Category Archives: swim

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.

We Went To A Ball!

We’ve never been to a ball before, getting all dressed up and looking like a penguin, never appealed to me, and my wife Sonia wearing a dress that she sweeps the floor with as she goes about the evening, no thanks, you can keep all that posh malarkey. Track suit bottoms and slouching on the sofa, now that’s more like it. But this was different, this was the ‘Clowns in the Sky’ Winter Ball. Clowns in the Sky is a charity I have been fund raising for them for a few years now. I worked with the owner of the charity, Richard, and was heart broken to hear of the death of his daughter, but Richard and his wife, Lyn, set up this charity in her memory, and it’s gone from strength to strength, and now supports children in hospitals having treatment for brain tumours across the country. They make a donation to Brain Tumour Research, in the hope of finding a cure or better treatments, there’s so many things they do to help children get through their treatment, have a look here to find out more.

Each year they organise a Winter Ball, a lovely evening of a meal, magicians coming to your table, a singer, an auction, raffle, and finishing with few hours of dancing, and as much donating as you can. I was aware of this Ball a couple of years ago but didn’t take a lot of notice of it, then last year I saw it on Facebook, but left it too late and it was sold out, so this year I made a definite effort to get some tickets for me and my family, it was just a question of who was going to dress up and come with us now. There’s eight adults and six children in our family, so baby sitters would be required, as it’s not really a place for kids. So I messaged Donna and asked for at least four tickets and possibly eight. The tickets become available around September October time, but do sell out by November, so I’d got in this year, but just had to confirm the numbers. We ordered four tickets, but soon ordered four more, as we knew we had several people who would like to go if family members couldn’t. Now it was time to order the food, it was only a choice of meat or vegetarian, so we chose half and half, covering all bases, anyone last minute would be able to have what they wanted as some of us were quite flexible. Tickets booked, food ordered, now it was who was going to go. One couldn’t get a babysitter, another recently split with his partner and was a maybe, so it was Sonia and me, our favourite daughter Lib and her husband Chris, possibly our son Davey, now for three more. My Mum has always liked the dressing up and going out, so we invited her and got a very swift reply of “Yes please,” now for the last two, and the Ball is getting quite close now, just a few weeks away. So I asked my brother and his wife Jan, and they were up for it, so it was the eight of us. Now for the penguin outfits and sweep as you go dresses.

Feeling very smart and with a self tied bow tie.

Eventually got all sorted out and it ended up with seven of us meeting up at the Ball, and even if I do say so myself, I think we looked very smart. My suit cost ten pounds, from a charity shop, got it dry cleaned for twelve pounds and got a shirt and bow tie for fifty pounds. I felt very pleased with myself getting a suit so cheap, and it was a nice one. But as time got on we had to just go and get a decent shirt from a proper shop. It all started very economically, but that soon went out of the window. As we settled at are table, we had one at the back, but were quite close to Tony Cottee and Tony Gale. Who are they? I hear you ask, they’re only part of the West Ham team that finished 3rd in the league, in the 85-86 season, the year I started supporting West Ham, they’ve never been the same since, sorry. We all had a great time, the food was lovely, we had a magician at our table astounding us with his tricks, no idea how he did them. There was an auction and my brother Gwyn got a drawing of four past England cricket captains, signed, and he won a game of golf with Tony Cottee and Tony Gale, I will be his caddie that day, I’ve no idea what I’m suppose to do but really looking forward to it. There was a raffle, a singer and then at the end of the night, dancing. All in all it was a great night and very pleased to say Clowns in the Sky raised roughly five and a half thousand pounds, that’s brilliant for just a small charity, they can now do so much with that and help children with brain tumours, brilliant.

As I said in an earlier post, we’re looking after our three year old grand son, having had four children we thought it would be easy, as we know what we’re doing, but boy is he tiring, we put him down for bed and if we don’t fall asleep on the sofa, we’re not far off going to bed ourselves. But it is nice having him here, he was at nursery five days a week for six hours but now hes off for over two weeks, if we survive, we’ll see you in the new year. Hopefully I’ll get some posts done, if he falls asleep for a few hours in the afternoon. We did have some good news this week, my wife Sonia had been for a ultra sound scan and they found a mass on her liver, but after a CT scan this week, we got the news that it was benign so nothing to worry about, and we have an appointment with a liver specialist at the next available time, May next year, good job it’s not urgent. Take care, have a great Christmas and a wonderful New Year, I’ll repeat that if I get to blog again this year, thank you for taking the time to read my blog. Don’t be afraid of lung cancer, and always 100% positive.

The End of Lung cancer awareness Month

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.

#Follow My Lead

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.

Sonia and me enjoying the amazing sea at Coral Bay near Paphos, Cyprus, sadly a week ago and now back in the cold damp UK. My next venture into the sea will be at Southend on Sea on New Years Day, or near that date to fit in with Sandy’s shift pattern, we’re doing a sponsored New Years Day dip for Clowns in the Sky.

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.

This is the start of my own video made by the Roy Castle Lung cancer Foundation for their campaign #Follow My Lead, I think it came out really well and am really happy with it, I’ll put the link in for you to watch this and a link for the whole campaign to see all the other videos, they’re all really good and well worth a watch.

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!’

Look what I found when I went on roycastle.org, and I’m on there front of their website, there were about 10 videos made on this campaign, and they’re all good, well worth a look. And please share.

