If you don’t know this song then immediately go and watch ‘The Life Of Brian!’ You’ll love it, and just what the doctor ordered. I love to watch a film and laugh along to it, action films can be entertaining and I use to love the cowboy films, but give me a comedy any day, and I’m happy, it doesn’t even have to be side splitting, just seeing someone trying to make an effort to make someone laugh is enough for me, I think it’s a great gift to have, not just the ability to get someone in stitches laughing their head off, but just trying to get someone to have a laugh, even if it doesn’t work, the fact that they’re trying is a great gift too. My kids will bore you to death telling you how funny I am, or maybe they won’t, but I try to dish out my best dad jokes, ‘oh god dads off again!’ A new years eve special, “See you next year” never fails, but there’s always a smile, even if it is a slightly embarressed smile sometimes. But it’s just the wanting to spread a little joy and laughter about the place, the world needs more fun, it was never meant to be serious.
I had a few days at Mums last week, letting mum be a mum again for a few days, a very nice relaxing couple of days, and my sister Nesta popped over from her job in France, and seeing another brother Gwyn, so was a really nice time. We had a breakfast at Felixstowe then a walk along the beach with a little paddle too, very nice, some, most would say cold, I like to call it refreshing, luckily there is a sandy part to the beach, but the few stones that were there were uncomfortable on the cold feet. I feel I could of got in and had a swim but not having a towel, and the wind I gave up on that. But I would like to get a swim in soon, hopefully this week, as I’m having radiotherapy this week in Southend, hopefully I’ll get a short dip in soon. Now that will be refreshing. Looking forward to report on that one very soon.
Friday I had my first appointment for my radiotherapy on my brain, so this was a fitting for my mask, which is used to keep your head still while they zap away, keeping your head perfectly still. It took 12 minutes to have this hot plastic on your face, then moulded to your contours, then ice packs, to keep it in place, and if I was a green alien, this could be me as one, well I do have to say I’m not bad looking as a little green alien,
I start my radiotherapy on Monday afternoon, and have five sessions, so I come in each day Mon to Fri, then I’m allowed to bring my mask home, could be fun in the passenger seat holding this up to other motorists or passengers, turning to see a green head looking at them, I’ll try it for fun but not to scare the life out of someone, so I won’t be doing it to any drivers, I swear, but the bus passengers better look out. As I have said and is on my blog site, our daughter and son in law, Lib and Chris, have their buisness, ‘South East Hot Tubs,’ and have their own hot tub in their garden now, it would of been rude not to try it out, and OMG it is so nice, you could sleep in it all night long, it’s so relaxing, and not even the pouring rain could spoil it, intermitant rain rather than one long downpour. We were in there for about 2 hours, and the grandchildren love it too, so no telly, no phones or computers, a great place to relax and chill out away from modern technology for a while and everyone loved it.
Life is going great at the moment, I’ve got more visits from family, even a flying visit from Japan coming up, another brother, Morien, just popping over as you do from such a distant land, but the effort being made for you, and knowing it’ll be so nice to see these people and spend a few days together is so heart warming. And more locally there will be visits from Manchester, Ceri, Cheshire Dad and Lorna, with the dogs Madge and Leo, Leo’s a cancer survivoring Labrador, and Wales, Gareth, again more great family to see. To know that I still have all my brothers and sisters, and Mum and Dad, I know I’m very privileged to have them, and for them all to still want to see me and spend some quality time is very humbling, and fills you with so much joy that we’ll be meeting up in the next month or so with my whole family, and looking forward to seeing each one of them, despite being spread out around the country and the world, we’re still a very close family even though we can go years sometimes without seeing each other, but there’s plenty of other ways we know we’re not far away from each other if we ever need anything. Just before getting my original diagnosis, my brother messaged and said, “I’ll be in the next room when your in with the doctor,” We had our bedrooms next door to each other when we were growing up, well that got me going I can tell you, my tears didn’t last long, as they never have all through this, but Gareth is responsible for some of my first tears with all this cancer crap, I’m saving the great big out pouring of tears for the day I beat all these terminal diagnosis’s, and finally get the all clear and told, “That’s it Mr James, I’m not exactly sure how you did it, but you beat it, now get out of here!” This day will come, eventually!
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, hopefully helping to spread a little joy and laughter, I love to see someone with a smile, and the satisfaction of knowing you put it there is amazing. Take care and see you soon, Don’t be afraid of lung cancer, always 100% positive, and watch out for a green alien going home on Friday from Southend to Basildon, you have been warned. And spread a little happiness as you go by!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.’
Here is an extract from the book I’m wring about my experience with cancer. This is the day I became ill with breathing difficulties, going into work and struggling along hoping my problem would just sort itself out by itself, to giving in and reluctantly going to hospital. My book is called ‘Don’t Be Afraid Of Lung Cancer’ and will be completed in October all being well, after my meeting with my oncologist on the 10th October, that will wrap things up nicely or be a start for a second book, depending on the results.
The Day Started OK.
‘I’m Gonna Send You Back To The Place Where It All Began’
10th Sept 2018. I came home from a night shift from my job at Hoyer, driving a 44 ton artic tanker, delivering petrol and diesel to BP garages around the south east, just a normal shift nothing out of the ordinary, no problems. I would normally be home between 4 and 5 am from a night shift, sometimes a little earlier or later. I’d normally stay up for about a hour having a snack or a cup of tea, winding down from the nights work getting ready for a sleep, I won’t say a good sleep as doing shift work, days and nights you start to lose your natural sleep pattern and you really don’t sleep as well. A normal sleep would be about 4 or 5 hours, then get up as I’m now wide awake anyway, have a cup of tea, then some lunch have another cup of tea then start thinking about going back to bed for a hour or 2, then up at 3, get ready and off to work again, on a night shift I won’t see my 13 year old son all the shift, except if I’m working weekends, as I’m off to work before he gets home, and asleep when he gets up. It pays well but it’s not the best job, 4.00 am or 4.00 pm starts, and 12 hour shifts.
