Chris almost ready to Lord it over The Haberden as he prepares for return to game following cancer-scare
Chris Lord views his return to the rugby field as the end to the chapter that brought testicular cancer into his life.
The 25-year-old Bury St Edmunds RUFC full-back was diagnosed with the disease last January, with a vital operation to remove the tumour in February followed by three cycles of chemotherapy, to keep him off the National League 2 South side’s radar for more than a season.
But, with Lord responding well to treatment despite worrying signs the cancer had spread to his lung, he has been given the all-clear – and is now determined to get back to the game he loves.
He is not sure if he will be able to return in time for the 2018/19 campaign. However, with the end of the season fast approaching, he is looking at the March 30 home game against Birmingham & Solihull as a possible target.
“As soon as I got the all-clear I just wanted to get back into it, but I have sort of come to the realisation that it’s going to be a longer road than I initially thought,” he said.
“The thought of getting back to rugby has been really important in my recovery actually, and that first game will be that final thing – a way to sort of close that chapter. I mean there’s a 10-year monitoring period now – that’s just a part of life now – so it’s not like it’s all over and you can really put it in the past, but getting back on the rugby field will be normal life resuming.
“I have almost just treated it like a long-term injury and that has really helped ease the worry and taken the focus off it a bit.
“But it also maybe led to me having unrealistic expectations of getting back in the side by November.
“And it’s been a case of my head screaming ‘yes’ while my body is firmly saying ‘no’. So I’m not going to push it; my body has taken a battering in the past year.”
Despite his measured approach, he admitted to the frustration of being confined to the sidelines, particularly watching close encounters like the side’s last outing, a narrow 24-22 away win at Worthing.
It started disastrously, with Bury shipping a converted try in the opening 45 seconds, before Jaid Wiltshire (converted by Anton Limlei) pulled level.
Limlei then touched down himself, adding the extras, before the sides traded penalty blows for a 17-8 lead at the break.
Bury scored first after the interval, Wiltshire with his second, with Limlei again converting for what seemed a comfortable 24-8 lead.
Worthing fought back, however, with a quick try from Curtis Barnes to make it 24-15 before he added another with eight minutes remaining – a fantastic conversion leaving the game at 24-22.
Worthing smelt blood but Bury remained calm for the win.
“That’s been the most frustrating part about this,” Lord added. “I still feel a bit lethargic but otherwise I know I’m cancer free, so it’s been hard sitting on the sidelines.
“And watching those close games this season, you just think ‘I wouldn’t have done that’ or think you might have avoided that tackle or something.
“But it is just one of those things, cancer doesn’t discriminate, and it doesn’t care who or what you are.
“And, even though there’s been a sense of feeling hard done by, there’s also a feeling of luck about it now; luck that it was picked up and treated so quickly, luck that I responded to the treatment and a real sense of fortune at the amount of people I have behind me in support.
“The whole club, with the girls team especially, did a lot to support me and raised some funds and awareness too.
“So whether I can get back out there this season or not, I’ll be there supporting them.”
Bury (7th) are at home to Redruth (6th) on Saturday (2pm), hoping to leapfrog them into the league’s top six.