Two years ago today was one of the best moments of my life.
I was in one of the worse conditions both mentally and physically but the 24th November was the start of my new life, it was time to get back to reality. I was discharged from hospital and had finished my last cycle of treatment. My neutrophils had reached the recommended limit and I was free to walk out of the hospital, obviously after waiting the whole day to collect my drugs. I would no longer have to spend the night in hospital listening to the pumps serenade me. I would have my own bed and I wouldn’t be woken up in the early hours to have my bloods taken. Yes, I would still have to take my tablets but that was a sacrifice I was willing to put up with. If you want to read more about the day click here, however this is going to be a post all about how far I have come since that day.
Yes, the months after were hard and it took a lot of time to see any real improvements, but I was able to spend Christmas at home with my family. I could go back to normality. Well, my family is anything but normal, but you know what I mean. I have had a few people ask me ‘Were the worries of the cancer coming back still there?’ Of course they were, but these would start to go away with time. Instead of being stuck in hospital, I was able to distract myself and see my amazing friends and family.
Anyway, back to the point, what have I actually done in these two years?
First of all, how crazy! It’s actually been two years. Sometimes it feels like it was only yesterday, other times like a life time ago. Looking back on these two years, I actually can’t fathom how much I have actually achieved. As corny as this sounds, I have gone from being a scared and naïve young boy to an unstoppable man. Very little, if anything, phases me. Cancer has taught me a huge lesson, if you want something, you have to go out and get it. No one has the right to the good life, you have to make it happen for yourself. Yes there are people on the way that can help you but you have to go out and find that help. It very rarely comes from nowhere. For as long as I can remember completing a marathon was on my bucket list. I told so many people that I would enter a marathon one day but ‘now’ wasn’t the right time. In reality the only right time is when you decide it is. I was so unfit and still not back to my usual self, which most people would have said is not the right time to enter a marathon, let alone an ironman. But, I did and look at me now! I am stronger than I ever have been, more determined and have the most clarity I have ever had for my future. Now tell me it wasn’t the right time to enter?
I have achieved so much in these last two years including; completing my first Ironman (Bolton, UK), marathon (Paris), open water swim (Windermere) and triathlon (Tadcaster Sprint Tri). Whilst a lot of my blog posts have been based on my sporting achievements, the last two years have also seen me have many achievements in my personal life. In November 2015, having just been discharged, my days consisted of sleeping in and recovering both mentally and physically.
I now go to work everyday, have a great social life and have raised over £13,000 for Teenage Cancer Trust. But, my biggest achievement, and the one of which I am most proud of, is the impact I have had on other peoples lives. I have received some incredible messages from people going through cancer treatment and people looking for general inspiration. To think I have had a positive impact on numerous lives is such a great feeling.
I guess the main lesson I have learnt in the last two years is to believe in myself. I have never fought so hard in my life than I did when I was sent down to HDU. At this point I was never going to let the infection win but looking back it could have very easily.
‘You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.’ – Unknown
This quote pretty much sums up my attitude. Cancer has given me the inner strength I never knew I had. Whenever I think I am in a difficult situation, I stop, take a few seconds to reflect on what I have been through and what I have achieved, then I realise that this situation doesn’t even compare.
So what will I achieve in 2018?… What is my plan?… I obviously can’t stop now.
It is going to be big…
Keep your eyes peeled, the big reveal will be soon.