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How I Lost 34 years of marraige and beat Cancer

Updated on June 18, 2008

How I lost 34 years of marraige and tamed Cancer

Around ten or so years ago my life starting changing in small but dramatic increments.

I was about to go on a trip to the USA to visit various Newspapers as well as Software and hardware manufactures ending up in Las Vegas at Comdex.

The morning I was due to go I was showering and discovered a walnut sized lump under my left shoulder near my armpit. I was not unduly alarmed as I had previously had lymphomas which had been removed. My mother too was prone to growing these harmless lumps which were simply fat trapped in a cell.

Tragedy Strikes

As I was due to fly that night, I made a mental note to to worry about his later, and duly went on my trip. Before leaving my father phoned to say goodbye and have a good trip. This was out of character, as he was somewhat deaf, he did not as a rule speak on the phone.

Three days later while in Orlando Florida , I came back from my morning run, saw that the light was flashing on the room phone, and called the lobby. I was told by the hotel reception that I had a message from my wife. This was unusual, as she never contacted me on business trips, as I generally phone her on arrival at each port of call.

I called home to be told that my father had passed away. I hastily changed my travel plans returned home, arranged the funeral, as well as arranged to move my mother from the coast, to be nearer to my home in Johannesburg. Then taking advantage of the time difference, flew back to meet my colleagues in Las Vegas.

Change in Job

The trip proceeded without incident and I returned home. Unbeknown to me whilst I was away my colleaguesplotted with my boss to remove me from a 10 year long consultancy and move all development that I was doing in-house!

So after a comfortable sojourn with that company, I had to do some marketing and find some new opportunities. This was duly done without too much drama.

Another Tragedy

In the mean time the lump under my arm was slowly increasing in size. I had it checked out but because of my history, I was told as long as it ';wobbles' it's fine. So being a busy man i ignored it and it got larger

Time went by and one morning My then wife and I got the most horrific phone call. My 26 year old son had been killed in a car crash. This was a really traumatic event.

Armed Robbers

About 6 to eight months later, my ex and I were sleeping when we were awakened by armed gunmen in our bedroorm. they had removed the window glass from the living room, after doping our rather vicious mastiff,/ bull terrier mixed breed dog.

They terrorised us for about 3 hours as they looted the house and threatened us repeatedly. They ripped out the phone , tied us up and locked us in our bedroom. Eventually, they took my new SUV, loaded it up with TV's, VCR, Hi Fi, Computers and left. We freed ourselves and I managed to connect the phone with a modem cable. I phoned my oldest son and the police. Fearing that the bandits would come back we hid in the bathroom. when the police arrived, we were terrified thinking that the robbers had come back! They had to break down the door to get to us.

Life in the Country

In the mean time the lump grew. My kids started referring to it as "mini-me".It was now the size of a small football!

My ex and I now decided to sell the house. Buy a farm in a small growing tourist town in Mpulangha (about 350 kms from Johannesburg) and go into semi retirement living off the land. The kids thought we were mad. We felt that this was right for us. for the first 6 months we lived off my investments and I did repairs to the house and farm.

My ex then suggested that i should return to consulting to bring in an income until the farm became self sustaining. I agreed to commute back to Johannesburg during the week and live at my club, returning home on weekends only. Silly mistake, after 34 years of marraige, I had no qualms about leaving my wife to her own devices during the week and we became fairly entrenched in the small community. She unfortunately developed an attachment to the neighboring farmer and, as as the saying goes, the rest is history.


911 happened live on television! A shocking and traumatic event. My ex phoned and asked if I had access to a television and I did..

New Beginnings

Against the backdrop of he aftermath of 911, I was alone living in the Club, the divorce had begun and Christmas was coming.Some friends invited me to join them at a Christmas brass band and carolling event at the club. At first I declined but said, jokingly, that I would join if hey could find a businesswoman, an artist, and a really sexy woman, all for me. They delivered and i met my dearly beloved for the first time (I won't say which one she was!). She had left her glasses at home and we shared mine to read the words of the carols. We courted over that Christmas period and I drove her (in her new car) to PE for her holidays. I then flew back to the club in Johannesburg.She continued her holday I stayed in Johannesburg and was relieved of my wallet, credit cards and driving licence on eveing in a local hostelry. After her holidays I flew back to bring her home.

She then persuaded me to have "mini me" removed.

The Cancer

I had the operation to have the lump removed and she took care of me.

On returning to the surgeon, he advised that the lump was cancerous. It was a Lymphoma carcinoma, which is extremely rare. He advised radiation.

