In August 2016, and at the age of 58, I attended a routine male annual MOT check-up at the doctors.
The blood tests came back normal, but I mentioned that I was having night sweats. Three days later, but still feeling fit as a fiddle, I was in a CT scanner, joking with the nurses.
The scan revealed that something was looking worrying on my lung, and further tests were needed. I recall going swimming the next day, and instead of my usual 32 lengths, all I could manage was four. Something was clearly not right.
I had a biopsy taken from the lymph node in my neck. The two week wait for the biopsy results was a really worrying time.
I was diagnosed with stage 4 B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma, 80% high grade and 20% low grade. My wife burst into tears and my first thought was that I would never see Liverpool FC win another trophy.
From that diagnosis I went downhill pretty quickly. I started chemotherapy in October 2016 with six sessions of R-CHOP, 21 days apart. My hair fell out after one session, but worse was to come. The lymphoma affected my spine and my bones were breaking. After five chemotherapy sessions I went downhill fast. I could hardly walk unaided and ended up on walking sticks, then a wheelchair. I couldn’t move an inch without being in agonising pain so, against my wishes, I was talked into going into a hospice. They do fantastic work to relieve pain and the staff were terrific too.
After my final chemotherapy, I had a scan which showed that I was not clear of the lymphoma, so a further two intense chemotherapy sessions were planned. I was scared stiff, but my wonderful wife sat with me through every minute, as she had with the previous six sessions.
In May 2017 I got the news I had been waiting for. I was clear of the lymphoma for now, and was officially in remission. The chemotherapy was followed by maintenance rituximab injections for 2 years every 8 weeks.
I returned to work as a finance officer in October 2017. I have been back 2 years now and not had a day off sick. I work for a charity and they have been brilliant and kitted me out with a desk riser and a special chair so I can stand and work.
I have been told by my GP that I will never climb mountains, but I am more than happy and take every day as it comes.
I am now on active monitoring, or watch and wait, like thousands of other people with lymphoma and love it when I see stories of people still on it 10 or 20 years later. I still attend the Lymphoma Action Support Group and hope that I can help others who are facing the same problems as me.
If, like Kevin, you would like to attend a support group near you, go to lymphoma-action.org.uk/support-groups