I originally wanted to write a blog to share my largely positive experiences of having terminal Bowel Cancer, but in a good way life got in the way. Life, having life, being alive! I was too well to sit back and muse on things. I was too busy having fun with my family.
Back in the summer when I first thought about writing a blog things were much different. We were about to start a new treatment and while we’ve always been positive about my cancer, we’d been through two failed courses of Chemo and two major surgeries to remove my bowel and half of my liver, so we were understandably dubious about the prospects of success with this new regimen. In February, our Oncologist told us that our second course had failed and that, because the two main treatments for Bowel Cancer had left my cancer untouched, it was sadly incurable. Later, when we’d plucked up the courage to ask, he told us that without successful treatment my life expectancy was 6-12 months. I’m told I’m quite a positive person and that I have a good attitude towards my cancer, but when someone tells you that you might not see out the year, in that instant no amount of positivity helps and suddenly, at least for a few days, the great attitude for which you’ve been known, deserts you. In truth, no matter how difficult it is for you, the cancer patient (I really resent the term Cancer Sufferer), it’s always a lot more difficult for the family and friends around you. It’s easy for me to get my head around being ill, but it’s obviously a lot harder for those around me to watch me going through this cancer experience. That time was really hard on my family, especially my wife.
Anyway, in the run up to starting chemo again in June our Oncologist, who I like to refer to as, the Indian Uncle I never knew I had, told us to have a break from treatment for a few months and have as much fun as possible with my young family. He was concerned that my new treatment might be quite gruelling and might not work, so the time before the start of treatment might be the best time I have left. This certainly got me thinking and I started making plans for letters I wanted to write to my girls. I also thought about writing a blog and sharing some of my experiences and my dreadful sense of humour, so that they might read it later. We also decided to go to Disneyland Paris. Thankfully with the help of our friends and family we could afford to spend a few days just getting away from it all and immersing ourselves in the amazing, fantasy world that is Disneyland. It was brilliant! My mum also organised a holiday to Cornwall (I’d always wanted to go) and we spent a wonderful week in a cottage with my Mum, Stepfather, siblings and their partners. In the time we had before treatment started we crammed in as many laughs, smiles, photos, videos and experiences as we possibly could. My senses were so overwhelmed by all the things we were doing that I totally forgot about writing a blog.
We were apprehensive about starting chemo again and focused on getting through it and trying to make it to Christmas. As treatment progressed we realised that it wasn’t as gruelling as we’d thought and when we got our scan results we got our first positive results. We got on with life. I retired from the Blackburn with Darwen Library Service. Louise and I went away for a week, spending time in Innsbruck, Verona and Venice… the honeymoon we never had. In December we went away with the girls to Disneyland again. Not only had we made it to Christmas, but we had the best one ever!
Around this time I decided to start running again. 5 months before I was diagnosed I had run the Great North Run and was trying to train for my first marathon in March 2012, unfortunately I was diagnosed that month instead. I began gently on the treadmill at the gym and then in mid-January started running with friends on the street again. Things went so well I upped my mileage even after starting treatment again. I’ve decided to write a blog, but not for the same reasons as before. Now, I want to share my experiences of running with Bowel Cancer, while carrying on with treatment. I’ve signed up to run Blackpool Marathon in April with the intention of running a marathon a month for six months. I’m hoping to raise money for various cancer charities in a challenge I’m calling Ben’s Bowel Movements. I’ve really missed running and I’m very excited about my first Marathon. It’s totally crazy to consider running so many marathons, but after the year we had I’m not going to let anything hold me back!
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