It was March 2014 when I first feel pain and difficulty with swallowing food. And I feel pressure and burning in my chest. After a week, I start vomiting I decided to go to the doctor the next day to check it out. He did some tests and decided to send me to the hospital for a scan and an endoscopy, that's where they use a camera to look at your esophagus. It sounds painful, but it's not that bad. I have several of them now!
First I didn't think it was anything serious. I thought it might be an infection. But the test result showed that I had a tumor in the esophagus. I was terrified with the test result but then I decided I had to fight with it.
My treatment involved surgery as well as chemotherapy to remove the tumor. But the cancer had spread into the tissue. It terrified me more.
The doctor gave me two options. One was to remove the portion of the esophagus that contains the tumor along with a portion of the upper part of my stomach and nearby lymph nodes. The other was to join a Cancer Research clinical trial. I decided within a few seconds that I wanted to join this clinical trial.
The trial involved having chemotherapy every week along with radiotherapy 5 days a week for 7 weeks.
Before I joined I was told a long list of possible side effects. That made me terrified a little but I was lucky enough not to experience any of them. I did lose a bit of weight because I couldn't eat anything but thankfully I didn't have to be like that for too long.
I was really well taken care of when I was on the trial. Everyone was brilliant: nurses, radiologists, and doctors. Everyone was fantastic.
On top of that the clinical trial nurses made sure that they put me completely at ease. Without them and my consultant, I don't know where I would be.
When I finished my clinical trial I had to wait about 12 weeks before the doctors could tell me whether it had worked.
It was June 2015 when my consultant told me the news that the clinical trial had been successful and that my cancer was gone.
It was the best news I had heard in months. Without clinical trials, things would just stand still. I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to join a clinical trial.
I knew nothing about clinical trials before I joined one. Now I understand how important they are. But now I look back and I feel glad I did something that could help humanity in the future. And help cancer medicine in the future.