Thursday, 2 February 2017

Last post.

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Thank you 

I think this is going to be my last blog post.

It is around 2 and a half years ago when I was told I had Pancreatic cancer. Both on a spiritual and physical level, a lot has changed.

One of my first reactions was to desperately seek someone in this dire situation. I went online, and found a french girl who had pancreatic cancer. She had not updated her blog for a couple of months, there was no clue in her writing what she was doing. I sent her an email, she never replied.

I guess she gave me the insperation to write my own blog.  I found it easer to write knowing it was a private blog, this gave me the freedom to write with honesty, and if i was going to be judged, it would not matter as whoever was reading it would not know me anyway. I am not good at spelling, but it was not about my spelling, it was simply about learning how to cope with the situation I was now in. Those early days were very dark, I didn't sleep much and when I did I had to wake up to the cancer shock every day. I am not like that, its now not the first thought I have in a morning anymore.

I never go back and read what I have written in the past. The past few years have been a challenge, we have seemed to have staggered through it, and each time I have tripped, we have done our best to brush ourselves down and just get on with it, and we have do our best to try and learn from each step, there is no reason to looking back, it is this point we are now focusing on. I have really enjoyed writing as it as helped me to get to this point.

I decided to share the blog on Facebook, friends then shared it too, and it went into the search engines. I have met some really lovely people via the blog, from all over the world, and I just want to say, thank you for spending your time, and reading this, it means a lot, and thank you for all your lovely messages. I have really enjoyed it.

Writing has made me think about reading, I don't read much. Years ago I read this book, there was a part of this book that really stuck in my brain, so much, I can almost quote it,  "if you feel you have learnt everything in life then ask yourself this, are you still alive? if the answer is yes, then you haven't learnt everything yet".  Due to the emotional connection I made with the book, I decided to buy it again and re-read it. When I got to the end of the last chapter, it mentioned nothing about learning, and even more stranger, it was a completely different story. I was not sure what shocked me most,  the most important book I have ever read was not the book I thought it was,   or the conclusion that must mean I have actually read two books in my life! - if anyone knows which book this is from, please let me know.

This may sound a bit strange, but there is something good about cancer. I know that some people will find that statement not just controversial, but really offensive.  Even writing it feels highly disturbing for myself, but for me cancer has produced some good life lessons.  Don't get me wrong I wish this was one lesson I didn't have to learn, but I think if you try and get something from any situation, good or bad, then it has less power. Of course I could go on about what cancer as taught me, but that's not just a blog item, that's a book.

I have decided to end this blog as it has done what it was meant to do, to help me accept the situation I am in, and unlike the girl from France, I didn't want it to just end, with a air of mystery. If you have found this blog and you have just found yourself in the same situation, when you look into this type of cancer, and you find out what pancreatic cancer means, remember that everyone is different, and when they tell you or you find out the percentage of survival, don't accept it, challenge it, and do everything you can to do that, if you drive the doctors crazy by calling them to arrange appointments, do so. The charities are there for a reason, so use them, do research, keep an open mind, and really importantly while your doing all that, try your best to live your life too, and try and let it not just be all hospital appointments and worrying.

Deep down, I know why the reason the french girl never wrote again on her blog, and why she never contacted me, I guess it didn't end well. This blog doesn't end in the same way.

Last week I went for another scan, and got the results surprisingly the day after. The tumour has gone and my tumour blood count as come down dramatically, from 1700 to 41 (under 30 is normal) so technically, yet again due to chemo the cancer as gone again, this is the third time.

I know the situation and I know the chances are high that it will come back, but regarding chances, the chances are that I would not of got rid of this cancer in the first time, never mind three, and thats what i mean by don't accept it,

So whats next?

I am knackered from chemo so an holiday at some point soon.

I am doing my bit for the Pancreatic Cancer charity, we have recently done this video:

I enjoy this kind of thing,  and if it helps then its all good. The charity as contacted me saying that the PR company has asked if I can help them do some more, which I really enjoy so I will be. I will also will be doing more writing as i have also enjoyed writing this blog, I am not sure in what form.

