The Inspirational Wilko Johnson:  12 July 1947 – 21 November 2022

The Inspirational Wilko Johnson: 12 July 1947 – 21 November 2022

Awareness, Inspiration
Wilko playing at his last show. Oct 2022 in London. Aged 75. RIP Wilko Johnson - Neuroendocrine Cancer I have been following Wilko's cancer story since December 2015 (and what a story it is) Read more by clicking here. [caption id="attachment_14806" align="aligncenter" width="785"] Wilko Johnson performing at The Royal Albert Hall, London on 26th September 2017[/caption] Charlie Chan (left) convinced Wilko to get his diagnosis checked, Emmanuel Huguet (right) removed his huge tumour in Cambridge. Two videos below.  Wilko is mainly a guitar player but he also wrote songs and sings too. Video 1 is 2006 when he was part of Dr Feelgood.  Boom Boom. Video 2 was made with Roger Dawltry (The Who) for the Going back Home tour.  Was supposed to be Wilko's swan song.  He opted for…
Read More
Piss off Cancer, it’s been 12 years since my “big surgery”

Piss off Cancer, it’s been 12 years since my “big surgery”

Awareness, Inspiration
I'm still here I was 54 years and 9 months old at diagnosis on 26th July 2010.  For the first few months, I had no idea what the outcome would be.  What I did know at the time, given the final staging, grading, and other damage that was accumulated via various tests, checks, and scans; is that my body had been slowly dying. Without intervention I may not be here now to tell you this tale and who knows what would be listed on my death certificate.  It’s amazing to think something that would eventually kill me without intervention, didn’t have a much grander announcement than the one presented to me in 2010 (or had I been paying more attention, in 2008 or 2009). I will never know if a much…
Read More
Evidence of disease but stable

Evidence of disease but stable

Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship, Treatment
Musings from a metastatic NET patient of 12 years plus In every surveillance session I've had since diagnosis, there was always something to report.  Much of it was old stuff that had been there since diagnosis which they are tracking (incidental findings).  However, there is also stuff that they know is almost certainly NET but not doing much and not threatening me.  That sentence alone probably translates to "stable".  After a surveillance event in 2021, I was awarded the accolade of "reassuringly stable", a status which I was happy to accept! Words are very important to cancer patients, some people hang their hats on them and put their feet up, and some people google them until they are tied in a knot, still fraught with worry.  Why can't doctors just…
Read More
Living with cancer: 5 tips for facing things you can’t control

Living with cancer: 5 tips for facing things you can’t control

Inspiration, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
I'm wired not to worry too much about something I cannot control.  For example, I automatically ignore any concerns about being inside an imaging device and then having to wait for the results to come through.  For me, I need to get the scan and I cannot control the results. The results will be what they will be, and I will react accordingly when I know them.  I once wrote an article called "Scanxiety, I just don't get it".  In hindsight, perhaps I was a bit harsh as not everyone is wired like me. However, perhaps presenting the reasons for my own way of handling these test and surveillance events might help others.  So based on my own experience, here are my 5 tips to face things you cannot control.  5…
Read More
Neuroendocrine Cancer:  When you get years added to your life, it’s important to get life added to your years

Neuroendocrine Cancer: When you get years added to your life, it’s important to get life added to your years

Inspiration, Patient Advocacy
Self Pity or Self Help? I'm not one for wallowing in self-pity or accepting invites to pity parties.  It's not my style. Things happen in life, and some are impossible to undo so I want to get on with my life in the best way possible. To some of you, that may sound harsh and insensitive, but I don't lack empathy for others (my advocacy work is a testament to that) and I'm constantly sympathising with others in my quest to help them via my blog, Facebook pages, and private Facebook group (see green box below) which is the biggest in the world because I'm known for helping.  I admit that some people are beyond my type of help, but I always suggest they should speak to specialists in the area…
Read More
Awareness Post – Neuroendocrine Cancer in children and adolescents

Awareness Post – Neuroendocrine Cancer in children and adolescents

Awareness, Inspiration
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month!  The newspapers and social media will no doubt be featuring many children's cancer articles. I personally cannot begin to imagine what it must be like to be a parent who has a child with cancer. I would just hope my child would be placed into the care and safe custody of experienced medical teams and would be able to get access to the best treatments available. In 2020. this case came up in my google alerts and was related to a family who live not far from me in the south of England.  An 8-year-old with Paraganglioma had lost an eye due to the location of the tumour.  It is absolutely heartbreaking to read but it's amazing how resilient children can be.  The Facebook…
Read More
Eat that doughnut!

Eat that doughnut!

Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy
I was recently reminded of a post I wrote called "The Other 5 Es".  I later changed the name to "The 6 Es".  The reason I wrote that post was due to the blanket use of something called "The 5 Es of Carcinoid Syndrome" in my private group. Taking this out of context can lead to unnecessary worry and constraints for many.I laughed out loud when I saw the reminder from my Facebook where I introduced this new blog post and it simply read "Eat that doughnut".  What I didn't confirm was that I was using a metaphor. I was inferring that we shouldn't unnecessary restrict our lives when something is low risk, particularly when something we are told is a 'no no' has been said out of context and…
Read More
Curtis Crump: “If I’m going down, it won’t be without a fight.”

Curtis Crump: “If I’m going down, it won’t be without a fight.”

Clinical Trials, Inspiration, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
Curtis Crump: Credit MD Anderson Cancer Center Curtis Crump has an amazing story to tell.  Given 6 months to live, he refused to accept that prognosis and looked elsewhere. He found a top hospital that directed him to an established clinical trial.  Although the story I am attaching says "Neuroendocrine Tumors" throughout, with that prognosis and the treatment he received (chemotherapy and immunotherapy), I'm reasonably confident he had a Neuroendocrine Carcinoma (Colon primary) or a Grade 3 Well Differentiated NET.  Nonetheless, his story is relevant to many people's experiences across the broad spectrum of Neuroendocrine Neoplasms (NENs). And if I am right in my assumption, even with a poorly differentiated type, there is the hope of a better prognosis. Wishing Curtis the very best.  Read his story below.(Please see my disclaimers…
Read More
12 years – I’m still here!

12 years – I’m still here!

Awareness, Inspiration, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
I finally made 12 years since I was diagnosed on 26th July 2010.  A milestone I was not certain at the time I would reach.  However, as things progressed, as treatment was administered, and as I got used to living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, I eventually became more confident this was a possibility with the help of Chris my wife of 47 years. I was fortunate that my cancer was not that aggressive although it was aggressive enough over an unknown period of time (probably years) to have grown inside my small intestine and mesentery, reached an army of lymph nodes, and settled in my liver and beyond including, strangely, in my left armpit.  It was incurable.  And, unique to serotonin secreting Neuroendocrine Tumours, it had caused a dense fibrotic reaction…
Read More
Neuroendocrine Cancer: turn surveillance into a positive

Neuroendocrine Cancer: turn surveillance into a positive

Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
It's hard to be positive when you don't know how you're doing. The only way to know how you're doing is to get professional surveillance. This is precisely why I see getting surveillance (scans and other imaging, tests, etc) as a positive. Even if something isn't quite right, at least you know, your doctors know, and they can watch it or do something about it. They simply can't do that if you're not getting surveillance. This is precisely why it's a positive thing, i.e. if you don't get it done, you don't know how you're doing - that is a more worrying situation in my opinion.  Surveillance is meant in the widest context, it can range from a telephone appointing asking questions and getting answers, all the way through to scanning. Don't…
Read More
Living with Cancer: Don’t cross the bridge until you come to it

Living with Cancer: Don’t cross the bridge until you come to it

Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
When I read comments in my private Facebook community group, I can see that many people do get concerned about upcoming scans and other rest results.  I think the imaging results cause the most angst because those are probably the most telling results someone with Neuroendocrine Cancer will get.  Has it grown, has it shrunk?  What if .......  Many patients experience fear, anxiety, and worry while waiting for imaging test results. It’s a completely normal and understandable feeling.  How can you conquer this fear or is it just something you have to live with? Personally, I look at things more clinically than the average person, perhaps that's just the way my brain is wired.  For example, I try not to be concerned about results over which I have little control once the…
Read More
On the Cancer Journey, don’t forget to live your life

On the Cancer Journey, don’t forget to live your life

Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
Many things in life can seem like a bump in the road or a journey along a windy road not sure where the next turn is.  In some ways, a cancer diagnosis is another of these inopportune moments, albeit one with many facets.  With incurable Neuroendocrine Tumours, many people need to be prepared for a long journey. Beware of the common trap of thinking in terms of all or nothing; or rushing to conclusions.  Even with localised NETs which have been removed with curative intent, the journey may continue for a while until your doctors and you are sure the destination has been reached.  In a few cases, journeys may be extended or new ones started.  For late stage incurable NETs, thinking your journey is going to be a short…
Read More
We are still here!

We are still here!

