Wednesday, 31 October 2012


The laparoscopy yesterday has found a quite different picture to the EUS and CT SCAN.
Dr. Decadt has stated that in his opinion the tumour is in the lower oesophageous and upper stomach. There is no spread to any other organs in the area, particularly the liver, pancreas, heart or lungs. He also reckons its a T3, not a T4 in size, which is operable. He's recommended chemo for 3 months, then if that works to reduce the tumour still further, surgery to remove it.
The MDT team are meeting on Friday where Dr. Decadt will put forward his recommendation.
Good news.

Home now. Spreading the news, and resting. Stomach is sore, but I'm sure I've more of that to come.
Had some great news on my road bike, which has doubly cheered me up today. Pity it hurts to laugh :)

Tuesday, 30 October 2012


Had a nice walk with the dogs this morning. Stopped by the barbers for a haircut, which might of been a waste of money if I start chemotherapy soon.
Nil by mouth from 8am, so had a big breakfast of 2 toast with peanut butter and jam and 2 portions of Quaker oats with extra syrup and yoghurt. Yum.

Got a lovely email from Dave at work and then a call off Barry. Great to hear from you both and everyone's good wishes from work.

On the way to hospital we stopped off to get some new slippers. Nice moccasins.

More than anything in this journey, it's the waiting that's the worse. It'd be ideal if they could say;
Cancer-diagnoses-treatment-cured, in a week, two at most. However, from discovery of the tumour, I've waited for the ct scan then the first meeting to discuss my case then the EUS then the laparoscopy and now sat waiting to go for that. I'm not complaining about the speed of the NHS, because they've been nothing short of amazing in all this, just how long things take to happen. Talking of which, at 18:30 I finally went down for surgery.

Considering I was on the emergency list, I was lucky to get in so quickly.
If you've never had general anaesthetic before, it's a strange sensation. They put a cannula in your hand, a small dose of something to relax you, then the main anaesthetic. I watched the second hand clicking by as I drifted off and only remember 2-3 clicks.
I woke in recovery. My stomach felt like the alien had just burst out of it, done an Irish jig and stomped off! The nurses gave me some pain meds. The alien didn't come back.
Within a short time I was transferred back to the ward where I got as comfy as possible and tried to sleep.
Tomorrow we will have the results

Monday, 29 October 2012

Better or worse?

Went over to Manchester royal infirmary today for an EUS. That's an endoscopy with ultrasound which gives a better picture of what size and spread of cancer I have.
Turns out it's bigger than first diagnosed at T4 with the same lymph nodes affected and a possible spread to the pancreas. It's also now being called stomach cancer, not oesophagus. A more detailed look tomorrow when I have a laparoscopy.
Feel pissed off tonight.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Nice day so far

Had a lovely day today. Nice little ride this morning, dropped my bike off for a service at Freeride bikes in Disley then went for a spot of lunch at the rams head. Picked up my supplements on the way over too. 20 days supply!
Dad and v popped round for a coffee, which was nice.
Bit of tea then a drink this evening in Romiley. Good day.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Decision day

Doctor Ducadt and others will be meeting at the MRI to discuss my next treatment this morning. Meanwhile, I'm trying to decide what exercise to do today. Gym? Bike? Run? Probably all 3 in the gym. After yesterday's performance on my Mtb, I've noticed a definite drop in fitness since my road bike went into the shop.

Gym it was. 30 min cycle, 30 min run and 20 min weights with stomach crunches in between.

Aileen, the specialist nurse from the MRI called at 10:30 with the results of the MDT meeting. This is where everyone involved in my case decides on the next course of action. It's been confirmed that my cancer is T3N1MO, which is apparently good. I was cleaning my Mtb when they called so joh had a chat.They've decided on a few more tests first. PET scan, EUS endoscopy and a laparoscopy. After all that I'll start on chemo to reduce the size of the tumour then eventually surgery to cut the bastard out.
Good news. The battle begins.

Out for dinner today at Osteria Mauro with my bezzy mate Dai Jones. I've been told I've to fatten myself up in preparation for the chemo, so it was carbonara to start:
Followed by sticky toffee pudding and cream, washed down with a nice Peroni. 
Thanks Super :) Owe you a fiver. 

Back home, walk the dogs, wash Toby as he rolled in cow shit (well Joh washed him, I just hosed him down :))
Off to see SKYFALL tonight. 
Monday will see me starving for 8 hours prior to my EUS ENDOSCOPY at the MRI, then Tuesday is the LAPEROSCOPY at Stepping Hill, with the PAT test hopefully by the end of the week. Busy times ahead. 
Thanks for all the messages of support via Twitter and Facebook, email and text, very much appreciated. 

