Some Of Us Sceam, Some Of Us Shout! And Some Just Give A Rye Smile And Carry On Regardless!

You can be told so many different things and take them in so many different ways, the tone of what is said, the manner in which it is spoken to you, on text, was it capitals, was the right emoji with it, but the words can still be the same, it’s the way the meaning is interpreted by you, and then the way you process that in your mind to fit in with you, and your current situation. Bad news, is it really bad news or just what we don’t want to hear, big difference there. Reality is a big kick up the arse for some, “sorry your not good enough to carry on on this course, sorry,” and how many have gone on to prosper at something else because of that and had a great life. Life is a journey and we don’t know where it will take us and where it will end, but the journey’s can be incredible. We choose one path and put everything into going that way, but a slight detour can be a hugely different even better journey than you ever could of imagined. ‘Turn a different corner and we never would have met,’ A famous line from a song by George Micheal, but so true. How many people have you met by chance, and had a great time knowing them, or spent years searching for a view of a mountain, and then seeing it after 50 years hoping for that clear day, and finally getting it. Great times in a great life.

You think I’ve got how long left? “Yeah Whatever Doc!”

After seeing my Oncologist on Thursday, the news we had wasn’t what we were hoping for or expecting, but it’s just that, news, maybe not the news we wanted, but it was about where we are in my journey with this cancer, and this is where we actually right now. So I heard everything he said, took it on board and then carry on as normal, I know I’m not normal. Once things are processed in my mind, I can deal with them, with a different outlook to most, life is a cycle, and it’s gone around and around for millions of years, and won’t stop because I don’t want to get off here yet. Getting told you have a life limiting cancer, it heightens your awareness of the people around the world who die each day, and have no idea their life will end that day, there was an earthquake yesterday in Eastern Turkey, I love Turkey and feel for the loss of life there, the generosity and kindness of the people stays with you, and it’s such a beautiful friendly place, I can’t wait to get back there, and am sending love to those affected by this. There are tragedies closer to home, two fires have claimed the lives of children, I can’t imagine what their families are going through with such a loss, again my heart goes out to these families and communities affected by such a devastating tragedy.

A lovely family photo from a great night out in Nov 2018, with the lads from work, so many people coming to show their support for me, very moving knowing so many big tough lorry drivers have huge hearts of gold.

My point is, it puts what an oncologist says to me in perspective, and that I may now be on the home straight, but look what I have and where I’ve been, it’s our 32nd anniverary this year, we have four kids, 6th granchild arriving in March, it seems so greedy to expect any more, when I have and have had so much in my 54 years. I’m certainly not giving in or up on this battle with cancer, I’m actually buzzing and ready for a long term fight with this and realishing it, bring it on. I feel so much inside me all battling against this cancer as one, which is now in the lining of my brain, and is such a hard place to get to, they can’t do anything for it now, I’ll be having some radiotherapy, but this may help some of the numbness going down my left side I’ve been having, only mild episodes, but it may not, it won’t cure anything or extend life, I have thoses bits covered by my attitude. My Oncologist said his prediction is based on the patients fitness, he’s reading a script, and I’m not on it, he was just reading it off to me, well that’s me off there then, I’m fairly fit considering everything, I can walk up six flights of stairs quite easily, how many can do that. The moans and groans when people realise the lift isn’t working, and they only live a few floors up, any excercise is good for you. Few years ago the lift went out for three weeks over christmas, and you started to get to know a few people from meeting them on the stairs some days, which was nice, a little interaction is good for the soul.

I love Bruce Lee and his philosophy, and I have this quote in my book I’m writing, at the beginning and at the end, as a reminder of the power of the mind, use your mind to your advantage.

