Physical Fitness Improves Cancer Patient's Quality of Life

8 comments Tuesday, 13 December 2011
Physical fitness is a vital component in the fight against cancer.

While it is certainly not a cure for the disease, it has been shown to decrease the possibility of ever having cancer, improves the body's response to cancer treatments and heightens survival rates. Multiple studies have been done to prove these factors.

The United States' Center for Disease Control states that research studies have definitively shown that a moderate amount of physical exercise significantly decreases the risk of developing colon or breast cancers. Research is ongoing to prove the same for endometrial and lung cancers although current evidence is pointing to another positive link.

However, one of the most important benefits of exercise to cancer survivors or to those who are currently undergoing treatment is that fitness improves one's quality of life by increasing his energy level and improving his mood and outlook. It may seem rather ironic that exercising can actually decrease fatigue. Research has proven that mild to moderate exercise will improve wakefulness better than a nap does.

In addition, maintaining an appropriate level of physical fitness will improve one's mood. This holds true for people undergoing many different types of treatments from the common cancers treatment like breast cancer to the rare cancer treatment like mesothelioma. Treatments may be seen to be discouraging by patients since results are not often seen immediately. However, exercise increases the body's level of certain hormones or chemicals that create a sense of happiness and contentment. One of the most famous of these is serotonin. Almost any kind of exercise will benefit an individual this way.

Yoga, pilates, walking and biking are some of the favorites among able patients. Of course, one's doctor should certainly be consulted before beginning any new fitness program. Certain cancers or treatments may include exercise restrictions. For example, those with bone cancer or mesothelioma may suffer from extreme pain. Sometimes the doctor may be able to prescribe medication that the patient can take immediately before planned exercise sessions.

Cancer is a physically and emotionally difficult disease for anyone to have. Even cancer survivors still see these struggles. However, research and many patients' personal experiences point to physical fitness as a way to improve coping.

By: David Haas

David Haas is an Awareness Program Advocate with the team over at: Cancer fighters and survivors would do well to check them out.

Read On

Cancer and Me

6 comments Friday, 21 January 2011
Hi there, I'm Liam Harrison and you've found my blog detailing how I handled cancer when I was 20 years old - to how I am now.

People often asked me and some still do, "How do you go about your life and how is your day?"

I always answer the same, it's no different, nothing much has changed for me.

I am a very emotional, passionate man, I can't help it, that is how I am.

"To me there are three things you should do every single day, EVERY SINGLE DAY - Number 1 is laugh, you should laugh everyday. Number 2 is think, you should spend some time in thought. Number 3 is cry, to have your emotions moved to tears, be it happiness, or joy.

Think about it, if you laugh, think and cry all in one day, that is a hell of a day! If you do this 7 days a week, you are going to have something special.

Also, you should work out where you came from, where you are and where you are going. I remember where I came from, it's so important to know where you are. I knew where I was then and I know where I am now. An important question though, is "how do you get to where you want to be?" - JV. I think you need to have enthusiasm for life, be determined, have a willingnesss to work hard, have people who can support you around you, and also have something to look forward to - to help bring you out of it, cos a lot of people don't have a lot to live for and they are stuck. Have a dream, you know. A lot of it is to do with luck also, and genes play a part, too.

Now and again in this journey called life, along comes a moment which stops you in your tracks and makes you take stock of everything. Well, my moment was being diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer at the age of 20.

Before I was 20 I had been hurt a few times before, broken arm here, fracture there.

But nothing prepared me for one afternoon in the summer of 2006, when I sat in a small room with my mum Kate and my Aunty Siobhan and a specialist cancer doc (I'm sorry fella your name escapes me!) at the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford, where I was told that I had a rare form of bone cancer (Chondrosarcoma), and I had to have an operation to remove the tumour in my hip as quick as was possible.

Now, it's hard to convey using just words what that can do to a person.

