As John Currie took the hand of his new bride Kim, to lead her onto the dancefloor for their first dance at their wedding in September – never in a million years could he have imagined that two weeks later he would be receiving the most devastating news of his life.
Whilst on their honeymoon, on the way back from a trip to the zoo, John began to feel unwell. His wife took him straight to his GP’s surgery, where he was then sent to A&E.
John was admitted to hospital and had many different tests and an MRI. When the doctors came to his bedside the next morning on their ward rounds, they asked John if he had anyone with him – on replying no, he was told that he’d best get his wife to the hospital as soon as possible.
Until this point, he hadn’t even thought of cancer. He thought it was perhaps an infection. All of a sudden, he knew this was something serious and dread overwhelmed him.
At only 32 years of age, with his new wife by his side, John found out he had Burkitt lymphoma – an extremely rare but highly aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The scans had shown quite advanced tumours on the underside of his diaphragm.
The only option available to him at that point was palliative care.
A few weeks later, at an appointment with Ayrshire & Glasgow consultants, one of the oncologists said they’d like to have a shot at treating it, but it would be a very robust and rough treatment – would John be up for it? For John it was a cut and dried decision. In his own words “What were the other options? It was an easy decision, I just thought to myself, let’s do this!”
John was admitted to Station 15 at Ayr hospital to undergo his treatment, he clearly recalls sitting before his first session, feeling nervous and excited, desperate to get started. He envisaged himself carrying on going for runs & feeling great. Reality was much tougher. The first three sessions were rough with John passing out numerous times, experiencing hallucinations and generally feeling wiped out.
After six sessions staying in hospital throughout, the tumour in John’s stomach reduced in size and he began to have hope for the future. With two young children at the time, John could not bear to think about what could have happened if he hadn’t decided to accept the only treatment that was offered to him – In 2019 they had a son to add to their family.
His wife, Kim, a staff nurse, was his rock throughout and kept everything together. She was there explaining the more technical medical terms and kept the family going. Kim is not reluctant to say she found it all overwhelming, especially so early in their marriage when they should have been enjoying their honeymoon period. Kim got in touch with us and had a few counselling sessions, which she said made a massive difference in her ability to cope day to day.
John still worries about the cancer returning. Sometimes he feels weary – his body aches and he feels tired most of the time.
“Nevertheless,” he says, “It’s a small price to pay to still be here and watch my kids grow up.”
How you can help:
To find out more about how you can help others like John, please click the link to donate to Ayrshire Cancer Support today.