Friday, 29 April 2016

Admin, Admin, Admin :(

So today (that being Thursday) was the first time that I actually felt like I had the opportunity to sit down and talk to friends not only about me but also generally about university. It was a refreshing change to be able to finally talk with friends and look back. University has been extrememly difficult, I have had some amazing highs but I have also never felt more depressed before.

I have learned that whilst many people have great intentions, they will do things which makes your life more difficult. Yes anybody over the age of 21 who has graduated, just indulge me on this deep and meaningful retrospective.  I didn’t go into therapy just cause I wanted someone to have a chat with, that being said one of the thing I have required often at university I have really needed and not had someone just to chat to.

One of the fantastic opportunities about this week was being able to attend my final debate at the Literary and scientific debating society.  One of the oldest societies at this university. Not only was it the place I really got to know an interesting and attractive women, who over a year and a half later still doesn’t seem to be tired of me.

It was on a trip down to Trinity for a debating workshop, that I made what I have been told (by her) a terrible attempt to ask if she was interested in a more serious thing. It involved my facebook profile relationship status, I will say no more. But this society has really helped to grow as a person in confidence at public speaking, and in my academic life, to create a clear and coherent argument.

Yes mum and Mrs Morris I got there eventually.

Some of my best experiences at university are because of this society.  I do not get to leave with some fine final speech, walking off into the sunset  but more often than not in life when do you ever.7

Unfortunately there was a lot of things I planned to do like join a campaign event for Oxfam which has been a massive part of my university life. Will miss my Qub Oxfam family, I am only sorry as with so many things to not have been able to take great advantage of it.

The other thing that I wanted to do, was do one final tour on behalf of my universities UK admissions department. Since day one of first year, I have worked  to promote what I still believe to be a fantastic opportunity that this university can bring to there life.  Being able to every week of my university life, to meet new young people and their families from all over the UK to hear their stories and hope that my story can in some way help to shape there’s.

As I come to the end of the week, another sad aspect of this week is I don’t really know when I will see many of people that I have come to consider friends again, the world is out there and our generations more than ever have got the skills to travel and see it.

Today is the day I hand in my dissertation, despite it being something which is almost talked about in mythical ways.  Yet I am handing in two very bland looking mini books, with an attached cover sheet because I being a dyslexic, did not read in the module guide that it was needed.  In addition to that when I looked to hand in my copies, the office refused to take them.

Because no one had told them, that they would be receiving thesis this semester. So like I said it was never going to easy for me. Outside of that the last day of  the week, also involved a lot of stressing waiting on emails, to make sure that the forms I where going to hand in where correct.  Considering this process began at about 10 am, you might be surprised that I was not responded to or confident with what I was stating until 3:30pm.

So that was Queens, my next post might be more retrospective but not sure yet. 

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Times up

This week has been a really hectic mix of seeing lecturers, getting paper work finished, getting in as many formals as a man can in a week, and trying to fit in be able to spend time to do things you can on the cheap like going to the cinema for nothing.  But one of the things I am trying to do but failing is I am finding it Difficult to be able to have perspective  on being able to take in for the final time being a student at this wonderful university of mine.

It is especially difficult because despite trying to approach this as my last week to some extent my time has already been and gone. A last week or a final week should be something you live to some extent normally. I don’t have that luxury, my house which I have come back to I am not living in, I am staying there bit of a difference. But as with most things your time comes before you feel like you are ready for it and I guess this is just one of those. I wouldn't be living my normal life trying to get in as many meet ups as this week.

Many of you know when you come to the end of something like school or college or university, ideally you want to be able to look back with your peers and talk about what we had. But the difficult thing about  this is  that I seeing my friends for  the final time yet all I am talking about, is my current condition. Hopefully when graduation comes I will get my opportunities to say my final good byes to the academic staff who has helped me get through the last three years. Whilst I won't be able to do these good byes along with my class friends, this is my new reality so time to get used to it.

But any way back to the fun part of this week and the reason why I came back in the first place, apart from to see my gf again J end of year formals people.

The first formal was at a place called the Ulster Reform club, one of the strangest experiences of the past couple  of weeks is being invited into “clubs” which the outside world is not aware of them being there. The other one being the Oxbridge club in London.  Minus the whole cancer thing really living the high life.

There is a lot of people who because of my first term travels, I have not been able to reconnect with or in some cases try to bury/ resolve any previous difficulties that I might have had with them. When you get involved as I have with societies and you work with people closely things can get stressful and things take place and are said in the moment of trying to organise events and run the society which you regret looking back. By the way I am in no way not attaching myself to that statement because I did.

The second formal which was the Politics, International Studies and Philosophy school formal took place as it has for the passed three years in the great hall.  It was fantastic for me to get to see so many people who in some way have become a part of my university experience, and do a kind of goodbyes.

After the drinks reception, the meal had gone very well the table we were on, had someone who I had not seen since getting off a grey hound in Philly one July night. Everything went well apart from a 20 minute period where we weren't sure, if the gf was going to have an anaphylactic shock. This was because she hadn’t realised before she eat it, that the chicken had ground walnuts on top.  It was never going to go swimmingly was it.  

As I stated above I really feel my final universities opportunities and the life experience, associated with that are being taken away from me, before my time. I would have preferred my last formals, not to be the last time I see so many people. That feeling will not go away because it is a fact, but how I choose to let that effect me of course is down to me.

But at the same time opportunities do arise. Whilst I have my health and before I am going into chemotherapy, I am currently working on getting a piece hopefully published for the Guardian student section.  In addition to that I am have looked to get this blog out to male cancer charities and hopefully looking forward to taking up some kind of an ambassador role. Because as with many things in my life that I have had to deal with, if I can talk about then I should so others who can't for what ever reason don't have to.

The other issue is whilst being in Belfast and still trying to live in the moment, due to the complications that I have health wise I am still needing to stay on top and follow up with my specialist nurse.  So on Wednesday morning I had one of the weirdest phone conversations I have ever had. Along with finding out my possible prosthetic might be a blood clot, was kind of put to the back of my head due to other things.

The other thing which I remembered from the conversation, was being told that as I was doing a sperm bank on Tuesday, I had to make sure I ejaculate on Saturday. I never thought I would hear those words over the phone. But as with many experience of the last couple of weeks, just another thing to tick of the life experiences list. 

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Getting back to reality

One of the most difficult things about getting used to dealing and waiting for therapy, is the fact I need to carry on living my life sensibly. The simple fact is that in between appointments and tests there’s still the possibility it might be over and you get to go back to normality. But in addition to that as I really tried to emphasis you need to continue to make sure you remember and be around and apart of every day reality.

However it is a little bit difficult, when you are as I am a in debt student. But at the same time there is very little I can do everyday at the moment.  Everyday for me at the moment, basically involves me trying to find ways to leave the house.  Unfortunately, as is the case for many people out there who don’t have jobs realize that for our mental health, you can’t just stay indoors all the time.

Also just so people don’t miss read this as something its not, I am terrible at budgeting. So trying to remember to think about my money just when I am simply trying to find ways and buy things that make me feel better. So yes I have brought a tshirt from a cancer charity, and yes I have brought a book for 15 quid. And yes I am seriously considering getting a HBO now account.

But moving on from my internal issue. This week as I said I am back in the place I have called home for most of the last 3 years.  Getting back into the house when I  just had a moment to think, one of the things that has hit me the hardest has been looking around mine and my girlfriend’s house and just realizing the loss.

The plans we had made the cleaning rota we had, that’s not going to get seen through. We had a normal life, time is different now.   So this last academic year whilst being really rewarding on so many levels, has been very challenging. Spending 6 months in a new country where you don’t speak the language was never going to be easy. And I can definitely say Poland at times was not easy.

But the one thing that got me through the difficult times, was looking forward and just thinking about what this time was meant to be.

Me and my gf in our nice small house, seeing out the end of our undergraduate enjoying getting the chance to enjoy the city we have got to know so well together one last time. Getting to go see the gigs we want, experience the things we haven’t done but all ways plans to. Unfortunately life never allows you to just have it that simple.

As I am getting older I realizing very quickly how important, short amount of time can be in life. How much can you do, what you can say to someone in an hour which might change there or your life.

Far too often I continue to get told my life is ahead of me, so much more to do. Not really, as I am older and especially in my current situation opportunities seem to be flying passed me.

 One of the frustrating things, was having to give up my place on a University leadership course to Malaysia. Now whilst I can one day go to that country, but that opportunity is not coming again and that sucks.

Interacting with people back in my normal life was always going to an experience. Because I don’t know how I would deal with a friend of mine who has cancer. Its not like you get classes.

One of the  most odd things that I kind of expected, is what do you talk to people who you know just in passing, just waiting to cross the street. I can fully appreciate that fact a lot of the conversations people have wanted to talk off the topic.

 I am sure this is something which many people who have had cancer have experienced. But from my perspective, I don’t really have a lot more to talk about. I have a lot of plans  for this  week and I am depressed, that this will be my last roll of the  dice, and that is  sad but it does make me try to cherish what I can .

Thankfully my  school has  been very accommodating, which will make my plan to finish this year a lot easier. For those of you on facebook do prepare yourself for a dissertation photo on Friday.   This is probably going to be a hard week, but I am going to give it my best. 

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Preparing for chemo

Before I begin talking about how things have been since the appointment I just want to go back to some of the weird things about that day. Firstly was the fact, when  I saw on my ipod that Victoria Wood had died I was more concerned my mum might have a break down seeing that then what ever my results where.  That fact her pulse was 110 didn’t help.

Secondly was the fact the minute I saw that had happened I knew along with everything else I wrote about in the last blog, this was not going to be a good day.  So you get a couple of forms and detailed stuff which I have got the time to try and work through.

