It’s here again, I thought it was suppose to take a year to get here, I’m sure we must of missed out a few months somewhere, surely that’s not another year gone. I remember as a child it took so long to get to christmas and now they fly by, one after the other. Ok I know I’m getting old. When I was young (along time ago), about 8-9 years old, I remember the excitment of christmas day, getting up at 2.00 then told to go back to bed, then up at 4.00 then being told to go back to bed again, by a very frustrated mum, then up at 6.00 or 7.00 and open your stocking, a bit of breakfast then excitedly wait till dinner was ready, wolf that down and have to wait until alllllll the washing up was done by the older ones and mum and dad, the excitment almost killing us, that’s how it felt at the time, then the big moment arrived, but who was going to go first, your sitting on your hands trying not to grab anyone elses present, then you get your first present, rip the wrapping off, “Who was that from?” “Oh ere mum and dad, thank you mum and dad.” I was reminded of this excitment when I got a text from my Mum saying thank you for her presents, err excuse me! Isn’t it Christmas Day tomorrow, all that waiting we had to do as a child, at the hands of our parents, and now they open presents whenever they want. But I think I can let my Mum off the hook, the amount of happy memories it brings is worth it, hopefully we can give our grandchildren happy memories to remember for when they’re older. They are great memories to have, and I know I’m lucky to have them, thanks Mum and Dad.
I know I still act like a child alot of the time, and mucking about with your grandchildren is great fun, so while I can still play about with them I will, heres some pictures from a few years ago of me getting excited about christmas. I hope I never grow up and become serious, that would be terrible. I would like to wish you all a very happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year, and it brings everything you hope for, especially for health and happiness for you, your family and friends. Take care and thank you for reading my blog, maybe get one more blog in before the new year, best wishes and Don’t be afraid of lung cancer, always 100% positive.
As we come into December which brings to a close Lung cancer Awareness Month here in the UK, I was very proud to of been a part of the Roy Castle Lung cancer Foundation campaign #Follow My Lead, going up to Liverpool in August and meeting some lovely people, and telling my story of having lung cancer, I hope some people have come to realise it’s not the end of the world just because your diagnosed with lung cancer, it doesn’t mean it will be easy, or that your going to live forever, but it shows you can have a life even though you have lung cancer. No one knows how long they have, and having a terminal diagnosis heightens your awareness of the people you hear about in the news every day, that go out and never come home, dying in an accident on the roads, or being attacked, like those poor people who died or got injured near London Bridge on Friday, or the earthquake in Albania, our nephew Timmy is in Albania, but thankfully he is ok and safe, my heart goes out to all those who lost their lives in these incidents or any others you hear about. You never know what will happen tomorrow, so don’t let the thought that you might die one day from cancer, stop you enjoying today.
It’s been a bit quiet on the blogging front for me lately, I was hoping to start getting more blogs done each week, but it’s amazing how a quite well behaved three year old grandson can stop you doing so many things and make you so tired, I don’t remember it being like this when our four children were that age, but we were a lot younger too. My sons lovely partner made her family homeless, so he split up with her and took their eldest with him and we’re helping out with their youngest, until he can get a place of his own, so it could be for a few months we’re helping out, just hope our energy doesn’t give up before then. It’s a pleasure having him here, and we run the two of them to school each day, so we’re very busy and it is nice getting involved with our grandchildren, and it takes your mind off the normal day to day boring things, you don’t have a lot of time to think about anything. I’d say it makes you feel young again having a toddler about almost every day, but it doesn’t, I think it makes you realise how old you actually are, but as I said it’s a lot of pleasure too, I’ll let you know how we get on with him and the housing situation.
This is the link to my story if you haven’t seen it already:- https://www.roycastle.org/david-james/, and if you go on the Roy Castle website:- www.roycastle.org you can see all the other stories of people with lung cancer and how they have coped and lived with it, all of them are worth watching or reading, very inspiring. There’s also the comedian John Ryan who wrote a poem and made a video for the campaign, also he went on Sky News and was interviewed and put one of the presenters in her place as she ignorantly said you catch lung cancer from smoking, that’s worth watching too, heres the link for that:- https://www.roycastle.org/i-need-to-correct-you-there/.
Well I’ll keep it short and sweet today, and hopefully I’ll have time to blog again soon, anytime I sit at the table to use the computer, I get a smiley face next to me pulling the chair out, wanting to play too. I open a page for him and he taps away, and he gets the computer to do things I never knew it could, I try to watch what he pressed but he’s too quick, one thing was the curser stayed on the right of the page and as he typed the letters came out on the right and moved left as he typed more, search boxes came up, all these things I’d never seen before, and as much as I try I can’t get them to come up again. I have my unfinished book on here, I just hope he doesn’t reboot the computer to restore factory settings, and all is lost. I’ve emailed my book to myself, just in case. Take care and thank you for taking the time to read my blog and see you again soon, I hope, if our grandson allows, as soon as he’s in bed, we’re not far behind. Don’t be afraid of lung cancer and 100% positive always.
Having just got back from a fantastic holiday in Paphos Cyprus, we’re trying to get back to normal and adjust to the cold weather, no rain just sunshine for 13 days, 23-28 degrees every day, sooo nice, and lots of swimming in the sea, which was warmer than the hotels swimming pool, but I still swam in there too. It really was the relaxing holiday we needed, just wish we were still there.
November in the UK is Lung cancer Awareness Month, and I’ve said about when we went to Liverpool to record my story for a campaign for the Roy Castle Lung cancer Foundation in a previous blog, Steam Trains, Filming and Getting a Bit Philosophical, click on the link if you’d like to read it. Well the campaign is now live and the finished product is quite good, even though I do say so myself, so heres the link for my story:- https://www.roycastle.org/david-james/ If you look at the other stories as well, they are really good inspirational stories of some other peoples experience of living with lung cancer, click to see the website with the whole campaign. It would be great if you could share my story or any of the others so we can reach more people and help them with their experience with cancer, whatever that may be, and give them hope that they can beat it, and to realise that having a diagnosis is not the end, there is life after being told you have cancer.
