Tuesday, 1 December 2015


IThanks to all who have wished me Happy Birthday, I'm not that well with chemo, and still in bed, but just wanted to say thank you....

I wrote this a few days ago.

I have been a bit quite on the bloging recently.

There as been so much in the news about the tragedy of Paris, that it felt unaproperate writing about my issues.

But thinking about it, this is the perfect time.  The news is covered in negativity and its easy to believe that the world is one bad place, but its not, not by a long way.

This week friends of mine organised a party where the proceeds go to Pancreatic Cancer UK. They collected over £2000! I still am shocked. 

People, who did not know me where putting £10, £20 pound in the raffle bucket, this was after paying £25 for a ticket and no one complained or questioned it. I hope the guests did not think I was rude, as I felt I spent I  most of the night in a shocked state, at the end of the evening I said to Lisa and Ian (from the Yummy Yank) friends and the hosts I wish we could do it all again, and I would have talked to more people, if you was there, Thank you! i am still in shock.

Pancreatic Cancer UK is one of the charities that have helped me more than once. From the very start I was handed books about pancreatic cancer by the charity.  They offer advice by there dedicated nurses and  helpline, they are also funding projects to find any a cure. PCUK is not a big charity, i know most of the people there by first name, they are a lovely people!, they have helped me a lot. 

I had a phone call from Cancer Research UK, they have been in Leeds doing filming and taking photos for the Christmas campaign, this as involved all of the Oncology department and most of St James’s and the LGI. They asked if they could film or take photos of my next appointment. At first there was Rob and myself, the nurses had just connected my  first round of chemo and the photographer took photos. I had especially ironed my shirt and did my hair in incase they decided to do anything with the pictures. The photographer was really nice, and we was taking other pictures around the hospital, and he kept coming back to me and Rob. Rob had to then go to work, and my Mum took over. By this point the chemo was kicking in, and i was feeling, slurred, and tired, and out of it. I remember he kept coming back. 

At the end of the chemo I unfortunalty took a turn for the worse, and they decided to take me to the upstairs ward and keep me in. I think this was to do with the week before and having blood transfusions and feeling knackered and not sleeping, the photogragher helped as my Mum came up stairs with me as they found a bed.

I am a lot better now, and a week later I was able to come home. They have also given me a week off chemo, so my next one will be this Monday, it is my birthday on Tues but I think we are going to celebrate that this weekend.

Last week, I had a call from Cancer Reseach and they picked one of our photos to be shortlisted to be used, and then today we have been told that our picture has been chosen and will be used for the Christmas campaign on the billboards all around the country. This will be from Boxing day.

I have been involved in the Humans of Leeds project, the photographer who is really nice guy called Z, and I have had some really lovley messages on Facebook


Z put the link in for stand up to cancer and it is now over the £700 mark, so yet again, Thank you.

The book writing!!!! its really hard! I have wrote chapter 3 now about 6 times, and now I have scrapped it and started with a totally different direction.  I am trying!

So yet again thank you for your birthday wishes x

Friday, 6 November 2015

Back in hospital

I am writing this from hospital, I had to cancel my chemotherapy due to this.

I have been in St James now for four days now. I have not been feeling too well recently, dizziness, not hungry, sick, etc. I thought it was all a collection of issues all pointing towards the tumours on my liver, and I just thought, well the best thing to deal with them was chemo. So I sat waiting for my chemotherapy to start.

I have met some amazing people through the last 3 years, people that I am so glad I have met, but wish I had met them via different circumstances, some of the nurses have become very good friends.

I have shown so many emotions and states with the NHS staff, sadness, anger, sickness, joy, happiness, laughs, and whatever state I have shown, they have stuck with me, and I am just one of many, I don’t know how the do it.

On a phone call to one of my friends that work in the chemo ward, I was talking about all my issues and complaining about how I was feeling, all different issues that I have had in the last three weeks or so. 

It was my friend who used her knowledge and put everything together and told me I should call the hospital, which I did, I spoke to another friend, and with that it was said that I should come into hospital there and then.

I have been also suffering from tooth pain, and with this I went to the emergency dentist last week and had root canal surgery, to take the pain away I have been talking over the counter pain relief.

If it was not for my friends saying come into hospital to get checked out, I know I would not have done so. Things were a lot more serous than I thought. Everyone around me acted calmly, which in return made me calm, even after I started to be sick blood. I felt ill, I was dizzy, my haemoglobin was 60, normally it should be 120. When this falls your body stops working normally, your oxygen can not be delivered to tissue and cells. 
I had lost 5 bags of blood, I know now this is a lot, I had a lot of internal bleeding, i have been told that   I was heading towards an heartatack.

The doctors decided to change the ports (the pins that they put into your veins) and make them larger, so if needed they could give me a blood transfusion quickly. I was acting drunk, this was due to the lack of oxygen going to my brain. They gave me a blood transfusion, 3 bags to be exact.  

I did not realise how serous all this was at the time, it was only the day after this was apparent. I went for a x-ray, and the reason behind of this was down to the aspirin, which I am not allergic to, and also not taking some tablets which I should have been taking every day (I have learnt the hard way), this gave me two ulcers which had bled. 

This is day four and I am still in hospital, I have an a camera down my throat and surgery to repair this, and I should be back home tomorrow, ready for chemo next week, which as delayed it by a week.

Its nice been called an “inspiration” and to be honest, I used to take the complement, but I realised, I didn't know what it meant, so i had to look it up.

I just do what I get told. I have lost count how many times my friends and the NHS have literally saved my life, and I also know they deserve the title of “Inspiration", and I do joke with them, but behind those jokes, I am so proud that there my friends. 

I feel so much better, and I have had a LOT of messages which I have not replied back to yet, so i wanted to write this up just to thank everyone for there support, I am very thankful, and sorry I haven’t replied back yet.

