When Steve was diagnosed with terminal cancer with a horrifying suddenness, he was stunned. Here he tells us about his Hospice in the Weald journey
I collapsed when I was cycling to work in May 2014. I had breathing difficulties so decided to urgently see my GP. After x-rays, a bone marrow biopsy and blood tests I was diagnosed with myeloma, a rare type of cancer which arises from plasma cells in the bone marrow. Due to this, unlike many cancers, myeloma does not exist as a lump or tumour so you don’t have any indication the cancer is there until you get sick. By the time I was diagnosed my cancer was advanced and the doctors told me there was no cure.
I felt like my life crashed around me. Words cannot express how you feel when you are told you have terminal cancer.
My treatment is aimed at controlling the disease, relieving the complications and symptoms it causes, and extending and improving the quality of my life. Hospice in the Weald have played a huge part in this and I cannot praise enough the assistance I have had from the clinical and nursing services. They help with my pain relief and the counselling and support myself and my wife Liz have received has been invaluable. I never realised just how much the Hospice in the Weald gives to both patients and families, and all for free.
I am a father of three, a grandfather, a karate expert, marathon runner and keen cyclist but I can’t do anything that to the extent that I used to. I get tired very easily and have had an on-going battle with infection and picking up illnesses that knock me for six. I have such ups and downs and feel sometimes feel so helpless.
I thought the sporting lifestyle I loved had come to a complete end but this year I decided to take part in Hospice in the Weald’s, ‘Wheels Around the Weald’ sponsored cycle with Liz and my daughter Becci. I wanted to do something to help raise money for other patients that Hospice in the Weald will care for in the future in so many ways. I know it’s only a small gesture of my gratitude but every donation Hospice in the Weald receives, no matter the size, makes a difference.
The support I had from my families, friends and colleagues was incredible. I was completely overwhelmed by all the kind words & generous donations I received to such a worthy cause. I was very nervous but it made me so determined to take part in spite of the limitations to my health. I only did the 15 mile route which was nothing versus what I would have done a couple of years ago but for a short period on my bike I felt like the old me again, well, until I ran out of oxygen on one of the hills and had to recover any how! We ended up raising more than £1,300 for Hospice in the Weald.
I know that Hospice in the Weald will continue to support me and my family for as long as we need. It’s a frightening and frustrating journey but they are doing everything possible to help me and my family every step of the way and in so doing, are helping me to feel a person of value once again.