Tag Archives: cancer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Wishing You All A Very Happy Christmas And A Wonderful New Year!

It’s here again, I thought it was suppose to take a year to get here, I’m sure we must of missed out a few months somewhere, surely that’s not another year gone. I remember as a child it took so long to get to christmas and now they fly by, one after the other. Ok I know I’m getting old. When I was young (along time ago), about 8-9 years old, I remember the excitment of christmas day, getting up at 2.00 then told to go back to bed, then up at 4.00 then being told to go back to bed again, by a very frustrated mum, then up at 6.00 or 7.00 and open your stocking, a bit of breakfast then excitedly wait till dinner was ready, wolf that down and have to wait until alllllll the washing up was done by the older ones and mum and dad, the excitment almost killing us, that’s how it felt at the time, then the big moment arrived, but who was going to go first, your sitting on your hands trying not to grab anyone elses present, then you get your first present, rip the wrapping off, “Who was that from?” “Oh ere mum and dad, thank you mum and dad.” I was reminded of this excitment when I got a text from my Mum saying thank you for her presents, err excuse me! Isn’t it Christmas Day tomorrow, all that waiting we had to do as a child, at the hands of our parents, and now they open presents whenever they want. But I think I can let my Mum off the hook, the amount of happy memories it brings is worth it, hopefully we can give our grandchildren happy memories to remember for when they’re older. They are great memories to have, and I know I’m lucky to have them, thanks Mum and Dad.

I know I still act like a child alot of the time, and mucking about with your grandchildren is great fun, so while I can still play about with them I will, heres some pictures from a few years ago of me getting excited about christmas. I hope I never grow up and become serious, that would be terrible. I would like to wish you all a very happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year, and it brings everything you hope for, especially for health and happiness for you, your family and friends. Take care and thank you for reading my blog, maybe get one more blog in before the new year, best wishes and Don’t be afraid of lung cancer, always 100% positive.

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!

Cancer Trying To Bite Back!

I had my appointment with the doctor, my new oncologist, on Thursday 17th Oct, no reason to think anything but good news, just my side hurting a bit, but as it’s just a muscle, don’t think I’ll bother telling him. Dr Ramadam said “Have you had any problems?” So I mentioned my rib hurting, and he’s nodding a tell tale nod, “I can show you why it’s hurting, would you like me to.” “Yes ok then!” I’ve been preparing for this, but the doctor doesn’t seem concerned, even my wife Sonia is quite calm, relax and see what he says first. The doctor has my scan up and he’s flicking through the images, they’re cross section photos of the inside of your body. He stops and points out to me my heart valves, well they look ok, chest bone, ribs on the right side and here’s the left side, can you see the rib is wider on this side than the other?” “Oh yeah” “That is a bit of cancer in your rib, which explains your problems with your side, and there’s also a bit in your pelvis too, but I’m not worried about that for now.” I asked if this was new cancer and he did say yes, but to me it seems more like it’s just a bit that managed to avoid the chemo seven months ago, and as active cancer in your bones is hard to spot, it’s so much easier to see the scars from where it has died off from, it would of only need to be a few cells and then has seven months to grow, that’s why they scan you every three months, to spot these little growths. I’m now going to have radiotherapy on it, five Fractions, is the technical term for it, and you know I like a technical name for things. That means I’ll go in each day Monday to Friday, and sit under the Xray machine for five minutes or so, and that’s it, then see my oncologist 4-6 weeks after to see how we’re getting on. This will zap the cancer in my rib, but I also have a little in my pelvis too. The doctor said he wasn’t worried and asked if it had caused any problems, I said “No.” But then.

On Friday morning and my back is a bit achyier than usual, but I’m not concerned. We get a call asking if we can take our grandchildren to school, Ellie and Jayden, oh yes we can, it’d be a pleasure. Their car has broken down, but as we pull up and I get out of the car, my back is hurting again, just think maybe I slept awkward or we need a new matress. Ellie climbs in after a great big hug, and I lift Jayden in the back and strap him in. We drop these lovely two off at school, and make our way home again, planning to walk to Basildon to have a look round for stuff, as we’re on holiday soon, but my back is really aching, so I sit on the sofa, that doesn’t ease it, so I try the chair at the table with the computer on, but that’s no better. “I don’t think I can walk to Basildon today, my back is aching so much.” “Ok then, I’ll go for a walk and you rest your back,” my wife said. I need to lay down, it feels like my back is going to just colapse, so I get on our bed and lay down, and it’s certainly easier. Sonia goes out and I’m on my own, not sure what is going on, it’s been a gradual worsening not just an aaaaarrrrrhhh my backs gone, a few times I try to sit up and I can’t even do that, it’s too painful. If I try to put my weight on my back, it just hurts like all my back muscles will just get torn to shreds. So I lay there on the bed, this doesn’t hurt, and I can move around on the bed, but I try to get on all fours, but my backs not having that at all. I keep moving from side to side, and I can lift one leg then the other. What happens if I need a wee? Or a number 2? Oh my god this is horrible. I laid on the bed for 10 hours all together, but did manage to get to the toilet after 6 hours, but that was not comfortable at all.

Sonia came home and made me some soup which I ate on the bed, almost sent it flying as I moved to get comfortable, same with the cup of tea. Had my dinner there, then tried to get on all fours again, and this time managed it without too much discomfort, then managed to get up at 22.30, long past my bedtime normally, whatever it was, it was certainly easing now, I can still feel it, but at least I can get up and move around now, but tonight I’m sleeping on the floor in the front room, that should help. Thinking about it, my back has been aching more over the last three or four weeks, was that because I’ve been at my computer more, it’s just a normal chair for a dining table, not designed to sit on for hours at a time, or was it something to do with the cancer in my pelvis, whatever it was my back could not take any weight put on it, it’s still tender now and I haven’t got full movement in it, but I’ll be seeing the oncologist again soon, but I think a trip to the GP will be done soon. It wasn’t painful if I didn’t try and sit or stand, so I didn’t have any painkillers, but just to get to the route of it, I’d better see the doc.

I was due to see the nurse to get some forms filled out for our holiday on Friday, but I couldn’t stand let alone go out, so I put that off until Monday, and luckily I got them done, sent them off to Jet2, and we got the go ahead to fly, so we’re really looking forward to this, Cyprus here we come. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, take care and I’ll let you know how I get on with the doctor and with my radiotherapy, I’m still waiting to hear when I’ll be having that, but it should be early November. Wishing you all all the best, don’t be afraid of lung cancer, 100% positive always.

They Lied To Me! All Of Them!!!

Right, this weekend was going to be a very busy time, Thursday was going to be results day, this was put back until tomorrow, a week later, Friday was walking up the O2, which went ahead and was great, Saturday was going to be going on The Rage in the morning, but my side was hurting and I didn’t want to make it any worse, so has been put back a week or so or until after our holiday, but I will do it. Go-karting in the afternoon, the same side was hurting so that has been put back until next month, and then the meal at The Magic Mushroom, a very nice restaurant, in the evening. A really busy day and then the whole of Sunday relaxing.

Thursday was going to be the results from my last scan in September, but I received a letter saying it had been put back a week until the 17th, no idea why but I imagine it’s still feeling the effect of my oncologist just packing it in with no notice, and leaving them with no oncologist, a lot of appointments must of been cancelled and so they could be still trying to fit people in, to get back on track. Friday and at 9.40ish Davey is in the car with Lib and Chris, waiting for us to get down to them, and very soon we’re on our way, down the A13 to the Blackwall Tunnel, turn off and we’re here at The Peninsular for the O2, park up into the start for our climb of K2, I’ve looked it up and K2 is “a savage mountain that tries to kill you,” and harder to climb than Everest. Hang on, we’re at the O2 not K2, sorry. Go to reception and we have to fill our forms out, ‘if you fall off, it’s your fault.’ All signed and filled out, but a quick trip to Tesco for a few snacks, as we’re early we’ve got plenty of time.

“Hello, I’m your instructor, and I’ll just put this film on for you to watch, then we’ll go through the safety equipment, ok.” We watch the short film, and I keep my hand down when he asks “are there any illnesses I should know about?” We have a choice of overalls, summer style, a jacket or winter style a set of overalls, it’s a bit rainy today so the winter overalls it is. We have a good laugh with Sonia when she has her overalls on, she has a pair on for someone who’s six foot six, and Sonia is five foot four, her legs look about a foot long, like your looking at yourselves in a wobbly mirror in the ‘Hall of Mirrors’ at a fairground. We all had a good laugh, but the harness you wear put everything where it should be, and Sonia was able to walk normally with the harness in place. You put your shoes, bags and wallets in a box, then these are secured and taken to the other side where we descend the dome back to solid ground. We’re issued our lanyards with the thing (very technical term covering most technical things) that attaches to the cable to keep you attached all the way up to prevent falling off, useful bit of kit. As we go up the the stairs to the start of the climb, a few quick photos, and we have our final instructions, you have to hold the thing all the time or it’ll stop, preventing you ending up where you began, at the bottom.

The ‘Thing’ that keeps you attached to the cable.

And we’re off, holding our thing at the right angle to get past each of the posts and pulling yourself up with the other hand, this first part is really steep, but the trainers they give you are gripping quite well. I’m feeling quite good going up here, really pleased with myself, we’re all doing well. As you get up to each section it gets slightly less steep, levelling out on the top. As we get near the top at the viewing area, there are the climbers from the earlier climb still looking at the views, but we get told to “go back, you should never lose sight of your instructor!” Ok, we go back a little way and wait, but we’ve shot up here and left the rest miles behind, good job it wasn’t K2 we tried to climb, we’d be lost now. The rest catch up and the instructor tells us a little about the view from here, and it is a great view, “If you look over there, you can see the UK’s smallest lighthouse, where the River Lea meets the River Thames, oh yeah I can see it now. It’s cloudy and a bit rainy but the view is amazing, I love this sort of thing. You can see the City Airport and the planes taking off, then they disappear in the clouds but you know they’re there because you can hear them almost going overhead and on to wherever they’re going, lucky sods.

The ‘Thing’ in action, very clever bit of kit.

We get on the viewing platform and the whole 360 degrees view is visible now and it is great. Some people are having a glass of champagne, got to hold onto it though as it’s really windy up here, glad we chose the overalls. We have loads of photos on the top, and a few ‘f**k you cancer’ are said. Today marks a year since I was told ‘You have an average of a year to live!’ And we were hoping to of had my latest results and then celebrated like a bunch of madmen, but there’s always next week or after the next scan. As our time is up on the viewing platform we start to make our descent from the summit, nice and easy at first but it’s getting steeper, and the last section we’re told to wait until we’re all there, and we’ll have to go down backwards as it’s raining and can be slippery. Now this is steep and slow going, but we all make it and safely back to solid ground, we hand in our ‘thing’ then the overalls and shoes, and get our boxes from the locked trunk, but one couple are standing there with no shoes and wondering where their box is, “You did hand it in didn’t you?” “Err umm I just left it there I thought you got them.” But panic over and they were in the first trunk, they just didn’t see them, would be a panic if you ended up shoeless, but wallets and keys are in there too, aaarrrhh. This has been a really good day and a great way to celebrate still being here a year on. Oncologist -0 Dave and family -1.

Saturday was planned to be a very busy day, but with my side still hurting and definately getting better I didn’t want to make it worse, especially as we’re on holiday at the end of the month, so the ride on The Rage is postponed for a week or so or maybe even after the holiday. I stayed in Saturday, Sonia had gone out for a walk, so I thought it best to cancel the go-karting as well, as this would put alot of pressure on my side, I phoned my daughter Lib, and she got it moved to next month, so luckily we didn’t lose out, just got to wait a month or so. Now it’s just the meal out tonight, I like going out but I could quite happily just stay in tonight. But I’d better make an effort as everyone is coming, it’s not till 21.00, we’re going round to Libs at 19.30 to see Tom, rather than just speaking to him from the opposite end of a big table. Get all dressed up and ready to go, “we’ll go in ten minutes or so,” said Sonia. “Oh come on we’ll go now,” “give it minute.” “Right can we go now?”

Me getting ready, how should I have my hair, long or short?

Surprise!!!