The first thing is the large amount of possible side effects.

Which goes from losing your hair, which for some reason I am just coming to the realisation that I am going to lose all of my body hair, to throwing up  to mouth ulsers. So yes really excited for those three weeks starting May 23rd everybody.

Also back on the subject of my hair for a moment.  For anyone who knows me pretty well knows I am a relatively hair man. So going from Hugh Jackman to Christaino Ronaldo is not something I am looking forward to. Although I have been told, not to knock putting trousers on hair less legs until I have tried it, but I will have to wait and see on that one.  

But in addition to that you get the sperm bank leaflet, which it turns out if I want to use my sample in the future it is going to cost me. But I  guess becoming infertile at the age of 21 is just another new reality that I have to get used to except.

Most importantly of all the things I am going to have to prepare for is the fact research on the internet suggests that I am not going to be able to drink coffee.  Just want to say that again I am not going to be able to drink coffee during my recovery and will probably need to stay off coke.

However moving back to one of the small upside of this treatment, I forgot to mention is that apparently there is some funding from charities for teenagers and young people with cancer. No matter what my ages, I am still able get money from some public body for just being me.  

So I am writing this the day before I head back to Belfast, for what is my and will be my last ever week as a university undergraduate student.  It’s a really scary but also depressing thought that the next seven days are the last seven days I will be able to just be a student and do all of the things I do as a queens student. But I  guess along with having to accept some of   the other things I stated above, is just something I have to get used to.

But anyway back to me my upcoming week. Because  I am trying to make sure I finish everything, or to put it another way get one last go at thing that have become part of my university life. One of those thing, has been working in university recruitment for GB students. This has been one of the best things I was able to since my first year and for the last time next Friday, I will be giving a tour. Don’t pity me to much I am getting paid ;)

Due to the fact I am trying to make sure I do everything, as well  as deal with all the different admin things, that I need to do in my department to work out what is the best way that I am going to be able to finish if not officially graduate this academic year.

One of the slight difficulties when trying to  organise some kind of schedule, so I can make sure I can make the best of it, means making sure my schedule  lines up with  what my girlfriend has planned for that week.  Now for any of you, who know me and my girlfriend very well, know we are very different people. I do have to be careful how I phase this, as she might actually read this. I often always try to plan for the future and next week is just another case of that.

My girlfriend however very much lives in the moment, which is great. Often I feel like it helps to mellow me out, however that does mean trying to get her to commit to a weeklong schedule a day or two ahead of time is a little bit difficult. 

Friday, 22 April 2016

Facing the reality

So today was the day.

It was the day which would define and effect my next 6 months and could really put my life on hold. It didn't get off to the best start, managed to get lost on my morning walk so it was really a sign of things to come. Side note am really getting into my power walking routine, Carmel give me a couple of months might be near your level ;).

I Tried to call up early so I could get a bit of a head up on what my blood result are, Paul who recently having come back from holiday, catching up on a lot of work, he was not going to be able to take the time to look up blood results which will be followed up at 4pm.

 In order to try and make the day go a bit quicker me and mum went to the cinema, thought with a 4pm appointment 12:40 movie we would be fine.  Well firstly Zoo tropilis is a fantastic, a nice and fluffy movie Disney movie which considering the circumstances we both needed. It also gave me an idea about how I am going to spend my time in recovery after treatment. There was a guy in front of us who I saw after the screening had ended and we where leaving, just walk into another screen.  

 However, there was a slight issues as it turn out we were a bit wrong, time wise. Mainly because we had to go and pick up my dad at a time when everyone was leaving the local primary school.

We made it back to ours at 20 past; the appointment was at 4:00. So despite the rush we actually made it with 10 minutes to spare. However in the end, our efforts made no difference, as they were 40 minutes behind. The joys of the NHS.

The moment came and we went in, its never reassuring to be seeing a new doctor who for some reason did not appear to have any of your notes from previous meetings.  So the moment we went in the word treatment was used and I knew straight away as I suspected I was never going to get out of this in the clear.

But before I knew quite exactly how screwed I was, first thing I wanted to get checked was my second lump. So I went into a side room with the doctor and Paul the specialist nurse who the second I pulled my pants down, pretty much said in unison, it’s a prosthetic. Whilst I am pissed off that I have something in my body which should have been there, I am more just relieved that it was not a cancer relapse.

Once that got sorted, my situation was outlined. Despite the seriousness that it sounds, I currently am not that in trouble. My blood levels are continuing to drop so the surgery worked. I don’t have a new tumour in my body.  However I do have the small possibility of that a lymph node in my body is 1cm away from being considered enlarged to a dangerous  level. I also still need to get blood test, until stuff have dropped which means I get only a week break from this place.

Due to this possible complication, actually works well for me. This is because they can’t start treatment until they know if the lymph node is expanding or staying the same so I know have a month to enjoy my time a little bit.  Now if it turns out I need 3 rounds and the node expands then I will be pissed but until that point, but thinking positive people.