Its crazy to thing that this has nothing to do with the cancer, and i am glad that is the fact, as all the things that where happening to me like the dizziness and the bleeding can be stopped.

When it comes to the NHS, I have experienced its brilliance so many times, and its brilliance are the people that work within it, I know i will always be indebted. Thank you.

Friday, 30 October 2015

The biology of believe - part two

I was sent my scan results, it has taken an age to get them and due to everything our minds have been so over-loaded it was almost like we could not take anymore so we haven't asked for the results.

All we knew was that they thought that the tumours was on the lining of the liver and there was nothing they could do other than chemo.

I have been asked to have another scan (MRI) to confirm this, and this was the results which I was nervous in asking for.

Unfortunately there are six tumours in the liver, but they are very small but the part they have got wrong is that they CAN be ablated.

So, the way forward is this, six months of chemo, but after three months to get them ablated, hopefully the chemo will get the very small ones and then the ablation can get the rest.

Meanwhile thank you very much for all signing the petition, it has gone up another 4,000 in 2 days! so please sign if not done yet:

Thank you...




Wednesday, 28 October 2015

The biology of belief

Hello everyone,

Thank you, yet again for all your well wishes, I have been slow on the response which I apologise for. 

Treatment starts next week, so I have been busy having blood tests, getting ports fitted, scans to find out whats happening, all which I am currently waiting to find out the results.

As for now, it is looking like the cancer has gone to the outer edge of the liver, meaning this can not be ablated. This is not the best news, and I am waiting for the results of the latest scan to see if that is the case. If it is the case then my personal plan is this, to simply get rid of it again, can I do it? YES!   It won't be the first time to do the impossible, and I am confident.

I am really enjoying writing the book, and it is making me study certain questions, which I am still working on, but briefly been making notes on the subject.

Who was I before cancer, and who am I now? and what have I learnt. 

This blog item may irate some. I guess the subject matter is about holding up a mirror, and for us all to look at our own lives. What makes me such an expert? Why am I even writing about it?   I hope it does not come come across as arrogant, but if it does, well, thats fine.  I am thankful you are reading it, and I do think its a worthy subject matter to look at and debate, I won't let my ego get in the way.

I am still working on this question, but I want to try and share and write about it here. 

With chemo, it feels like I have to be ill for three to six months to then live for three to six months, and to put in layman terms, it has put me in a situation where I have to really work to then live, so with that I don't want to waste that time.

Some would say, but when me and Rob are sat watching some mindless rubbish on the television in our onesies! and just doing nothing then this is waisting time? It does not matter what you are doing, as long as your enjoying the moment.

I see life differently now, and I would say I see things more clearly, I am not sure if this is down to all the drugs and stress and in fact it is nothing to do with seeing things clearly, but more to do with I haven't got the brain cells any more to retain the information, making it clearer to understand. 

The only thing that would stop me writing the book is my health, and if that doesn't get in the way, then I will write it and I will get it published. I do not question my ability any more. Does this come across as arrogant?  It does not matter, because yet again, if i start to worry what others thought about me, then i would be placing that obstacle in my own way to stop me doing what I want to do. We all have that inner voice, what if this? and what if that?  Well... what if you choose what the inner voice said? How powerful would that be! I have chosen to be friends with my inner voice, we are taking on the world.

If bored some people create their own problems to entertain themselves, without realising it, I think I used to do this myself. This is very counter-productive and there are far more exciting things to do to entertain. 

Do we judge our worth by measuring it via others?  I know someone and they're great, they work very hard and everything that they own in life they have had to put the time in to get it. Then, stage left, someone has entered their lives, and it seems they have materialist items and they're a little bigger and better and with a lot less input. It drives my friend to distraction  and when talking about the subject, they become very animated. They can not see that this effects the way they enjoy all the things they have as it's now about all the things they haven't got. This is pointless, as there is always someone out there that has monetary value, and while your concentrating on the differences, you're not looking in the right direction of appreciating the things you have and the work you have put in to get it.

Fear not only controls us, but also contains us. The fear of letting go of a job that we are in that we don't like, and the consequences of leaving that job, how this would effect us and effect our family? Being in a relationship that we are in but not happy to be in. Fear of moving as the unknown is scary. As long as you survive the consequence, then its all relative.

These days life seems very surreal, but the situations have brought me to this point. I try and live life likes it's a film, I try and make it a great film, I put a power balled in the background - I control that inner voice, I don't let the inner voice control me and I try not to worry.

My treatment and my body sometimes stops me doing what I want to do, which is so frustrating. In the past, it was not my health that stopped me doing what I want to do, it was myself. If someone found a miracle cure for cancer, I would say that I would never live like that again and I would even go as far to say, that if I was cured then  cancer would have been the greatest gift on understanding the true value of life. Is it possible to pass that lesson on and write about it without going though the experience of it? That's the readers choice. You have the freedom to read or not. You have the freedom to make your own opinion, and the freedom to then put action from it or not.

Thanks for reading.


Hello, as you may know we are currently trying to get a pancreatic cancer drug back on the list.

Please sign the petition, and thank you very much.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

A brave new day - Chapter two


What can I say - I asked if you could afford a small couple of quid to donate to  Stand up to cancer and my aim was expecting a very healthy £50 pound.

So far it is at £588!!!

Thank you so so much! I just didn't expect that, and I am very grateful and shocked, I am sorry if I haven't said THANK YOU personally so, yet again, thank you...

And as a thank you... I wanted to give the next chapter in with the same donation. If you haven't donated and you would like to, here are links to the 3 charities that have helped me and also made great changes.

Pancreatic Cancer Action
Our focus  is on improving early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and improving the quality of life for those affected by pancreatic cancer. 