Inspiration
I'm always amazed at the responses to my post "I'm still here" and it has become a bit of a catchphrase I use, even in response to a question in my private group.What I see is that many of us are still here and I wanted to dedicate this post to those who frequently join in with my "I'm still here" posts.I'm glad you're still here too.  Share or comment if you agree!We are still hereCheck out the fantastic response to my 5th year 'cancerversary' post.  Click here to be inspired. Missed out 6th!!!Check out the fantastic response to my 7th year ‘cancerversary’ post. Click here to be inspired.Check out the fantastic response to my 8th year ‘cancerversary post’. Click here to be inspired.Check out the fantastic response to my 9th year ‘cancerversary post’. Click here to…
Read More
Blog review and top 10 for 2021:  RonnyAllan.NET

Blog review and top 10 for 2021: RonnyAllan.NET

Awareness, Clinical Trials, Diet and Nutrition, General, Humour, Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship, Treatment
I should be happy with over a quarter of a million views in 2021 but I'm not!  Like 2020, my figures are down on previous years as the pandemic seems to have changed viewing habits, not to mention my own bandwidth during this period. I created my private Facebook group not that long before the pandemic started, and I think that has been playing a part as huge chunks of my time has been taken up on that special project.  I also changed the nature and the type of posts on my "Ronny Allan" Facebook page, which led to fewer outlets for my blog posts.  Hopefully, 2022 will be a better year. However, just as I was totally astonished to have been able to accumulate a million views of my…
Read More
I thought I was going to die.  I didn’t

I thought I was going to die. I didn’t

Inspiration, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
I thought I was going to die, I didn't Opinion.  It can be extremely hard to face a diagnosis of cancer and with that, an uncertain future. After treatment, there's worry about the cancer growing or coming back after a period of stability.   BUT there is also the thought of dying of cancer.  I think as you get older, you tend to begin to accept death is inevitable, or at least that is how I feel today, aged 65.  I was diagnosed at the age of 54 which I guess in cancer terms, is still relatively young. I also suspect this fear must be multiplied in a much younger person. It's known that the lower grades of Neuroendocrine Tumours (NETs) have fairly good outlooks but there are still many factors…
Read More
Let’s Talk About NETs (#LetsTalkAboutNETs)

Let’s Talk About NETs (#LetsTalkAboutNETs)

Awareness, Diet and Nutrition, Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
Caption: Talking to Ipsen 2016 I do a lot of writing about NETs but I guess I've also done some talking too.  Some of these talks to patient groups and healthcare professionals were recorded and I have access to those recordings.  Others were not recorded but where possible and I am authorised to do so, I will attach the presentation slides.  Please note videos, presentation slides, and any Podcasts are in English. I'll list some of them below for your perusal.  I will keep adding them so they're all in one place.  Published talks Ann Edgar Trust - 31st August 2022 I was invited by Gordon Mackay who runs patient meetings for the Scottish NET organisation known as the Ann Edgar Trust.  As usual, I was only too happy to help. …
Read More
11 years – I’m still here!

11 years – I’m still here!

Awareness, Inspiration, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
I finally made 11 years since I was diagnosed on 26th July 2010.  A milestone I was not certain at the time I would reach.  However, as things progressed, as treatment was administered, and as I got used to living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, I eventually became more confident this was a possibility.  I was fortunate that my cancer was not that aggressive although it was aggressive enough over an unknown period of time (probably years) to have grown inside my small intestine and mesentery, reached an army of lymph nodes and settled in my liver and beyond including, strangely, in my left armpit.  It was incurable.  And, unique to serotonin secreting Neuroendocrine Tumours, it had caused a dense fibrotic reaction in the general area of the mesentery and in the…
Read More
Neuroendocrine Cancer: 48 hours before diagnosis

Neuroendocrine Cancer: 48 hours before diagnosis

Humour, Inspiration
Photo taken almost 12 years after diagnosis I had a liver biopsy on 19th July 2010, and I can tell you now, that it wasn't exactly a walk in the park. I had a mild anesthetic, I felt extremely uncomfortable throughout, and I was in pain. In fact, they did call in another nurse to help and her only job was to hold my hand in reassurance, (from what I remember).  Most patients report no issues with their liver biopsy.  I was sent home on 20 July with some painkillers, but it was gone within 24 hours. I think this is the actual picture of the tumour they took the biopsy from based on the biopsy location and me checking slice by slice on a copy of my initial diagnostic…
Read More
Every picture tells a story (point, click, read)

Every picture tells a story (point, click, read)

Awareness, Clinical Trials, Diet and Nutrition, Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Newsletters, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship, Treatment
I always try to use graphics for a number of pictures, I admit mainly to catch people's attention but also because sometimes a picture on its own tells a story or at least provides a great introduction to one. If the picture catches your eye, clicking on will take you to the text.  This post will auto update as new blogs are published. thanks for reading and sharing! Scroll, point, click, read, share! Click here and answer all questions to join my private Facebook group Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email Thanks for reading. Ronny I’m also active on Facebook. Like my page for even more news. Help me build up my new site here –…
Read More
A person with Neuroendocrine Cancer fell into a hole and couldn’t get out……….

