Aug 20th 2015

Patient had flu symptoms but found out he had cancer

Andrew Cross, aged 51, from Wednesbury, thought he had flu just before he went on holiday the Gambia. Little did anyone know that he actually had cancer at the last stage.

 For a long time, Andrew felt that his health was not right. He would often catch a cough or cold and even had a lung infection. He experienced weight loss and could not sleep or eat well for three months before his trip to Gambia in 2014.

When he came back to England, he could not go straight to hospital for a check-up because his mother and his wife’s mother both passed away in the same period of time. After a while, Andrew finally went to Sandwell Hospital to see the clinicians.

After taking his biopsy, the test confirmed that Andrew had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of blood cancer that appears as a tumour in the gland. When diagnosed, Andrew was already at stage 4, the highest stage. He then underwent chemo therapy on Newton 5 ward at Sandwell Hospital.

He said: “The treatment was brilliant. We received total support from everyone on the ward. The whole team was very supportive and patient. They did not give up on us at any moment. We knew it was their job but to witness their true dedication, we were overwhelmed and grateful.”

Andrew’s wife, Trisha, continued: “When Andrew was diagnosed with cancer, I was very upset. Seeing our mothers passed away, I was frightened that I may lose Andrew as well. Fortunately, we received great support from our friends and family. In a way, cancer has pulled all of us together and we felt very lucky to receive the tremendous support from every one.

“Staff from the hospital were very helpful. We can call anyone in the team any time to ask for help. They were always there to help or just to listen to our concern.”

Andrew is now fully recovered. He only needs to come to hospital once every three months for a check-up.

After receiving treatment at the hospital for about a year, the couple decided to organise a fundraising campaign for Newton 5.

In June 2015, they organised a variety night, where they sold raffle tickets and their friends put on a stage show to raise funds. In the end, they successfully raised more than £1,000 for the ward. Trisha said: “We just hope that the money we raised could give a little bit of help to others, even if it just means to make others’ journeys a bit easier.”

 Karen Mayo, sister on Newton 5, said thanks to the family: “Our team on Newton 5 really appreciates the hard work that Andrew and Trisha put in to make the fundraising night the great success it was. My colleague and I went to the night and we both had such a great time. The money raised will be used to buy equipment to help with the treatment and improve patient experience.”

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