Pancreatic Cancer UK
Pancreatic Cancer UK is the only national charity fighting pancreatic cancer on all fronts: Support, Information, Campaigning and Research.

Stand up to cancer (Cancer Research)
Stand Up To Cancer’s (SU2C) mission is to raise funds to accelerate the pace of groundbreaking translational research that can get new therapies to patients quickly and save lives now.

Chapter two: - Nan

Sometimes in my mind I was not in that hospital bed, but in bed at my Nans house, 28 years ago. 

The radio playing as it did do on the small wicker table acting at a bedside cabinet. BBC radio Leeds playing classical music, and the tall handmade light stand giving a relaxing feeling, the room glowing slightly and I knew i was safe. 

My Nan would put her head around the door, turn the radio off, give me a kiss good night, and leave the landing light on, I didn't like the dark. 

A young, very concerned looking nurse woke me up. “Carl, we have noticed that you are losing quite a lot of blood, The surgeon is on his way in to see you, it is 2am, you have to go back into the high dependency unit”. 

It was only 2 days out of the high dependancy unit and 4 days after the operation, a mixture of the drugs wearing off from my operation the day before, and the morphine taking the current pain away was making me dazed and confused, but still I could tell that it was important what was happening, I could tell by the nurses face, her concern was deep. I could also tell by the way I felt and this was the closest to death I have been. 

I had lots of bottles attached to me, all collecting liquids from inside me from the aftermath of the operation which all had to be measured. Waking up, and falling back into sleep. I remember seeing my surgeon, he told me that I was losing quite a bit of blood and there was internal bleeding, I will have to be re-operated on. I was having a blood transfusion now and he was going to be back at 9am, he told the nurses that if my state changed, call him straight away. 

The NHS staff have always been amazing, a lot have become friends, but throughout my journey there are so many NHS staff that have really gone out of the way to help, and I am in awe of them. 

Later on that day, a doctors was giving me the pre-operation epidural, this paralyses the area so they can operate pain free. They tested if it was working by sticking a small pin into my chest and seeing if I felt the pain. I am not sure why I did this, I was confused by the blood loss and the medication.

I told them i could not feel it even though I could.

I went back in to be operated on for the second time in two days, and also for the second time I was being woken up to find out about some complications.  As the anaesthetist started to wake me up I drifted slowly back into our world, and slowly started to feel the large open wound across my stomach. I am not sure how I let the doctors know, when you have pain as intense as that, it almost acted like a barrier., your body goes into panic, the adrenaline kicks in, in my head i was bent over, but due to the scare that would have been impossible. 

One of the problems was that to stop the pain they needed to get morphine into my system but they can only give it at a certain amount per hour as too much too fast can kill. Gradually the pain started to lighten, and gradually the morphine was working. But at the time, it was this experience, even more than the cancer which had impacted me the most. 

2 months later

I sat alone in my car, outside my Nan's old house, she has been dead for over twelve years, it was close to midnight. I was trying to work it out, what the hell that was all about. 

Before I left the hospital, the specialist nurse told me that, when I leave hospital, that’s when it would all hit me. Wow, she was so right. I looked out of the car window, and looked at the house where my Nan used to live. When she was coming over to my parents’ house, Nan would be sat in the window, hat and coat at the ready, waiting for me and Mum to pick her up. We were never sure how many hours, or indeed days she was sat there ready, both me and my mother are never that good at keeping time, it could of been weeks! 

What I would give for her to open the door, and let me in, and explain what the hell was going on. I then for the first time broke down.

I spent quite a lot of time with my Nan, we were very close, our friendship was strong from my birth to her death, she was in her late eighties when she died, and i was early twenties. 

My Nan didn’t just give me love, she gave me reassurance and I felt safe at there. 

I never met my Granddad, as he died very young, and she was young too. My Nan brought her daughters up by herself.

My Nan’s name is Flo, short for Florence. Flo, due to circumstances was very much an independent woman before her time, but at the same time showing so much strength to bring her own family up single-handedly. She was also reserved and quiet and to me she was my Nana and she was amazing. If and when she sees me again, I just hope she approves. 

We used to go on days out, we would get up early, go to Leeds bus station and just get a bus. Now I realise we didn't go that far, but then, at the age I was, it felt like the longest bus journey ever, but I used to love it, because with my Nana, you didn't need the entertainment of an iPad. We had games like Beatle, where you had to shake a dice and each number represented a different part of a beatle and the first one to build a full body, 6 legs and head of a Beatle was the winner! Ok, like I said, they were long journeys, but ones that I have very fond memories of as I loved spending time with my Nan.

Our days out were through the summer months and started from when I was aged around seven and went well into my teens, we enjoyed each other’s company, and she used to walk and walk. 

I did have my Nana around my little finger a little bit, while all the kids at schools parents where failing at making the dick tracy island from blue peter, we were making successful Ouija boards! - When i say successful, it had letters and a glass, we would just sit there for hours, hands on the glass, and waiting. Is any body there? anybody? hello? anyone? the only thing I can say is, it made us both appreciate playing Beatle more! 

I got out of the car and went for a walk, tears still rolling down my eyes, I could barely work out that the place had gone downhill. The grass seemed overgrown and the area unkempt. What was I doing there? Is there an answer? I suddenly stood in some dog shit. Was this a sign from beyond the grave? Was my Nan trying to send a message, to confirm that I truly now am in the shit! I am not sure why, but this seemed to lighten my mood! While wiping my foot on the long grass, I stopped crying, I don’t think it was a message from Nan, but maybe it is a message! I went home...

So what have i learnt from this cancer experience? 