Sure, if you're reading this and have experienced something similar to this, you can empathise to a certain degree, with reactions perhaps in the form of "I've been there man" or "I know! It sucks man" plus some such other stuff.

If you're reading this and you haven't experienced anything like this, (and if you haven't I sure hope you never do!) then hopefully this blog right here will give you an insight on how a young, fit man coped.

Back in 2006 I was a sales guy, working for Sony, in a shopping centre in Oxford, called The Westgate Centre. It was a good enough job, I made some good friends there and generally enjoyed my time there.

Whilst I was working there, I played football nearly every Friday down at my local sports place.

My second cousin, Joe, introduced me into it as he'd been playing there for a long time and had some good friends there. I got into it and really enjoyed it, it was usually a 5/6/7 a side depending on numbers, the banter was always good as was the atmosphere.

One Friday when I was playing, I, to use a phrase - 'turned on a sixpence' (to people who don't get that - this means turning within a small amount of space, so in football it tends to mean having your back to goal and turning to shoot all in one movement), as I did so, I felt a crack of some kind in the area of my hip.

At the time I thought I had just tweaked something, you know... nothing major, run it off, I thought. I did make a mental note though.

Anyway, I carried on and finished that night, and I returned home and made a few complaints to my lovely doting mother, who advised me to rest up and to inform her if it got worse.

Well, I carried on playing nearly every week, and also carried on working at the Sony shop for six months. Progressively, my condition worsened. A slight limp had appeared in my walk. Being the typical bloke that I am, I again thought, "Ah, it's nothing major, just need to play more to sort it out".

Now, I'm sure there's plenty of guys out there just like me, that attitude is a very common one.
But, this notion of "It's nothing major" can only last so long, sure you can only say it to yourself convincingly so many times.

The "breaking" point was coming and indeed it did, the night before I was due to fly out to Greece for my summer holidays..

I was at a friends house just down my road, he was having a barbeque and there was a good few of us there. As is normal at barbeques, the drink was flowing and everyone was enjoying themselves. At one point in the night, well, it was early morning the next day if I'm honest - one of my friends somehow decided it would be a good idea to try and rugby tackle me.

He duly did and I ended up on the ground clutching my hip in what I can only describe as... FUCKING AGONY. Apologies for the swear, but I am being honest!

My friends quickly sobered up and managed to carry me home back to my lovely mother, as she opened the door and her face turned into horror as the scene hit her.

She thanked my friends for bringing me home and we soon set off to the accident and emergency department at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford.

We checked in and as is custom in England, set ourselves up for a long wait. We watched the old drunk guy come in to get his mashed finger seen to and the usual various other cases.

When I finally got the chance to be seen to, I lay down on the hospital bed with my mother sat beside me. A young nurse appeared and she began to question me to see what was up and what they could do. At first, she thought I was drunk! Thought I was drunk and wasting their time.

It was like she was implying I was sad enough to get drunk and take a trip up the hospital on a Saturday night, just for the craic.

"Oh yeah love! I love it, can't get enough of it! In fact, I was toying with the idea of bringing a load of mates down next week as it's TOO MUCH FUN just for one guy, the fun needs to be SPREAD!!"

Deary me.

It took a while, but I managed to convince the girl that there actually was something quite seriously wrong with me, she then decided it would be a good idea for me to have a X-Ray.

So, I went in, wheelchair and all, did the X-Ray, came back to the same place and waited patiently for the results.

After a while, the girl re-appeared.

I'll never forget the look on her face.

She was apoligetic and said that it was imperative I was seen to by a specialist (this was something I was going to get very used to as time went on).

The next day, my mum, my aunty and I went to the hospital for my appointment with the specialist guy.

You know when you look at someone and you just know - this guy knows his stuff?

That was the case here. The specialist was obviously very experienced in his field and had seen many, many cases prior to the day he diagnosed me.

