Fuck You, Cancer – eBook format

This blog is now available in eBook format! Woo! Yeah!

ANY MONEY THAT IS MADE FROM THE SALE OF THIS EBOOK WILL GO TO CANCER RESEARCH. I wanted to put it up for free on Amazon, but they wouldn’t let me (the bastards), so I’ve set the price at £1.50. Amazon take 50p of the fee you pay, anything else will be given to charity.

Just click the image below to be redirected to Amazon.

Thank you.

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PET scans, Pubs and Awkward Hugging

On the 8th February, my brother went for the last chemotherapy session of his course of treatment before his PET scan, which was scheduled for 27th February. The PET scan would show if things had got better or worse, and therefore determine if he would need more treatment in the future. PET stands for Positron Emission Tomography, whatever the fuck that means. Basically, doctors can use it to see how body tissues are working, as well as what they look like. It’s pretty impressive really, as it can:

  • Show up a cancer
  • Find out the stage of a cancer
  • Show whether a lump is cancer or not
  • Show whether a cancer has spread to other parts of the body
  • Show how well cancer drug treatment is working

When he told me he had his PET scan coming up, I felt a mixture of emotions:

Worry – What if the chemo had not helped at all? What if things had got worse?

Excitement – On the other hand, he could get the all clear.

Nerves – For my brother mainly. I knew that he’d have various endings playing out in his head.

Pain – I’d been holding in a poo for too long and was desperate for the toilet.

 

The chemo session on the 8th was uneventful, which meant our visits to the hospital ward didn’t really go out with a bang. After the eventful incidents of chemotherapy sessions past, we were slightly disappointed, but also relieved that it was over, for the time being at least. We spoke briefly about the upcoming scan;

“How you feeling about everything, mate?” I asked.

“Alright”.

“Nothing else? You’re just ‘alright’ about it?”

“Yeah. I just hope you’ll finish the blog soon”.

“Course I will. Whatever happens”.

“What do you mean by that?! I suppose it will make a more dramatic ending if I die?”

“Hahahaa, no, I didn’t mean that at all”.

 

HOSPITAL LUNCH FOR CANCER PATIENT RATING: N/A – He skipped it again. I couldn’t even tempt him. “Go on, get something so I can photograph it for the blog” I begged. “No way”, he replied, stubbornly.

HOSPITAL LUNCH FOR GUEST RATING: 3/5 – I had a coffee and a packet of salt and vinegar Hula Hoops. Can’t really have any complaints about that.

DAY HIGHLIGHT: The sense of ‘this could actually be the last time we have to come here for treatment’ as we left the ward.

DAY LOWLIGHT: The other cancer patients didn’t provide us with any sort of entertainment

JONJO SHELVEY WATCH: 9/10. My brother won’t take his hat off. Ever. He’s like Matt Cardle, but with a beanie hat instead of a crappy military cap. And my brother is almost bald, instead of having hair like a matted pubic wig.

 

==================================

The 2 week wait between the chemo session and the PET scan seemed to drag. My brother, his head now resembling a hardboiled egg that had been dipped in honey and rolled across a barber’s floor, remained calm though, as he had since his whole ‘cancer thing’ came about. The scan was in Oxford on a Monday night.

“Do you want me to come?” I knew it wouldn’t be a long visit, just a case of get to the hospital, quick scan, and go, but felt I should offer at least.

“You can if you want. It’s on a Monday night though at quarter to six”.

“Oooh. Quarter to six. That might be an issue”.

“Think you’ll be at work still?”

“No, football training starts at 7pm. I don’t really want to miss that do I?!”

“Haha! You’re putting football over cancer!”

“I was joking!”

“I’m joking too. Honestly, I’ll be fine. You’ll struggle to make it at that time from work anyway”.

In hindsight, I should have gone with him. It pissed it down with rain all training session. I could have been sat in warm hospital ward, continuously refreshing Twitter and Facebook on my phone instead.

I phoned my brother that evening;

“How did it go?”

“Alright”.

“Nothing else? It just went ‘alright’?”

“Yeah”.

A sense of déjà vu swept over me.

“And when do we get the results from the scan?”

“22nd March”

=================================

The wait between the PET scan and the 22nd March was a strange one. One part of me desperately wanted to know the results so we could perhaps reach a conclusion to my brother’s treatment, but at the same time I didn’t want the date to come around in case we were told something I didn’t want to hear. A peculiar mix. Again, my brother said little about how he was feeling, and for once I didn’t bother trying to get anything out of him. There was nothing we could do now other than wait. I kept thinking positive thoughts in my head, but again, I didn’t want to get my hopes up too much or appear too confident for fear of jinxing it (as if my thoughts would have any impact on the results of the scan! It’s weird how people think sometimes).

Eventually the morning of Friday 22nd March came around.

I met my brother at his house. I was extremely nervous, so fuck knows how he must have been feeling.

“Morning, mate”.

“Morning”.

“All set?”

“Yeah”.

“Cool. Let’s go then. Can we turn this shit off though?”

“I like Radio 1”.

“Ok, ok, leave it on then. Let’s just get there. Who is this twat?”

“Nick Grimshaw”.

“He’s making me want to run the car over my own head”.

We set off in my brother’s car, the journey itself only takes about 20 minutes normally but there had been an accident on one of the main roads which delayed us slightly.

“I knew we should have gone the back way instead of taking this road”, I said when we came towards a tailback of cars.

“How?”

“Someone put on Facebook that there had been an accident”.

We came to a stop. The traffic was at a standstill. I got my phone and showed my brother the status update. “Look”.

Facebook, lol

Facebook, lol

“The sentence doesn’t even make sense. Why has she put a kiss after it?”

“I don’t know? Shall I comment on it?

“No!”

“You should have put something like that when you got diagnosed with cancer. Or put a ‘LOL’ at the end. ‘Just found out I’ve got cancer x’; they would have loved that on Facebook”.

“Imagine if Hitler had have released a telegram or something before the war which said, ‘Just going to invade Poland x’. It doesn’t sound so bad with that kiss on the end”.

We got to Wycombe hospital at just gone half 9, still in plenty of time for my brother’s blood test which was at 9.45am. He had to take a numbered ticket and wait for his turn like people do at a deli counter.

“Get me some Billy Bear ham while you’re up there”.

“Piss off”.

Once the blood test was done, we had to go up to the 5th floor, to the chemo ward where my brother would meet with the consultant and find out the results from the PET scan. We stood silently in the lift. I’ll be honest, I was shitting myself. The doors opened and we both simultaneously took a deep breath, looked at each other, and smiled slightly, before making our way to the ward reception. We were told by the receptionist to take a seat and that the consultant would come and get my brother shortly.

“You going to come in?” he asked me.

“No. I’ll wait here, mate”.

“You sure?”

“Yeah, you go in. I’ll wait here. Unless you really want me in there?”

“I think I’ll be fine”.

“I’ll wait here then”.

Within a couple of minutes, the consultant came out of his office and asked my brother to go through with him. This was it.

I sat outside the room, heart thumping, praying that he’d get the results that everyone wanted (apart from the people who hate him, obviously. Not that there are any, I don’t think. Maybe a couple, I’m not sure). I stared at the floor, resting my head between my two hands, and waited. Different scenarios, with both good and not so good endings, played out in my head, even though I didn’t really want them to. I tried to stop them. I tried to think of other things, but couldn’t. ‘Hurry the fuck up’ I thought to myself. In fact, I think I may have actually whispered it.

Time slowed down. I looked at my phone. It had only been 2 minutes but had felt like maybe 5 and half. Or 5 minutes, 45 seconds. Something like that.

Just as I began to think that I should have perhaps gone in with him so that I knew what was going on, the door opened and out walked my brother. I looked at him, but his face gave nothing away. He saw me looking and turned towards the receptionist.

“Oi!”. It was quite a forceful ‘oi’; I hadn’t meant for it to come out so loud. My brother looked back at me again.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“I need to book in with the receptionist”.

“What for? What happened? What did he say? Is everything ok?”

A small smile formed across my brother’s lips and he nodded his head slowly.

“The all clear?” I asked enthusiastically.

His small smile turned into a beaming one across his face. That was all I needed from him, he didn’t need to say anything. A feeling of elation filled my body, and I’m not joking when I say that it was up there with holding my kids for the first time when they were born. It was also one big fuck-off sized relief. I wanted to give him a hug, but he was stood at reception still, his back to me, occasionally looking round, and grinning like a ‘just heard great news but you can’t hug me because I’m over here feeling all happy’ wanker.

