22nd August 2018, I have recently been in touch with Andy's widow Deb's, just a few weeks after Andy sadly passed away. It is her wish that an article written by Andy some time ago should be shared here to help inspire others along their journey. Andy was without doubt a giant amoung men, he not only lived with cancer but was also involved in a extremely serious car accident in 2016 which without doubt excellerated his passing, and not once did I ever know him to complain. I feel he was an inspiration to everyone, young or old, his motto was, what's the good of moaning, it doesn't change anything !
WHY ME ?..........WHY NOT !!
My name is Andy Pappin ( Andrew really but mother was the only one to use it, when I had done something wrong really.)
I am a typical Cornishman, laid back near horizontal on occasions, what will be will be, no point in fretting about it and so on. So, when things started to get a little uncomfortable when sitting down or using a convenience I ignored it. The Doctor prescribed and was very understanding and so gave me some pills to tighten my bowel movements. Obviously these did not work and a trip to Treliske was prescribed. The Doctor and I were on first name terms very quickly because he put things in places I did know existed, next step a colonoscopy.
When they say would you like to view the monitor and see what we see, " Yes Please." My advice to all would be to take ownership of your situation. Do not be a passenger. Confronting it, means acknowledging that there is a problem. You can then engage with it, and beat it. Now, I'm not a medical man but even I did not like what I could see.
Ushered into a room and being told you had bowel cancer was when my faith in human nature was rejuvenated. Compassion, humility, and empathy softened the blow for me and my wife. This was administered by a wonderful specialist nurse and the team around her and we are eternally in their debt.
Next came the CT scans, and blood tests galore. Chemotherapy was prescribed to shrink the tumours before surgery. You hear horror stories but to be truthful I was not that badly affected by it.
The Surgeon we first engaged with said I would have to have my bowel removed with my bladder, prostate, anus, rectum, and my stomach because of genetic disorder known as F.A.P. Now I am a man who likes his food so I was not that keen. The end result was that I was referred to a Professor Mortissan at the John Radcliff and Churchill Hospitals at Oxford. He said I could keep my stomach so real food was back on the menu (result !)
Six hours on the operating table and a five week stay in a hospital bed surrounded by fellow sufferers was my salvation as a human being. I am now fortunate to have a eurostomy and a ileostomy. A small price to pay for my life.
Recovery from the operation was a slower process than I had wished for, but some nine months I was back to work and have been ever since.
There are those who will read this that will think I am making light of a very serious condition but in truth that is what has helped me and my family get through these last few years. Each of us will deal with the illness in our own way.
You find out so many things about yourself and others. Always find the positive within the negative. It has brought the whole family closer. I have met some amazing people on this journey. Doctors, Nurses, fellow patients, the list is endless.
This has been very theraputic writing this, thank you for letting me to do so.
PS 26th September 2018
Andy was a valued member of a group of male singers by the name of Oll an Gwella. They have recently donated £2,500.00 to their chosen charity ' Cornwall Blood Bikes ' this money has gone towards a new motorbike, which they have named " Andy yw an Gwella " which in Cornish means Andy is the Best.
What a lasting and fitting tribute to a true Cornish Gentleman.
RIP Dear Andy.