Yuck! That is disgusting!

But it's the little miracle that's keeping him alive...

Published by: Clare Stone and Kim Willis
Published on: 8 september 2011

The hospital waiting room was so quiet...then the silence was broken with a snort of laughter from my husband Michael as I balanced the notepad on my lap, pen lid clamped between my teeth, and tried to write as quickly as possible.
‘Flowers, table plans...' I muttered. ‘Just your speech to go.'
‘I don't want any heckling from the crowd,' he laughed.
‘Depends how good you are,' I teased.
It must have seemed odd, the two of us sat in a hospital waiting room laughing. But then, we had so much to smile about.
Our daughter Louise, 27, was getting married in three months, and we were here for Michael's latest scan results. A year ago, he'd been diagnosed with kidney cancer. He'd had one removed and, since then, his scans had been clear.
As we were called into the consultant's room, we were still talking about weddings.
‘Remember our big day, when I was snapped showing you my blue garter,' I chuckled.
‘Do you remember my perm?' chuckled Michael, 42.
But seconds later, our faces fell when we saw the notes covering the consultant's table.
‘I'm sorry,' she said sadly. ‘The scans show you have two tumours in your chest lymph gland, and two at the bottom of each lung.'
Michael reached for my hand. ‘I've beaten it before, I'll beat it again,' he said firmly.
‘Yeah,' I sat forward in my chair. ‘There's chemotherapy, you can operate.'
‘Not this time,' the doctor said. ‘There's nothing we can do.'
Moments earlier we'd been laughing and looking forward to the wedding, now everything had come crashing down around us. ‘How long have I got?' Michael asked.
I shut my eyes.
‘Six months... two years if you're lucky,' she replied.
I felt sick. Scrambling from my chair, I ran into the corridor.
Then I spotted Michael, all 6ft of the muscular man I'd fallen in love with. He looked totally lost, and I hugged him tight. ‘I'm sorry,' he mumbled into my hair.
‘It's not your fault!' I gasped.
We drove home in silence, and Michael called Louise's fiancé Chris, 33, asking him to bring her round. Then he sat them down
with our other daughter Sarah,
23, at the kitchen table.
I can't watch their hearts break. I had to get out, left the room. But I still heard their sobbing...
‘You can't die Dad,' Louise wept. ‘It's not fair.'
‘I know, love,' he cried.
He'd always been so close to the kids. When they were little, I'd often had to work weekends, but Michael had relished the time with them - thought nothing of whisking them off to Whipsnade Zoo, more than 200 miles away.
‘Life's an adventure,' he'd always grinned when I'd looked at him like he was mad.
Now he was facing his final adventure - head-on. There was one more person he needed to break the news to - Robert. Our 19-year-old son was autistic though, how would he understand?
Sat on Robert's bed, he took a deep breath and spoke gently. ‘Son, I'm ill, and I'm going to die.'
‘But Dad,' he replied. ‘You can't. Who'll help with my ducks?'
Bless him! Our son kept ducks, and Michael helped him care for them. ‘It's fine, I'll make sure you know everything,' he winked.
Michael was the heart of this family, how would we cope without him? That night though, he made it clear he intended to stick around for as long as possible.
‘I don't care what they say, I'm fighting this,' he told me. ‘I can't miss Louise's wedding - and what about Robert?'
‘I'll do everything I can to help,' I promised him. ‘And I was thinking, after the wedding... let's go to Australia. You've always wanted to go there, let's spend our savings on it.'
A slow smile spread across his face. ‘If you're sure... it's the trip of a lifetime!' Then he realised what he'd said and froze. This would be his last holiday ever, it really would be a trip of a lifetime.
Michael was offered chemotherapy to try extending the time he had left, but he knew it would be brutal.
‘I'm going to refuse it,' he told me. ‘I want to be as well as I can be for the wedding.'
‘Chemo will leave me sick, weak,' he insisted. ‘I want to walk my daughter down the aisle, enjoy myself.'
But I couldn't do nothing, just wait for the inevitable to happen. So I visited a health shop.
‘We've never been into alternative therapies,' I admitted. ‘I'm desperate, though.'
‘Read this,' the assistant said, handing me an A-Z of natural healing. I read up on which vitamins cancer cells didn't like.
‘You're taking these,' I told Michael at home, emptying two bags of pills on to the kitchen table.
‘Okay,' he said slowly.
‘And you're cutting out red meat, caffeine and your favourite, lamb,' I added.
‘Fine,' he laughed, hugging me. ‘I'll try anything.'
Soon, friends and family were tracking down remedies, too.
‘This guy was given months to live,' I said, showing Michael a news clipping someone had posted through our letterbox. ‘He started drinking broccoli juice, and he's still here seven years on.'
So, I started giving him broccoli, carrot and apple juice every day.
‘Down in one,' I'd encourage.
He gagged at every mouthful, but didn't leave a drop.
‘I hope the champagne at the wedding tastes better,' he joked.
Soon enough, Louise's big day arrived... and it was manic!
‘Louise hasn't got her dress on yet!' I shrieked.
‘Calm down,' Michael grinned. ‘I'll help her.'
It wasn't tradition, but this was a special moment for them both.
‘Tell her to put this in her left shoe,' I added, giving him a sixpence. ‘It's lucky.'
Hearing their laughter upstairs, a lump formed in my throat. He didn't even look ill, dressed in his black suit and pink cravat. ‘He's got so much to live for,' I whispered. ‘Me, the kids, grandkids...'
It broke my heart. He'd made it to Louise's wedding, but what milestones wouldn't he reach?
As he walked
Louise down the aisle, there wasn't a dry eye in the church. Yet Michael just smiled proudly. His tears came during the speech. ‘I'm so proud of my family,' he said, voice cracking. He didn't mention the cancer, but it lingered behind every word.
Afterwards, on holiday in Australia, we feared this would be his final farewell. He was due for a scan when we returned home.
When his appointment came, I was trembling as we waited for the doctor. How much time did Michael have left? Months? Weeks? ‘Do you want some good news?' she grinned.
‘Good news?' I asked, confused.
‘I don't know what you're doing, but keep doing it. The tumours have shrunk!' she smiled.
I burst into tears. ‘I can't believe it,' Michael said. ‘We've done it.'
Finally, we left the hospital with
smiles on our faces!
Michael kept up his daily intake of pills and potions - and I truly believe that's why he's still here three years after his diagnosis. He's even seen the arrival of our grandchildren Erin, two, and Archie, 15 months.
‘I never thought I'd live to be a granddad,' he sighs happily, as the kids clamber all over him.
He takes in excess of 30 pills a day and we spend £400 a month. So far, though, his tumours have either shrunk, or stayed the same.
I still worry, but know we'll keep fighting together. After all, he's got plenty of stuff to hang around for. Most importantly, Sarah's wedding next year.
‘I've always dreamed of giving both my girls away,' Michael says. Now, thanks to my marvellous medicine, he can afford to dream once more. 
Angela Medd, 45, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs