One morning while taking a shower I came across a lump under my armpit and I 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 high grade aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma - total utter shock beyond belief.
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 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 now and I have to be honest this really did concern me.
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 of 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 visit Birmingham every four to eight weeks for bloods and check-ups but on the whole I feel fantastic. I have been back at work for 12 months now which I do still find very tiring but it’s a sense of normality in life.
I was and still am very positive, which I think you need to be. The support from my wife and daughters will stay with me forever. They were and still are my rock and my strength to keep going and be positive. I am so thankful to all of the staff at Worcester Royal who I grew very fond of over my stay – they are so kind, helpful and very, very professional
The Queen Elizabeth Birmingham also has a wonderful team, who are professional beyond expectations. I would say to anyone going through this, whether a patient or family member - keep positive, looking forward and planning for the future. It is what we all need to fight and carry on.