Tag: <span>Cancer</span>

Today, 4th February, is World Cancer Day, a day to raise awareness and education about cancer.

Four years ago today, in 2016, I was in the middle of receiving treatment for Stage IV Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I had been diagnosed in December 2015, and at that point was in the middle of receiving ABVD chemotherapy.

Once every 2 weeks this was my view:

I’d be sat in a chair in the oncology day ward for between 7 and 8 hours each visit, as the various different bags of chemotherapy drugs were fed into me. One of the drugs only took 20 minutes to go in, but I seem to remember another one taking over 2 hours. And between each bag of drugs, my line had to rinsed and checked.

It wasn’t a fun time of my life. My energy levels were low, and I had to take a whole range of pills and injections to take between chemo sessions. But the upside was that the treatment worked, and by the summer of 2016 I was cancer-free!

And today the only lasting effects of the cancer are:

  • a small scar on my right collarbone where a Lymphadenectomy was performed to confirm my diagnosis
  • a small scar on my upper right arm where a PICC line was put in
  • some ongoing pain on the souls of my feet from the peripheral neuropathy, which is a long-term side-effect of the chemotherapy

However, even though I had cancer, I count myself lucky. Hodgkins is one of the small number of cancers that doctors use the word ‘cure’ in terms of treatment. And the longer I go without any sign of recurrence, the greater the chance that it’ll never come back!

Of course, being obese doesn’t help my long-term prospects for avoiding cancer again, which I guess is one of the main drivers for me having the bariatric surgery to lose weight.

My Story Sickness Surgery

There’s loads of very scary health risks that obese people face, including Type 2 Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Heart Disease, Stroke, Cancer, Sleep Apnea, and others.

I knew I was at risk of all of these, but for a long time I thought I was bullet proof. I would be the exception to the rule, and manage to be overweight but healthy.

But then 5 years ago that all changed. I had been sick for a while with a bad skin condition, and then I got what I thought were a series of chest infections. What it turned out to be was cancer. I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkins Lymphoma, and the cancer had spread from my Lymph nodes into my lungs!

Luckily I responded well to the 6 months of chemotherapy and some follow-up radiotherapy, and I’ve been cancer-free since the summer of 2016.

However, and this is a big however, being obese increases my chances of it coming back!

My oncologist has told me on several occasions that he’s worried about my weight. In fact it was him that eventually got fed up of my inaction and referred me to the bariatric team.

And he’s right to have pushed me in that direction, because as it turns out I’m not the exception to the rule. I didn’t dodge the bullet. My obesity most likely was a big contributor to me getting cancer, and yet here I am years later and I’m still the same size!

It’s as if I haven’t learned anything.

So the hope is that by having bariatric surgery I will finally be forced to address my over-eating disorder, and get down to a more healthy weight. Because if I don’t, then I’m definitely on borrowed time.

I’ve already had cancer, I currently have untreated high blood pressure, and I’m probably on the brink of developing diabetes and sleep apnea.

You could say that my health is at crisis point!

Sickness Surgery