Steve lives in Cardiff and was diagnosed with testicular cancer in December 2015. He has used our ManVan extensively, and is a champion of what he calls a “life-saving” service.
This is Steve's story:
“I noticed I had a lump, but I just put it down to working harder than normal. The boys in work laughed and said maybe I’d pulled something because I wasn’t used to the work, now that I was a manager! Bit of a joke, but the pain got gradually worse. I went to the doctor, who thought it might just be a cyst – but I was sent for an ultrasound scan which I had on Christmas Eve. I was diagnosed, and had my operation on New Year’s Eve.
“I was recovering and had a scan in March, which came back all clear. I was ready to go back to work. I had another scan at the end of March, and they found the cancer had spread to one of my lymph nodes, by my kidneys. My doctor told me I needed chemotherapy, this was on Monday. I started my chemotherapy two days later.
"I had intensive treatment for three or four months, then I had the all clear at the end of June. I’m slowly recovering now, I’m getting much better but my fatigue means that some days I have no energy. It gets the better of me. So I take each day as it comes.
"I’ll be honest, that wasn’t the best Christmas. Having Christmas dinner with all the family, knowing I’d been diagnosed, was really difficult. My family were amazing, we just tried to make the best of a bad situation. When you have cancer, you go through the physical side of it, and the emotional side – but it affects your family and friends as well. I know it’s affected my three children in different ways, but I think it’s brought us closer. My wife has been my rock.
“It wasn’t the best news, but for me, being diagnosed early was the best thing that could have happened. I would recommend that anyone who has a lump, to go and see their doctor straight away. I know there’s a stigma with men going to the doctor for something like this, but take it from me – you should be checking yourself. I’m still here because I was diagnosed early. I went through hell and back, but I’m living proof that it can be beaten.
“I was introduced to Tenovus Cancer Care by my father-in-law. He’s been living with prostate cancer for 12 years, and he recommended I visit the ManVan. He told me to speak to Peter on the van, so he could explain what was going to happen during and after treatment, and that there was a counsellor there as well if I needed. I went with an open mind. When I spoke to Peter, what I liked was that he was straight with me. He didn’t mince his words, didn’t mess around. He told me that the chemo would make me feel awful, and that it wouldn’t be easy but that I could do it. That’s’ exactly what I needed to hear at the time, I needed to be prepared. He’s always been on the end of the phone if I need to speak to him. He rang during my treatment to check up on me.
“I went through a bad spell when I was having my treatment, so I went and had some counselling with Paul on the ManVan. He’s amazing! I was very sceptical of counselling, I’ll be honest – but having that support made such a difference. Having someone to listen. You feel lonely and vulnerable. It’s great to have your friends and family around you, but you don’t want to burden them with how you’re feeling, they’re already going through enough. The counselling was so valuable to me. At the time, my life was very tough, but counselling made it less tough.
“Ever since I first went on the ManVan, I’ve been banging the drum about it! I’ve supplied ManVan leaflets to my local surgery, I’ve told so many men about it – I just wish I could do more to advertise it! The ManVan saves lives, it’s invaluable. Simple as that. It’s a fantastic resource."
If you'd like to find out more about our ManVan, or any of our cancer support services, click here or call us on 0808 808 1010.