I got an email when I was on holiday and knew excatly what it was, but I wasn’t going to show it to anyone else, not until I’d seen it first and on my own. Now I’m well known for nodding off, and a lot more than once on holiday I woke up alone, the other 9 had gone off to do something else, or get ready for dinner. But this time when I woke I had the opportunity to look at this on my own. As I’m fumbling about trying to play the video, the horror that if I like this or not, it’s going out tomorrow and for at least a month, it’s a weird scary feeling, but a little exciting too. Here we go, play. Hang on this isn’t too bad, actually it’s quite good, I’m really happy with it, I emailed Rachel at the Roy Castle Lung cancer Foundation to let her know I’m really happy with it, then I started sharing it with my family, and got so much positive responses from it, I felt really good with myself, reminded me of my party, ‘F**k You cancer!’
Having got back from Cyprus, and our amazing holiday, I woke up to blue skies that we had had every day in Cyprus, but this wasn’t Cyprus in any way shape or form, this is Pitsea south east England, and no hotel pool or amazing clear sea to swim in, and I start radiotherapy tomorrow at Southend Hospital. I’m glad the radiotherapy starts, just to get it out of the way, one thing I’m glad about is that the doctor had this radiotherapy down as urgent, but I was on holiday so the treatment had to wait until I was available, not the treatment or the cancer dictating what was going to happen or when, I was!
Having the radiotherapy treatment is easier than chemo, and a lot quicker, and with no immidiate side effects, yet, not the dose I’m having anyway. It almost feels like your lying in the lap of a caring robocop nurse, with her head is above you looking down with concern with her one big eye, assessing you, to see if you need a zap of radiation to help save you, or a death ray and you’ll be burnt to dust in a second if your beyond repair. Hopefully Mrs Robo-nurse takes pity on me and see’s a glimour of hope, and gives me the radiation. You can see what I mean, Robo-nurse is looking over you with interest and hopefully compassion, with her arms out waiting for you to lay down on her lap. “Your move creep!”
I’ve had four sessions now, just tomorrow to go then see the Oncologist in 4-5 weeks time, the only thing I’ve noticed with this treatment is some wind from my stomach, which I had had while I was having chemo, but no where near as uncomfortable. My rib is still tender but feels like it’s getting better again, I keep sneezing, but I now sneeze with my mouth open, (just thought you might like to know) as this puts less pressure on my lower left rib, on holiday my daughter asked just after I had sneezed, “Was that a sneeze or a cough?” I explained what I was now doing and she laughed and said “It’s a snough!” (snoff) “A sneeze and a cough, there you go Dad you’ve invented something!” Something the radiotherapy department has in common with the chemo treatment, is how busy this place is, both departments are so full all the time, and the nurse’s seem to work none stop, and yet are always cheerful, some more than others but all have been nice. They have five different machines (Robo-nurses), so you see a different group of nurses as I’ve been in four different rooms for treatment so far, just tomorrow to go, five different rooms or revisiting one of them, we’ll see. Well that’s it for now, so thank you for taking the time to read my blog, and you may of noticed that cancer is not getting a capital letter anymore, I don’t think it deserves it, do you?Take care and see you soon. Don’t be afraid of lung cancer, 100% positive always.
On Tuesday, I had an appointment to tell my story and have it recorded to be used for seminars, we got involved in this after attending a ‘Health and Wellbeing’ seminar in June. They asked for volunteers to record their story or to speak at a seminar, one step at a time so I thought I’d record mine. These would be played while people are mingling about getting a cuppa or a sandwich, waiting for the seminar to begin or during a break. I thought it would be good to try and help others with their journey with lung cancer, or any cancer, hopefully make them realise they can beat it, or at least give it a good run for their money. The build up to this was suppose to be a lot of thought going into it and writting a few notes or bullet points, to help remind me of what I wanted to say. But the reallity was as we left to go to the hospital, I thought ‘I wish I had gone through what I wanted to say, at least once.’ With my back giving way last Friday I never got around to doing anything about it, I felt disappointed but was quite happy I knew roughly what I wanted to say.
We waited in reception and someone called Sue was going to meet us and take us to the hospital radio studio, who had kindly let them use their studio instead of just using an office and a tape recorder, google it if you don’t know what a tape recorder is. As it had just gone 14.00, we went to reception to ask for Sue, and the receptionist pointed to a woman standing next to her desk, she was waiting for someone to come through the doors, we had a little laugh about it and were taken down to the hospital radio studio. We went in to a small room, with a lady on the mike, Jacqui, Katy who we recognised from the Health and Wellbeing seminar we went to, Sue was now there and another bloke, it was quite packed in the small studio, and my nervousness was cranking right up now. My wife Sonia had a seat then Jacqui said “My husband is called David James.” I said “your names not Sonia is it?” “No.” Now that would of been a coincidence. We are all introduced and say hello, then the bloke takes a few pictures and he leaves, but there’s still five of us in this small room, still nervous. You volunteer for these things and they seem a good idea at the time, and then when it’s here you think, ‘Why did I say I’d do this?’ Kate who is sitting next to me and will be asking questions, is asking how I feel, and I quickly get in I’m nervous, but she soon makes me feel better, “Don’t worry we’re all a bit nervous.”
