Meet Colin Butts!

HOPE is a word not often associated with pancreatic cancer but, occasionally, you hear a story with a little more hope than most – let me introduce Colin Butts. Colin is giving pancreatic cancer a run for its money and throwing a glimmer (well more than a glimmer actually!) of hope into a situation where ordinarily there would be little to none. I’ve enjoyed seeing Colin’s story unfold and as this campaign is all about #hope being contagious, I’m keeping everything crossed that Colin’s good fortune will continue and #hope truly will be contagious for him.

Let’s start at the beginning – in February 2016 Colin was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer – stage 4, inoperable and terminal – a stage further than my husband was on diagnosis and I remember that we had to pretty quickly get our heads around a prognosis of 6-18 months.

In the words of Colin’s specialist, who pulled no punches, “as cancers go, yours is pretty catastrophic”. Those of us that understand the absolute horror a pancreatic cancer diagnosis flings you into know that most patients, when diagnosed, have very little time left and Colin was no exception. In fact, his specialist told him he’d likely be dead within 2 months and if he opted for chemo he could expect to live 5-8 months at a push. As someone who has sat there listening to a devastating prognosis being given, I can tell you that it’s hard to accept that nothing can be done. How can this cancer have such shockingly low survival rates? How can nothing have improved in over 50 years? How have I not even heard of pancreatic cancer? (well Colin might have but I certainly hadn’t). How can death be coming so quickly?

Clearly Colin wasn’t going to take this diagnosis lying down and after carrying out research, he managed to find a trial for which he was eligible. Even better than that he, and his tumour, responded well to the trial and Colin found himself in the very fortunate position of going from inoperable and terminal to operable with a glimmer of hope for a longer life than originally envisaged. In fact, the medics suggested that with surgery and some additional chemo Colin’s chances of being alive in 5 years’ time would increase from 1 in 100 to 1 in 5. Colin underwent 6 hours of surgery and it’s clear from his social media posts that not only is he grateful to his surgeons and medical team but his gratitude extends to his army of friends and supporters – of which he clearly has many.

Colin’s approach is pragmatic but he is also quite rightly fully embracing this second shot he’s been given. Colin refers to it as ‘the bullet being out of the gun and I’ve just got to stay in front of it’ Clearly the best outcome would be that Colin has no need for further medical assistance but should he find himself in the position of needing options in the future, who knows what breakthroughs might come now that long overdue funding is finally finding its way into research.

Survivors have previously said to me that they feel guilty around people like me who have lost a loved one to pancreatic cancer. It horrifies me that someone would feel that way. Yes, I’ve lost the love of my life to pancreatic cancer but I am absolutely delighted when I know that someone is surviving this insidious disease, it’s what those of us that fight for more awareness strive for – survivors – we want to see more survivors and lots of them and we will never stop raising awareness until we see the day when pancreatic cancer has survival rates that mean more people survive the disease than die from it.

Colin is now 15 months post diagnosis – go Colin – we are all rooting for you! #HopeIsContagious
You can follow Colin on Twitter @colinbutts

8 thoughts on “Meet Colin Butts!

    • Maggie Watts

      Thank you for your kind words re the blog – appreciated! Colin’s story is great isn’t it – such a change from the usual pancreatic cancer stories

  • Anonymous

    my stunning sister was also diagnosed in feb last yr with grade 4 operated had chemo but her body was ravished by the vile disease an she passed 11 july one month after her 52 no bday. my heart is broken an i will never get over it Life’s so cruel

    • Maggie Watts

      I am so sorry for your loss. Your sister was so young and I can understand your complete devastation. If you are a Facebook user you might be interested in a support group on there called Families in Support of Pancreatic Cancer Awareness. It’s an incredibly supportive group full of people who understand the devastation you feel. I am determined to continue campaigning until we see better outcomes – so little has improved for this disease over the years, it’s time for change. My thoughts are with you

  • Anonymous

    After so much bad pancreatic cancer news, it’s refreshing to hear a success story at last so I am so pleased for Colin Butts – may he continue to be in good health. Also I would like to say the Maggie Watts Blog is so very well written and explains so much to the many people like herself who had not known the facts on pancreatic cancer so, because since she lost Kevin, she has dedicated so much of her time raising awareness and researching everything possible related to pancreatic cancer, there now seems to be a bit more awareness and hope #HopeIsContagious which is only now beginning to happen. A blog very clearly written. Well done Maggie on your continued dedication.

  • David

    This is wonderful that you write of hope. I’m a long-time friend of Colin’s and the fact that I’m going to hug him today is a true miracle. Let’s aim for a world of miracles.

    • Maggie Watts

      Thanks for your positive comment David – I don’t know Colin personally but perhaps you could give him a hug from me too please! I always hoped and prayed for a miracle when my husband was ill and in many ways we got one because we got 20 months where I know of others who died just weeks from diagnosis – Colin’s story is different the majority of pancreatic cancer stories and I am so pleased he got this chance for surgery and also grateful that he allowed me to share his story to help raise awareness #HopeIsContagious

  • Anonymous

    Sadly Colin finally passed away 28th June 2018. He leaves a great many heart broken friends behind. A truly wonderful guy.

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