But the main thing is, I feel its time to leave this blog behind. Thank you for reading and coming on this journey with me, and for helping me learn to get to this stage. To go back to the mystery book, and to go back to what I have learnt on this journey, I would say whatever you are doing now, whatever age you are, and whereever you are in life, go and enjoy, it's not about impressing the world, it's about doing things that make you happy, you are still alive, so keep been inquisitive and keep learning and with that, grow. I am also alive, and I am so excited about my future, there is so much I need to do, and there's so much I still need to learn, and that excites me.

New site

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Thank you 

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Ikea's sales

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Happy new year!

Well, HAPPY belated NEW YEAR!… . I have a New Years resolution  I’m trying to do and keep to…

“To give a f!!k a lot less!”

In fact, I wrote a entire blog piece about it, and really went in to description on why in life, its good to not give a f!!k!
After weeks of writing and re-editing,  I could not publish it as I was worried I might offend with the word f!!k!  - I could see the irony! Maybe I do give a f!!k

I will probably write more about this subject later. 

I  celebrated the new year by adding two to the number of many nights I have spent in hospital. I got one hell of a bug. 

I had my own room due to been infectious, my eyes were at the back of my head, and I was aware about the stroke of midnight due to the fireworks going off, but was not sure what it represented. 

I’m am back home now, and thank god, to a certain degree, so is my mind.  My eyes are back in my sockets, and my brain, with slight damage is back in my head, its was only a 24 hour bug, but it was intense 24 hour bug.

The nurses worked around the clock on me, by waking me up every hour to test my sugar in my blood, to make sure the insulin been injected into me was at the correct measure,  it was joy for all involved.

The choice of food was minimal from the hospital kitchen on New Years day, the catering staff told me that the kitchen had  skeleton staff on. When the dinner was revealed, I think the meat had come off that skeleton.

Its been an interesting time, I have done some filming with the BBC, and it is connected to this blog,  it is going to be on later in January and part of it involves me asking questions to shoppers. 

I was so exited to do it that I didn’t sleep the night before, so when it came to the day, I was out of it, all I had to do, was go up to shoppers, ask them if I could ask them some questions and read the question off a iPad. Due to lack of sleep, I seemed to lose the ability to read! 

It is going to be an interesting watch!

I am hoping that they may edit it so well, that they can make words into sentences, and I can’t really remember what I talked about, so they is potential that I could of made myself look dumb on national tv, but you know what, who cares!

It will be shown in the next few weeks and I really loved the experience of it, and met the lovely Gloria Hunniford and Chris Bavin. 

We went to Ikea stupidly in sales time! Just before the new year and just after Christmas. It was a strange experience, couples who had been together all Christmas, that had gone full circle from, "it will be good to have some time off together" to "...SO! ...When are you going back to work?" 

Each couple secretly cheered that they had gone though Christmas without falling out and all was calm! Until some bright spark decides that the best place to be in that moment in time, would be Ikea !!!

The most busisest place on the plannet. It was like a pressure cooker! Couples were having full on rows! People throwing soft furnishings at each other in Ikea fake rooms, I felt I was trespassing. 

Why come to Ikea in January? We all squeezed through the front door of Ikea's world of dreams! all of us with a little hope of utopia within our hears. After, what felt like days of walking, we all made it to the half way mark of the restaurant! 

That hope had shifted slightly to one that just hoped that one day, we will all see daylight. 

We went for food. I scanned the menu and it can be difficult to eat out now on my new diet. When we got to the serving hatch, I asked the lady if I could have peas instead of potato with my salmon? The lady asked if I was celiac? I said "no, its cancer!" she looked concerned,  and said, "There you go love" and she slipped a extra piece of salmon on my plate.

When I got to the till, the casher looked at my plate and asked why I had two piece of salmon, I know I could have said, I don't know! but I found myself explaining that I had told the lady I had cancer and she gave me an extra piece of salmon, - I did say it thinking he might have thrown in a free diam cake. He didn't fall for it, and the woman behind he didn't too, I heard her say, some people really milk it!

We had lunch, and it was time to swing our blue Ikea bags behind our backs and go out into the wild again. 

