Did you know that on 23rd August 2010 it was a gorgeous sunny day in Glasgow?
It is one of the dates etched on my psyche. I also had a morning meeting at church on finance matters, and my lunch was an egg mayo sandwich from Tescos!!
23rd Agust 2010, my Mum underwent what was then pioneering heart surgery, at Oxford's John Radcliffe hospital. It was only offered to people whose prognosis was poor and who weren't strong enough for standard alternatives. I researched it at the time, and 50% of people survived surgery, of those 50% would be alive a month later... she was part of the 'good' 25% and had almost eight years. I researched it all again yesterday - with a decade of data they now have 90% suriviving surgery and almost 50% alive and well at ten years. Well done, Mum, you were one of the successes!
23rd August 2010, I heard the dread words, 'I'm sorry it's cancer'. I did my own research, and the Nottingham Prognostic Index (NHS Predict was in its infancy back then) allocated me to the 'poor prognostic group'. Reputable websites gave me five year survivial stats of 50% and ten year of 30%. And here I am, nine years later, alive, well and living life fully. I used Predict again recently, and my ten year figures are a little under 50% - seems I'm a stats-beater, just like my Mum before me!
All of this amazing treatment was provided free at the point of delivery by NHS England and NHS Scotland. Without getting too political, the NHS is over-stretched, under-funded and still doing amazing work.
So, today as I become '9 year survivor' and am '8.5 years NED' two things...
Firstly, be alert, do the checks, do the screening, rpeort the symptoms - it could just save your life, as it did mine.
Second - value the NHS, do what you can to protect it, and never, ever take it it for granted.
Remembering absent friends, grateful for my continuing health, and suitably humbled.