I have learnt if I went back time, I would stop smoking a lot earlier than I did, I would stop drinking alcohol, stop eating sugar, stop eating meat, dairy and become a nun, and then after all that, if i was waiting for the results, wearing a black gown, with a white collar and the doctor says “sorry its cancer” I would punch them and go back in time again and smoke more, drink more, each pure sugar, nibble on a dead animal, and wash it all down with a very large glass of meths, and depending on if the outfit suited me, then, maybe stay dressed as a nun. 

For the past few years I have been writing a blog, I am not one of life’s readers or writers, but it has its own art form. A few years ago It was confirmed I had dyslexia, and for a year went to a dyslexic college. But by writing things down I found really helped me deal with it all, and I really enjoyed it! 

I write to sometimes just get out of my system and i have found, for me, it’s the best way of therapy. I have had encouragement to write a book, so here it is! written slowly, bit by bit. 

When I was younger I did read a lot of self-help books, I loved them! I was not practicing them; I just wanted to believe in their magic. Some are great, some are well, imaginative but I have never read a bad one. Even the off the wall Louise Hay claiming by repeating affirmations to yourself can get rid of the most terrible dieses. I did give this ago when I was younger, did it get rid of my spots, well… to be fair the only thing it gave me was lock-jaw, but did it make me feel better about myself! well no…. but if anyone hears you in the bathroom repeating the words “I love myself and believe in myself” over and over again, you at least don’t get interrupted! A number of self-help books are about instinct, about following your head and heart, sometimes you may even question it yourself, but if you have an inclination that you have a hunch, just follow it. I am going to take that principle, to write this book, and if it doesn't work, well i will find out who wrote that book and we can both ask for a refund. 

My instinct is pointing me back to where my Nan lives, and I am not sure why.

Monday, 12 October 2015

A brave new day - Chapter one

I wanted to do something for 'Stand up to cancer', C4 to help collect money for Cancer Research 

Due to getting pancreatic cancer in 2012 and having surgery I am now not in a position to be able to do a sponsored marathon - a dash to the toilet may be a reachable challenge, so instead i have started to write a book.

This is the first chapter and due to it being the first draft, please expect this to be very rough,  it is an ongoing progress, so keep coming back and by magic the spelling mistakes should disappear, also any feedback would be great.

If you can, donate a little change and I may get away with my cheekiness (and if you cant, well don’t worry, by reading the blog gets the charity awareness), so thank you.

I have done a few things for the pancreatic cancer charitys which I will still do, and obviously it is my choice of charity, but I also see the benefits of Cancer Research UK's work.

I don’t want this to be a depressing read and due to asking for a small donation, the last thing you want is to be is depressed after reading, but it is hard to keep it up-beat due to the subject matter, but let me explain one of the reasons why it is a great charity. 

When I see young and younger people in the cancer hospital, it is upsetting. In the hospital last week I saw a young guy with his Mum, he was attached to a bag of chemo, and the way he looked at his Mum was one of reassurance for her.

I am in my forties and having cancer and the experience of the treatment has made me “grow up” (a little!).  So to have an idea of what someone is going through, and especially someone so young, recognising a facial expression and how this experience is effecting them is heartbreaking, but at the same time you can see their strength, now thats inspiration! In the hospital waiting for a scan was a baby. The staff were using some kind of breathing apparatus to manually help the baby breath, it was unsetting to see this, so I don’t know how the parents and family deal with it.

Every penny is a small step closer for the young and not so young not to go through this, - I promise I will do my best to try and keep this book as upbeat as i can, but at the same time, there is a serous side, and I know that, so I hope i also don’t offend by taking the lighthearted approach. 

When you see a picture of a frail looking girl on Facebook, with no hair, dressed in a gown, holding up a piece of paper saying, "10,000 Likes will get rid of my cancer" I'm sorry to say, its not true! its a lie, by liking that picture it will not save her life, by liking, Facebook does not give a dollar for her cancer drugs. It would be great if life was that simple.  If you are one of those people that have liked one of those posts, well don't worry, Im one of those people that said no to chemo, all i need is a large a1 sheet of paper and a black felt-tip, we all learn, sadly the only way we can all beat this terrible disease is hope that one day the professionals like cancer research will one day find the answer, and what we can do is help them do that.

I really hope you enjoy.

Chapter One
Hello, my name is Carl...

So, what is the point of you reading this book and me even writing it! well, in all honestly, I am still working on that one. I can tell you what I want it to be is a spiritual journey, about a 38 year old man dealing with getting pancreatic cancer  what he as learnt, and to pass those lessons to the readers, but the truth is, I still haven't worked out what lessons I have to learn from all this. 

There is something called “Chemo Brain” this is where chemo effects the way you think, the doctors have no proof it exists, they question if it is just down to stress. I may have no scientific proof that it exists, but believe me, I demonstrate its effects most of the time I'm awake, if you want proof then you find me walking around the high street wearing nothing but a rain coat, asking shoppers if they have seen my pigeon, this is not down to stress.

If you are looking for an inspiration cancer book then go buy Jade Goody or the nice lady off the OXO advert, as this book may not be for you, but if your looking for a book to read which is covered in spelling mistakes, terrible grammar, and not very politically correct about the situation i am now in, and want to come with me to try and find out what the hell I am suppose to learn from all this, then come with me, what is there to lose?

Money?  if published this will be in poundshop, so at least you haven't spent much. Time? I will write this, but i will make the font a little bigger just so it fills the whole of the five pages i have written.

If this is not going to be a tale of how i have dealt with pancreatic cancer at 38, then what the hell is it going to be about,I have never read a cancer book before, but is it just me the description of "Cancer Book" doesn't really make you want to run to WH Smiths.

I was thinking about writing a ‘Eat a carrot and cure cancer!' book,  I'm still thinking about it, if chapter two is a recipe that includes carrot and coriander soup, then you know i have changed my mind. 

