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Is It Too Late?

March 2, 2018

Is it too late?

Is he still breathing?

Yes.

Then it’s not too late.

 

It’s exactly a year since my diagnosis. I am in the NHS cancer care system at Mount Vernon, and it’s exemplary. I am looked after with kindness and respect, and I am given the best treatment available for my cancer.

Things are about to change.

 

We are in the familiar consulting room, for, as it turns out, the last time. I won’t miss the drab blue walls, the faded Canaletto prints, the examination bed, the chilly bareness. The consultant comes in and sits opposite us with my large folder of notes on his lap. He says the words that I’m expecting. “It’s not good news. The chemo hasn’t worked this time.”  The lesions in my liver have grown from 2cm to 9cm in five months, since October. He offers me second line chemo, which is another round of intravenous treatment, works in a slightly different way from before, takes place over three continuous months, and has the same side-effects plus diarrhoea. It may give me another two to three months.

I say I’d like to think about it. He says let me know and bustles out. I feel very flat on the way home, wondering how much I can fit in to the few short months I have left.

With the support of Amanda and the girls, I decide not to have more chemo. We all agree that there is no advantage in enduring three months of discomfort with no real quality of life, for such a limited and uncertain outcome.

As the days pass I feel more encouraged. Partly because I am not on any medication, and I’m relieved to be living the best life I can for as long as I’ve got. I am fully recovered from the side effects of the last round of chemo, I’m feeling well and working on my fitness. And also partly because, by chance, I met and old friend who is also battling cancer, and is choosing deliberately not to have chemo. Such a brave person, inspirational, and oddly, reassuring. We talk a lot.

I am researching the sometimes weird world of alternative therapies, and I have a meeting booked next week with an alternative medical practitioner. There is certainly a lot of crazy stuff out there, and gradually I am learning to see through the hysteria, wild claims and ‘cures’. I am reviewing and adjusting my diet, and now I can take as many vitamins and food supplements as I like with no wagging fingers from the oncologist or pharmacist. And while it’s so cold outside I’m on the bike turbo-training indoors three times a week.

I feel good and more positive then I have done in weeks. I can think clearly and my body feels like it’s mine. I know there is still hope. It’s not too late.

 

 

Here are some shots I took in moody winter-lit Broadstairs and Margate. The last frame is seconds before I got a soaking 🙂

 

17 Comments
Dennis Pedersen
18:55 May 2, 2018

Steve Sending magic, fun, smiles, laughter, happiness, wonderful memories and love to a man with a funny face! Keep on trucking! Best Dennis Xx

Martin
20:07 March 7, 2018

What a truly remarkable person you are Steve. Yes yes, I know you are perhaps fed up of being told your an inspiration or to stay strong. But believe me when I say you are and always will be a source of strength to me professionally and personally. I hope to whoever looks over us that there is or will be something to rid this absolute bastard illness. Thinking of you and your family. Martin

Jo
11:39 March 5, 2018

Hi Steve, I am so sorry that your news wasn’t better but I so agree with you that where there’s life there is hope. As you may be aware Jason and I also went down the alternative route and although it didn’t work for him (pancreatic cancer is so aggressive) it does for work for some people so everything is worth considering. At the very least I think it’s useful to ‘take control’ and manage it yourself... there are many stories of people gaining months, years and cures. It’s always hard to sift the wheat from the chaff so if you would like to learn from my experience of the cbd route then please do contact me. Also if any of your family would like to talk about their experiences and worries I am more than happy to do so from the perspective of being a loved one. Thinking of you. Jo x

Katja
14:52 March 4, 2018

Love to you and Amanda and the girls and may you be blessed and strengthened as you walk with your eyes open into this crazy stage of human life in this crazy unfathomable world and be nourished deeply by all its beauty xxx

Sian irvine
12:36 March 4, 2018

Fantastic photographs, thank you for sharing them and your enormous strength...lots of love Sian xxx

Stephen Bunn
09:47 March 4, 2018

What a journey you have been having. It's inspiring that you are living in moment, in the now, living life. We share a passion for cycling so I am more than aware of just how healing cycling can be, for the mind, for the body and for the living in the present. Stay strong Steve. Don't deny yourself the odd ice cream from Morelli's. ;-)

Mike O'Keefe
22:09 March 3, 2018

Steve, we have known each other for many years and you have always been a kind and gentle man. I always enjoyed being in your company and although we haven't met up for sometime, I can honestly say that I can now add the word inspirational to that list as well. Your blog is extremely moving and uplifting in equal measures and the way in which you are facing this horrid illness with honesty, grit and determination is just amazing. Total love and respect to you and your family xx

Susie Deane
13:51 March 3, 2018

I love your view of the world, both through the eyes of cancer treatment and through a lens. You express both with clarity. I am glad to hear you feel positive at taking back control of your body and wish you well with alternative treatments.

Lesley
05:48 March 3, 2018

Dear Steve I am in awe of you. You are so brave, so determined and so positive. An extraordinary person and I wish you so much happiness each and every day. Much love

Fiona Kaye
21:45 March 2, 2018

.....there are no words.......so moving. x

Josephine
20:54 March 2, 2018

Thinking of you, Amanda and family, Steve - you are such an inspiration. Thank you again and wishing you all love and comfort xxx

Stellios
20:19 March 2, 2018

Steve, my heart goes out to you and your family. Your posts are both heartwarming at seeing how you are facing up to your condition, but also chilling at what you and the girls are having to confront. Thinking about you, and Nigel keeps me updated too. Stay strong Stellios x

Paul Alan Putnam
18:04 March 2, 2018

Hi Steve It's getting so hard reading your posts. I really don't know what could I say that made you feel better. I can't even get close to imagine what you're going through. Just wanted to let you know how much I admire you. Tonight when we are having dinner I'm telling my children about a guy who's showing me what real men are made of. As always, I'm sending the biggest hug and all my love to you. Stay strong Paul

Neale James
16:40 March 2, 2018

Steve, I am sat here with my mouth wide open at how amazing you are... (that sounded lame I know, it wasn't supposed to) and how positive in the face of trying something new. I'm feeling more than a bit guilty for not training at all this week and hearing you've hit the turbo bike three times already - but that can serve as my almighty kick up the bum. I am so looking forward to seeing you in a couple of weeks. xx

Mark Seymour
16:03 March 2, 2018

its never too late xxx

Jo Newman
15:27 March 2, 2018

Hey Steve - I am astounded yet again at the eloquence of your writing. You truly are an inspiration to us all; in the direst of circumstances, finding the good, and the positive. I hope with all my heart that you beat this thing, regardless of what the oncologist says. And if that's not possible - I wish you a good life to the end, surrounded by the family and friends that love you so much. Sending you a big hug. Jo x

Tina Cleary
15:26 March 2, 2018

Wonderful photos as always. May the wellbeing, positivity, food and vitamins nourish your body and bodu xxx Lots of love and positive wishes.

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