Brave doctor Michael Barsby was given just two months to live after he was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer in October last year aged only 42.
Almost a year later, having undergone aggressive chemotherapy and major surgery in Germany, the father-of-three has already surpassed medical expectations and is continuing to improve.
And his supportive wife, Susan (43), has recorded an emotional video diary of her husband from the day of diagnosis, which has been uploaded onto YouTube and has already been viewed by more then 600 people.
Dr Michael Barsby, who lives in Clitheroe, but works as a GP at Kiddrow Lane Health Centre, in Burnley, received the shocking news last October that he had advanced inoperable pancreatic cancer. Until the diagnosis, he led a very healthy, fit and active life-style and experienced very few symptoms.
Recalling the devastating moment when doctors told Michael he had cancer, Susan said: “It was horrifying and a big shock to all our family and friends.
“Mick and I are members of CrossFit Clitheroe gym working out daily. “Mick was probably at his fittest last year, plus he was aged only 42 and felt no symptoms therefore when he was told the news, we were all numb with shock. It all happened so fast.”
She added: “Doctors told Mick that surgery was not an option because the tumour had wrapped itself around important blood vessels and began discussing palliative care.”
However, despite the diagnosis, Susan didn’t give up. While Michael was undergoing an intense course of chemotherapy, Susan researched on the internet and discovered a woman with a similar condition had travelled out to Heidelberg, in Germany and had successfully had the Whipples procedure – removing the head of the pancreas.
Feeling inspired and with a glimmer of hope, Susan and Michael travelled to Germany with a copy of an up-to-date scan at the end of January for a consultation with the surgeon who told them the operation could be carried out.
The couple returned and flew out again a month later for the operation, while Susan’s parents moved into the family home in Clitheroe to look after their three boys – Oliver (13) and 18-year-old twins James and Christian.
Michael had the major surgery on February 18th and remained in hospital for 16 days. He had his whole pancreas removed as well as spleen, gall bladder and part of his stomach leaving him diabetic and dependant on medication to digest his food.
In total the couple stayed in Germany for four weeks and on their return to England Michael underwent a very aggressive schedule of chemotherapy. Susan said: “Although we were delighted that the operation was a success, Mick still required chemotherapy and it was heartbreaking to see him lose a lot his hair and weight.”
Michael is a member of local football team “Mad Dogs”, which is made up of local GPs, consultants and vets.
Despite the intensive treatment, Michael remained positive and did not miss any of his weekly football sessions. Although he was unable to play, he attended the sessions and watched his friends play.
Recently, members of Mad Dogs, including Michael and Susan, completed a nine pub 20-mile challenge and managed to raise £3,000 for Pancreatic Cancer UK.
Susan said: “Good friends, a loving family, a positive outlook as well as getting back to exercising at Crossfit Clitheroe are helping him Mick get stronger. “A few weeks ago he had a scan and it was clear. We can now relax for three months.
“It was great to see him being able to walk to all the pubs for the fund-raiser and anyone wishing to donate can do so by logging onto www.justgiving.com/Michael-Barsby.”