CHRISTCHURCH: Sir Richard Hadlee's ongoing battle with cancer has put life into perspective for him, the former New Zealand all-rounder said. Considered one of the four great all-rounders of the 1980s alongside England's Ian Botham, India's Kapil Dev and Pakistan's Imran Khan, Hadlee had been diagnosed with stage IV colorectal cancer in June 2018.
"It puts life into perspective because I never had symptoms," said Hadlee. "It was purely a freak situation where a routine colonoscopy determined the problem. I was faced with a huge challenge in my life as odds were not in my favour. They are still not, surviving five years.
"Two years into it and I have to get through the next three years without any problem. I feel good but tomorrow I could wake up with a symptom. That makes you think about appreciating the value of life, of living life, living each day and having something to look forward to. Like this project (Hadlee Indoor facility), wanting to see it start, to be complete, to be opened, working in my lifetime. That's very important to me."
Hadlee revealed that doctors had to get a third of his gall bladder, liver and appendix removed.
"I had a third of the bowel removed. Blood tests were not good. It metastasized and it got to my liver, so they took 15% of my liver. My gall bladder and appendix, without even asking, they just pinched them while I was asleep!
"Then, I had six months of chemotherapy, which was a difficult time particularly with fatigue, food, vomiting, diarrhoea, that was a difficult time to get through. That finished end of January last year.
"At the moment all good. I lost 10 kilos but that's all come back on now. I do all the normal things now, just have to watch my diet. I get regular check-ups every three months. At the moment, test results were in my favour but I am not out of the woods. I have to still get through the next 12 to 24 months without any reoccurrence. If it comes back, then we will deal with it then but it won't be good. But at the moment all clear," he said.
Considered one of the greatest New Zealand players to have ever played cricket, Hadlee was the first bowler to take 400 Test wickets and ended his nearly two decade long international career with 431 scalps. He also scored 3124 runs in the longest form of the game and has two Test centuries to his name.