Despite battling Lymphoma himself, Steven Murphy selflessly laced up his shoes and raised money for others in his situation via his 2021 #LegsOut4Lymphoma
By the end of March 2021, Steven had raised an impressive $14,245!
It was just over a year ago (February 2020) that I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a cancer of the blood. Truth is I still feel sick when I think about it. I remember selfishly thinking at the time “this was never meant to happen to me, this is not my story”. Turns out, it is probably one of the most defining things that I’ll ever experience.
The diagnosis and subsequent testing was such a confusing time, and so emotional. It was the start of the roller-coaster ride. You quickly realise how little you know about your own body. Or medicine. And it was just as COVID was hitting us which was just a whole other layer of pressure. With the benefit of hindsight I can see I just put blinkers on and thankfully put all my faith in the phenomenal medical professionals around me. For once I just did as I was told.
And I have been insanely lucky! My dear GP had picked the Lymphoma up early, it was only stage 1/2, treatable, contained to my lymphatic system and wasn’t aggressive. All very good news in the world of cancer. And the treatment was actually pretty straight-forward – six months of chemotherapy. It sounds harsh and at times I truly hated what it was doing to me but again with hindsight I guess we could call it ‘manageable’.
Let’s be clear though, chemo drugs are TOXIC as shit, but you can forgive them considering what they do for you. The cumulative effects of the chemo felt like I was slowly fading away, I didn’t have much to offer the world there for quite some time. But turns out, all absolutely worth it…
After six (long) months of chemotherapy I got the all-clear! My haematologist simply said to me, “it’s all gone”. JOYOUS!!! Relief, relax, breathe. Yep, I’m one of the lucky ones.
For the next six months and still today the impact of the chemo on my immune system has been truly harsh! Wasn’t prepared for this part at all, took us completely by surprise. It has made me vulnerable to crazy infections, mostly in the lungs. After a couple of lengthy hospital stays and a lot of time on the couch watching Law & Order, I’m slowly beginning to feel like my old self again. In fact, probably better than I have in years. One day at a time I’m feeling stronger, wiser and ready to take on the world.
And through it all I’ve had the most incredible support. I can’t say this enough, INCREDIBLE SUPPORT! It’s blown my mind at times. And so insanely humbling. Friends and family have had my back every step of the way; constantly cheering me up, warming my heart and making me smile. The kindness I’ve experienced this past year has been a true gift. And not only me but Mark and my mum as well. We’re so incredibly grateful. I will never ever forget the kindness shown me during this time.
But like I said, I am absolutely one of the lucky ones! There have been times I’ve felt like the luckiest man in the world. I never wanted this to be part of my story but now in many ways I’m so happy it is.
Which brings me to Lymphoma Australia.
I can’t even begin to imagine how tough it would be to go through something like this alone or in isolation, it hurts my heart to think about it. Thanks to the beautiful people at Lymphoma Australia there will always be someone for patients to turn to. Not only are they an incredible resource for information, guidance and a sense of community; they also provide invaluable support services to anyone who is going through a diagnosis and treatment. As they themselves say, “we will never let anyone face Lymphoma alone”. And for that Lymphoma Australia deserve our appreciation and support.
So, I’m going to go for a walk and hopefully raise lots and lots of money for them! This will help them to help more people. I’ll be stepping it out for 10 km around Centennial Park on March 7 2021.
Why walking? Walking has been like therapy for me this past year – both physically and mentally. It’s my meditation. I never knew this but the strong medical advice during chemo is to keep moving. And I totally get that now, some of the best advice I’ve ever had. Walking is now a huge part of my life and therefore the perfect challenge for me for ‘Legs Out for Lymphoma’.
So that’s my little story for you. Hope it encourages you to sponsor me by making a donation and supporting the amazing work of Lymphoma Australia.