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!

The veiw from our window, with scaffolding, definately not Cyprus.

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!”

My new friend Mrs Robonurse. 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.

Telling My Story for Hospital Radio, and got 3 new tattoos.

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.

The Health and Wellbeing seminar we went to in June.

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.”

This is Kate and me, with Jacqui on the other side of the desk, and I wasn’t asleep, I swear.

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.

My new blackhead tattoo, and one on each side too, they said they’ll fade, eventually.

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’m still here a year on doctor!!! and doing well.

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.

The London Stadium, West Ham v Crystal Palace.

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.

When it’s this close and the 87th minute, the game needs to flow, not stand around for 2 minutes waiting for a decision.

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.

A great day at Selhurst park, in an executive box, CP v WHU

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.

Thats the bit that scares the life out of me, going over the top and straight down.

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!

Reading an Aussie version of my story, Almost, by barbara gannon.

I opened an e-mail today and read it, and it was from Barbara Gannon, of ‘Sucess Follows Me’, and has a report of her journey with cancer called ‘Cancer Is Not A Death Sentence’ and it is a very good eyeopening read. And through so much of it, but not all, I could see my story in there. Barbara is a fiesty Aussie who’s very focused and determined, I replied to Barbara in my e-mail that I’m not a glass-full/half-empty sort of person, I’m a, if my glass is empty, then I’ll get another drink, sort of person, I’m a laid back type of person and just go with the flow. There’s the saying ‘Everything happens for a reason’ and it certainly seems true with me on my journey with lung cancer. My brothers son Timmy went vegan and encouraged my brother Morien to go vegan after he was having a bout of bad health, just generally run down. Going vegan helped him and he had mentioned it me but my reply or thoughts about going vegan was ‘yeah whatever.’ This was in the year leading up to my illness 2018. But when I was diagnosed with cancer he urged me to watch the film ‘What The Health’ and another ‘Food Choices’, after watching these and realising there was something in this, I went vegan in Oct 2018, a week before my diagnosis was upgraded to a terminal diagnosis, six months without chemo and an average of twelve months with chemo.

Five months after this prognosis that my cancer will ‘kill me in the end’ my cancer is dormant, I don’t know if this is that the cancer has died, or it’s asleep, whether it will wake up again anytime now or in twenty years. My oncologist shrugged his shoulders and said “I don’t know if it you have cancer or not” to my quetion “do I have cancer?” He certainly wasn’t happy at the prospect I may be cancer free. I came out of that meeting so confused, and not knowing where I stood, I had brain ache that evening trying to sort out my mind as to what was now going on. And reading Barbara’s report on ‘Cancer is not a death sentence’ so much rang true with me, one thing that strikes me is the attitude of the doctor when they give you bad news, they become immune to your emotions possibly, and bluntly tell you that’s it, your going to die. But that makes me think, if they were sympathetic and understanding and compassionate, and go through everything very gently and “when your ready I’ll go through what will happen”, you could come out of there believing all that they have just told you, and then in six to twelve months your gone. Barbara had the same sort of attitude from her doctor as I did, but she told him to F-off, I just smiled at mine and had a ‘whatever ‘ sort of attitude.

This is the programs called ‘The Truth About Cancer’, I don’t know if its an Australian only program or if it’s freely available, but look at ‘Success Follows Me’ for more info. This is a screenshot from the ‘Cancer isn’t a death sentence’.

Barbara was told she had 3-6 months to live and researched all about cancer and what could be done. Where as the doctors are told just put them on medication, any medication, why? Because someones making money out of it, pharmacy companies. I have a very relaxed attitude to life, and went about my cancer as a blip in my life, it certainly made me take stock and have a look at my life, and now I’m much happier, and want to head down the helping people road rather than the making money path I was on and getting exhausted and bored of it. Being a lorry driver, my HGV part of my licence won’t be back for a long while yet, so I’m enjoying the rest and looking into what I can do to help other lung cancer patients. And with Barbara and me changing our diets and coming out the other side, I still have cancer but it’s dormant, could be dead but we don’t know about that just yet, as far as I’m concerned I’m just waiting for that to be confirmed. It just shows how important diet is, if it’s natural you can eat it, if it’s processed then leave it. Cut out processed food and starve the cancer, I went vegan and my cancer was dormant five months later after showing signs of shrinking and the cancer in my bones dying off after just three months. I did have six rounds of chemo, but this was pallitive so wasn’t meant to cure it. There has to be something in this, and with going vegan becoming the new thing, it can only be good for you and for the whole world, because that can’t carry on the way it is, something has to change, and what better way than going vegan.

I know I’m repeating myself with a lot of what I’ve said here, but reading the ‘Cancer is not a death sentence’ report, has given me renewed vigor in getting this message out to as many people as possible. You can follow Barbara on successfollowsme.com and download her report ‘Cancer is not a death sentence’, it’s a long one but it’s a really good informative read, and has got me to get focused again and cut out the chocolate and biscuits, get back to eat what god made, and that’s it. Keep healthy, enjoy this great read of Barbara’s, thanks for reading my blog about Barbara’s blog, sorry but it was so good I couldn’t resist blogging about it. Take care and see you soon, be 100% positive and Don’t Be Afraid Of Lung Cancer.