Me and My Shadow - Memoirs of a Cancer Survivor is a brutally honest account of one teenager's struggle to understand and deal with the most feared diagnosis known to society: cancer.
At 18 years of age, John Walker Pattison was thrust onto a roller coaster ride of emotional turbulence - his innocence cruelly stripped from him; his fate woven into the tapestry of life.
After years of failed chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments that ravaged his physical frame and almost destroyed his psychological stability - his parents were told that he would not survive. Yet, today, he is one of the longest surviving cancer patients in the UK.
Eight years after his unexpected recovery, the news that all parents fear, his daughter is diagnosed with terminal leukaemia. Yet like her father, she too would defy the odds and go on to become an international swimmer.
Pattison turned his life full circle and became a cancer nurse specialist at the same hospital that made his diagnosis decades earlier. He prescribes chemotherapy and cares for individuals with the same cancers experienced by both him and his daughter.
Throughout his journey, Pattison's inspirations were the space rock legends, Hawkwind. He would get to play on stage with his heroes at the Donnington Festival in 2007.
More significantly, he found solace throughout his cancer journey in the history and spirituality of the Lakota Sioux Nation. In 2018, he would spend time on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation with the indigenous people of South Dakota. The same people who, unknowingly, supported him through life's greatest challenge: cancer.
BIOGRAPHY John Walker Pattison was born in the wonderful seaside town of South Shields 66 years ago. He has been a dedicated Newcastle United supporter since 1969 when he took his first steps through the clackety-clack of the turnstiles at St James Park; however, there is little doubt that the crucial hinge in John’s life is his beautiful wife, June. “Nothing is more important than family,” says John.
He retired from his post as a senior clinical nurse specialist and head of service in haematology at his local hospital, partially due to his chronic illnesses as a consequence of the salubrious chemotherapy and radiotherapy he received decades ago, this being the same hospital that established his cancer diagnosis almost 50 years earlier; at that time his parents were told that he would not survive, yet here he is today, humbled to be one of the longest living cancer survivors in the UK.
He has written dozens of articles for national and international nursing and medical press - presented lectures the length and breadth of the country on many aspects of haematology and cancer management. He is honoured to have won numerous awards both locally and nationally for his work in haematology. However, Pattison knows that being one of the longest cancer survivors is his greatest achievement.
John Walker Pattison recently completed his memoirs, ‘Me, and My Shadow – memoirs of a cancer survivor’ which was published on 31st October 2022.
In addition, following the completion of his memoirs and in retirement he is now focusing on children’s fiction. John declares, “I have always been an elasticated Grandpa – relaying exaggerated stories to my grandchildren for many years.” These unbelievable tales are now the basis for his children’s books.
In 2021, his inaugural title, ‘Strange Trips and Weird Adventures’ was published, as part of a series of adventures of Daniel and Papa. ‘Blenkinsop Blabbermouth and the Ghost of Broderick McCaffery,’ was published on 16th December 2022, ‘The Fastest Water Pistol in Splodge City’ has a target publication date of mid-2023 and the fourth title, ‘The Kingdom of Huckleberry Jam,’ is to be released late 2023. Meanwhile, Lunar von Buella the Mystical Mouse from Missoula is a work in progress.
Pattison enjoys the solitude and escapism of fly fishing and photographing Native Americans. More significantly, he found solace throughout his cancer journey in the history, and spirituality of the Lakota Sioux Nation.
In 2018, he would spend time on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation with the indigenous people of South Dakota, the people who, unknowingly, supported him through his, and life's greatest challenge, cancer.
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