I got up as I do on the Monday morning about half 10 or so, and after about 10-15 mins I breathed in and got a pain in my back, but inside me somewhere, I sat down and started thinking what it could be and what to do. At first I started to think I had slept awkwardly and bruised my ribs in my sleep, maybe even cracked a rib, that seemed to cover it, so I thought it’ll pass soon enough. I carried on as I normally would, had a cuppa, had lunch, then start to get ready for bed again, I thought I won’t be getting much sleep with this, and if I don’t, as much as it pains me I wouldn’t be going into work that night. I couldn’t believe how well I slept but as I got up I still had a problem breathing. 3 more shifts to get through, but I didn’t want to lose my attendance bonus, or my money for the next 3 shifts, so I thought go in and see how I get on. An echo of what your firm will always say when you tell them you won’t have time for the last delivery, “See how you get on”.
I went in to work and only had 2 jobs to do, my first one was in Newbury just off the M4 J13, I was already loaded, not too bad, then a local one after if I could manage it. Off we go to Newbury, an unusually smooth start to a shift, driving wasn’t a problem, getting to Newbury and parking up on the tipping point was easy, then I had to put cones out which was a struggle, my 6 small cones were easy enough, but the large cones were awkward to handle, heavier and they often stick together making it a struggle to separate them. Got that done with plenty of panting. Then started tipping, one pot only had 3000 litres in of unleaded, in a 7000 litre pot, which can lead to an airlock, as there’s not enough weight to push the fuel out, as it’s all tipped by gravity. So you have to lift the hose which is heavy on a good day, let alone when you can’t breath properly. Once you get it going your fine but you have to lift the hose then walk to the customer end lifting the hose as you go, which is full of product. I’m panting away but eventually got it going and I’m thinking I shouldn’t be here doing this, there’s no way I can do any more I’m just going back to the yard, parking up and going home.
An ambulance came into the garage to fuel up, and I’m looking at it thinking that I should go and ask them if this is just a bruised rib, but then a thought comes into my head that if it is something worse, they’ll be keeping me in a hospital in the Newbury area miles away from my family in Basildon. Stubbornly I choose not to see the ambulance crew, and I’ll drive back to Purfleet, when I’ve finished tipping here, go home and sleep it off, it’ll be better in the morning.
Arriving back at the yard in Purfleet about 11.30pm, I drove round the back and parked up, phoned Hoyer and told them I’m going home, “Oh ok then what’s the matter?” “I’ve hurt my ribs and I’m struggling to breathe” “Oh no how did you do that?” “I think I must of slept awkwardly last night” “Oh thats alright then”. You could almost hear the relief that I wasn’t going to be suing them for falling and banging my ribs at work. “Just send a text or phone your LTM”, (my manager), I sent him a text. I got my gear together and took out my tacho card, and left a note apologising to the next driver for not fuelling the truck and preloading. It’s such a difference to come into work and your loaded and the diesel tank is full, they’re not huge diesel tanks so need daily topping up or you’re going to run out, and being a fuel tanker driver, you’re never going to live that one down.
I saw some of the lads in the tea room, but unsociably went straight to my locker as I felt I was struggling a bit now and just wanted to get home, some of them came up to me and asking what I’ve got next then realising I was done “How come you going home so early”, “Oooooh that sounds bad” “Your going to the hospital right” “Oh err yeah probably” “Ooohhh no you want to make sure you do go, could be serious, could be your lungs and not your ribs” uuummm thanks feel a lot better now. Getting to my car though I’m thinking maybe I should just pop to the hospital just to check its nothing more serious than a bruised rib, sure it won’t be. Its not even midnight yet, I’ve got plenty of time and I’ll only be sitting there.
I got parked in the car park at the hospital, but just walking over to the A+E department was hard work, slow down and I won’t get out of breath, up to the counter and join the small queue, “Yes, have you got your form?” “Err no I’ve just got here, I’m having trouble breathing,” “I’m sorry I can’t process you until you’ve seen the triage nurse over there”, well I look behind me and theres only a few patients sitting there, “Where is this triage nurse?” “Knock on the door and take a seat next to it”, so I knock on the door and sit down, it felt a bit like knocking on a door and hiding when you were a child, great system. The door opens and a couple come out and “Next” but another couple go in before I can get up, oh sod it I haven’t got the energy to argue with anyone tonight. I shrug my shoulders at a couple opposite me and say “I’ll be next then” and we laughed. As the door opened again “Next” and another couple start to go in but the couple opposite me tell them that I’m next, so thanks to them I’ll now be seen, and told to go home and sleep it off, you’ll be fine in the morning.
This is the first chapter of my book ‘Don’t Be Afraid Of Lung Cancer’, I’m quite pleased with it and I’m enjoying writing it, and I think it has helped me come to terms with what has happened over the past 11 months, and made it easier to cope with. You go over the same thing so many times, and you look at it from so many different angles, it changes the way you look and feel about things, and takes some of the fear away, and some things you just have to be totally realistic about, not relying on the outcome you want, but accepting what is going to happen and just getting on with it.
Feel free to leave any comments, take care and always be 100% positive and 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.
Believe 100% you will beat it. Go Vegan. Take CBD oil. Have chemo.