Belfast Telegraph

I don't even know if my surgery will go ahead: Alliance MLA

Case study

Stewart Dickson
Stewart Dickson
Mark Bain

By Mark Bain

Last week Alliance Party MLA Stewart Dickson told the Belfast Telegraph about his diagnosis of oesophageal cancer.

Today he said he is one of the thousands going through mental turmoil and fears his life-saving surgery scheduled for Belfast City Hospital next Monday morning will not go ahead.

"I have been thrown into turmoil and distress," the East Antrim MLA said.

"I don't blame the trade unions and I don't even blame management. The buck stops at the top.

"The DUP and Sinn Fein have messed about for the last 1,000 plus days. We do not have an Assembly and there is no minister to hold to account for this failure in negotiations between the trusts and their employees.

"But I'm only one of thousands going through mental anguish because they either haven't seen a doctor or a consultant this week or they're waiting for the outcome of tests and today they can't be told what these results are.

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"I've had over 70 days of chemotherapy, a mixture of tablets and infusions which were long, stressful, incredibly tiring days.

"I knew at the end of that I would face this major surgery.

"Here I am, a week from that surgery, not knowing whether it's going to happen or not.

"How soon before I start going backwards? At the moment I'm at the peak point to have the surgery. If I don't have it, or it's delayed, there's the potential for the cancer to spread.

"I'm not an expert but what I know is that's probably what I'm most scared of. I simply don't know whether my operation will go ahead.

"People and families are being caught in the middle again by the failure of the political system."

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