I saw the radiololgist, but he simply me "I am a technician" and that he would damage my skin, my liver and possibly some internal organs and that chemo was not an option. I then saw another surgeon for a prognosis, he said he would operate again and remove more tissue but as he had not done the original operation, he was reluctant and would still advise radiation "to protect himself".

I then went back to the original surgeon, who advised me that he was a "bloody godd surgeon" and was sure he got it all. My researches then suggested that as the cancer was encapsuled inside a lymphoma if it (the cancer) returned, it would probably be in the same form. I was told it is much like a "bean bag" if the whole bag is removed then none of the polystyrene beads would fall out. However, if the bag was nicked, each little ball that fell out ,could grow again, much like Hamsters when they get cancer. But, If I had had radiotherapy, it would not be possible to operate in that area, as the tissue would be destroyed and a clean cut could not be made.

Armed with the facts I called a council of my children and My dearly beloved's children and asked for advice. After accepting their input, we decided not to go ahead with Radiotherapy.


Barleygreen ,vitamin supplements, exercise and diet change (i lost 15-20kgs) were the order of the day. I remarried and six years later I am still cancer free.

As a footnote I believe that couples who undergo traumatic events often end up divorced as i believe that our "reptile brain" has a deep seated belief that the man should protect the women and the women in turn expect that protection. Even though logic dictates that I did the best in the circumstances during the robbery, this animal brain kicks in leading to the inevitable split. We did not have any therapy or counseling.


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    • dinkan53 profile image

      dinkan53 8 years ago from India

      Through this hub you show others how to overcome from difficult situations in life. Think positive every time and live happily, good luck.

    • sixtyorso profile image

      Clive Fagan 8 years ago from South Africa

      Thanks CabinGirl I always look on the bright side. Thanks so much for becoming my fian and stopping by and commenting. It is much appreciated.

    • sixtyorso profile image

      Clive Fagan 8 years ago from South Africa

      AEvans Thanks again for your continued support. I am really sorry to hear about your friend's younger brother. I am just an ordinary guy and thank you for you really kind words.

    • AEvans profile image

      Julianna 8 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      I am so glad that you beat lymphoma cancer and now you have had the opportunity to write about it. My friends little brother past away earlier in the week from Lymphoma at 37 yrs of age, this is why I have been MIA for a couple of days. You are certainly an inspiration to others :)

    • sixtyorso profile image

      Clive Fagan 8 years ago from South Africa

      Lifebydesign Thanks for your comments and or stopping by. Fortunately life goes on , as you can see in my hubmob love story. but I enjoy life and take it as it comes!

    • Lifebydesign profile image

      Lifebydesign 8 years ago from Australia

      Inspiring story sixty, and good for you for being able to do the life and diet changes. I'm sorry to hear your marriage didn't survive.

    • sixtyorso profile image

      Clive Fagan 8 years ago from South Africa

      Pam Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. I always find your comments act as a way of enhancing the hubs you comment on.

    • Pam Roberson profile image

      Pam Roberson 9 years ago from Virginia

      Sixtyorso, thank you for sharing. It always dumbfounds me how so many traumatic events can often happen within a short time of each other. As you know, trauma like this can either break a person or make them very strong, and you must be one of the strongest people alive. :)

      As I read your hub and absorbed each event, the death of your father, the job loss, the death of your son, the lump, I was literally screaming in my mind "no, no more!" as I got to the part about the armed robbery. But you handled each thing and you're still standing, and you're still sane. :) Bravo to you.

      I'm so happy you beat cancer without having to go through chemo or radiation. I wish you many more years of continued good health. :)

    • sixtyorso profile image

      Clive Fagan 9 years ago from South Africa

      Goldentoad looking at the menu never hurt anyway. Why eat takeout when there is good food at home Right! But boys will be boys too.

      i noticed you changed your avatar. Next we get to see your face?

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Loved your LA hub.

    • goldentoad profile image

      goldentoad 9 years ago from Free and running....

      This is an amazing read, heartbreaking, and good to see you made it back up from the trenches. Hope you stay strong and that you keep smilin'. Makes sure you contact me if you are ever back this way! We'll sneak on over to Marina Del Rey have some tacos and watch the candy stroll by, no harm in lookin' right?

    • sixtyorso profile image

      Clive Fagan 9 years ago from South Africa

      Tnanks for stopping by and commenting. My best wishes to you for 2009 too! I will have a look at your comments in Sweetie Pie's hub.

