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.


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