We have headphones to put on and a great big microphone in front of each us, and we’re off. Jacqui starts “Hello we’re here with David James, and he’s come here to tell us about his story with cancer,” this isn’t like the one I did with the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, there, they had someone asking questions, but you had to use the question in your answer, and then their voice was edited out, so it sounds like your just talking on your own. But this is an interview, at first with Jacqui on the mike, then with Kate asking questions and keeping the conversation going. Now we’ve started I’m quite enjoying it, and once I start on my new favourite subject, cancer, I can talk for hours, luckily this only went on for half an hour, In the middle they played a song, they had asked if I had a particular favourite I wanted played, and I had one in particular song I wanted playing, it’s one of those songs that the world stops when it comes on, and you just listen or sing along. ‘Heros’ by David Bowie, is that song for me, and with the lines ‘We can beat them, forever and ever, we can be Heros, just for one day!’ the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, and you just feel you can do anything, I love playing this on YouTube, and Motorheads version, as a tribute, is great too. The second half is them asking about this song and about my book that I’m writing, that was suppose to be finished by now, but with needing some radiotherapy, I now have a bit more to write, and more to talk about at my next event like this. As it’s brought to an end, you always feel ‘I wish it could of gone on a bit longer.’ We say our goodbyes and thank you for having us today, we even get a token for the cafe for a cuppa and a bit of cake, a great end to a great day. As we part they even offer to help with my book, maybe help with proof reading, I don’t know much about the publishing side but have seen proof reading, but not really known what it is except that you pay for it, so that would be helpful, thank you.
On Friday I have my first CT scan to locate excatly where the radiotherapy will be targeted on my lower left rib. Eventually when we find the Radiotherapy Department, and it is very well hidden along the corridors of Southend Hospital. As I’m called in, they ask a few questions and tell you what will happen, but they also ask if it is ok to do a tattoo of a dot in three places, I said “Yes” but didn’t think it would be a real tattoo. I go in with my top off, but have my lumber support on, as my back is still tender, but I’m asked to take that off, it helps but I’m ok without it, it hurts if I wear it or not. I get on the slider and the mandatory arms up above your head, but this one has rests to put your arms on, why don’t the other CT machines have these, this is comfortable. A few minutes of going back and forward and we’re done, then they come out and tell me they’ll just do the three dots, “Yeah no problem,” “A bit of ink, then I’ll make the dot, a sharp scratch, and another, last one,” That hurt, almost like a real tattoo, I ask how long they’ll be there for, and he says, “They’ll fade in time but will look just like a freckle, but it’s a real tattoo, so they will be there a long time,” ‘Oh, oh well, sure you’ll hardly see them,’ I’m thinking, I didn’t realise they were permanent, but if I need them, I need them. All done and got my date for the radiotherapy, 11th to the 15th November, just after we get back off our holiday to Cyprus. We can’t wait for this holiday, and with ten of us going it should be good. At home I look at my new tattoo, and the one on my chest looks like a great big blackhead, not the best tattoo. Thank you again for reading my blog, and I’ll let you know how the holiday goes and how I get on with the radiotherapy, take care and see you all again soon. Don’t be afraid of lung cancer, 100% positive always!
I had my latest scan on the 21st September, and I have to wait until the 17th October for the results, seems like a long time, 26 days to be exact. I’m not worried though, I feel good, despite a little achy but I am getting older, 54 now, but age is just a number and I’m feeling good. Last week I had a swim on Tuesday and on Wednesday sat crossed legged for a while and felt ok but my legs ached like I’d run a marathon on Thursday Friday and Saturday. My mind is fit and wants to exercise all the time, it’s just my body doesn’t want to keep up with my mind. Oh and I sneezed again the other day and my side started hurting again, it’s almost better now, just hope I don’t get a cold anytime soon. The muscle on my side has been battered the last three months or so, it seems its just one muscle and it keeps straining and is very uncomfortable when it hurts. Maybe I should start press ups again and strengthen it, hopefully that will work.
I had a bit of luck last Saturday, my wifes brother Colin came round to print off some tickets for the West Ham v Crystal Palace match, as he had bought two tickets for him and his girlfriend Sonia, and once I’d got that done he said he had a spare ticket, as he can only buy one ticket at a time with this new system, he bought his ticket, but then he wanted to go with Sonia, ended up buying another two tickets in seats next to each other, so had the spare ticket he had bought originally, being very kind he let me have it and wouldn’t take any money for it. So going from not having much to do to end up going to see West Ham, what a great day. I only get there once or twice a season now. So a huge thank you to Colin and Sonia for this, greatly appriciated.
At the ground The London Stadium, we get a pasty to eat, they do a lovely Thai Vegetable Pasty, it is so nice, not too spicy but just right, it goes down so well. I part ways with Colin and Sonia and take my seat on one side of the stadium and manage to spot Colin and Sonia on the other side, about a quarter of the way around. I must have good eyes but give me a menu and I’m struggling to see it, my eyes are starting to feel old. It’s a funny old game this one, it seemed very tactical rather than just going for goal, neither side wanted to risk the other side getting through and making a break, thinking about it now I can see what they were doing but at the time it seemed so boring, 27 minutes for the first shot, we ended up losing 2-1, Palace scored in the 87th minute then the VAR was called, Video Assistant Referee, 2 minutes the players stood there waiting for the decision, right at the end of the game, this is where it should of been decided by the ref on his own then the two teams just go for it for the last few minutes, to either get a winner or equaliser, that’s what football is about, the excitement not checking to see if a player was 2 or 3 millimetres onside or not, talk of spoiling a game. The old fashioned way was good enough in 1966, and I think we should stick to it now, this VAR is not needed, then you have the arguments, was he wasn’t he offside, that was the fun of it, or they should come to a decision within 10 seconds, and let the game flow.
Anyway it was good being back at the football again, my last game was the same fixture but at Selhurst Park, but in an executive box, that was an experience, paid for by my brother, Mum and Dad, 10 of us had a great day, great memories from that trip. More to do this week though, originally I was to get my results this Thursday 10th October, but it got put back to next Thursday, so we had planned to walk up the O2 on Friday, we’re still doing this as it’s already booked, but it was to celebrate good news from my scan results the day before, hopefully. Friday is also one year on from when I was told I had an average of a year to live, so we’re celebrating on top of the O2, despite now having to wait another week for the results. So if you hear someone shouting about ‘cancer can go and do something to it’s self’, it may be me and my family, we’ll be up there by midday Friday 11th.
