Since I got cancer, I have been asked several times by doctors and nurses if I smoked. I assume this was to find out if the cancer was self-inflicted. Each time I replied ‘No,’ they looked at my hands, presumably for nicotine stains. There were never any.
There are things you can do to help yourself if you get a critical illness. It is essential to be fit (and I was fighting fit), eat healthily and have a focused mind. But, in the end, it comes down to fate. How early is the cancer diagnosed? Has it spread? Did the treatment work? The answers to these questions decide if you live or die. The dedication and close attention of the incredible medical professionals who cared for me at The Royal Marsden Hospital ensured I am still here.
Cancer is a great leveller. Irrespective of class, education, age or whatever you do in life, it hits you no matter what. This disease tries to strip your identity. But you can refuse to be a victim and fight back. Taking on a killer like this opens your eyes. Before I got ill, I had a busy job and worked so hard the important things seemed to pass me by. Weekend working and evening conference calls were the norm. Working every day in my holidays was expected. I had lost perspective as to what was really important. This is no longer the case. I try to take the time to appreciate the normal things in life.