Mary Archer on her battle with bladder cancer
Mary Archer, the wife of Jeffrey Archer, the novelist, has disclosed that she has overcome a potentially terminal form of bladder cancer.
Dr Archer, 66, an energy scientist, had the diseased organ removed and a new one fashioned from part of her small intestine.
She said that, despite her husband’s turbulent past – including extra-marital affairs, three political resignations and jail term for perjury – she turned to him for valuable support and is due to return to work within days.
Dr Archer said in an interview with the Daily Mail: “It is a highly sophisticated plumbing job. I had to wait for the joins to heal and they then tested it for leaks.“It is a formidable operation for the surgeon, let alone the patient.”
The cancer was discovered last November, when Dr Archer found blood in her urine and the tests came back showing she had an aggressive form of the disease.
However, it had been caught at an early stage and she was offered a choice of either exhausting chemotherapy with a risk of the cancer returning or the more advanced operation to replace the bladder.
Lord Archer said: “I thought about it for 60 seconds, panicked and said: “You must have it tomorrow. Immediately.” But Mary, calm as ever, was not rushing into it.”
The couple initially decided not to go public with news of the seven-hour operation, which was carried out in April.
Their adult sons William and James were told just weeks before the operation but were also determined that their mother should have the surgery.
The couple have now decided to describe their ordeal to inspire other sufferers of the disease and improve awareness of the condition, which is much more normally seen in men.
She said: “I have no known risk factors. I’m not male, I don’t smoke, or drink a lot of alcohol.”
The operation was carried out at Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge where 2ins of her intestine were removed and made into a pouch which was sewn back into the hole from which her bladder had been removed.
She said: “I found it difficult to come to terms with the fact that, although I felt healthy and never went to the doctor from one year to the next, I had been diagnosed with a potentially dangerous condition.
“It’s not easy to face losing your bladder. However, having discussed the options with Jeffrey and the boys, it was a no-brainer. They were bricks throughout.”
Dr Archer is perhaps best known for the description of her in a 1987 libel trial against the Daily Star, which had alleged her husband had paid a prostitute for sex.
Mr Justice Caulfield said: “Remember Mary Archer in the witness box. Your vision of her probably will never disappear. Has she elegance? Has she fragrance? Would she have, without the strain of this trial, radiance? Has she had a happy married life? Has she been able to enjoy, rather than endure, her husband Jeffrey?”
Yesterday, she admitted: “He has had a roller-coaster life and so I have learned to cope with crises and ups-and-downs, but I do love Jeffrey very much indeed.
“I don’t stand by him because of a sense of duty. I do it because I want to.”
I just want to say sorry for copping out at times and leaving Lee and friends to cope!
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