Today I had the pleasure of attending Scottish Power’s Partnership day with Cancer Research UK.
It was amazing to learn that Scottish Power have raised £25million for Cancer Research UK in just seven years! Even more impressive is hearing they have no intention of stopping. A fantastic example of how a corporate partnership really can make a difference.
We had the pleasure of hearing from world leading researchers Professor Andrew Biankin and Professor Steven Pollard. Professor Biankin leads Precision-Panc, a groundbreaking project developing personalised treatment and improving survival for pancreatic cancer- one of the hardest cancers to treat. Professor Pollard leads a team of scientists from the UK, USA & Canada carrying out pioneering research in ‘glioblastoma’- a fast growing type of brain cancer.
I was very excited to meet Professor Pollard who specialises in Brain tumour research. Prior to working for Cancer Research UK I assumed research only occurs in London. I was hugely mistaken. Cancer Research UK is funding institutes, centres and projects across the length and breadth of the UK. Locally, research happens within yards of the Cancer Unit at the Western General in Edinburgh where I receive treatment. Professor Pollard knows Imran Liaquat, my Neuro Surgeon, and the Neuro-oncologists who I’ll be meeting in the not-too-distant future. Imran regularly refers to current research when discussing treatment options and knowing that there is an open dialogue between the clinic side (Professor Pollard) to bed side (Mr Liaquat) is really reassuring. It reminds me that research is not an isolated activity happening in the distance but a huge team effort which brings together specialists from all fields. Professor Pollard kindly invited the Funny Boy and I to have a tour of the lab in Edinburgh which we hope to do next week.
After a tiring and mentally tough few days this morning’s event has definitely helped me rediscover my ‘mojo’. Research does make difference. Huge thank you to Scottish Power for your unwavering support to Cancer Research UK. A constant reminder that you don’t need to wear a lab coat to help find a cure for cancer.
Craniotomy #3 is in 12 days and I’m beginning to feel the pressure.
Cancer initiates a lot of conversations and generates a lot of admin that most people my age won’t consider. It destroys plans, impacts friendships and wreaks havoc on the mind and body. All of which can be very isolating.
With another operation and radiotherapy planned my focus is on taking everything one step at a time.
I had a comment on an earlier post where someone asked:
‘What are you complaining about? You still have your hair’
Firstly, I would like to apologise if my blogs and updates are interpreted as me complaining. I try to be matter of fact about my diagnosises and use them as an opportunity to raise awareness and funds. Ultimately I am very aware that unfortunately there is always someone worse off so I would hate for anyone to think I am moaning.
Despite having three tumours I have been lucky in keeping the majority of my hair. The exception being the location of two scars spanning a combined distance of 12 inches on my head which are easily hidden. Oh, and the brief period where radiotherapy caused all the hair around my pelvis to disappear.
My treatment for cervical cancer saved my life but it did cost me the chance of having children biologically. Admittedly, I find this really difficult but with time I have grown to accept it. The Funny Boy and I were still determined to have a family so we looked at our options and decided adoption was our preference.
We researched agencies, attended information days and discussed it with my medical team. Understandably, health is a factor that needs to be considered when a couple are adopting. I was told by my oncologist in August 2017 that the likelihood of cancer returning was the same risk as anyone else which was a great sign for us to start the adoption process.
Unfortunately everything changed in May 2018 when I was diagnosed with brain cancer. Brain is one of the most challenging cancers to treat and as a result it is unlikely I will ever be in remission. Regrettably the consequence of this is the Funny Boy and I are not eligible to adopt.
With another craniotomy and radiotherapy planned in the New Year – it is envitable that I will lose my hair. I am sure it will be difficult but I doubt it will be as painful as realising The Funny Boy and I will never have a family.