I’m Mark Winter, and I have Stage 3 bowel cancer.


According to the stats, my chances of surviving beyond five years are 60%.

I was a college lecturer for 30 years, and I’m a Corbyn-and-beyond socialist, a keen cyclist and an enthusiastic cook. At the age of 59, I was making plans for the future.

Cancer smashes plans and expectations. It rips apart the old you, and creates one or more new versions of yourself. This new self has to face up to major physical and emotional changes, often more than once over the period of treatment.

I’m in remission, waiting for my final surgery. I’ve said goodbye to cycling 16 miles a day on my daily commute, as I’ve retired early from my job as a college lecturer.

Mark and family, chemo cycle # 3

I’m now married, I’ve made a will, and put things in order. I’ve had to give up control of major parts of me – my body most obviously, but the self that thought it could be independent and self-reliant.

8 thoughts on “ABOUT ME

  1. Mark, I’m very moved by this. My cancer was not as horrible as yours – in fact I got the all clear from the oncologists a couple of weeks ago, after 4.5 years. I only had 2 ops, but i did have chemo, and it was vile. There were 2 books that helped me through that (along, obv, with friends and family). I wonder if you know them? The first is Barbara Ehrenreich Smile or Die https://www.amazon.co.uk/Smile-Die-Positive-Thinking-America/dp/1847081738 which deals with the ‘positive thinking ‘ industry and all the pink ribbons shit, which really got to me.
    The other was Mike marquesee https://www.amazon.co.uk/Price-Experience-Writings-Living-Cancer/dp/1939293448. This little book, written when he was dying, and attending Barts (where I also go) is angry about Cancer, and about the state of the NHS. Its a brilliant polemic. I never knew him, (he was a bit of a legend on the left) but we became facebook friends and he was phenomenally supportive…. there were interesting spats with ppl like owen Jones promoting the victim, I can fight, narrative. No, I was never brave. I didn’t fight off cancer. I was lucky. The regular 3-year NHS screening caught mine when it was less than a year old. all power to you. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Sybil
      Thanks for the book recommendations – I’ll look into them. My big read so far has been The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee. It takes the long view of cancer by tracing it back through time, plus it takes on the “fight against cancer” campaigns begun in the US back in the 1960s.

      I’ve done my best to avoid the alternative therapies route, especially when someone at work pressed the suit for one in particular.

      And so sorry (again) to hear your own personal story of bowel cancer. More hugs xx


  2. Mark darling your words are so incredibly encouraging.
    Writing this day 10 after surgery and feeling very positive.
    Being a person who has never ungone surgery before found the anticipation of the event crippling.
    Now on the other side I’m feeling incredibly lucky and very blessed for experiencing a wonderful team of medics who were there for me and continue to be.
    The next journey the road of chemo I think is going to be a much tougher one .
    I’ve found the Macmillan support forum absolutely fantastic alongside my wonderful family and amazing friends I truly feel blessed x


  3. Hi Debs. So good to hear from you, and pleased to get your warm response. Hope you’re recovering well from the surgery?
    It’s true that the chemo can be tough, but you’ll find that it builds gradually. You might have some side-effects at the beginning of each cycle, but let’s hope they’re manageable. Stay strong xx


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