“What are you doing?”

“I need to book in for a check-up in 6 months time”.

“Just hurry up!”

Finally, he got his appointment booked and he came over to where I was sat.

“What did he say then?”

“Basically, I’m all clear”. I could tell how happy he was. I was finding it hard to speak because I was worried my voice would crack and tears of happiness would come out. Gay.

I mustered a, “FUCKING GET IN!”

We walked out of the hospital and I congratulated my brother with a sort of awkward pat on the back, which was almost a hug but not quite.

“Well done, mate”.

“Thanks”.

“It must be a massive relief? I can’t believe it! It’s amazing isn’t it? How do you feel?”

“I dunno really?! Good! It feels weird. Do you want to go shopping for a bit?”

“Yeah ok”.

We headed into the town centre to have a look around the shops, ringing and texting various people the news on the way. Neither of us could take the smile off our faces. I, personally felt like the happiest man alive, so I can only just begin to imagine what my brother felt like. It was all quite surreal. I wanted to tell everyone and anyone that walked past us the news. My brother and I kept looking at each other, all happy. We must have looked like a gay couple in the early stages of a relationship, before the hate had crept in.

We wandered about for a bit, without any real purpose, half-heartedly looking at clothes and planning what we were going to do in the evening. My brother’s phone was ringing and buzzing non-stop, understandably.

“Shall we just go back home and then go to the pub for a couple?” I suggested.

“Good idea”.

And that’s what we did. Over a couple of pints we read the text and Facebook messages he’d received, saying congratulations, as well checking my Twitter feed for more of the same. It was incredible the amount of tweets I actually received. My brother read every single one and couldn’t believe the support (Thank you so much to everyone).

I got home at about 3pm in the end, mentally exhausted but delighted, and excited about going out to celebrate the news in the evening. I ran upstairs and gave my missus and kids a hug, then went downstairs to charge my phone as the battery had died from near constant use.

As I sat down, it was the first time I’d truly thought, ‘Fuck me, he actually had cancer. Bloody hell’. It was followed by ‘It’s actually all over now’ and then a brief ‘FUCKING HELL, PHEW’.

I sat in silence; smiling, thinking. As soon as my phone had enough battery, I went and read the further tweets and Facebook messages I’d received. I then proceeded to have a little cry. I’m not ashamed to admit that. It was a happy cry; a good cry. I was just completely overwhelmed. The messages that both my brother and I were receiving, as well as my brother’s status in which he’d thanked me for the support, just choked me up and I couldn’t hold it in. My girlfriend shouted down the stairs to me, “Are you going to come up?”. I could only reply with; “I’M HAVING A LITTLE CRY, ALRIGHT?”. She left me to it.

We went out that evening and celebrated in the best way possible; by getting absolutely wankered. It was a fantastic night; so many people came out and everyone was in a great mood. And best of all, my brother didn’t have cancer anymore.

Fuck you, cancer.

=======================

So, that’s it, I suppose. Aside from a check-up every six months (moving to yearly eventually), there is not much else to report on now. Apologies to anyone reading who hoped it would have a more dramatic ending. I was going to revamp the ending slightly and have my brother and I standing in the pouring rain, hugging, with people all around us hi-fiving the shit out of one another, but that would be a bit unbelievable.

I just want to repeat something that I mentioned right at the very start of this blog. If you are worried about a lump anywhere on your body, please, please get it looked at. There is nothing to be ashamed of, and in 99.9% of cases, nothing to worry about. But please, just make sure you do, because the earlier you catch cancer, the higher the chances are of treating it successfully.

Going through this whole experience with my brother has changed my outlook on a lot of things. That might sound clichéd but it’s true. I mentioned before that it’s made me want to ‘give something back’ and that is what I plan to do over the course of the next year, hopefully raising money for cancer charities as well as the actual ward at Wycombe hospital that treated my brother. I’ll announce things in due course on the blog.

My brother has already signed up to do a half marathon in September; you can sponsor him here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/RoryNish

Also, I plan to turn this blog into a eBook, and stick in on Amazon or somewhere like that. The problem with Amazon is that I can’t put it up for free which is what I was hoping to do, I was planning on asking for a small contribution on the above link if you did download it and enjoy it. I can sell it for £1.49 on there, of which Amazon would take 49p and I can give the rest to Cancer Research. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know.

Finally, I just want to thank anyone who has taken the time to follow my brother’s journey on this blog. When I started writing it I obviously had no idea how it would end, I just wanted to try and raise a bit of awareness, and I hope I’ve done that. Thanks to those people, mainly complete strangers, who tweeted us words of support and encouragement, as well as kind words about this blog. We read every single one and it meant a hell of a lot. A special thanks to our friends and family for their continued support (and for occasionally asking how I was), and of course a HUGE THANK YOU to all the staff at the High Wycomber Hosptial Sunrise Cancer Ward. You’re all absolute stars.

I will let you all know when the eBook is available, should you be interested in getting it for your Kindle, or indeed the Kindle app.

Thanks, all x

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Baldilocks And The Three Hairs

I’ve been quite busy recently and so forgot to do an update about my brother’s chemo session on the 28th December. To be honest, I can’t go into much detail about it because I didn’t go in with him. I couldn’t be arsed to sit in the ward all day, listening to him moaning and saying how boring he found chemotherapy

I’m joking of course; I had things to do, and he insisted he’d be fine on his own; saying that he planned to sleep through the whole thing anyway. The chemo is taking it out of him a lot now, and not only is he knackered, but he resembles that bald bloke from The Crystal Maze (and Jonjo Shelvey, of course) more each day. I did text my brother around lunch time to see how he was getting on but I didn’t get a reply until 4 hours later, in which he explained that he had been asleep as he’d planned. However, the end of his reply did bring a smile to my face:

Hi mate, sorry, been asleep. All finished now. Got the results of my scan and they said things are progressing well. I’ll have a few more sessions in the new year and if everything goes to plan, I might be Finnish (sic). See you later x”.

‘Haha, I might be Finnish’. I laughed to myself. Then I beamed from ear to ear; the news was a fantastic late Christmas present. I am enormously proud with how he’s coped so far; I honestly don’t know how he’s done it. I didn’t want to tell him how amazing he was just yet or jinx anything, so I replied with “Well done, dickwad” and left it at that.
I went round to his in the evening and asked how he felt about things. Like me, he was obviously really happy with how things were going but, in his words, didn’t want to ‘get too excited yet’. That said, I could tell he was relieved and it was a good bit of news to receive to go into the new year with.

==========================

On the 10th of January I spotted a rare tweet from my brother:

Hashtag

Hashtag

Nice hashtag, and he’d retweeted me just before. Great work. Curious of what his hair looked like now, I went round to see him.

“Come on then, let’s see your hair!” As usual, he was wearing a woolly hat.

“It’s fallen out loads. Look at it”. He removed the hat. “I look like a baby chick!”

“Haha! Baby chick hair!” The sides looked very patchy. The hair on top still had some length, but again, you could see his scalp in places. “Why don’t you just shave it off now?”

“I think I’m going to have to”.

“You could just shave the sides and then take a little off the top. Like a ‘Hitler youth’ style haircut. They’re back in at the moment”.

“Hitler youth?”

“Yeah. It would suit you”.

“As in Adolf Hitler?”

“Yeah!”

“No way. He was a Nazi! I’m not having his haircut”.

“It’s not actually his haircut, is it?! He had a shit haircut. Although saying that, it’s probably on par with what yours looks like now.”

“Hahaha, fuck off! Look! Even my eyelashes have fallen out!”

“What are your legs like?”

“Bald”.

“Balls?”

“Bald. But I’m not fussed about my balls. You can’t see them most of the time”.

He agreed that when the time came to shave his head, I would be allowed to take photos for the blog, and also cut his hair into a mohawk and various other styles before we shaved it off completely. I’m aiming to do a cock and balls on the top of his head, with 3 ‘spunk’ lines shooting down the back towards his neck. Who wouldn’t want that on the back of their head? I might also save the hair and use it to stuff a small cushion. Perhaps even take it to Build A Bear and fill a teddy bear with it.

“Do you remember on one of your recent chemo sessions, I took that photo in the ward of the advert for wigs for cancer patients?”

“Yeah, why?”

“I can use my MS Paint skills, and see if any of the wigs would suit you”.

“Don’t be a dick”.

“Ok”.

Anyway, here’s the original:

WIGS

WIGS

And here are those wigs with my brother’s face magically added. He looks wonderful:

Who needs Photoshop?

Who needs Photoshop?

I’m not sure which one he’ll opt for.

==========================

Last Friday (25th Jan), my brother was back in for chemo again; a great opportunity for me to have the day off work. As usual, I asked how he was feeling. “Knackered”, was the reply.

“Are you going to sleep through it again today, mate?”

“Yeah probably”.

“Oh, don’t, I’ll be well bored”.

“It goes much quicker if you’re asleep. Why don’t you have a sleep as well?”

“Haha, no way! A ward full of cancer patients, and there’s me, just taking a day off work, coming into the ward for a sleep! No chance! The nurses will think that’s well weird”.

“Suit yourself”.

“Argh, don’t say ‘suit yourself’. I HATE that expression”.

“Why?”

“Because it’s basically saying ‘Fuck you, then’ isn’t it?”

“Ok, fuck you then! I’m having a sleep”.

“Don’t worry. I’ll just keep checking Twitter or something. I’ll find something to do”.

The day started slowly. Very slowly. After the initial blood test at 9.45am, we had to wait until 11.30am for the results before chemo could start. Eventually one of the nurses came over and spoke to my brother. I missed what she said as I was too busy checking Twitter on my phone.

“What did she say?”

“All ok, so I can have chemo”.

“All ok apart from the cancer, LOL!”

“LOL?”

“I said it ironically”.

“Idiot”.

Chemotherapy was soon in full swing, and my brother was snoring his head off. I had two elderly patients staring in our direction from the other side of the ward, so I did a general nod in my brother’s direction, smiled slightly, shrugged my shoulders and rolled my eyes. That’s sign language for ‘What’s he like, eh?’ for the uneducated. Mr Tumble eat your fucking heart out.
It took the attention away from us, but nevertheless, I was bored, and my phone battery was slowly trickling away. Every time I glanced down at my phone, I could feel the eyes of the 2 elderly patients burning holes into the top of my head; they were obviously looking at my brother and thinking, “Shut the fuck up, young man”. Or just looking at me. Probably the former. I briefly tried to wake my brother up from his slumber, so I could tell him to keep the snoring down.

I gave him a little nudge.

Nothing.

I shook his arm gently, and as I was doing so, the ward’s tea-lady appeared in front of me.

“Tea?” She smiled at me.

“Erm, err, bloody hell. Erm, sorry, but you just appeared like a genie then”.

“What?”

“I was rubbing his arm…and you just…don’t worry…nothing. I’m fine, thank you”.

“And I don’t suppose your brother will want one if he’s asle-“

“OI, THE LADY WANTS TO KNOW IF YOU WANT TEA?” I interrupted the tea-lady and leant into my brother’s face. He opened his eyes and I muttered, “Do you want tea?” again; this time at a much lower volume. I looked up at the tea-lady. She was stood completely still, both hands on her trolley, with her mouth agape.

“I didn’t want you to wake him up!”

“It’s ok, I only had my eyes closed”. My brother realised what was going on. “I’ll have a tea, please”. She poured him his drink, gave me a funny look, and then moved across to the other side of the ward.

“What did you do that for?” my brother asked.

“I’m bored. I just wanted to tell you something”.

“What?”

“Well, I’ve been thinking a lot this morning. About you, the whole ‘cancer thing’ and about life in general. I see all these nurses here, and people like that tea-lady, and that old bloke that does the foot massage, and it’s fucking incredible isn’t it? I mean, they do an absolutely amazing job, probably with little thanks. I just feel like I should start giving something back. I want to raise a load of money for charity this year. Maybe for this ward and cancer research. I want to try and make just a little difference”.

“GAYYYY!”

“No, I’m being serious.”

“Are you feeling alright?”

“Honestly! I feel like I should. I want to do something this year. I was thinking of doing a 24 hour football match and a few other bits?”

“Fucking hell! Well that’s a good idea, mate. If you want to do something like that, do it”.

“I think I will”.

I left my brother and went down the five flights of stairs to go to the hospital’s Costa to get a coffee. I didn’t want to ask the tea-lady for one now.
For the first time ever, I was the only person in the queue. I ordered my drink. As I was waiting, an elderly lady pushing a wheelchair containing her (I assume) husband came and stood next to me. He was in a wheelchair because he had no legs.

“Excuse me, love. How much is this newspaper? I haven’t got my glasses”.

“60p”

“And how much do I have here?” She dropped a load of loose change onto the counter.

“55p”.

“Damn. I’ll have to break a note”. With that she pulled out a £20.

My coffee came and I told the woman behind the till to add the newspaper to my bill (I would have given the lady the 5p but was paying by card). I quickly paid and walked off before the elderly woman knew what was going on. It felt good doing a nice deed for someone. I know it wasn’t a massive thing, but you’ve got to start somewhere I suppose. I don’t know what’s happened to me. Anyway, enough of the soppy shit.

When I got back to the ward, my brother had fallen back asleep. Not wanting to wake him again, and with my phone battery getting lower all the time, I knew there was only one thing I could do: read Woman’s Weekly. I mentioned in my last update that I’d had to resort to this, but to be honest, it isn’t all that bad. I walked to the table in the middle of the ward and picked up four different issues, packed with exciting features and stories such as “I lost 8 stone by only eating air”, “I was kept a prisoner for 6 years, then realised I was actually in prison for committing armed robbery” and “Make-Up! The top 10 ways to look like a slut and get laid today!”

Here are some photos I took from inside the magazines:

Why have you put 'Lol' at the end when it's not even a funny story? idiot.

Why have you put ‘Lol’ at the end when it’s not even a funny story? Idiot.

What a fucking fascinating story, Jane. Maybe you should have run the child over to teach her a lesson?!

First world problems.

First world problems.

Who the fuck puts LETTUCE and BROCCOLI on a pizza? Absolute weirdos, that’s who.

I have no idea what you are on about but it sounds shit.

I have no idea what you are on about but it sounds shit.

Not much else happened. Chemotherapy finished at 4.30pm, and my brother was booked in for his next appointment (8th Feb). After that session, he has a scan the following week, the results of the scan the week after that, and we go from there.

HOSPITAL LUNCH FOR CANCER PATIENT RATING: 3.5/5 – Slept through the hospital lunch again. They’re going to start thinking he hates the lunches they provide! (He does). Stopped off for a McDonald’s on the way home
HOSPITAL LUNCH FOR GUEST RATING: 3.5/5 – Again, I didn’t have anything at the hospital;, but I did join my brother for a McDonald’s. One Big Mac meal and a double cheeseburger each. As usual, it tasted good at the time, but I felt like absolute shit afterwards.
DAY HIGHLIGHT: Buying the elderly woman a newspaper for no other reason that I wanted to. I only normally do nice things for women if I want to try and have sex with them.
DAY LOWLIGHT: The boredom. Yeah, Woman’s Weekly was scant consolation. Even knitting patterns become tedious after a while.
JONJO SHELVEY WATCH: 8.5/10. Time to shave the head soon.

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How to Lose Friends and Influence Nurses

Before I give an update on how my brother is progressing, I should apologise for how long it has taken me to write this update. With the arrival of my son, as well as the festive period, it’s been difficult to find the time to do this blog. I’d also like to thank all those people who have taken the time to tweet me to ask how he is getting on; we both really appreciate it.

There have been a few chemo sessions since my last update, so without further ado, I’ll run through them:

28th November

With my son only being born 12 days prior to this chemotherapy session, my brother had rang me the night before and asked if I was going with him after missing the previous one.

 “I’m absolutely knackered, I look like terrible and I have the feint smell of poo about me most of the time”, I started, “But I want to be there”.

 “You’ll fit in!”, he joked back.

 “Mate, that is harsh. You’ve just implied that all cancer patients look and smell terrible”.

 “I was joking!”

 “You’re going to hell”.

If I’m completely honest, nothing really happened during this session. We both sat and waited all day, hoping something or someone would provide us with ammunition for this blog, as well as a break from the monotony of the chemotherapy, but it never came. The nurses that normally dealt with my brother were both off, so I couldn’t ask them any questions either. Instead we had to make do with Twitter and Facebook on our phones to keep boredom away (albeit it for only brief moments).

“I’m going to wind up people on Facebook. That might pass the time?” It was the only thing I could think of doing.

“Good idea. You’re a twat on there most of the time anyway. May as well do a few more status updates”.

“Help me decide what to put then”.

“Just try and piss people off. It’s Facebook, it’s easy”.