A person with Neuroendocrine Cancer fell into a hole and couldn’t get out……….

Inspiration, Patient Advocacy
A person with Neuroendocrine Cancer fell into a hole and couldn’t get out. As a colleague walked by, the person called out for help, but the colleague yelled back, "Suck it up, dig deep and get on with it" then threw the person a shovel. The person accepted that advice and dug that hole deeper.A manager went by, and the person called out for help again. The manager shouted down "Use the tools your colleague has given you", but then threw down a bucket adding to the tools available. The person used the tools to dig the hole deeper still and filled the bucket.A healthcare professional walked by. The person called, “Help! I can’t get out!” so the healthcare professional gave the person some drugs and said, "Take this it…
Read More
A painting from America

A painting from America

Inspiration
Which one is the painting? (See separate originals below) I've always been one to keep an eye out for the postman (the postie as we say here). Even as a heavy user of computers, I still get excited about receiving 'paper' mail.  Other than birthday cards, I personally don't tend to see many handwritten letters nowadays. In today's internet connected world, handwritten letters are always exciting, always special. This time it was a parcel from USA but unlike the story "Letter from America" (see below), I was expecting this one.  One of the NET community had selected one of my walk pictures and decided to paint it.  She is a real artist, and you can tell that from the picture above. When you look at them side by side, they could…
Read More
The 6 E’s

The 6 E’s

Diet and Nutrition, Inspiration, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
An opinion postWhen I first heard of something called "The 5 Es", it struck me that I was aware of these issues and their potential effects; and I’m certain there is science to substantiate most of the content. These 5 E’s are apparently the most common ‘triggers’ for (so called) Carcinoid Syndrome. Clearly, they are not going to have the same effect on every patient e.g. I have the occasional drink of ‘Ethanol’ and I always enjoy it, I go for long exhausting walks as ‘Exercise’ and I always feel great after. I had dental treatment using ‘Epinephrine’ without any precautions before and after I was aware of the risks …….. nothing happened! Before I was treated, stressful meetings (‘Emotions’) at work would make me flush though! As for ‘Eating’ – well that’s another couple of blog’s worth! Worth…
Read More
I have walked 500 miles and I will walk 500 more (….. sing along)

I have walked 500 miles and I will walk 500 more (….. sing along)

Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Survivorship
https://youtu.be/VKyWLAaStwM?t=53 At the beginning of the year, I signed up to walk 1000 miles in 2021.  I can now confirm, I'm halfway there in 5 months.  I have buffer time ..... but only if I keep going.  By total coincidence it came on the anniversary of the completion of an 84 mile walk along Hadrian's Wall on 31st May 2014.  500 miles seems a lot more than that epic journey, but Chris and I did do around 300 miles in training to build up our stamina. Am I mad walking 1000 miles as a Stage 4 cancer patient? Not quite but working on it (haha).  I have several incentives, including: As a stage 4 cancer patient, I want to be as fit as possible to withstand any rigours I may…
Read More
Lanreotide:  Eleven more years please!

Lanreotide: Eleven more years please!

Inspiration, Treatment
Back in February 2015, I wrote an article called "Four more years" and the title came from an election campaign happening at the time when I had been on Lanreotide for approximately four years.  Inspired by this campaign slogan, I too wanted four more years and crafted the blog post. However, I was underselling myself as I've now hit 11 years of Lanreotide on 9th December 2021.  On that day in 2010, I was still recovering from major surgery and hadn't had any somatostatin analogues since leaving hospital on 26th Nov.  Prior to surgery, I had been taking daily shots of Octreotide which did have the effect of reducing the symptoms of (so called) carcinoid syndrome.  I was also administered peri-operative octreotide to de-risk the chances of a hormonal crisis…
Read More
2 Million!

2 Million!

Awareness, General, Humour, Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
Today, 27th October 2022, I can confirm the 2 million views milestone has been reached. I was totally astonished to have been able to accumulate a million views of my blog around the middle of June 2019 and in December 2020, a Christmas present of one and a half million!  Fast forward to November 2021 and it's one and three-quarters million.That is THANKS to you guys for reading and sharing. When I first set up this blog in Apr 2014, it was just to help spread awareness (and collect a few pennies) whilst I was walking the 84 miles of Hadrian's Wall with my wife Chris. I never thought for one minute I would reach a thousand hits let alone 2 million: whilst accumulating around 20,000 followers across all my social media…
Read More
If it’s not raining, it’s not training! (part 2)

If it’s not raining, it’s not training! (part 2)

Inspiration, Survivorship
As someone who was born and raised in the Scotland, and lived most of my life in the UK, I'm no stranger to inclement weather.  In my 29 years years in the military, the weather was no excuse to do nothing, whether it was training or the real thing. They gave us wet weather clothing after all!  There is a saying in the UK army and it goes like this "If it's not raining, it's not training".  In classic British pragmatism, it decodes to "raining is normal so get on with it".  In fact, one of my oldest army friends cannot wait for the torrential rain, he much prefers it to the sun!  Read his blog here.  We've been caught out over the years, for example back in 2016, a…
Read More
Piss off cancer – I’m 67

Piss off cancer – I’m 67

Awareness, Inspiration
I started doing the “Piss off cancer” series when I got to 65, mainly because I initially thought I wouldn’t make that age. I was 54 years and 9 months old at diagnosis on 26th July 2010.  For the first few months, I had no idea what the outcome would be.  What I did know at the time, given the final staging, grading, and other damage that was accumulated via various tests, checks, and scans; is that my body had been slowly dying. Without intervention I may not be here now to tell you this tale and who knows what would be listed on my death certificate.  It's amazing to think something that would eventually kill me without intervention, didn't have a much grander announcement than the one presented to…
Read More
Paul Hunter Tribute – Snooker champion and Neuroendocrine Cancer patient

Paul Hunter Tribute – Snooker champion and Neuroendocrine Cancer patient

Awareness, Inspiration
Paul Hunter, three-time Masters snooker champion was just 27 when he fell victim to Neuroendocrine Cancer at the peak of his powers and popularity. At just 25, he'd won the third Masters title, a feat which, at the time, had been achieved by only two other players in the world. He was dubbed the "Beckham of the Baize" because of his chiselled good looks and long, blond hair (a reference to famous footballer David Beckham).This young age is unlike the majority of Neuroendocrine Cancer patients who are diagnosed in their later years. I took to the internet to find out more. Although there are many sites and articles confirming the link to "Neuroendocrine Tumours" in the annals of the internet, many sites state "stomach cancer" (some as late as 2017)…
Read More
I don’t look sick enough, sorry not sorry

I don’t look sick enough, sorry not sorry

Inspiration
Despite earlier diagnoses via more technology and screening, many people have a perception about people with cancer, it includes many things including but not limited to, lack of hair, ill in bed and being infused regularly with chemotherapy.  Another perception is they die.  All of that is clearly terrible but it's not the norm.  Many people live with cancer, many people with cancer go to work many people go on holiday, many people with cancer do normal stuff. The crazy thing about this perception is that the cancer story is changing, more and more of us are going to come into contact with cancer, either through our own experience or the experience of a close relative or friend.  We live longer nowadays and as cancer is essentially (but not always)…
Read More
Flower power and the happy hormones

Flower power and the happy hormones

Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer
A memory from 5 years ago is this sunflower which I planted with my own hands, and it grew taller than me (not difficult), even taller than my garden fence (more difficult).  Of course, I have to mention my wife Chris because she does infinitely more gardening than I do, and she would have nurtured the sunflower from start to finish after I planted it.  Nonetheless, I still felt a remarkably close association with the outcome! My most liked Facebook posts in 2020 (the year of COVID) related to plant and forest pictures and there is a reason flowers proved to be more popular than my other posts. Flowers, particularly with vibrant colour, stimulate our happiness hormones, including serotonin. Now, serotonin has a bad press in the Neuroendocrine Cancer world,…
Read More
10 years, I’m still here

10 years, I’m still here

Awareness, Inspiration
I finally made 10 years since I was diagnosed on 26th July 2010.  A milestone I was not certain at the time I would reach.  However, as things progressed, as treatment was administered, as I got used to living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, I eventually became more confident this was a possibility.  I was fortunate that my cancer was not that aggressive although it was aggressive enough over an unknown period of time (probably years) to have grown inside my small intestine and mesentery, reached an army of lymph nodes and settled in my liver and beyond including, strangely, in my left armpit.  It was incurable.  And, unique to serotonin secreting Neuroendocrine Tumours, it had caused a dense fibrotic reaction in the general area of the mesentery and in the retroperitoneal…
Read More
Don’t be cavalier with a cancer diagnosis