So straight after we finished me and my mum headed to Wolverhampton to go see Stuart Goldsmith , I know a bit of an odd thing to do.My dad did ask when we came back if I didn't just want to sit and think about everything. But the thing is there is not really that much to think about. My mum put it well, this is not so much of a battle or anything I have any control over. Things are being done to my body, so when I have little control of that there's not really much to think about.

Also I paid for  the tickets and its the principle of the thing sometimes ;)

 But I really loved it, because it was great to just focus and indulge in something completely different. Also so nice to go to a gig, where firstly san miguel was only 3 quid, and the person working the bar when I didn't have cash, as they didn't take card, to let me pay later. 

I don’t know when my next blog will be, but treatment doesn’t begin until May 23rd so hopefully it will be me continuing to enjoy life and my hair / beard before it goes. The hair not my life ;) 
 Belfast see you Monday. 

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Feeling the distance

So firstly on a medical standpoint, some slight improvements my markers have halved but they have not flattened so not enough to allow them to be able to confident to make an conclusion.

But alongside that there  is also the possibility that the last month the surgery the tests the distance and the waiting, I might have to go through it all again if that second lump which I am praying is a prosthetic, turns out to be a relapse terrifies  me.  Also the guy I spoke to over the phone, looking at the surgical notes could neither confirm nor rule out a surgical mess up, because there was language in the notes which he (because he is not a surgeon according to him) was unfamiliar with.
So great I am either still dying or someone messed up the joys.

So yes you guessed it more blood tests, which hopefully shows my levels are normal and I get to get angry with someone for their incompetence. If it is that, I suspect I will never meet the person, because for anyone who has had the misfortune of going through a type of disease which requires a number of hospital visits, even within the same department you very rarely see the same person twice.

But aside from that I think one of the things that I was least prepared for was the distance.  This kind of builds on what I said yesterday, but for me It really is true in that my life and the women I love is across a sea.

3rd  year is never meant to be  easy, but it really does suck that the best you can do for someone is be on the other end of the phone, when you really want to put two arms around them and tell them it will be fine.  The internet is an amazing this, but their really is very little you can do over email ;)

But in another way distance is not just dependent on geography, but has also affected my interactions with my family and family friends.  One of the most difficult things that I have tried to balance, sometimes successfully sometime not is being empathetic to peoples concern, especially close family members.

Let’s see if I can get across to you my position, I am trying to be appreciative and understand people’s worries, the fact everyone is always going to think about worst case scenario.  It effects in some way, the everyday life I cannot appreciate the difficulty that comes with going to work, knowing there is loved one who everyone keeps asking you about there CANCER.

However what person suffering with a possibly life threatening disease would want to indulge themselves into that line of thinking.  One of the ways I feel like I have got through this experience is yes being realistic and trying to plan for all eventualities, but at the same praying you never have to turn those plans into your reality.

So thankfully today had a nice long  walk, I would say to get  myself back to some kind of level of fitness but  also to just get some fresh air for  a good period of time, nothing quite beats some good power walking.

One of things I am really learn to appreciate as I get older is having the opportunity like I had today, to just go and sit down to talk to someone and just both be able to take stock of how life is going. But not just that just talk about life. So yes thank you joe.

Blood test was nothing special but unlike my first round where I had to wait for about 15 people, this time only 5, small victories right.

Hopefully my next blog will be my final one, but I know better than to really believe that. Either way you lucky people will be getting a video.

But what I do know is that Belfast I will See you guys next week. 

Monday, 18 April 2016

Life right

So in order for me to get out the house and to give my parents some peace and quiet I headed to London, for  a couple of day.  So the first thing I did once I got into town  was take a Trip to LSE, after grabbing a coffee with my uncle who works around Victoria station. So I wanted to go to LSE
because in my field outside of you know who LSE is the next big thing, and I wanted to see what might have been(I didn’t apply and wouldn’t have got in but nice to dream right).

So overall I have to say very Underwhelmed, everyone is different and being condition to Queens Campus in a city I have never been a fan of city universities.

Being able to travel and go see things is something I have and will always be grateful for the time and the opportunity to do so. But I think definitely this time round more than anything, my podcast don’t quite feel like  the company they used to.

That is the sad but I guess pretty obvious thing about this disease that in this dead time before treatment begins, I very much am kind of in a weird state of suspended animation.  Everyone’s life’s continue around me whilst I just wake up to days wondering where and how I am going to fill them . But that suspended animation will come to an end .

So day two and my main aim for my trip down was to see the Olympic park. After about an hour getting from south to east London, I made it and it was really quite something, if you can come down to the capital and see the amazing facilities that they have down here.  After a few  more museums I  head round to my gf sisters house, for a lovely risotto, and to be reminded why people my age need to life with 5 other people, when its only meant for  4. (If you haven’t guessed it's rent prices).

