The last month has been both one of the most frustrating and one of the best months I’ve had in a while. Some things have gone my way and I’ve been quite contempt, but some things persist on challenging me – both physically and mentally.
WHAT I’VE BEEN UP TO
HOLIDAY – VIVA LA FRANCE
When you think of France, you probably think of men with over exaggerated moustaches in striped sailors T shirts sipping wine underneath the blistering sun. Well, funny enough, I did see a few moustaches, though not many striped T shirts (not that I’m complaining)
Last week I returned from a well-deserved break in the south of moustache land – or France as it’s more formally known. It was the space and break I was in much need of. The calm to the storm that’s been my life for the past 22 months. It was hot – most days were in the mid-twenties, which served to preserve my dry, grainy, chemotherapy damaged skin. I even got a little bit of colour back, so I don’t particularly look like Casper the one legged ghost anymore. All in all, I had a good time, and I’m looking forward to writing about my trip to France over the coming weeks.
Anyone who knows me knows I can talk forever – you only have to look at some of my Facebook videos to see that. I’m particularly good at arguing about politics and my own health, so I quite fancy taking on Jeremy Hunt one day.
Joking aside, back in August, I got another taste of public speaking. This time at a fundraiser an old friend of mine, Melissa Cathcart, had kindly arranged for me at The World of Glass, St Helens. As it was more of a mixed audience, we opted for a more relaxed Q and A type of delivery. With the help my new friend Simon Hallam, who is a public talker by profession (also a southerner…from the midlands), I think I did okay and got my storey across well. In conclusion I found it quite exciting – therapeutic almost – to put my storey out there and to hopefully show people just what you can do in times of adversity. It’s something I want to do more of in the future, and who knows where it could take me. I’m looking forward to my next one next month.
Earlier this week I retuned from 5 years out of education. My new venture is prosthetics – something I’d thought long and hard about for a good few months. After playing witness to the frontline of the NHS, I decided construction wasn’t for me. Being cared for so much by every single one of my teams convinced me that the NHS is the jewel in the crown of British public services – and consequently, I figured, a good place to work.
My new career aim in life is to help others the way I was helped – and continue to be helped when facing challenges such as learning to walk again.
I now face 1 year in St Helens College studying health sciences and then a further 3 years at Salford University studying prosthetics and orthotics.
As most who follow my blog will know, I’m around 8 weeks post op now from my lung surgery back in July. Things in that area have been going pretty well- sterling in fact – and I’m making a steady, sustained recovery back into normal activities. Results from my operation and showed that the tumour removed was around 14mm in diameter and consisted with that of a secondary Osteosarcoma tumour. All other areas of the removed lung were clear and contained no other tumours – good news for once. No further treatment is planned at this point and my normal surveillance routine has been stepped up to chest CT scans – as a pose to X rays – every few months.
A question I get asked a lot is ‘’will you be having scans more often now then?’’. The simple answer is, as much as I’d love to have scans all the time to make sure that I’m safe, too much radiation from such scans can actually cause cancer, so it’s a very fine line.
My battle scars have now healed and my pain has settled. Unfortunately though, as I’ve learnt throughout my cancer journey, when one problem fades away into the foggy past, another arises up from nowhere and bites you on the arse. Which leads me onto my next point…
Over the last few weeks I’ve been having issues with my stump. Though I’ve not really shared much of what’s going on currently – things aren’t looking very good on that front. Last year I had a massive issue with muscle tearing away from the end of the bone and subsequently creating a bursa (a sack of fluid) on the end of my stump. It went on for months and it was one of the most painful and gruelling experiences I’ve ever been through. In the end, I ended up having a major reconstruction of the stump down in Birmingham, at the Royal Orthopaedic hospital.
Now, In September 2017, it seems a similar problem is on the horizon, looking down on my waiting for the right moment to pounce. Through investigations that took place after being diagnosed again in July, a small bursa was discovered on the end of my stump and a mystery shadow inside the bone near the neck of the femur. At first the small bursa was asymptomatic – meaning it wasn’t giving me any trouble. But more recently, pain has returned prompting me to take it easy with the walking over the few days or so.
I met with my surgical team down in Birmingham earlier this month as to what this mystery shadow is inside the femur. From their reckoning, it’s not likely to be a tumour, and they’re that confident that they don’t even want to biopsy it. Good news in some respects, but what is it? Well, we don’t really know. It’s more than likely to be some sort of fluid build-up inside the bone and we’re working to try to establish just exactly what it is and what’s caused the little bugger.
In conclusion, it’s been an action packed few weeks. As series of ups and downs have made things very interesting and tense. Though just as I always have done though, I’ll keep pushing on. Nothing can beat positive spirit, and I’ll run to the hills to prove it if I have to.
Just to add, there’s still space left in my charity golf day this coming Friday 22nd September if anyone would like to play. Click here for more info…