Below you’ll read a story of a local family hit by Cancer on multiple fronts. It’s written by a Sister in Law, already fighting her own battle with Cancer and showing a first-hand experience of the destruction and devastation that this disease can cause on a family!!!
BOOM!! BOOM!!! BOOM!!! That’s what you get when Lee enters the room! A happy-go-lucky 6ft, well-built 6stocky, 42-year-old big kid!!! But I knew something was wrong – call it my cancer bell or whatever, I just knew Lee was not Lee
It was back in February possibly March time, he of all people could Not eat!! We had a belated family Christmas dinner at mum’s house as she had to work over Christmas, and Lee had a “baby’s plateful” and struggled to get it down, That was the moment I told him he needed to go and see his GP but, at the time I think he just put it down to a hernia. His symptoms though were ringing alarm bells to me!!
I was constantly badgering my husband, his brother, to ring Lee and get on at him to call his GP and each time we saw each other I told him the same. He was losing weight, he didn’t look his usual self, he wasn’t comfortable, but putting work and other things first especially where men are concerned is not always “The right thing to do”.
I should also mention that Lee and Lindsey, his wife, were expecting their first baby together in June so to be honest I think that was at the forefront of their minds especially if Lee was to have a hernia operation. But, as we know with Cancer, it has its own agenda.
Lee’s symptoms started getting worse in April, to the point where he was choosing not to eat rather than be in pain and having a terrible awkwardness after eating – this prompted Lee to visit his GP. The GP would run blood tests and referred him for an ultrasound, but diagnosed it as indigestion, possibly Gall Stones, and to treat with Gaviscon!
Although, one night on the 1st June, the pain was so bad Lindsey had to call 999 for an ambulance!
This happened in the middle of the night so as soon as it was a respectable hour they called us to tell us that he had been admitted – for Shaun (my husband), this was a double edge sword, I could see the worry on his face, scared as his big brother is in hospital and was in so much pain had to be a 999 call (these lads are solid!!) but relieved that at last something might get done and sorted!!
• 2nd day in hospital, he has a CT scan which shows up a “mass” in his abdomen, so they book him in for a biopsy.
• 4th day in hospital, they can’t do a biopsy via ultrasound as too many vital organs in the way, got to do it through his back via CT scan.
• 7th day in hospital, they go ahead with biopsy via CT scan through his back, which was VERY painful.
But then had to have a SECOND biopsy in the same painful way as they didn’t get what they needed – he was not happy as it was such a painful procedure, but they have to do what they have to do!!
Lee and Lindsey had spoken on the phone before he had gone down for the procedure and arranged for Lindsey to be sat waiting by his bed when he got back. However, her waters broke right there and then in the hospital carpark. To make things more stressful for Lee, he was not allowed to move for 4 hours due doctors’ orders. But things were moving quickly, extremely quickly and Lees nurse had a call from the Maternity ward to say Lindsey is now in full blown labour and need Lee there – SHARPISH!!!!
That’s when my beautiful niece Lissey Jean Adele arrived into the world at 23.29 weighing 7lb15oz on 7th June just 2 hours after being admitted!!!!! So, Lindsey and Lissey were kept on the maternity ward and Lee had to go back to his. Unfortunately, Lindsey had suffered heavy loss and had to have a blood transfusion during her stay, but Lee was discharged luckily the next day – just waiting on the results.
On 26th June 2018 Lee and Lindsey meet with a consultant at the hospital, that’s when despite being so happy with their new-born baby, they are dealt the devastating news that Lee has NON HODGEKINS LYMPHOMA with the 2 large masses in his abdomen. Later news gave a clearer picture that the masses were both 20cm in diameter and there are traces on his small bowel. Lee is diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer which can only be managed not cured!!
Never the less he received his treatment plan and started Rchop on 9th July, because of the intensity of the drug he had to be admitted for the first 3 days.
It is tough going, on all the family – he has just had his 4th session and has got to have another PETscan to see if his chemo is working or whether his pans need to be changed.
Let me just take you back to his wife Lindsey though, while all this was going on and she was looking after her sick husband and new-born daughter, she found a lump in her left breast, luckily Lindsey went to her GP straight away, who referred her to the breast clinic, in which she had an ultrasound to find it was a cyst which they dealt with there and then.
But the importance of this was, Lindsey felt that she didn’t want to worry the family anymore and kept it all to herself!!!
This has had a massive impact on the rest of the family, I can see daily the pain on Shaun, my husband’s face. He has had 10 years of dealing with my cancer diagnosis, and in the last 6 years it being a stage 4 terminal with metastases to the brain, lymph’s and bones.
Now he is having to face the fact that his brother, his best friend and ally is going through the same thing. To watch him in pain or unwell, not to be able to fight this battle for him. All he can do is offer him sound advice from our experiences!! It is actually tearing him apart!!
We also know that Cancer impacts everybody surrounding it, what must be going through Mums mind?
What is the likelihood of 2 family members in the same school year, yes, we are linked as in-laws, but we are immediate family, having a similar prognosis, Nina, my mother in law is my carer, but firstly, a mum, a Nan who wants to protect her children.
The devastation of cancer runs far, far, deeper than the person who is diagnosed, it’s the ripple effect and it spreads, a tsunami for those that are the closest to us!!
With this in mind, Lee’s dream was to go away with the whole family, to a lodge/log cabin or something similar, somewhere the family could be together over the New Year.
He is a family orientated man and they are EVERYTHING TO HIM, Lindsey his wife, his children – Charlotte, Joseph and Lissey, his siblings Shaun and Toni and their families and most of all his Mum!!
There’s also Lindsey’s sisters that are extremely close, after losing their mum a few years ago unexpectedly, who help them out a lot. He wanted to cherish the moments with each and every family member. So, we made contact with EvesTrust…..
We were lucky enough to complete Lee’s Dream, as you’ll see in the images attached. Here is an update from Lee:
“Because of EvesTrust I am able to send these fantastic photos of my family and I enjoying an amazing weekend in Sherwood Forest.
The smiles will be a memory for ever and for a short time we were all able to forget my illness.
This has been the worst but best year of my life as the day I had my first biopsy my daughter Lissey Jean Adele Kingston was born. Since this day she has been growing and learning quickly which has been taking my mind off my Cancer on put it onto something more positive. So far, I have had 2 different types of chemo but neither have been controlling the cancer, I am now on my 3rd different type of chemo and fingers crossed this will now work and I can get on the road to recovery.
But I have to say a massive thank you again to Evestrust for helping us make some amazing memories. I cannot express how important this was, a simple trip but an important one. The memories of smiles and laughter have lifted me in my ongoing fight. On behalf of our family, love to you all xxx”.