Me and My Shadow – memoirs of a cancer survivor by John Pattisong


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 – eventually, 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 he and his daughter experienced.

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.


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