What the hell??? Eh, Chris is at the door and Jess with streamers, Colin is on the stairs, and I’m in shock, I had no idea about this, I did suspect on my birthday they were planning something, but nothing happened, and I just left it. The bastards, and look how packed this house is, who are they all? As we parked on Libs driveway, I thought someones having a party around here, but I couldn’t hear anything, there was cars everywhere. My Mum appears with a big smile, my sons Davey and Tom, gits, f**kin hell my sister Nesta and Stewart, and she’s come from Switzerland, oh no they’re back in England now, on their narrowboat, my brother Gwyn and Jan, then I spot my other sister Ceri and her daughter Reniece, OMG that’s Lyn, Richards wife, I’ve never met her, but recognise her from Facebook. Jason and his wife. Aaarrrhh Tony and his wife Sarah, my good friend from work, how did they get in touch with these people, crafty sods. Sonia’s brother Terry and Christine with all their family. Carl and Dawn, “but you came round a week ago, so you knew then?” Big smiles while they nod, bastards. The last surprise party I had, our eldest grandchild Jess happily told me,”we haven’t been doing anything today granddad,” to lots of ssshhh’s from Lib and Sonia. But not this time. More of Libs and Daveys friends to say hi to, we’ve seen some of these grow up from young children, so it’s nice to see them all. You big bunch of f**kin bastards!!! It is really weird knowing that something is going on then you find out that you are the only one that has no idea it was happening, especially when your married to and have a daughter who are 2 of the worlds worst liars.

It takes ages to get around and say hello to everyone, and then I’m given a few bits, a card from my Dad, and I also get a t-shirt, which is the icing on the cake. My son Tom has started to print t-shirts, and this is a great shirt, exactly what I want, it says ‘Nice try cancer, but I’m still here’ on the front, and on the back it has ‘dontbeafraidoflungcancer.life’, where have I seen that before? I have to wear this now I love it. After calling everyone bastards or bitches, we can get on and party now. This has been christened the ‘F**k you cancer! party’, and it’s on a sheet on the wall, then the opposite wall, a garland, in letters that would normally say ‘happy christmas’ but this time more ‘f**k you cancer’, the funny part of this is that there was a guest book, and my granddaughters Jess and Ellie went around and got people to write positive messages in it, and on the front it said, obviously, ‘f**k you cancer’, but this was written by Jess, Jess is 10 and she never swears, and it took her over five minutes for her to write these four letters, interrupted by huge bursts of laughter, and “it’s ok Jess, you can write it this time, but not anymore,” followed by lots more laughter. Another thing I must mention is that on the telly in the front room, they had a video on repeat, and it was lots of photos of me, but this was put together on PowerPoint by our very clever 10 year old granddaughter Jess, and she did it all by herself, and you can see her handy work here and it is great, so thank you Jess I love it. https://youtu.be/EwGQcaToAfE ‘cancer partyu powerpoint’.

As the night goes on everyone is having a great time, then the ‘Conga’ comes on and we’re forming a line and going through the house in the garden then back in the house, so much fun. Some friends from work have come tonight but are working early tomorrow so can’t stay for long, but it has been great seeing them, and really appriciate them making the effort for me. Richard and Lyn are leaving and these are lovely people, I raise money for their charity ‘Clowns in the Sky’, to help children with their hospital treatment for brain tumours across the country. And we’re looking forward to their ‘Winter Ball’, in Dec, you can find out more at clownsinthesky.org . So nice to see them and such a surprise too, I’ve spoken to some others on facebook who didn’t make it but were invited, but they never let it slip either. I’m very impressed.

As the night wears on and it’s getting late, it’s time for us to go, but one last photo, and I try to get Jess to stand in front of the sheet with me and stick her fingers up, but she won’t, in a few years it’ll proberbly be hard to stop her. But today has been fantastic, so nice of everyone to make the effort. I’ve felt a bit emotional a few times tonight, and very humbled by so many just wanting to say ‘good luck to you’ and carry on fighting. And I love my t-shirt ‘Nice try cancer, but I’m still here’ and with, well you know whats on the back, I’m going to sleep so well tonight and this was so much better than a meal, even if it was at the Magic Mushroom. So a huge thank you to so many people for tonight, to my wonderful wife Sonia, even though she did a lot of crafty things, and I never noticed, to Lib and Chris for having the party at their house, and organising so much of it, to Davey and all his friends, Tom and Chloe for the t-shirt, Leo, my Dad couldn’t make it but sent a card, my Mum, and to everyone that made the effort to come tonight, I really can’t thank you all enough. That’s it for now goodnight and thank you for taking the time to read my blog, and see you again soon, the answer to the last blogs quiz question was – Adam Ant with ‘goody two shoes’, takes you back doesn’t it. Take care and 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!