Non Hodgkin’s lymphoma, an unwelcome visitor

Hi all,

So you think that’s it, you have nearly gotten through lockdown and you are getting into the headspace for returning to work and in a lot of ways looking forward to it.

Lockdown was not that bad I got to spend a lot of time with Rachel, Cohen and Baker and life was looking good. We were looking at buying the house we are living in and doing it up.

Did a lot of home cooking, got to go on long walks, finally built that patio I had put off doing, lots of games of UNO, and best of all I didn’t spend that much money. So life although changed beyond belief, (or so I thought then) wasn’t actually looking to bad.

The only thing I needed to sort out was this persistent sore throat, the one that just wouldn’t seem to go away even after the two rounds of antibiotics that had been prescribed by the local GP.

Unfortunately that’s not how it went !

You see what I was about to find out was that I have an unexpected visitor!!

So the story begins with a visit to ENT at the Royal Berkshire Hospital with a new and rather unpleasant sensation of a chap sticking a camera up my nose and down my throat.

That’s where the sledgehammer comes into play!! When you see what looks like chewed pink gum on the screen (I do have a photo of it!) it suddenly becomes all you can see, you are aware of a voice in the back ground telling you that you are, in all probability looking at what is a tumour. Now the type, the staging and what to do with it are all somewhere down the line because at this stage you are wondering who the hell hit you with that bloody sledgehammer! I do remember driving home and putting on some of the hard-hitting music that made me feel you know fantastic, and this was just a tumour this is just something that I am going to get over I do remember pulling into the house at home and remember sitting down with Rachel my wife.

Obviously I hadn’t asked Rachel to come with me because it was just a visit to the ENT and due to Covid she wouldnt have been allowed. I thought it was just gonna be my tonsils I thought yeah my tonsils are acting up I’ll get a little injection or maybe they might have to take them out but it’s still only my tonsils!

That’s when the roller coaster starts the one that shakes all your emotions so that they fall out one by one and land and scream at your feet and the one that screams the loudest that pierces my very being, is guilt!

I have a beautiful loving wife and two amazing, interesting dynamic young boys and you have not provided for them and at this exact moment because to me it was an exact moment I had let them down. I had caused this I had given myself a tumour and in that exact moment my mind had concluded the tumour is going to kill me and leave them high and dry. That guilt is still with me now, it’s diminished but I use it every time I wake up feeling sick, I use it every time I get a needle in a vein, I use the guilt to drive me on to getting rid of this unwanted visitor. A half decent physchiatrist would probably tell me that this is not a good thing but all I can say is sitting where I am now I will use anything to get rid of this and deal with the fallout later.

I cannot imagine what it must be like to go through this alone and lucky for me I don’t have to Rachel is a rock for me and my two boys, who now know everything that there is to know about non Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It was so hard knowing we had to tell them but not knowing how to tell them. They are all behind me, and are involved in the production editing and obviously eating of the project we have started.

We are also blessed to have Fantastic friends who are supportive and honest, and I work for a business where the word family is the very embodiment of what we do. I am proud to say that I work with the Business Design centre in Islington and the support my colleagues and directors have given me is hard to put into words.

It’s easy to imagine that there are multiple medical questions at this stage but one question that hovers on the sidelines and that normally creeps into view when you are alone or out for a walk is, Is that It? Is this really the sum of your being???

So now that question is out there!! You look for ways to answer it, unlike the treatment of the unwanted visitor which seems starkly black and white you have chemo it destroys the DNA of the tumour you get sick from it but then you get better, then you get on with life and enjoy it as best you can! The question of is this it? is a more difficult one to answer. I feel a need to give back, or maybe settle the overdue account to the NHS at the Royal Berkshire had after all saved my life once back in 2018.

Currently I am in the hands of the Uber professional team at the haematology department at the Royal Berkshire Hospital and what a team of amazing giving people. As I cannot run a marathon or climb the six peaks to help them, I can and still do cook everyday for my family, so this is where it starts for me and my family production and eating team.

I know and understand food and how it can help or hinder you on the road to recovery. I had read the literature on what you can and cannot eat while you are going through chemotherapy and it came to me, I can cook and I can perhaps help people in this same situation. So I will do this blog from my own personel point of view while cooking my way through. Hopefully adding informed nutritional value to help beat the cancer, and while I am doing this I can help raise some funds for the Royal Berkshire NHS trust and for Macmillan at the same time. Plus it may help keep me sane as I face another six months of isolation. So this is where this blog and this website comes to life and the occasional YouTube video as well.

I intend to develop easy and nutritious recipes that I cook for my family. I am not going to preach and teach, I am hopefully just going to help people like me or their families to eat perhaps a little better, and reduce some of the stress of cooking when your not feeling your best.

So we started with four videos before I realised that the unwanted visitor is simply to much to entertain and put together full cooking videos at the same time. We are leaving the YouTube videos up and we are going to add more slightly shorter ones, they are a good example of great intentions without a huge production team and retakes, (my 12 year old did camera). From here on I shall make the recipes available here on my blog and direct you to a YouTube videos to do a quick demonstrations on how to work the recipe.

You will find my Just giving page so that people can donate to the charities I have chosen. Everything will help no matter how small the donation, even if you cant donate, please still enjoy my recipes, videos and blog !!!!!!!

These recipes are what we cook at home so i do hope that you like them and i am open to all comments and improvements

Take care stay strong and drink lots of water that’s actually the secret to getting through this crap.

One thought on “Non Hodgkin’s lymphoma, an unwelcome visitor

  1. You are in inspiration to us all – what a way to attack this in such a positive manner. You family must be bursting with pride.

    Like

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