Mark Haydn Taylor penned an emotional personal account of his illness during his final few months.
His wife Kathie hopes his heart-rending story will help to raise awareness about pancreatic cancer and encourage others suffering similar symptoms to seek medical advice. Here is Mark’s account:
“In 2005 I started to put on weight, first a few pounds, then a stone. I didn’t think much of it - my lifestyle had changed, my father had just passed away, and I had been made redundant for the third time.
“Within the year, I had put on three stone. Over the next two years I put on another two stone. I’d gone from 11 stone to 16, a weight I’d never been near in my life.
“By 2008 I started to feel unwell. I went to the doctor who referred me to hospital. I had started feeling pain in my abdomen and needed painkillers to help.
“The following year was filled with tests and scans. Eventually, in November 2009, they spotted a small tumour in my pancreas and diagnosed it as cancer. Not only was it cancer but, due to its location, it was incurable.
“The news was shocking. I can’t think of another word. When my doctor came to see me to explain, I could see he was genuinely upset himself. He stank of cigarettes and had been sitting in the car for a while outside - I can imagine he was smoking and plucking up courage to knock on my door.
“I was quite ill and had to go directly into hospital, leaving my wife to tell my kids the news. The worst thing was the depression I suffered around four weeks after they told me the news.
“I didn’t know what to do with myself. I spent every night and day pacing the carpet in the living room, crying to myself and occasionally phoning the Samaritans and the night staff at Macmillan.
“I came so very close to taking my own life it’s frightening.
“I’m not afraid of death at all, honestly. It’s the upset of my family and friends that depressed me. The fact I could do nothing about it was the worst thing.
“Eventually I turned around my depression. I now feel blessed that I have a life. There are people in the world that are suffering greatly, much more than I ever will.
“I have since learned the cancer has spread to my liver which is speeding up the inevitable death of my body.
“I now fill my life with doing the things that make me feel happy. I love cooking for my family, visiting family and friends, and helping others through raising funds for cancer research.
“The doctors can’t tell me how long I have to live but say I could be months away from my last day. Like you, I don’t know how and when I will die. So I just get on with getting on with it.
“I really do have everything to be grateful for - I have reached middle age, I have two children I love dearly, not to mention my wife who has put up with so much but still loves me after 23 years.
“I adore her and love her now more than I ever have. My love for her is eternal. I need not worry about death.”