There's no easy way to tell someone they have cancer. It's not like you can just drop it into the conversation - "Oh hey Liam we got your blood results back, good news is they're fine. However, you have cancer... fancy a lollipop?"

You can tell when something serious is up, people get a certain look on their face, theres a certain feeling in the air, they stop laughing at your jokes..

Now I like to think I'm the kinda guy who is direct, straight to the point. I like to know whats going on and I like to know the truth. So this situation really freaked me out - I looked at my mum, then my Aunty and the mood wasn't great, I could sense something was up but I had no idea what was coming.

I gotta say - fairplay to the doc and I'll always respect him for the way he broke it to me, he just laid it out right there - "Liam, this is never easy but I know you'll appreciate it if I give it you straight, you have a cancerous tumour in your hip and you'll need to be operated on as soon as possible."

I didn't fully appreciate how he did it at the time, cos well, you don't do ya? But looking back, as you can with hindsight, god bless that man for that.

I took a deep breath, somehow trying to take in and understand what had just been said. My face went white like a ghost. Quick as hell my response was - "But can I still play football doc??"

He answered very well considering the situation, calmly and cooly he said "You can, but only kickabouts with friends, no more real games, no more training, as the risk that a bad tackle could damage your hip again is far to great to leave the chance."

You just can't argue with logic like that. Again, laid out well and with reason, good man. Well, good man as much as he didn't fuck around, you can only like someone who says your football life as you knew it, is over, so much.

My next question was, "Doc, I got a plane to catch this morning. What's gonna happen there?"

"You ain't getting on no plane, Liam."

"Doc c'mon, I got it all booked! I can use some crutches you know, just let me have my two weeks in the sun with my friends and I'll come back and we can do it all then."

He didn't even need to reply he just looked at me, smiled, and walked away.

With the frame of mind I was in at the time my hormones were all over the place, all I could think of was football and holiday, football and holiday, never mind the rare cancer in my hip I want my football and holiday!

Well, I left the John Radcliffe that day on crutches with my Mum and my Aunty, hit by the news I was trying to take it all in but still all I could think of was football and holiday, the car ride home then was a dark one. I hated the idea that I was going to be letting people down, over the years I'd been going to a place in Greece often and we had our little crew built up there, I couldn't bear the thought of them having a summer there without me, but I guess I had bigger problems to face...

I am going to add more as it comes to me, be patient :)

Credit to: Jimmy Valvano - Saw a clip of his 1993 ESPY Speech "Don't give up, don't ever give up." And was inspired. The 3 things you should do each day bit is from that.

Richard Pryor - Watching his shows on my laptop in hospital while nurses laughed in the background is a memory I treasure. "Time spent laughing is time spent with the gods."

George Carlin - He reminded me how much I love the English language.

My friends - For being my friends.

My family - They put up with me.

Read On

I'm still too young for this shit.

2 comments Monday, 1 March 2010
Hi there, how are you?

Thanks for waiting. I wasn't sure if you'd still be here. You alright?

Anyway, thanks for dropping by...I appreciate it! I hope you're doing well...

I give you my apologies that this second (and final) part of my blog has taken so long to write. I needed some help in remembering things...

Also, I think I should make the point that this blog is merely a tool for me to tell you this story of mine. I'm not one of these guys who talks just for the sake of talking you know. I figured I have an interesting story to tell and this place is as good as any, for me to tell you guys.

It's been good for me to write this and I hope whatever you take from it (if anything) is good (for you). I'm not rooting for any particular feelings from anyone in writing this by the way, I don't need any sympathy, trust me, I'm alright on that.

I know there are some of you people out there that have been looking forward to this....and again, I thank you for your the motto for Guinness goes....all good things come to those that wait ;)

This part has been quite tough for me to write for a couple of reasons:

a) I made a gigantic mistake in not writing down much at the time.

b) I was out of my mind on large doses of morphine on a fairly regular basis when I was in hospital.