I think my attitude towards my cancer is starting to rub off on my wife and kids, they’re starting to be more accepting of it now, even though it has been going on for sixteen months now, but I had Sonia my wife, and Lib and Chris, our daughter and son in law, in with the doctor on Thursday, and after he was pushing me to ask the ultimate question, “Is there anything you would like to ask me?” Knowing it was the big one, after bowing my head, take a deep breath and here we go then “Where do you think we in this then now?” and he tells me “6-12 weeks from the end,” “As close as that,” “Yes I’m sorry.” This is where you expect the buckets of tears to come pouring out, but they don’t, they look to me and see I’m holding out fine, and then the doctor says “this is based on the patients fitness,” as I said that’s me off this straight away, always 100% positive, take everything head-on, process it, accept it, “Yeah Whatever Doc!” And just carry on regardless, the end will be here when it’s here, and when I come face to face with death, he’s gonna get as bigger a shock as I am seeing me standing there as I will when I see him standing in front of me, and that’s when I’ll deal with that. You can only deal with what’s in front of you, and if you don’t feel your about drop off this mortal coil, then we don’t even contemplate it yet, there’s a lot to do this year, it’s only January, 11 more months to plan and look forward to yet. It’s a bit of a ramble this blog, but the news you get, the steroids and epilepsy tablets I’m now on, and always the reality that I know something isn’t right in my head at the moment, all makes for a different take on life at the moment, coming out as a ramble to the normal blog, but I’m happy and feel in a very happy place right now, with the courage to take this on as far as it wants to go, I can feel the adrenaline in my veins flowing to fight this all the way. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and to stick with it, it is appreciated, take care and see you soon and I wish you all the best with your journeys, never forget to stop and take some time out to see where you are and take a look at the view, and allow yourself to be happy, this is a happy post hoping to spread some love and happiness to you all, and for you to actually appreciate that you are you, and your so lucky, cos I think your great. Don’t be afraid of lung cancer, or where ever it ends up inside you, mind over matter! As the great man himself said, Bruce Lee “If it kills you, it kills you!”

The opening lines of this blog where “Some of us scream, some of us shout” a song from the early eighties album “Strive to Survive Causing The Least Suffering Possible” by “Flux of Pink Indians’ No wonder I’m the mild mannered polite person I am today after listening to bands like that, great times.

Eat, Sleep, Stroke, repeat!

After my stay in hospital from Thursday morning, after attending the TIA clinic, I was invited to go home on the Sunday, as there wasn’t much they could do and had me on tablets to control, or dissolve the problem blood clots. I very willingly went home and slept so well that night, three nights of disturbed sleep, twice being moved at half two in the morning, I can’t complain though as when I worked at Basildon Hospital as a porter from 1991-2004, we would often move patients, very unhappily at this time, I did hear it was because the gods of the hospital, the consultants, wanted all their patients on the same ward, can’t blame them if they’re that high up, I suppose, but this rumour was never confirmed, officially.

After getting home and up the next day, ready to start the next chapter of my life, we had a nice relaxing day, and picked up our granddaughter Jess from her after school club, saving her mum, Lib, and brother, Reg, walking round to the school again to pick her up. We had a nice steady walk, no rushing, as driving is out, as I’m having these mini-stroke like episodes. We have a nice hour or so at Libs house seeing everyone, and then a steady walk home, which we’re good at after last year, as between chemo, we’d walk 9 miles, quite happily and very slowly. We pop into Tesco for a few bits, I get a trolley, and off we go, after five minutes or so I go to move my hand and realise it’s numb, no tingling this time, just the hand unable to straighten my fingers, I let Sonia know, and it’s “Oh no not again!” “Are you ok to go home and I’ll finish in here?” “Yeah I’ll be ok, take care and see you soon,” It’s starting to tingly again, on my face and hand, and slowly creep up my arm, it’s weird as it goes across your face, just the left side of my body, as it goes past your throat you can feel half your throat can swallow but the other half can’t, just hope I don’t get into a coughing fit. I get home and text Sonia I’m ok, and Lib, then phone 111, my mouth is only half working but I get across to them so they can understand me, eventually, “Yes we will send an ambulance for you but sorry there is a delay.” “No worries.” Sonia gets back and is worried, Lib, Chris and Davey are on their way around, and I’m starting to get back to normal, I feel like a nuisance sometimes, all this stress and worry and within twenty minutes, I’m going fully back to normal. We get a call from the ambulance service and they apologise for the delay, and that it could be another 15-20 minutes. eventually the paramedic gets here and checks me over, I’m ok but I do win a trip to the hospital, just to be sure. I get a lift in his car, the rest follow along behind, but he can’t have the blue lights on though. We get taken in the tradesman entrance at the A/E, and get processed a little quicker, then shown to the relaxing area in A/E? Oh yeah the waiting room.