On Saturday we have go-karting booked in the afternoon, so in the morning we are going to Southend on Sea, and they have an amusement park there with a ride called ‘The Rage’, this is the sort of ride I keep away from, normally, but, during chemo, my wife Sonia and me would have long walks from Leigh on sea to the end of Southend pier and back, as we start the pier walk you go over Adventure Island with all the rides and The Rage stands out like a sore thumb, literally. You get in the car and you move forward slowly then you go up at 90 degrees, that’s straight up, about 50-60 feet maybe, then at the top it’s straight around and back down again, they have kiddies rollercoasters I’ve got nervous on, this one is straight up then you go 180 round then straight down again. Thats the bit that scares the life out of me, and that’s just watching it on solid ground. Somebody tell me why I said I would go on it when I had got rid of this cancer. I could say I still have it, which I do, but it is dormant, and I have no reason to think it will come back to life again. I’ve gone vegan, take cbd oil, believe 100% I will beat it and I’ve even cut out all sugar, no chocolate, biscuits or cakes. I think the cancer will leave because it’s bored more than anything else, I don’t drink, don’t smoke, no meat, no dairy, no refined sugar, what do you do? Go on what song was that from? With a bit added to it. 10 points for a correct answer.
I’m nervous just thinking about going on this ride, but it’s part of the mental battle, you stupidly say you’ll do something, either hoping everyone will forget or you just won’t get around to it. I have the added pressure of writing a book about my journey with lung cancer, and have written about this pledge I made, and my book should be all done once I get the results next Thursday, I’ve been putting it off since July when I was originally going to do it, but I have to do it now, and I’m going to try and film myself going round which I will put on here and YouTube. All you rollercoaster addicts will think I’m such a wimp, but for me this is going to be hard as I really don’t like them, my last one was the log flue at Great Yarmouth, they go down at 40 degrees or so, this one is straight down, once I’m past that point I’ll be fine, but it’s just going over the top and down that scares me, and it does it so slowly so you have time to think about it, going around to it and the going straight up bit. If I survive I will blog about it and maybe a bit of vlogging on it too.
Ride in the morning and go-karting in the afternoon, a busy day, and walking up the O2 the day before, and the results on Thursday, that’s the big one, and that should end my book, on a good note hopefully, if it isn’t I’ll just have to write another book, Part 2. I’m ready for anything. I think thats about it for now, plenty to blog about next week, so for now thank you for taking the time to read my blog, have a go at what the song line was from, you’ll have to be of a certain age to know it, artist and song. Take care and see you soon. Don’t be afraid of lung cancer, 100% positive always!
Saturday 21st September 2019, and today is the big day of Swim Serpentine, I’ve been looking forward to this for two years now, a little hiccup last year preventing me from taking part, so I can’t wait to get in, and start swimming in the lovely cold refreshing water of Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park, London. I say hiccup, but I suppose getting terminal lung cancer is a bit more than a hiccup, but that’s how I looked at it, it’s easy to say hiccup now, but twelve months ago I wasn’t looking at it quite like that, but I wasn’t scared of it either, as I really didn’t feel ill by it and certainly didn’t feel like it was about to kill me, so I just took it one day at a time, and had to put most of my life on hold for a while, but whatever, I was going to get through this, alive!
Training for this event has been slow due to illness this year, but I’ve had a few really good swims in the local pool, so I’m really pleased with that and feeling ready for it. In July I hurt my rib, or sprained a muscle on or next to one of my ribs, which was quite painful at times. I was doing some deep breathing exercises, and as I finished I could just feel a little discomfort in my ribs as I breathed in fully, so I wasn’t too concerned with this. Two weeks later I ran the London 10k, and a constant pain in my side during the latter stages of this run, I put that down to a stitch, and thought no more of it, but later that day it was becoming quite uncomfortable to get up from a chair or moving around in bed, and had sprained the muscle again, but it’s quite hard not to use that muscle when moving around, so more running or swimming was out, for now anyway. A few weeks later and my side is almost fully better now, and as we were out one day having a little walk, I sneezed, and yep, sprained the same muscle again. A few more weeks after this and it’s nearly better again, during a bit of diy, I’m putting the telly on the wall, as I’m lifting the tv onto the fitting I’ve just attached to the wall, I’d thought this new tv we got a few years ago was quite light, but when your struggling on your own to get both sides onto the new fitting and only one side wants to go on, you realise that actually, it’s not as light as you thought it was, and is becoming quite heavy now. And yes I’ve sprained the same muscle again, and it’s quite painful, I’m not having much luck with this muscle, and starting to get a little concerned, as my swim is coming up and I want to get a few good swims in before it, I need this swim, I can’t miss it again.
I managed to get in the pool a week before my swim, and I tentatively got in the water almost praying my side wouldn’t hurt, and what a huge relief it didn’t, it was almost better now, I just didn’t want the swimming to aggravate it. I got a mile in that day, two lengths front crawl and then two breast stroke for sixty four lengths, so happy and relieved at the same time. I got another mile in on the Tuesday before, and just did breast stroke that day, as I knew that’s what I’ll be doing in the Serpentine. Last time I tried a little front crawl, but with the cold, I could hardly breath and almost had to ask for help, so it’ll just be breast stroke this time, but next year front crawl all the way. Lots of training to get in this year for it, I struggle with front crawl and get out of breath really quickly, I need more work on my stroke. Around early July, I managed a great swim in Basildon Sporting Village, my local pool. They built a new swimming pool here for the 2012 Olympics, we had the Japanese swimming team training here, so Basildon benefitted from these games, and also Hadleigh just up the road from us with the Mountain Bike course for the Olympics that year, a great place for a walk or a bike ride. On the day of my great swim in July, I managed to get to 170 lengths, thats over two and a half miles, I just kept going, as my wife was out that day and nothing to get home for, I couldn’t believe how far I went. Hearing stories of people swimming two or three hundred lengths was just astounding for me and completely unachievable, but now I’m almost there, so yes I can do this, it is within my capabillities. Never doubt yourself.
