I am a 51-year-old man, married with two boys of 21 and 17. My wife and I have been through a lot over the last 23 years together, experiencing the highs and lows of life. She has been there for me every step of the way and continues to be upbeat, loving, caring and supportive as we face this difficult challenge. My eldest son is at Loughborough University, my youngest at college doing his A levels. They are the light of my life and make me so proud as they make their way in the world. I have a sister, six years younger than me, who is married with children, a boy and a girl. She has been so supportive, acting as my guide, advisor, and councillor, providing help in any way she can. I still have my 83-year-old Dad but sadly lost my Mum 15 years ago to breast cancer. My Dad continues to go out of his way to do whatever he can to help, often making his way to my place on his beloved train network to see me and his grand kids. We all live in the same area, so I am lucky enough to see a great deal of my family.
I’m blessed to have a fantastic group of friends, most of whom I’ve known for over 30 years, some for over 40, and still see them all today, regularly. It’s so important to have them around: life would be unbearable without the constant banter, abuse, and laughter. My close pals all find their own ways to deal with me, all of them different – men aren’t the best emotional communicators sometimes. We tend to get the “how are you” conversation done as quickly as possible, and then just get on with our time together. The normality is a Godsend.
I’ve always worked, having been in the commercial side of the IT business since I was 21 years old, and had a wonderful career, working with some great companies, including my own, and with some great people. The hard work has afforded me an ok life from a financial perspective and meant I’ve been able to take out a number of insurance policies that, with hindsight, was money well spent. I’ve had a critical illness pay-out, and I have some income protection moving forward. Most importantly I have private medical insurance, so nothing is ever a problem when it comes to treatment. I’m on a number of cancer forums and my heart breaks when I see people suffering from this terrible disease, and then having to face challenges where they cannot receive the medicine they so desperately need due to financial issues.
This story and the accompanying website information, video’s and social media activity is simply an insight into how I try and live and thrive with this terrible disease, and I hope can give some help to others going through the same crap as me.
How do you try and cram what should be 30 or so years of life, into what might only be 2 or 3?
My video journey so far can be found on my YouTube channel.
It is difficult to find adjectives that do justice to the turmoil in my life during September October, November and December of 2018. Life has been tough enough for our family while dealing with my situation, but when you consider the emotional challenges created through the death of someone so important to our family, our…Read More
“What the hell am I doing”, “what on earth was I thinking” the thoughts just keep repeating over and over as I try and get some overdue shut-eye while trying to get comfortable in an Airbus A320 at 35,000 feet. I’m on the second leg of my journey, on a Qatar Air flight from Doha…Read More
Hard to describe – when I walked out of the airport it felt like I had arrived in a very large ski resort somewhere in Asia – its high up, its cold, there are mountains. But that’s where the similarities end; Kathmandu is vibrant, chaotic, and colourful. Loud, dirty, and poor. It simply overwhelms the…Read More
The monastery has a “gompa”; a place in which Buddhists carry out their worship, prayer, and meditation. The Guru teaches here every Saturday, supported by the two resident Monks. It’s a humbling place, peaceful, yet powerful on a spiritual level. I am taught to meditate the “Tibetan” way and discuss my illness and the meaning…Read More
Plans are starting to form in my head. I came to find a little Eastern promise and I’m keen to immerse myself as much as possible. So, I’m going to go a step further, and decide to book myself on a six-day meditation course at The Kopan Monastery. But first I need some heat. I’ve…Read More
Pokhara is 200m lower that Kathmandu, and therefore warmer. I’m staying in a nice hotel which requires arrival by canoe since it’s on an island on a lake. My room has heating, a shower, and a mattress more than an inch thick. I’m very happy. I’m on my own now so I organise to take…Read More
The bell rings at 06:30 and the group of approximately forty students congregate in the large Gompa. We are a mix of ages, races, colours and creeds from all over the planet. Our teacher, a sixty-year-old Australian born, robe wearing, shaven headed, Buddhist Nun is simply wonderful. She teaches with such passion, wisdom, and humour,…Read More
Silence is golden, as the saying goes. And its true. Every day we are in silence from 10pm until after lunch the following day with the last two days being in total silence. This is strange. Try sitting at a table with five others eating a meal, and not uttering a word. It’s harder than…Read More
Sadly, the time has come to leave this amazing country which has afforded me such kindness and compassion, in such a short time. The people I have met have all moved me emotionally in ways I could have never imagined, and I will be forever grateful for the time I have spent with them. My…Read More