Week 49: A new challenge
13 Mar 2012
(Photo credit: Gary Eason www.garyeasonphotography.com/)
I saw the oncologist yesterday. No big news, of course, as I have for now rejected having any more CT scans or drug treatments. But he was very pleased with how well I appear to be doing and was very encouraging about the approach I am taking. It is amazing that I am now approaching the 1st anniversary of my diagnosis of terminal lung cancer. A year ago, even looking this far ahead seemed optimistic in view of the general mortality statistics.
I am continuing with my intensive diet, exercise and supplements regime. I won't pretend it is easy. Everything takes so much longer to do when you have constantly to juice vegetables, prepare raw food, count out and swallow your supplements, take vast quantities of pancreatic enzymes and undertake the many other daily 'treatments' (enemas, bicarbonate soda baths etc) that are recommended. But, of course, it is worth it. And, I must add, I couldn't do it without the support of my wonderful wife, Chrissy.
I try to keep this 'blog' as upbeat as possible but I cannot deny that there have been plenty of down moments. In a recent one, I reluctantly realised that I would have to cut down even more on work as the stress of trying to continue as normal, whilst also following the complementary regime, was proving too much.
However, having cut down on some work commitments, I have now put a new (I hope positive) pressure on myself. I mentioned before that I am joining The Ride, a marathon cycle trek by a group of cancer patients who want to raise awareness of the need for better nutrition and exercise advice from the medical services. Well now I have taken the step of pledging to raise money for an integrated cancer advice charity, Yes To Life.
Now that people have started to sponsor me there can be no turning back from the challenge of cycling 156 miles through Wales in late July this year. And that is quite a challenge for me - even though it's small beer compared to the full UK-wide ride that some of the others are doing.
I was out on my bike last weekend and managed 25 miles, which is further than I have cycled since my diagnosis. But I was exhausted by the end of it and could only manage to drag myself onto the bed for a couple of hours sleep to recover. And this was only 25 miles in fairly flat South West London. How will I manage three successive days, averaging over 50 miles a day, on a very hilly route through rural Wales?
The moment others started to sponsor me for the ride, the venture took on a new, rather realistic light. But if it gets me out on the bike more often, and for longer rides, that will be a good thing.
So, if you would like to join the kind and generous people who are already sponsoring me, please visit my Just Giving page. It's very easy to donate on-line. Just go to: www.justgiving.com/Michael-Baker8 and click on the 'donate' button. I will be providing updates on my training and progress.
More about Yes To Life
Yes To Life seems to me particularly worthy of support because it is a well-run charity with low overheads (I checked out its accounts and annual reports on the Charity Commission website), run mainly by volunteers, backed by an impressive group of medically-qualified advisors. It offers a HelpLine, individual advice and support, information about treatments not available on the NHS, workshops, and a public information campaign. I have been very lucky in having people around me who already knew a lot about complementary and integrated approaches, but many people will not have that support.
I know we all get asked a lot to dig into our pockets these days, but if you do feel able to help I sincerely believe this is a very worthwhile cause.