I feel having the experience I have had from all of this, everything from been told I have pancreatic cancer to the effects after the event, my lessons in life should be in abundance and have an inspiration quality, and ones which I should be able to pass on to others, but right now i need a notebook to write important information for me to remember, like my own name. 

This book is going to be a journal of a journey. I am going to try and put the recently cancer experience I have recently had and try and put some context into this, and look for what i have learnt, to find this I am going to leave it to fate to take me to places where it may have the answers, and put myself into situations that i wold not usually put myself in. 

If you have got to this point, I'm guessing you have paid up, so now to bring the contract out, if yourself and myself haven't learnt anything by the end then, lets just call it, "Experimental" and move on, but after everything that has happened in the past 3 years, what have I learnt, my mind just goes blank, so the point is the book is to find the answer to that and to put myself in situations to find that answer.

I know its hard to believe but having cancer is not all about the glamour, I feel there are certain things that one should not share, this is one of those things. 

I didn't make the toilet in the supermarket last week, this as happened a couple of time. After asking the assistant where the toilet was and I running up 2 escalators and just before I walked into the toilet, I was free flowing, the only bonus I was in Marks and Spencer’s, which is just next door to Primark, where I could go and buy some cheap clothes,  and where I was probably not the only one walking around stinking of piss. 

I did go and try and dry myself in the toilets of Marks and Spencer, but I have never been so disappointed to see a Dyson hand drier. Its funny because when i have seen them in the past, i have been impressed, you always know when a toilet has made it, its when it has a Dyson,  it is one of the ones that you need to dip your hands into it to dry, sadly It was impossible to tip-toe and push my crotch into the hot air so instead I had to simply sit in the cubicle and hope that friction with a paper towel would dry a little. 
It was not the first time I had bought Primark trousers, the ones which were on me now were from there too, and the heat from the friction of the paper towel was not drying the urine, but was taking off the dye from the cheap trousers!  So even when i dried them a little , they still looked like i had peed! In this book I want to inspire and teach and also I want to write the truth, but the truth is I don’t behave like someone who inspires and teaches, always carry some spares and have a box of Tenner-lady is not inspirational. 

Before all this happened, life was normal, both me and my partner worked at my own business, I run a street food business, and I also work at O2 as a web developer, I went to the gym most days. I felt good.

On the 22nd of October 2012, a kind lady asked if I was ok. I was not sure if she recognised me from ward 42. One of the wards where she worked on, her job was the hospital cleaner. This is where i had been resident for the past week for a suspected gallstone issues. She may have just asked because she could see i was in shock.

I had lifted the bottom of my t.shirt and was sucking the hem, I was a 38 year old man acting like a 3 year old child. She never knew and still doesnt know the impact she had on me that morning. I don't really remember the words i said to her, but I remember hers, and they are more impact then what the doctor told me that morning, she said in a strong Yorkshire accent, "Well, you look a strong lad, you can handle it”, i stopped sucking my t.shirt, maybe she is right. Thank you kind lady, you really helped, and the following days and weeks and months, we were going to need as much help and strength as we could get.

When the doctor said cancer, it didn’t make any difference when they added the word ‘pancreatic' next to it.  I didn’t know anything about it, i should have known it was bad the way the doctors pronounced it,  almost whispered like it was an uncomfortable swear word that is highly offensive, and it is. 

Imaging asking a doctor in a serious voice, “Am I going to die?”, you cant? well don’t worry, as if its like the experience that I had, you won’t! I put a strange voice on when I asked. It was very high-pitched, it was almost someone asking a serious question about mortality and in the voice of Micky Mouse, even the doctor laughed! and when you ask that question, and they don’t answer, then, your voice goes even higher. 

We haven’t got children, we talk about it every now and then, but the 2 crazy uncles sounds more fitting than the 2 stressed out Dads. My partner is 9 years younger than me, and while I feel this experience at my age is heavy, I know even more so for him. We met about a one and half years before I got pancreatic cancer, he is VERY good looking, and i hope he doesn't mind me saying, is quite introvert, which those 2 elements are the oppersit description of myself. We had our civil partnership 2 years ago, it was very special.
It was a hot July and the day was perfect. Being two men getting married, it was not going to be a conventional weddings, so we had a picnic, with bails of hay for the adults to sit on and the kids to pull apart and play with, the food was plently. I own a street food business, so we were able to get some friends to cater for us, and the music was flowing as were the drinks, it was perfect, and everyone in the wedding photos glowed happiness, and i think the reason behind that was we all know that life was there to be celebrated.

I walked away from the lady and she carried on cleaning. I called Rob, I told him what i knew,  he made his way into the hospital. 

Making the phone calls and passing on messages to let everyone know that it was a bit more serous than the expected gallstones was hard, almost impossible to tell my parents, and step parents. 

The next few days where the strangest days we have ever had in our lives, all seemed very surreal. I think it was my bodies way of coping, everything slowed down, and blurred, Rob helped me walk from the hospital to the hairdressers, going to the hairdressers made sense at the time.

The hairdressers was asking all of the usual hairdresser questions, and seeing it was Friday, he threw a few of the Friday ones in, have I had a nice day, was I going on holiday, what plans did i have for the weekend, and I carried on as if all was OK, i gave the answers he expected, and all went smoothly, I don’t think it would have made a relaxed siting if I said, have I had a nice day? well, let me think, i got told I had cancer a couple of days ago, so not really, am I going on holiday, well, not now! whats my plans for the weekend, well, see that graveyard the other side of the road… I told him i was probably just relaxing for the weekend, and left a pound tip. 