See you all Monday. 

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Not me.

Today started early. Around 03:30 this morning when joh and I woke up. We dozed, had a brew, a little adult cuddle, another brew and some toast and finally another brew and got up.
Joh went to see her dad, I went for a mountain bike ride. I had a route in mind, but ended up going further and climbing more hills. It's been a bit of a dull day, weather wise and indoors, although the views were still nice on the tops.
Got home and went through the usual process after a ride. Had a lovely dinner of spaghetti cheese, very filling.
Bit of a doze this afternoon. Both of us chillin on the sofa with the radio on. Watched rick stein in Asia and decided to go for a curry tonight.
Woke up after the doze and it took a minute to remember I had cancer. Still nowhere near sunk in yet.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Starting at the beginning

At 44 years old, and fit as a fiddle, I've been diagnosed with oesophageal cancer. That came as a bit of a shock. Over the last few months, I'd had increasing difficulty swallowing food, particularly rice, pasta and dry meals. My GP eventually referred me to hospital for an endoscopy on the 19th October 2012. We thought the problem may have been linked to my hernia operation from 2008, which can sometimes cause a tightening of the oesophageal sphincter. How wrong we were.
As soon as the doctor got the scope down my throat she spotted the tumour. It is 5cm in size and at the base of my oesophagus. As I'd had a general anaesthetic for the endoscopy, I was a little spaced out when the doctor told me of her findings, but my wife Johanna was there to bear the bad news in full.
By tea time I was recovered from the anaesthetic but had an overwhelming feeling of numbness. What I'd been told hadn't sunk in at all. Johanna was still very upset. I guess I was in denial.
We had a normal family tea that night but didn't tell Paige and Isaac. (Isaac had his girlfriend round so that wouldn't have been fair)
We asked them both to be home for 6pm the following day. We ordered Chinese and sat around the dinner table. The kids had both been sending Joh and I texts all day trying to guess what we wanted to tell them, Isaac came closest with "is dad dying?"
We had our chicken soup first, can't stand that going cold, and told them what had been found in my gullet. There were lots of tears all round, but we're a strong family and we'll get through this together. The weekend went by rather weirdly, with occasional bouts of tears from Joh and myself. The kids seemed fine, but quiet. Isaacs team won against Southport in the rugby in the last few minutes of the game, and I had my first frustrated snap at Joh on the way there in the car. She's a terrible passenger seat driver!
On Monday I had a CT scan and got an appointment through to see Dr Ducadt on Wednesday for the results of the scan, biopsy and hopefully bloods. Monday and Tuesday nights at work went by in a daze. I was still strongly in denial. When asked "how are you?" I couldn't reply "dying of cancer" could I! I've got to change that to FIGHTING CANCER!!
Wednesday 24th October 2012. 15:30pm. Dr Ducadt came into the small consulting room with his registrar and specialist support nurse. Joh was sat in the only chair and I perched on the bed. I had angry butterflies in my stomach and a feeling of detachment. The doctor went through what had been found and confirmed the tumour was a T3, although the CT scan wasn't very helpful in determining the size of the tumour, it didn't look like it had spread anywhere else. My blood iron was low. Joh cried, quite a bit. I was once again off to my denial place and took all the info on board about the next round of tests and surgery with an air of detachment. Louise, the nurse specialist, then went through it all again for us, and gave us lots of reassurance and advice for the upcoming journey ahead. Joh cried a bit more.
We left hospital and headed to asda for some alcohol. 2 bottles of wine and some nice bread and butter to compliment the stew joh had made earlier. Home and a few calls to make. Mum first in Spain. No answer. On to dad, local. Eldest brother Paul, local-ish. Middle bro' Peter, Nottingham. No answer. Mum called back. Peter called back. Family told. Paige and bf Jamie told. Isaac told when he eventually got in for tea. Tears all round again and big hugs. Stew and bread was lovely, wine going down a treat.
I had second thoughts about going public with my news, but I'm glad I did. I posted on the Manchester Wheelers forum, the smacs forum, Facebook and twitter. That pretty much covers everyone we know. I'm overwhelmed by the response. We all are. Thank you.
So, today, Thursday 25th October 2012 is the first real day of living with and FIGHTING this disease. My aim is to document my treatment on here and keep my updates in one place. Love to you all xx