My story began in 2017 when I was getting an occasional ache in my mid abdomen and thought I may have a stomach ulcer or something as I was drinking a moderate amount of coffee at work. I then began finding it difficult to digest some foods like pasta, noodles, chips, etc and it felt like it was taking time to settle in my stomach. It would be painful sometimes and thought I may have just eaten too quickly. This prompted me to go to the doctor and see if I needed something for my acid reflux. At this point, my doctor recognised the symptoms and fast tracked me for an endoscopy. She didn’t show any outwardly concern but said my symptoms would jump the queue – I thought she was being kind.  

I was diagnosed with Stage 4 oesophageal cancer and had metastasis within my lymph system. Until this point in time, I was healthy, fit and took care of myself so this was a huge shock for me and my family. You have no idea of the impact on so many levels when you receive such sudden news and everything that you ever knew, dreamed of and worked for was gone in that instant. I was not the kind of person that would accept that this was it for me and once I had got my head around cancer, hospitals, treatments, etc. I was brave enough to explore alternative ways in which to heal. Afterall, my body has become this way for a reason, so what can I do for my body to enable it to do its job in eradicating something that is presently out of control!

I could not proceed with my initial palliative chemotherapy treatment as I suffered with sepsis and two blood clots and ended up having to take blood thinning injections as a result. At this point in time, I began working my own regime in parallel which included an alkaline diet, meditation, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, infrared saunas and an array of supplements! I understood how powerful the mind is in these situations and felt somehow connected to what I can only describe as ‘angelic’ support. I developed an innate sense of clarity, calm and empowerment - an inner knowing, if you like!

I managed to beat the metastasis and had my stomach and part of my oesophagus removed in Aug 2019. By 2020, I had another lymph node becoming cancerous and after my removal surgery, I had FLOT treatment to mop up anything else lurking inside and was able to tolerate the side effects this time around. I lost my hair, but had a wig made in the interim as I didn't want to draw unnecessary attention!

Unfortunately, in 2021, the cancer returned in another lymph node so I have just completed more chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment for this whilst ramping up my regime. I'm waiting for my 6 month scan right now so we will see where I am soon enough and whether I have to change my game again...

It’s still a mental battle, but feel I am winning it slowly! Although the cancer seemed to arrive promptly, it had likely been developing for years and I cannot expect it’s retreat to be quick in this respect. This cancer prompted me to reflect upon a lot of things, including myself, and look at ways I could empower myself to conquer this challenge. I decided to write a book about my learnings and experiences which was published in July 2022. I found this very therapeutic and I hope it can give strength, options and direction for many others facing similar life challenges.

The cancer has changed me - changed all of us actually, for the better in many respects! I am a creative person who likes adventure and spend my time doing more research and applying those learnings, helping others with similar diagnosis and volunteering as a photographer for the National Trust. I have a totally different outlook on life and live for every opportunity that comes my way! I have now recently invested in a little coffee business with my son, which is something totally different for both of us and why not try new avenues in life…you never know where they may lead!

You can purchase Peter's book, Tell Me Why, as kindle and paperback through Amazon and follow him on Instagram @padams99

Association with HCUK:

Peter got in touch with us by email.  He wanted to share his experience with us and show how determination can be a huge strength when a diagnosis of cancer is received.