Blood cancer survivor John Hinman shares his story with us during Blood Cancer Awareness Month.

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There are consequences to every one of life’s pathways, abuse your body, adopt a questionable lifestyle, have no thought for your welfare or the wellbeing of others, the resultant outcome in life can be all too familiar. However if the complete opposite is obvious, a long and healthy life can be your reward. Sorry evolution and nature doesn’t follow that pattern as I found out in my later years.

An athletic type, I won my first National Gold Medal for the long jump as a teenager, on the day that England played Argentina in the Quarter Finals of the World Cup in 1966, Saturday the 23rd of July. A sprinter, long-jumper and footballer at school, I enjoyed a high level of fitness that continued throughout my adult years. An Engineer, a Flight Commander in the Royal Air Force Regiment, Football Referee and latterly retiring from the Yorkshire Ambulance Service with over twenty years of Public Service saving lives and providing comfort and treatment to people of all walks of life. So with that in mind, I would enjoy healthy retirement wouldn’t I?

Wrong – Myeloma had other ideas.

On the 9th November 2013, en route to an emergency call in Mexborough, South Yorkshire (scalded baby) the ambulance skidded in bad weather and side-swiped a bollard, extensively damaging the nearside of the vehicle. Sat In the passenger seat, my knee was rested against the nearside door and this took the full force of the impact. My left knee was replaced in 2015 and I returned to Front Line Duties.

This is where bad luck and good fortune become entwined.

Fluid and Heat around the replacement joint became apparent so, assuming a possible local infection, antibiotics were prescribed and as a precaution blood tests taken. The might of the nuclear blast then came to the city of Lincoln for me.

A consultation at the Lincoln County Hospital shook my being to the core. “I regret to say that the tests results show that you have Myeloma.” The rest of the dialogue was lost in tears and confusion, talk of chemotherapy, stem cell replacement etc. The options available to me were offered, and I opted for the Janssen Centaurus Trial at Nottingham City Hospital.

A New Year 2016, and a new beginning. Myeloma is a remitting/relapsing cancer and the Trial was undeniably being beneficial to my elderly cells. The Centaurus Trial was programmed for three years then a watching brief was to be effected. My initial elation at the results were tempered by the deflation of receiving the last treatment after three years of excellent care and support at Nottingham. And so some weeks later actually ten weeks the sun seemed to be shining a lot brighter; I don’t buy lottery tickets but I won the Lottery of Life with the news that Janssen would like for me to consider continuing the treatment as a continuation of the previous trial.

Nanosecond would describe the time line of my answer!

This telephone call took place in the Car Park at McDonalds in Lincoln at 0952hrs 11th June 2018- Funny how the data sticks in the memory!! Thanks to Jo Lindsey Hill my contact at Nottingham.

There is no doubt in my mind that if my knee had not been replaced, Myeloma may have been undiagnosed for years, until it became obvious and needed substantial treatment and therefore a greater threat to my well-being.

I could fill another page of my gratitude to Janssen, and all the personnel at the Clinical Haematology Dept at Nottingham City Hospital. I am reluctant to single out one individual for special praise, as it be similar to comparing one slice of gateau against the rest of the cake. However, Jo Lindsey Hill Clinical, Haematology Research Nurse had started my treatment in February 2016 and is still prodding and poking me to this day!

John Hinman, Lincoln