St Valentine’s Day 14 Feb 2019

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February 14th

St Valentine’s Day is seen to be a romantic day, a day for sharing love & devotion. It’s also seen to be unlucky.

Anita’s Birthday is St Valentine’s Day February 14th. A day we always enjoyed up until 5 years ago

February 14th St Valentine’s 2014, is a day we will never forget. It’s the day I was first diagnosed with Stage 4 Lymphoma, it’s the day the Oncologist told me “You have a form of blood cancer” back then the word Cancer meant only one thing to me… it not only changed our thoughts & focus about Anita’s Birthday but changed the meaning of St Valentine’s Day and Cancer to us forever.

But here we are five years later, following two brutal attacks from both Hodgkins and Non Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Many battles won and two Wars over. Yet here I am in remission for the second time and still clear. I got my 12 months clear in December 2018 even though I had been cleared to return to work earlier. Just the words “Bloods are excellent, see you in 3 months” feels like winning the Lotto, not that I have ever won much but one can dream .

Over the 5 years I have been classed as terminally ill three times and yet I have survived. My return to full time work was announced on 2nd Jan 2019, went from a walk to sprinter speed in the first day, now doing about 55 to 60 hours a week.

People ask me “How does it feel to be back at senior level business” my answer is simply it’s better that been terminally diagnosed. But my old buddy fatigue has come back to haunt me. We’re hopeful this is just temporary, I know that during the first two weeks of work I was tired – more mental tiredness than physical- this I could both understand and work with but for those who have suffered from cancer fatigue you will understand the vast difference between tiredness & fatigue. Even now 6 weeks into this business fatigue is plaguing me. But if that’s the only obstacle in my way then I’ll fight it and I will win.

Last week my partner Anita was admitted to hospital initially it was suspected to be a gallbladder problem. Both Tuesday and Wednesday we were told they would be operating to remove the gallbladder. But all test came back clear. More test were done on Thursday and Friday without been able to diagnose the problem. By Saturday they decided to call it part of her ongoing fibromyalgia – she was then released in pain to await further test in a few weeks.

It’s a good thing that it is Anita’s Birthday on Valentine’s Day as I really think we would hate the mention of 14th of February.

So a little recap

• Diagnosed 14th Feb 2014 Hodgkins Lymphoma stage 4

• Biopsy to right neck Feb 2014

• Bone marrow & Lumbar punch March 2014

• P.E.T. Scan March 2014 (P.E.T. Number 1)

• Chemotherapy ABVD Commenced 13th March 2014 Ended 14th August 2014

• P.E.T. Scan April 2014 (P.E.T. Number 2)

• Declared Chemotherapy Steroid induced Diabetes May 2014

• June 2014 Bleomycin (The B from ABVD) attacked my right lung

• P.E.T. Scan Oct 2014 (P.E.T. Number 3)

• Radiotherapy @ 40gml Grey to right side neck commenced Nov 2014 to Dec 2014

• Terminally diagnosed 6 weeks to live following Radiotherapy Dec 2014

• Ultrasound Fine needle aspiration March 2015

• P.E.T. Scan May 2015 (P.E.T. Number 4)

• Tonsillectomy & Biopsies to throat July 2015

• P.E.T. Scan Oct 2015 (P.E.T. Number 5)

• Cleared of diabetic issue Oct 2015

Remission 14 Feb 2016

• P.E.T. Scan May 2016 (P.E.T. Number 6)

• Biopsies to throat & base of tongue July 2016

• P.E.T. Scan Oct 2016 (P.E.T. Number 7)

• Suspected Kidney failure Nov 2017 & new Lymphoma site to middle spine

• P.E.T. Scan Feb 2017 (P.E.T. Number 8)

• Biopsy to lower spine Lymph Nodes March 2017

• Declared relapse both HLD & NHL urgent  rescue procedures required March 2017

• Advised the situation is critical March 2017 classed as Terminal

• ICE Chemotherapy April to May 2017

• P.E.T. Scan May 2017 (P.E.T. Number 9)

• Stem Cell Harvest June 2017

• BEAM Chemotherapy July 2017

• Stem Cell Transplant July 2017

• P.E.T. Scan Oct 2017 (P.E.T. Number 10) first scan to show no cancer cells 100 day scan

• Remission Not official as I need to a further 3 months to recover but clear PET Scan

• March 2018 I’m officially in full remission

• April 2018 my Mum passed away due to vascular Dementia at 86. We are heartbroken.

• November 2018 offered senior management position with JMC Van Trans, one of Ireland’s largest and most successful domestic distribution companies

• 2nd Jan 2019 commence role as General Manager (Cork) JMC

5 years – 3 terminal diagnoses 2 battles with Stage 4 Cancer, 2 wars won.

Maybe the above brief list tells why Anita and myself dread Valentine’s Day

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