By the way, morphine really is brilliant stuff if you didn't know. I really was totally gutted when they finally told me I could have no more :(

I can remember certain things from back when this was all happening, and when I talk about those things with friends or family members who were there with me at the time - they can then use a particular memory and then link that to other things which aids the process of unrolling the whole story.

So this bit of my blog is just going to be one (fairly large) story detailing how things went, with a series of mini stories that came about at the time and also some of my feelings about stuff at the time too.

If that is of interest to you, then I invite you, my dear reader, to continue following the words what I have wrote...

The prospect of a long stay in hospital tends to conjure up a few images: Sexy nurses, blood being taken from you, bedpans........yeah...well, I really didn't care for any of that stuff, sure the sexy nurses are a bonus, but really the main thing on my mind, was to get better, then get out of there.

A cancer patient only has one wish, to get better.

I had a lot of people wishing me well, praying for me, hoping the operation went well. All those things mean a lot to me and I appreciate and cherish the thoughts, words, and efforts of each individual person.

Really, no one knew what was going to happen. The most anyone could do - was wish me luck and be there (in person or spirit) for me. That was all I needed really and that gave me a incredible amount of strength.

When situations like the one I found myself in occur, you can find yourself at a fork in the proverbial road of life.

One way, will lead to unnecessary stress and eventually end up really messing you up, or worse.

The other way, is the only real option, to the thinking human, at least. The option to stand up and fight. To show your true colours, show what you really are made of.

To quote the late great Richie Pryor: "I believe the ability to think is blessed. If you can think about a situation, you can deal with it. The big struggle is to keep your head clear enough to think."

Amen brother Rich! Amen.

Clarify just what exactly is happening, take stock of what the situation is, and then plot your way out of it (I went with the second option by the way, just in case you weren't sure).

I didn't believe it at first when I was told the news, it was just like the doc had reached into my body, pulled my heart out, then stamped on it, then picked it up, threw it on the ceiling...only to then throw it out the window and watch in awe as it lands in a blender which was not only very strategically placed, but somehow plugged into a plug socket (and on full power).

After a few minutes of allowing me to soak the news into my brain, we talked about what my chances were and what was going to happen. The specialist guy was fantastic in how he handled the situation (as I described in my first blog thing). When it came down to it (the operation) – it was just me, on my back, in theatre. At the mercy of some of the best surgeons in the business (this is a simplified formula, but it's true).

Thankfully, I came out alive (this stuff don't write itself you know) and that, that is all that matters.

It's good to be alive you know, living can be quite cool. When I wake each day, I'm grateful to still be here and have the opportunity to experience this thing what we call “life”. Each time I leave the house, I can walk with my head held high as I value life much more than I used to now.

Generally speaking, you are born into this journey called life with a few things. You are given a mind, a body and a soul and it's up to you what you do with them.

As time went on during my stay in hospital, I became a little more comfortable with my surroundings. Having a routine can be a good thing.

My routine in hospital mainly consisted of waking up, having a wash, getting dressed and joking around as much as possible to pass the time, keeping the spirits of my ward up and playing top trumps with my family, watching TV and then going to sleep (this did sometimes vary, sometimes). I was aloud to bring my laptop in, as well as my music too, which I couldn't have done without as those things are important to me.

I have very hazy memories of my times in hospital, as I said at the beginning of this blog. The stuff that was pumping around my body then - not only numbed the pain - but also it made it harder to recall things (unfortunately morphine has a bad side too).

Anyway, it was September 5th 2006 when I was first admitted to the Nuffield Hospital, Oxford, England. This was just a few weeks after being "diagnosed" by the specialist guy at the Radcliffe. I was very lucky that I didn't have to wait any longer. I was to have my first operation the very same day.

I arrived in the morning, and we weren't given a set time for me to have my operation.

So there I was, on a bed, just chilling, waiting for the shout.

I passed the time with my family by talking about what was going to happen. How we imagined things were to be done and just normal stuff families talk about...we joked, we laughed, we waited...

