A Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Diary
Who am I?
My name is Hadrian Pigott. I’m an artist, and I live in Penzance, Cornwall. This is been my home for 10 years, and prior to that I lived in and around London where for 15 years art was the focus of my life. Life and art have diversified beautifully since leaving London, and I’m very happy here. I put my energy and effort into many things; music, art, people, ideas, buildings, community campaign and planning issues, a couple of old vehicles, sailing and the sea.
How do I live? How do I pay the bills? Well that’s pretty diverse too; sometimes I get paid for what I do, for engaging with art projects, for building buildings, and for making my own buildings pay their way by making them beautiful places to live and letting other people live in them. Usually the things I consider most important I don’t get paid for at all, so there’s always a careful balancing act on the go.
In short, I would say I make things.
It’s March 2014, and right now and for the next six months or more I’m going to concentrate on making myself well. I can’t do this alone of course and I need the wonders of western medicine to kill the cancer and I need all the resources of friends and family to help me through what is likely to be a tough treatment program.
Stage 4 Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
I’ve become aware that if you’re going to have cancer, this is a good cancer to have. My oncologist didn’t say ‘Hadrian you’ve got about 6 months to live – sorry there’s nothing we can do’, he said ‘Hadrian you’ve got about 6 months to live without treatment, but Hodgkins is a potentialy curable cancer with high treatment success rates’. So, unlike many cancer sufferers, I have a big light at the end of the tunnel and for that I’m very grateful and aware that I’m lucky. OK, not so lucky to end up with a late Stage 4 diagnosis, but hey! We are where we are.
Who is this diary for?
Primarily this diary and website is for me. Cancer is a frightening thing. On the day after that word was mentioned I started writing. It’s been a very helpful thing to do, and I’ve established a pattern where first thing in the morning, and it’s usually early morning because I’m not sleeping much, I write up something about the day before. It gives me a sense of perspective, a timescale, and is a check on myself – how I’m feeling, how it’s going, who is around me.
I find the writing is grounding and is helping me cope with a big change in my life. The cancer has made me unwell and I’ve had to slow down and put things aside. It’s not been easy.
The diary is also for my family and friends; it’s a way of letting people know how I am and what’s going on. It’s great when people call to ask ‘how’s it?’ but sometimes it’s tiring to talk about it and I need to concentrate on other things. Those other things need concentration too because everything is taking much longer now. So the diary is to let people know that all is well and where I’m at. And if I’m not well, it will let them know that too and may help me organise a sort of home care team, made up of my family and friends, the many friends who have volunteered to help if and when I need it. You lovely people!
Finally, the diary and website is for other people too, people I’ve not met, people who might, like I did, search online to understand the experiences of others with Lymphoma. In the early days of being assessed for cancer I found some wonderful blogs and diaries online, written by people of all ages, and all unique, brave and beautiful. There is no way of knowing it, but I partly write this on the off chance that it’s helpful to others.