I don’t define myself as a cancer patient, but given that the diagnosis was the reason to start this blog, it seems to make sense to start by describing it.

People always want to know how it started. For me, no bleeding or lumps. Only a strange pain in my hip joint that started from around March 2009.

They diagnosed me in May 2009 (more or less on my 49th birthday) with a T3 N1 M1 rectal cancer. The M1 part was a liver metastasis, and it was very advanced – Stage 4 or Duke’s D in severity. I received a long course of chemo (FOLFOX) / radiotherapy in 2009, culminating in  a combined APER and liver resection in August 2009. The APER required an end-colostomy.

Then there was another round of adjuvant chemotherapy that completed in February 2010. For the time being, I was clear and working down my 5-year clock.

However, in September 2011 they identified two lung metastases. One on the left, one on the right. They were “too small” to work on, so more scans followed. Eventually, there was a resection of the left upper lobe in May 2012. That was followed by a right VAT metastasectomy in July 2012. There was a suspicious area in the left upper lobe, but it was only possible to biopsy a small fragment (and it was negative for cancer).

I experienced new lung problems in 2014. These were considered non-curative so I began palliative treatment to control the symptoms. In 2015 I volunteered for clinical trials of a drug at the Royal Marsden Hospital. This consumed a lot of my time and the drug trial was not fully successful so it was stopped. I continued in 2015 with a treatment method called Cryotherapy for symptom control. In January 2017 I had another two weeks of trial Chemotherapy. This still did not completely interfere with my ability to work.

But in June 2017 it was found the cancer had now spread to my brain with a left medial parietal lobe lesion 31mm in size. In early July I had radiotherapy to reduce the lesions. Unfortunately, there was a huge and dramatic impact on my cognitive functioning as a result with a side effect called Apraxia. I can now no longer work as I did previously due to these disabilities.

I am very likely to be dead before long – being alive six to nine months from now / mid-2018 would be an achievement.