Here are the (rather immature) status updates we put on my Facebook over the course of 2 hours There are quite a lot. I’d lost 6 ‘friends’ by the end of the day:

- Woke up early this morning to a loud THUMP against the bedroom window. I looked out, and there was a dog laying on the patio, unconscious, that had been picked up by the wind and propelled into my house. Amazing scenes.

- (half an hour after the above status) Sorry for the delayed reply, guys. I couldn’t track an owner as he had no collar. He passed away. I named him Breezy and have buried him. RIP Breezy.

- The best way to solve life’s problems is to moan about them on Facebook.

- I can’t wait for Monday!  I’m really looking forward to reading about people berating the fact it’s Monday, and then going on to thank their friends/partner/family for giving them the ‘best weekend ever’. I especially like it when they add a ‘roll on next weekend’ too.

- You must be tired; you were running through my head all last night. You were running away from me. I was trying to stab you in the thigh for being such a tosser.

- Just unfriended quite a few idiots.

- Is anyone on here competing in the World Whinging Like A Little Bitch Championships? Some of you would do rather well. LOLOLOL!

- The best thing about this cold weather is that Jimmy Savile will be freezing his bollocks off wherever he’s hiding.

- Finger the one you love tonight.

- I just checked in on your mum.

- I will look for you. I WILL find you. And I will bum you.

 We learnt one thing on that day; that quite a number of people on Facebook seem to get wound up really easily, and/or hate me.

HOSPITAL LUNCH FOR CANCER PATIENT RATING: N/A – He didn’t eat for the second chemo session in a row. “I don’t feel hungry”. Which was fair enough, I suppose.

HOSPITAL LUNCH FOR GUEST RATING: N/A – I didn’t eat either. The reason being that it was pissing it down with rain, I’d forgotten my umbrella and didn’t want to get soaked walking into town. There was no chance I was eating a Costa sandwich either.

DAY HIGHLIGHT: It has to be a comment left against the Facebook status we put about the dog. “OMG plz say he is ok. That is so sad L”.

DAY LOWLIGHT: The lack of anything entertaining happening whilst we were there.

JONJO SHELVEY WATCH: 5/10. My brother’s hair is thinning quite a bit now.

===============

12th December  

As my brother got into my car before we left for the hospital, I greeted him with, “I should be less bored today. The nurses you usually have are all back so they’ll be asking me about my son. Women love talking about babies; they’ll want to know everything. It will probably be better than talking to you, anyway”.

 “That’s fine, I’m shattered. I’ll probably sleep all day”.

 “What?”

 “I’m really tired”.

 “Please don’t sleep. I was joking. I don’t want to talk to the nurses really. Stay awake, we can have a laugh”.

 “Sorry, I can only accept your first answer”.

 “It wasn’t an answer, though. It was more of a statement”.

 “Well I can only accept your first statement then”.

 He sat down and I noticed for the first time that he was holding a large tin of biscuits.

 “You a bit peckish?”.

 “They’re for the nurses. I won’t see them before Christmas; I thought I’d get them all something to say thanks and that”.

 “What you’re really doing is trying to take the attention off me aren’t you?”

 “Haha! Fuck off! Course I’m not!”

 “Yeah, yeah. You knew they’d be flocking around me, wanting to see pictures of the nipper, so you’ve bought them some biscuits so they’ll be all ‘Oh that’s really kind of you, you shouldn’t have’ and they’ll be eating them instead. Nurses fucking   LOVE biscuits, don’t they?”

 “Well I hope so. And that isn’t why I’ve done it”.

“I know, mate. I know………………………..You’ve bought them for the foot massage man”. We both laughed, me more than him, admittedly.

Once at the hospital, we made our way to the ward. My brother’s biscuits went down really well (not a euphemism) and, as expected, there were a few questions from the nurses about my son. I managed to get every single one right. I’d have my son as a specialist subject should I ever go on Mastermind. That, or John Humphrys. I’d like to have John Humphrys as a specialist subject. I’d stare intently into the eyes of Mastermind presenter John Humphrys as he asked me questions about himself, and then wink as I gave my answer. It would really freak him out. Sorry, I’m digressing; enough about John Humphrys.

I’ve mentioned before that prior to chemo being administered, a blood sample needs to be taken and analysed to check that it is ok to proceed with the treatment. Sometimes the results come back within half an hour, but other times it takes a lot longer. On this particular day it took closer to 90 minutes, which just makes the whole day longer. Eventually chemo started; first up, the steroid injection. This is the part that can make the patient feel a bit weird around the head, or the anus area. My brother has felt like he could soil himself on a number of occasions before whilst he’s been receiving the steroid (despite the nurse saying it was highly unlikely that he actually would), and I took this photo of my brother clenching his sphincter as he squirmed in his seat:

Clenching

Clenching

He finished receiving the steroid and was hooked up to a drip. He then promptly fell asleep. Proper ‘mouth wide open, heaving breathing’ type sleep. Well, he had said he was tired.

It left me with no one to talk to (the nurses soon left me alone once they’d got all the baby information they wanted; only returning to change my brother’s drip every 1-2 hours). My phone battery died within the first hour, and I looked around the ward, wondering how best to occupy my time. I nudged my brother occasionally in hope of waking him up but it didn’t work. I thought about balancing things on his head, but I remembered the look of astonishment I’d received from a nurse the last time I had done it and thought better of it. There was only one thing for it. Woman’s Weekly.

There is a table in the centre of the ward, furnished with thousands of magazines, editions of which span decades. I’d never taken a look at the titles on offer until this particular day. It turned out there were only 2 to my disposal, Woman’s Weekly or Gardeners’ World. I chose the former; who wouldn’t be tempted by front cover stories such as ’20 Ways To Get To Sleep, And Stay Asleep!’, ‘8 Ways To Beat Bloating’ and ‘Manage Your Menopause’? Over the course of the next couple of hours, I got through 8 editions of Woman’s Weekly, whilst my brother slept soundly beside me. That’s an impressive rate of one edition of Woman’s Weekly every 15 minutes. The magazine was much better than some of the cover stories had led me to believe. Articles such as ‘I Married My Stepdad But He Turned Into a Lizard’, ‘Men Pay Me to Watch Me Shit’ and ‘True Love: Why I Eloped With My Hamster’ filled the magazines and I couldn’t help but think that these sorts of features should be on the front cover to entice the reader.

Each edition was filled with magnificent tips, some of which will stay with me forever:

This is just taking the piss

This is just taking the piss

Strange

Strange

Bloody ridiculous.

Bloody ridiculous.

 I was about to start my 9th edition when I heard an almighty burp from the other side of the ward. My hair fluttered in its breeze. I looked over, and began to smile; the elderly woman that had been responsible for breaking wind with such force that the ward windows had rattled a couple of months before, was back, only this time she was expelling air from her mouth.

‘BEELLLLLLLCCCCCCHHHHH’.

‘This is fucking excellent’ I thought and immediately started trying to wake my brother again, only this time with more purpose.

“Wake up, mate!”. I had intended it to come out as a whisper, but my voice was filled with excitement and so it came out a bit louder. I shook my brother’s shoulder. “Oi, wake up!”.

“What is it?”, his eyes strained as he opened them, trying to adjust to the brightness of the ward.

“Just listen!”.

Right on cue, she obliged, ‘BUUURRRPPPP-PAH’

My brother looked left and towards the floor and I saw a smile forming across his lips. No one else in the ward had even looked up from what they were doing to witness this spectacular lady in action, we were the only two paying attention to her. I had to bite my sleeve to stop myself from laughing and this in turn made my brother almost break into a loud laugh. His shoulders were shaking as he tried to contain it.

“How does someone so small, burp so loud?” he asked. It may remain one of life’s unsolved mysteries.

I’d almost regained my composure fully when she hit us with a new style of burp. A quick succession of smaller burps, progressively getting louder.

‘BURP BURP BURP BURP BURP’  

I can’t put into words just how good it was, but it finally broke me. Tears streamed down my face and I let out the faintest of laughs that I disguised pathetically as a cough. My brother hid his face in his t-shirt and I heard him mutter ‘Oh God’.

Old Lady one, My brother and I nil.

=================

“I’m off now so I’ll see you on next on Boxing Day”. The nurses words stopped our conversation about whether it would be good or not if dogs walked on their hind legs at all times.

“Boxing Day?”

“Yes, that’s your next session. It’s two weeks from today”.

