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.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Latest results and for Nan x

Nan, a lady from Hollywood who I have met via this blog has sent an email to ask why I haven't written my blog for quite a while - Sorry Nan! This is for you! And I hope all is well x 

I sometimes hide from the world, not really for any reason, not for any dramatic effect.  My brain seems to short circuit  and its then needs time to re-generate. I need to collect my thoughts.  But then, like Nan, friends and family get worried and I know sometimes questions like "is he dead?" are subliminally asked.  But at least when I'm back in the mood for talking, it gives me the opportunity to surprise everyone in a Den Watts fashion. (When I say that, i mean coming back from the dead, not the thing what he was court doing over the internet). 

I guess this is a form of depression. I do get down at times, and I don't like to write with that tone of voice, so I don't.  I try my best to pick myself up and remember what it's like to be ill, and then I can truly appreciate that moment of now, whatever that represents, whether it's being with Rob or taking the dogs for a walk, working at the market, being with family, listening to music, whatever I am doing right now, whatever it is, I know what it's like to fully appreciate that, and that can be really powerful. 

Nan was one of the blog readers that have tried to encouraged me to write a book, well.... I'm sorry Nan, I failed! I have written some words and then got bored, and started again, and yet again got bored, and so on.... After lots of boredom, I looked at the words I had written and scrapped the whole of the paragraph. Blar blar blar - cancer - blar blar blar - not well, and so on.  I started to write about what I wanted to write about and I found my writing seemed easer to write, which is a bit strange as cancer is the main subject, but by not writing about it seemed more fluid.

I have loved writing this blog, and I think my best writing is when I decide not to care and speak my truth. (Then go back into that writing, edit and take away any words where anyone could take you to court for slander and realise out of that 200 page essay, I only have a title). 

My health right now is this, it looks like the cancer has come back for the 5th time.  I have had a scan after my bloods had gone funny, they can't see anything on the scan, but the doctor has said we will have to keep an eye on my bloods as in the past, it has shown it has come back, so they expect that is the same again.  I will find out more in the next coming weeks.  Cancer research are following this with cameras and I think they may use it on "Stand up to cancer" on Channel four, I never get used to results, life seems very surreal.  But please don't feel sorry for me, having cancer five times is not something I am doing wrong, it's something I am doing right, I am still here. 

So, here you are Nan, here is the ideas of a very loose first chapter, hope you like x


Dear Cancer,

Thank you...

Most will find it strange why I am saying thank you, you have pushed me close to death a handful of times now, you have made me gravely ill, you have punished my partner and family and friends for no reason at all, and I still say thank you!

You see you have have also introduced me to lots of people, amazing people, nurses looking after the sick, doctors trying to find a cure, charity workers giving their hours to challenge you, people running, getting sponsored, doing everything from meeting up with friends for coffee mornings to bathing in a bath of beans, putting change into a bucket, all of them creating an amazing network and making good, and showing the true meaning of humanity, all types of people, all religions and all doing things for people like me.  We seem to live in a time where only negatives are shown on the news, well, I am very grateful you have shown me the amount of good in all people.

You have shown me what to and what not to worry about. You have evolved me, challenged me, and grown me, you have shown me my strength, and with that, I am thankful.

You have made me realise that I can accept my fate, but with that acceptance I also know that I have the power to challenge it, and I also know that miracles are possible, and each day when I awake, this confirms that.

Cancer, you have made me who I am, and with that, I am eternally thankful, and now with respect, will you please fuck off!  We can both walk away from each other and still honour each other with distance between us.

Sadly, it doesn't seem to be working in that way, so... If we can't do that, let's try and live in union for as long as possible.

Yes, you cancer at times make me feel scared, and I have sometimes cried. But I have learnt that If you are scared, then you are about to do something brave, and that makes you even stronger than before, so let's all raise our glasses to cancer.


Something strange happens to you when you join the cancer club.  If I see someone in the street that has no hair I want to run up to them and hi-fi them, I feel an instant connection.  I have never done this, I am worried they may tell me to piss off it's alopecia.  I find I now have this connection with people I don't know. They know what it's like, they know the stress, the sickness, the reactions from family and friends, they know what it can do mentally and physically, and with that, strangers that have never met can hold a deep knowledge, and a bond.

"You have cancer"

It's strange what happens to you when the doctor says those three little words. You take time to try and understand them, You have cancer! - I was sat up right in the hospital bed, my legs trapped under the hospital sheet, I was more yellow with jaundice than Homer Simpson.

I looked at the doctor, - "Am I going to live?".  My voice pitch hit a height that I had never heard me produce before.  I was asking a very serious question, probably the most serious question I had ever asked in my life, but in the style of a Bee Gee.  The doctor didn't answer, maybe he didn't hear me? Maybe due to my new voice, he thought I was taking the piss, I asked again, yet again, sounding like I had taken bin liner full of helium, "am I going to live?" Yet again, the doctor was silent.  I felt I was watching TV and that none of this was truly real, I looked at the doctor, waiting, maybe he was going to reveal the answer in an X-factor style, leave a bit of time, a close up of me, is he going to live, isn't he?  A sound of a very fast heart beat played as background noise.

