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Milly87
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Re: News Articles « Reply #5955 on: May 06, 2013, 02:15 PM »
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Know this article's about Ross but with plenty of Andy mentions, article gives an account of Ross' day at the Royal Marsden when having a chemo, for someone who knows little about the treatment, this was hugely insightful. Also, Andy's going to be Ross' best man!!| guardian.co.uk | Ross Hutchins on Andy Murray's friendship and fighting cancer - http://aggbot.com/Tennis-News/article/19526620

Ross Hutchins, British tennis player, during a chemotherapy session to treat his cancer at The Royal Marsden hospital, Sutton. Photograph: Tom Jenkins
Donald McRae

Every other Thursday, for Ross Hutchins, is the same. His increasingly familiar routine at the Royal Marsden hospital in Sutton has its own quietly repetitive soundtrack. A chemotherapy pump whirrs and chatters as its medication flows down from the bag above his head and into the cannula that has been fed into a vein in his right arm.

The pump sounds as innocuous as an old ink-jet printer. It sighs and chunters while Hutchins lies on the bed, his arm supported by a heat pad. But, rather than printing out sentence after sentence of a book about his life as a professional tennis player, the pump drives a concoction that aims to destroy every remnant of the cancer that stealthily invaded his body. The chemotherapy will also kill many of the white blood cells that help him fight infection. Before Hutchins becomes healthy again, he will feel more sickness.

"I'll turn pale as we go through the day," he says cheerfully on a beautiful morning. The pump, his mechanical ally in the fight against Hodgkin's lymphoma has already flushed his system with saline to, as he explains, "make my veins more welcoming to the chemo".

Hutchins, a Davis Cup regular who has played two grand slam doubles quarter-finals, studies the first of three medications seeping through his system. "This is clear but the one dose of chemo is very red. The last one is a special large-volume drug. It goes into your bloodstream and reaches from the tips of your earlobes to the end of your toes. Every cell gets hit by the chemo."

To many people the 28-year-old is simply Andy Murray's best friend, and the doubles specialist to whom the fiercely protective Scot dedicated his victory at the Brisbane International in January with a tearful promise that he will survive.

"I told Andy on 27 December," Hutchins remembers. "It was tough – just like when I phoned Colin [Fleming, his doubles partner]. Andy and Colin are my closest friends. Andy will be the first person to help me and I love that about him. But I was concerned. I said: 'I've got something to tell you but I don't want it to affect you.' I'd have been happy if he said: 'As long as you're OK, let's talk after Australia because this is a huge month.' But he wanted to know. Afterwards he said: 'You're going to get through this, you're going to become a better person and a better tennis player. You're going to be far stronger, mentally.'

"When I called Colin he said: 'Your first tournament back you're playing with me. You and me – we're the team.' That's so uplifting because there's nothing worse in doubles than not having a partner. Of the five or six people who have helped me through this, Andy and Colin top that list. Andy is going to be best man at my wedding, with my brother, and Colin will be an usher. That was going to be the case anyway – but they shine in my head even more."

Did Hutchins know that Murray would make such a public declaration of support for him in Brisbane? "No. We spoke every day but he put on a brave face. I was just glad he won the tournament. It felt good that I was not ruining his career! When he dedicated it to me it was very special. I was at home with Lindsay [his fiancee] and she choked up. I hadn't told the public yet. Andy then saying it made it the perfect time for me to confirm I had Hodgkin's Lymphoma."

A knock on the door interrupts us. "Hey, Laura," Hutchins says to the senior nurse. While she seeks a vein for the next dose, Hutchins asks the nurse about her five-year-old son. Laura tells him that her little boy has started tennis lessons. "That's great," Hutchins says. He could be donating blood rather than enduring another brutal session of chemotherapy.

Yet he explains how the cancer took over his body. "I started getting back pain last April but it only became excruciating in October. We were playing well – because Colin was exceptional – and reached the semis in Beijing and Shanghai. The pain would only take hold around nine at night. It would last for seven hours until I was so tired I'd fall asleep for just a couple of hours."