Now, I know what I am about to say is bad, its one of the many ugly parts of cancer, but when you have to go to the toliet you have to go! 

I know its not just me, because Macmillan's  now give out printed cards you can give to businesses saying - I have cancer, can I use your toilet. Its funny because if you do give someone one of them cards, they look at it for an age! its a shame that macmilans don't print on the other Side of the card, - forget it! I have just shit myself! 

Anyway, slightly gone off point, but when you need the loo, you need the loo! I was half way between the exit and the restaurant, I knew the nearest toilet was back at the entrance - I darted, almost throwing people out of the way - but I made it. 

The relief of making the toilet, suddenly turned to despair as I realised that to get back to the items I needed I had to start at the beginning and re-enter the frontdoor of Ikea's world of dreams! - we gave up and came home, some dreams are not worth holding on to!

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Sunday, 8 January 2017

Can you kill your own cancer?

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I have recently had an opportunity  to meet a food expect and ask two questions - can diet prevent cancer? and if it can, can diet also kill cancer?

I have asked this question before, can I do anything that will help to survive? its a question that usually gets the silence treatment so I was surprised when she said that there is evidence to say yes.

Just by chance, a friends Mum very kindly sent me a memory stick with the Ketogentic diet. If you have or have had cancer, you will know that all your family and friends will start to send you the latest miracle diet or cure, I have had everything now from - low carbs to no dairy diets, to bee stings cures. They all mean well, but sometimes you can feel bombarded by information. 

If you search on the internet for any cancer cure you find out that suddenly everything is a cure! and sometimes (for the right money!) you don’t need chemo, just a bottle of this!

I have started to look at the ketongentic diet and its seems very interesting. There are a lot of experts talking about this, and suddenly it doesn’t seem to be just the latest fad. 

I have now been on this diet for over a month now and I will tell you the results at the end of this article.

Below is a video of Dr. D'Agostino is an Assistant Professor at the University of South Florida College Of Medicine, Molecular Pharmacology & Physiology 

Here is a news article about a gentleman named Fred Hatfield, the doctor gave him unto 6 months to live, he had nothing to lose! so he went on the the Ketone diet and now is cancer free.

Here is a news article in the Daily mail

After been given 6 months to live, after giving up sugar and carbs, 2 years later he is still surviving.

Here are just some of the many 100s of articles on the internet about this diet.

It is not as difficult as it sounds, and to be honest I am not doing a strict version of it.  But I have cut down on carbs, I have a cheat day every week, but most meals don't involve bread, pasta, potatoes, and I don't have sugar anymore.

It seems harder when you go out, they seems to be little choice. I have started to work on different menu items for my street food business, The Market Wraps Allotment - here is our no flour, low carbs, gluten free bread buns. I will be bringing this from our next booking, and the choice is now on our private bookings too.

A photo posted by The Market Wraps allotment (@the_marketwraps_allotment) on

A month ago I was having scans on my brain as they thought that maybe my headache due to a spread to the brain, this was not the case, so they thought it maybe to do with my diabetes and my blood sugars been so high, this was also altering my mood, and I had started to take antidepressants.

I have now been on this diet for a month. My tumour blood count as gone from 6500 to 2300 - this is a 64% drop, my oncologist used the work "miracle". Do I think this is due to my diet? Well I am also on chemo, but I am keeping an open mind, but I do think the diet has helped with the side effects from the chemo.

I used to inject 20 units of insulin a day, I now inject 6. My blood sugar count was between 12 and 30! between 5 and 7 is normal for someone with diabetes.  Mine is now between  5 to 7 - an average drop of 70%

I don't really get headaches anymore, and there is also no need to take my antidepressant too, as this as lightened my mood.

The sickness of my fortnightly treatment usually last for around 7 days, I have been able to get out of bed early.


Can you kill your own cancer? I'm not sure, I'm going to keep an open mind and its worth a try, they does seem to be a lot of evidence out there that diet does have a lot to do with cancer,  the diet seems to be helping me anyway.

If you are on a ketone diet please let me know how your getting on.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Happy Christmas

Thank you so much for reading my blog, I now get over 500 views a day from all over the world! I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it.

