Following my sixth cancer operation during the past fifteen months, (and my ninth cancer operation since early 2013), plus two nine-month courses of chemotherapy, plus three periods as an emergency hospital admission, plus three years of monthly blood transfusions, plus twenty sessions of radiotherapy in 2019, I start another twenty daily sessions of Radiotherapy at ‘St James’ Hospital’ today.
I itemise the vast number of these cancer operations and treatment procedures I have received since early 2013 to act as a positive message to all people facing and undergoing different cancer operations currently, and to emphasise that there is much less need to fear the outcome of having cancer today when one has access to our marvellous NHS. Cancer can and does kill, but it can also be lived with within the minds and bodies of people of happy, healthy and hopeful disposition.
Given the Coronavirus Pandemic the country has had to deal with over the past three months, I have been extremely lucky. One week before all the hospitals in the country stopped performing and suspended all elective operations (to free themselves up for dealing exclusively with Covid-19 patients), I was given a life-saving operation to dissect my neck and remove cancer from my neck, cheekbones and throat area.
This was the third attempt to remove cancer which had started in my skull, and which two previous operations had failed to clear. By the time I had noticed a new cancerous nodule on my neck, the consultant told me that remaining cancer had channelled down from my skull to my neck, and cheekbones and was approaching the throat area. I needed an operation ASAP as the situation was dire. The consultant needed to remove all the lymph nodes, my salivary glands and soft tissue from my skull and all down one side of my neck and cheekbones and halfway across my throat to my Adam’s Apple. He also said that this operation would have to be followed up by a one-month course of twenty sessions of daily radiotherapy at ‘St James’ Hospital’ to hopefully clear this cancer completely.
I had my neck dissection and was discharged from the hospital two days before all operations for elective surgery were suspended across the country. Having been discharged from Hospital during early March 2020, I went into immediate lockdown as a person in the higher category of risk. My radiotherapy sessions (which are essential in life-saving terms to mop up any residual cancer the operation might have missed) were due to have commenced in May 2020. With the lockdown situation, these radiotherapy sessions looked to have been placed in ‘limbo’, due to all elective operations and treatments still remaining suspended in hospitals throughout the country.
During this period of country lockdown, I personally knew of friends and others who had been scheduled to have life-saving cancer operations before Covid-19 hit the country. Three of these people known to me died before the lockdown was lifted and elected cancer operations were resumed by the hospitals nationally!
Only a few days ago, I heard three eminent scientists talking on the radio. They were discussing the merits and demerits regarding the present lifting and easing of the lockdown in England, and some of the previous restrictions experienced by much of the population and their gradual removal this week. Their discussion produced a consensual view between all three. They felt that this present easing of restrictions ‘was occurring too soon’ and should not have been implemented before an adequate ‘Track and Trace’ system was up and running. These three eminent scientists had no doubt that the country would experience 'the second lockdown' as a direct consequence of the Prime Minister acting too hastily to ease the present restrictions and extend the social contact for many people, They were particularly alarmed by the Government seriously considering the reduction of the required ‘social distancing’ of two metres to a possible one metre to enable workers and other traders to resume work and production, well before the ‘R’ figure had also reduced sufficiently to indicate the best timing of a gradual re-introduction to relative normality.
From a purely selfish position (we are all allowed to be a bit selfish sometimes, particularly where one’s survival matters), my fervent hope is that God, destiny, fate, and good luck (or all four) continue to stay with me over the coming month. I particularly hope that should the second wave of the virus break out as feared by some scientists, and cases of Coronavirus start to mushroom again, that I will have completed my course of twenty daily sessions of radiotherapy, and have beaten the prospect of a future possible lockdown deadline also!
I have never been a person who avoids leaving the house on Fridays the 13th of the month, and there have been several times when I have walked under a ladder, but I am realistic enough to know that the time comes when even the luckiest of cats has drunk its allotted quota of cream and has had its ninth lucky break, and is hanging on to dear life by its whiskers only. I inherently feel and believe that God would not have allowed me to dodge all deadly bullets fired in my direction so far, only to be shot down by a stray bullet now amidst the uncertain outcome of this Coronavirus cloud that hangs over us all.
I thank you all for the kind thoughts, messages, support, and your prayers said for me, and all the candles lit and masses held on my behalf since I first developed a terminal blood cancer seven years ago. I lie not when I tell you that I feel much loved by so many people across the world; many whom I have never met or will ever meet in person. I thank all of you sincerely for being the good people you are; for being you.
My eternal prayer is contained in the message of my song today, and that is the main reason this song is part of our daily ‘Prayer Petition’ on the Facebook pages of myself and Joseph Newns.
Love and peace Bill xxx