Plenty to be thankful for this Christmas

SIX years ago John Lunnon beat lung cancer, one year ago his heart stopped and six weeks ago doctors removed a tumour from his spinal cord.

The operation left Mr Lunnon unable to feel his legs, and the 77-year-old is trying to walk again between radiation treatments.

To he spends Christmas in the rehabilitation ward, eating lunch off a hospital tray with wife Lesley by his side. 

But Mr Lunnon said it didn't make the day any less special. 

For him, Christmas is a religious occasion. 

``I'm one of those who believes in God. I know other people don't believe in it and they think it's a myth, but my experiences have been so strong,'' Mr Lunnon said.

He said he wouldn't have lived to Christmas if doctors didn't operate six weeks ago, and it wasn't the first time he'd been spared death.

``A year ago, my heart stopped. It was less than a minute, but more than 30 seconds, and I was brought back in the ambulance,'' he said.

Mr Lunnon said the experience, as well as an earlier battle with cancer and his faith in God, made it easier to cope with his latest health challenge.

But that doesn't mean he hasn't had low moments in the 12 months since his diagnosis.

``Doctors told me I could go downhill slightly (after the operation) and then start to build up,'' he said.

``When I came out of the operation and realised how numb I was ... I had a few tears, but I'm a lot stronger about it now.

``It could be months that I'm here. But if they decide I can't walk again, then I'll buy a wheelchair, and our house is wheelchair friendly.''

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