Your stories Andy's Story Andy's story told by Tania Name: Andy Gee Age: 51 Diagnosis: Oesophageal cancer Andy had always suffered from heartburn but in the 27 years we were married he had refused to go to the doctor as he feared an endoscopy. Instead he chose to use alternative solutions such as charcoal tablets and bicarbonate of soda. In January 2020 Andy was having trouble swallowing and went to the doctor who immediately referred him for an endoscopy. In March 2020, one week before the national lockdown, we were told Andy had stage 4 oesophageal cancer which had spread to his lymph nodes and right lung. He began Chemotherapy immediately and this was partially successful in reducing the cancer in the lymph nodes. In the Summer we were able to stop ‘shielding’ and take a holiday in the UK - allowing us a little bit of normality. By October, Andy was back on Chemotherapy, this time a stronger version which had considerable side effects. He did however continue working despite this. By November Andy was having to have his lung drained regularly and he started to become weaker as a result. At this point he was still refusing to tell the children that he was terminally ill since he was adamant that he could continue fighting the illness. On 6th January 2021 his oncologist told us that he had 4 weeks to live. We had to tell the children he was going to die. Andy died on 29th January 2021 age 51. He had been admitted to a hospice the night before and had continued working, sending emails and messaging the children that morning. I arrived in time to spend 5 minutes with him but sadly because of Covid restrictions the children, who were age 17 and 15, had been sent to wait in the car and did not see him until after he had died - something I was always regret. Despite the fact that his mother had been diagnosed with Barrett’s oesophagus Andy had refused to acknowledge that his own heartburn could potentially be a serious problem and sadly his death may have been avoidable had he done so and gone for an endoscopy. Association with HCUK: Tania got in touch with us in February 2022 to share her daughter Rosie's beautiful Tik Tok tribute with us. By putting his tragic story into words, the family hope to raise awareness of the dangers of ignoring persistent heartburn.