A few of you will know that recently a member of the SD lost a tragic battle against cancer. Cyril was a close friend and hunting partner of mine and lost a hard and courageously fought battle against what started as bowel cancer a couple of weeks ago at the age of 32. I think it is important to share the details as warning to us all that this is not just an illness that strikes people in their later years.
We started stalking together a few years ago and fumbled our way through many a shared stalk together and ended up with more laughs than deer. About 18 – 24 months ago despite having a very healthy appetite Cyril started to loose weight and wasn’t as keen to head out hunting. After some tests it was revealed that he had bowel cancer. I can only imagine how he and his family felt as I was gutted for him. He under went an operation and some chemo and his spirits returned, it wasn’t long before we were out stalking again. I noticed when Cyril was getting over a fence that he was opened pretty much from belly button to sternum and I asked about it. His reply was “they had to take a couple of aul glands away too”, this is never a good sign. His first bout of chemo didn’t do anything to stop or reduce the cancer but the second round of treatment did. Looking back on it now I have to take my hat to him, he would get chemo bottle fitted on a Thursday and we would be out lamping later that night without a complaint or ill word spoken.
He received some good news at Christmas 2011 that the cancer seemed to be in remission and went out and got himself a 2005 defender ready for some serious stalking and lamping. Soon after that he started to complain about pains in his back and shoulders and wasn’t as keen to head out. He called me on St pats night 2012 to say that he had some bad news that the cancer had returned and was in his spine and bones. Despite this set back Cyril was positive and started to enjoy getting out for a shot again.
Towards the end , I would call up for him and prop him up in the front of the landrover and head out lamping well into the early hours of the morning, I was glad to take him out hunting and enjoyed the company and it was only when the Minister at his service spoke of these nights and how a friend kept him out to 0300 did it become clear how much these small things meant to him. I was disappointed that he was too unwell to get out for a final stalk but then again life is often unfair.
The reason for this post on a public forum on what can be taken as a personal / private experience is to act as a warning for us all. The day Cyril’s wife confirmed that he was terminally ill, I say confirm as from the point he had the lymph nodes removed it was never going to be a happy ending, I was standing talking to a doctor on an bowel cancer exhibition at a local agri show . The literature and theme to the exhibition was that from 60 years onwards people should be wary and seek medical advice if they notice any changes. I thought it was ironic that I was on a bowel cancer stand and a close friend was given a few months to live at the age of 32.