Fleming and Hutchins finished ninth in the world rankings but, in mid-December, the pain darkened. "I couldn't get any sleep so I lay on a foam-roller just so I could have pain somewhere else. An LTA (Lawn Tennis Association) physio, Shane, said: 'I'm sure it's not this, but you haven't ruled out cancer of the back.' He also said I should get my kidneys checked out. I flew home."

A scan of Hutchins' kidneys showed pneumonia in the bottom of his lung. A CAT scan of his upper lung then revealed an ominous shadow across his chest. "It was pure luck because, otherwise, they would never have gone for a higher scan. I had a biopsy and, even though it could have been an infection, the way the doctors talked made me think: 'Prepare yourself. This is lymphoma.'

"Christmas was difficult. I had the biopsy on 22 December and got the results on the 27th. When I took the call I was in a room with Lindsay and the doctor came to the point very quickly. He said: 'I'm afraid we've found a large amount of lymphoma.' The first time I got upset was when I opened the door and my brother and sister were standing outside. I broke down for five seconds. I then saw my mum and the same thing happened. Literally a quick burst of tears and then I said, 'OK, guys, I'll get through this.' That's the only time I've cried."

He settled quickly on the Royal Marsden. "They've become like my second family," he says. "Nurses are the most under-rated people and as soon as I met Professor Cunningham I got this strong feeling: 'This is the guy who will cure me.'"

Hutchins falls briefly silent as he remembers the bleakest days. "At the start it was all bad. The cancer's in your spleen. It's stage four, not stage two. The chemo treatment has been extended from three to six months. The cancer's in the bone in your back and we don't know if it's gone into the bone marrow."

Cancer had been in his body, secretly, for 18 months. "It had been loitering in my back and then, when it started hurting so bad, it was saying, I'm going to hurt you so you know I'm here."

He looks up. "But then you get good news. The bone marrow is clear. The first scan after chemo said it had reduced a lot. You build on that hope. You feel stronger."

Has he thought about death? "Yes. Absolutely. But your mindset has to be about survival. As soon as it comes into my mind, I say: 'No Ross, you're not going down that route. You have to trust the people at this amazing hospital.'

"I look at it as a tennis match. The cancer is my opponent and I have to beat it. I think I've handled it well, and if I come through this it will be the thing I'm most proud of – how strong I've tried to stay."

The prickly feeling that often takes hold of him every alternate Thursday is absent today. Laura has found a good vein. "You feel it most with the tough one at the end, the detox, the 'toilet cleaner' which is very strong. The last session, number eight, was probably the hardest. I was depleted for much longer and lost my [sense of] taste. I had more motion sickness and I hardly ate anything. But today is session nine of 12.

"The toughest thing is that 24 hours after chemo you self-inject a white-blood-cell fluid into your stomach. Within an hour your body aches like you've got the flu – but far worse. The injection boosts your white blood cells by putting in fresh ones. It's saying: 'OK white blood cells, let's build, let's get healthy.' Saturday will be the fifth set – that's when you're battling."

He and Murray are contesting a private duel over who will lose their hair first. "Andy struggles," Hutchins laughs. "He's thinner on the crown but I'm low on hair now. The nurses are surprised I haven't lost all my hair but it hasn't gone completely. If I wake up and Lindsay suddenly has a face like this [Hutchins imitates The Scream] I'll know my hair has finally gone."

Hutchins is due three more sessions after today – hopefully his last treatment will be on 13 June. "That's three days before the Rally Against Cancer," he says, concentrating on his mission to raise money for the Marsden in a charity drive culminating in a doubles match on finals day at Queen's when Murray and Tim Henman play Ivan Lendl and Tomas Berdych. "I knew Andy would do it for me but it means a lot that Tim said yes. Tim was my idol when I was a kid. To see them playing Ivan and Tomas will mean the world to me.

