It’s 3 years to the day that I was diagnosed with rectal cancer. I asked the doctor how long I would live if I didn’t receive any treatment, the answer was 6 months to a year.

So I’ve already had 2 years of ‘extra time’ and hopefully a few more. In that time I’ve seen my eldest son get married and I’ve now got a beautiful granddaughter. I’ve been on holidays both in the UK and Europe. I’ve been to numerous music festivals and camped. I’ve been determined that cancer wouldn’t change the things I like to do.

I’m not the person I was 3 years ago. I’ve had 3 major operations, my belly looks like a road map, and I’ve just finished my 5th chemotherapy regime plus I’ve had radiotherapy. Due to the location of my cancer, on my left sciatic nerve, I am now labelled as incurable but treatable. I’ve lost the use of my left leg and cannot walk without support. My mobility issues have caused me the most problems. I have been a keen gardener and the proud owner of an allotment. Now to get anything done in the garden or allotment takes a lot longer or I rely on friends and family to keep on top of it all. I have successfully applied for Personal Independence payments. I was awarded the standard rate for living allowance but the enhanced rate for mobility. I have a blue badge for the car which has been a godsend and I’ve invested in a wheelchair and an electric scooter. I’m a nightmare riding it in supermarkets. I still go to rugby matches. I swapped my season ticket in the stands for a disabled season ticket at pitch level, Not only was it half the price but also included a ticket for my ‘carer’ plus a disabled parking place. Result!

I have been very fortunate that I’ve not suffered too much from the side effects of chemotherapy. I get tired very easily but I’m now 60 (there was a time when I didn’t think I’d still be here) so perhaps part of my fatigue is due to my age. I do like an afternoon nap.

I’ve just been rescanned and will get the results next week. As always I’m hoping for the best and planning for the worst. I’ve always had the mantra of what will be will be.

So, with everything that has happened to me I’m still here. My life has changed so much. I have a permanent ileostomy which I haven’t had a problem with. In the two and a bit years I’ve had Beryl (my stoma) I’ve had about half a dozen ‘issues’. So we get along fine.

When I look back over the past three years and what I’ve put my body through I am so glad I’m still here. I still have ambitions and things I want to do. A local boat club are part of the Sailability scheme and I’m hoping to learn to sail. I’m a bit too old for wheelchair rugby but you never know.

I have been blessed with a wonderful group of friends and loved ones who have supported me through thick and thin. I owe them all so much. I have met some amazing people along the way. A chemotherapy suite is not always a happy place but to sit and watch other people going through their treatment is truly a humbling experience.

Apart from having a recurrence, I also have metastases in my liver, I feel very well. I don’t know whether it’s the chemo but I’ve had 1 slight cold in the past 3 years and my allergy to rapeseed pollen has disappeared. There is so much to be positive about. I know my cancer will never be cured but I have accepted that and we move forward. I know that I will need further chemotherapy and perhaps some radiotherapy too but as long as it works I’ll still be here.

Well the sun is shining so I may venture out and cut the grass, or perhaps a coffee and a little snooze.