On two consecutive days in one week two years ago my life changed forever.
After being told that tests showed I had prostate cancer, I was called in to my doctor the following day and told I had breast cancer – I simply could not believe it.
Over the months that followed I was treated for both cancers by the skilled staff at the two Leeds teaching hospitals – exemplary service which left me ready to get on with my life. I got used to hearing the phrase “you were very unlucky”, but needed to concentrate on how best to come to terms with a changed life.
I was told that the fact that I was in good physical shape at the beginning of this journey would help me significantly during both treatment and recuperation, and this proved to be the case. I was determined to remain positive, as I had been warned that the worst thing that can happen is to 'give up' and be negative.
At one of my check-ups following radiography for the breast cancer, it was suggested that I might like to consider visiting The Haven in Leeds. This proved a very interesting experience as I had no real idea what services they provided. I found a location staffed by kind and caring people whose sole purpose seemed to be to provide a range of services which catered for people who were perhaps struggling to get their lives back in order.
The environment and positive atmosphere was very welcome, and I was able to sample a whole range of treatments and presentations which allowed me to learn and concentrate on moving forward. The fact that I was the only male Visitor didn't concern me too much (although I can understand that some people might have found it a little daunting). I nicknamed myself 'the Lone Ranger'.
I have found my time spent on visits to the centre, meeting the staff and the specialists who provide the services offered, have helped me develop a balanced outlook. It was good to see the efforts of the people at The Haven having such a positive effect on each of the Visitors.
Having had ongoing positive feedback from my check-ups, I am now able to lead a relatively normal life again, the only real negative being the excessive tiredness which I experience as a result of the Tamoxifen medication. I do like to still visit The Haven in Leeds, both to see the friends I have made on the staff, or to attend a specialist presentation.