A shattered arm and two cracked vertebrae couldn't hold him back - how a cancer sufferer is carrying on with his life despite his ultimately fatal diagnosis
- Myeloma is a cancer which arises from plasma cells, normally found in the bone marrow
- It is the second most common form of blood cancer, affecting 5,500 people each year in the UK
- Andy was diagnosed with the cancer and was unable to get out of bed for three months
- Despite his diagnosis, Andy is determined to enjoy life and continues to live as fully as he can
‘It was very aggressive at the start,’ recalls Andy while speaking to the Myeloma UK website about the start of his illness.
‘As soon as I heard the word ‘cancer,’ as I’m sure with everyone who has a cancer diagnosis, you hear nothing else,' he explains.
'It takes a while to sink in.’
Andy was diagnosed with myeloma, the second most common form of blood cancer
After spending time in hospital undergoing trials and treatments, Andy was eventually allowed home to his wife and children. His troubles were far from over, however.
‘When I finally got out of the hospital,’ Andy remembers, ‘My wife was like “Oh, so glad to have you home – the bed’s all prepared for you and there’s a lovely, hot bath upstairs.
"As I was lifting myself out of the bath, my right arm shattered clean through."
‘As I was lifting myself out of the bath,’ he continues, ‘My right arm shattered clean through. It dropped me back into the bath and slammed against the two cracked vertebrae that I had.’
This setback landed Andy back in hospital for three months, during which he was unable to get out of bed. His determination to continue living his life to its fullest was not dimmed though: ‘They weren’t expecting me to get past the first Christmas,’ he remembers.
‘Having read the figures, I thought “I’m ignoring those – I’m carrying on until I don’t carry on anymore – don’t concentrate on the negativity, just be positive,’ he continues.
‘I made the decision to carry on with one of my life-long obsessions which is photography. It’s the ideal thing – it gives me something for my hands to do, and it’s constantly keeping my mind going.’
"As strange as it seems, I'm actually grateful of my diagnosis of myeloma."
Reflecting on his diagnosis, Andy is extremely philosophical.
‘As strange as it seems,’ he says, ‘I’m actually grateful of my diagnosis of myeloma because it’s forced me to slow down and change my life completely – it’s given me the opportunity to spend quality time with my wife and children that I just was not getting before.’
Andy refused to give up his passion of photography
Andy also has advice for any people newly diagnosed with the cancer. ‘Always be fully aware of your diagnosis,’ he cautions. ‘Understand it as best you can. Listen to your body – it will tell you what you can and can’t do, but your mind will tell you exactly what you need to do.
‘Keep yourself busy and your days will pass quicker and you’ll have more of a quality of life,’ he promises. ‘Seek out proper advice: look to Myeloma UK; the resources on Myeloma UK’s website are spot on: good, accurate advice, not sugar-coated, as it should be.
‘Sometimes I can sit and gaze off into the future,’ Andy finishes, ‘But I tend not to think too hard about it. I take it one day at a time because I’ve found that if you live each day to the fullest you can, you get more out of it.'