Page 4 - Inspire Magazine 2019
P. 4

Not me, I was far too healthy. I’d given up    be working. I was slowly feeling better and
     smoking 26 years ago.                          this made me more hopeful. I listened to
                                                    Tibetan and Indian healing music and read
                                                    a book on positive thinking. Then I made
     Strangely, I didn’t care about the cancer;     up my mind – it was Mustang and India or  I have one life,
     I was going to die one day anyway. I did,
     however, care that I would have to cancel      bust, or rather die in the attempt.
     an expedition to Nepal. I had waited fi fty
     years for this opportunity, and, in the blink  My doctors were not happy, but I have               and nothing
     of an eye, my dream was gone.                  one life, and nothing was going to stop me
                                                    living it.
     I phoned every helpline. I looked on every
     website, searching for a glimmer of hope.      In April 2018, I fi nally made it to Mustang,       was going to
     But the prognosis remained poor.               the journey of a lifetime. We went as high
                                                    as 15,000 feet on the Nepal – Tibet border
     My tumour was 10.5cm in size. It was           with no ill effect. No breathlessness,
     leaning on the main vein and my wind pipe.     nothing.                                            stop me
     It had taken over the lymph glands and
     there were nodules in the left lung. It was    I returned to the UK; my oncologist said
     then that I mentally started choosing the      he had never had a patient with lung cancer
     hymns for my funeral.                          who had been so high.                               living it.

     My consultant oncologist proposed the          A further scan showed the cancer in my
     following treatment: a fi ve-day course of     left lung had vanished and the tumour in
     radiotherapy, a course of dexamethasone        my right lung had shrunk to 7.5cm.
     and two years on a trial immunotherapy
     drug, pembrolizumab.                           Since then, I have been back to Ladakh,
                                                    fl ying from sea level in Delhi to 12,000
     I felt privileged that I was allowed to go on   feet in Leh, to see friends whom I have
     this trial at my age, but, at the same time,   known for 40 years. The altitude did not
     being tied to a clinic for two years felt like   affect me. I spent Christmas in Sri Lanka
     a death sentence.                              and am planning on going to Tibet later this
     I looked at my age. I could not afford to
     wait and see what happened after the           Learning to live with lung cancer is not easy,
     treatment was fi nished. I would be too old    but it is possible. For me, it is about
     to head back to Ladakh or go on my Nepal       downgrading the disease in your head,
     expedition.                                    being positive, exercising and staying busy.

     There was no other option though; I            The places I wanted to go, if they were
     accepted the offer of treatment but set a      denied to me, I was dead already.
     goal that I would return to both countries
     one more time – one way or another.            We all have to make the most of the time
                                                    we have left – with or without a lung
     I started the treatment and it seemed to       cancer diagnosis.

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