On the 7th July 2022 my husband Graham was admitted into hospital by our GP for what they thought was an infection in his stomach. Graham was in Doncaster Royal Infirmary for 4 days having various tests when they told us they had found a huge mass across his abdomen, they didn’t know what it was but suspected it could be cancer, two day later they tried a procedure at Doncaster to stop the bleeding, this didn’t work and so the next day he was blue lighted by ambulance to Northern General in Sheffield, he needed to be operated on by a specialist surgeon. In total over the next few days he received 24 units of blood, he was extremely weak and was passing as much blood as they were replacing. I was very worried as I could see him deteriorating each day.
When he arrived he was told by the surgeon that the operation was very risky and there was a 50% chance of it being successful and 50% chance of him waking up, that he didn’t want to do the operation as it was so complex and risky, there were 2 pockets of gas inside the tumour that could burst at any time and the tumour was attached to all his abdominal organs.
The next 9 hours were unbearable waiting for a phone call to know if he would make it, each hour felt like a day had passed. The surgeon called me after 9pm to tell me the operation was a success and that Graham was now under sedation in ICU where he would remain for the next few days. He spent a further 2 weeks in the Northern General and then many months recovering at home, not only had they removed the tumour but also half of his large intestine, half of his small intestine, his duodenum, gallbladder and he was left with a stoma.
These weeks were the worst time of our lives, due to the Covid-19 restrictions our children could not visit their Dad in hospital, I was able to visit for 2 hours a day which passed so quickly, the emotional strain was something none of us had ever experienced. During those weeks it felt like the love, strength and support from all of our family was the only thing getting us through.
Over the course of the following months Graham began to recover and we returned to Sheffield for a scan and histology report on the tumour. They told us that Graham still had cancer in his abdomen and it had already spread onto his liver and it was a Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumour (GIST). Graham already had prostate cancer which he was diagnosed with around 2.5 years ago, we had always felt really lucky that this was found early and was being monitored at DRI.
GIST is a rare cancer which is incurable and unfortunately does not respond to chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatments, we were then referred to Weston Park Cancer Hospital and Graham was immediately started on a drug called Imatinib a type of cancer growth blocker which keeps the cancer at bay for a limited time, he takes this every day and will have to continue with this for the rest of his life, for as long as the drug keeps working.
We were absolutely devastated with this new diagnosis and our lives changed forever.
The following year whilst Graham was recovering from his operation and coming to terms with the daily effects of the medication he started attending a local cancer group at Rossington it was there that he met the lovely people who work with the EvesTrust.
Graham had a dream to take me to see his football club Liverpool play at home and take me to experience the atmosphere. I’ve never been interested in football but he assured me it’s completely different when you are at the ground experiencing the atmosphere. Graham hasn’t been able to go to the match for many years as tickets are so difficult to come across.
The Evestrust went above and beyond in making his wish come true, they had a contact who could source some tickets for us, they not only got us tickets for Liverpool but to the Derby against Everton – Liverpool’s local rival, Graham being a scouser was over the moon with this.
It didn’t stop there, the Eve’s trust booked us 1st class train tickets to Liverpool and a fabulous hotel with breakfast right next to the train station. We stayed there for 2 nights, it was just perfect from start to finish.
I did enjoy the football it was a great atmosphere but I enjoyed it all the more knowing that Graham was able to take me that he loved every minute and was able to get his dream granted by Eve’s Trust. They also won 2-0 which was a result.
We are so grateful to the EvesTrust for everything they have done in making Grahams dream come true. Thank you so much for helping us to make these fabulous memories.