Page 1 - Matt Carter Story
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Page 1 of 6
               Matt Carter’s Storey

               1 - Symptoms and Diagnosis
               I was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in         all of the waiting we decided to spend our
               August 2014 at the age of 48. During the six       valuable time doing nice things. Walking,
               months prior to that I noticed swallowing          visiting family and friends, going to the
               food had gradually become harder, which I          cinema, anything to enjoy the time rather
               put down to indigestion so largely ignored it.     than worry about tests out of our control.
               Steadily I ate less and less, opting for softer    Yes, it felt sickening before each meeting to
               foods thinking it helped to alleviate the          discuss the results, but I went in thinking if
               discomfort. Eventually I couldn't even eat         it's not good news I wanted to know what
               small meals, choking and coughing, bringing        could be done and then get on with it. At
               food back up. That's when I went to my GP.         first, I found talking with close family and
               Six weeks later and after a change of GP I         friends very hard but it really helped, most
               was asked to attend an urgent endoscopy at         importantly, to dispel what felt like a stigma
               the Churchill hospital. The examination            or personal failure to have this horrible
               revealed a lump in my lower oesophagus,            cancer. Being mindful not to be negative, we
               which ten days later was confirmed to be           found their response incredibly supportive.
                                                                  On reflection, throughout 2014, I shouldn't
               After the endoscopy I don't remember               have ignored the symptoms for so long and
               leaving the hospital, both my wife and I           talked with my GP much sooner and been
               were completely stunned. I didn't want to          more assertive. The clinical team at the
               look it up on the internet knowing it              Churchill did a brilliant job. My reassigned
               wouldn't be good for my state of mind,             GP was brilliant too and still is. Facing up to
               preferring to talk with the experts at the         the cancer early on with my family and
               Churchill first before jumping to any              friends was extremely hard but a very
               conclusions. As it turned out that was the         important step. My wife, family and friends
               right thing to do for me as our first meeting      have been there for me at every stage, I feel
               with our Consultant surgeon, although hard         so humbled. Nevertheless, staying positive
               and sobering, left me feeling confident I was      at every twist and turn is extremely hard but
               truly in excellent hands. It's better to know      absolutely the only way to stay focused on
               exactly what's what than speculate or guess.       beating it.
               Waiting was the worst thing. It seemed to          In my next account I will describe the
               take weeks to go through the various scans         treatment I went through including
               and tests to devise the right treatment plan
                                                                  chemotherapy and radiotherapy, how it
               for me. At each stage not knowing if the
                                                                  made me feel and how I coped with it.
               cancer had spread or not. To help cope with

               \\NOV2012\E (Data)\Temp\Temp\Matt Carter Story.docx
               Last Updated on 18Oct2017 by Roger Beaumont
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