Peter McDade

Peter McDade was born in Glasgow in 1966. In 2008 he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and had a stem cell transplant using his own cells, taken prior to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. He shares the highs and lows of his diagnosis, treatment and recuperation.


Human stem cell embedded in a 3D matrix, Cryo SEM. Credit: Sílvia A Ferreira, Cristina Lopo and Eileen Gentleman, KCL.

Human stem cell embedded in a 3D matrix, Cryo SEM. Credit: Silvia A Ferreira, Cristina Lopo and Eileen Gentleman, KCL. CC BY

Listen to Peter talk about how he coped with boredom whilst recovering in hospital from his stem cell transplant.



Audio Transcript:

Boredom was a real issue when I was an in-patient, particularly after the transplant. The chemo was really intense at that stage. After the transplant, there was no more treatment. There was nothing to do but lie there in a bed all day, waiting to recover. And I’d met up with a friend, she’d been through the same thing a dozen years previously; she was great. She told me what to expect. It was good to be prepared. But she also told me how long she had to stay in hospital after the transplant before she could be released. And I’m quite competitive, so that became my goal: to get out before her. And I think she’d been one of the fairly quick ones, because it can take a long time. In the scheme of things, it didn’t really matter how long it was, but it gave me a target. But still I was so bored. So I got a calendar and every morning I would mark off another day. But that actually became depressing, because the gap between crosses on the calendar was so long. A day felt like a month. My wife had a stroke of genius. She took the calendar home and divided up a day into 24 little boxes, 24 hours. So instead of crossing off day by day, I crossed it off hour by hour. And that was much better. I mean an hour still went by slowly. But I was making progress, putting a cross on a box. And if I happened to wake up after three hours, I had three boxes to cross off [laughing]. So that was marvellous! And just to finish that off, I got off one day earlier than my friend!