A match and wholesome father identified with stage 4 most cancers says he was left trying just like the “Nightmare on Elm Road” after a horrific response to chemotherapy left him too embarrassed to go to his younger son’s cricket matches – and is now hoping to avoid wasting his life with a ground-breaking vaccine.
Geoffrey Seymour, 41, a procurement specialist, cherished 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 rapidly 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 appear to be Freddy Krueger from the 1984 horror movie, Nightmare on Elm Road.
The chemotherapy stopped working nonetheless and now, in an try to avoid wasting his life, Geoffrey has travelled to Germany for dendritic cell remedy – the place a personalised vaccine is created in a lab with the intention of stimulating the immune system.
Analysis on this space is at an early stage, in line with Most cancers Analysis UK, and so the remedy 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 achieved simply because I’m so nervous that the illness was going to unfold.”
Geoffrey was decided to discover a new strategy after three classes of 5 doses of chemotherapy didn’t work and left him with side-effects so dangerous he now not wished to exit in public, even to see his little boy play cricket
“I had a extremely dangerous 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 trying a bit like Nightmare on Elm Road. Except I went there with a bag on my head, I’d produce other individuals coming as much as me and me considering, ‘What’s mistaken with this man?’ once I’m fairly pleased mixing into the group.”
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 alerts of most cancers.
After recognizing blood in his stool, Geoffrey determined to go to his GP, as he knew it may very well 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 prognosis, in March 2021, he had 5 cycles of chemotherapy each three weeks which initially decreased 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 a hit and liver surgical procedure was booked in for June 2022.
However, simply as issues had been trying up, just a few weeks earlier than the surgical procedure, a scan revealed illness development. Geoffrey was put again on chemotherapy with a special 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 additionally consists of your hair and nails. I had a extremely dangerous response to that in my face.”
Decided to seek out an alternate, Geoffrey began doing his personal analysis by trying on-line and located dendritic cell remedy, solely to be advised it might not be accessible to him within the UK.
He determined to fly to a laboratory in Ulm, Germany to have the week-long remedy on October 17 2022. Family and friends rallied spherical to contribute in 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 a whole lot of ache, which I’m looking for a superb steadiness 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 might effectively must pay for additional vaccine doses and extra remedy overseas and is continuous to fundraise to pay for that.
Specialist most cancers data 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 will not be but sturdy sufficient for it to be accessible within the UK.
“Choices about the most effective course of remedy have to be primarily based on sound proof of profit – so it’s necessary sufferers speak to their physician about any different remedy they is perhaps contemplating.”
She added: “Due to ongoing developments in analysis, there continues to be many new most cancers medicine exhibiting effectiveness in medical trials, offering potential choices for individuals with most cancers.
“However whereas regulators have improved the pace at which they assess these for routine NHS use, there are nonetheless, sadly, instances when specific medicine aren’t but simply accessible for individuals who might profit. We perceive how irritating this may be.”