The hospital curtains around the bed drop, a fan-fair plays, and a fireworks would go off - YES YOU ARE!  Suddenly I would leap from my bed, the jaundice would make me glo in the dark, I would sing the winners song, half way though the song the other contestants/patients would leave there beds and join in singing - But no, none of that, the doctor just stayed silent, it's probably a good job, as I can't sing.

I had a need to walk,  movement would help me get my head around what had just been told to me, get up and walk, get up and walk, sudden thoughts, rushed through my head, cancer, cancer?
Walking down the hospital corridor, the high-pitched child like voice had filtered into my body language, I was sucking the bottom of my t-shirt like it was a man-made fiber dummy. Wide eyed, people were looking at me like I had escaped the ward in which the patients had been sectioned. 

That was over three years ago, and a lot has happened in those three years.  I have become an expert of pancreatic cancer, I have seen what it does, I have felt what it can do and in a nutshell I have experienced the physical and emotional side, and I have seen how it can also effect family and friends, some have ran towards me and others I haven't seen since been told, but Its no ones fault, no ones other than cancer itself.  Everyone deals with cancer in thier own way, most people have a personal experience, and this reacts to how people respond to it.  My doctors have said that I have had so much chemo I must be super-human. It's funny as due to the chemo, I don't really feel human anymore. 

I was truly traumatised.  My brain started to shut down to deal with what was happening. Writing made me categorise my thoughts and put them in some sort of order, and it helped heal. You use what you can to deal and fight this, and that may mean just putting some words on paper, I was not going to win any awards for my writing, but to me, it helped more than I ever thought it would.
I started to write a blog, part autobiography, part therapy. One day, I was a fit, young and healthy man and today I'm not, and the stuff in the middle is a blur.  I  was 38 and worried about hitting the 40 mark and just getting older, I then got cancer, and now I'm 42, and can not really remember getting to 40! The situation as scrabbled my head.  I wrote a lot about "The situation" in the blog, I had such an issue to spell out what that situation was - and with time, it became easer.

The situation is this -  with pancreatic cancer only three percent of patients will be alive after five years.  The situation is, that I was one of the lucky ones I was one of the 20 percent that could be operable, but sadly I was one of the 80 percent that it comes back to, and if it comes back, there is nothing they can do about it. I am now in the situation that I have managed to get rid of it 4 times, I am going on to 4 years, the situation is unique.

It was a very personal blog, but then others started to read it.  It felt a bit vulnerable but my attention seeking side is far larger than my vulnerability so I carried it on, and it was nice to get encouragement to write more, "maybe you should write a book" was suggested.

I have done something cheeky, I wrote the first chapter, when I say chapter, it was a couple of paragraphs, I can't really describe it as a chapter and I then charged everyone to read it! Now! Before you all think I'm evil, the money went to Stand up to cancer. 

With the money going to charity I thought I would encourage me to write more, it didn't quite work. The thing is I have tried to write this now for ages, and, if I am going to be honest, it bores me! It bores me to write about cancer.  To try and encourage me I have read what others have wrote about the subject.  I would describe the genre as spiritual/depressing.  

I have struggled with what to write about.  I know this is not going to sell this writing but the subject matter really bores me!  I have looked at others that have written about cancer, and titles like "The Long Goodbye" are not titles I would run out to read. I start but never finish, and if I am bored about writing about it, then let's be honest, it's not a good sign for the reader. But one day, it clicked!  I want to write a cancer blog, but not about cancer! 

Having cancer has not all been bad. I never would have thought that I would be giving my point of view against the government for talking drugs off the cancer list publicly on channel four news, and been described as "articulate!" (I still have recorded everdence of this).  I never thought I would be in the papers and TV and feeling some form of power over this terrible diesiece, and this empowered me.  Mum and I have been on posters around the country for cancer research after a nasty reaction to chemo, as terrible as the reaction was, the poster was a strong image that helped the campaign.  I have shouted about pancreatic cancer, but if I am going to be honest, sometimes that shouting is hiding the screams.  A friend said I do talk a lot about it, well, let's just say, I am doing that as I am trying to get my head around it all still.

One of the many lessons I have learnt is to change that inner-voice. The one that tells us we are not good enough.  I have spoke to friends about this and it seems we all have this inner-voice, that first edits our thoughts, and with that, then changes our actions. I have learnt that if I can handle cancer then I am not letting that voice control my life in a negative way and since then, I have put my business up for awards, and put myself in situations that I would not have put myself due to the fear of failing or the fear of what others would think.  The inner-voice, has not become silent, it has simply change tactics.  Instead of it saying don't, it says do.. It's saying go for it.  It now allows me not to try and fit in, which gives the freedom to stand out.