“Please can you change it to later in the week?” I could understand my brother’s frustration at having to come in then, but at the same time I thought that it was just one poxy day of the year, and chemo should come first – that was the most important thing, and I told him so.

“It’s ok, I’ll see if we can switch it”. The nurse went off and I said to my brother, “Just come in on the 26th. I’ll come with you, it’ll be fine”.

“But it’s Boxing Day!”

“So?”

“Boxing Day!” He said it again as if it would mean something else to me. It didn’t.

Two minutes later, the nurse was back, “We’ve moved you to Friday 28th”.

HOSPITAL LUNCH FOR CANCER PATIENT RATING: N/A – He was asleep when they came round to take his order and I wasn’t sure what to order him. ‘I can always get him a delightful Costa sandwich later’ I thought.

HOSPITAL LUNCH FOR GUEST RATING: N/A – For the second time in a row, I didn’t eat either. Two poached eggs on toast for breakfast had done the trick.

DAY HIGHLIGHT: ‘BURP BURP BURP BURP BURP’  

DAY LOWLIGHT: I never got to read the 9th edition of Woman’s Weekly.

JONJO SHELVEY WATCH: 6/10. His “balls are nice and smooth now”, apparently.

=================

28th December – I will type this up separately later this week. Ooh, SUSPENSE!

I will add that he’s doing really well, though. Despite the sickness and tiredness, I’ve been amazed at how well he’s coped. I’m very proud of him.

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Hat’s Entertainment

Wednesday 14th November; another chemo session. Neither me nor my brother could believe it had been two weeks since the last one. It seems that old saying is actually true, “Time flies when you’re having chemotherapy”. Or something.

I’d phoned my brother the day before his treatment. “I’m not sure if I can make it tomorrow, mate. Louise (my partner), could drop at any minute. I could gaffer tape her fanny shut I suppose? That could stop the baby for a while?”

“It’s fine. It can’t be much fun for you anyway. I’ll be ok”.

“But I feel bad. I want to be there with you”.

“Honestly. I’ll be ok”.

“Why did you get cancer at such an inconvenient time?”, I said, trying to hide the sarcasm in my voice. “Anyway, if I did come in with you and she went into labour, it would be quite exciting. I’d have to speed home, pick her up, and then make it to Stoke Mandeville hospital before she has time to give birth in my car. It would be like I was in a film”.

“Sounds like a shit film. Did you hear about Jimmy Savile?”

“How could I not?!”

“He lived at Stoke Mandeville hospital, didn’t he?”

“Yeah. It’s a good job he’s in hiding, otherwise he’d still be noncing it up there, and that would be well annoying”.

“He’s not in hiding, he’s dead!”

“Not necessarily. He could be hiding in the storm drains of Buckinghamshire. Like a paedo Raoul Moat”.

“You’re weird”.

 ======

In the end, I decided not to go with my brother to his chemo session. It would be just my luck to go to one hospital with my brother, and then miss the birth of my newborn because I’d got stuck in traffic and couldn’t make it back in time. Cancer is such a fucking bastard.

However, I did go and see my brother on my way to work on the Wednesday morning before he left for the hospital.

“Oh you can go to work but can’t come and sit with me then. Cheers”.

“I can get back from work quickly if the baby starts to stick its head out”, I replied.

My brother smiled. “I’m joking”.

“I was going to give you a present but I might not now”, I joked back. “You can make do with the signed Jonjo Shelvey programme you got last week”.

“Did you ever tweet him?” my brother asked.

“I did, He didn’t reply. Fucker. I still love him though”.

“Yeah me too”.

I opened up a bag I had brought with me, and pulled out the present I’d got for him.

“What the FUCK is that?!”. He looked at me like I’d just licked the sweat from beneath Susan Boyle’s breasts, gargled it, and then used it as lube on a marrow which she in turn used to violate me, anally.

“Your present!”

“Yeah, but what is it?”

“A hat”.

“But…what?”

“I just thought you could wear it because your hair is starting to fall out now, isn’t it?. It will look well good. People won’t ever know”. I couldn’t keep a straight face any longer, and I burst out laughing. “HAHAHAHA”.

My brother laughed too. “Haha! I am not wearing that!”

“Just keep it in case you change your mind. No need to be so rude”.

This was what I gave him:

Afro cap (hand not included)

A cracking present, I’m sure you’ll agree. 

“It’s funny you should get me that because I keep finding quite a bit of hair on my pillow each morning now”.

“Can you save it all up?”

“WHY?”

“So I can use it to make wigs for the nipper’s Sylvanian Family characters”

“Hahaha. Wouldn’t that be a bit tricky?”

“Nah, easy. Haven’t you ever made paper underwear for the ladies in porno mags so that you can undress them at your leisure? It’s fiddly, but not difficult”

“I said yesterday you were weird . This confirms it”.

Before I left, my brother asked me what I was going to put on the blog if I wasn’t at the hospital with him.

“You can tell me anything funny that happens there, couldn’t you?”, I replied. “Can’t you get a foot massage from that old bloke and take a few photos for the blog. It will be even more sexual for you both if I’m not there watching over you”.

“NO CHANCE!”

“Ha! Well I’ll just give an update on how you’re feeling about things, and other boring stuff like that”.

“Good plan! Hey, we could do an interview style thing, where you ask me questions about my chemo and I can answer them! Then you type it up for the blog.”

“That sounds shit. Just get a foot massage”.

“NO!”

 ========

I felt guilty being at work. I know that may sound stupid, but I’d been to every chemo session with my brother since it started and I felt like I was letting him down somewhat. Despite the chemo sessions being the most mind numbingly dull things ever invented, and the fact I get so hot and I sweat excessively in the ward, I actually like being there. I like being there for him. For my brother.

I decided to send him a text message.

Brotherly love

It helped put my mind at rest, knowing he was ok by himself.

=====

On Wednesday evening I went to see him once I’d finished work. He was tired and feeling really sick – the usual. Again, I apologised for not making it in with him.

“ I reckon if I had have come in, the baby would have started making its way out.”

“Yep; Sod’s Law. Course it would have”.

“So did anything interesting happen today?”.

“Not really. Oh, two of the nurses came up to me and one said, ‘I’ve got a bone to pick with you!’. I asked what she meant and she said that some of the nurses have started reading the blog”.

“Which nurse?”

“The one that bought your eBook”. (only 77p on Amazon! http://www.amazon.co.uk/Death-on-the-Stairs-ebook/dp/B008MC15OS)

“Did they like it then?”

“Yeah, but she was asking about one of the earlier installments where you said we’d done a fake laugh at something she’d said!”

“Oh fuck! I remember that. What did you tell her?”

“That it’s just to make the blog more interesting and we didn’t really fake laugh, it was proper laughter”.

“Nice one”.

“She was genuinely upset”.

“Don’t be stupid. I better tell her that you wrote that part the next time I come in”.

(Hello nurses of High Wycombe hospital. Joking aside, you all do a bloody marvelous job. Thank you to you all x)

HOSPITAL LUNCH FOR CANCER PATIENT RATING: N/A – I asked what he’d had for lunch. “I didn’t bother. I didn’t like the look of anything”.

HOSPITAL LUNCH FOR GUEST RATING: 5/5 – I didn’t eat at the hospital obviously. I had a ham salad sandwich, a packet of salt and vinegar McCoys and a banana.  Also, thanks for the messages telling me I should take a packed lunch if I hate Costa sandwiches so much. I’m too lazy for all that though.

DAY HIGHLIGHT: Saved a bit of petrol money by not taking my brother in (or my brother’s face when he saw his gift).

DAY LOWLIGHT: My brother wouldn’t let me take a photo of him with the hat on. Yet.

Next chemo session:  We’re here today! (28th November)

====

My partner did give birth just two days later, on Friday 16th. A beautiful baby boy. My brother rang and congratulated us.

“Would you like me to give him a middle name after you?” I asked.

“Would you do that?”

“Nah. Your name is shit. I’ll let you be his favourite uncle though”.

“Thanks. You dick”.

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The Rectum Destroyer

Wednesday 31st October – Another trip to the hospital, and another chemotherapy session.

“This is getting a bit boring now”, I said to my brother as he got into my car.

“You don’t have to come”.

“It’s actually better being in a ward surrounded by people with cancer than it is being at work. There’s no chance I’d pass up this opportunity to get out of the office”.

“So you’re just using my cancer to get off work?”

“Sort of”. I laughed.

“Twat”.

