My Story

How I Found Out I Had Cancer

We moved back from PE to East London, last year September 2015. When we got back I decided to buy myself a motocross bike to start riding again and get fit. Towards the end of 2015 beginning of 2016, I fell sick with bronchitis just after I got better I fell sick with the flu and then got bronchitis again.

After the second time I got bronchitis I noticed the lymph node on the right-hand side of my neck was swollen, after a week I went to the doctor and he sent me for an ultrasound to see if it was anything to worry about. The results came back and the doctor said I must leave it for a month and if it does not go away they would do a biopsy on the lymph node. In this time, I also started with a pain in my lower left side of my back.

The following weekend, 29/01/2016, I had a friend bring my car I bought in PE to East London for me. I had a beer with him on the Saturday night and when I woke up on the Sunday the lymph node in my neck had gotten bigger. My neck had swollen to the point that it was from my jaw was straight down to my shoulder.

On Monday, 01/02/2016, I went to work and at about 10am I couldn’t take the pain in my back and the lymph in my neck had also become painful. I left work and went back to the doctor, he sent me for a chest X-ray. I received the X-rays and returned to the doctor, in the doctor’s room he was looking at the x-rays and said to me there was water on the right my lung and it could be one of two things, either TB or it could be lung cancer. When he told me what Lymphoma was my heart dropped and I became worried. The doctor made an appointment with the specialist for me but I had to wait for two weeks before I could see them. I left the doctor, headed back to work and picked up my laptop as I had been booked off. I headed to my in-law’s house to rest as the pain in my back was unbearable. Later that afternoon I picked my daughter and wife up and headed straight home to the farm. When we got there the pain was even worse, I could not stand, sit or lie down at all. My wife asked my parents to take us through to St. Dominics hospital where I was admitted and attended to by Dr Koopowits.

Tuesday, 02/02/2016, I went into theatre for a biopsy on the lymph node on my neck, a week later the results came back and confirmed Lymphoma. They then did a bone marrow biopsy. While waiting for those results I was seen by Dr Webb who explained the treatment plan with me for the T-Cell Lymphoma.

I was then moved from St. Doms to Beacon Bay Life and met my new doctor that would be treating me. Later that evening he came and told us that the diagnosis had changed, I now had Leukaemia. The doctor said that it was better as now we could get rid of the cancer completely.

Friday, 12/02/2016, I was transported back to St. Doms for the day for an operation to have a Hickman Line inserted for chemotherapy. When I was done we went back to Beacon Bay Life where Doctor Webb went through the schedule with us. I was nervous and scared of what would happen but I knew I had the support I needed from my wife, baby, family and friends, and I knew God was there to walk me through it without worrying.

It has been seven months of intravenous chemotherapy, chemo tablets, radiation, and lumbar punctures. There have been ups and downs and a lot of emotions but it has all been worth it to know that I am in remission. The roller coaster is not over yet as I still have a few months of treatment to go but I am still positive I will come through all clear and will be a survivor.

Update:

13 September 2018

Aidan was originally diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in 2016, he was treated in hospital for 10 months and on oral medication to complete a 2 year cycle, his last dose of treatment (or so we thought) was 02.01.2018. By the end of his treatment you could not tell that Aidan had had cancer at all, his was exactly the same as he was before he was diagnosed, and definitely did not look sick at all.

In May of 2018 after being away from home for 2 weeks he started complaining of a terrible headache that was not going away as well as a stomach bug, this lead to hospital trips, lumbar punctures and a lot of tests. After a few scares of his cancer being back we were eventually transferred to Greenacres Hospital in Port Elizabeth where he was treated by a Neurologist for Guillain Barre Syndrome. He was treated in PE for just over a week, once that course of treatment was complete he was sent home.

After being home for 2 weeks (recovery) he had to go back to Dr Webb (Haematologist) as he would be treating Aidan from East London and communicate with the Neurologist if any further treatment was required. When the doctor saw him he immediately admitted Aidan back into hospital for further testing as he had not been eating and you could see he had been deteriorating at a rapid rate.

This hospital visit lead to the discovery that he actually had Mature T-Cell Lymphoma as well as a really bad stomach infection. A week into being re-admitted we were told that we were losing him and that they would essentially be sending him home to spend his last days with his family. This caused much panic and turned our lives upside down, but being the difficult person that Aidan is, he proved to us all that he is stronger than this disease and started improving, his meds were starting to work (only to find that he actually was not dying, his body was creating new cells which looked like his aggressive Leukemia had returned. The stomach infection had knocked his system so bad that it dropped all his counts and caused a panic).

He was sent home for a few days to “get out” before he started his Chemo, the stay out of hospital was not the best as he started deteriorating again due to the stomach infection as well as him being unable to eat as he was on a feeding line in hospital and not eating on his own.

Story does end off well though, we took him back to hospital to start his chemo, he was also put back on a feeding line for the first month of treatment. The first month was not the best but it was as good as it could be and after a month in hospital on treatment he was sent home for a few days and this time he was back to his old self, eating like a machine, walking and able.

He is now back in hospital for his second round of treatment and already looking forward to going home again.

He is also going to be needing a bone marrow transplant so they will be starting the search for a donor soon – this will mean that he will be sent to Cape Town for a few months.

Banking Details

Bank : FNB South Africa
Account type : Savings
Account Number : 62614903559
Branch code : 250655

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