A BROWNSOVER man who was given months to live five years ago owes his extended time to cancer drug Sutent.
Colin Howe has defied all the odds with his battle against kidney cancer.
He had to fight to get the £250-a-day drug, which was not available on the NHS when he was diagnosed because it was too expensive.
On Christmas Day he was able to hold his first grandchild Aibhlinn - a day the family never thought he would be around to see.
Colin, 52, of Gentian Way, said: “I am living proof the drug works and I seem to be breaking all records.
“My cancer will never be cured but Sutent does control it. Without it I would never have got to meet my granddaughter.”
The Rugby Advertiser launched the Last Hope appeal in 2007 to raise money to fund Sutent for Colin and fellow sufferer Russ Jones, who has since died.
Colin’s tumour was the size of a rugby ball when it was discovered in 2005 and he had to have a nine hour operation.
He’s had a number of operations and has to go for regular check-ups.
Colin said the Sutent, which doesn’t work for all cancer patients, causes many side- effects.
“I get bad stomach cramps, my appetite goes and I suffer from extreme fatigue. I’m not complaining though, it’s just part of our lives now and I’m lucky to be here.”
His wife Susan said their world has been turned upside down since the diagnosis.
“Everything happened so suddenly,” she said.
“I don’t think it all really hit me until Colin’s cancer returned a year after the operation to remove it. Life is like a rollercoaster now. We don’t let the cancer control us, it’s always there, but we do have to work around it and make the most of Colin’s good days.”
The couple praised the Advertiser for launching the appeal, which raised thousands.
“People have been so kind and supportive,” said Susan.
“It has really helped us.”
They said oncologist Dr Andrew Stockdale, who is based at Walsgrave’s University Hospital, has given the family a lot of strength since day one.
“I’ve also discovered hypnotherapy,” said Colin, who has two daughters, Louise and Vicky.
“I was very sceptical when I heard about. I can’t say exactly what it does for me but it has made a big change, it’s like mind over matter.”
Colin has had a number of hypnotherapy sessions with Peter Aengenheister, who was the former editor of the Advertiser behind the campaign to help Colin.
“I went to see him with an open mind and I would definitely recommend it.”
Susan said she has definitely seen a change in her husband since the therapy.
“I think Colin’s personality has helped him through all this,” she said.
“His strength and courage are amazing. I wouldn’t say the experience has brought us closer, we have always been close like two peas in a pod.”
The family know Colin would not be alive today had he not won the right to receive Sutent for free.
“When Aibhlinn was born it was an emotional day with lots of tears.”
Susan added: “We are very blessed to have Colin here.”