It’s Sonia and Lib with me in the hospital again, a bit of deja vous here. But not long and Paul comes out “David James please,” I knew Paul when he first started working here as a porter 25 years ago, still the same happy chappie, and he’s moved up and takes bloods now, and very well too, I told him “I’ll recommend him on Tripadvisor, 5 stars.” We soon see the stroke nurse we saw last Wednesday, she says “Hello, again, have you had another one?” We go to a cubicle and go through all the stroke tests, but as I’ve had another one, there must be something wrong, not just a mini-stroke, so to get to the right clinic, they’re going to keep me in tonight, as the morning clinic won’t do the MRI scan with contrast, the dye they put in to see you better. I’m taken for a CT scan tonight then the doctors will look at it tomorrow. Around 01.00 I’m taken to Pastuer Ward, and say goodbye to my wife Sonia and daughter Lib, I’ll see them tomorrow early afternoon. As I’m wheeled onto the ward, this is the real stroke ward, with a nurse in every four bed bay, even in the dark you can see this is a serious ward with lots of ill patients, I feel guilty and that I don’t fit in here, what if they need this bed for someone who is iller than me? I’d feel terrible.

I get settled in bed, have my obs done, all seem ok, then it’s good night and the doctor will be round to see you, I didn’t realise she meant only an hour or two later, “Hello David, I am the doctor and your scan looks ok, all clear, I’ll let you get some sleep, thank you.” Try and get some more sleep, but if it’s clear then what’s causing these little mini-strokes, more questions than answers. A disturbed sleep after more obs, but I can sleep during the day so it’s not a problem. “Cup of tea?” Now we’re talking “Oh yes please,” as the ward starts to wake, the lady opposite me seems quite ill, and there’s two other gentleman in here who don’t look too bad, I still don’t fit in here. Last week I was on an assessment ward, then surgical, no thanks, then the lung ward? At least I’m having stroke like symptoms so must be in the right place. Did I say sleep during the day! I don’t think so, I’ve never been so busy, you go on a stroke ward and there’s so many ways a stroke can affect you, in big obvious ways but also the little subtle ways too, can you draw a cube? Can you do this ? Can you recognise that? We go for a walk, upstairs then back down, I pass all my tests, I just don’t feel I’ve got anywhere as my symptoms only lasted twenty minutes, then back to normal. I even have my heart scanned, all reassuring to hear it all looks well, but I’m not the one that needs these tests, the proper stroke patients need this, but as I’m here, it is good to know they are prepared to check me out throughly. As we get to lunch I eat that, and the food is surprisingly good in here, I now need a sleep, Sonia and Lib turn up, but I say if they want to get something to eat then come back later, I’m shattered. I get some sleep, but more disturbances, all medical so I can’t complain, it’s all to help me, and they’re very thorough on here. We get told they’re going to check all the scans and i’ll probably be going home and be on blood thinning jabs for a few months, they’re not sure if it’s the cancer or that I am having mini strokes, ok then, they’ll let me know. I get moved to a side room in the evening after everyone has gone, peace, but god it’s boring, nothing to see or hear, even any sort of banter with anyone is out because there’s no one there, just me, I prefer the main ward, there is always something going on you can watch or listen too.

Me in my side room with the wall for company. I know how Shirley Valentine felt now.

The next morning there’s less to do and all I want is for 14.30 to come, for visiting time, it drags, my oncologist comes in with a lung nurse, he’s a nice bloke so we smile and shake hands, he tells me “The stroke like symptoms are not caused by cancer, which is good, so we’ll see you in clinic, probably in two to three weeks time.” I was hoping to be seen sooner but hey ho, better late than never. Sonia and Lib are hear and see my oncologist come in so wait outside my side room and I tell them what he said. And it looks like I’m gong home today. An hour or so later, another doctor comes in, a trainee doctor, but he looks a little uncomfortable, and asks “Would I prefer to be alone with him or is it ok to talk in front of my wife and daughter,” “That’ll be fine,” He’s struggling, I’m use to bad news, so feel a little sorry for him, this is a hard part of the job to learn, he was here earlier with the consultant he follows around and two or three other trainees, but on his own this time. Here we go, “We think it is cancer in your brain causing these problems, and the nero surgeons have been informed at ‘Queens’, they have asked for more information on your case, and when we hear anything we’ll let you know. You have a new appointment with your oncologist next Thursday, do you have any questions?” I don’t but show him my t-shirt with ‘Nice try cancer, but I’m still here!’ on it, printed by my son and his new t-shirt printing enterprise, ‘Majestic Prints and Designs’. He smiles and says, “Keep fighting” “I will” we shake hands and he leaves. My wife and daughter move in close to me and ask, “Are you worried or concerned now!” “Err I’m just wondering what tattoo I could have for my scar after brain surgery?” “Your still not worried?” The atmoshere is relaxed which is how I want it, for me it’s the best way to deal with this, head on, with a smile and a cheeky grin, and the people you love so much around me.