We both know the drill now; get to the hospital, buy a coffee, go up to the ward, wait for my brother to have his blood test, moan a bit about how long it’s taking, the chemo starts, I have a slightly better lunch than him, we then moan to each other about how long the chemo is taking and think of ways to speed it up, chemo ends, he feels like shit.

We have to think of ways to keep ourselves amused whilst he’s having chemo to break the monotony of it all. We’ve been lucky in the past; we had the fabulous farting woman on one occasion, a man projectile vomiting, we’ve asked the nurses numerous stupid questions and I’ve even found entertainment from watching my brother try hard not to soil himself on the last two visits. Indeed on his last session, I took to balancing things on his head whilst he had a nap, before one of the nurses looked at me funny. This time around we needed something new, something fresh, to take my brother’s mind off the chemo and to keep me awake. Have I mentioned before that the ward is one of the hottest places in the universe? It’s hotter than the sun, and probably hotter than the inside of a mini chicken kiev that’s come straight from the oven. Combine this with the constant waiting, and you’ll see why it’s a struggle to keep your eyes open (unless an elderly lady is sat opposite you, repetitively breaking wind with such force, the windows are rattling).

“Jesus Christ, my legs are going to be stuck to this chair”.

“Warm isn’t it?”, my brother replied.

“It’s ok for you. You can take your shoes and socks off, put your feet up and make yourself at home. Look at you just chilling out in your reclining chair. Wouldn’t be surprised if you took up the offer of a foot massage from that 70 year old sexual deviant today”.

“You can take your shoes and socks off too!”

“Erm, I don’t think so. It wouldn’t be right”.

“Why?

“I HAVEN’T GOT CANCER”.

The last bit came out a bit loud. We looked around and one of the nurses was looking over at us.

I lowered my voice to almost a whisper. “The nurses are going to think I’m a right bellend”.

“You are”.

“Thanks, bro”.

We then discussed various ways in which we could entertain ourselves. Some of the ideas were quite ridiculous:

-  I had to army crawl around the ward for as long as possible without being seen. I would have try and make it out of the ward to the lift and then back to my seat if I could. We decided against this because I’d be having all the fun. (Not to mention going down in the nurse’s estimation once again when I was inevitably seen.)

- Roll a few of the magazines in the ward into a vuvuzela shape and then see who could get away with making the loudest horn noise without one of the nurses asking what we were doing. We rejected this idea as it was a bit inconsiderate towards the other patients. Although I’m sure it would have brightened their day.

-  See how sweaty we could make my back. This was my brother’s idea. He wanted me to just press back against my chair as hard as I could, for as long as possible, to see if the sweat would show through my top. My reaction to this was ‘What the fuck?’.

- I go into town, do a bit of shopping, have a decent lunch, whilst my brother sits in the same seat on his own for 6 hours. He didn’t like this idea.

- Communicate in sign language. We started this, but we only knew the ‘wanker sign’ and ‘sticking our fingers up at each other’ so it didn’t last very long.

- Yawn at other people in the ward and see how many we could get to yawn back at us. I bet you just yawned reading that, didn’t you? Yawn. Go on, yawn.

- Find pictures of scrotums on Google, and then tag them as our friends on Facebook. We’re not that immature. (we are, but the Wifi wasn’t working).

“I’ve got an idea. Does your phone have Bluetooth?” I wasn’t sure how well this would work considering we were in a hospital, but I thought I’d suggest it anyway.

“Yeah, why?”

“Why don’t we choose a picture, and then search for other Bluetooth devices, send it to all of them, and then hide our phones so they don’t know it’s from us?”

“Ha! Ok. What picture?”

We both looked through our phones looking for something amusing we could send. I thought about maybe sending one of my brother giving a double thumbs-up, but he wanted it to remain anonymous.

“Go on, it’ll be great! Their phone will beep, they’ll see they have a message, and it will be you giving them the thumbs up. Amazing!”

“No way”.

In the end we decided on this image, which is the only suitable one I had on my phone. It was taken quite a while ago in Tesco when I put some googley eyes on a sweet potato. We both agreed that people would love his friendly face:

Look at my sweet potato face.

First, I sent my brother the image so that we both had it, and then we searched for available Bluetooth devices that we could send it to.  I picked up 7, and my brother got 9, despite the fact we were sat next to each other.

“Let’s send it to all of them”, my brother suggested.

“OK, on 3 we’ll start to send them. It’d be great if someone accepts it. One, two…THREE”. We both hit ‘send’ and then went through the rest of the list of Bluetooth devices we had, sending the same image over and over again.

After about five minutes, someone accepted my message. I couldn’t believe it!

“HAHAHA! Someone called Jon35 has accepted it!”

We looked around anxiously to see if it was anyone in close proximity to us. It wasn’t. We laughed at the thought of Jon35 opening up the message only to find an image of a sweet potato with eyes looking back at him.

A few minutes later, I had another person accept my message. This time, the contact was just a bunch of numbers, but again we chuckled about the fact that someone nearby had welcomed my friendly sweet potato onto their phone.

“Why is no one accepting my messages?!” asked my brother.

“I don’t know? Would you accept a Bluetooth message if you didn’t know who it was from?”

“Probably. I’ve sent mine to both the people that accepted your one though. Will they know who sent it?”

“Nope, they’ll only see the Bluetooth name”.

“What’s yours?”

“My first name. Why, what’s yours?”

“I don’t know, how do I check? I haven’t used Bluetooth for ages because it wastes the battery doesn’t it?”.

“Give me your phone”.

I took my brother’s phone and went into the Bluetooth settings.  I then started pissing myself laughing.

“HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! When was the last time you used this?! AHAHAHA!”

“Probably ages ago on that Sunday when we were in the pub after football, doing the same thing as we’re doing now”.

“Oh God, bahahahaha. Your name is set to ‘The Rectum Destroyer’! AHAHAHAHA. No wonder no one has accepted your message!”

“Oh yeah, I remember changing it to that now. Fuck”.

What a wonderful Bluetooth name. ‘The Rectum Destroyer’. Apologies to anyone in the hospital that day that may have received a Bluetooth message from him.

Next treatment: Wednesday 14th November.

HOSPITAL LUNCH FOR CANCER PATIENT RATING: 2/5 – He’s stopped having the soup now. This time he opted for just a sandwich (tuna again) and cheese and onion crisps.

HOSPITAL LUNCH FOR GUEST RATING: 2/5 – Fucking Costa sandwich. Chicken, Sweat and Ballbag flavour going by the taste of it.

DAY HIGHLIGHT: It’s got to be finding out my brother’s Bluetooth name.

DAY LOWLIGHT: Fuck you, Costa, and your shitty overpriced sandwiches.

======================================================

Regular readers of this blog will know my brother and I are big fans of  Liverpool midfielder Jonjo Shelvey, and since we name dropped him on here, he’s gone on to score a few goals in Europe and also get a cap for England. Not only is he a world class midfielder, but as previously mentioned, he’s got the shiniest head in the world. It prompted this song from my brother (to the tune of ‘Call Me Maybe’ by Carly Rae Jepson):

Hey, I just met you,

And this is crazy,

But I’ve got cancer,

Gonna look like Shelvey

A friend of mine, Carl (he’s on Twitter: @itsthecarlos), told me a couple of weeks ago that he’d sent the blog address to the commercial director at Liverpool football club in the hope that he could maybe get Jonjo Shelvey to read it. Amazingly, he got a reply from his PA who left Carl a voicemail asking him to give her a call. Carl rang her back, but didn’t get off to a good start.

“You sound like you’ve got a sore throat. Your voicemail was quite croaky too. Are you not very well?”, he said, after introducing himself.

“This is my normal voice”, the PA replied.

However, she forgave him. She went on to say that she’d read the blog, and had found it hilarious, despite the subject matter. In fact, she liked it so much, she’d sent it to the entire office to have a read. The bit about Jonjo Shelvey went down really well apparently (link for the lazy: http://fyoucancer.wordpress.com/2012/09/18/will-i-look-like-jonjo-shelvey/ ). Better still, she wanted to pass on the blog address to Jonjo to have a read, and she was going to arrange for him to send something in the post for my brother.

This morning, these arrived:

More Jonjo Shelvey.

A matchday programme from the recent Europa Cup game with Anzhi Makhachkala, featuring Jonjo Shelvey on the front, which he’s signed (in a flashy silver pen!), and also an Anfield Road L4 plaque. My brother knows fuck all about this, so will only find this out when he reads the blog. (Hello mate!)