As I am writing this, I am on a plane, flying back from Orlando. This was to celebrate time off chemo, and yet again my bloods going to normal,(sadly while editing I have learnt that the cancer as comeback for the 5th time)  this was now the 3rd lot of chemo, now let me quickly tell you about chemo, in not the greatest of details, but, wow! It can make you sick! And there is this thing called chemo brain.
How I would explain chemo brain is like this - I can not remember information stored in the past.  So, if I say where were you when Diana died, we automatically go into our stored information in our brain and pull it to the front, I now seem to have difficulty in doing this. Don't get me wrong, I know where I was when Diana died, I was on back of a motorbike in Paris taking pictures - too soon? I guess when there is information given to me, I find it hard now to store that information, so when this is required I'm not sure where to pull it from.

One of the great things about getting cancer is its now ok to have the right to take the piss out of it, i would not advice this in certain socail situations, believe it or not the cancer jokes go down better in the chemo ward but I don't recommend using in public. 

I do often play the cancer card! I have been upgraded in hotels, had queue jumps at theme parks, I have been excused of driving fines for driving in bus lanes. If you haven't got cancer, it may be in bad taste to use these to your advantage but if you have cancer, I recommend.

Anyway, so here it the start of my writing, - many pancreatic cancer things are about being ill and death, this isn't, this ones about rebelling against cancer and making it all about life, and living.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Results from scan

Results day is always a strange day. It's stressful, and the build up to it is also stressful. Conversation is normal. Shall we go for breakfast? Do you want to go for a coffee before we find out? What jobs have to be done after the hospital, and on the surface all is normal, but there is noting normal about results day.

You sit in the waiting room and talk to the nurses that now have become friends, you try and read there faces, do they know? I drive myself silly at this point. 

So to those new on my blog, and to some of you that have found you have pancreatic cancer, I had a whipples procedure just over 3 years ago, and that worked, but it came back 6 months later, I am on my 4th time that pancreatic cancer has been visible. 

I have just finished my 4th set of chemo, and the results from the scan and looking at my tumour count, right now, there are no signs of any tumours. My tumors count as been up to the 3000 mark, anything below 34 is normal, right now it's 18.

The oncologist and nurses and all involved have managed it again, of course I am very thankful.

So life goes on, and with that, you walk way from the hospital, and all goes on as normal, I am currently looking for an holiday,  it is much needed! And I am pushing for a business's award, to fund a dream of mine to have a cafe, it's a long shot, but I have nothing to lose! I was on local radio a couple of days ago and local TV today but it seems I have slipped down to number 27th, so please if you could spare 2 mins and just click the VOTE button, that would be great, so thank you.

Stand up for cancer may be coming to see me next week, and hopefully will be helping towards there campaign this year.

Also, they are using the billboard picture again for cancer research around the country from June.

Thanks for all of your lovely messages, and thank you for your support too. 

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Latest (April 2016)

I haven't done an update for ages! I am sorry, it's been quite hard this time around. I have recently found out I am diabetic, this made me quite ill and I thought it was the chemo.

So, to go back! I had to go back on chemo again, they found 9 tumors on the liver. I also came off Facebook, there was a reason, but I know some people thought, oh where is he gone! I didn't want to make a big public statement about coming off and then a week later looking a fool as I would be back on!...Hello, I'm back again!

When you are ill, you don't leave the house, and the view of the outside world for me was via Facebook, now, I know there are more to people than what they put on Facebook! All I put on Facebook is things about cancer or my business, I like to think there are more to me than this (mmmm... Or maybe not!) When you see other peoples updates on Facebook, and you use Facebook to a window of the world, you suddenly get a very dis-jointed view of that world, I realised this was not an healthy way to live, and I also knew I still had a few weeks left of chemo, so I choose to come off it for a bit, I was turning cynical, and I did not want to do that.

Also, I knew I had a few weeks to do more on chemo, and to do this, I had to get my head down and get on with it.

This was the 4th cycle of chemo, the first few days are hard, but it gets easier. I have had 2 scans recently, one for the Proff in London to see if I could be ablated again, (tumor zapped using Nano-technology) and another which I haven't had the results of yet.

My tumor count in my blood, anything above 34 they are concerned about, mine went up towards 3000, but now, due to my oncologists and chemo, it as dropped to 29, they are very happy about this, and use words like amazing to describe the situation. On the scan a few weeks ago the 9 tumors I had had shrunk and only two was visible they have been ablated in London, and I am now waiting to find out the results. 

When it came back a couple of years ago, my doctors said there was nothing they could do, and there was no point of surgery as it would spread quickly, now, due to this unusual situation, I have been told by one of my oncologist that they are now looking into surgery, I am not sure what the outcome of this is, as I haven't seen my main oncologist yet, but I have contacted the Pancreatic cancer UK charity, and they have done looked into it and sent an email to me of questions I should ask, (Thanks Dianne) they have done amazing things, and really helped me, this surgery has been done before in China, so there are records of it, I just have to see what is offered. 

So... All is good!

This may sound strange, but I think cancer as given me more confidence! I know it shouldn't be that way, but I think it has! Don't get me wrong, I am feeling abit down right now and I also know that is due to the situation, but, well! If I can deal with this, I can deal with most stuff! 

And what better time to start a cafe! 

The competition is the Richard Branson Voom. 

If you could vote for me, that would be great! Here is my pitch...

Thank you..