Richard Bingham, a 41-year-old from Rye, was diagnosed with metastatic bowel cancer in 2016 and he writes below:
My diagnosis went from incurable to terminal in December 2019, my prognosis now being weeks or months rather than years. The cancer has spread to my abdomen, lymph nodes, liver and lungs.
Last Friday I underwent my 50th round of chemo since diagnosis at the Judy Beard Day Unit at The Conquest Hospital, Hastings. The nursing team there has been exemplary – a unique, extraordinary, brilliant, inspirational, kind, fun, knowledgeable and wonderful breed of human.
They turn what could be a pretty miserable day into something entirely bearable. Thank you nurses, HCAs and all staff of the Judy Beard Day Unit.
Fifty rounds of chemo comes as a mixed blessing. It has been the most intense period of my life and the treatment has inevitably taken its toll in a big way – I am weak, easily tired, at risk of infection, and generally not the man I once was.
But it is keeping me alive, along with regular Radio Frequency Ablation procedures in London to try to tackle the bigger of the tumours. All things considered, I feel OK given the circumstances and am trying to live each day as it comes with my wife Bekky and our dog Lola.
Bekky has looked after me every step of the way – the treatment doesn’t just impact on the patient but also the carer, another factor that is often overlooked. Our lives are extremely limited by cancer, but knowing our time together is limited sharpens the mind no end and allows us to really make the most of the time we have left, when we can.
To mark the 50th round, my brother Philip and his wife Liz set up a Go Fund Me campaign to help with our day to day costs, and especially those incurred as a result of cancer, of which many people are unaware. In two weeks, we have somehow smashed the original target of £10,000.
As my brother said on the Go Fund Me page “Nothing can soften the stark realities of terminal cancer, especially when things take the kind of turn described by Bekky in a recent blog post. However, there are plenty of expensive practicalities that add an extra burden just when they’re least needed.
“Rich and Bekky have already received generous support from family and friends – but there remains a grinding daily financial reality of hidden costs that I hope a fund to assist them might ease.
“Whilst their earning ability is reduced, it will allow for them to stay overnight nearer to his many treatments, take germ-free private transport to appointments and cover the costs of specialist meetings where insurance falls short.
“It will ensure Bekky can take less stressful time away from her freelance work to be with him over the coming months. It will even help with mundane things like extra heating costs. We’re also hoping it might allow them an occasional treat to escape cabin fever.
“Donating money can feel like a rather unemotional response to a situation like Rich and Bekky’s. However, we know how much it can alleviate the stresses that lie ahead, and how greatly they would appreciate it.”
Friends, family and complete strangers have completely blown us away with their generosity. When we were told about the campaign we thought we might raise a couple of grand if we were lucky, but here we are having sailed through the £11,000 mark. We are humbled and grateful in equal measure.
We’re going to put the fund towards making life a bit easier in these difficult times, and hopefully a few nights away for some R&R!
I have kept a blog where there is loads more info on recent events, should you want it. Or do feel free to give me a call on 07796 165300 if you need more details. Many thanks in advance.
Best wishes, Richard
Image Credits: Richard Bingham .