“Too young to worry about it” | Neil Walton’s Story
“I thought I was still a bit young to start seriously worrying about it. Then suddenly, a year ago, I was walking out of a hospital after seeing my body ‘lit up like a Christmas tree’ with tumours and I thought it was all over.”
Neil from Bridgend, South Wales has kindly shared his inspiring story for why he is running the Cancer Research UK London Winter Run and has some advice to other men running…
Read on to discover his story…
Rydwi yma o hyd.
Just over a year ago, I was sitting with a urologist in a consulting room as she shared her screen and showed me the results of a scan which showed tumours in my prostate and almost two dozen other places throughout my skeleton. She gently explained that I had stage 4 prostate cancer that had advanced so far that there was nothing that they could do for me.
To say it shocked me to my core is an understatement. I had recently lost my second wife to cancer, as I had my first, and thought that things couldn’t possibly get any worse. I had put off my own health checks as I took care of my wife and well, life was busy, other stuff was going on. I was trying to stay fit and healthy, I jogged regularly, I had just hiked 140km from Bologna to Florence and hadn’t noticed any symptoms that are generally associated with ‘prostate problems’. I thought I was still a bit young to start seriously worrying about it.
Then suddenly, a year ago, I was walking out of a hospital after seeing my body “lit up like a Christmas tree” with tumours and I thought it was all over. I informed my family and started “getting my affairs in order”.
Fortunately, I was then referred to an absolutely awesome oncology team and the fabulous Dr. Mollica, who convinced me that although the urology department had exhausted options, that there were still several treatments that they could try… even for someone with my advanced diagnosis. She started me on an anti-androgen therapy to stop my body producing testosterone and she also convinced me to take chemotherapy, despite me being VERY sceptical. Bear in mind, I had been a caregiver to both my wives as they endured chemotherapy and STILL lost them at the end of it. Long story short, a few VERY dark months later, my scans show NO CANCER, and my PSA score is down from 94 to 0.1! I am still working through recovery from the side effects of the chemo but thanks to the therapy I received, I am cancer-free and… I’m still here! Rydwi yma o hyd.
How important to you is the vital research and work that Cancer Research UK do?
I can honestly say it saved my life! The advances in effective treatment options for prostate cancer that have been initiated and funded by organisations such as Cancer Research UK means that I have a future when I didn’t think I had one. I have had first hand experience of how devastating cancer can be and I support Cancer Research UK in their work to prevent others from experiencing that in the future.