“I’m Fine”

"I'm Fine"

As most of you know well, my own health can be very unreliable, and if I’m honest it is something I get fed up with talking about in a social setting. Unfortunately the fact is that I will never have normal health now, and will always be reliant on hospital care at some stage, and this post is prompted by some conversations I have had recently whilst doing my support work. When meeting people for the first time it is usual to explain what connection you have with cancer, to help you understand their experience. This I have done, which has prompted numerous conversations later about how no one would know what I have been through and how well I look. Everyone is very kind and well meaning, and actually

You Are Beautiful!

You Are Beautiful!

Getting older and watching nature take it’s course is one thing, but being diagnosed with cancer and seeing your body change in front of your eyes is quite something else! I tried to pretend I wasn’t bothered about it, but inside I was hurting like mad. Even as I had just turned fifty I still took a pride in my appearance, did my best to keep my weight under control and was lucky to have a good head of hair. I attempted to dress appropriately and would have liked to think I could have still turned the odd head, and I guess we would all like to think we could do that? Actually I was quite shocked at how much my appearance meant to me, even at my age. Firstly my hair came

What Are Your Online Boundaries?

What Are Your Online Boundaries?

In recent weeks I have had to cut back on a lot of my work, as my immune system was showing signs of creaking. Several infections and constant tiredness meant that yet again I would have to physically rest up to enable myself to re charge. This is nothing new, but is becoming more frequent, and very frustrating. As in my working life it seems I function much better when there is little time for thinking. Decisions seem to be made quickly and correctly, but with time to think things are very different. I sit and analyse things, weighing up the pros and cons and quickly become indecisive, the very opposite of what I have always been! So with plenty of thinking time, I started to look at the things I

When All Else Fails?

When All Else Fails?

In many respects I have been fortunate with my own cancer treatment. I was given a clear treatment plan, and although it involved extremely aggressive toxic drugs and a stem cell transplant, my body tolerated what was thrown at it, and the cancer is incredibly still in remission. However I have been unable to lead a normal life, as this treatment has led to many health complications, and that is the price I have had to pay. But what if the standard treatment had failed? Mantle Cell Lymphoma is a rare aggressive blood cancer and although treatments have improved in recent years, they are still limited. I guess I would have to step outside the system if all else failed. As a patient I have become closeted inside the healthcare regime that looks

The Cancer Pendulum

The Cancer Pendulum

The fact that this year was the first since my diagnosis where there was no physical treatment planned for me, started to blind me from my own fragility I think. My eternal optimism dragged me into 2015 with the thought that  I had suddenly got better! Maybe it is how the person feels who when lost in the desert, continually sees an oasis? When I am away from the hospital, my mind will not accept how weak my body has become, in fact the recent sunshine makes things even worse as I am beginning to believe that I will be sitting on a far flung beach sometime soon. Thankfully I still have a pretty hectic social life, and of course my support work keeps me as busy as I want to be,

How Can I Help?

How Can I Help?

My own diagnosis of cancer back in 2007 unfortunately wasn’t my first close experience of this terrible disease. More than twenty years ago, my mother had breast cancer, and has managed to survive, but my father died of bowel cancer several years ago. Statistics currently show that one in three of us are affected by cancer now, with that figure rising to one in two by 2020! Put that into perspective for a minute, half your friends and family will be affected by cancer, a quite shocking thought. Thankfully, cancer is spoken about much more openly now, certainly more than it was in my mum’s day. I remember very clearly that she did not want to tell people she had the ‘big c.’ But let’s be honest, it is still a very awkward subject to

There Must Always Be Hope!

There Must Always Be Hope!

I was always aware that this year was going to be a big one for me and my family, and I am seeing so many important things I never thought I would live to see, and none more so than my youngest son getting married this weekend. Since my cancer diagnosis and poor prognosis in 2007, living to see 2008 was my ambition, but since then I have two grandchildren, my son has qualified as a chartered accountant and is now getting married and my wife has a big birthday later in the year.  But if I think back to the many dark days I have had in the last few years, I could never have thought that I would be seeing these events. But hope is something I never lost

What Works In Cancer Communication?

What Works In Cancer Communication?

 The start to my year has been incredibly interesting, and I have been contacted by many different areas of the cancer sector. From large corporate health companies, PR organisations and charities, to private doctors, the mix has been extremely diverse, but there has been a common theme so far, and that is communication. How to better engage with people about cancer? I think we are now beginning to learn that because we have followers, subscribers, likes etc  for our social media platforms, it does not necessarily guarantee proper engagement.  Unless you communicate in an interesting way, then why will people interact with you? This is something that I have always been aware of whilst talking and writing in the cancer market, and was brought home to me by a recent conversation I had after doing an

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