David’s Christmas Story

Christmas is a time invested with so many meanings and emotions, regardless of your religious beliefs. It’s a time to reflect on what has gone before, and a time to contemplate what is to be. It’s a time for friends, a time for family; and hopefully we won’t be too restricted by Covid this year. It’s also a time to relax (unless you’re cooking the dinner), put your feet up, overeat, drink too much, and watch rubbish on the TV.

For people undergoing cancer treatment, however, Christmas can be all of those things and more. A time to be grateful for positive progression, or a time to think about your mortality, and wonder if you’ll see the next. I’m going to enjoy this Christmas. Diagnosed with bladder cancer in June 2020, I’ve had two tumours removed during my primary operation, and a subsequent smaller tumour excised in a procedure earlier this year. I’m currently lucky enough to have had two clear checks, and my last three monthly check, assuming and hoping I’m still clear, after Christmas. After that I go on to six monthly checks. I have a lot to be thankful for. Last year a check-up in late November found a small tumour, and I had to wait until January to have it removed. I enjoyed Christmas, but the spectre of cancer was to be honest, even more galling than the jokes in the crackers.

I’m looking forward to seeing my kids, and hopefully seeing some of my wider family and friends, where time allows. Sadly the NHS where I earn my daily bread sauce, still has to work at Christmas time. People still need operations. But when I can, I’ll be out for walks, taking lots of photos, and generally being thankful for being able to be here to enjoy it, and hopefully many more, grateful to those who dedicate their lives to improving cancer outcomes for people like me, and all the others who live with this disease.

Here’s to Happy Christmas for everyone, and no matter what the forthcoming year brings, may you face it with strength, dignity, and support.