This has been a really fun and actually allowed me to get a fair amount sleep, which I didn’t expect. Thank you to Annettee John, Alex, Clive, Christaine, James and Isobel for keeping me company. I am writing this on Friday morning to some extent just counting the hours, until my phone rings and to some extent the next 6 month of my life is decided. So yes little bit nervous, but trying to make myself as mentally prepared for everything.

The other weird thing, it how paranoid, you become every little thing that you noticed before hand, as symptoms, every little thing you think is a sign that its not gone. Also  unfortunately, I have another issue I need to get resolved is I realised last night that I have had prosthetic testicle put in to replace my removed on. I never asked for on and certainly did not sign anything which could in any way suggest or imply that I want one.

Guess I was a bit stupid to expect everything to go smoothly.  When you are unlucky as I am, its not really going to be a one time thing. So its 9:30 they have probably only just got into work, but I am going to be looking at my phone every minute for the rest of the day. Main part of the day was  Lunch in the Tottenham court road area, with a very old family friend who I have known since I was born who work in the area. It was a really nice lunch, mainly because it was nice to hear of someone who seemed to have it together but being able to feel happy for a really old friend who deserved it.  Yes my days are a bit shit at the moment but it doesn’t mean I can’t be happy for her. The rest of the day until my 5pm bus was spent above ground hoping and praying for that phone call.

 It is 22:52 pm, and I have just made it home after  what should have been a 3 hour journey turned into 5 hours.
I am also coming back, having waited all day for a phone call that never came. Today was that day for  me, its difficult  to describe how emotionally draining it is to just want some closure to believe that it is coming and for that to never come through.

To know you  have something in your body which you  never wanted and could cause you  some really nasty side effects, doesn't really help you drift off at night. But I will have no idea about my results , will have no idea about why the fuck I have something I didn’t want in my body, until Monday.
Life is very good to me, so today I feel like in a weird I just got a little bit of what was coming to me. Karma haha.

So this morning rather than just sit and wait for the time to pass by, I was out and campaigning for the stay in campaign in Birmingham. This might sound like an odd thing to do considering the circumstances. But as more time pass, the simple fact is I am not going to die, or at least fingers crossed right, this is still going to be a world that I want to leave in. For me this vote is very a key dependent of what sort of a world I will be leaving after the vote.

But as I put in my last piece this experience very much is leaving in a world operating around you, with you stuck in limbo, but whilst I still have my health and whilst I still have my hair ;), going to continue to try and step back into that real world. 

Sunday, 17 April 2016

When over thinking becomes the way for fill the day

So I don’t know when I am going to be putting this up, but today is Tuesday the 12th of April, and is the first day when I have nothing to do.  My parents are all working, my brother has headed back to Bristol and I have no hospital visit to make.

I know I might have it but I feel fine, which is possibly the thing you don’t prepare yourself for because if I thought about getting cancer, I kind of thought of just basically a depressing slow sickness which I am sure is unfortunately the case for many people. It’s strange to know you might be dying but to have no feeling to kind of associate that with.

It’s probably a common a thing all people have to learn to deal with before their treatment actually begins. So today I am writing this whilst sitting at a costa when I could have  just made coffee at home simply to get out the house. Thank you Lesley for the gift card.

Obviously everyone is very different, but I have never been very comfortable with my own company.
I think it might be some kind of ticks that I developed when I was a lot younger to deal with my autism, where I have to continue to work to be comfortable talking to people , so much so that I can’t deal with my own company.  

I have always been pretty envious of my brothers and my girlfriend who are so comfortable in their own skin that they can happily just spend a day sitting in front of their laptop or watching tv.

As my mum would agree I have never been too conventional in how I have done this life thing.
But also time and not being bothered enough to do my dissertation means you start to think way to much. Two days ago was me and my girlfriends one year and 6 month anniversary, not many couple can say that in such a short time both parts of a couple nearly die. My gf had a anaphylactic shock after eating a walnut when she came to visit me in Warsaw.

A lot of things suck about this, but every day I try to mentally prepare myself for all eventualities about what treatment I am going to need.

So far I guess I have tried to deal with this quite well, but I think its because when faced with the word cancer I am just thinking of all the best case scenario. Which at the time of writing this, is I don’t need chemo, but I suspect and am realistic to appreciate the fact the odds of me getting through this with no chemo is  pretty small.

But if on Friday 15th I get a call and they say I need full chemo, three to four cycles.   I think that will be the point when the smile might be difficult to keep going. I want to graduate I want to be there to see my girlfriend graduate, I don’t want mine and my families life, our holidays,  my holidays,  my time with my girlfriend before life begins in September , to go to waste.  I am for anyone who reads this who has had the misfortune to go through will tell me it will all be fine etc.

But I would still prefer to have to put my life on hold for a month than the next. But I guess that’s the thing with cancer it doesn’t give a crap you have your plans, you have your dreams your plans, and in the space of a couple of weeks your done. And 3 to 6 months of your life are just done.  But its not my life and I guess that’s what counts.