The shout eventually came early afternoon, around two o'clock I think it was. Before I went into theatre though - the anaesthetist guy had to do his bit. His “bit”, was to use a black marker pen and draw an arrow on my right leg (where the surgeons were going to do their thing). Naturally I found this very amusing. Before the guy drew on me, I asked him what he was doing (I'm very inquisitive you see, especially when someone wants to draw on me), he said “I'm just going to mark you here, so the surgeons know what leg it is that they will be operating on.” I nodded to show I understood and chuckled at the thought that I could possibly go into theatre – have an op – only to come out from there with the tumour still in my leg, but the other leg, the leg with no problem, cut open.

After that guy left, my sister got a different pen and we decided to write “This way up” by the arrow, just in case, as you never can be too sure.

I also had a big sign saying “nil by mouth”, so I couldn't eat or even drink. At the time, my family were eating, so you can imagine how that made me feel. It was a really hot day that day, too. My sister lovingly gave me some chewing gum to make it a bit better.

Before I went in for the op, a nurse came over and gave me my “operation clothes”. Basically, something to cover my front. I had a bit of fun with them as you can see for yourself below:

By the way, that's not a shower cap.

...Before entering theatre, you are taken to a small room (pre-op room) where the doctors prepare the stuff they need for the operation and make sure you are alright(!) and ready for what is about to happen. My mum and my sister were with me up until I entered the room (only patients and qualified staff past that point). Of course, I already knew what was coming, so I took my opportunity to have a bit of craic with these guys. The man who was in charge of taking me to this room asked me what my job was along the way, I said that I was a salesman (I was) and that I thought I would be able to get him a good deal if he came into my shop. Everyone laughed and the tension was eased a little (I have never owned a shop and I probably never will).

As I got into the pre-op room, somehow, the conversation had turned to football and I was telling the guys the then situation of Watford FC (the football team I follow), I don't think I managed to finish my sentence before the drugs knocked me out.

My sister had waited by the operation room door for a long time. A nurse came out to her and said that she knew me - through her son who was a friend of my brother – and she went on to tell my sister that I was fine and she gave her my glasses, as I'd asked the nurse to give them to her.

Next thing I know - I'm conscious in recovery and the operation is complete.

Recovery, funnily enough, is a room where patients recover after an operation.

When I was fully awake, I got one of the lovely nurses to let me drink some water and also to get my laptop plugged in and working, I wanted to play a game (Grand Theft Auto) for a few hours. The nurses made me some toast with jam on and I had some tea, too. I ate the toast, drank the tea and promptly threw it all up. It was too soon after the operation for me to eat - but I hadn't touched food for so long that I just had to eat something.

After making some small progress, the nurses saw fit to move me, as I was "too well" for the room.

So I got moved to a new ward where I didn't know the staff there and I was worrying about needing a pee. At the time, I had an epidural attached to me, so you can imagine that the whole peeing thing was a bit different to the usual. I was still thirsty and wanted to drink but I knew it'd make me want to pee. This was the start of what is known in my family as: “the catheter nightmare”.

The morning after my operation arrived and I was (as expected) feeling the pain big style. One of the nurses on duty suggested that I should have some black tea to make me feel better, so he made me some. I drank it. It didn't make me feel any better. In fact, I actually got worse. The same nurse told my sister to go to the chemist to get me a lavender bag (very gay, I know) that they could stick in the microwave and some ginger (no, not some random ginger person - “Zingiber officinale” - to use it's Binomial name) to help me stop being sick. My lovely sister went off to town on a mission and got all the stuff required, but still, I was getting worse. I was being sick everywhere and using my lungs to their fullest capacity (screaming and shouting my arse off).

My mum and sister are ex carers so they were quite handy in caring for me. But as I am such a stubborn guy, I got cross and told them I didn't want any help. I wanted to do this on my own. I didn't particularly want to be sick all over them, they're my family!