First thing I have to do on Saturday morning is to pick my car up from having a service and MOT, it was done the day before, but when we walked there to pick it up, they couldn’t find the keys, it was a key fob where you press the button to open the car. I knew I should of brought the spare one with me, I normally do. So we walked back home, despite them offering us a lift, we do like walking. With the spare key fob this time we got our car and they’ll keep looking for our key fob, and will pay for a replacement, we discovered will cost £160-170, I never realised they were that much, don’t lose your car keys. First job done, now I have my three monthly scan this morning, so off to the hospital now, we were going to walk, but we’ve already walked this morning, so it’s the car and £3.00 parking. All goes well with the scan, I didn’t have to wait too long to get scanned, and it was a brand new scanning machine, they have three of these now. This one they can speak to you, a little awkward silence while they waited for my reply, I wasn’t use to this, I thought they just speak but she asked if I was ok. Now we just have to wait until the 17th Oct for the results. All done so off to the station at Pitsea for the train to Fenchurch Street, walk around to Tower Hill, get a tube to South Kensington, quick change and one more train to Hyde Park corner, and we’re here, my wife Sonia, son Leo, daughter Lib and her two Jess and Reg, just got to find my Mum who has come down from Ipswich just to support me for this swim, thanks Mum. We see Chris and Davey, our son in law and son, they’re looking after the hot tubs for this event, and have done for four years now, South East Hot Tubs have come along way in the seven or so years they’ve been operating.
We find a little spot to sit in the shade, it is a lovely day today, but I didn’t bring any sun lotion, I didn’t think I would need any, but it’s lovely today. I start getting my self ready, we have an hour before my start time, so no rush. I proudly put on my ‘Minion’ swimming trunks, no wetsuit here, as the water temperature is 18c so wetsuits are not compulsory. Theres lots of ‘oh my god, your not wearing those!’ Along with lots of laughter, which is what I like, life’s too short to be serious too often, there’s a time and a place and this ain’t one of them. Trunks, goggles, ear plugs, vaseline, sun lotion ( my daughter Lib had some with her), tow float, swim number and timing tag on my ankle, swim hat-pink, nice choice, just the colour code for my start time. Right lets do it, luckily I can put most of what I need in my tow float, and the rest my son Davey will look after near the hot tubs, handy having someone on the inside, now lets get to the start.
On to the start area with only a few minutes to go, getting excited now, I now it’s going to be cold and I haven’t done as much swimming as I would of liked lately, but I’m raring to go, my family are waving me off and the front of the queue has started to go into the water, it takes a few minutes for us at the back to get to the water, nervous excitement now, quick pose for the camera, and my feet are in and it’s cold, but not freezing, bearable, and a quick push off and I’m fully in, and I’m loving it, in where I love to be, the water. Swimming breast stroke and it seems slow going but I don’t mind, it’s not a race and I love being in here so why would I want to rush. There’s a group of us swimming along at roughly the same speed, I’m looking out for my family cheering me on from the side, but I can’t see them, so on with swimming then. It’s an oval course, we start half way along one straight then go around and down the back straight, then turn again to the finish. There’s a lot of people about as it’s a lovely sunny day. I’m feeling good today and coping quite well with this swim, I’m starting to catch a few, not speeding past them but moving up the field slowly, round the bend and down the back straight, I’m starting to speed up a bit now, and not feeling cold either, my fingers were going numb last time, but it was 15c, that three degrees makes a big difference, and I had my wetsuit on last time, much prefer as a skins swimmer, I’d say no chaffing but that’s not true as the top of my legs are getting sore, from my baggy minions shorts, I have trunks on underneath, but wanted to make it fun. Coming up to the last bend and no one has overtaken me, but I did start at the back, where all the slower swimmers are, but still a little chuffed with myself. Spoke too soon, ones gone past me quite quick, then on the run up to the finish someone came flying past and he had an orange cap on, so he started half hour after me and he’s caught me up, then another three come past before I get to the finish, they’re all doing front crawl and making it look effortless while they go past me so quickly, I must try harder.
As I get to the finish, I’m given a helping hand to get out, but I feel ok, two years ago I felt shattered at the finish, but I may of had the start of my lung cancer then without knowing it, I have it now but it’s dormant, and certainly doesn’t seem to affect me. I get out walk along and get my tag sorted out then a very feeble shower, then to the hot tubs, something you really look forward to, but my fan club are waiting for me to congratulate me, hugs and kisses before the tubs, I get a little emotional when my wife hugs me and asks if I’m ok, I am but so proud of myself for doing it, getting it done despite having cancer. The generator that swim serpentine had for the hot tubs, kept cutting out so the water in them wasn’t too hot which was a lot nicer, too hot and it’s uncomfortable, as you’ve just come out of cold water. Sitting in the tub you get joined by and meet some lovely people, which is really nice about these sort of events, doing some of the mud runs I’ve done you started to recognise people from the last race which was nice, but this is a big event with 6-7000 swimmers, hard to spot someone with that many. Get my medal and a few goodies and bottle of water then get changed and make my way back to where we’re all sitting and my lovely cup of tea is waiting for me, heaven. Feeling great apart from the top of my legs just above the knee, my shorts didn’t half rub all the way around, there’s always a price to pay for acting the fool, but it was fun and worth it, but they are really sore. We say goodbye and get the train home, salad in a pitta, as I’m vegan, another cup of tea, and bed, I’m going to sleep very well tonight. What a fantastic day it’s been, bring on the next one, take care and thank you for taking the time to read my blog, I do appreciate it, see you soon and :- Don’t be afraid of lung cancer, always 100% positive.
Now this is something that gets me going, Measles, they thought they had irradiated it from the UK, and the WHO, (World Health Organisation) are trying to irradiate it worldwide. Why??? I’ve just heard on the news today 29/08/19, that they think there is 90,000 cases in the UK, and three other countries have lost their ‘Eradication Status’, Albania, Greece and The Czech Republic being the others. They’ll all be better places for it.
Now why you might say does it bother me so much that they’re trying to irradiate a simple virus, what’s it got to do with me? Well let me tell you, nature is very finely balanced and when you take something out, even with good intensions, something else will take its place. Now a bit of background to this. I have lung cancer and have taken an interest in things of a health nature, and came across a magazine called ‘What Doctors Don’t Tell You’, and in the first edition I got July 2019 (£1.00 for the first three editions), it had a letter about the MMR vaccine, and how a Professor Exley’s research linking aluminum in vaccines to autism, and his funding was being withdrawn, someone doesn’t want anyone to know about that, you might not purchase their drugs or vaccines if you knew.
