A match and wholesome father identified with stage 4 most cancers says he was left wanting just like the “Nightmare on Elm Avenue” after a horrific response to chemotherapy left him too embarrassed to go to his younger son’s cricket matches – and is now hoping to save lots of his life with a ground-breaking vaccine.
Geoffrey Seymour, 41, a procurement specialist, liked enjoying tennis, basketball and cricket and had at all times been wholesome till simply earlier than his forty first birthday when he started experiencing blood in his stool.
Geoffrey was conscious of this being a symptom for most cancers from adverts on the tv, so shortly went to his GP.
Geoffrey, who lives in Richmond, London, together with his spouse Santa, 44, and their son Marco, 10, was identified with stage 4 colorectal most cancers, which had unfold from his colon to his liver – a state of affairs so extreme and seemingly hopeless he likened it to “being wrapped in a paper bag that’s on hearth”.
He additionally had a foul response to chemotherapy severely blistering the pores and skin on his face and, in line with Geoffrey, making him seem like Freddy Krueger from the 1984 horror movie, Nightmare on Elm Avenue.
The chemotherapy stopped working nevertheless and now, in an try to save lots of his life, Geoffrey has travelled to Germany for dendritic cell remedy – the place a personalised vaccine is created in a lab with the goal of stimulating the immune system.
Analysis on this space is at an early stage, in line with Most cancers Analysis UK, and so the therapy was not low cost – only one injection in Germany, on October 17, value £17,000 and Geoffrey is now ready to see if it was sufficient to assist him, whereas persevering with to fundraise to pay for it.
He mentioned: “I couldn’t even wait till the top of the fundraising to have it accomplished simply because I’m so apprehensive that the illness was going to unfold.”
Geoffrey was decided to discover a new method after three periods of 5 doses of chemotherapy didn’t work and left him with side-effects so unhealthy he now not wished to exit in public, even to see his little boy play cricket
“I had a very unhealthy response in my face, it was stuffed with painful blistering that made my face really feel prefer it was on hearth,” he mentioned.
“I simply obtained to the purpose the place I used to be wanting a bit like Nightmare on Elm Avenue. Except I went there with a bag on my head, I’d produce other folks coming as much as me and taking a look at me pondering, ‘What’s fallacious with this man?’ after I’m fairly glad mixing into the gang.”
Geoffrey’s ordeal started in April 2021, simply two weeks earlier than his forty first birthday on March 4, when he obtained the primary warning indicators of most cancers.
After recognizing blood in his stool, Geoffrey determined to go to his GP, as he knew it could possibly be a symptom of most cancers. And in late March at Kingston Hospital, he was identified with stage 4 colorectal most cancers, which had metastasized within the liver.
After the analysis, in March 2021, he had 5 cycles of chemotherapy each three weeks which initially diminished the lesions in his liver. At this level he says he felt “optimistic”.
In December 2021, he had surgical procedure to have a 3rd of his liver eliminated, and the medical crew started getting him prepared for radiotherapy which was going for use on his colon – he even had radio markers tattooed for the laser alignment.
A month later, a scan confirmed extra tumours in his liver, so he had one other spherical of chemotherapy. This time it was successful and liver surgical procedure was booked in for June 2022.
However, simply as issues had been wanting up, a couple of weeks earlier than the surgical procedure, a scan revealed illness development. Geoffrey was put again on chemotherapy with a unique agent and the surgical procedure was cancelled.
After simply two cycles, blood work and a scan confirmed illness development once more, all whereas the unwanted side effects had been getting insufferable for Geoffrey.
He mentioned: “The unwanted side effects have gotten worse, worse, worse, and now, chemotherapy is simply not efficient anymore, the physique’s gotten used to it.”
Explaining why he reacted badly to a chemotherapy drug, he mentioned: “Basically it kills all of your fast-growing cells, which embrace your most cancers cells, but in addition contains your hair and nails. I had a very unhealthy response to that in my face.”
Decided to search out an alternate, Geoffrey began doing his personal analysis by wanting on-line and located dendritic cell remedy, solely to be advised it might not be out there to him within the UK.
He determined to fly to a laboratory in Ulm, Germany to have the week-long therapy on October 17 2022. Family and friends rallied spherical to contribute in the direction of his Go Fund Me attraction, which has raised over £14,000 and helped to pay for the £17,000 injection.
“I’m nonetheless in ache, I’ve plenty of ache, which I’m looking for a very good stability of very sturdy medicines,” he mentioned.
Geoffrey is because of meet together with his oncologist on November 1 within the UK, however is aware of he could nicely must pay for additional vaccine doses and extra therapy overseas and is constant to fundraise to pay for that.
Specialist most cancers info nurse at Most cancers Analysis UK Caroline Geraghty mentioned: “Dendritic cell remedy is a sort of vaccine that may deal with most cancers. Dendritic cells assist immune system recognise and assault irregular cells, corresponding to most cancers cells.
“To make the vaccine, scientists develop dendritic cells alongside most cancers cells within the lab. The vaccine then stimulates your immune system to assault the most cancers. It’s nonetheless being researched, so the proof base is just not but sturdy sufficient for it to be out there within the UK.
“Selections about the very best course of therapy should be based mostly on sound proof of profit – so it’s necessary sufferers discuss to their physician about any various therapy they may be contemplating.”
She added: “Due to ongoing developments in analysis, there continues to be many new most cancers medication displaying effectiveness in medical trials, offering potential choices for folks with most cancers.
“However whereas regulators have improved the velocity at which they assess these for routine NHS use, there are nonetheless, sadly, occasions when explicit medication aren’t but simply accessible for individuals who could profit. We perceive how irritating this may be.”