Onwards & Upwards – Paul Fisher
September 1, 2020

by Jane Fisher

On 29th August 2019, Paul went to work as usual but started to feel unwell in the afternoon. It was apparent something was very wrong and I decided to drive him to A&E. On our way, Paul had a seizure and was rushed by ambulance to Addenbrooke’s Hospital. Later that evening we were told the devastating news that Paul had a brain tumour.

Surgery took place on 7th October, where we discovered Paul had two tumours. Both were removed and, following biopsies, found to be Glioblastoma Multiforme, a stage 4 terminal brain cancer. Unfortunately, Paul had a wound leak following surgery and developed meningitis, so was then in hospital for approximately three weeks, where he had to endure a lumbar drain for several days to drain the fluid from his brain.

Following this setback, Paul then undertook a course of radiotherapy in December 2019. A scan in March 2020 showed the tumour had started to re-grow and Paul is now undergoing chemotherapy to keep the growth at bay. Thankfully, at week 17 of chemo, the tumour is stable.

Six months before Paul was taken ill at work, he wrote a poem, Destination Unsure Road, about an unsure road ahead, with a one-way ticket. I remember at the time saying “well, that’s not very cheerful!” Little did we know the poignancy of that! He had written a couple of poems before that, including one to me called Jigsaw.

Whilst Paul was recovering, I decided to start raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support. I knew that this charity was going to be very important to us. Myself and a group of lovely friends signed up for the Thames Path Mighty Hike, a marathon distance hike along the Thames, for the charity. TeamFish2020 was born! Unfortunately, the event was postponed due to COVID-19, but we continue to fundraise, with the current total sitting at £9,737. We had various other events planned that have also been postponed, but hopefully, these will go ahead once lockdown is completely lifted.

After Paul had surgery to remove the tumours, he reminded me of the poem and asked me to send it to our good friends Stella Hensley and Chris Newman, local musicians and songwriters, to see if they could put music to his lyrics. The result was the song “Destination Unsure Road”, lyrics by Paul Fisher, music written and performed by Stella Hensley and Chris Newman. They made a video and uploaded it to Youtube – to date it has had nearly 5,000 views. The record was then released across all music platforms including Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, etc., with all profits going to our fundraising page. It has been played on various radio stations and appeared on BBC Look East and Anglia News. We would be so very grateful if you could download a copy.

During the past year, Paul has taken to writing more poems, just musings really that come to him … he finds himself waking at 4.00-5.00am every day and jots down what comes into his head. These poems have now been published in a book – One Way Ticket by Paul Fisher. Stella and Chris decided to publish the poems as a gift to Paul for his birthday. The book is now available to buy, with all profits going to Macmillan Cancer Support.