Justine Wilson’s Story

Justine Wilson’s Story

My husband Peter, at just 48, in April 2013 was diagnosed with cancer. I wanted to take a few minutes to share our story and hopefully help someone else by doing so.

Peter was having difficulty swallowing food and after two weeks of antibiotics, the symptoms persisted so he was referred for a Barium Swallow test. The tests revealed a suspected throat hernia, which at the time, made perfect sense.

A follow-up Endoscopy and biopsies really took us by surprise. We had an incredibly difficult conversation with the nurse regarding the results. Peter simply asked, “is it cancer?”. The thought of cancer hadn’t even occurred to me! The nurse dropped her head and replied, “it might be”. In that moment, my world fell apart. I was shocked. I felt like my husband had been served a death sentence.

Peter, at only 48, was diagnosed with Stage 3-4 Oesophageal Cancer. This cancer, whilst it does affect more men than women, it’s usually with people in their 60s and above.

A treatment schedule was quickly put in place.  After two cycles of intense Chemotherapy, Peter was booked in for a 10-hour operation, the Ivor Lewis procedure, in July 2013. Thankfully, the operation went well and the cancer removed, along with 52 lymph nodes (only two had cancerous cells).

I am pleased to say that Peter is in good health eight years on. He returned to work a year later, but he lost around six stone in weight and despite amazing progress, he still has his daily struggles with food – a constant reminder of what he has been through. But Peter is incredibly strong and positive and is living a full life again!

Cardano Risk Management, who I work for, have been incredibly supportive. They have an excellent scheme for employees when they reach their five-year work anniversary and make a £5,000 donation to the employees’ charity of choice, which is absolutely amazing!  I want to thank them for this generous donation and support. It has meant an awful lot.

I have chosen the charity OPA (The Oesophageal Patients Association), who are a fantastic charity, supporting patients and their families whilst raising awareness of this cancer. They were of huge support to and continue to be there for us.

More information about this great charity can be found here https://www.opa.org.uk, but please help raise awareness of this cruel disease so we can help others catch their symptoms early.