"I might be feeling a bit rough after that last big hit of chemo but I'll be uplifted by Queen's. Four weeks later I'll have a PET scan of the whole body and a CT scan of the chest. I like to think it'll show I'm clear. Then I'll have another PET scan three months later. So it will be October before I know for sure if I'm in remission. Hopefully it will be good news and I'll be able to train in November and December – and go with Andy to Miami. I hope to play again with Colin in Australia early next year."

So much hope shines out of Hutchins that, three hours into our morning, it's easy for him to smile when Laura returns for the last and hardest hit of chemo. She repeats the curious routine that precedes every dose of medication.

"What is your name and date of birth?" she asks of a man who knows the names of all the children and the pets belonging to her and her fellow nurses. "Ross Hutchins," he says. "I was born on 22 February 1985."

Sunlight streams into the hospital room. It feels quiet and serene before we start talking again, chattering about the steely presence of Murray on court and his contrasting warmth as a loyal friend. We talk about football managers and marriage proposals, about Hutchins's desire to eat sushi again, and most of all about him returning to real life and gruelling days on tennis courts around the world.
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xxdanixx
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Re: News Articles « Reply #5956 on: May 06, 2013, 02:35 PM »
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Oh,that made me  Wonderful article,thanks for posting Milly!Ross comes across as such a lovely lovely person-so hope he makes a full recovery and does go on to be able to play again.Can't think of anyone who seems more deserving of a long,happy life.
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teejay1
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Re: News Articles « Reply #5957 on: May 06, 2013, 03:48 PM »
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I think Ross is enormously inspiring. What a strong young man he is. He also makes me feel a bit guilty to be honest. I've had a bad patch again lately, had no voice the best part of a month because of laryngitis and the problems it causes me, and it has got me down. Well, there is Ross, dealing with cancer and chemo for goodness sake, and yet he sounds positive and is getting on with his life. I think he's remarkable. God willing he will beat it and get back to playing again. He deserves, along with Colin, every second of success his career gives him.
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TheMadHatter
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Re: News Articles « Reply #5958 on: May 06, 2013, 04:20 PM »
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Fantastic article.
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TheMadHatter
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Re: News Articles « Reply #5959 on: May 06, 2013, 04:21 PM »
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I think Ross is enormously inspiring. What a strong young man he is. He also makes me feel a bit guilty to be honest. I've had a bad patch again lately, had no voice the best part of a month because of laryngitis and the problems it causes me, and it has got me down. Well, there is Ross, dealing with cancer and chemo for goodness sake, and yet he sounds positive and is getting on with his life. I think he's remarkable. God willing he will beat it and get back to playing again. He deserves, along with Colin, every second of success his career gives him.
His attitude is incredible, isn't it? If it was me I'd probably think the world was against me, but he seems so upbeat all the time. He has amazing character.

Hope you feel better. That doesn't sound particularly pleasant either. I think sometimes we take our health for granted - I know I do.
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angiebabez
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Re: News Articles « Reply #5960 on: May 06, 2013, 05:05 PM »
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Pray to god he makes a full recovery. With his determination I feel he will.
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Ruthie
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Re: News Articles « Reply #5961 on: May 06, 2013, 05:08 PM »
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That was a very moving article about Ross - thanks milly.  And it's always so good to read of the strength of his friendship with Andy.

Changing the subject, on back of Independent on Sunday sports yesterday an article about the Spanish doping scandal started 'Andy Murray came of age when he used the authority of his achievements to dismiss the Fuentes case as "the biggest cover-up in the history of sport".  Here was a champion addressing his constituency, an athlete articulating outrage at the protection of craven cheats.  It was a challenge to the conscience of those who control his and other sports, and to his peers.  Rafa Nadal followed suit......'
Clear implication that it was Andy who took the lead and good to see him getting the recognition for doing so.  yay
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teejay1
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Re: News Articles « Reply #5962 on: May 06, 2013, 05:18 PM »
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His attitude is incredible, isn't it? If it was me I'd probably think the world was against me, but he seems so upbeat all the time. He has amazing character.

Hope you feel better. That doesn't sound particularly pleasant either. I think sometimes we take our health for granted - I know I do.