    • countrywomen profile image

      countrywomen 9 years ago from Washington, USA

      Sixtyorso- That is quite a remarkable journey of triumph over circumstances. I never knew your life was filled with so many unfortunate turns. I wish you a very happy new year 2009. May God bless you, your family/friends with health, wealth and happiness. Btw on a side note in SweetiePie's skirt hub I asked you about Scottish origin which I hope you didn't feel bad about me asking. Bye take care.

    • sixtyorso profile image

      Clive Fagan 9 years ago from South Africa

      Hi Tony I m glad you appreciated my Hub. thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 9 years ago from South Africa

      Wonderful story of loss and recovery! Thanks for sharing so deeply.

      Love and peace,


    • sixtyorso profile image

      Clive Fagan 9 years ago from South Africa

      Lin Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. It is always great to get comments on hubs which immeasurably improve the hub.

    • Lin on Love profile image

      Lin on Love 9 years ago

      Dear sixtyorso, I am so happy you found love again. You have been through so much you deserve something good. Thanks for telling your story. It gives us all courage to read how you have survived and thrived. Love to you both.

    • sixtyorso profile image

      Clive Fagan 9 years ago from South Africa

      ajcor Thanks for your support. Much appreciated that you have taken the trouble to stop by and comment!

    • ajcor profile image

      ajcor 9 years ago from NSW. Australia

      sixtyorso  I don't know if it helps to say how strong you are but certainly I am very happy for you that life for you and your beloved is good now!

    • sixtyorso profile image

      Clive Fagan 9 years ago from South Africa

      Hi Newcapo Thanks for your great input. Much appreciated.

    • profile image

      newcapo 9 years ago

      You have lived through and perserved through the greatest obstacles, thanks for sharing, it's an inspiration. You must have a strong fighting/survivor instinct within you. Best luck in the future

    • sixtyorso profile image

      Clive Fagan 9 years ago from South Africa

      Francia thanks so much for taking the trouble to read and comment. Comments are always welcome. But I should point out that I am just an ordinary person who has opted to record the events of his life. I am pleased that others find my tales interesting or even inspiring. But I will keep on doing this as long as I feel it is worthwhile because as time goes by the trivia of the past become a record of the past not written by historians but by ordinary folk.

    • franciaonline profile image

      franciaonline 9 years ago from Philippines

      A great hub sixtyorso! You are very strong! Others made of lesser stuff would have ended in a mental asylum. Your story is a source of strength and inspiration! Thanks a lot for sharing it in this site.


    • sixtyorso profile image

      Clive Fagan 9 years ago from South Africa

      Zsuzsy Bee How true life is just like that I guess!

      thanks for reading and commenting.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 9 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Sixtyorso! I'm a firm believer in nothing happens for naught...One experience leads into the other and so-on. You only get to be stronger and stronger. Just think if you would not have divorced, or not gone to that Christmas party.....thank you for sharing regards Zsuzsy

    • sixtyorso profile image

      Clive Fagan 9 years ago from South Africa

      New DAY, Ripplemaker

       Thank you for your kind comments and taking the trouble to read my Hub.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 9 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      So many things in one lifetime...and you are still alive to tell your story. This certainly has helped you become who you are as my experiences have also helped me form who I am now. Keep on learning, growing and loving. Thanks for sharing. :)

    • New Day profile image

      New Day 9 years ago from Western United States

      What a terrible period in your life! Oh my goodness. I can only say that I am happy to hear that you are remarried and healthy now. So sorry for the loss of your son. New Day.

    • sixtyorso profile image

      Clive Fagan 9 years ago from South Africa

      Hi ColdWarBaby anf Just_Rodney

      It was great therapy to be able to share this chronical with you. Your comments are such a boost and confirm that my journey from sixty on is a blessing every single day.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • profile image

      ColdWarBaby 9 years ago

      sixtyorso, your strength in the face of adversity is highly admirable. I rather doubt I would cope as well myself. My father, who is now eighty-five, has had recurring bouts with both skin and prostate cancers. Fortunately, in his case, they have been defeated by medical technology and he continues in an active life.

      Inspiration is always welcome and you have provided some. Thank you.

    • Just_Rodney profile image

      Rodney Fagan 9 years ago from Johannesberg South Africa, The Gold Mine City

      Good hub and thanks for sharing it here with all of us.

    • sixtyorso profile image

      Clive Fagan 9 years ago from South Africa

      Marisa Thanks for your comments which enhance my hub. I have 3 great surviving children 3 grandchildren and a wealth of good memories. I did not mean lost as in gone but rather lost as in no longer.

    • Marisa Wright profile image

      Marisa Wright 9 years ago from Sydney

      Sixty, I hope eventually you'll see that you didn't "lose 34 years of marriage". It saddens me so many people think a married life is wasted just because it didn't last forever. I was married 17 years and although it went wrong in the end, there was a lot about it that was good and worthwhile - and at 17 years, we did a damn sight better than a lot of people manage!