But it also had an article on Measles in their Last Word section at the back of the magazine, and this is the basis for this rant about people thinking they’re god and deciding to try and get rid of this or that, without any thought for the knock on effect of that. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. So be careful for what you wish for. Now in this article on Measles it stated that (my blood is boiling while I’m writing this) :- ‘Researchers at the Mayo clinic have discovered that the measles virus kills cancer’, an engineered form of the virus, and at extremely high doses, but a woman was cured of terminal cancer after chemo and stem cell transplants had failed to do anything.
And again I quote from this article :- ‘Within five minutes of getting the infusion, she developed a splitting headache and a fever of 105F(40C), and then vomited and shook violently. But 36 hours later, a golf ball sized tumour on her forehead had vanished. All traces of cancer had completely disappeared from her body two weeks later.’
AAAARRRRRHHH I want to scream at these people who think they’re doing good but they’re just making it worse, the MMR vaccine is linked to autism, so don’t vaccinate, measles is proven to help against cancer, so don’t try and get rid of it, measles is a virus that helps develop your immune system, so lets all have measles. It’s a deficiency in vitamin A, as it says in this article it’s about nutrition not vaccination. When is the world going to wake up to this, so much money is made from drugs to treat all sorts of minor ailments and yet natures way is so much better, in 1904 a physician noted that two cases of leukaemia had been reversed after the patients developed influenza. Trust in nature and it will look after you, but you have to look after nature, and as a human race we are failing miserably on that one.
If you remove something from nature, something will take its place, and not always good, so leave it as you found it. When I was young, cancer was rare and autism was unheard of, but now so many have both, they’ve come from somewhere, nature will always look after itself and will be here a lot longer than humans. A healthy child needs to develop a healthy immune system by getting these ailments and recovering and becoming stronger for it, as it says nutrition is the important thing, as with my case, I went vegan, just a change of diet, and five months later after a terminal diagnosis, and six sessions of palliative chemo, my cancer is dormant and has been for six months now. The future is bright for me, and it would be nice if the future could be bright for all the children and to grow up with a healthy immune system, by getting measles, mumps, rubella and chicken pox, all the things we all had when we were young.
‘What The Doctors Don’t Tell You’ is a magazine I came across by accident, and thought three editions for £1.00, you can’t go wrong, and there’s so much in there, even how to treat pets naturally, you can find more at http://www.wddty.com and the articles I quoted are on the website, one of them was a letter, so I doubt that would be on there, but that was from July 2019 edition, also the Last Word about measles was from the same edition. The thing I also like about this magazine is that nothing is put in there without the references from where the writer got there information from, so it’s not just someones opinion, they got their info from somewhere, and you can find out where and have a look yourself. When I worked in Basildon Hospital as a porter I spoke to a trainee nurse who I knew, and she was telling me how you have to answer questions and for example if a question was ‘what colour is grass?’ You can’t just say my lawn is green. You have to reference it by saying ‘in the encyclopaedia on chapter 6 page 7 paragraph 3, it states grass is green’. And that’s how this magazine is, everything can be referenced, and researched to see if it’s correct, I haven’t tried this yet but will at some point. But I highly recommend this magazine, and their trial is a no brainer, £1 for three editions, you can’t go wrong. I’m not on any commission or anything like that, it’s just so good. But be warned it can get you going though, I’ve written this blog because of what I’ve read in here, and hearing the latest news, you can get quite wound up with it, and passionate about certain subjects. Cancer is my passion at the moment, and hoping to help some people realise their diagnosis isn’t a death sentence, and I get wound up by this sort of thing in the news, this wasn’t a planned blog, it just got me so annoyed to hear it I had to write and tell you, I’m calming down now, blogging is good therapy, so take care get measles, it won’t last long, and will make you stronger, and I’ll keep spreading the word ‘Don’t be afraid of lung cancer.’
Having swam this event in Londons Hyde Park two years ago, I booked my place last year, and was getting ready for it when I suddenly became ill, with breathlessness, and after some CT scans and a biopsy, I was diagnosed with lung cancer. I couldn’t swim like that so had to just give it up and not go, something that I was very disappointed about, but under those circumstances I had no choice. But it’s not the same this year, my cancer has been dormant since March, after the cancer in my bones had died off and the tumour had began to shrink after Januarys scan. June’s scan was the same as March’s scan, dormant, stable and showing no signs of growth, so I’m not just going to sit there and wait for it to come back, if cancer wants to take me it’s going to have to work so hard, and I’ve always thought of cancer as a very lazy parasite, wanting you to sit there and feel sorry for yourself so it can crawl all over you. But stay active, as active as you can and send your cancer to sleep. I think going vegan played a big part in that and being 100 % positive.
I found out about this swim in 2016, I had heard of it but that’s all, but my son-in-law Chris had provided all the hot tubs for this event, and when he got back from that event, Chris told me how I would of loved to do it, so I had a look and the next year signed up, and swam a mile in 15C water, in 57 minutes, and then you get out and sit in an amazing hot tub, that is such a great extra that Swim Serpentine added to make the event even more special. I hadn’t heard of any events having hot tubs to sit in to help you to get warm again, but it really is nice and a great finish to a great day. South East Hot Tubs is the buisness that he runs with our daughter Lib, and they’re doing so well with it, I take my hat off to them both for making it work so well, especially after remembering Chris coming home from work one day saying “A bloke at work is selling a hot tub, I’m gonna buy it and rent it out.” Yeah whatever Chris, went through my mind, but they’ve proved everyone wrong and making a huge sucess of it, and good luck to them as well, it’s been about eight years of hard work but they’ve done it and now getting the benefits of all their hard work, with a sucessful buisness and a lovely family to show for it, and I get to try out a hot tub every now and then, for free, they’re great. And if you want to rent one for the weekend have a look at southeasthottubs.co.uk a great addition to any party whatever the weather, and they were invented in Norway or Sweden to be used for a warm dip in the winter, and you always feel great once you’ve been in one.