So my next article will bring you right up to date with me, and it has been a difficult recent time.

Friday, 15 April 2016


So the day before I had the joy of drinking what basically tasted like lead was possibly one of the most painful things I have had to do so far.  This was so to basically to give my  insides an early opportunity to get used to being radioactive. Afterwards I went out and got a nice shirt for my upcoming formal so some good and some bad. No matter what even if I am not graduating in June I am going to party as if I am.

So Sunday morning came, thank fully in comparison to my previous medical issues this was a lot quicker and a lot less thick needles. You know things are not going well with you when you are going to a hospital on a Sunday. You may be surprised to hear not that busy. The reception in the imaging area was not even open.

So you show up, then you have an hour to drink a cocktail of orange squash and whatever they need you to drink to make your insides shiny. So time came and I had to get changed, but you may be surprised to hear got to keep my trousers on this time.

I go into a closed off room and set myself down on a bed which takes me into the machine. And yes once sorted they did needle me.  This machine is very cool but I wish I was just looking at it rather than getting scanned. I am sent through the machine and on the other side my arm is hooked up to another drip.

But this is a little different drip, mildly radioactive dye. It’s a surreal moment being told at the age of 21 you are going to feel like you have wet yourself. But 5 seconds later with the dye following in my blood steam I suddenly had (they did warm me) a random warm feeling though out my body. Including (and again I was warned of this) feeling like I had wet myself. Yes age 21 having a sensation I thankfully not had in at least 10 years. This experience, does continue to bring new sensations.

The next ten minutes just involved me holding my breath going in and out of the machine the joy. After it was all done my dad decided he would allow us to enjoy an extra 20 minutes at the QE by not paying attention to mums text to come and pick us up. But overall things where pretty simple.

So the next day I went to get another needle injected into. The joys lol, today's needle unlike yesterday was taking my blood rather than putting radio active stuff into me.

This time I was getting my blood taken at Birmingham’s cancer sent, which was a weird experience for a couple of reasons, firstly this, and this going to sound weird, was the first time since getting diagnosed had I been around other peoples with various forms of cancer. That’s more of an observation than anything deeper, as I was to awkward to actually talk to other people in the waiting room.

But the second reason because it was kind of like something I hadn’t had to do since the early days  of secondary school, going to get school shoes, and that was get a ticket and wait your turn. It was basically a conveyor belt your turn comes up you go in no talking they take the blood they need and you are on your way.

So I am writing this unsure what my next blog is  going to be, but hopefully it will be mildly interesting J

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

No matter time than now

So after getting back from surgery on Saturday, we  had decided that the arranged Parents meeting ( my parents meeting her parents) on Sunday,  should go ahead. Mainly because at least they would have one conversation topic J

But more importantly my girlfriend was coming to stay bearing a lot of chocolate and beer. So yes I will be staying in this relationship for a while, if the chocolates continue. Well and  her continuing to be great helps makes me want to see where  this is going.

So after a couple  of hours Sitting and talking with them thankfully everyone seemed to like each other. Or least that was the impression I  got.

It was a really nice couple of days with her, just enjoying the quality time I am still not sure when we are going to have again. Hopefully soon depending on how my results come up fingers crossed.

So on Monday I decided now was a good time to put my video up, after giving my parents the heads up so to call grandparents etc, it went up. What came over the text two days so much love I so slightly surprised but filled me with something I can’t really put words to. I again want to thank the large number of people  who continue to take the time to message me with supportive messages whether we know  each other well or we just meet once at that thing a few years ago thank you. I am not going to lie on Monday night I did slightly tear up.

 Although after a couple of days your family  understandably does begin to tire of comments on facebook about what an inspiration I am.  Yes I would say we are a family that tries to not take its self to seriously. 

I decided(My girlfriend understandably got tried of me being on my phone given the circumstances, or was I checking my emails, like I said don't know how see stands it), that I would leave  it until my gf had gone back to Belfast before I attempted to answer everyone. 

So Tuesday came around and we have had some hard good byes, but weirdly this was not the worse but I think that says more about how difficult and distant in terms of where we have been on the globe, during our relationship than anything else. Having spent 3 months (and yes anyone over the age of 35 who has done long term long distant before technology, I know you will be rolling your eyes) in two different continents excluding the circumstances a few weeks would be nothing. Especially as we have scheduled daredevils sessions.  

This day also began the first time I meet up with people in person after going public. Despite what you think and what I kind of expected people thankfully and my friends especially, allowed me to have a pretty nice easy natural conversation. 

My next post will be beginning the next stage of my treatment in order to establish exactly, how much cancer do I have. 

Monday, 11 April 2016

Living in the moment

So the day before was quite weird because,  not only did I spend most of the day wondering how and when do I make this announcement. I also had a coffee date with a really old friend of mine. The question I had to ask my self was this the time to tell someone. I decided no and thankfully that allowed me to just sit and listen to how her life had been in the two years since we had seen each other last. Sarah thank you for reminding me  that stuff still goes on and being a constant friend for a very long time.