I was asked what was the name of my blog, and when i said "Surviving pancreatic cancer and my street food business" I realised I had to get a more catchy title. A nurse who had been reading it was saying how funny it was, so hence why i have called it the new title, i know i can go in dark moods and at that point its not humorous at all, but i hope you will excuse that.

Speaking of dark moods! I have been having quite a few headaches recently and I must admit, i have been worried about them. With this type of cancer there is a small chance that it can spread to the brain. My doctors had started to question this. I have been asked if I think my personally as changed recently, its hard to answer that, as I am not sure! I have felt pain and stress and that it as made me moody, but was it that what was making me that way.

Today they decided to give me a scan and I was fast-tracked in the queue. At this point i prepared that it had gone to the brain, i had convinced myself. Two hours of self torture later, I found out it hadn't, to one degree there was a sigh of relief, the other, I now have to find a new excuse why I chase imaginary pigeons in the foyer.  It as been a very stressful day. I cried, I always cry at results, it doesn't matter how many times you go through this you never get used to results.

Two weeks ago I had my ablation, it all went well even though a tumour was near my heart it still went well and because of the chemo I didn't have to have two I just had the one.

But the strange thing was my tumour blood count was still going up, this was a worry as to me it was a sign that the chemo had stopped working.

But, a couple of days ago a new reading was done and though it is very high, it has now halved, my oncologist used the word "miracle" they think it was going up due to the ablation as after it is done the tumour count can go up. All of the nurses and doctors are so amazing! I'm very lucky, after so much time they are now not just nurses and doctors, but also my friends.

I will get rid of cancer again, which will be the 5th time.

I am really looking so forward to Christmas, hoping to see all mine and all of Robs family and do what Christmas should be all about, spending quality time with friends and family and been well.

We have had loads of Christmas cards which we haven't sent any! Thank you for your well wishes, I wish you all a very happy and peaceful Christmas.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

The road less travelled

Dr Scott Peck once wrote in The Road less traveled

“Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult-once we truly understand and accept it-then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”

The thing is Dr Peck, I do accept that, But still life seems to surprise me how hard it can be.

It has been a difficult time recently, I have been in hospital for a week with an internal bleed, this reset chemo back.

That was two weeks ago and I am now back on chemo again and, if I am honest, I have found it difficult, but a week later, I am now able to stagger away from my sickbed and get up and face the world though a pail skin tone and  slightly blood shocked eyes. 

I have not been able to respond at times to the messages I have received but want you all to know, that I am grateful for each one, even a like on facebook or a text asking how are you? means a lot to people like me. If you know someone who is in a situation where they may need support and you are not sure what to say, the power of "hello" can mean the world. You may not get a response, but I promise, it will not be in vain.

When I was in hospital,  I introduced myself to the gentleman in the next bed, he was around my age, he apologised in case he woke me up, when brought into the ward during the night, I explained I don't really sleep anyway, and we both then shared stories.

I told him about having cancer come back for the 5th, he was told just four weeks before he had cancer, he was in pain and was waiting results from a scan. The doctor then came and interrupted our conversation, he pulled the curtains around his bed and the doctor asked if he could sit down, as soon as that was said, I had a feeling it was not good news. I was not ear-wiging, I didn't want to hear his business, so I walked away, but I heard enough to know that sadly it had gone to another area, and with that it was inoperable.

When I came back, he was been put on another bed and wheeled off for radiotherapy to try and control the pain, he asked me to let his wife know that he had wrote a note for her. He said how beautiful she is, and told me to tell her to try and get some sleep, as she had been at home awake all night. I was also then taken away from the ward to be put on another one, I let one of the nurses know about the note. life can be so harsh, and in an environment like this, you can see how harsh it can be. But as dark or difficult life can be, it was the support from his parter that gave him light.

We have been down to London to watch the filming of "Stand up to cancer", and yet again, I found it good seeing so many people collectively fighting its cause.  Due to some filming they did on us all and the build board campaign, we met up with the CEO of Cancer Research and was taken backstage,  it was a lovely night.

Watching the show at times was emotional, but strangely also good, to meet others in a similar situation felt empowering.