Queens Hospital at Romford, has been mentioned I could have surgery here, we’ll have to wait and see for that, risky but I’d be in good hands here.

A little while later I have new medication, epilepsy tablets, as these episodes I’m having are now being caused by the cancer causing seizure like symptoms, but that look like a stroke, it’s getting complicated I know. But now i’m more than relieved and happy to be going home, new medication, more questions, and not enough answers yet. Hopefully Thursday can bring some of what we want when we meet with my Oncologist. Until then thank you for taking the time to read my blog, Don’t be afraid of lung cancer, even if it does get in your brain, always 100% positive. Take care and see you soon. Oh and any suggestions for a tattoo for my scar if it does come to having Neuro surgery, funnier the better.

Going A Bit Numb!

Hi everyone hope your all well, I was taking my grandaughter down to her dad last Wednesday about 7ish, as she went I had a little run next to the car waving at each other smiling. I thought I’ll just pop to Tesco, only 2 minutes walk from us, as I started to walk I got a tingle in my thumb and forefinger and at the same time on my nose and lip, a bit weird and no idea what it was I just carried on to Tesco, as I got to the entrance my left hand was going numb. Sometimes if you lean on a chair or even in bed your arm goes numb, I just thought I’d done something like that. I carried on to the far end of the store and by now the numbness is creeping up my arm and across my face making my mouth feel I was at the dentist just after an injection to numb the mouth to let them carry out their butchery, I was now a little worried and thinking about asking for someone to help, to call an ambulance, I had no idea what it was but knew something was wrong. I had come out without my phone and hadn’t told Sonia my wife, I was popping over here, it could be a few hours before she found out where I was or what was happening, I didn’t want to put her through that, so I grabbed a bottle of wine I’d come in for and made my way to the checkouts half praying I wouldn’t collapse, I managed to pay, smile and say thanks without being suspected as being ill. Now the home run, only 2 minutes till home, got to the entrance of our flats ok but quite numb now, most of my face, my arm and I could feel the numbness go down my back, very weird sensation. Got up in the lift ok, in the flat and shoes off, Sonia saw me and afterwards said she’d thought I’d had a row with someone by the look on my face, but as I confessed to my wife “I’m going numb!” Sonia filled with panic “come and sit down, I’m gonna phone Lib!” She sat me down and I tried to say 999 but only coming from one side of your mouth it’s not very clear, I was now numb all down my left side, what the hell is next with this bloody cancer?

As Sonia phoned our daughter my hand was getting a bit of movement back. As our daughter and her husband, Lib and Chris got round, all panicky, I waved and said fooled you, trying to lighten the mood, they all seemed stressed and worried. The ambulance phoned back and wouldn’t be here yet, but asked how I was now, and most of the feeling had come back but I felt a bit weird. It was suggested that if I could get down stairs we could make our own way to hospital, I didn’t fancy that so we waited for the ambulance. Another half an hour and we decided to give it a go going ourselves. We saw an ambulance going the other way with blue lights on, our son had to explain that we’d made our own way to hospital.

me in hospital the next day, I’ll blog more in a day or two.

As we got there we saw the triage nurse, booked in, and sat in the waiting area, quite full considering it was Wednesday evening at 20.30. We saw a stroke nurse fairly quickly but was soon waiting again, then we saw the assessment nurse, “Have you got your piece of paper from triage?” “No the nurse has it” “What’s your name, do we have the right patient? Where’s your paper?” “I’ve seen the stroke nurse, she has it!” Now that’s sorted we move on to bloods being taken and soon waiting again.