So I eventually steeled on doing a video which I could put up on my facebook next Tuesday a week after the diagnosis. Theres another thing you don’t consider I guess, is how it hits your family. Thank fully both my brothers are slightly heartless basterds (I say that with love). So they have both been completely rational and not, not caring but not concerned. My dad told his sister(WITHOUT TELLING OR ASKING MY PERMISSION this will be relevant later) he was similar to my brothers.

My mum was different, thanfully and it was unfair that whilst it was completely out of my control what my dad did, to not let her tell someone.  So after a night time skype with the GF where armed with some literature given to me by paul I put a couple of her concerns to rest. Before wishing her good night.

Next morning, got up later than I planned so breakfast was more a case of stuffing my mouth with cards (PASTERYS) than a relaxed meal. The rest of the morning was basically spent just trying to kill time,I decided it was a good time to do my video.

After only two takes (VERY PROUD OF MYSELF FOR THAT) 12pm  when I was set to go in came around.  Me and my dad went into hospital down the long white corridor, and getting settled at my bed the waiting game began. After getting seen by a nurse and another person Within two hours, It was not until about 4pm when everyone else in my ward had been seen that it was my turn. At that point I was chilling solo, I had sent my dad on at 2 to save hime the bordem of waiting.

So when the moment actually came to get changed into my gown, trying to decide if my  dressing gown so needed, mainly to stop my arse from being on show, I was more just thankful that food was soon going to become a part of my life again.  You would think that I would be scared nervous etc, but once boredom sets in it kinds of rules. The only thing to break the boredom of my own podcasts, was a guy from the end of the row who was in from a local prison. The other exciting moment was when a guy started bleeding through his cut.

Like I said it was a long wait. One of the things I was slightly nervous about the day before was getting to sleep. But not eating for nearly 10 hours and sitting on my arse for most of it, I was no longer concerned.

I want to take a moment to thank nurse Lauren who sat with me for about 20 minutes whilst I waited on the surgen to take me in.  One thing  that will live with me for a while is whilst being rolled to have my testicle removed, after telling a different surgen what degree I did. Being asked can you travel/ do much with that.  Also I feel like I should  explain the surgery. I currently have a deep cut  on my right lower abdomen. Basically that acted as a whole from which the testicle was pushed through then cut out from my scrotum . Think of it like turning a pocket inside and out.

I woke up in a recovery area, ridiculously hot and in pain. So like any normal post surgery patient J
Also I would like to take this opportunity to state MORPHEN IS A BITCH. At this point time kind of becomes a bit of a none issue in that I don’t remember this bit very well. Like I said morphen.

So originally, I was meant  to be only a day patient. But it  was now 7:30 ish maybe 9, it was dec
ided I was going to  be staying the night. I got moved downstairs and tranfered into a more comfortable bed. Then the bearer of supplies, came in the form of my dad and most importantly a fizzy drink. After having a tube down my throat to help me breath, I kind of needed some juice literally.  So at  this point, me and my dad stories of this point differ. Morphen like I said is a bitch
So I think I calmly welcomed my dad talked to the nurse talked to him so a bit whilst I tried to get settled. He claims I was swearing left right and centre whilst talking to him. My girlfriend who I called a couple of times in my deep husky tone, that night might confire with my dad opinion. Now  of course believe who you want ;)

I managed to get myself settled and got my podcasts going. Lights out was around 11:30 but again for anyone who knows me well I have always been more about living in the moment than being constrained by the clock ;).

My text post will be on the morning after. 

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Going to bed knowing things are different

So coming home was a very weird night trying to remember everything I got told. It was a struggle.
The Following day went in with my mum, her armed with a note book me having eaten lunch so to not make the mistake of the day before.  So I had two appointment, the pre surgery meeting and talking to the specialist. So when I went in to talk to the specialist, he said what I knew for a very long time it was cancer. He also then explained I was also technically pregnant, which definitely lifted the tension in the room a bit.

My blood had the same markers as someone who was recently pregnant. To put it simply, what was in my body to the best of my knowledge was acting like a very early foestus. (IF I AM HORRIBLY MISTAKEN MY APOLOGISES :D)

I again unsurprisingly, had to go ooh natural from the waist down. The specialist on first examining the testicle first statement was “well there no doubt there then” my mum couldn’t stop laughing.  Once I had regained my modesty, the serious chat began. The specialist complemented me on my great timing of  getting cancer during the easter holidays. Never been prouder of myself ;).

He then went on to outline the fact chimo was going to happen, even if the removal of my right testicle worked in regards to removing the blood marker and there was nothing to be seen in a scan, I would have one dose just to make sure.

However if it didn’t work then I would need between three to four dose of heavy chimo and would suffer everything I knew was associated with that.  Yes ………….
I think even while I write this and only recently having researched all the side effects and rules I have to adhere to under chimo. I am still not mentally prepared for it. Mainly my hair my poor beautiful hair ;)  He also offered me the opportunity to have a fake testicle put in.