This year I’m up for this swim, I had a great swim in early July, I went for my normal swim for about an hour or so, but Sonia was out with her sister Denise, so I had nothing to rush back for, felt good and just kept swimming, managing 64 lengths in 44 mins, 82 lengths in an hour, 128 in 1 hour 32 minutes, and 164 lengths in two hours, and then at least six more just as a warm down, I couldn’t believe it. Now it wasn’t none stop, and it’s pushing off at the end of each length, I also had two little stops waiting for someone to get out of the way. So it wasn’t an official record, but it was over two and a half miles, and I felt great. I have to thank a lady on ‘Healthunlocked’, a forum on the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation website, I read her story and she had half a lung removed due to lung cancer, and had gone swimming and was completed an amazing 360 lengths in one session, makes me look like an amateur, but I was amazed at her strength and courage, and never thought I’d be able to get anywhere near that, but I’m on my way, just starting with small steps.
Swimming the channel has always been a life long dream, but never actually thinking I would ever be able to do it, I still don’t if I’m honest but I will give it a try, starting off in a relay team then hopefully as a solo swim one day. I follow a lot of crossings and they say “so and so has just reached France in 11, 12, 13 or even more hours of swimming, how do you swim for that long? Absolutely amazing, I take my hat off to everyone that attempts this challenge, whether they get to France or not, such an amazing effort. I read a blog of someone who had been swimming for 12 hours, but the skipper of the boat called it off, as the tides were against them, and to actually finish would be at least another three hours of swimming. The tides are so unpredictable in the channel. I assume because you’ve got the Atlantic at one end and the North Sea at the other. The blog carried on and said the next day the same skipper went out, lovely conditions, and the swimmer got to France in almost a straight line, and swam seven miles less than the swimmer the day before. Oh my god just swimming seven miles is an absolute feat, let alone swimming seven more miles than someone else. An unbelievable effort.
This year Swim Serpentine is on the 21st September, the same day as my CT scan, just to check everything is still dormant, or not. They do like to scan you at the weekends for these check ups, my scan was booked in for 17.15, and all the waves that were left for the mile swim was 16.05 or 16.35, so it’s looking like this clash of times means a very disappointing not doing this swim again. I phoned up the appointments line but never got through, not once, so Sonia and me walked up to the hospital to see if we could get the time changed. My appointment was in the new Cardiothoratic department, first stop there, they couldn’t change the time of the appointment, but said if we went to main Xray department, if anyone could help they could. So off we went and a very nice young lady helped us and changed the appointment to the morning, so I had time for my scan and then get to Hyde Park and swim in the 16.05 wave. I’m feeling great now and really looking forward to this swim. I love swimming, I can’t swim far front crawl without stopping, but am practicing and getting further, but will be swimming this event breast stroke, I can do this all day long, but I just like the feeling of gliding along when you do front crawl properly. I just find myself swimming as quick as I can when doing front crawl, and getting breathless so quickly, but I am working on it.
So with Swim Serpentine booked, the London 10K completed, my cancer is dormant, this year is going great, cancer stopped me from swimming this last year, I was so determined to swim it this year, and was getting really worried that just a clash of appointments would prevent me from taking part this year. This was a mental battle as much as anything else, and I wasn’t going to let cancer stop me again, and was so relieved that the receptionist was able to help to change the time of the appointment. I didn’t want to cancel my scan as I had my oncologists appointment already, and these routine checks are so important in keeping one step ahead of cancer. So that’s another one to me, and I’d better get training then, and I’ll let you all know how I get on, take care and Don’t Be Afraid Of Lung Cancer.
As I said in my last blog I was going on a steam train driving experience, which turned out to be a great day, and I had some filming to do in Liverpool, for the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, which was also another great day. Cancer likes to take away these sort of days from you, but it’s losing it’s grip on me, as I seem to have loads of great days now.
The Steam Train experince was at Elsecar Heritage Railway, near Barnsley, and what a great time we all had, there was four of us doing a two hour experience each, so it did get a bit boring for those not having a go. The train would go out with someone on, then back, then another, we had three or four goes each, the last with two on the plate, that’s technical talk for the bit where the driver and fireman stand. The train they normally use had broken down so they got one in from another steam train centre, but was smaller than the one they normally use, this one looked like Percy from Thomas the Tank Engine, engine number 1310, for those that are interested.
You would blow the whistle to start to warn everyone, then go to the button to cross the crossing, wait for the white light, proceed when safe, then blow the whistle again for the trainee workman working on the line, they were training for going on the main lines, practicing getting out of the way of the trains, they go alot slower here than the intercity trains they’ll be up against on the main lines. You’d push the regulater up as you go up hill, then bring it back a little, then all the way back and the steam break on then off, then on and off, as you come to the end of the line, it’s only a mile or so long, but it’s a great experience driving a steam train, I can’t wait to have another go, even though it’s so hot with the fire raging away at your feet. Maybe not so good when it’s chucking it down with rain, but I’d do it again whatever the weather. So a huge thanks to my Mum for organising this for us, and to my brothers Morien and Gwyn, and his wife Jan, my wife Sonia and son Leo, and also to Timmy, Morien’s son, for filming it and putting together this little film of a great day :- https://youtu.be/eAcIY2Sbhzw hope you enjoy watching it, and if your ever in the Barnsley area, I can’t recommend it highly enough, Elsecar Heritage Railway.
Top right – My Mum and my wife Sonia with me. Me standing on the front of engine 1310. The four of us on the front of the train, after our driving experience. Sonia and me. The mighty ‘Mardy Monster’ the biggest of its kind, in for repairs.