Huge thanks to Carl for keeping in contact with the club and sorting this out, and to anyone in the office at Liverpool football club who has read the blog. Also, a big thanks to Jonjo Shelvey of course. Jonjo; please can you fix it for me to get a game upfront next season? Thanks.

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Swearing, Balancing, Moaning and Brian Harvey.

Wednesday 17th October was my brother’s fourth trip to the hospital, which means he is now one third of the way through his chemotherapy. The day didn’t get off to the best of starts. Neck pain, a sore throat and a thumping headache meant that I wasn’t in a great mood. My brother however, felt fine, so every cloud and all that. Once we were at the hospital, it took me half an hour to find a parking space, during which time my brother and I must have broken the world record for the amount of swear words shouted by two people inside a car over a 30 minute period. A few examples:

 

“JUST HURRY UP AND REVERSE, YOU FUCKING FUCKPIG”

“OH WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS BELLEND DOING? MAKE YOUR MIND UP YOU TWAT”

“TAKE YOUR SHITTY FOUR BY FOUR WITH THE HOWLING WOLF TYRE COVER AND SHOVE IT UP YOUR FAT ARSE, YOU SLOW, INCONSIDERATE FUCK-NUGGET”.

“YOUR WIFE LOOKS LIKE MARTIN CLUNES. HAHAHA GUTTTTTED!”

 

It was quite therapeutic to shout about the terrible drivers in the car park to one another and softened the blow of getting the day off to a slow start somewhat.

“I’m going to get a ‘Cancer patient on board’ sticker for my car”, I said once I’d calmed down. “Maybe we’d get a parking space quicker.”

“Or ‘Powered by cancer dust!”, replied my brother.

“Yeah, that doesn’t really make sense, mate.”

Before my brother begins each chemo session, he has a blood test to determine if everything’s ok for it to go ahead (I didn’t hear exactly what they were looking for in the blood test results when they first explained this because I was checking Twitter on my phone). Usually it takes about 15 minutes for the results to come back. This time we were waiting for over an hour. I’m guessing that more people chose to be ill or have an accident on this particular day than before, so the hospital was busier. The inconsiderate bastards! We wanted to get home in time for the England v Poland game.

The results finally came back from the blood test and the nurse was given the go ahead to start the chemo. As usual, she had to give my brother a steroid first, which is administered through a syringe and takes about 10 minutes. Just like last time, my brother began squirming in his seat.

 

“Oh God, not again. It feels like I’m going to poo myself. I’m definitely going to. Oh no.” Apparently, it’s quite common for the steroid to have this effect on people. My brother had gone all red in the face.

I grabbed my phone and stuck it on camera mode.

“If you do, I MUST get a photo. Imagine that on the blog. You, sat there, covered in shit, with the nurse smiling awkwardly as she holds that syringe to your arm.”

I watched him wriggling about. His legs were going like Bruce Grobbelaar’s in the 1984 European cup final penalty shootout; wobbling frantically as he tried to compose himself. The nurse just looked nervously at the floor.

“I won’t be covered in shit, will I? It will be in my boxer shorts”. He sounded smug.

“I dunno? Maybe it will explode out of you? Won’t the steroid give it more power? Are you turtle-heading yet?”

“No!”

“Sure?”

“Definitely. The urge has gone again now. I’m going to be ok”. My brother sounded triumphant this time.

“Damn”. I put my phone away.

 

The chemo treatment itself also took longer than usual due to the nurses taking more time to change each drip once one had finished. I think they must have thought we were enjoying being sat in the ward so much and decided to just take their time with my brother. We ended up being in the hospital for a whopping 7 (SEVEN) hours. In fact the day was dragging so much, we discussed ways of trying to squeeze the last drip into him a bit quicker. We thought about squashing the bag between our hands.

“Put it on your seat and just sit down really hard on it!”, I suggested. “It will deflate like a whoopee cushion and squirt all the fluid into you and we can go home then”.

“Fuck off, you’re heavier than me; you sit on it”.

“I’m only heavier than you because the cancer has helped you lose weight”.

“That; and you’re also a fat bastard”.

We called this one a draw.

 

My brother and I both agreed that time seemed to drag like it hadn’t before. It was dull and boring and not much was going on. The one respite I had from the ward was lunch time. As usual, my brother got to choose from the splendid hospital menu. He opted for a tuna sandwich, a packet of Cheese and Onion crisps and a yoghurt. After experiencing the very worst that the hospital’s Costa Coffee could offer me in terms of sandwiches on our previous 3 visits, I was trying to decide whether to eat or not.

“Go into town and get something to eat if you want, mate. It’s not far, I’ll be ok here on my own.”

“You sure? I don’t fancy another Costa sandwich. They’re bloody disgusting. The only choices they seem to have is that new-age shit like ‘Goats Cheese and Spaniards Pubes’, ‘Spinach, Chicken, Pesto and the Tears of a Unicorn’ or ‘Sautéed Red Pepper with Pickled Arse Chutney’. They taste like crap.”

“Go for it. Honestly, it’s fine; it won’t even take you that long”.

I asked him if he wanted anything, but he declined. I took a stroll into town and treated myself to a prawn baguette, a packet of Mexican Chilli McCoys and a Ribena. The lunch of kings.

 

Upon my return to the hospital, I found my brother having eaten his lunch and fast asleep in his chair. I sat down next to him for 5 minutes, bored and wondering what I could do to pass the time. I wanted him to wake up; just so we could be bored together in all honesty. Looking around, I noticed that no one else on the ward was paying me much attention. I then spotted three cardboard sick bowls on a table to my left, so I took the opportunity to balance them like a small trilby on top of my brother’s head. I added my car keys on top of them for effect. I had just managed to take a quick photo when one of the nurses came over.

“Erm, are you ok there?” she asked.

“Fine, thanks!” I replied politely. “He won’t mind”. I smiled and removed the sick bowl from his head. She gave me a strange look and then walked off again. Can people not balance things on a cancer patient’s head without being judged anymore?

Here is the photo that I managed to take (and this will be the first time my brother knows that this actually happened):

AN UPSIDE DOWN sick bowl, makes an excellent trilby for a skint Pete Doherty wannabee.

 

JONJO SHELVEY WATCH: 2/10. My brother still hasn’t lost any hair. It’s perhaps a little thinner on the sides but it’s hardly noticeable. He’s a long way off looking like shiny headed wonder, Jonjo Shelvey.

Talking of Shelvey, since I first mentioned him on this blog, he’s gone on to score three goals in the Europa League for Liverpool, as well as winning his first England cap, when he came off the bench to feature in their game against San Marino.

Coincidence? I think not. After this mention, he’ll probably go on to score the winning goal in the Merseyside derby at the weekend. Maybe.

 

You’ll probably notice the funky curtain in the background of that photo. They are EVERYWHERE in the hospital. I used my photography skills to get this image:

The curtain of doom.

 

Imagine waking up from a coma, and the first thing you saw was that curtain – you’d think you were dead and in a really shitty heaven . The eagle is as big as the house below it, and there seems to be people stranded in fields (I only managed to capture 2 on this photo, but there are loads of them. They’re just stood in fields, doing nothing, apart from staring at you.) Also, the water running under the bridge is pink. I’m not sure why they chose this particular design.

 

After about 40 minutes of me being sat next to my brother, discreetly poking him to try and wake him up, he did.

“This is a bit embarrassing, but you’ve had a wet dream” were my opening words to him as he looked about in a half-awake daze. That soon woke him up properly.

“WHAT?”

“Nothing. Do you remember that time Brian Harvey ate 3 baked potatoes and accidentally ran himself over?”

“Yeah, why?”

“Not sure. I just wondered if you did. What a twat”.

“Yeah; no one eats 3 baked potatoes.”

Nothing else really happened whilst we were there. Truth be told, we just moaned to each other about how long the chemo was taking, moaned that it was boring, moaned that it was raining outside, moaned about how uncomfortable the seats were, moaned about how hot it was in the ward, moaned about the design on the curtains and moaned about anything else that we weren’t particularly happy with. We must have sounded like 2 right miserable bastards.

 

Next treatment: Wednesday 31st October.

 

HOSPITAL LUNCH FOR CANCER PATIENT RATING: 3/5 (Sandwich was a safe choice but he felt the yoghurt let the overall balance to the meal down, as, in his own words, it “had the consistency of Copydex glue” It would have scored a 2/5 but the extra mark is for a carton of Ribena I generously bought him, which he still hasn’t paid me for..)

HOSPITAL LUNCH FOR GUEST RATING: 5/5 (Spot on.)

