THE CANCER CARER
You don't have to go through it alone!
Here you'll find an open pair of ears that understands what you might be going through. I'm not a professional counsellor, oncologist or medical practitioner. Just a guy that knows what it's like to have cancer and to go through major surgery. I know the nerves that come from the ongoing checkups (especially when you are told falsely a year later that the cancer has spread to your spine the same week that your wife tells you that she is pregnant). I know what it feels like to lose a very close family member to the disease and I know the emotional and financial burden it puts on you and your family. I can't offer you medical advice or monetary help (the surgery took all of ours!) and I certainly can't offer any miracle cures, but I can offer you emotional or moral support from someone that has been through a similar situation.
2017 started fantastically! I was sitting in Palma Airport about to fly out to my new dream job as the Captain of one the most innovative new yachts in the word. I couldn't have been more excited! Then the phone rang....................
It was my Doctor. He asked when I could come in but I explained I was flying out to Italy and wouldn't return for most likely a few months. He then proceeded to tell me he had discovered a very large neoplasm on my Kidney that was malignant. In other words, "you have Cancer".
Now this is not really a sad story. My tumour was very large and at the far end of stage II but thankfully had not metastasised yet (we hope) . The truth is I returned to Palma, had my kidney removed and went back to work the following week. I guess my pragmatism probably comes from working at Sea where you don't have time to feel sorry for yourself, you just find a solution and get on with it. Probably the hardest parts were the financial burden it put on me and my wife as we weren't covered by health insurance and telling my mother as we had only recently lost my father to lung cancer a few years before.
I think the first thought I had when I got the news was "if you died tomorrow from this, would you be proud of what you've done in your lifetime?" Short answer was NO. I have an amazing wife, new daughter , family (including little Beau the Patterdale) and friends, work hard and have success in my job but never really went out of my way to do charity work or devoted enough time to helping others.
What really got to me through the whole experience was when I was reading and researching online I came across so many people that had not come to terms with the cancer and were really still battling mentally to cope (even a lot of people that were lucky enough like myself to live through it). It made me incredibly sad for them as I knew it didn't have to be that way.
I started looking for ways that I could contribute. I had no money left to donate from the surgery and had to go straight back to work at sea (so couldn't embark on a fundraising project and was very limited in what I can do in person). Through a lot of searching I came across a fantastic organisation called Imerman Angels that provide cancer patients with a buddy of similar age that has survived the same type of cancer for support. This felt like a good way I could contribute while still working away at Sea. I joined soon after the surgery (and am still a member) but I guess because I am relatively young for the type of cancer I had (An aggressive form of Clear Cell Renal Cell Carcinoma) they have not found a patient to buddy up with me yet. Rather than just wait around for them to contact me, I figured I would reach out to anyone out there that needs some support and hence why I'm starting this website. I'm not looking for any donations or anything like this. If anyone wants to donate they can do so to any other Cancer Charity they see fit.
My experience from cancer has been way more positive than negative. I'm literally healthier than I've ever been, now having to change my diet and I feel great. It's brought me closer to my beautiful wife (even if we didn't think that was possible before) and family. Now fast forward to 2019 and I have a beautiful new daughter that surprised us 3 months early but is doing great! The experience has also made me appreciate things and strive to be a better person. If I can do any good with this site it will be to show you that there are many good things that can come from an experience like this, to make the most out of it and use it to better your life rather than ruin it!
Whatever your reason for needing to talk to someone, whether you have cancer yourself or someone close to you, I am all ears.
Top left: My awesome dad that lost his battle with cancer a few years earlier.
Top right: The day after the
Bottom Left: Back at work the following week