Now saying nothing against men who have them, but the idea of having a ball sack where one side drupped was not appealing.  After finishing with the specialist and choosing to not ask for a copy of the ultra sound of my right testicle for the memories, I went on to seeing the pre surgery nursey.  After complementing me on being one of the healthiest people, she had seen, she went on to break the bad news that on the day of the surgery I had to stop eating at 7 am. The full fast would begin from 11 am.

So after a long couple of hours , I went home knowing I had cancer, knowing I was going to have one ball for the rest of my life, knowing I might  have to lose my hair, and also knowing this could stop me from graduating in June, knowing this could affect my ability to have a family in future. Also wondering how exactly I was going to tell people. Having to tell my girlfriend I was not going back with her to Belfast was not fun. It is a strange  thing at 21 to realise  

Yep this is one of those moment that my life is different than when I woke up that morning 

Yer I have had better evenings.
If you have made it this far thanks, my next post will be the big one its self. SURGREY. 

Also a big thank you to the specialist Nurse paul. He not only told me I was only one of 160 men that he saw a year. Yes I felt so special. But who covers all testicular cancer cases in Birmingham. He has been a great help to me and my mum. 

Friday, 8 April 2016

When your trousers become a none essential part of your day :)

So after getting through the family weekend, the day came to get my gp appointment. Thankfully my GP, which I was not registered to but was able to get seen as a temporary patient, was great. After having a look the testicle, he thought it might just be the trauma that I had been hoping for.  That was the first of many times I went natural below the waist.

But again thanks to firstly the fact I live in the UK, but also because I live in one of the best cities for health care a person could ask for, he called to get an appointment sorted with a specialist.
So leaving the practise, trying to stay focused on the fact if a GP thinks it’s just trauma, it probably is. I thankfully only had to wait a couple of hours, before I got the call to head into the Queens Elisabeth Hospital to get checked out at ward 302.

I was feeling relatively okay until I actually got to ward 302 only to discover that I  was being seen in the surgical assignments unit, and It was a secure unit. There is nothing like actually seeing the word surgery, to put the fear of god into you. So I entered the ward at around 12 oclock with a lot of podcasts, a power pack and praising a higher power for the free wifi, but cursing myself for the fact I forgot to grab lunch as I was not able to eat or drink until I left.

So after getting seen for blood and saliva tests by the nurse and having a cool wrist band the waiting game began. After about an hour maybe I was seen by lovely doctor who after again checking out my testicle seemed to agree with the trauma injury idea I was hoping for. One of the weirdest experiences of that whole day was the fact I was getting so used to go naked from the waist down, I was starting to get a good technique going.

 After about another 2 hour I got sent down to have an ultra sound. And you guessed it going naked from the waist down. So whilst having cold jelly rubbed around my testicle with some pieces of equipment for lack of a better word, the ultra sound person again seemed to support my idea of trauma.

So you can probably tell by this point, that I was feeling pretty positive I had been seem by people and they seemed to be following a similar line. But most importantly no one had mentioned the C word.  I unfortunately made the mistake of calling and texting my parents and my girlfriend with the positive vibes I seemed to be getting. Then it came. This time I went in with this time the senior urologist, as well as two doctors and a nurse. After you guessed it getting my bits out again, the news came. So I was having surgery on Friday I was getting seen by the specialist who would do the surgery tomorrow.

So next I will talk about actually dealing with and accepting the C word, as well as getting ready to lose a part of me. My right testicle. 

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

A Lump

So you think you have cancer, but its your dads birthday and the entire weekend is a birthday celebration what do you do?
So for about two weeks before I went home for Easter I and my amazing girlfriend promise that won’t be in every post J
 noticed that my right testicle was feeling strangely hard. Now I don’t know why this happens and it might just be a me thing, but  when something like that happens I automatically in my head go to worst case scenario. Which I guess considering what the diagnoisis has turned out to be I think kind of helped me to deal with hearing the news. However it did mean my long suffering girlfriend had to deal with me constantly talking about my mortality yes not fun at all. Never said I was easy to life with. Unfortunately despite looking to get an appointment, I had the miss fortune of at this point only having an enlarged testicle when getting an appointment before I went home March19th pretty difficult. There were also a couple of other issues I had to think about for when I got home.    
My dads birthday was the 24th of March and for it my aunt and uncle where coming from Scotland and Ireland to celebrate. There was also a birthday meal booked so a lot on. So despite thinking with  my enlarged testicle, I had cancer and had that thought in the back of my mine for the last couple of weeks I  decided to mention it to my mum but to not mention it to him or the family as I didn’t want to jump the gun. Especially as I was still really hoping it was something else.

So having failed to get a doctor’s appointment sorted at whilst I was still in Belfast, I thankfully managed to get one sorted on the 29th of April. Which will be the focused of my next post.