I held my sisters hand and really squeezed it hard. Eventually, my mum lost it and got another nurse in. That nurse had a good look at me and then took it upon herself to decide to get “the pain relief nurse” (chain of command in full effect, eh) she came and looked at me, then decided - yes, I did indeed, need to pee (cheers for the confirmation, love).

However, I still had the epidural and my system was confused with all the stuff going on. After that, a whole load of doctors came in, a mix of some professionals and some trainees. It was like I was a star attraction at the zoo. They shoved my angry family out and gathered around me to begin trying to fit a catheter. But they couldn't do it. They tried and they tried but it just wasn't happening. I was in agony at this point and screaming the place down, swearing and all. Everyone in the other wards could hear me, I was putting on a real show. My family weren't pleased one bit, as you may imagine. My sister said to the nurse that this implied that I was making a bit of a fuss about nothing, as I had had a rare bone cancer for months and was waiting until I was in hospital for me to be treated and that I have one of the highest pain threshold of anyone my sister knows. The nurse stopped talking then.

After what seemed like forever, they stuck a tube in me, after realising the whole putting a tube on the end of my penis thing wasn't really going to happen (unfortunately I have no pictorial evidence of this for you guys, I'm sure you're disappointed about that, my face at the precise moment they told me their intentions was ripe for a picture, I think they call it a Kodak moment or something).

Anyway, after that - I filled 2 and a half bags with pee straight away and then I was cool.

I had good friends come and spend some time with me quite often during the period I was in hospital, which of course helped me massively. Whether it was me sitting/lying in bed - with my friends sat around me talking about things/joking around/watching Richard Pryor stand ups on my laptop or playing playstation/eating takeaway - I took a chance and rang for a pizza delivery to my bed and it worked! ...whatever - it all helped.

Another thing that helped me was having my music with me via my laptop and my mp3 player. At any time, day or night, I was able to listen to music. If you were to ask me which song I listened to the most, I guess I'd have to go with the Jeff Buckley version of Hallelujah, although, Lucky Man by The Verve wasn't far behind. Man, I must've listened those songs near a thousand times in that place. It may sound a little weird and perhaps corny, but I think it kind of cleansed me a little in my mind.

Even the old English guy chanting weird stuff in the middle of the night couldn't stop me from concentrating on listening to my tunes. I mostly listened to my stuff before going to sleep, it really resonated with me at the time and I guess it still does now.

As I mentioned earlier, my memory of this is quite hazy, but there are some stand out things I can recall. Some of those things are;

One day a trainee doctor came over to me to redo my intravenous – he did the easy part as he removed the one I had in fairly well, but the problem came when he attempted to attach the new one. First one he tried, my body just said “NO” and pushed it back (along with some blood pouring out). He apologised and decided to have another go, I said OK. This time, the needle popped out from my skin and fell on the floor along with some more drops of blood. I said to the guy “Ok mate, you tried your best but this isn't happening is it? Go and fetch me someone who knows what they're doing.” He nodded, showing he understood. A nurse came in and sorted me out within minutes.

Another day, whilst I was lying in bed, my sister who was sat next to me, suggested that I ask for my prosthesis back. She said it'd be a nice souvenir, something real that we'd be able to actually see and touch (if you were to touch). I pondered on this briefly for a moment before coming round to the idea. I asked my MacMillan nurse Helen to see what she could do. Early the next morning my surgeon Duncan appeared by my bed, grinning, with the prosthesis hidden within a newspaper under his arm. He mentioned that "it isn't really normal practise to give the prosthesis back to patients Liam, but seeing as you asked..."

I have the prosthesis at home, I tend not to carry it about with me (it's too big to fit in a normal pocket for a start).

A busy body woman on staff at Nuffield - late July 08, face like a bulldog chewing a wasp and spoke funny. Gave people food menu's when they were leaving, walked in on people washing to give them food menus. I don't mean to speak harshly of this person, but she was a real weird one though.

