Andy F.
Posted by
Andy F.

A Craft filled combat for a 'Crafty' cancer!

Andy F.
Posted by
Andy F.
25 Jan 2016

It is very easy to allow yourself to succumb to the effects and symptoms of Myeloma, especially the fatigue! If you allow yourself to hold negative thoughts about your situation you will surely succumb and spiral into an uncomfortable place. However, if you can have the strength to stay positive and keep a positive attitude you can fight the fatigue and and accomplish so much to give you purpose. As a wise old Jedi once said - 'Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering..........'

I sometimes wonder if George Lucas knew anything about cancer when he wrote this famous line Yoda, oldest and wisest of all the Jedi. Intentionally or not he certainly covered a big part of the pyschological effects of a cancer diagnosis and what us patients go through. Some deal with it better than others, some never deal with it at all, someonly come to terms with it in the final stages. What ever the cancer, Yoda's speech holds true for us all and is something we must all face.

After my baptism of fire with my diagnosis I was thrown into a whirlwind of tests and treatments where the whole world seemed to spin faster and faster as I just sat there getting dizzy. Loads of tests were ordered, full skeletal survey, bone marrow biopsy, MRI scans, family checks for a possible stem cell donor. I spent that much time in the radiology department it's a wonder I didn't start to glow in the dark!

At last a course of action was agreed upon and I was started on the Myeloma XI trial based mainly around the drug Revlimid, a derivitive of Thalidomide. Anyone who was around in the 60's knows the bad rep of Thalidomide, thankfully this is not something that is a concern with Revlimid. The USA spends milllions each year on research into drugs to combat Myeloma thankfully for us here in the UK and they are making great strides and having huge success with the derivatives of Thalidomide which they have found has a great effect upon Myeloma.

So I was entered into the trial and was lucky enough to be given the drug and not a placebo. For the next 6 weeks they kept a close eye on me while I rode the roller coaster of good and bad blood results, poor haemaglobin levels, neutrapaenia and everything else that makes life complicated till your body starts to settle down. Finally I reached a position after this length of time where they agreed I could go home and continue as an outpatient after 6 weeks of solitary confinement in a side ward.

I was still feeling very tired but it was good to be home with my wife a children again and the prospect of a comfortable night in my own bed. My beautiful wife fed me the best cup of tea I'd had in 6 weeks and suggested I had a nice relaxing bath and go to bed in the lovely clean bed she had prepared for me, this sounded just what I needed. So off to a nice relaxing bath I toddled.

This is where things started to get complicated. Once finished I hit a small snag as I was getting out of the bath. As I lifted myself up my right arm shattered clean through at the neck of humerous, just below the shoulder joint, due to a lesion that had gone undetected. As I smashed back into the bath two of my vertebrae collapsed, again weak bones that hadn't really shown up. Now I was in trouble.

999 and three burly Paramedics turned up. In the time it took them to get there I had lost all feeling in my legs as I had collapsed into a semi kneeling position. The shower screen was ripped off the side of the bath to get better access to me and a plan was hatched to get me out of the bath. ( I think I was more embarrased at the fact that I was knacked and having to be rescued by three burly blokes ). Entenox (gas and air) had no effect at all. As they lifted me up, one of the paramedics had to support my weigth until the blood returned to my legs and I could unfold them and try to stand. By this time I was starting to understand what pain meant.

Along with the paramedics, my wife dired me off, managed to throw some clothes round me and then I was strapped to some contraption to get me out of the house keeping me immobile as they could. So there I was, a mere 60 minutes after being discharged from hospital I was back in and to top it all I was in worse condition than when I came out! From this moment I spent three months mostly bed ridden, having to learn to walk all over again, relying on other people to do everything for me. This was probably the most humbling experience of my life but it was during those three months that I faced Yoda's mantra and dealt with my demons. It would have been so easy to give up and succumb to the dark side, but I am a Jedi, like my father before me............



















Eleanor Baggley

Great to hear from you again, Andy! This sounds like such a harrowing experience to go through, both physically and mentally. As ever I am really quite stunned by your positivity and strength to overcome negative thoughts and your demons. Also, as a huge fan of Star Wars I love how you have related Yoda's quote to your experience! I completely agree that the quote's meaning resonates across the different stages of a cancer journey. My best wishes to you and your family, Eleanor