Annoying your cancer - part 2 | Cancer Research UK
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Annoying your cancer - part 2

Grandparents and children sharing tips and stories

Please read the first piece I wrote in January, entitled 'Annoying Your Cancer', then this will make much better sense.

I thought an update may be appropriate, if only to demonstrate that, even if flippancy can rise to the fore for the majority of time, battling this cancer pest is not quite the sweetness and light that some of us make out it is. However, a good dose of arrogance, mixed with some good hard battling, does seem the continued route of best medicine. I think.

If you read the last offering, you will see:

Lots of goals.

And honestly?

All achieved.

So what’s the plan now? New goals? More of the same?

Or decide, done all that, now’s the time to sink into the armchair, fold myself inward, curl up and wander off into the terrestrial light?!

Nay chance.

But. And it’s a big But. Things are different. Worse. Healthwise.

Niggly little symptoms, bouts of illness, aches, swellings, nausea, these awkward bits always cropped up, were dealt with, generally despatched with, and back to the norm of getting on with goals and life.

Slight difference now in that the severity of these little awkward bits tend to congregate, join hands/combine, into a slightly stronger fighting force, and have the audacity not to go away. That’s annoying me now chaps. The idea was to the contrary, (read the working title you idiots!)

The chemo stopped working.

The cancers grew bigger. In a few cases, a lot bigger.

And wandered up to the lungs.

And now have sent out fluid to the guts and the lungs. Just to show how big for their boots they think they are.

I see.

That’s the name of the game is it?

Right then.

May 2005: stop work whilst I deal with this little sidetrack.

June 2005: Go to Dubai solo to recuperate and prove I can, plus, (paid for in March and am too tight to forego that cost, despite a little poorly). Well worth the effort. Lovely relaxing time in 40 degree heat. Love it.

Not much at good at gym. 3 visits in 4 weeks. Slacker.

Seem to be popping to hospital and oncologist a bit more often.

July 2005: swell up from below waist to tips of toes like the Elephant man.

Am immobile. Skin splits on feet. Walking stick. Gut severe. New chemo hard work.


Not now playing footy tournament at Villa Park.

Not now bench pressing bigger and bigger weights.

Not now trekking round Pompeii.

Not just yet.

Minor adjustments needed.

New goals:

Walking to shops with stick without resting.

Stop counting sores on legs.

Take less than 20 minutes to get out of bed.

Drive self to hospital, and then out for lunch.

Allow people to help out, perhaps even admit some care needed sometimes.

Don’t get depressed after 40 minutes confined to the lavatory.

Stop wondering if I rattle given the umpteen pills stuffed down my neck each morning.

Remember 10/20% chance of survival is same as was 3 years ago on August 19th 2002.

Ensure everything is in place and prepared for life post-me, BUT, don’t start putting any of those plans in place yet, there is no need.

If can’t do weights/treadmill, then SWIM and use weights in pool. DONE! And was great, sorry, make that IS GREAT as doing regularly now.

Deal with new chemo.

Deal harder with new chemo.

Buy new hats for whitey-grey scalp.

Confirm trip to Harvey Nichols with sister to provide personal shopping session as promised for Xmas present Make sure attend Friday’s play at 3rd Test Match at Old Trafford. No failure. Hotel booked night before.

Take nephew to Kiddies Farm.

Travel to Derby to join lunchtime drinking session with the Gang.

If not attend French hols with dad as conflicts with chemo, then MAKE SURE go to Spanish Villa with mum and partner, (especially as she has booked flights from my nearest airport).

Fight like bloody hell.

Reject any fear or depression.

Get rid of morbidity.

Stop getting pathetic about 2 years of weight training being reduced to a stick like body in 4 weeks.

Most people would kill to have no backside.

Be frank with others about your plans and arrangements, be in total and utter control of everything.

What about selling Dubai apartment, (completion date now Oct 2006), and buying something ready now?

Tell people you love them, (or at least show them - give them your dog or something, or maybe not your dog, but something nice like a good book, a cd or pair of favourite shoes!). Approach everything with VIGOUR.

The last piece I wrote wasn’t bullshit.

I shall not be beaten just yet. Oh no.

Glad to be back at the gym/pool. Adrenaline again. It really does work.

Neil Tunnock.

August 2005

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Updated: 28 September 2009