My name is James Durkin, and I’m currently 60 years young. I have been married for 32 years and have two sons who we have successfully brought into adult hood without too much drama.

I have a grandson who is 7 years old and is a delight to us all, being a grandparent is a great job all the nice bits none of the hassle.

I work full time in kitchen manufacturing where I hope to see out the rest of my working life.

My journey started with the classic blood in the pee story, I went to the GP who ran some bloods and heard no more about it. In my man like ways carried on with my life and did not pay this event with the attention it later deserved. My next episode was what I thought may be a kidney stone after getting some advice from the medical help line, I was advised to seek further help if the pain continued. This was to my detriment because I did not do this. The journey really ramped up after a middle of the night dash to the local A and E due to the fact I could not pee and was in much discomfort. I was catheterised and admitted for a scan still thinking along the lines this is still kidney stones. The scan revealed a 10 cm tumour within my right kidney, this is when our world changed forever.

Three weeks later I was on the operating table and woke up less one kidney which as it turned out was cancer grade 2 but told it was low risk.

My next part of the story started when I opted to go under the care of the Royal Marsden Hospital instead of staying under my local general hospital. This although I did not realise at the time was the most important decision I would ever make.

My grading was reassessed by them as stage 3 grade 7. Now this was getting serious. We were told that there would be no treatment, but I would be closely monitored which didn’t reassure me as much as in hindsight it should have done.

I was offered the opportunity to join the SOURCE trial and jumped at this as it was hope, prevention and gave us the security that I has chosen to take control of some sort of treatment journey. The trial was for 3 years, and we were very well looked after and educated during this time. I would still and would always encourage others to take up as many opportunities that they are offered in this field as it has opened my eyes to another world although it was none of this easy for my family to understand and see me suffer what they deemed as necessary side effects, they did however respect that I had to take control over what had happened to me.

We had almost got to the 3-year milestone only to be told at the routine scan that the Cancer had returned.

This was possibly one of the scariest and upsetting days in our lives, so much to take in so little time to process all that we had been told that day.

When people describe the bottom falling out of your world apart from losing my dad suddenly this was it!

What now …… A life of fear and dread all wrapped up in the world of cancer.

We were very well looked after by all the professionals that treated us that day, but the fact remains I am now stage 4!

The treatment plan was discussed and over the next few months we although live in fear do also have hope. I was having some counselling which I think helped a bit, but ongoing therapy would have helped more, it was like oh well you have had your 6 sessions now get on with your life as you see fit.

Over the last year our life’s have changed so much, I am lucky as I can still work full time to earn my keep and stay motivated to live rather than thinking it’s all over for me. My wife stroke carer as I like to call her for fun is amazing, she puts up with it all and puts me in my place when I get into my it’s all about me place. Our friends and family have become so important, and I have learnt after many years to not sweat the small stuff. All that we do now has a quality even unpacking the dishwasher ha ha. Team family is strong and determined and we have found a way of living in the moment as much of each day as we can. We are not special or clever people just realistic and humble.

The KCSN has been a life line and the most interesting source of information and support for us as a family, we can be as involved as we feel is right for us and the inspirational way that it is run always reassures you that there’re always people fighting the corner for the normal people like us.

2012 was my initial diagnosis I am determined to live my life to the max around the inconvenience of being a Kidney Cancer Patient.