Don’t be cavalier with a cancer diagnosis

Awareness, Inspiration
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email  [caption id="attachment_19230" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Denial[/caption]I talk often about my diagnosis but not about an 'incident' which occurred almost immediately prior to being formally told.  In fact it happened on 24th July 2010, 10 years to the date this post was published.  (Spoiler alert - I'm still here).I was well into the 'diagnostic phase', having had all sorts of tests including a liver biopsy.  I vividly remember thinking these tests were a 'nuisance', I was far too busy and I didn't even feel ill.  In hindsight, I was fortunate to have had such a thorough bunch of physicians who diagnosed me with metastatic Neuroendocrine Cancer in about 6 weeks 'flash to bang'.  I…
Read More
After lockdown – the new normal is not normal

After lockdown – the new normal is not normal

Inspiration
The new normal is not normal This new normal just isn't normal! I'm lucky to have beautiful forests to my east and west but to my south is probably the best beach coastline in UK. We decided to walk along a section of that award winning 7 mile bay. But we went via a shop. I had to return something purchased shortly before lockdown and like most shops which shut, this one extended the returns period due to COVID-19. The shop was a big one and easy to distance, but the preparations were very good indeed. I donned a face covering and upon entering, I was instructed to wash my hands with sanitiser before proceeding to the right department - they had a non-contact sanitising facility with a foot pump…
Read More
We Remember – A message of hope in the time of the Coronavirus!

We Remember – A message of hope in the time of the Coronavirus!

Inspiration
This post was generated at the height of the pandemic and is not medical advice, moreover, it should not be considered up to date.  For the latest information for your cancer in regard COVID RISKS and VACCINES, please speak directly to your specialist doctor or follow your national health organisation’s guidance. I really like this video because it covers the positives of the coronavirus crisis, despite the daily gloom. At the time of writing, it's clear things will get worse before they improve. However, this crisis will end sometime, hopefully soon; and we'll look back on this period with multiple emotions. Of course we will be sad about those who died and for the lives that were changed. But we will also look back fondly at how we dealt with…
Read More
Featuring Kirsty Dalglish – Pheochromocytoma and Pregnancy

Featuring Kirsty Dalglish – Pheochromocytoma and Pregnancy

Inspiration, Patient Advocacy
This story is about my friend Kirsty. She lives with metastatic Pheochromocytoma, a type of Neuroendocrine Tumour (NET) of the adrenal glands - (read more here). She has an amazing blog which is not just for Pheochromocytomas or even just for Neuroendocrine Cancer patients and supporters, because she has not let her condition stop her from doing normal and amazing stuff. The challenges she has faced, and still facing, are very similar to many cancer patients. Kirsty is actually one of the moderators in my private Facebook group, she found me and put herself forward to help out. My group international in composition working 24/7, so her location in New Zealand was perfect, filling in the North America/Europe normal 'sleepy' time around 3am - 7am UK time.In 2012, Kirsty moved…
Read More
Prognostics and Crystal Balls

Prognostics and Crystal Balls

Inspiration, Patient Advocacy
When I was being told I had an advanced and incurable cancer, I did what most people seem to do in movies ….. I asked “how long do I have“. The Oncologist said ” … perhaps just months“. That must have been quite a shock because for a few moments after that, I heard nothing – my brain was clearly still trying to process those words – I wasn’t even feeling unwell! The really important bit I missed was him go on to say “…but with the right treatment, you should be able to live for a lot longer”. Fortunately, my wife Chris heard it all and I was refocused. “OK Doc – let’s go” I said. Always take someone with you to take notes at important meetings with Oncologists!…
Read More
The Other 5 E’s

The Other 5 E’s

Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer
Those who know about the 5 E's of (so called) carcinoid syndrome will get the meaning of this story straight away. For those unaware of those 5 E's, read about them here.I sometimes need motivating and it's really easy to put off doing 'hard things', instead opting for your comfort zone of staying at home. It's often easier to say "I can't" than it is to say "I can". And yet, each time I hesitate about saying "I can", I always end up refreshed, enthused, and happy I didn't say "I can't". So this is the story of the my daytrip at the end of summer (and pretty much many days out). [caption id="attachment_14267" align="aligncenter" width="960"] Motivation is often difficult[/caption]ExerciseEverywhere you look, there are experts telling us that exercise is good…
Read More
I’m not sick, I just have cancer