      I'm sure there were many positives to celebrate in those 34 years. It's a pretty impressive achievement! And kudos to you for making a new life.

    • healthmiracles profile image

      healthmiracles 9 years ago

      Wow! I give you so much credit for going the alternative way, takes a lot of courage! I passionatly blog about this stuff and I'm sure you will enjoy my blog. I'd be honored if you took a peek at it!


    • sixtyorso profile image

      Clive Fagan 9 years ago from South Africa

      Eileen Hughes Always a pleasure to share. thanks for taking the trouble to read and comment. Your comments simply inspire me to write more hubs on my life in South Africa.

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 9 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Well written, we can all relate to your plights. You sure have had a rough time of it but like you say you have now strenthened and things will improve.

      I have always believed that we all need to stay positive with our attitude, I know it is not easy. I have a lation that has been dealt with so many problems during her lifetime, yet she still laughs. I know it is hard for her and I admire her for it.

      When I feel a bit down for some reason I think about people like yourself and get over it.

      Keep writing , as they say writing and talking about your problems helps like therapy. Will read more. thanks for sharing

    • sixtyorso profile image

      Clive Fagan 9 years ago from South Africa

      glassvisage,lewgard ,SweetiePie,marisuewrites thank you so much for your thoughtful comments. I much appreciate your reading and taking the trouble to comment. I certainly intend to continue with hubs on my life experiences with a South African slant. So watch this space!

    • marisuewrites profile image

      marisuewrites 9 years ago from USA

      You have had many experiences that give you wisdom that we all need. keep writing as you have an obligation to educate the rest of us. Trauma can cause a our connections...we all don't react in the same way. You were both victims. Neither to blame. Sometimes one can't go back to the way things were before. You seem to be on a good path now...I'm so sorry for your loss from those who stole from you.

      Sounds like America. LOL

      I look forward to reading more of your hubs.

    • SweetiePie profile image

      SweetiePie 9 years ago from Southern California, USA

      No offense to your ex, but she was kind of mean to tell you to go off to the city so she could be alone during the week.  We used to have a friend who did that and I actually caught them.  We had several friends over and all of their kids were playing, so everyone was very busy and distracted.  Another friend was building a house across the street and I just happened to be picking flowers and looked down and saw them holding hands and kissing.  It turns out she used the excuse of her family coming over to visit us so she could sneak off and be with that guy. 

      However, I must say your life story is very extradionary and might make a good book.

    • lewgard profile image

      Kathleen Lewis 9 years ago from Southern Michigan

      Isn't there a saying: "what doesn't kill us only makes us stronger" ? Thanks for sharing your life's events.

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 9 years ago from Northern California

      It amazes me how so many traumatic events can happen to a person, yet they can find the strength to carry on, and even share about them! Thank you so much, and I hope everything is easier from here on out :)

    • sixtyorso profile image

      Clive Fagan 9 years ago from South Africa

      Mulder Solarshingles and CherylThewriter

      Thank you for taking the trouble for reading and commenting. as you can see by looking at my other hubs I am sort of weaving a framework for a life story of an ordinary guy. When I was younger, I often said to my grandparents "why dont you write your stories?" They always said "who would be interested in my stories?". So perhaps I should take a leaf out my own book and do exactly that.

      Once again thanks for taking the trouble to read.

    • CherylTheWriter profile image

      CherylTheWriter 9 years ago from Humble, Texas (the ultimate oxymoron)

      An inspiring story, sixtyorso. As solarshingles says, your positive attitude and insistence upon looking forward, rather than back into the past, can teach us all something.

      Thanks for sharing.

    • solarshingles profile image

      solarshingles 9 years ago from london

      Sixtyorso, you are a hero! Your life story is just amazing and I admire your life energy and strictly positive attitude towards our totally unpredictable life. Armed robberies and torture, work problems, even divorce are just a little scars towards a death of your son, I believe. How do you cope with that, now.

      I truly liked you life story. I won't reiterated your health problems, because you are more than in perfect condition, now.

    • mulder profile image

      mulder 9 years ago from Warnbro Western Australia

      Fantastic Hub  you have had a rough life   I glad you beat cancer  .

    • sixtyorso profile image

      Clive Fagan 9 years ago from South Africa

      I was inspired to write this hub after seeing Dorsi's request

      Would writing about your experiences be too personal? I think it could help other people. Please think about it.

      Dorsi enjoy (or not)