The amount of people here is unbelievable, people moan about the NHS, but it’s this packed and still running, it may be slow but behind the scenes their saving lives, and quite possibly mine later, so I will not complain or moan about this, it’s a miracle it keeps going, where would we be without it?

We see a doctor and go through the stroke tests but all seems well, then we’re invited to go back to where we were relaxing, ere that was at home quite a few hours ago, but I don’t think he was sending us home, so back to the waiting area. Once more we’re called by the stroke nurse again and she books me in to a clinic at the hospital in the morning, at 07.30, its 01.00 now, not much sleep tonight then! We get home and tired but it feels good, but gotta be up in 4 hours, oh well.

This is being written in hospital so none of the usual photos, thank you for taking the time to read my blog, there will be more to this story tomorrow or Thursday, I prefer working on the computer than my mobile, but wanted to let you know how I’m getting on. Don’t be afraid of lung cancer or mini strokes and always 100% positive, take care and see you soon. 😊👍❤ End of part one, parts 2,3 and 4 to follow.

New Year Resolutions

I’ve never been one for making New Year resolutions, as I always knew I wouldn’t stick to them so I never made any, but having lung cancer and making it to another new year, why not, maybe I should make some and try to make some positive changes to my life, as according to my doctor, I shouldn’t really be here now, not that I ever believed the doctor, I always thought you had to be ill and feel ill to be dying of something, and I most certainly wasn’t ill enough to be dying of anything. So what can my resolutions be, thats if there’s more than one of them.

Firstly I’m a Wim Hoffer, doing breathing excercises with yoga and various excercises your suppose to do between each step of the course. I have hardly done any of this since July, since my rib has been hurting, which started after doing four rounds of deep breathing. It doesn’t hurt as much now and I’ve had five lots of radiotherapy on it, so hopefully that will start to ease soon. So the plan is to get back on track with the Wim Hof Fundementals course, and start to practice it everyday, if not daily then at least weekly. That includes the yoga before the breathing, and the homework between each step of the course, and of course the cold showers. You can find out more about Wim Hof and his breathing method here.

Second, writing this blog has been a lot of fun, so I want to do more writing, more blogs and even writing articles for magazines or the local paper. I’m writing a book and having radiotherapy has put the finish date of it back by a few months, so part of this resolution is to finish my book and get it published, either as an e-book or paperback or both, I don’t think it’ll make the New York bestseller list, so I don’t think getting the best deal would be too important, just getting it out there is the important thing, and getting it published.

Third, I can be a bit arty at times, and I enjoy creating stuff, it doesn’t have to be much, even just playing about with scissors and coloured card, cutting out the names of my grandchildren, they liked it, and I always enjoyed drawing and painting at school, so doing a picture or making something each month is something I want to do.

Fourth, has to be more swimming, if my cancer allows, and more running, getting fit again, starting gently and building up to getting below an hour for the London 10k in July and getting in around 45 mins for the mile swim in Swim Serpentine in Sept, and swimming it front crawl, the last two times have been breast stroke, and getting some chill swims in as well, I do enjoy a cold dip, which is part of the Wim Hof course that I enjoy, the cold showers, you always feel so refreshed when you come out of the cold shower.

So I think thats it :- sticking to the Wim Hof course more, more writing, being creative each month, and more swimming and running, that’s not bad for someone that doesn’t make any new year resolutions. This new year marks the end of my first full year of being affected by cancer, last new year, I had been ill since September, and no idea what the new year would bring, I wasn’t even sure I’d make it this far. But I have and I would say I’m thriving, I feel good and positive, and looking forward to a bright and long future, so I might as well make some plans and give myself something to do with all this time I’m going to have on my hands.

I’ll be seeing my oncologist in January, so we’ll take it from there after getting the results of my CT scan, and proceed into the future of this bright and prosporus new year. So thank you again for taking the time to read my blog and listen to my new year resolutions, and I’ll let you know how I get on with sticking to them, and I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all an amazing New Year and good luck to you all and that you have a healthy and happy 2020, be strong, think strong and do all you dare to dream, and find the strength and courage that’s already inside you to follow your dreams, whatever they are! Thats your new year resolution, I’ve just made it for you. Don’t be afraid of lung cancer and always 100% positive throughout 2020 and beyond.