STEVE Prescott’s autobiography, entitled One in a Million, is launched at Wembley on Saturday.
In the book the former Saints full back takes the reader through a rollercoaster of emotions as he describes growing up in St Helens, the ups and downs of his playing career and the courageous way he dealt with cancer.
The St Helens Star has been given permission to print extracts from the book.
In this one Steve describes how one of the happiest days of his life – following the birth of his second son – was turned upside down with the devastating news that he had cancer.
There was something wrong with me. I knew that. But in no way did I ever imagine how bad it was and how big a bombshell was about to be dropped on our lives. For months I had suffered with constant indigestion, a bloated feeling in my stomach and I had developed symptoms that made me see the doctor regularly without resolution.
My stomach had been getting tender and sensitive dating back to September 2005 and I really noticed how sore it could be when my son Taylor dived on me when we were playing together.
My physique was summed up when then Hull prop Garreth Carvell called me “barrel chest and spaghetti legs”. Another day I was up at Hull Ionians where Hull FC were training and Andy Last took one look at me and told me I “needed a good dinner down me”. It was not long after that I was diagnosed.
I went to hospital in the early hours of Friday, September 8, with Linzi because she was having contraction pains and was taken to hospital. They put us in the delivery room but we only stayed there for 45 minutes before little Koby Zak Stephen Prescott was born at 1.42am. I tried to be there for Linzi, holding her hand.
I remember the birth vividly. The feeling when the little fella, Koby, came out made me well up with tears. It is probably because of all the worry beforehand, hoping that everything was going to be okay. After months of waiting and then finally seeing a baby born brings a massive relief so you have tears of joy. Linzi grabbed him straight away and said, “Aw, look at him, he’s beautiful”. And I felt exactly the same. I just could not believe it when he lay there on Linzi’s chest.
We were a bit worried at first because Koby did not cry straight away like Taylor had done when he was born, but I put him on my chest and he was perfect. I arrived home at about 4am. Kim, the next door neighbour who had come in to sit with Taylor, jumped up straight away and I showed her some pictures that I had taken.
I went in to give Taylor a kiss and he woke up so I told him that he had a brother. I was so happy that I had two healthy, beautiful boys, and our family was complete.
Unfortunately later that day I had an appointment of my own at the hospital. I was called in to see Mr Wedgwood for the first time and he asked me for some history of what had gone on. He then examined my stomach and abdomen. He did an internal examination and then I sat back down.
Almost immediately, I knew something was badly wrong because his face had just changed. He told me straight that he was really concerned about me and wanted some emergency blood tests and CT scans done straight away.
He believed it was one of three things; lymphoma, internal hernia in the bowel or bad adhesions in the stomach but looking straight at me, said it was likely to be the first one.
He could tell by my whole demeanour that there was something seriously wrong, even though he said it was unusual for someone at the age of 32 to develop the disease. It absolutely petrified me and I burst into tears as I walked back to the car.
What was going on really hit me then and I realised I could have cancer but I still didn’t know how serious it was.
All the time I was being given this awful prognosis, Linzi was back home laughing and joking, drinking champagne with the neighbours and a couple of friends to celebrate Koby’s birth, completely oblivious to what was happening.
The contrast could not have been starker – and our perfect world was about to be turned upside down and inside out. We could not have prepared ourselves for what was coming because when you are “our age” you never think the worst.
When I phoned Linzi, I just burst into tears before telling her that the consultant was really concerned. I needed time on my own and sat in the car crying. Linzi became upset too and said, “Don’t drive home, I’ll come and get you”. I told her I would be okay and made my way home in a daze.
She met me at the door and gave me a big hug and then I went upstairs and lay on the bed feeling pretty numb and unable to take it all in at the time.
Steve Prescott's One in a Million, priced £17.99 can be ordered from spfund.co.uk