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Living Well

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Last week the family travelled up North to attend the funeral of a family member who has recently died of cancer.

It was a different type of cancer to mine.

He faced it bravely, but in the end it was just too aggressive and too far gone for medicine to have its effect.

It seems that more and more as I live this life, cancer reaches out and gives me a slap on the face - it may be from close up or from further away, but it makes its presence felt.

A number of things have been whirling through my mind as I was thinking about what to include in this blog post. Should I talk about how allowing children to attend funerals, such as they did at this one, is not only a good thing, but also a healthy way of helping them to navigate and deal with living? Should I speak about how cancer survival rates continue to improve, but yet there are still many that don't make it? Should I speak about the power of family and the gentle support that they can provide in difficult times of grief?

I could …

Here we go Again?

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I don't quite know where to begin.

My mind and emotions are all over the place at the moment.

At the outset, let me say that at this point nothing is certain. Nothing has been confirmed.

OK. So for a while (over a year) my wife and I have noticed an unexplained lump on the back of my eldest daughter's neck. Every night when we brush her teeth we have a little check and its there. We think it comes and goes but it has definitely been there for at least the last month.

So today Verity, my wife, took her to the doctors to get it checked out. He confirmed that there was indeed a lump there, an inflamed lymph node. He did some further investigation and found a few more lumps in her groin.

Knowing my history with non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, he has now referred her to the consultant pediatrician at the hospital. So we are waiting and praying.

The finding of lumps in the exact same places where lumps were found on me has brought back some painful memories and has left us fighting bac…

Is Living with Cancer a Battle?

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Last week I sent off a couple of submissions of my draft manuscript that recounts my journey with faith and cancer (Stage 4 non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma) from diagnosis through treatment to remission and beyond.
I am part of a supportive Christian Writer's Group who has quite an active online community. So I just briefly posted in the Facebook Group that I had sent in submissions to publishers and asked for prayer. Someone then asked what the book was about - so as a very brief way of summarising something quite complex in just a few words I said:


This led to someone private messaging me with a question, asking me why I had used the word 'battle' to describe my experience of living with cancer.

I then got a private message from someone else who has sadly been diagnosed with cancer for a second time. She quite rightly questioned my use of the word 'battle'.
This was a very good question!

I replied and explained that in this instance, a quick post of Facebook, I tried…

First Out-Of-Treatment Appointment

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Last week I was back at King's Lynn Hospital, where I have been going for the past 3 or so years for my various cancer related treatments.

However this time was different. I needed to go to the regular Outpatients unit as I have now been discharged from the Hematology Unit.

I was a little unsure of myself - not quite sure where to go or what to do. It turned out I needed a blood test before my appointment, so I had to arrive early to have that done, then wait for my appointment to happen.

There were new nurses and a new doctor, so whereas I knew most people in the other unit, they were all unknown to me.

The appointment went very well. Other than the blood test all it was was a chat. We discussed timescales for when my wife and I could start trying for a third child. He also let us catch a glimpse of the longer term plan in as far as my treatment goes:

I will see him in this clinic once every 6 months for the next 5 years. Then after that I could remain seeing him once a year for…

From Blogger to Author

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Today I found some time to continue a project started too long ago - although a project I feel is important.

I am in the process of writing a book about my journey of living life with faith and cancer. I hope to include some of the insights and details outlined in this blog as well as other things I did not blog about.

I am avoiding the copy-and-paste temptation from the blog, but am re-writing everything so that it fits together as one narrative.

Please pray that I am able to keep focused on this task; that I will be able to find a publisher interested in publishing it; that it will reach millions of people around the world, bringing them hope in a time of despair and light in a place of darkness.

Thank you for your continued support and for continuing to read and comment on this blog. I appreciate it.

Elevating the Conversation around Cancer

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A couple of days ago, on the morning of the 5th September 2018, Rachel Bland passed away peacefully at home almost two years after being diagnosed with cancer.

She was a BBC presenter and her diagnosis prompted her to start a podcast about cancer called 'You Me and the Big C' #YouMeBigC and she also documented her journey on a blog that went on to win some awards.

I must be honest and admit that I hadn't heard of Rachel before news of her death swept across the news cycle. However, I am moved by the way in which she made use of the time she had left.

After my own diagnosis (of cancer), I am very conscious of the time I have left - although I have no idea how long that will be. Like Rachel, I too look to offer what support and comfort I can to those suffering with the disease as well as those family members around them who also suffer but in a different way. My honest and open sharing of what happened to me (as well as what has happened since) I hope will bring understandi…

Ring the Bell!

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It seems I have been going through a lot of 'endings' recently, but entering into new beginnings at the same time.

A few weeks ago, I left a job I had been in for 14 years.

Yesterday saw another ending occur. I had my final top-up treatment session at hospital.

When you first hear the word 'cancer' and you feel as though the whole world is caving in around you, it is very hard to look years ahead into the future to the day when  you are cancer free and your treatment ends - and you get to walk away, pick up the pieces and to continue living this beautiful thing called life.

After walking a long road, I can now say that this particular chapter of my life has ended. A recent PET scan showed that the treatment has been successful and I am cancer-free with no trace of lymphoma in my body. Thank the Lord. Yesterday I got to say goodbye to the very dedicated and caring team of chemo nurses at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn who have been there every step of t…