Credit: Maggie's Nottingham

A patient from Maggie’s, Nottingham has shared how the centre has helped him to understand and deal with his cancer.

Dave Vernau was diagnosed with a sarcoma three years ago in 2017, after noticing a lump on his foot which seemed to be growing bigger.

Although initially unalarmed as the lump was something he had had since he was a teenager, he soon went to his doctor for what he thought was a ganglion.

The lump continued to grow and Dave was referred to hospital, where he underwent various scans and appointments.

Dave said: “I looked up the name of the consultant I was due to see and found they specialised in oncology and plastic surgery, so I thought maybe that’s why I’m here, size of the lump meant plastic surgery. 

However, I was told it was a sarcoma, which came as a bit of a shock, then at the diagnosis meeting, one of the options put to me for treatment was a below-knee amputation, which was another shock.

“As a triathlete, I didn’t want this option. So I pursued radiotherapy and a smaller operation.”

Dave went to Maggie’s Nottingham to try and make sense of his diagnosis and was welcomed with support from the team.

He explained: “But I felt like a bit of a fraud; after all, I was only having radiotherapy not heavy chemotherapy.

“The staff in the centre were really kind, saying radiotherapy was just as much real treatment as any other and that I needed to be careful and kind to myself.”

The operation was successful, and afterwards, Dave no longer needed to spend so much time at the centre.

However last year Dave began to have pain in his lower back, and his scans showed that the cancer had spread into his pelvis and femur.

Dave and his wife decided to go back to Maggie’s, where the team helped him make sense of his new diagnosis, and how he needed both radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

He added: “Annie the Centre Head sat us down with a cup of tea and helped us to make sense of what was likely to happen with the new diagnosis and treatment.

“To be able to talk to somebody who had direct experience working with people with cancer and dealing with it, who knew the terminology and the treatment – that was very comforting.”

Dave is currently undergoing his second line of treatment after his first line was giving mixed results, and according to his last two scans, the areas have been stabilised.

He still attends Maggie’s and attends their Men’s Group, and has also had 1-2-1 sessions with Suzie, the centre’s Cancer Support Specialist.

By Laycie Beck