Tackling cancer directly
My name is Graham Campbell. I am 61 years of age and married to Jan who has been my world throughout everything.
My story begins in March 2007 when after being monitored for 18 months for an enlarged prostate, I was told that cancerous cells had shown up in a biopsy taken a month earlier. My urology consultant told me that he thought that the cancer was confined to the prostate and so in his opinion surgery to remove the prostate completely would be the best option for me, taking into account my age and fitness.
Still in shock, I left the hospital and sat in the car worried about how to tell Jan that after going through all my life without any major illness (apart from the odd football injury) I now had cancer!
I went home, fell into her arms and blabbed out what the doctors had told me. That was my worst fear- having to tell the one I loved that I had cancer!
I had the operation on 29th April 2007 and have now been discharged with just a yearly PSA blood test. The only thing with having my prostate removed is that its left me with problems i.e. incontinence and in my `love life`.
In February 2010 I noticed a sign of blood on my stool so made an appointment with my GP who referred me to a specialist. I had a flexible sigmoidoscopy, which I was able to watch on the screen. The nurse found a polyp in the lower bowel on which they did a biopsy and low and behold the `C` word came back into my life. I was told that I had tumour in my bowel and that I would have to have a colostomy operation. Because the tumour was low down in the bowel they would not be able to reattach it after removing the tumour and so I would have to have a permanent colostomy bag.
Shock! Horror! A colostomy bag! That’s for old men, not men like me!
I told my consultant that after having had prostate surgery, which has left me with problems, I did not want surgery unless it was a last resort.
Enter Dr Sun Myint
In April 2010 I received a letter stating that my case had been discussed with the oncology team and an appointment had been made with Dr Sun Myint to assess my suitability for Papillon therapy.
Jan and I looked up Papillon on the Internet and found that it was a contact radiation machine which can possibly avoid surgery.” Great!” I thought.
In May2010 we met DR Sun Myint and he explained the procedure and he planned for me to have three Papillon sessions to improve and possibly cure my rectal cancer.
Only one stumbling block. We had booked to go on holiday for two weeks at the end of May and after all we had been through I did not want to give that up. Dr Sun Myint assured me that we would not have to miss our hols and could do the first treatments before we went so the date was made for my first treatment at Clatterbridge Centre Of Oncology.
Having had an MRI and CT scan along with ultrasound and now a candidate for Papillon, I was feeling quite happy at the way things were going. I kept my appointment and when my name was called I went in to meet DR Sun Myint`s team. They showed me the treatment couch and explained how to position myself, which was to bend over a bar with my face down, feet locked and my bum in the air. The nurse gave me some paper pants with a flap to hide my modesty. Dr Sun Myint told me he would first examine my back passage to locate the cancer then insert the tube directly over the tumour and lock into place.
Having a tube up my bum was a bit foreign to me and slightly uncomfortable but I had to grin and bear it. I found that being locked into position was more of a pain than the treatment. Surprisingly, after a few minute it was over and I was unlocked and asked to sit up on a chair.
When my head had cleared after being bent over, the nurse said she would help me by ripping the paper shorts off me. I told her that my mother had warned me about women like her! It brought a laugh to the room.
I had my second treatment 3 weeks later on the day before our holiday and Dr Sun Myint said that he could already see and improvement and a shrinking of the tumour.
After a lovely holiday I returned to Clatterbridge for 6 weeks external beam radiotherapy and had my third and final Papillon treatment in August. After this treatment Dr Sun Myint brought Jan into the room and showed us both the pictures of how the treatment had worked and that the tumour had gone.
With tears in our eyes we thanked everyone and left feeling very pleased.
I have been extremely fortunate in that through everything I haven’t been `ill`.
I have continued to work and apart from some tiredness have felt well.
I am being monitored regularly and scans have shown no evidence of any relapse. I am due to see Dr Sun Myint in October
Jan and I are so grateful for the quality of life that Dr Sun Myint and his Papillon treatment have given me.