My life as I knew it, changed on November 29th, 1993.
I had been experiencing stomach pains which my local Doctor suspected that I had a Stomach Ulcer. He gave me a sample pack of Zantac, which he wanted me to try before prescribing them to me. I found that they eased the pain. I had explained the symptoms to him as ‘I feel like someone was sticking a knife in my stomach from the inside. Upon returning to see the doctor to follow up he sent me for a Gastroscopy on Friday 26th November. He wasn’t going to prescribe the Zantac until he had confirmation that indeed I did have a Gastric Ulcer.
On Monday the 29th, I got a phone call at work from my doctor asking me to go and see him on my way home from work. My immediate thought was that he was going to lecture me re my smoking and that had caused my problem, either that or that I drank too much Coca Cola which I did. However that was not the case my world and the world of my family changed forever. He informed that I had Stomach Cancer .Unbeknown to me they had done a Biopsy when I had the Gastroscopy. By Monday the 6th of December I had a Total Radical Gastrectomy at my local hospital. The Surgeon who I had seen on the previous Wednesday told me that if they didn’t operate straight away that I would be dead in 6 months (my surgery involved total removal of stomach, spleen and one third of my pancreas and 35 lymph glands). I was 45 years old, my wife was 38, and we had 2 young children aged 12 and 9.5. And a Mortgage.
Recovery was good but slow, adjusting to what I could and couldn’t eat drink etc took some time. My family and I had a very positive outlook from the beginning, determined that our lives would be returned to normal as soon as possible. I returned to work in August 1994 although the Surgeon had said that if you work a 40 hr week pre the opp you will only be able to work a 20 hr week when you go back. Well as I was a New Car Salesman my week was 6 days and about 60hrs. Our life continued fairly normally for about 8 years when I started to develop a severe allergy to shellfish, then came lung infections, Pneumonia, Pleurisy, Bronchopneumonia, 2 recent bouts of Pseudomonas (2012), and a very recent E-Coli Infection (2013). With all of the infections I suffer weight loss, with the continued increase in both amount and veracity as time progressed. In September 2010, my health physically and mentally had deteriorated to the point that I needed to retire from work.
I also have and continue to suffer depression if I don’t stay on my medication. This is the major concern for my weight loss, as I lose any desire to eat, and we all know how hard putting the weight back on is.
Over the years it has been a really hard to find other people who were the same as me, someone who understood, someone who had survived it as long as me to share and compare. Having been given a 5% survival rate all those years ago, I feel that every day is a blessing.
The walk for ‘No Stomach for Cancer’ is extremely important not only to me, but my wife and kids. We have never had access to a support group before; this will be like a healing process for us, something that we have needed for 20 years!
If it were not for the love and care that my wife Debby has provided me over these past years, I am not sure where I would be today.
It will be 20years this coming December 6th since I had my surgery, I have in this time seen my daughter Laura grow into a woman, walked her down the aisle on her wedding day, provide us with 3 grandsons, seen my son Kris marry his childhood sweetheart and also provide us with another grandson. I am indeed blessed.
We’d love you to help us fundraise to help awareness for stomach cancer by donating and if you can, walk with us on November the 2nd.
Thanks for taking the time to read my story and if you would like to donate to help the cause, please go to this website? To make a donation &/or register to walk with us. Many thanks.
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