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My testimony

Posted by
11 Nov 2015

I was asked to write my testimony by the Bloodwise team on Facebook group which I was more than happy to do. After all it's an excuse to do another blog and will hopefully touch and encourage more people that they can do this journey. That it's not impossible, that hard as it may be that there is hope for anyone that has cancer to face.

Having faced it twice you could say I have a rounded, and thorough idea of what it takes to beat cancer. The journey started about 7 years ago with feelings of lethargy and a lump in my neck, something my mum noticed at the dinner table and suggested I got checked out. At this point (knowing mum was right) I got a little scared as to what lay ahead. I knew though I had to listen to her, to get it sorted out. It was obvious that it was not an abscess as the walk in clinic had suggested. 

This lead to all the tests being done after moving home and being diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in May 2011, treatable by surgery and chemotherapy. It was stated at diagnosis that I was at stage 4a with cure as hopeful with treatment. However I was not given long to live without treatment. 4 a is advanced and in urgent need of treatment it had to be done with out delay.

ABVD was started in June 2011 going to hospital for 6 hours every 2 weeks to have the chemo put in intravenously. I am not going to tell you it was easy, far from it. You need grit and determination and a really strong support network around you as that support network is as important as the treatment. I never let anyone else come to hospital ever, except my wife. With hindsight maybe that was the wrong thing to do who knows? No way is right or wrong when faced with cancer, as long as you keep moving forwards. Keep strong and use your support network to offload should you need to. 

It's true friends that count and you sure find out who those people are and who are not true friends as you go through the process. You see people that have not been there, have no idea what to say or do, so they say nothing, which of course is of no help what so ever to anyone.

Chemo finished in December 2011 just before Christmas, I was on an accumulative chemo which meant I was constantly accumulating chemo in my body. Christmas 2011 was not a year I felt well at all. I did not have family visits either as the risk of infection was so great.

Feeling a shade better in February 2012 we bough a dog that I picked up in April calling her Faith which is what I needed to have to get over cancer. The doctors told me I was in remission, I did not believe that however. As I in no way felt it had left, I had nerve pain in my hands and legs affecting me daily. When the patient does not feel cancer free they call it (fractured remission). I had gone on a trial to help them learn medically in the future which gave me the best care available.

3 years on enjoying my dog, friends and family, I felt a lump appearing in the same place as before at my next appointment in October 2014 I told the doctor. Which lead to tests, and the lump being removed for analysis on Christmas Eve last year. It was only communicated to us in January that I had Hodgkin lymphoma again and would need ICE chemo leading up to a bone marrow transplant. I also had to have 8 teeth removed on the run up to just be accepted for my transplant. This is when I decided to start writing a blog. 

I started my blog as a challenge to myself to write one a day for 365 days but ultimately to encourage anyone else suffering cancer or any other life challenge that it's possible to beat cancer. Ok my disease was treatable but you still have to be willing to be treated.

You can read my blog and my journey through treatment here: 


Lizzie Goates

Hi Mark,

it’s a genuine pleasure to read your blogs. I really enjoyed your analogy of Roast Beef, learning how to cook it to perfection and realising how good things cannot be rushed and how it is about taking your time to get things right. I loved your wife's quote on speeding as well. It really made me think. I feel that you have developed a different, strong outlook on life, and thank you so much for sharing this with us. I look forward to reading more of your blogs! Take care Lizzie    


Hi Mark,

I'd like to echo Lizzie's comments. Your blogs are fantastic and as a fellow patient I can completely relate to a lot of the things you so excellently reference in the blog - especially the ones about finding out who your true friends are. The support network was vital to me, too, as was setting myself goals and targets for when I got better.

I will definitely be following your blog with interest and think it's brilliant that you're providing something that others can benefit from and relate to. Stay in touch and remember that we're all in this together and together we will beat blood cancer. Andy


Hi Mark, Not caught up on your blogs as yet, but I too am a survivor from multiple relapsing HL. No match for me so I had my own stem cells harvested then transplanted the day before my 53rd birthday. It's been a long road to recovery, and I am still having regular checks with my consultant, but it will be 7 yrs next March since my SCT (RT followed that August). Every day is a bonus. Take care and I hope the good news continues. Louise


Wow what a journey you have been on Louise! You are without a doubt one of life's miracles your story will encourage many to believe they can also be free of the disease. Your clearly an amazing person, with allot to offer, yes the perspective of a new day. Is not a challenge as much as a gift isn't it. Thanks Lizzie, and Andy for your comments also. Your both the kind of people that makes change happen in the world, for better.  

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