New Zealand cricket legend Martin Crowe opens up about cancer fight
New Zealand cricket legend Martin Crowe says he did not expect to live until the end of 2014 but is determined to survive to see the Black Caps play at the World Cup next month.
Crowe, after being diagnosed with follicular lymphoma about two years ago, has since been diagnosed with a rare blood disease called double-hit lymphoma. Only 5 per cent of patients live up to 12 months.
At a media event at Eden Park in Auckland today, Crowe surveyed the field where he had once played.
He was philosophical about his health and said his energy was returning.
He has shunned chemotherapy in favour of natural remedies.
"It's an ugly beast," he said. "It transformed from follicular to double-hit. Sheer random luck really.
"It is odd given it has a cricketing tone to it.
"The chemo is brutal and it was going to be a 100-day vigil, so I thought it would be better if I just chilled at home, and so far, so good."
Crowe said his specialist would "like me back in hospital".
"I just chose, having gone through it last year, that I would be better off without the side-effects," he said.
"It's just a journey based on what I believe within myself."
He has been taking natural remedies to boost his immune system, including a product based on sea cucumber given to him by friend and former All Black Grant Fox.
"I am standing at the moment," Crowe said.
"I didn't necessarily think I would get through to the end of 2014, but I am here. I am feeling OK.
"I have had a good couple of weeks and started a bit of exercise.
"I have been pretty well for three months, sleeping 14-hour days. When you are sleeping that long, you tend to be pretty hazy about things."
Crowe said he had a "great team around me", including wife Lorraine Downes.
"Removing the prognosis from my head has been the hardest, but we are getting there," he said.
"We are just doing summer holiday things, family things, Christmas things, normal things."
He had celebrated New Year with actor Russell Crowe, his cousin, in Australia. "All the kids were there, the cousins."
Crowe, widely regarded as the best batsman to have represented New Zealand, played 77 tests and 143 one-day internationals between 1982 and 1995.
In 1991, he set a New Zealand record for most runs in a test innings with 299 against Sri Lanka at the Basin Reserve.
The record stood until last year, when Brendon McCullum scored 302 against India, also in Wellington.
When Crowe was originally diagnosed with cancer he traced his problems back to his playing days, particularly in touring the subcontinent. He believed his immune system had been weakened by picking up salmonella poisoning and glandular fever.
Crowe said the amount of support since his diagnosis had been "great". He had also made peace with his situation.
"I wish to thank everyone for their positive sentiments," he said.
"I get it now. If I live out of my heart and shut down my thinking I am as good as gold.
"You call on everything that you have got. The main thing is love for the people around me and what is given back.
"I only really focus on compassion and forgiveness because that is the only way you can keep moving forward.
"I don't have any fears or doubts."