28th Septmeber 2012, there I was laying in a hospital bed of the ENT Ward after being there for five days suffering with 'Quinces' in my throat which were throwing up all sorts of problems for the medical team. The consultant who had been looking after me for the week hadn't been happy with the way I was responding to treatment nor the results he was getting to certain tests so he had been conferring with his colleagues on the Haematology ward all week.
On this particular day I had just managed to down my morning cup of tea when in walks a Consultant accompanied with a CNS, both with a look of medical importance about them. The consultant duly introduced himself and explained why he was there and then delivered the classic line, 'Mr Finch, I'm affraid to say you have rather aggressive and advanced Multiple Myeloma'.
'OK', says I, 'What's that?'
'A form of Blood Cancer, incurrable, but it is treatable'.
As anyone who has had a cancer diagnosis will tell you, from this moment on you don't hear a word. You sit there, see the mouths in front of you going up and down. The facial expressions changing from concern to determination to business like delivery, but you never hear a single word. I gues some phrases automatically throw a switch in your brain that disconnects your auditory circuit, this being one of them.
Turns out it was in a pretty bad way, myblood was that thick the consultant was concerned that I was going to have a stroke and die that weekend so I was rushed up to the renal unit where they stuck a large needle in me and commenced a procedure called Plasma Pheresis, whwerby they remove all of theblood plasma from your body and replace it with new blood plasma. After four hours of being hooked up to a machine, the bag of plasma they pulled out of me was akin to a bag of aspic jelly. A good butcher could have made thousands of pork pies with the stuff!
This was just the begininng of a very long journey, a journey that I still undertake every day of my life, one step at a time. A journey that has put me through pain, physically, mentally, emotionally and yet a journey that is filled with surprises and has given me many causes to say thank you and afforded me such wonderful opportunities which I would have otherwise missed out on. Sounds strange doesn't it? Hopefully if you stick with me through this blog you will get chance to hear some of my story and share in that journey with me. If you're reading this now it's a good start ;-)
I have never written a blog before, but when I was asked to partake in this one my instant reaction was to say yes as I felt it would give me a chance to tell my story and help raise awareness for Myeloma which has become one of my main goals in life, taking the time and making the effort to give back and offer help for all of the help that has been given to me over the last three years. I do keep myself exceptionally busy so when I mentioned about the blog to my wife she was concerned that I may be overstretching myself and committing to too much, but i figured that it was just something important I felt I needed to do, not just to help others and raise awareness, but also to help me deal with my own experiences. Sometimes findig your voice can be one of the most difficult searches you can undertake and if you find that voice then sometimes it just needs to be heard.........
Read Andy's latest blog to find out how he responded to his initial treatment and ended up back in hospital less than half an hour after returning home.