Dad-of-two David Sayle was just 40 when he received the shocking news that he had stage 4 Hodgkin lymphoma.
“At the time I felt really scared. The first signs were really bad and we had to prepare for the worst. I told my eight-year-old son Ryan that I wasn’t going to get better for a long time. Luckily my daughter was only one so she didn’t understand what was happening. It was so hard on the whole family though, I had to give up work and just concentrate on fighting the cancer.”
David, who lives in Barnton, started chemotherapy at Leighton Hospital and it was there that nurses mentioned St Luke’s Day Hospice to him.
“I knew at that point that I needed some help, but all I heard was the word ‘hospice’. I thought ‘do they want me to go there because that is where they think I will end up?’ I was so scared. But for me, going to St Luke’s one day a week was the best thing I ever did. I had complementary therapies like Refloxology and Reiki, which completely took me out of my comfort zone but really helped with the chemo and its side affects.
“The best thing was I could relate to other patients. I would sometimes try to explain things to my girlfriend or mum but it was hard for them to understand. The other people at the hospice knew exactly what I meant and could give me tips on how to deal with things. I didn’t feel like an outsider anymore, I felt like part of a community at St Luke’s.”
It was during his weekly visit to Day Hospice in November that David, his partner Suzanne and their daughter Amelia met HRH The Earl of Wessex – a moment David will never forget, “I was a little bit overwhelmed to meet him to be honest. I was talking to him about when I went through therapy and it was just like chatting to a normal person. He made a fuss of Amelia too.”
Then in January this year, just 12 months after his diagnosis, David received the amazing news that the cancer is in remission.
“I’m made up, it’s just such a relief for the whole family. I’m turning my life around, getting back to the gym and swimming, and hopefully work soon. Nothing is holding me back now – my kids have got their old dad back!”