I try and steer away from been a victim, even though I have fallen for acting in that way in the past. There was a gentleman in the flat above me where I used to live, and he sadly found out he had terminal cancer, it changed him. The area was not one of the best, and occasionally we  had to close the windows as local children like to play, throw the stones to see who gets annoyed first game, unfortunately the upstairs gentleman thought it was personal, and opened up his window and shouted, "I have cancer, and Im going to die” not only was he brave in dealing with his prognosis he also was brave for shouting at those children. They didn’t seem the type to reason, most of us would see a desperate ill man and show compassion, but then most of us would not be throwing stones at windows, they seemed to see weakness, and from there on decided to throw them at his window for the next few weeks. If it wasn’t cancer that was going to kill him, it was a brick. 

It was time to be taken into a room and told our options or lack of them. I saw some professional looking people in white coats looking at my MRI scan and then walk into the room, Both me and Rob were there. The main gentleman introduced himself Mr Al-Dourihe is the surgeon, he drew a picture of the pancreas. I could not even pronounce the word pancreatic at this stage.

He told me I have a twenty percent chance of it being operable, and the only way was to be operated to see if they can take it out, there is a one percent chance of death via the operation,  and if it was operable, i would still have a eighty percent chance of it coming back in the next few months, all in all, I had a three percent chance of surviving five years, and a one percent to survive ten. Most would not have been happy about the numbers but it meant I had a fighting chance and thats all we needed.

Two weeks later, It was time to go to see if I was able to be operable. 

This was no key-hole surgery, they essentially cut you across your abdomen to get to the pancreas at the back, If successful this is a ten hour operation, and if not, then Rob was waiting thought the day of getting a phone call to say. 

Rob looked at his phone, it was a Leeds number, and no one ever called him from Leeds, he answered, it was PPI - why do they ring at the wrong time, and just to prove this, it happened twice, both from Leeds numbers. 

The operation had been a success, there were compilations, which where quite bad, but all in all, it went well. Due to the complications I was in there for another 6 weeks, one of the nurses said to me, when you get out of here, thats when everything will hit you, and you may find it hard to deal with, she was right.

I had changed a lot in the past few weeks. I went from 13 stone to 9 stone. People react different to you when you start to look different and this is also a learning process, as its almost like you are finding yourself.

This was before the C plan (two months before)

This was after the C plan! Not sure which is worse the weight loss or the braces.

It has been a hard journey, but one where i have met some amazing people, which will now be life long friends.

So, now you know the basics of the situation that we are now in, this book will be about my past, my present and what I am going to do in the future to work it all out.


Thank you for reading, and if you can, please donate to https://www.justgiving.com/Carl-Denning and if you have any ideas on where I should change this or any other advice please contact me on marketwraps@gmail.com

Thanks again

Carl x

Monday, 5 October 2015

A brave new day

I know what your thinking! Your thinking, wait a minute, didn't he promise that the last entry in this blog, was his last entry - well I am sorry to say, I am back! and sadly so is my cancer.

It is now in two places in my liver.

The doctors have said that its about containing the cancer, not getting rid - but I have been told this in the past, I plan to get rid of it again.

If you belittle the situation, then it doesnt seem such a big deal. Right now, I am trying to see it not as, ITS CANCER...AGAIN but more, Its only cancer, again...

It as taken the 4th time to get cancer to accept that pancreatic cancer will be part of my life, through my life, and that is fine.  By accepting this, does not take the right away to not challenge it's existence. It never get easer, I would say it gets harder, to not just physically take onboard what is happening but also the weight of it mentally.

After a scan and a trip to The London Clinic and then a meeting with my oncologist the conclusion was that there are 2 new tumours on my liver and the next step is to have a Pet scan.

The Pet scan will give a better image and show if the cancer is anywhere else and then the doctors can choose what is the best direction to go for the long term decision.

I will be having the Ablation/Nano-knife technology again. My doctor said that it is acting in a different way to how pancreatic cancer usually acts and in a good way, while many (including myself) say oh another tumour again! it seems the medical professionals are saying, well, only 2 tumours after 3 years of having this and it coming back 3 times is very positive.

I am not sleeping that much, this as nothing to do with worry or stress, but just the usual cancer pain, that only seems to come alive at night when you are trying to sleep, it is now almost 2am.

I have been helping out with the charities which I really enjoy.  I have been helping the Pancreatic Cancer Action charity. PCA  are one of the charities that are trying to get Abraxane (one of the chemo drugs) back on the NHS list after the government has taken some cancer drugs off the available list.

There is an disagreement on how much the cancer drug is and its worth, I feel that the debate for that is between the drug companies and the government, but the actual use of the drug is one of a personal issue and one that i can discuss.

This was me on channel four news:

and here is the article I did for Yorkshire Evening post

Here is the link for the petition, https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/107388 Thank you for all who have signed.

I was introduced to one of the production team of the new cancer research adverts that will be on TV this Christmas, and I may be on this.

So, for now thats the information I have, waiting for results from the Pet scan, and then from that the doctors will know the best direction to go.

As for the other stuff, I will continue to help with the charities as much as I can.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Ablation in London

I am having a lot of strange dreams. 

Tonight's involved me going back to my childhood. The only difference was I took my illness with me. There was a charity event, and I was voted to go play football with Leeds United. 

I was an over weight child and after ten minutes of football, Leeds United decided that even charity had its limits and they all booed me off! 

I awoke. what the hell was that dream about! - I don't even like football! 

I'm in pain this morning. The level of pain, well, I can not tell if the pain is from my cancer or trapped wind. Mental note, must suck a rennie and find out. I have now been in bed for seven days due to chemo. This does drive you crazy! 

Tuesday 2nd March

I have returned back from London. Yesterday I had the ablation on Harley Street, at the London clinic, there's been a refurbished in the hospital since last time I was here, the rooms are now larger even more nicer than before. This is the hospital that Prince Philip was in a couple of years ago, and if you look closely you can see his imprint of his head in the pillow! (I haven't slept much) It's a private hospital, and you are really looked after in there. For this procedure it costs around £10,000. My mind right now belongs to a person that as not slept for two days. I believe this is due to the drug that they give you to awake you up after surgery, that and getting up at 4am the previous day to travel down to London.