I think anyone in that situation would be entitled to feel the world was against them, or at least to give in to fear and despair, at least for a while, but Ross has been so positive, so upbeat. I admire him so much. I've always thought he was lovely, just a decent bloke, and, of course, a pretty good tennis player, but now I think we can see how strong he is. It sounds like he has great support, which must help, but he's shown real strength of will and character throughout. Like I said, remarkable.

Thanks for your kind comments about my stuff too. It isn't great at the moment. I went down with laryngitis again recently (I'm so prone to it, you wouldn't believe) and it has really knocked me out. I think I had tonsilitis too to be honest. My voice can go for weeks at a time when I get laryngitis, due to a problem it causes with my vocal cords, and it's tough. With my disability I use my voice to convey stuff, because I can't stand up, that sort of thing. Trouble is, that works if you can actually make yourself heard. I just can't at the moment. My voice sounds like I'm trying to talk whilst someone is sitting on my face! I kid you not!

At the risk of sounding self-pitying, and really trying not to, it's all right if people take the thing seriously, but when people start moaning at you for not wanting to go out very far (I just don't feel up to it and certainly don't feel like trying to make myself heard above traffic noise etc), or they start to think you are putting it on somehow (I wish!) it does get you down. I should learn not to give a stuff really, but there we are. I've never been good at that.

Oh dear, I do apologise. I seem to have drifted into unloading all my crap lol. Must learn not to do that!

I think most people who have good health take it for granted. To be honest you should be able to. Life is to be enjoyed after all.
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xxdanixx
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Re: News Articles « Reply #5963 on: May 06, 2013, 06:14 PM »
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So sorry to hear of what you're going though Teejay,it sounds like you've been having a rough time of it.Hope you're better and feeling back to yourself soon hug
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Re: News Articles « Reply #5964 on: May 06, 2013, 06:23 PM »
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Me too tj - certainly doesn't sound much fun.  Hope Andy can cheer you up at least  cmon yeah
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michelle
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Re: News Articles « Reply #5965 on: May 06, 2013, 06:26 PM »
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A very moving interview and it showed what a great guy Ross is and how much his friends have helped him as well as his family. This interview will help a lot of cancer sufferers as a positive outlook and a fighting spirit have been shown to help beat Cancer.
Hope you will soon have your voice back, at least you don't need your voice on MW.
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Re: News Articles « Reply #5966 on: May 06, 2013, 07:07 PM »
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I shouldn't have read that, but thanks.
Brought it all flooding back.
I was the poster girl for positivity and was called on by my docs to talk to other patients during my numerous stays at Casa Hospital.
Going through some crap health issues right now and my Oncologist is bugging me. Ah well..

I'm assuming Ross has had some of his sperm harvested so he and Lindsay can have family. I was lucky I had my son just in time, he was a wee toddler. When I had my treatment they didn't harvest from the woman's ovaries.
I wish them all the best whole-heartedly!

Hope you feel better soon, TeeJay.  hug
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Re: News Articles « Reply #5967 on: May 06, 2013, 07:16 PM »
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Oh Linda sorry to hear you're having health problems as well at present.  hug
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Re: News Articles « Reply #5968 on: May 06, 2013, 07:18 PM »
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Teejay - I do hope you are soon feeling better and I'm sure no-one on MW minds you letting off steam about your unpleasant illness. Sometimes I think the great value of internet friends is that they are able give you a kind of special understanding and somehow help you along by being there to listen to and console, in other words - be a friend. I too hope Andy can cheer you up over the coming weeks.

Many thanks too Milly for the super article about Ross. We are all hoping his treatment is successful and that he will be well again soon. My brother has recently been through chemo and radiotherapy out in Australia and I know the courage it takes to cope.
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Re: News Articles « Reply #5969 on: May 06, 2013, 07:20 PM »
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Shrug That's life, Ruthie.

My darling husband is sending me to Scotland to cheer me up. I've been missing my sisters and chums very, very badly.
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