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2015 review, wow where do I start. Well I guess that would be 1st January 2015 but that’s not where the year began for me I began on the lads holiday 2014. When I felt a lump in my neck and knew I had to mention it to my consultant on my appointment 2 days after landing back in the uk. That led to an operation then ICE chemotherapy each cycle done over a 3 day period, in Feb, March and April then Beam chemo in isolation for 6 days and nights in May. completing 30 full days of chemotherapy in 5 years. 

 Just to explain a little what it took for the transplant, for those who know nothing of what’s required. Stem cell harvest wes allot of fun having a canular in one arm and a 1.5 mm needle in the other whilst they took my blood out harvested it in a machine, then put it back in my body. The whole process lasts about 5 hours repeated on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday until I had 4 million cells were collected. 

I remember on one particular day, a gentleman sat opposite, he has a hicc an line in so the needle was not required. You can’t move at all for the 5 hours, and watching his son eat a Burger King did make me salavate some what and get food envy. 

The transplant itself lasted 3 weeks laid in a bed in a room 15 ft X 12 ft. With only a tv and an I pad for company. The nurses who I can’t name made the Experience more bearable, I can’t name the staff at the Royal Liverpool but they are an amazing team as are the team in the MDU at southport. Without a doubt our local GP Dr Hindle played a huge part in saving my life.
 It was also the start of the first complete year for the group made possible by its 210 members. A group that not only has helped people along the way. It has helped people to help themselves to save their own lives. Needing the very people I had set out to help whilst on a new cancer journey again. You see I was in remission when I set up cancer stories, and although I felt I was not in remission, I hoped it would not return. It did.
Whilst the group has encouraged many, it has also seen much sadness spare a moment as we think of those that have left us.
Noel Smalley

Rita Hodgeon

Becca Parkes

James D peace
There are others that have passed but I am not permitted to speak of them in public.
Sadly missed but not forgotten

It was a year where I strove to get on my lads holiday in Turkey, seeing it as my goal to achieve. I lasted 2 days and came home to find that 24 hours later the hotel was swamped by water. Not a place for someone 100 days out of bone marrow transplant. My friends made the best of what they had, 8 days later going to Mexico with my wife, where we would meet friends for life and enjoy some of the best weather they had seen at that time of year. 

Mexico was to end up being our true celebration, not only to have an end to all that treatment, but to finally be declared cancer free once more. The word cured was even used. We celebrated our anniversary 5 years married to my amazing wife, who has been by my side all the way through all my cancer Experience, I can’t bring 2015 to an end with out mentioning someone else. Rachel Brown for allowing Andie to have her time by my side in hospital whilst having my bone marrow transplant. 

Finally knowing I have another day each morning is an amazing feeling and as a consequence I never want to waste a moment of it unhappy.  We also celebrated Andie turning 40, and hope to make a special announcement soon regarding Andies Carrea.

Outside of my personal experiences and support from family and friends. I want to say thank you to all those at cancer stories there are to many to list, but you all know who you are that reach out to other people sharing your journeys with others encouraging and enthusing people to get themselves into remission. Thank God for hospitals and people that dedicate their lives so we may have life, that we may continue to breath and encourage other people where they are at.
Wasn’t it amazing that 15 people that had never met were able to enjoy a meal together, almost being kicked out after 4 hrs 45 mins of constant chat without a break. A complete privilege. Bless you each and every one. 

I have hope in my heart and faith that many of you will improve in 2016, I hope with a hopeful heart that you will know words like remission and cure in between the scans and sunshine, rainy and cloudy days.
Thank you to all of you that have supported us, well it’s time to look forwards now. To buy gym memberships that we will use twice, give up fatty foods for a 2 day diet before we get over our guilt trips and live normally again. Start walking to the shops, until we remember having a car was easier.
Have a great 2016 and all the best