One of the effects of cancer for me is that every scan, every result, every step, I do not relax and wait, I observe body language, I analyse the spoken word, I read facial expressions, I measure the time that it has taken to get answers, and then predict the results before they are revealed. Sometimes I hit the jackpot and I am correct, sometimes I confirm that cancer as made me one hell of a ultra paranoid person.

The nurses and anaesthetist and of course the Professor are lovely. They make me feel at ease but of course when I said I was nervous about CT scan which I was having before the procedure the anaesthetist explained he could not say everything would be ok, he explained that whatever the results it can not be changed. 

They asked where my favourite place in the world was, and before I told them about Hunslet retail park :) , I was asleep. I'm guessing it was around this point when Rob got a call from the Professor asking if he had a copy of the previous CT scan. We sent one down from Leeds and the team that was doing my procedure was not at there usual hospital so I'm guessing they didn't have this information there. He asked where was the tumour and if I was having chemotherapy. Rob started panic at this point but the Professor explained that all was ok. 

I awoke, and instead of opening my eyes slowly and asking  how it had gone. I jumped out of bed and accused one of the staff of having MY procedure! They sat me back down I came around, and luckily they found it funny. I asked if all had been ok and I was told the Professor will see me later, I asked if that was good, and was told the Professor was happy. 

I went back to the room to join Rob again and wait for the Professor, and after not able to eat for several hours ordered a delicious three course meal from the menu.

The professor is very busy, and he arrived about 5 hours later. He explained that he would see me tomorrow.  Rob and myself stayed in the room, Rob slept on the chair, it would've cost £250 for an extra room, Now I know I'm from Yorkshire, and Yorkshire people are famous for being tight, but £250! You can go to an all inclusive in Benidorm for a fortnight with a family of four for that, and still have change for a bag of chips.

This morning we were signed out of the hospital, and set off to go back home at 7am. At about 8.30am we got a text to call the Professor back. 

With the copy of the previous scan he was able to look at them both, he had done the procedure on the tumour that he originally killed as it did look bigger, but as for the other two, it looked like one was inflammation on the liver and had gone, and the 1.2 cm tumour had disappeared. He wants me to have a MIR scan to work out what has happened.

We travelled up from London, not quite understanding what has happened. We called friends and family and passed on the situation, not just to let them know but to also absorb the information ourselves.

That was now two days ago, and I have spoke to my oncologist, there are a number of reasons why this could have happened, but the only way is to have the MIR scan. Sometimes chemotherapy can hide tumours. The chemo could have shrunk the tumour, and the CT scan may have not picked up the tumour if so small. I'm hoping to have the MIR scan privately in the next few days.

This will be quite so just after three chemotherapy sessions, but due to my right and shoulder pain as dramatically become less, and my tumour account has gone from 1700 to 600. With the result from the CT scan my oncologist said it is all pointing to shrinkage. But on the other side sometimes chemo of the ability to hide tumours, so will feel better after that M I R scan.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

February 2015

JIt's 2.42am and I have woke up again after having a dream, I keep having the same type of dream. The dreams genre changes but the feeling when I awake stays the same. The setting is always hostile,  a place I don't feel comfortable with, and I guess the theme is always about learning how to survive in that hostile environment. Tonight's dream I was hidden in a traveling van, looking wide-eyed at the other passengers and not sure who's side the on lookers were on, while traveling down the dusty war broken streets of some exotic far place and been relived that every minute of the journey, I have survived. A psychologist would not be putting much study to work out the reasoning behind these dreams.  Last night was set in Leeds, but was in a dark rough part of Leeds and the theme was about getting to one part of town to the other, maybe not as dangerous as tonight's dream. 

I haven't published much on my blog recently, I have wrote stuff, but I haven't published it. I am not sure why. Not because I feel it is private, more to do with a cross between it reads like a shopping list, and/or bbvggguhwhen I read it back it sounded sanctimonious.  I am about to have chemo, I am having chemo, I am sick, I am in bed, 7 days later I'm getting better blar blar blar.  One reason why I write is to process the, well process I guess. But the thing is, I have wrote about this process loads of times, this is the third  cycle of chemo, surly I am able to get this by now. Also I wrote about how I feel, there is nothing wrong with that. But for now, it is not important how I feel about the chemo, what is important is the effects from it. My right hand shoulder pain as become less, this is good news as this pain is referred from the tumour on the liver, meaning that the chemo seems to be working.  To get pancreatic cancer is tragic, to get secondary pancreatic cancer is helpless, to get secondary pancreatic cancer three times, and get rid of it each time is unique, but something tells me not impossible, and that's why they are still giving me treatment, and with the help I am receiving I guess in the next few weeks I will find out if it will be possible with me. 

There was a programme called "How to cure your cancer", now due to the situation I am in, you would think I would sit there, watch it, and take notes, in the preparation of survival, but the truth is I watched five minutes and it was boring. I then sky+ it! But a couple of days later when sky+ was full, I deleted it.  It is coming up to who killed Lucy Beale week on EastEnders, and I don't want to miss an episode of that! Priority's! Knowing my luck I will be walking into the chemo ward next week when there be crowds of bald people, cutting the cords from the chemo machines and skipping away from the building and chanting thank god we watched  "How to cure your cancer" it worked! And I will be there running after them asking if anyone as it on DVD. Also a lot is happening regarding market wraps and Hosptal visits which I will reiterate about next 

I had my head shaved a few weeks ago, this was in preparation of it falling out. The haircut before I asked for a certain style, the hairdresser said I had to grow it to get that, and I said there was no point as I was having chemo and it would have fallen out by the time I would have reached that look, that was a long silent haircut! I also told the hairdresser who shaved my head that I was having chemo, not because I thought it may excuse me for leaving a shit tip ( but he did charge me less!)  but more to do with I was paranoid that it would just all fallout when he washed it in the sink, now that would make a great YouTube video! "What the f### have you washed my hair with!"  That was 2 weeks ago and it has not fallen out! I could have got the style I wanted! I haven't walked past the hairdressers since in case he thinks I told him Im having chemo just to get a couple of quid off my haircut.

