Seven Years On

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

1 Comment

  1. Greg Long

    Tony, it’s taken me a long time to get around to reading your website, and I am so glad that I have finally done it. At the most critically important time in the development years of my life, I had the good fortune to be introduced to you and Apex together, and 57 years later, I can proudly say that we still keep in touch as good friends. The year after your difficult journey through cancer, in December of 2006, I was diagnosed with bowel cancer, and in January 2007, I commenced my journey. I feel that, having read your Time to Remember, I was let off easy, as my chemo and radiotherapy , then surgery, were mild compared to your experiences. However, like you I was, and still am, so fortunate to have the immeasurable support and care of a loving wife and family, plus lots of great friends, all of whom saw me through “the rough spots”.
    Like you , I am very involved in a Cancer Support group, and as an extension to that, I am now a Consumer Representative in my local Health District, serving on 5 or 6 Committees at Blacktown Hospital, where I received so much wonderful care in 2007. I’m “giving back” in gratitude, and thoroughly enjoying it.
    Your courage in overcoming the massive obstacles of cancer is inspirational, and I am proud to call you and Gail friends and fellow survivors. Keep on hanging in there, many like me depend on you. I look forward to lots of continued contact. Love to you both.


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