I’m not sick, I just have cancer

Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
Opinion. I receive many messages from people across the world. Recently, one person asked me if I saw myself as a sick person. I found it a really interesting question because someone with cancer must be sick, right? When I was diagnosed, I really didn’t feel unwell, not how I thought a Stage 4 cancer patient would feel and not even ill enough to consider myself a 'sick person'. Prior to that, I suppose like everyone else on the planet, I had normal day-to-day stuff come along but that always settled in days or weeks. But never enough to call myself a sick person other than as a temporary label. Quite often I would ignore the illness and continue working and also continue normal day to day activities. In hindsight,…
Read More
From dying to living, to hell and back

From dying to living, to hell and back

Awareness, Inspiration, Patient Advocacy
I once wrote a post about patient stories, in particular the ones I receive in my private messages.  The headline was "The shock effect never wears off".  But none have been more shocking than the one I received early in 2019.  (edit: After posting this article, I heard of a few similar cases). This is a story about someone who is a private person but felt the need to reach out to me about their diagnostic experience. This person wanted to talk about it, but in private and I was happy to listen.  I was so moved by this story, I persuaded this person to let me tell it here whilst retaining their anonymity.  Hence referral going forward as 'Patient E'. I just felt that someone somewhere might learn something…
Read More
“I Knew There Was Something Wrong, But I Didn’t Know What” — A Nurse Shares Her Cancer Story

“I Knew There Was Something Wrong, But I Didn’t Know What” — A Nurse Shares Her Cancer Story

Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer
Judy Golz is a retired registered nurse — she’s also a neuroendocrine cancer survivor.  Like many nurses who get cancer, their experience in working in the healthcare industry possibly helps get a quicker diagnosis, possibly because they can recognise symptoms and likely differential diagnoses and it possibly helps knowing how the healthcare system works. But with uncommon and complex diseases, it's not always that straightforward, even for a nurse or any other healthcare professional.  But Judy makes an excellent point about the quantity and quality of medical information now out there, including for Neuroendocrine Cancer and suggested she would be in a better place for self-diagnosis today. Two things spring to mind about this story. Neuroendocrine Cancer is such a complex disease, it can often be hard for healthcare professionals to…
Read More
Letter from America

Letter from America

Awareness, Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer
I've always been one to keep an eye out for the postman (the postie as we say here). Even as a heavy user of computers, I still get excited about receiving 'paper' mail.  Other than birthday cards, I personally don't tend to see many handwritten letters nowadays. In today's internet connected world, handwritten letters are always exciting, always special. However, the one I received in the first week of February 2019 was extra special, it was postmarked from North Carolina USA.Now ….. for those around the same age as me, you might have been attracted by the article header and have remembered the famous radio show entitled "Letter from America".  This was a weekly fifteen minute speech radio series broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and across the world through the…
Read More
Living with Cancer – Worrier or Warrior?

Living with Cancer – Worrier or Warrior?

Awareness, Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
If you only believe what you see on social media, you would probably classify cancer patients into two main groups, warriors or worriers.  I guess people have, or adopt, these traits from their cancer experience but I suspect many people are simply 'wired' that way.  I also believe there are many people who have a bit of both, perhaps slanting to mostly warrior or worrier, I mean who doesn't worry about a single thing?  However, the extent of worrying can often have a negative effect on quality of life. You're not going to stop worrying by simply reading this article but if you read no further, at least check out the lead graphic, it might help putting things into perspective. Warriors I used to do that for a living so…
Read More
Neuroendocrine Cancer – on your bike!

Neuroendocrine Cancer – on your bike!

Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Survivorship
[caption id="attachment_13876" align="aligncenter" width="2592"] Get on your bike![/caption] There's a Brit saying known as "on your bike" (sometimes colloquially called "on yer bike").  It basically means "go away and stop bothering me" but there are other definitions including some 'Anglo-Saxon' versions (I won't repeat those here!) When I moved to my current home in 2012, the removals lorry unloaded our rather dusty bikes (pedal cycles) and stuffed them in the garage where they mostly remained until this year.  A couple of months ago, I dusted them off, repaired punctures etc, and basically started putting them to better use.  In fact, Chris got a new one out of the deal! I'm reasonably fit (considering) but finding it so easy to opt for the sofa and there's always something worth watching on…
Read More
Aretha Franklin 1942-2018: Neuroendocrine Cancer

Aretha Franklin 1942-2018: Neuroendocrine Cancer

Awareness, Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer
On 16th Aug 2018, Publicist Gwendolyn Quinn told The Associated Press through a family statement that Franklin passed at her home in Detroit. The statement said "Franklin's official cause of death was due to advanced pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type, which was confirmed by Franklin's oncologist, Dr. Philip Phillips of Karmanos Cancer Institute" in Detroit.Clearly he meant Neuroendocrine Cancer with a pancreatic primary. However, in the fast moving social media world, this is what went out with the lazier writers and editors abbreviating it to just Pancreatic Cancer.  All of these incorrect posts will now be embedded in the bowels of the internet and used for years to come by those writing about the Queen of Soul.  We in the Neuroendocrine community now have a much harder task because…
Read More
I wish I had another cancer

