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Richard wouldn’t have survived cancer without centre

 Published on: 12th August 2018   |   By: Jason Allen   |   Category: Uncategorized

A man from Watford who survived a brain tumour has been speaking of his experience.

Richard Joseph, 51, had always been healthy and played a lot of sport until he collapsed at home nearly four years ago. 

He said: “I phoned an ambulance and went to Watford General Hospital. They gave an MRI scan and said I had something on the front lobe of my brain.”

Richard was referred to the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in Queen’s Square, London where he was diagnosed with a category three tumour, one grade below the most serious, category four, which are normally fatal. 

After an operation to remove the tumour, Richard then faced a gruelling 35 sessions of radio therapy at Mount Vernon Hospital. Meanwhile, he lost his job, marriage and home.

He said: “It really hit me for six – I felt lethargic and tired all the time. I got half way through and it totally poisoned my system. It was killing white and red cells and platelets and physically just breaks you. Meanwhile I was also divorced and had nowhere to live so I had to stay on friends’ couches.”

Richard began to rebuild his life after his oncology nurse Maggie Fitzgerald told him about the Lynda Jackson Macmillan Centre, a support service for those affected with cancer.

He commented: “I used to just break down –  I went and had a cup of coffee and sat down with one of the ladies. They are self-funded and it was recommended that I should see the counsellor. I was crying and told her I had nowhere to live and she told I had come through the operation and could have died on the table.”

Before falling ill, Richard had a job in IT project management. His illness though meant he had to investigate benefits for the first time, something else the centre helped him with.

There is a wealth of information and support services for cancer victims there.

Richard said a large part of his recovery is down to the centre.

He explained: “I wouldn’t have get through it and at one stage I was suicidal. How they’re not funded I’ve no idea. People travel from as far away as Wales to the centre. They’ve been a godsend and are my second family. I’m looking to do something for them.”

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