The cancer zapping procedure is booked and I will be going back to Harley street the first week in March.  I will write soon and say now the results are. 

Rob and me have been to London for a couple of days, it's been great. It's so nice to go away, you leave the bedroom that I spend a week in and an environment where there is always a bag of pills or a sickness drive or a sharps bin to remind you of the situation we are in, of course you always have to go back and we are back now, chemo tomorrow.  A lot is happening in the next few weeks, with Market Wraps, and hospital visits things have gone crazy. I will right about that no next  blog x

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

A thank you to O2

Due to my private healthcare I have had my CT scan, I now know where I stand and I have arranged to start chemotheapy a week on Friday. I will then start to have my treatment again in London in an private hospital on Harley Street.  If it was not for going private I would not know this yet as my NHS CT scan is on the 14th Jan.

Dont get me wrong, I love the NHS, and I am thankful for such a system, but it is also nice to have the support from private hospitals.

I am one of the lucky ones, I am not rich, I haven't got a lot in savings, but due to O2, my employees, I was given a package that included a very good health care insurance and to put it bluntly if it was not for this the chances are I would not be here now. Thank you O2, and with this backing I am going to do my best to beat it again.

I talk about my street food business on this blog, but I also work for O2 part time.

I remember getting my healthcare number through the post years ago. I put it aside and forgot about it, not thinking that one day, that card will be a pass to save my life. Now when it came to bonus time! well, instant gratification, but health care! well, lets just say I enjoyed the bonus more. But now I realise how important this card is to me, I have used it quite a few times in the past 2 years, worth more than any bonus. I am thankful O2 have contiually supported me on my cancer journey.

Also messages from friends and family, they are all empowering, they help me stand tall. Robs Mum and Sister came to see us today, this was therapy and due to not been able to see them at Christmas it was great to see them.

I am about to go to my step Mums and Dads house in Portugal for a couple of days. I have had good news and I can start chemo and I can have the ablation (the treatment in London), but I do feel a bit of fear, at least this time I know what chemo can do, and I can arm myself in everything possible to be able to cope with it, everything from hypnotherapy to sickness drives to a sea band (I have been recommended this but not used it).

Also Michelle, a friend of mine as recommended some cream called uddermint, from mole valley farm this is for my shoulder. I am getting pain from the liver cancer which is passing the pain to my right hand shoulder. This is quite common and nothing seems to be budging it, but this cream really helps and seems to be better than deep heat.

I have just had my haircut which seems a bit of a waste of money due to been prepared to shaved it all  off in a couple of weeks (this time, i will do it, not chemo). When the hairdresser said to get the style i require I needed to grow it more, it did kind of kill the conversation when I said, theres no point it will all be gone in two weeks! he listened, while talking scissor or any other sharp objects from arms length away from me.

So right now I am looking forward for a few sunny days away, yet again, thank you for all of your emails and messages.

Thank you x

Friday, 2 January 2015

Action plan

Right this maybe a long one....

I have had time to think about it now, and I think I have worked it out...

This is a rough draft, but bare with me. 

I was interviewed for an article for pancreatic action websites January campaign, I was asked what my wishes were for the new year, I was back at the gym, and for the first time feeling a little more towards normal than I have been in the past two years. I had plans for my business in the new year,  I talked about how I try and face life and not anything negative, and my new year hope is to carry on with that, two days later, I failed, I stopped that path when I was told it had come back.

Our plans of seeing friends and family over Christmas and New year seemed to get taken over by my lack of sleep and pain, in all fairness I know I could not have changed that, but still it's annoying, and it got in the way.

The cancer charity wanted me to do an online video to talk about any messages They wanted me to give someone who had just found out they have pancreatic cancer advice and meanwhile I had felt I had gone back on my word.

I have been told with this type of chemo that I was on in the past, you can only have it every 6 months.

Now I have talked to the doctors about the situation, the response was surprise, but not because it had come back,  more that it's had not come back in 7 months and that's an achievement.

I think I know now what I am going to talk about on the pancreatic cancer video. 

When you first find out you have cancer it's a shock, you then find out it pancreatic, you then slowly find out what that means, you find out the percentages, you find out that this is truly a terrible situation to be in, and mainly how a cancer can come and simply take your life away. 

But, what they don't tell you is, it can also take your life way while you're living, it can stop your dreams, limit your living, consume your thoughts and push you off course. I know this, as it has done this to me in the past week. But, my personal advise is this, do everything not to let it, everything.  Don't get me wrong, when you are being sick in bed, I know you can not live life like nothing is wrong. But if you don't let it win taking your life way, every now and then In life, you will have moments when you will smile, you will have joy and you will still have dreams and with that, you're free and it's not winning. 

My body has done something remarkable, it as allowed me to live cancer free for 7 months, thank you, it has now allowed me to have the time to get over my last chemo sessions and have the energy and fight to do it all again, and given me the 6 months time to be able to do it. The only difference is I know what chemo can do, so this time I know what to expect, which will empower me.

So, I am not sure when the chemo starts or any other treatment, I don't want to do it, but I also know I can and I'm ready. 

But on reflection about the written interview, and the advice to others, I am also going to go back to my plans, push my dreams,  and live as cancer free as I can, living with cancer, and at the same time, aim to live cancer free again.