Well this week has been ground breaking in the swimming world, more specifically the English Channel, and to finish this amazing week, I’m swimming a mile in the Swim Serpentine event in Londons Hyde Park. For me this is a real milestone, as last year I was unable to swim because I’d just been in hospital with breathing difficulties, I couldn’t breathe in a full breath, only half a breath. As breathing is quite important in swimming a mile, and in 15c water, I knew it was best to give this swim a miss this year, especially as we didn’t know what was wrong with me yet, that made me more determined to swim it again this year. After five days in hospital and numerous tests and scans, on the 26th September 2018, I was diagnosed with lung cancer, by my lung specialist consultant. After a PET scan and bone scan, I then met my oncologist for the first time, and thinking this was just to be told about what treatment I’d be having, my wife Sonia and me were told I had terminal cancer and would have an average of a year left to live. Well what does he know! He doesn’t know me. Ask me to do something and I’ll do it, no problem. Tell me to do it and that’s a different story. I’m a quiet polite sort of person and like to be treated the same in return, so when someone tells me I will be dying, to be polite, he can go f**k himself. I should thank him for being the way he was with me, it was like he had got immune to human emotion, and almost got off on it that people would break down and cry at his words. But I didn’t, I smiled at him, as I didn’t believe in any way that I was so ill that I was going t die from this. So thank you doctor. It makes me wonder that if he had been nice and sympathetic I might of believed him and things could be so different today, maybe a picture on the wall for family to remember me by. But no, today I’m getting ready for Swim Serpentine tomorrow. My start time is 16.05, come and say hi if your there.
I love swimming, I just love being in the water, whether I’m swimming lengths or just mucking about, I love it. But could I spend 54 hours in it none stop, well that is another level, way way above me, that is almost comparable to Ross Edgley and his amazing swim around the coast of the Great Britain, 1780 miles, swimming for six hours then six hours off, non stop for 157 days. Absolutely unbelievably amazing. And then we have Sarah Thomas swimming 130 miles, it’s eighty miles as the crow flies, but crows don’t have currents and tides to deal with so it was 130 miles roughly, again absolutely unbelievably amazing. And I’ll be swimming a mile in hopefully under an hour tomorrow. I feel a bit of a wimp next to these two, I take my hat off to anyone who swims the English Channel or just attempt it. I follow a lot of swimmers on facebook, and they say so and so has just completed their swim in 13-14 hours, and I think how could you swim for that long, it really is amazing. But then to come along and try it four times. I think it was last year that someone attempted to swim the channel four times, but had to abort on the third crossing, that is still an amazing achievement, in the sea with waves, the tides, jelly fish, I don’t know how they do it, but would love to attempt it myself one day, you notice no solid commitment there. But I would like to one day, first as part of a relay team, and eventually as a solo swimmer. Lots more training required.
Sarah Thomas is an American, from Colorado, and what makes this special for me as well as the fact she swam the Channel four times, Sarah is a cancer surviver, last year Sarah was treated for breast cancer. Sarah used swimming as a way of coping with what was going on in her life at the time. Swimming is so good for you, in so many ways it can help you, it’s relaxing, meditative, keeps you fit, fun, good for the soul, and you can smash world records on a good swim, just like Sarah Thomas. Her name will long be remembered for her amazing crossings of the Channel, and that’s not all she has done, Sarah only holds the world records for the first over a hundred mile swim with no tide or current, and unassisted, in Lake Champlain, only 104 miles this time, and there’s also so many marathon swims she has done, so amazing, and Sarah kept herself going through cancer treatment last year by swimming as much as possible. It should be the law that everyone should swim as it has so many benefits to it. The world would be a much better place if everyone was a swimmer, you wouldn’t have to be a marathon swimmer to benefit, just being in the water is enough, any movements you do has the resistance of the water and is a good gentle excercise.
I’ll let you know how I get on with my one mile swim, no sniggering please. For me this is a personal challenge, as I said last year I couldn’t do this swim as I was ill, but know I’m ready to take on this event, and to beat my time of 54 minutes two years ago, I’m hoping to beat it but not expecting to be much quicker. Expect nothing and you’ll never be disappointed. But I’ll be really happy if I do. I ran the London 10k in July and beat my time of 1 hour 22 mins in last years race by seven minutes, I was so happy with that and got a bit emotional at the end, because I’d done it, and cancer wanted to stop me doing these things I love doing, better luck next time cancer. I had a swim in April in Southend on Sea, water was 9.4c, and was my first swim in the sea after my treatment, and was named my ‘F**k You to cancer’ swim, I didn’t have any swimming trunks with me, and only a buff, (neck scarf) to dry myself with, but the water was too inviting, I couldn’t resist. If your going to Swim Serpentine tomorrow, have a great swim or enjoy watching the swimmers, and you’ll love the hot tubs at the end, a great way to finish a great swim, they’re provided by South East Hot Tubs, and being assisted by Essex Portable Hot Tubs, my son in law Chris and my eldest son Davey, sorry couldn’t help but get that in, say hi to them or to me, I’ll be having my swim at 16.05, and aiming to be in a hot tub by 17.00, I have my three monthly scan in the morning at 11.15 so won’t be at Hyde Park until 13.30-14.30. Take care and go for a swim, and thank you for taking the time to read my blog, it is appreciated, and see you soon with news of my swim, thanks again and Don’t be afraid of lung cancer.