Tag Archives: ct scan

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!

An Amazing Week of Swimming

Well this week has been ground breaking in the swimming world, more specifically the English Channel, and to finish this amazing week, I’m swimming a mile in the Swim Serpentine event in Londons Hyde Park. For me this is a real milestone, as last year I was unable to swim because I’d just been in hospital with breathing difficulties, I couldn’t breathe in a full breath, only half a breath. As breathing is quite important in swimming a mile, and in 15c water, I knew it was best to give this swim a miss this year, especially as we didn’t know what was wrong with me yet, that made me more determined to swim it again this year. After five days in hospital and numerous tests and scans, on the 26th September 2018, I was diagnosed with lung cancer, by my lung specialist consultant. After a PET scan and bone scan, I then met my oncologist for the first time, and thinking this was just to be told about what treatment I’d be having, my wife Sonia and me were told I had terminal cancer and would have an average of a year left to live. Well what does he know! He doesn’t know me. Ask me to do something and I’ll do it, no problem. Tell me to do it and that’s a different story. I’m a quiet polite sort of person and like to be treated the same in return, so when someone tells me I will be dying, to be polite, he can go f**k himself. I should thank him for being the way he was with me, it was like he had got immune to human emotion, and almost got off on it that people would break down and cry at his words. But I didn’t, I smiled at him, as I didn’t believe in any way that I was so ill that I was going t die from this. So thank you doctor. It makes me wonder that if he had been nice and sympathetic I might of believed him and things could be so different today, maybe a picture on the wall for family to remember me by. But no, today I’m getting ready for Swim Serpentine tomorrow. My start time is 16.05, come and say hi if your there.

I love swimming, I just love being in the water, whether I’m swimming lengths or just mucking about, I love it. But could I spend 54 hours in it none stop, well that is another level, way way above me, that is almost comparable to Ross Edgley and his amazing swim around the coast of the Great Britain, 1780 miles, swimming for six hours then six hours off, non stop for 157 days. Absolutely unbelievably amazing. And then we have Sarah Thomas swimming 130 miles, it’s eighty miles as the crow flies, but crows don’t have currents and tides to deal with so it was 130 miles roughly, again absolutely unbelievably amazing. And I’ll be swimming a mile in hopefully under an hour tomorrow. I feel a bit of a wimp next to these two, I take my hat off to anyone who swims the English Channel or just attempt it. I follow a lot of swimmers on facebook, and they say so and so has just completed their swim in 13-14 hours, and I think how could you swim for that long, it really is amazing. But then to come along and try it four times. I think it was last year that someone attempted to swim the channel four times, but had to abort on the third crossing, that is still an amazing achievement, in the sea with waves, the tides, jelly fish, I don’t know how they do it, but would love to attempt it myself one day, you notice no solid commitment there. But I would like to one day, first as part of a relay team, and eventually as a solo swimmer. Lots more training required.

Sarah Thomas as she begins her amazing swim of the English Channel. Four times, there back there back.

Sarah Thomas is an American, from Colorado, and what makes this special for me as well as the fact she swam the Channel four times, Sarah is a cancer surviver, last year Sarah was treated for breast cancer. Sarah used swimming as a way of coping with what was going on in her life at the time. Swimming is so good for you, in so many ways it can help you, it’s relaxing, meditative, keeps you fit, fun, good for the soul, and you can smash world records on a good swim, just like Sarah Thomas. Her name will long be remembered for her amazing crossings of the Channel, and that’s not all she has done, Sarah only holds the world records for the first over a hundred mile swim with no tide or current, and unassisted, in Lake Champlain, only 104 miles this time, and there’s also so many marathon swims she has done, so amazing, and Sarah kept herself going through cancer treatment last year by swimming as much as possible. It should be the law that everyone should swim as it has so many benefits to it. The world would be a much better place if everyone was a swimmer, you wouldn’t have to be a marathon swimmer to benefit, just being in the water is enough, any movements you do has the resistance of the water and is a good gentle excercise.

my ‘F**k You to cancer’ swim in April at Southend on Sea, water was a lovely 9.4c.

I’ll let you know how I get on with my one mile swim, no sniggering please. For me this is a personal challenge, as I said last year I couldn’t do this swim as I was ill, but know I’m ready to take on this event, and to beat my time of 54 minutes two years ago, I’m hoping to beat it but not expecting to be much quicker. Expect nothing and you’ll never be disappointed. But I’ll be really happy if I do. I ran the London 10k in July and beat my time of 1 hour 22 mins in last years race by seven minutes, I was so happy with that and got a bit emotional at the end, because I’d done it, and cancer wanted to stop me doing these things I love doing, better luck next time cancer. I had a swim in April in Southend on Sea, water was 9.4c, and was my first swim in the sea after my treatment, and was named my ‘F**k You to cancer’ swim, I didn’t have any swimming trunks with me, and only a buff, (neck scarf) to dry myself with, but the water was too inviting, I couldn’t resist. If your going to Swim Serpentine tomorrow, have a great swim or enjoy watching the swimmers, and you’ll love the hot tubs at the end, a great way to finish a great swim, they’re provided by South East Hot Tubs, and being assisted by Essex Portable Hot Tubs, my son in law Chris and my eldest son Davey, sorry couldn’t help but get that in, say hi to them or to me, I’ll be having my swim at 16.05, and aiming to be in a hot tub by 17.00, I have my three monthly scan in the morning at 11.15 so won’t be at Hyde Park until 13.30-14.30. Take care and go for a swim, and thank you for taking the time to read my blog, it is appreciated, and see you soon with news of my swim, thanks again and Don’t be afraid of lung cancer.