I wish I had another cancer

Awareness, Inspiration, Patient Advocacy
AN OPINION POSTI’ve seen the term ‘Cancer Olympics’ many times on my social media travels, it’s been used in several contexts. For example, Dr Robin McGee uses it to describe her ordeal with late stage bowel cancer and judging by the cover of her book, the analogy is the hurdles she had to jump to get the right treatment (many of you will relate to that).Another example I see is the race to claim a cancer is somehow ‘worse’ than other cancers, i.e. ‘my cancer is far worse than yours’.  Ironically, although some cancers are almost certainly worse than others (for example in prognostic terms), it seems like a race to the bottom as patients fight for the ‘top’ spot.  It works both ways as some people perceive they have…
Read More
Things to do today

Things to do today

Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Survivorship
When you live with any illness, getting through the day can be tough. Trying to get a diagnosis, dealing with a diagnosis, undergoing treatment and then learning to recover and adapt.I've been living with my condition since 2010 and I'm a big advocate of keeping busy, keeping active and keeping my mind occupied. Despite this, there are times with a chronic disease, an invisible disease, an incurable and long-term disease including cancer, occasionally just doing nothing can be very productive in the long term!Of course, sometimes you have little choice if you're ill from your condition or something routine.So now and then, I just breathe in and breathe out (then repeat). It's very enjoyable!Take a break if you need one. Click here and answer all questions to join my private…
Read More
Shame on you!

Shame on you!

Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship
I don't look ill.  I didn't even look ill when I was diagnosed with metastatic and incurable Neuroendocrine Cancer.  People have even told me I look better than many people my age who do not have an incurable disease!  There's a bit of me which is very happy with that predicament, although I'd rather look less good and not have cancer.Many cancer patients have illnesses that cannot be seen, they are invisible. I know quite a lot of cancer patients who don't look ill but I know they have a life-threatening disease and things could change quickly.  For example, some cancer patients who look really well can need quick access to facilities such as toilets as side effects can sometimes not only be instant but also painful.  Some just need…
Read More
Ronny Allan – Top 6 posts of 2017

Ronny Allan – Top 6 posts of 2017

Awareness, Inspiration
Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter Share on pinterest Pinterest Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on email Email These are my top performing posts for 2017 - comprising one eighth of my entire hits for the year.  My blog hits for 2017 almost reached a quarter of a million, double that of 2016 which was double that of 2015.  A chunk of these figures can be attributed to most of these articles.  Please share to maintain the momentum. Top 6 posts for 2017 (Click on each article title to read) Short Description Hits in 2017 The Human Anatomy of Neuroendocrine Cancer Making the point that Neuroendocrine Cancer is not confined to a particular part of the body 9,906 Neuroendocrine Cancer Syndromes – Early Signs of a Late Diagnosis…
Read More
The shock effect never wears off

The shock effect never wears off

Awareness, Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Survivorship, Treatment
Patient stories are key to any awareness campaign.  Nothing like a human being standing up and letting you know about their experience.  Many are positive examples of how they are overcoming their trials and tribulations, others tell stories of a struggle. They all have different styles, some are the 'kick ass' type stories, some are just thankful, some are reflective - all of them are perfectly acceptable. I normally like to place myself somewhere in the middle with phrases like "I'm still here", although I can veer left and right when the mood takes me! Because of my social media footprint, I get a lot of private messages from people across the globe. Many are from people who have no wish to go public and that's fine. Many are from…
Read More
Cancer Isn’t All About Me

Cancer Isn’t All About Me

Awareness, Inspiration, Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Patient Advocacy, Survivorship, Treatment
[caption id="attachment_11078" align="alignleft" width="150"] As featured by Cure Magazine[/caption][caption id="attachment_4318" align="aligncenter" width="500"] It's about others too[/caption]Since my diagnosis of incurable and metastatic neuroendocrine cancer in 2010, it's really all been about me. I didn’t see the trauma coming, and my family has supported me throughout every single step. I really don’t want to be the focus of attention as that mantle was normally evenly distributed. However, there’s nothing like a cancer diagnosis to put you into the spotlight.Facing an uncertain future with regular scans, injections, treatment, pills, examinations and blood tests has made me the center of attention, whether I like it or not. The focus is on me because these things are necessary to keep me alive for as long as possible and also because I live with the…
Read More