I retired from LHR Airport at the age of 82 where I had been working 23 years. I loved the job and was sorry to leave but rules were changing and anyway 82 is pushing it a bit. Over the next few years I met up with friends at mainly tea dances and had a couple of dancing holidays abroad that I enjoyed.
Unfortunately life was about to change when I developed Shingles in November 2015 which left me with neuralgia. When I visited my GP about this I also mentioned that I had been experiencing blood when going to the toilet and my lovely Doctor made immediate appointment for me at Chase Farm Hospital where I saw an Oncologist, who then referred me to a surgeon at Barnet Hospital where I was diagnosed with early stages of rectal cancer. Of course this was a huge shock. I was then informed I needed major surgery that would result in the formation of a Stoma and even more shockingly the surgeon said I would have 6-12 months if I didn’t have this. He felt I could try radiotherapy and chemotherapy, but thought major surgery was my best option.
I started to research alternatives with little success. My Oncologist then mentioned the Papillion radiotherapy and agreed to refer me to Dr Alex Stewart, Consultant Clinical Oncologist, to see if she would see me. I jumped at the chance and I was delighted that I was a suitable candidate for treatment. The Papillon is a unique form of radiotherapy treatment that is suitable for some patients with early stage rectal cancer, offering an alternative to major surgery. In 2017 I commenced a series of 4 sessions with two weeks between each treatment. It was a bit uncomfortable but thankfully the procedures were brief and I was always cared for with the utmost care and dignity by every member of staff involved in my care.
Now 2 years on I remain in remission under the carefully monitoring of my local hospital where I continue to tell everyone I meet about Papillon radiotherapy. I know it can save on precious hospital beds, long stays in hospital and having to live with a stoma. I am so grateful to Dr Alex Stewart and the team at St Luke’s Cancer Centre, Royal Surrey Hospital, for giving me the extra time in my life and wish many others get access to this fantastic treatment.