I always enjoyed doing things just for the hell of it, there was always a joyous care free attitude to what I did, I didn’t really consider much where I was going either in life with work, relationships or even choices about what I was going to do on the weekend.
And then came Cancer; after the first diagnosis in 2004 I took my devil may care attitude and ran with it, after all I’m grateful to be alive what do I care what I do now, my body has gone through this I’m certain it can go through a hell of a lot more. So my Best Friend and I embarked on a campaign of self abuse and partying that I still look back upon and shudder thinking about. There was nothing that we weren’t prepared to do, take, drink to celebrate life and if I’m honest at no point did it occur to me that there was any another way to celebrate life other than to live it large. This was a six month war upon life after cancer that had no point other than to just party. The job didn’t matter, the people didn’t matter anything anytime any place.
This did subside, after a while, and I settled into another frame of mind where nothing mattered. What was the point? It was a very self defeating, self loathing stage and as I know now, looking back upon it, I was clinically depressed. There was anxiety, nervousness, an inability to make meaningful decisions, a desire for my brain to stop thinking about all the badness and a desire to put the nightmare of 2004 behind me with out thinking about it that was all consuming.
Ironically it was Cancer that came to my rescue, my second diagnosis involved a chest surgery that was so large it gave me something to focus on and that was the rehabilitation of my battered body.
The Cancer was gone post surgery and now I had a purpose: to rebuild myself and to prove that: “Cancer is not bigger than me, I will not be defined by my Cancer I will be defined by my thriving as a result of it.”
So how to prove that I would thrive after Cancer?
I climbed Kilimanjaro raising money for a great charity called UCARE http://www.ucare-oxford.org.uk which was started by the Oncologist that had treated me, which seemed like a nice way to say thank you.
I could have done something smaller but why? What is the point in thinking or dreaming small. There are enough limits in life through health and other people’s negativity that stop you thinking big so why do it yourself.
Where from there: In 2010 I cycled from John O Groats to Lands End raising money for UCARE again
In 2011 I started work on my MBA
In 2012 It was time to up the stakes and take on a solo challenge so the Nice Ironman for Team Livestrong https://www.teamlivestrong.org/events/ (part of the wonderful life enhancing Livestrong Foundation) seemed like a good idea.
6 months of training and sacrifice got me through that in a particularly un spectacular time but hey i’ll take it, still remains the proudest moment of my life crossing that line as a two time survivor.
and that brings me to 2013 and my third diagnosis. This Cancer has made me more resolute than ever before in my desire to exceed the limitations that I am supposed to have. This year it’s about rehabilitation post surgery:
It was a big surgery so it’s taking a while there are still some complications to take care of and the rehab is slow but I’m walking a lot, and i’m now back in the gym lifting again, it hurts, it hurts a lot but it has to be done.
What will the future hold?
Well at the moment I am thinking about doing a half Ironman in 2014 with an attempt to race it (race for me would be sub 5 hours, let’s not be silly now) rather than just complete the full one I did (as it turns out, I did the Ironman in 2012 with Cancer and I would love to prove that I can go a hell of a lot faster without it) the big goal though is to cycle across the USA in Autumn next year with the aim of raising £100k in sponsorship.
So as to the title of this blog. Cancer has given me purpose. I would never have done or seen half of what I have if it hadn’t been for this illness . I have met the most wonderful people like Shu Milne my Senior Leader and all the other guys at the Livestrong Foundation or the medical teams that have looked after me and I would never have realised that my life is great and that I am limitless if I want it enough.
If you know anyone who might be interested in supporting or sponsoring the challenges for 2014 then please don’t hesitate to pass this on to them. I’m not proud i’ll trade publicity for resources to fight Cancer.