CC Day 7 – Guest Post by Matthew Burns

Today’s my 40th birthday, and on January 26th 2016 I was diagnosed with Cholangiocarcinoma. It was a huge shock, especially as I lost my Father less than 18 months previously to cancer.

The onset of nausea and jaundice indicated a problem, and on Christmas Day 2015 the whites of my eyes had turned yellow and I knew this was serious. After 2 weeks in hospital, my bile duct was stented and I was sent home. I saw a senior consultant in Morriston Hospital Swansea who outlined his plans – surgery to remove the majority of my bile duct, my gall bladder, the head of my pancreas and part of my duodenum. I was in ITU for 4 days and spent a further two and a half weeks recovering in hospital – the surgery was a success. I then had 6 months of chemotherapy as a precaution.

It will be one year on February 25th since surgery, I’m now back in work and living as much of a normal life as possible. I have a beautiful wife and 3 amazing children who are my inspiration. They are without question, the most important people in my life, and make me fight every day to beat this disease. My Mum and sisters in law, as well as numerous family and friends have also supported us through this ordeal.

A friend recently said that 2016 tried to take me down, but I was too strong. Cholangiocarcinoma is destructive, but caught early, can be fought. When first diagnosed, I read lots of negative articles, but through AMMF I’ve found positive stories. I feel it’s very important for younger sufferers to be given hope that they can beat it. Although only a year in, I’m looking forward not back, and my family give me all the motivation I need.

Matthew with his young family