Cancer doesn’t have to be a full stop. See it as a comma

Most of you will remember Phil Cartwright, Canterbury City Council’s answer to Clint Eastwood.

He was the Labour Councillor for Whitstable till 2014, when the party deselected him.

I worked with him a couple of times, on the Post Office issue, and on the campaign to keep our delivery office open in 2012.

Friends of his will know that he recently had an operation to remove a cancer from his bowel.

He told me that he saw the object during a pre-op scan. It was like a giant chick pea, he said.

The good news is that the operation was successful, the cancer was removed, along with its blood supply.

The bad news is that one of his lymph nodes still has cancerous cells showing, which means that he has to undertake a course of chemotherapy, which he describes as like a mopping up operation.

I must say, for a man who has just come out of hospital after having had cancer, Phil is looking remarkably well. He’s lost a lot of weight, his skin is translucently healthy, he has a spring in his step and a sparkle in his eye.

I went to see him and his wife, Dee, to talk about it. He tells me that he doesn’t want me to make out like he’s a hero battling cancer. He didn’t choose this fight. He says: “I want people to understand that fear gets in the way.

“I’m not brave, just too busy getting fit and ready for the chemotherapy to work.

“Too often people look on cancer as a full stop. It’s not. Thanks to modern medicine it’s hardly a comma in a lot of cases today.”

There are still moments of trepidation, of course.

He says that fear is like an unwelcome relative; but the worst of it is the feeling of being in limbo, of being in other people’s control.

He’s writing a blog about his progress, to which the photographer, Steve Woods, will be contributing pictures.

The blog is called “SHH… IT HAPPENS…” and is on wordpress: http://wp.me/P8yP6Y-2

I’m sure that Gazette readers will want to wish him a speedy recovery.

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From The Whitstable Gazette 20/04/17

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