very trying circumstances. She has saved my life more than once. She is still my soul mate, my best mate and my little champion