The Relationship Of Fear And Cancer

The Relationship Of Fear And Cancer

This week’s post is prompted by two very different communications I have had recently. The first was with a friend of mine in America, ( Rick Boulay) who is an oncologist and sent me a copy of a recent presentation he did, talking about how the emotion of fear can in fact inhibit our recovery. This is something I have always been aware of, but when I listened to the presentation there was such clear medical evidence as to why this is so, and it felt very credible coming from a senior clinician in this way. But secondly and probably more impactful, I met a man who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, had surgery and been given the ‘all clear,’ but psychologically felt unable to resume his life. He had taken

The Real Value In Cancer Blogging

The Real Value In Cancer Blogging

There are times, when I struggle to believe my own life now. Since cancer took over, I have a totally new way of living, planning very little and seeing what life throws at me next, and it is not all bad either! Of course my health is not good but I have been able to paper over those cracks, with the support work and writing that I do. Several years ago, when it was suggested that I write a blog, I was sceptical. Who would read it and what would I get out of it? Now it dominates my life, wherever I go people ask me about it, and on social media it is shared frequently. I am now contacted daily by people who want to know more about what

Work After Cancer, What’s Your Experience?

Work After Cancer, What's Your Experience?

Last week I asked the question “What is ‘living well’ after cancer? and I got many responses from people who were obviously finding it extremely hard to do just that, after a cancer diagnosis. One of the biggest reasons we struggle, is the financial impact that cancer can have on our lives. This has had a massive effect in my own life, but I am contacted almost daily with people having problems either maintaining their current work, or finding employment of any description that fits their new needs. It is not just the financial element of work that it is important, but the feeling of self worth, that comes with regular employment, being part of a team, and contributing to something. But think of this situation logically for a moment, dealing

What Is ‘Living Well’ After Cancer?

What Is 'Living Well' After Cancer?

This week I have been invited to write a piece to coincide with the ‘It’s Time To Choose’ campaign that Macmillan Cancer Support are currently running. It is designed to make improving cancer services a priority at the next election, and given the fact that by 2016 there will be a thousand people diagnosed daily, this is something that is important for all of us! All the aspects of the campaign are important, but I have chosen to focus on ‘Living Well.’ Back in 2007 when I was originally diagnosed with an incurable blood cancer, it was then more about just staying alive. My prognosis was poor, and I was originally given only six months to live. However I was given a successful stem cell transplant and although still very sick for some

Am I Really So Fragile?

Am I Really So Fragile?

I have spent the last six years, making a lot of ‘noise’ about cancer and it’s issues. It has been a mentally and physically demanding time, and on reflection I don’t know how I have managed to do all the things I have. If I was in perfect health I would consider it a great achievement, but you see there is my problem! Where my cancer support work is involved, I seem to have a ‘blackout’ about my own health problems. I can only remember the really healthy guy that I used to be before my illness. My wife and clinicians are constantly reminding me that I need to be careful, and less generous with my time, but of course, I rarely listen and when the opportunity to help someone

What Is Normal Now?

What Is Normal Now?

This week brought me a fresh dose of reality when I had another two days of my regular treatment. It has been six weeks since my last session, as we slowly look to stop this regime, which has continued for nearly three years. I have had more than two years of fortnightly sessions which has now had the optimum effect and we need to slowly stop it and then see if my body is finally clear of graft v host disease (rejection issues.) Slowing sessions has enabled me to have more personal time, and my health has been good, so I was starting to forget about my issues for a bit. I have been able to do lots of exciting things in relation to my work, so my mind has been

Do You Know Your Limits?

Do You Know Your Limits?

This week I have been absolutely consumed by my work, the highlight being my session working with health professionals at St Georges Hospital in London. I was really delighted to be invited to attend some training days and help the staff understand better some of the psychological and emotional issues that people affected by cancer may face. It was a very lively session that we all learned from, and there were several suggestions that came from it, that hopefully may be introduced in the future. I have been working towards improving communication channels between patients and professionals, and although it has taken a long time I can see that we are heading in the right direction. All of this has made me think that my own plan was to stop all

Do We Need More Diversity In Support?

Do We Need More Diversity In Support?

As always after a conference, the following few weeks are busy. People getting in touch who have found my work for the first time, and others looking to arrange more talks. These days it is not only what happens behind the scenes but also the contact through all of my social media channels. My website gets more readers, and people want to contact me through Twitter and Facebook too. For large presentations I estimate one month of work. Two weeks to prepare and present, then two weeks to deal with the work afterwards. I am not complaining at all, and am only too happy that people want to learn from my story. This week I am going to throw open the question of inclusion and diversity within cancer support. It is a subject