I'm 42 years old, (was 39 when life went somewhat awry) with no history of illness, Ironman finisher who has been diagnosed with myeloma. Did not see this coming. This blog summarises my journey from unexpected diagnosis through the treatment path. My aim is to use myeloma as a catalyst for living a better, more fulfilling life and documenting the changes I am making in all aspects of my family and work commitments.

The Reflex

One of the mentally strongest little guys I happen to know is my son Max. Its easy for a dad to be biased but having spent the last 72 hours fighting (literally) with my bodies instinctive need to cough, my admiration and pride in my boy has been raised to a new level of respect.

At the age of 4 he had to have his adenoids, tonsils and ears operated on. I know he didn’t know much about what was going on but not once did he moan or kick up a fuss. Then at 6, adenoids had decided to grow back so same again. But this time he knew what was on the cards and to top it all off, (and there is no way I could have gone through this) he was asked by the doctor if he could have an endoscope inserted up his nose and down his throat without any sedation. Max said yes and just sat there while the doctor did his thing. He controlled any urge to panic, gag or just run a mile from what must have been a very uncomfortable 5 minutes.

So onto my current predicament…

My week started off so well. I was discharged on Monday, took Jenn out for lunch Tuesday, we were making…oh no we weren’t, that’s Craig David…

but I did have a fantastic week being home.

Then my temperature spiked on Saturday and I had to head back to the Countess as I’d picked up an infection. And my back deteriorated again to the point that I couldn’t even drive my mobility vehicle!

Which brings me to today.

What has made the last 3 days so rough is that the infection is on my chest so my natural reaction is to cough; but coughing sets my back spasms off so I have to fight the urge to cough just to avoid back pain and the agony that ensues. It is horrible and I wont lie Mum, I did involuntarily use the F and S (don’t worry, not Sun***land) words in front of the nurses. Hence my admiration for Max; he held his composure under a very testing procedure and this has kept me focussed on doing the same.

The human body is an amazing bit of kit but the reflex reactions that are inbuilt, for good reason, take a hell of a lot of energy to bypass…and drugs;  of which Morphine, Codeine and Diazepam are all now helping to keep the pain at bay.

As a result I’ve been rubbish company of late and not as good at keeping in touch with people as I would like to; bear with me as I get through one of the more challenging phases of the treatment path.

The theme of this post is clearly mental fortitude and this week, another test was placed in front of me in the form of a new button which was introduced to the chairs in the oncology suite. Check this out…

It’s like every remote detonator used by Arnie and Sly back in the day, missile launchers from Top Gun and Nitrous boosters from any good car movie, all rolled into one very tempting device. Seb and I agonised over pushing it just to see what would happen, but we held firm so armageddon was averted…until the next time.

I was also offered my first bed bath this weekend. Luckily I pre empted this offer and had a shower Sunday morning.

The nurse who would have administered said cleaning process was quite attractive so thankfully, for all concerned, the indignity of another reflex was avoided.




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  1. Liz 5th September 2017

    You both sound pretty brave to me! ! I have had an endoscopy without anaesthetic and was horrible and I am sure what you are going through is 10 times worse!

  2. JIM & SHEILA SMART 5th September 2017

    Hi Pete,
    Great to hear your latest muse and clearly a difficult week for you so far but physiology can also be controlled mentally and interesting parody with Maxwell…..
    The boys looked pretty damn fine set up for school this week too.
    Love and best wishes.
    The Smarties

  3. Dave 5th September 2017

    Pete you are a master with the English language and grammar and San & I commend you being able to continue your blog with humour and dignity the like of which we have never seen before in your fight against this most horrible of enemies.
    We have always know that you are a bright guy but I personally did not think that you were as bright if not brighter than me or your dad but I concede and your dad will when I have had a quiet word with him.
    Carry on mate with this energy in your writing,
    San & I love you loads.

  4. Mike and Sue Day 5th September 2017

    I am totally overawed by your resiliance your fortitude and your determination to overcome this bloody awful disease. I am however more inspired by your young son and his attitude to his own traumatic situations. For a kid so young that is truly amazing, however, it just proves to me that he is a chip off the old block. Good on yer, good on him. Chin up we are all with you. Love from us both. Mike D

  5. Brenda Shipton 5th September 2017

    With the love and humor of your family you are doing a bl…y good job whilst undergoing your treatment for your cancer. Stay strong Pete and with the love of everyone especially your family you will find this easier too bare and get through. Your chest infection will, with the great care of your medical staff soon get better. Keep strong and above all KEEP FIGHTING. Love from us all back here in Sleights. Take care. xx

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