By DEAN LAL
Is there some way of saying ‘It’s been a challenging time?” No, probably not. And besides, challenging is a euphemism; a gentled version of what I wish to convey.
12 months ago I heard the words “you have Cancer” for the first time. I still get shivers just thinking about what is happening inside my body and how much my life has changed based on those dreaded 3 words. But first and foremost I want you to know about ME, the me before the Cancer, I want you to look past the disease for a moment and come into my world. This is my journey but I know I am not alone in this fight.
Let’s start from the beginning shall we, my name is Dean and 33 years ago I was given the greatest gift of all -life. An opportunity to live and experience this amazing and beautiful world we were given so abundantly. And it is with this very attitude that I have lived my life.
I have always been a very positive person, embracing each day. My friends and family will certainly agree that there really isn’t ever a dull moment when I’m around. I have had the privilege of travelling the world and prior to my diagnosis, I ran a successful engineering business. I guess I could say life was good. I married my stunning wife two years ago, it was the wedding of our dreams and we were so fulfilled in knowing that we were now planning the next stage of our lives together.
In May 2013, I was getting ready to compete in a fitness competition. For anyone who has ever done this before, it involves a very strict eating plan and training schedule. I was committed and excited for the challenge. My reason for mentioning this is because this is really when I saw the peak of my health and fitness, I was consciously looking after myself- little did I know that this feeling of euphoria wouldn’t last long.
During the competition is when I got my first signs that something wasn’t quite right, I was passing blood in my urine and suffering from severe back pain. We originally thought it was all the supplements I was on that were causing the clots and pain; so like many, I ignored the signs and continued best I could. After the competition (in which I did really well I might add!) The intensity of my training reduced and the blood in my urine appeared only intermittently. I didn’t think too much of it as I still thought it was a minor side-effect of the training supplements I was still on – whenever I stopped taking my protein powders I found that I would not get the pain as much and blood was minimal.
It wasn’t long before the blood clots returned in my urine, this time they were outrageously large and excruciatingly painful. I honestly didn’t even think I could pass something that size through my urinary tract.