The journey to full recovery: John’s story
‘I had a scan in November 1990, which confirmed the worst - that I had cancer, and so needed an Orchiectomy which is a surgical procedure in which one or both testicles are removed. Results from follow-up blood tests suggested I was rid of the disease. However, in April 1991, the cancer returned and I had four doses of chemotherapy.
‘In July 1991, I was given the all clear again, so it was a huge shock of course when it returned again a few months later. At this stage it wasn’t looking good at all, and the Doctor simply said I probably had around four to six months of life left unless I started a brand new treatment nobody in London had received yet.
‘On medical advice I decided to freeze my sperm in case of future need. During this period, I had to undergo five lots of heavy duty chemotherapy and had an operation to 'harvest' my bone marrow for future reinfusion (known as 'autograft').
‘I was admitted to Samaritan Ward and kept in isolation. The bone marrow was ultimately re-infused by Sister (now Matron!) Louise Farrow on January 16 1992. However there was an initial crisis as the bone marrow showed no signs of 'taking', but eventually I was discharged from Samaritan Ward on 6 February 1992.
‘I raised £7,000 from friends and family, including a pretty big slice from my police colleagues.
‘I re-married in 2008 and in February 2012, Jasmine was born using sperm frozen in 1991, making her the 'oldest' IVF baby in British history (I had been given a 1 in 2 million chance of conceiving naturally!). Then in November 2013, Jessica was born (natural conception) blowing the consultant's odds out of the water!
‘On 5 February 2017, I decided to host a charity dinner to celebrate 25 years alive and raised a further £1,200 for Guy’s and St Thomas’, for prolonging my life beyond another quarter of a century. Today, I am quite simply the happiest man alive!’