Guilden Morden mum given new lease of life after taking ‘innovative’ NHS cancer drug

PUBLISHED: 17:01 01 December 2017

Gaye Christy, with her husband Tim and dog Poppy, has now been receiving nivolumab since July which has given her her life back. Picture: Danny Loo

Gaye Christy, with her husband Tim and dog Poppy, has now been receiving nivolumab since July which has given her her life back. Picture: Danny Loo

Danny Loo Photography 2017

A woman from Guilden Morden who was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2015 and went through gruelling side effects from many rounds of treatment has said she feels more like her old self after taking a new NHS immunotherapy drug.

Gaye Christy has now been receiving nivolumab since July which has given her her life back. Picture: Danny Loo Gaye Christy has now been receiving nivolumab since July which has given her her life back. Picture: Danny Loo

Mum-of-one, Louise Gaye Christy, known as Gaye, has experienced a new lease of life after receiving the drug – which has only been available for a year – for five months.

The 65-year-old was first diagnosed with kidney cancer in December 2015 at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

She told the Crow: “It was a massive shock, I had a lot of back pain, so when the MRI scan result came through and said that I had cancer it was completely devastating.

“I had worked as a practice manager for the NHS in Cambridge and as a transplant co-ordinator after I retired, and I was looking forward to doing some fun things. It was so awful.”

Gaye had four operations in her battle with the cancer. The first was surgery on her spine as a tumour had started growing around her spinal cord. She also had the affected kidney removed.

She said: “The pain in my back was excruciating, the spinal operation did take away that pain which I was grateful for, but the incision in my spine didn’t heal properly for six months. I had a bad reaction to the chemotherapy and I began to feel ‘is this worth it?’”

The hospital took the bold decision to try the new immunotherapy in the form of the drug Nivolumab.

Gaye said: “I was so worried I was going to miss my daughter Emma’s 21st Birthday as she was having her party at university in Leeds, where she is studying to be a dietician.

“But with the use of this drug I made it, and it was truly wonderful. Emma has been so strong and has supported me along with my husband Tim.”

Nivolumab harnesses the patient’s own immune system to start attacking the disease, and has been hailed by NICE as an “innovative” way to fight cancer.

Gaye added: “I have had no side effects and everybody is amazed by the results.

“The nurses and my consultant Dr Kate Fife are all very positive about it.

“I have been to Kensington Palace to see the exhibition of Lady Diana’s dresses and lots of parties.

“Patients can respond differently to the treatment and it’s not for everyone, but compared to how I felt before, there’s just no comparison.”

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