New Zealand cricket great Sir Richard Hadlee has opened up on his cancer battle, revealing how - despite a remarkable recovery - he's "not out of the woods" just yet.
Hadlee was diagnosed with stage four colorectal cancer in 2018, while secondary cancer was discovered in his liver later that year, leading to the 68-year-old having a third of his bowel removed, along with 15 per cent of his liver, his gall bladder and appendix.
However, nearly two years on, and after six gruelling months of chemotherapy, Hadlee is back to living life as he wishes, though is aware he is by no means permanently cancer-free.
"I'm feeling very well," Hadlee said before New Zealand's second cricket test against India in Christchurch tomorrow.
"I do all the normal things now, I just watch my diet and get regular check-ups every three months, and at the moment, the test results are in my favour – but I'm not out of the woods.
"I've still got to get through the next 12-24 months without any recurrence, and if it comes back, then we'll deal with it then, but that would not be good. At the moment, I'm clear, so that's the good news."
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New Zealand's all-time leading test wicket-taker, Hadlee is enjoying being able to set his own schedule now he has got through the low points which came with chemotherapy, which resulted in him losing 10kg he has since regained.
"It was a difficult time, particularly with fatigue, food, vomiting, diarrhoea, all those sorts of things. It was a difficult time to get through, but that ended January last year, so at the moment – all good.
"I try not to get into stressful situations any more; I can pick and choose what I want to do."
At the moment, one of those tasks includes assisting with the establishment of the Sir Richard Hadlee Sports Centre – an indoor facility at Hagley Oval in Christchurch which aims to give local cricketers, and other sporting codes, the opportunity to develop.
Hadlee says projects like that provide things to look forward to, having had his world view placed firmly in perspective after his initial cancer diagnosis and subsequent battle.
"It puts life into perspective because I had no symptoms; it was purely a freak situation where I had a routine colonoscopy that determined a problem. You're faced with a huge challenge in your life, where the odds were not in my favour. They're still not [in terms] of surviving five years and I'm two years into it, so I've got to effectively get through the next three years without any problems.
"I feel good, but tomorrow, I could wake up with a symptom. It makes you think about and appreciate the value of life, and living life - living each day and having something to look forward to."