On Friday the 2nd August, I had my chance to tell my story on film at the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation at their headquarters in Liverpool, this was for a campaign they are doing in November, so they pick the best bits and put out a minute or two of everybodies story, there where about five of us here today and they had more on Tuesday. The campaign will be nationwide, but my story will be aimed at where I live, Basildon Essex, and other peoples where they live, I doubt I’ll be on celebrity this that or the other at any time after doing this, but I’m proud to be doing this, in the hope that it will help someone, and inspire them to kick cancers butt. The day went really well, we had some nibbles and met a few of the others telling their stories, one guy had his diagnosis nineteen years ago, and was still here, that’s inspiring and he was so dignified with it too, then there was Eileen, who was on the cover of their annual magazine ‘Inspire’, a lady who was more worried about missing out on her trip to Nepal than her cancer, and Eileen did go on her trip, a very strong lady, and very friendly, I wasn’t going to argue with her when she told me to come and sit next to her and tell her my story, a lovely person, and a pleasure to meet Eileen and the others that were there to tell their stories.
We were also having a photo shoot, which we knew nothing about, but was fun, we also did a bit of filming outside, but there were a lot of people having lunch, sod it we did it anyway, even though that did feel weird, my wife Sonia and me were filmed just looking into the distance, and to have ours hands coming together, this was to fill the gaps when they edited the filming of my story. As we filmed while others watched while they ate lunch, it was a bit off putting that no one recognised me, but I’m not a star yet, maybe in November they’ll say “I saw them filming that bit”, but then maybe not. After the photo shoot, it was time for the story, the bit I was worried about, I’ve never been much of a talker, let alone on camera, but it seemed to go well, we were given a list of questions to know what to expect on the day, which I did look at and prepared myself for, but it turned more into a chat, and when Rachel, the interviewer asked me about our daughters wedding, that was when I started to get emotional, it took a little while to compose myself, I was so proud that day taking my daughter down the aisle, one that cancer wanted to deprive me of, but with all the love and support I’ve had, cancer didn’t stand a chance. A very great and very proud day for all.
I had prepared for all the questions, but when I was asked what was something inspirational that had happened, my mind went blank, I knew I had an answer for that but I just couldn’t think of it, looking back now I’m sure it was the fact that I was at our daughters wedding, but as we’d already talked about that, it threw me and my mind was blank. One of the others had a note book with her, I had it all written down but in my mind, not on paper, note to self, write it down next time. I think it went well and will put out a link to it when it comes out in November, and we get a copy of the photo’s which will be good, proper photo’s of my wife Sonia and me, looking forward to those. I would like to thank Rachel for seeking me out on Facebook, and making me feel totally relaxed about it all. All the people we met were really kind and would like to thank them all for their hospitallity, see you all again next year. After we had finished there with the photo’s and filming, we had a little walk around Liverpool, around Albert dock which is really nice, and then strolled into the city, and had to see ‘The Cavern’ where it all started for ‘The Beatles’, then strolled around Liverpool 1 shopping centre, Liverpool is a great city, so much history and so many characters, if you know a scouser you’ll be having a good laugh in no time.
Clockwise from top right – Me in front of the Liver building. Looking out on the Mersey. Sonia and me outside the Cavern, we were told we’d never make it too! This is Leo, one of my Dads dogs, he has recovered from cancer too. The cottage we stayed in, at Bamford in the Peak District. The Cotton Exchange where the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation is based. Two cancer beaters. This is Timmy, my brother Morien’s son, Timmy went vegan who told Morien about it, who told me about going vegan when I first got diagnosed with cancer, and my cancer is now dormant, this is Timmy, who saved my life! And this is the Derwent Dam, where the dam busters practised before bombing the Möhne, Eder, and Sorpe dams in Germany, very close to the cottage we stayed in, we had a lovely walk around here.
As you flick through the internet and you sign up to weekly news letters, looking through one of them from ‘Highexistence’, it was almost a revelation. The Stoics from around 2000 thousand years ago, were writing about things that are so apt for todays life, the one that reeled me in was from Marcus Aurelius (121AD-180AD) and he wrote “Death smiles at us all, but all a man can do is smile back.” And that’s exactly what I did to my Oncologist when he told us “you have an average of a year.” I think it threw him to have someone smiling back at him when telling them they only had so long left to live, it seemed he had become almost immune to human emotions, whether doctors end up in oncology through choice or circumstance I don’t know, but I don’t think his heart was in it any more. At my June appointment he had left suddenly and left the department without an oncologist, with a few filling in for him, but struggling with the computer system at this hospital. As my scan results were so straight forward the lung specialist nurse dealt with me that day, just to say that all was exactly the same as last time, it’s all stable and still dormant. Lots of smiles and thumbs up, a great result.
Death is a reality, when it happens is beyond most people’s control, so live your life to the full,be thoughtful and be kind, because you never know when your times up. “Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” More from Marcus Aurelius. Make do with what you’ve got, when you look at what you’ve got, and where you’ve been, it makes you feel greedy to expect any more, as you have so much already. That’s from me, I can be quite philosophical at times, I’ve always seen myself as a log floating down the river of life, and I’ll go where ever it takes me, and when ever I go over the waterfall to end my journey, the last thought I’ll have is what a great time that was. Not panicing about what I’ll miss out on in the future, that’s beyond my control. ‘Have the courage to change the things you can, the serenity to accept the things you can’t change, and the wisdom to know the difference.’ That’s another great saying. Now a word from Diogenes of Sinope (412 BC-323 BC) “It is the privilege of the gods to want nothing, and of godlike men to want little.” We’ll bring Epictetus (50AD-135AD) in now “It is not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” So many of these sayings is how I’ve got through my cancer journey without the benefit of knowing of these Stoic philosophers, but meeting some of them, quite by accident has been great, you can find them too at highexistance.com . This week they’re sending out daily emails for Stoic week, and if you put less thought for possessions and more for your loved ones and yourself, you can have a happier and more relaxed life. “Don’t seek to have events happen as you wish, but wish them to happen as they do happen, and all will be well with you.” – Epictetus. Take care, be strong and ‘Don’t be afraid of lung cancer’.
Believe 100% you will beat it. Go Vegan. Take CBD oil. Have chemo.