So it would be remiss of me on this day not to do a blog. The thing about these awareness days is that most people that get involved are already aware. 3 years ago I couldn’t have told you what a Glioblastoma was, I couldn’t tell you that it was a brain tumour. I couldn’t tell you it was incurable (blimey if you live in the NW you think the Christie can do anything) I couldn’t have told you that brain cancer is the biggest killer of the under 40s in the uk. I couldn’t have told you that despite this, it’s the least funded of the cancers through research with just 1-2% of funding, partly due to the fact that Brains are just so complicated.
I couldn’t have told you that in the two years since my diagnosis I’d lose 5 members of our community aged 5 to 19 because of brain cancer, as well as many people who’d lost their partner or child. So I’m hoping that helps you feel a bit more informed than I was back in the 4th week of the pandemic.
This is when I ask you if you have a spare few pennies https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/liam-bergin7 I know I keep asking, but to put it bluntly youngster’s and middle aged people like you and I keep dying
So two weeks ago I had my two year scan, in glioblastoma terms this means I’m a long term survivor. I remember talking to another school gate dad some years ago, Craig a great lad, we knew each other through school and clubs. Craig had cancer and I naively thought, you’ll be ok, He looked healthy and we live in a protective middle income bubble, with Christie’s just down the road….even when he corrected me, that it was incurable, I’m not sure I fully believed it. Craig sadly died, and here I am now having those same conversations, ‘but they must be able to do something’. ‘You look so well’. Unfortunately my answer is the same as Craig’s ‘it’s incurable’.
So over the last two weeks I’ve had my scan and then my scan results. I can’t tell you about scanxiety unless you’ve lived it or your family has. The gap quite often 10-14 days is nerve wracking in fact it can physically make you sick. I know for instance I always drink too much during that time. Something I’m not supposed to do. I’m short tempered with my loved ones. It’s just hideous, I spend a lot of time as a digital volunteer telling people, if there was something wrong they will ring before your feedback appointment and then ignore my own advice.
So then the day comes , it’s a phone call due at 9.30am….finally at 10.30 the phone rings
Hello is that Liam, it’s a mystery doctor from the Christie, of course I can’t remember their name I’m shitting myself. I’m on loud speaker so Jen can make notes.
Yes it’s Liam I’m expecting your call I try to say calmly . Now there is a good sign its one of my oncologist’s team. If it was bad news I think it would be the oncologist herself. Then the bit Jen hates, the small talk.
So Liam what have you been up to? Well I’ve been on national radio, cycled 100miles in a tandem with my son, been a bit grumpy about waiting for this call. All very good says anonymous Doctor. Jen meanwhile is mouthing in the background, just tell him a about the freaking scan (I may be paraphrasing Jen there) Anyway says Dr A still a nice little hole in your brain, no progress. So after years as an operations manger, the last thing I thought I’d ever be happy to hear was no progress.
So when I got my diagnosis I set some goals. Out live the cat (sorry Betty but you are 17) a few others, but one was to out live a Johnson government, now reset as the government.
A couple of huge thanks to those around me, for their continuous support. All the reasons lot with special mention to Dave. All the Tavs. My best mates Jim L the aforementioned Dave R and Stu D and all my family. All the friends I’ve met through the cancer community especially The Nuttall’s, Both Jen’s, Mr Mathew, The Pullan’s, finally my fellow dead men walking Tony and Chris.
But last but by no means least my very best friend and the awesome woman that is Jen Allen Bergin mother of Lewi and stepmum to Joe, Caitlin and Esme. I was obviously never going to get a tattoo, but with Billy Bragg’s permission