Monday, May 18, 2015

10 years tomorrow - keep attacking - FORZA FEZ

I am sitting at home in my cottage after running and playing Touch Rugby this evening I looked at the date and remembered tomorrow is 10 years to the day I was told I had cancer. It still catches up with you still sneaks up behind you and reminds you.

Tomorrow I will be getting up at 0500 and catching a train to work, this rugby season I have refereed 68 rugby matches and led a fairly active life despite the fact I only have half a neck.  There is so much life after cancer.

I re-read my blog at times like these and I still get emails of people who read the blog and find it informative and explains their treatment and journey ahead.  It helps them understand what a neck dissection is, what radiotherapy can do to you internally as well externally and I hope most of all it allows hope to those in treatment that there is a chance that you can live a fairly normal life.

Ten days ago I was proud to raise with the rugby family £700 plus pounds for FORCE,   In May 2005 I wrote about FORCE,  whilst re-reading the postings this evening I have even more respect for the work they do 10 years on.  I have posted some below and the Iraq war seems such a long time ago now, as I clearly make a comment alluding to it.

If you want to know what living post cancer is, well it is raising even more money for FORCE in 2 months time as the FEZ BAND Tag rugby feztival takes place.

My comments on the wonderful FORCE Centre 10 years ago.

Today is support day, I have contacted FORCE a cancer charity in Exeter who have just opened a fantastic charity support centre in the grounds of the RD&E hospital at a cost of �G900k raised by local charities, yes local charities. I must admit there is something obsence about a country that spends �G3 billion pounds removing a ruler of a country under a false and illegal premise, but forces charities to raise funds for health support services that should of been provided out of the �G3 billion pounds. Sorry being political but the point I make is a no brainer when you consider this week a 9 year old died in Great Ormond Street Hospital because there were no funds available!

I am off to the FORCE relaxation therapy session tomorrow, 12-1 which I am looking forward to, and on hand there are counsellors and complimentary therapies which alas there is a waiting list but at least I am on the bus and with a ticket.

It is day 5, a short post this morning because I have lots a nice chilled things to do, including my relaxation class this morning at the FORCE centre. I am looking forward to my visit there as I will be in a place that understands me and my illness and I suppose a feeling of safety,

Well today was relaxation class and tonight an aromotherapy massage, I love the smell, the pampering and of course the feeling of wow afterwards just right for a warm summers evening. The sea breeze is very welcome this time of year something which I never mention.

The one thought of today was at the FORCE centre, an old boy would say late 70s struggled in on sticks flopped down in the big brother chair that I love. The old brave boy looked at me and said "I have one of these coming from Hospice care and you have to pay for delivery/collection on delivery, for obvious reasons" There was a stunned silence, what can you say to that when they deliver the chair they collect the rent now because a dead man cannot pay a bill!

I would most proberly say that has been the most moving experience I have ever had in my life, that brave guy knowing he was dying, knowing he was paying for the collection of his chair as he will not be around to settle the invoice. It brings it home to you that we do not have an infinite amount of time on this earth and some of us more finite than others.

Tomorrow is a massive day in my little World, Emma and more aromotherapy at the FORCE centre, followed by my pre ward visit for Chemo to Yeo ward, followed by the setting and positioning with that horrid mask on which sees me strapped in so they can position and mark me when they fire the radiotherapy bullets next week. I think tomorrow will be a defining day in my life in how I deal with the next 7 weeks, watch this space tomorrow.

Keep attacking

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

10 years today - I found a lump

10 years ago about this time I was on the train to Cheltenham Festival to meet John Dolan and Hilary Roberts.  I took my seat on the train, put my left arm on the window side and propped my neck up with my left arm and then the next 10 years was set.  My left hand resting on my neck I felt the lump that would change my life.

That lump crafted 8 months of brutal treatment and 9 years of side effects which leaves me less abled on my left side of my neck and partly deaf, but it does not stop me living life.

Cancer has not defined me in the last 10 years, but has given me the opportunity to live my life for me and not for others.  I have refereed 62 rugby matches this season to date, play Touch Rugby, and fitter now than anytime I have been in the last 20 years.

I wrote this blog when I was first diagnosed as I could not speak and felt it important to let others know how the treatment of mouth cancer takes it course.

This blog has helped many coming to terms with head and neck cancer and understand the challenges ahead.

I hope now 10 years on that you realise that Cancer is not a life sentence, but life itself is the sentence whereby we all have to face our own demise sometime in the future.

10 years on I live a healthy life, lots of exercise, support and sometimes a bit of challenges because of my lack of a proper neck and muscle structure, but head and cancer can be a challenge that you overcome and live a happy content life ten years after finding that dreaded lump.

So if you are reading this on the start of your cancer journey fear not it is part of the roller coaster of life.

Keep attacking.