Malcolm: Today, I appreciate more time spent with my family
A body scan showed that Malcolm had cancer with metastases in his lymph nodes, bones including pelvis, femur and ribs, but luckily not in his liver or lungs. “In the UK they weren’t very positive and didn’t give me any hope. When asked how long I might expect, my doctor wouldn’t give me any estimate. I obviously wasn’t very happy about that”- Malcolm recalls.
“Meeting the doctor was the most horrible thing”- says Malcolm’s wife Lea. “We didn’t even know how to react.”
Coming to Finland
Before the diagnosis, Malcolm had never heard about Docrates, nor about cancer treatment in Finland. Lea is originally from Finland, and they travel here often to spend time at their summer cottage. Lea herself worked as a nursing lecturer in Finland and knew about the high quality of the Finnish healthcare system. Her friend’s daughter worked at the Docrates Cancer Center and told her about a new, at that time still experimental, radioisotope treatment available in Helsinki. Malcolm decided to explore further to see if it might be appropriate for him..
First, he had to come for the scans and then Professor Timo Joensuu created for Malcolm a treatment plan suggestion.
“Look, I’d been reading about it. It’s not a miracle. But I was in a radical situation, and it requires radical treatment.” Malcolm was able to read up on the medicine because of his background. An ex-pharmacist, he had worked his entire life in the generic drug industry. “It wasn’t a hard situation for me, I understood the risks.”
Altogether, Malcolm had 2 sessions of LUT-177, then 9 sessions of chemotherapy, 2 sessions of radiotherapy and 2 sessions of HDR-brachytherapy after that. The response was good, so his oncologist decided to continue the treatments.
Treating cancer is a teamwork
It has now been more than four years since Malcolm first came to Docrates. Walking along the corridors, everyone in the hospital recalls him and his wife. Many hours were spent together. Malcolm’s personal nurse Malviina always talks about the couple with a warm smile on her face. Together they went through different times and difficult situations too. For instance, once Malcolm had an anaphylactic shock on a new drug and Malviina had to act immediately. In hard times it makes you feel secure to be with someone you trust.
Malcolm praises the accurate and highly professional work of the medical staff during all the procedures. The precision necessary in radiotherapy, in brachytherapy and in the other disciplines is critical to achieve the best outcome. Additionally, the continuous enthusiasm and positivity, the ability to answer questions and provide reassurance and ongoing support has been invaluable. This was helped by the convenient online monitoring system, Kaiku . It makes it easy to stay in touch with the treatment team and always get a fast response.
Do your best
Malcolm is a very positive, energetic person. One would never guess that he has to fight such a severe disease. We asked him if he had ever lost hope.
“It’s important to go through your mortality”- says Malcolm. “One day I’m not going to be here, but it’s not a reason to lose hope, it’s just dealing with reality.”
“Today, I appreciate more time spent with grandchildren, with my family and friends. I don’t plan ten years ahead, it’s more of planning year by year. There are no guarantees with cancer, but you’re doing your best and you want to live your life to the full and as normally as possible”