A lovely nurse lady called Jo. She very kindly lent me a film called Pans Labyrinth and I hassled her (and any other nurses who were around) about a missing fan, when I found it later, it was in my cupboard the whole time.

Sorry about that!

Nurse lady called Rosy, also really nice, was shocked when I told her about the cancer, said I was “her boy”.

Nurse lady called Nelly in April '08 in BIU (Bone Infection Unit), lovely lady! Looked after me and was another one that said I was “her boy”. We bought a toy elephant in her honour and named it after her. I love Nelly.

My MacMillan nurse, called Helen. Mere words can't do this magnificent lady justice – any troubles I had, no matter how big or small, she was on the case. She even used her contacts to get me tickets to watch my football team play a few times. I love you Helen. Helen was awarded The National Cancer Nurse Leader of the Year 2010, at the Grosvenor Hotel in London (that means she is the best in her profession) and also recieved a letter of congratulations from the Prime Minister. She's been with Macmillan for 12 years, I see the award as justifiable recognition for her.

Duncan Whitwell. aka “Big Dunc”. My surgeon. First class. Good sense of humour and just a top gentleman.

Max Gibbons, the man kinda behind it all whose face I rarely saw. Thanks for everything, Max!

My first Physio lady called Heather. Just a lovely sweet woman!!

Physio lady called Liz, said I'm “a perfectionist”, and a “first class physio patient”. She wrote out my exercises for me. Thank you, Liz!

A blonde Czech nurse, whose name I can't remember (really sorry), she helped take an intravenous out of my hand and put another in, was really nice, she accidentally spilt blood on my shorts and was really embarrassed.

When I spent some time back in the Nuffield, Oxford, in July '08 for treatment on an infection, I was in Ward F – room 12.

In there, were a few characters.

One, was an Irishman by the name of Pat.

Pat was a guy who I like to call a “proper character” and someone who I would gladly have a drink with (should I ever meet him again). He kept morale up in the ward and always displayed a cracking sense of humour.

Another character was an English man called Peter.

Peter was a funny one as us guys in the ward would be chatting away about something and he would be quiet for long periods, then, every now and again he'd chip in with a comment out of nowhere that would just set me off. He shared my thoughts on the nurse who had a liking to needlessly handing out food menus. A lovely guy, who I'd like to see again.

And Mike – an ex policeman who I nicknamed “The General”. He just looked like a real old style English policeman, white hair and moustache, and he had the voice to match. Mike loved telling his stories.

There is a corridor, within the Nuffield hospital, that you have to walk through to get to the physiology department. In a part of this corridor, on the wall, is a saying. Now, to be honest with you guys, I haven't been back in there for a while, so I might not get the exact wording correct, but it goes something like this: “You don't realise what you've got – until it's gone.” It's referring to the use of ones legs.

I had been going to physio for a while but somehow I didn't realise it until late on into my course. One day me and my mum were walking through the corridor (me on crutches), and I noticed it. I just stopped dead in my tracks and grabbed my mums arm. A grin as wide as the equator grew across my face.

“You don't know what you've got until it's gone.”

A brief update of how things are with me now:

I still live in Oxford, England.

I, along with some friends, created an internet site which is all about South American Football in late 2008, we are still going now and we're growing by the day.

I, along with some family and friends, did a 10k run for MacMillan Cancer Support in Regents Park of June 2010. Between me and my sister, we raised £1000.

I have a skydive for Cancer Research lined up in May of this year, which should be pretty cool.

I've decided to learn Spanish.

I'm hoping (along with some friends of mine) to get out to visit South America soon. The 2014 World Cup in Brazil is something I would like to see (in person).

There is more but I don't like to be a bore.

If you did make it the whole way down here – well done you!

Anyway, thank you for reading a story what I done wrote :)

See you later!
Read On