Tag Archives: radiotherapy

All Ways Look On The Bright Side Of Life!

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!

I love this quote from Bruce Lee, and is at the beginning and end of my book, a great reminder of a great attitude to anything, especially cancer.

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!

#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.