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  • Writer's pictureAustin Birks

Cancer: The Next Part of The Journey

So, today my dear chums, after a long absence for which I ask your forgiveness, I feel ready to blog again after my most recent adventure with chemo since my operation in March. It has been a strange journey. Truly, it has been an extraordinary experience, if the truth be told and in fairness, I have been very fortunate in so many ways.

My experience has been challenging and if honest, I have kept it to myself. The truth is that before my operation that was scheduled for the 24th of March, I had been in serious trouble.

The facts were that when I got re-diagnosed and was waiting for the operation, my cancer got worse and the rectal stump was getting significantly more infected. From February, it got progressively worse. Indeed, I got to a point that I simply could not leave the flat anymore.The reason being that I was needing to use the loo on average every 15 to 20 minutes, I don’t often get graphic on these blogs but I will be direct.

When you have bowel cancer there are certain things that happen to you. Most of the time it is all ok. You work around issues. But on occasions it can rear some whole new problems so I discovered. The back passage was basically bleeding and shedding mucus as a result of the rapid spread of the rectal cancer. It was frankly awful. In fact, I kept a record of how often this happened. It was 24 hours a day, so I decided to keep a record, so every time that I went to the loo, I would write down the time and the date. This was interesting and it was also revealing. Three days were probably the worst, I actually was going to the loo between 50 and 60 times.

This was why I ended up in casualty on 3 occasions. The doctors said basically you're having surgery very soon, that will sort this out. But at the same time, I was not sleeping as of course, after 15 to 20 minutes every 24 hours I was waking up and going to the loo. Which was what I did. It was frankly ghastly.

Now I knew that my blog journey to date a has been all about the positivity and I am utterly committed to that. But, if I am honest sometimes I need to share the whole journey as it is vital that this is an honest reflection of all that I have been through. But, and this is the point, I went through 2 months of this before my operation. It was tough both mentally and physically, but it was ok because I knew that I would beat this and overcome it. And so far, my dear friends, I have beaten it and indeed I have grown and I have flourished and to this remarkable day that is exactly what I have done.

And that is great and so on this day, I ended a 6-month journey, from my surgery and a 5-and-a-half hour operation that seemed to succeed, although you never know. Followed by the day 2 weeks from when I had 46 metal stitches removed from my chest from sternum down to the pubic bone was the same day that Yvi contracted COVID-19. Amazing that I never got it myself she self-isolated in her flat and for 2 weeks we were separated. It was surreal if the truth be told.

But being of tough stock, she beat it and after 2 weeks was back. We then decided to realise that life had changed and we had a choice. Either go down the Netflix, ice cream and slob life, or do good things while in lockdown and that is what we have done. The results have been amazing. I’m fitter at 60 than I was at 30. We planned and instigated a complete overhaul of our garden. From an absolute mess to a really nice, funky Japanese garden. In addition, a newly-found love of good cooking has transformed my life, and I have loved it! It has had a major effect on my cancer treatment that I have embraced it.

So, now I’m in a great place I have completed my 8 treatments of what is my third chemotherapy sessions, and I’m fitter, and super positive about the future. However, I’m also a realist and cancer is unforgiving, as I already know, so I will wait until I have a CT scan in possibly September, some 6 months after my initial operation and I will keep you informed, my dear chums.

But for me right now, I’m in a great place even though its very late at night, that’s ok. My steroid treatment, which is 2 pills to be taken at 10am and 2pm every day for 4 days, then 1 day off before 5 days of daily stomach injections, popped into the abdomen and again my last treatments. If you think that sounds bad, when I came out of hospital, I had to inject every day for 31 days. But guess what, you soon get used to it and it becomes routine.

So, apologies for such a long blog, I had some catching up to do, bear with me I’m back in circulation and very keen to share the journey some 2 years and 8 months post cancer arrival. Keep the faith, my dear chums I will I promise keep you posted.

Thank you for following and supporting. It means the world.

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6 comentários

Tony Riddle
Tony Riddle
17 de ago. de 2020

Well Austin , i think you should write a book bout your journey through your cancer treatments and what you have come through, I think it would be a best seller. I do not know of anyone else who has been through what you have and can still be so positive about your life fighting this disease.

l can’t find the words to describe what you have endured, but I am glad to had the opportunity to read your letters describing your experiences, you truly amaze me.

I wish you and your partner all the very best , keep up the good fight and I am sure you will beat this illness. Tony and Carole Riddle


Tony Riddle
Tony Riddle
11 de ago. de 2020

Hi Austin. Another great read about your cancer , it makes my knee problem look like a nothing at all,I do not know how you can be so positive about your illness, but it seams to work for you.

your outlook on the future is always so positive. i admire the way you keep up your fight against this terrible illness, i think most people would have given in by now.

I wish you all the very best in your continuing fight against it.

Tony Riddle


10 de ago. de 2020

My dear friend Austin. I thought that I'd dig this treasured old picture out of our dear Shihan stood next to me, against the good old "DO NOT DAMAGE THE CEILING TILES" sign. Thought that this would make you smile as we mentioned it the other day, regarding our blessed dojo where we both sweated many a blood, sweat, and tears together.

Shihan would, I know, be very proud of you right now, not only because you're such a great and loyal ambassador for Shotokan Karate-Do, but also to everything that he taught us. He always drummed into us the mantra of "never give up, and never give in" which taught us how to be real fighters. You, my dear…


09 de ago. de 2020

PS Photos of your Japanese garden, please 😊


09 de ago. de 2020

Inspirational as always, Austin. Humbling to know you’ll stay strong and continue your fight. Constantly in our thoughts; much love to you both 👊🏼❤️

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