Paul T
Posted by

ALL CLEAR....

Paul T
Posted by
11 Mar 2014

Paul was diagnosed with high grade aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma at the start of 2011.

Wednesday 5th March 2014 was the date of my three monthly visit to the Queen Elizabeth in Birmingham. I have become used to these visits to hospital then lunch with the wife after. But this Wednesday it was a little different or it turned out to be a lot different to be fair...

I was diagnosed with high grade aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma back at the start of 2011. I had come across a lump under my armpit in the shower one morning and made an appointment to see my doctor straight away. After blood tests and x-rays I was referred to Worcester Royal Hospital for more tests and a biopsy.

At this time I had in my own mind already feared the worst - I had some early results back saying the lump, which two weeks before was the size of a golf ball, was now the size of a grapefruit. I was sent home and about a week or so later I had a letter saying I needed to meet a consultant at Evesham Hospital, where I was told I had cancer - total utter shock beyond belief.

I left the hospital with my wife in such a daze, wondering how on earth I was going to tell my daughters. This was the hardest thing I have ever done to date. I still see their faces and it still upsets me so much to think that they had to be put through this.
I was admitted to Worcester Royal for a second biopsy and to start treatment. The second biopsy showed the lymphoma was slightly different to all the others, so when another variant was found I felt kind of famous in a very odd way. The tumour was measured at the size of a rugby ball.

My consultants started working out my chemo - what and when to have it and this was the start of a very scary yet very important journey in my life - the not knowing about the outcome, no certainty to the rest of my life.

I did spend a lot of 2011 in hospital and throughout the year hit a few complications, some so bad we thought that it might have been ‘it’, but I was put on the stem cell donor list and in no time my hospital found a compatible donor in Germany. This was a massive relief and I felt the weight starting to lift. On 4 January 2012 I had my transplant and although this was a really tough time it is something you have to do in this situation.

I spent a while in the Queen Elizabeth Birmingham - what an amazing place. We’re so lucky to have the NHS. I visited Birmingham regularly for the year after the transplant but on the whole I felt fantastic. I went back to work which I found tiring but it’s a sense of normality in life.

During check-ups normal procedure is to book in, sit and wait, get called in to have bloods and then to wait some more. After that, it's in to see Dr Chaganti, my consultant since December 2011. However, on this latest occasion after chatting for a short while about my medication, he told me that all my levels had gone to 100%.  Oh my goodness!! Due to how bad my cancer was (high grade and very aggressive) and the fact it was now two years post-transplant, he could now give me the all clear!

Wow! What a feeling! With smiles so wide my wife and I walked away from the hospital. I do have to go back in six months and then it is once a year. I cannot put into words the amazing feeling I had that day. It has given me a massive boost in life and I feel now I need to change a few things with my lifestyle, change job, lose weight, get fitter and enjoy the rest of my life.

Comments

Anonymous
17.03.2014

Great news Paul. My brother had a similar Lymphoma to you and by the sound of it a similar journey. Consultant at Nottingham City Hospital confirmed last week he is in remission. We are all delighted. Best wishes to you and your family.

Anonymous
17.03.2014

what an amazing story...isn't it incredible what the body can cope with and how it can (with help) repair itself. Many congratulations to you and your family. What a terrible time you've all had. Our son had ALCL (high grade non-Hodgkin's) when he was 16. He is now a strapping 24 year old with a wonderful girlfriend and is forging a career for himself, thanks to the fantastic NHS...

Anonymous
17.03.2014

I was diagnosed with High Grade Aggressive Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in my abdomen in May 2012 after starting with severe stomach pains on Good Friday, 2012. After a Doctor's Appointment a week later I had numerous tests, blood tests and scans and received the news from my GP of the diagnosis, I was devastated as I thought I had been so fit and well and my initial reaction was 'why me'. It wasn't until a little while later a very good friend of our said why not you? This put things in perspective and realised I had to be positive for the sake of my wife and family and get on with it. I received the most amazing treatment from the Mara unit, Bishop Auckland General Hospital, R-Chop Chemotherapy for six months, which wasn't very pleasant but that didn't matter, it did the trick. after two scans and blood tests since then, I am in remission, a good place to be and I feel great, hair back, two and a half stones in weight back which I lost, back to work part time as I am supposed to be retired and going regularly to the Gym. Thank's to my wife, family, G.P. and the Mara Unit, Bishop Auckland.

Anonymous
18.03.2014

I am so pleased for you, I also have Non Hodgkins and have had it for 3 years now and 2 weeks ago I was told I don't have to go back for 6 months, such a relief, people say 'why only 6 months' but this is a great step forward for us.

Thank you for posting such a personal story it reflects everything that has happened to me, only I haven't needed stem cell yet (fingers crossed).

Have you found that life is much more precious after this? I now enjoy every day, life is too short to spend it moaning about mundane things.

Once again thank you and enjoy life to the full

Bridget x

Anonymous
18.03.2014

Hi Bridget, I always thought it a bit of a cliche when hearing people say that life is so precious and make the most of it, but you what I think its right, I do think life is a lot more precious than it ever was I really have started to look at things differently, I want to do things live more enjoy everything in my life.
I am so lucky to have such a wonderful wife and two beautiful daughters who to me like most parents mean the world.
I really want to become a lot fitter not to start running around or anything like that just for pure health reasons, I just need to do it for me .. Being told you do not have to go back for 6 months is a great feeling isn't it a sense of realisation that you really are on the mend, I agree about the moaning and sometimes have to bite my lip when i hear people moaning about having a cold or a broken nail :-) all the best Bridget, Paul x

Anonymous
18.03.2014

I still can't believe it to be honest and still have the widest smile, It really is fantastic how one minute you are told life is grim and then because of the research you can be repaired.
I'm so so pleased for your son, yourself and your family I love success stories it is great reassurance for others.
I also totally agree the NHS are amazing and people should show a lot more respect for all of the staff and what they have to put up with.

Regards Paul.

Anonymous
18.03.2014

Good luck to your brother, good luck to you and your family it is great news about the remission, a massive step in the right direction.
Keep up the good work positivity is key and i really believe helps massively.

Regards Paul.

Anonymous
18.03.2014

Hello Les , so pleased to hear you are in remission, what a great feeling a fantastic step forward.
I had chop 14 "horrible" and because i had it every two weeks there was no real recovery time in between sessions. but like you say it didn't matter it is doing what it should have been doing.
All the best to you and your family Les keep up the good work.

Regards Paul.

Anonymous
18.03.2014

Amazing to hear your great news! It is such a struggle but in a way all of the check ups, consultants, doctors, nurses & treatments on a regular basis becomes a way of life & its funny just how quick we can adapt. I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia when i was 13 (16 years ago) & was treated at The Royal Marsden on the NHS & i commend them for the work that they have done & continue to do. I have a very positive attitude towards life & the experience has not stopped my ability to succeed in my career. My partner & i are also classed as MB Hero's for NCCA-UK - a children's cancer charity. I can only see good things for you Paul. Take a look at Goji Berries & eat plenty of honey & cinnamon. I wish you all the best on your journey in life. Enjoy :-J