I am lucky, I can not imagine what it would be like without the support I have, well! I can imagine, I don't think I would be able to fight, but having that structure around me saying "yes you can" enables me to get off the floor and get ready for my next treatment.

Yes Dr Scot Peck, Life can be difficult but what I have found so far that accepting that doesn't make any difference at all! but for me, I am lucky, as for me, I have an army.  All family and friends, love ones, supporting and encouraging, this truly transcends to the greatest empowerment far more than acceptance, and I'm eternally grateful.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

A lot happening!

I was once in B&Q and was looking at the packet of seeds. We haven't got a garden but I was thinking about doing something with the space outside the house. I picked up my choice of seeds and was walking to the counter when it struck me that if it was down to probability,  I would not be around to see the seeds grow and turn to flower. I turned around, put the container back and left the shop crying like a baby, this was the wrong attitude.

To those who maybe reading this who have just found out they have pancreatic cancer, my advice is BUY THE SEEDS!  If I had, I could of seem them flower a few times by now.

I am having a scan a week on Friday, I get the results the following Thursday. My blood results show that the cancer as come back, but there are no tumours showing on the scan, yet. Whatever the scan results are I will be probably back on chemo soon, the doctors have said that it as come back looking at my bloods.

In life, so far, the world as had a funny way of showing me the right and wrong direction in life, been in a situation I am not happy with or was not right for me,  things have not gone in my way. I then have changed direction and things have magically turned and became positive, it may have taken time to get to that point, but it seems that it does. Almost like the world was working with me and not against.

While I have been collecting my thoughts about knowing the cancer has come back, I have tried to carry on as usual. While shopping at my local catering shop, Nisbets   I was given a receipt and was told that if i went online i would have a chance of winning a toaster. Trying to pull an expression like I was interested came natural, just like everyone else who had been served that morning, I knew as soon as I left the shop, the piece of paper wold be in the bin, but then I looked at the toaster! now this was no ordinary toaster! this was a see-through 150 quid magimix toaster.

Lee, one of my friends, had told me about this toaster! and we had one of many of our fascinating conversations, this one was on the subject of  how it must be nice to have a see-through toaster because you could see if your toast was at perfect tone, but not to the point that it cost £150 quid! Anyway! I imagined winning the toaster. I was not picturing me with a fancy toaster, but just the satisfaction of going on Facebook, making my status "Feeling blessed" which really means "Feeling smug!" and then tagging Lee.

I ran home as fast a I could, I was half an hour late as I went in the car, and when I got home I went online  and filled out the questionnaire. Two days later, i was called to be told I had won! and what colour did i want the toaster to be! I then remembered that Lee had left Facebook weeks ago! the disappointment!

Was it really that easy! I then heard a competition on Radio Aire, our local station, it was to win a 4 weeks advertisement package to advertise your business, which wold cost 1000s, eating my toast! I clicked on the link. Feeling optimistic for competitions, but also aware I was turing into an amateur  competition version of the very cleaver coupon kid, I decided to have another go and submit our catering trailer into the best looking trailer award in the yearly British street food award.

After my last chemo I knew i had to jump out of my bed fighting to get better again quickly, so, if the cancer came back, I would be fit enough to deal with it. I needed to carry on life as much as I could, as much as was possible, wanted to try and go back to some kind of normality, the problem been that the catering equipment was getting heavy. We decided to get a trailer, and I have spent a lot of time on this, we had it converted and then in my spare time i have tried to do it up! this as kept my mind active and in a better place, I have loved doing this. When i started to paint it black inside, i was worried that chemo brain had started to effect my judgement, but, standing back, it looks good.  So it was nice to get a tweet to say we have been shortlisted by Richard Johnson from the British Street Food as the best 13 looking trailers. This is ongoing and is on a online voting system, - if you would like to vote click here - and click on Market Wraps and vote and its as simple as that - THANK YOU

British street food awards -

I got a phone call after the radio competition to say I had won! -  this goes out in the next few weeks.

I know that there are better times to push the business and plan for the future, but, you have to do the best with what you are given in life, and in a way, trust that. There is no point of not buying the seeds incase they don't grow, sometimes you just have to trust they will.