- Diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Julian's story

Julian’s positive attitude and optimistic outlook on life has helped him get through his lymphoma despite some set-backs along the way.

Two years ago Julian found himself in Middlemore Hospital undergoing surgery for a blocked bowel. Nine hours later his surgeon delivered some unexpected news, Julian explains: “When I woke up from the anaesthetic the
surgeon said “we’ve unblocked you but we’ve found something else” – I had Non- Hodgkin lymphoma. The following morning the consultant stuck around to help tell my wife and son – that was the hardest part, it really threw them.”

The haematologist recommended Julian have radiotherapy and start chemotherapy as soon as possible: “I had a good hit of chemo first time around and after that I had a PET scan to see how things were going. They said that it had reduced but another scan a bit later showed it had come back again – that threw me into a bit of a tailspin but I believe you have to play the cards you are dealt in life so I didn’t let it get me down too much.”

Julian’s  haematologist recommended more chemo followed by an autologous stem cell transplant (SCT) which he had in Auckland Hospital: “That seemed to work but just lately they did a scan and saw the lymphoma may have come back again in my chest. They put a camera down my throat and took samples – at this stage they haven’t found any cancerous cells in the lymph nodes around my windpipe but they want to keep an eye on it.”

Julian is having monthly follow-ups and is thankful for the support he has from his family and from his employer Nilfisk Kerrick, who has been there for Julian and his family right from his first diagnosis: “Everyone is keeping an eye on me – before I could get away with murder but now I can’t! I try to keep things as normal as possible, carry on working and spending time with family, plus I am an official with Athletics New Zealand and my wife encouraged me to keep that going.”

Julian also appreciates the support he has received from Natasha at LBC who has been able to give him relevant, helpful information, as he explains: “It’s an interesting journey, there are challenges along the way but I’ve met a lot of great people going down this path. Being diagnosed was a kick in the pants but I believe in the old saying ‘Sh*t happens!’. You’re only here once so you’ve got to get out there and enjoy life and do what you can.”