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Mick Jones

I honestly can’t fault it

Mick, 67, was first diagnosed with cancer in December 2016. “It all came about because I had broken my neck in the shower. I was transferred to Norfolk General Hospital and I clearly remember the doctor coming to see me on the ward to inform me that I had cancer, the reason why I had had the fracture.

“I was given a metal rod in my neck, a new hip and another rod in my leg. I’m riddled with the disease; it has now spread from my kidneys. It’s terminal, but I’ve had six years more than I thought I would have.”

For the first 18 months, he tried “lots of treatment”, but suffered with bad side effects. He recalls: “It wasn’t really working. I was then given Nivolumab which is what I’m still on now. You’re only supposed to have it for two years, but because it’s working really well, they decided to keep me on it.”

His old treatment plan consisted of monthly visits to the James Paget Hospital for immunotherapy until he was told about the mobile cancer care unit late last year, which was situated closer to his home. However, initially he had his doubts. “To be honest, I’d got myself into a set routine at the hospital; I just used to go up there and make a day of it! When they initially told me, I was probably in the minority as I was rather reluctant to change things. But the trouble was that the hospital was just getting busier and busier since the pandemic, so the waiting time was getting longer.”

The unit has basically changed my life; it makes it so much easier.

His journey time was 30 minutes by car to the hospital, something he didn’t see as an issue, but “you’d be in the hospital for more than four hours while you waited and they checked your bloods, before they took you through to another seated area where you waited again before they’d even started your treatment.”

“I thought that if there was a chance of having my treatment quicker, I should just give the mobile unit a try and see how it goes. I also wouldn’t have to do as much driving. You know what? I honestly can’t fault it. You rock up to have your treatment, you’re in a nice area, the nurses are first class, but aren’t they always? I feel like I’ve fallen on my feet.”

He’s a huge fan of the service, hailing it “fantastic”, and fervently believes that there should be more units. “Honestly, if there were only more units, I think you’d take the pressure off the hospitals, and it would give staff more time to deal with patients. Also, there aren’t probably enough people out there who know about the mobile unit. At the end of the day, I think it’s a win-win situation.”

It now takes Mick just 10 minutes to travel to the Beccles unit: “I basically jump in my car, roll down the hill and park! You’re pretty much straight in and out – you’re not waiting for hours, put it that way.”

Despite “things looking really grim at one point”, Mick proclaims that he hasn’t felt better for years. “The treatment has totally transformed me. I think the National Health Service is the best thing since sliced bread. The unit has basically changed my life; it makes it so much easier.”


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