Allan Hardy – Cancer Stories of Hope #CANSA90
What is your current cancer diagnosis?
I am in remission. I had stage 3 colon cancer.
How long have you been living with that cancer?
For 6 years.
How does living with cancer affect you in general in your day-to-day living?
I can’t say that having had cancer affects my day to day life. I know that cancer will be with me for the rest of my life, but it does not stop me enjoying everything that life has to offer. Today I had blood taking at Lancet which will be sent to my oncologist for my appointment on Friday. The 6 monthly tests are a part of my life now and I would be lying if I said I was not worried about the result – that is the worst part – waiting in the oncologist’s rooms for news of my test results that could change my life again. There is a palpable fear, while waiting for the oncologist to call you.
Is there a family history of cancer? Please elaborate if yes.
My father was a heavy smoker and he had a brain tumour which led to his death at age 62. I have been a lifetime non-smoker.
How have you or your loved ones been affected by you living with cancer?
I think it is in many ways harder for my loved ones. It is my body and I can deal with it, but they feel helpless at times and want to help but don’t know how. Cancer affects everyone around you so don’t shut them out. Let them help even with small things like a cup of coffee. They want to make you comfortable, so let them. Let them go with you to the oncologist appointments and let them ask questions.
How has having cancer affected you during this time of COVID-19?
My wife always supported me, but now she has to sit in the waiting room at oncology, but I know she is there to comfort me and get any news, good or bad, first-hand. I had colon cancer and I go for a colonoscopy every year. During COVID, I have to go in to the hospital on my own and when I wake up in recovery, there is no friendly face to welcome me back. Another new part of life that you have to get used too.
What is your message to our government regarding the prevention, management and treatment of cancer?
Please ensure we have enough oncologists to treat the patients diagnosed with cancer as soon as possible. Any delay in treatment can be a death sentence. A patient needs to know they are important and have access to professional care and cancer medication when prescribed.
What is your message to other people living with cancer?
Do not let your cancer define who you are. You need to accept that cancer is a part of your life now and it can be beaten, I am living proof. No matter how bad you feel, do not give up hope and you will conquer this disease.
Your oncologist is there to help you, so be guided by them.
Lead as normal a life as you can and don’t feel sorry for yourself. There are millions of people out there fighting this disease, you are not on your own. Keeping a positive mental attitude is, I believe, the essence of my survival.
If you need help, CANSA is there for you.
Is pain a daily part of your life and how do you manage it?
I currently do not have pain.