DAY HIGHLIGHT: Balancing things on my sleeping brother’s head. Also, we got home late enough to miss the England v Poland game. A blessing in disguise.

DAY LOWLIGHT: It was quite windy when I walked to the shops, so my hair got messed up a little bit.

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Hand Cancer and Excessive Farting

Wednesday 3rd October – The day of my brother’s third chemo session.  I drove round to his house to pick him up and as usual, he wasn’t ready. After a few minutes he finally came out the front door and got into my car.

“Are you going to give me any petrol money today then?” was my opening line. Not even a ‘hello’.

“What?”

“Petrol money. I’m actually losing money each time I take you to the hospital. There’s nothing in it for me. A tenner will do”.

He looked confused for a moment, until it sunk it that I was joking. We both started laughing.

“You really are a wanker”.

“At least I don’t put my foot on a table whilst I’m doing it”, I replied, in reference to his pre-chemo wank. One-nil to me.

Once again the chemo treatment was to be the same as the previous sessions; four different drips plus a syringe injection over the course of about 5 hours, and as if this wasn’t exciting enough, we also had the nurse that had administered the first chemo back from her holiday, which meant we could ask her if she’d read my ebook yet (available on Amazon for just 77p). Disappointingly, although she’d purchased it before her holiday, she had yet to read it, so she couldn’t give any feedback (although she did say the synopsis was ‘interesting and a bit disturbing’, which was good enough for me.)

As the nurse was injecting a steroid into my brother’s arm, I noticed him squirming a bit in his seat. He hadn’t done this on the two previous occasions. He leant forward and grabbed an empty Costa coffee cup.

“I feel a bit queasy…”.

This was the first time I’d seen him in any sort of discomfort whilst having chemotherapy. Just as I was starting to think about just how real this whole thing was, my brother broke the silence again.

“…and Jesus Christ, it feels like I could shit myself”. His voice went up a little on the words ‘Jesus Christ’ and he arched his back slightly.

“Bum a bit tingly?” said the nurse, casually.

“Yeah. It feels like I’ve got worms! I mean, I’m guessing this is what worms feels like”.

I jumped in with, “Go and pull your arse across the carpet”.

“It’s perfectly normal for it to feel like that”, said the nurse again. “You WON’T poo yourself. Some people feel it in the forehead, others in their bum, some feel nothing. It’s just what the steroid does”.

“So he’s not going to actually shit himself?” I asked again, just to make sure.

“No”.

“That’s a shame”. My brother glared at me, but I could tell he was laughing on the inside.

Once the steroid had been injected, it was time for the drips, which meant my brother and I could do our usual thing of looking at our phones whilst eavesdropping on the nurses, trying to hear the most interesting/amusing/disturbing thing we could.  We’d already heard one of the nurses say ‘…hundreds of cockroach eggs’, closely followed by another one saying ‘…he didn’t know where to stick it’, when our ‘game’ was interrupted.

*BLOP-BLOP-BLOP-PARRRRP*

I looked at my brother, and he turned to face me. Then together, we both peered over my right shoulder, to look at the other side of the room which was where the noise had come from. Sat in the corner of the ward was an elderly lady, about late seventies. She was reading a magazine, and looked completely undeterred by the fact she’d just unleashed a fart with such power that it had reverberated around the whole room and made my brother’s medical notes on the table in front of us flutter slightly in the breeze. I was just about to ask my brother if he thought it was definitely her when,

*BLAP-FLOPPPA-FLOPPA-BAP-BAP-BAP-BLOP*

She let rip with a torrent of farts with even more gusto than her first effort. There was no doubt it was her, but again she remained poker-faced. It was like someone was inside her bum-hole firing out a shotgun, such was the volume at which she was squeezing them out. It was a surreal moment; she didn’t even flinch.

I felt the corner of my mouth start to twinge. I wanted to laugh so badly, but I looked at the floor and tried to think of other thoughts. I brought my fist to my mouth to hide any smiles that were forming against my will.

*PAAA-AARRP*

She let another one go. Again, it was as loud as the first two, but this one changed pitch halfway through. It seemed she was trying her damndest to make me laugh, treating it like some sort of duel. Would I laugh first or would she stop breaking wind? I didn’t feel confident that I would win against this stony faced OAP, who had bowels of thunder.

I made the unfortunate error of glancing at my brother to see if he was finding this as hilarious as I was. All I could see was the top of his jumper pulled up over his mouth, his eyes were closed but his shoulders were slowly moving up and down. That set me off and I let out a tiny squeak of laughter. A solitary tear streamed down my cheek. My small laugh made my brother pull his jumper further over his face, which once again made me start to shake as I tried desperately not to explode. I turned to look out of the window behind me, repeating ‘It’s not that funny, it’s not that funny, it’s not that funny’ over and over in my head. I saw my brother was struggling too; as he wiped tears away from his eyes. He was now biting his jumper in an effort to stop anything escaping from his mouth. I kept trying to say his name but I couldn’t speak properly – I felt like I would laugh if I so much as opened my mouth. He was refusing to look at me, knowing that it would set him off too. Every time I thought I’d finally composed myself, I felt my mouth start to smile again and I’d have to bite my hand to stop myself from laughing. Watching my brother’s shoulders shaking, now almost violently, reassured me that he was in stitches too.

It took us a good fifteen minutes to both regain a modicum of composure, but even then the old lady was letting the occasional one sneak out, which would set us off again.

HOSPITAL LUNCH FOR CANCER PATIENT RATING: 3/5 (“I’m not getting that fucking soup” were my brother’s exact words. And he didn’t. He seemed reasonably happy.)

HOSPITAL LUNCH FOR GUEST RATING: 3/5 (A simple prawn sandwich and a packet of beef McCoys, but I let myself down as I forgot to get a drink and I couldn’t be bothered to go back and get one.)

DAY HIGHLIGHT: It has to be the elderly farting wonder.

DAY LOWLIGHT: My phone ran out of battery so I couldn’t check Twitter. First world problems.

Next chemo session is on Wednesday 17th October.

===============================================

On the Friday after the chemo treatment, I phoned my brother and asked if he fancied going to the pub for a while.

“It’s not as good when I can’t drink, plus I’m really knackered. That last session took it out of me”.

“Come down for a bit, mate? You can just watch me drink”.

“Well it’s not just that. I was laying some flooring earlier and I’ve got Gorilla Glue all over my hands”.

“Gorilla Glue?”

“Yeah, It won’t come off. I’ve even tried shaving it off”.

“Shaving it off?! HAHAHAHA! I’m coming round. I’ve got to see this”.

This is what his hands looked like when I got to his.

I'm Old Gregg!

Fungus Hands

“Fucking hell, it looks like fungus! It really won’t come off?!”

“Nope”.

“Ahahahaha!” Go on, just come for one drink. No one will say anything about your hands because you’ve got cancer”.

“Ok, I’ll come down for a bit. We can tell people I’ve got hand cancer as well or something”.

We were joined in the pub by a mutual friend, who also helped with taking the piss out of my brother’s glue covered hands. His girlfriend (cough, blonde air stewardess, cough) was due to join him for a drink later in the evening, so he sent her this message:

Sent on a phone from 1993

We were all braced, ready to see how she’d react when she noticed my brother’s cancer hands. The first thing she did when she came in was subtly glance towards his hands, but he had one under the table, and the other was holding his drink, so she couldn’t see much. Slowly, my brother put his drink down, and uncurled his fingers, before laying his hand, palm up, on the table. I watched as her eyes widened and chuckled at the thought of her thinking ‘Oh Em Gee! He really does have hand cancer!”.

We didn’t tell her otherwise.

=========================================

Again, I just want to say a massive thank you for all the messages of support that my brother has received, it’s been incredible.

Also, huge thank to @Doilydolly on Twitter, who recently completed a night time marathon for Cancer Research UK. She put various names of people she did the walk for on her T-shirt, and even put this on for my brother, which was a lovely thing to do:

She’s raised a shit load of money (see here: http://www.justgiving.com/doilydolly). Fantastic stuff.

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I’m here about the wank.

Before I go into detail about my brother’s pre-chemo wank, I want to thank everyone who has read this blog so far. Some of the feedback we’ve had has been incredible, and both my brother and I have been completely shocked by how many hits the blog has had and by all the kind words that we’ve received (especially that from complete strangers on Twitter. I honestly began to well up a little at some of the tweets I received after I posted the link to the blog for the first time. Then I remembered I’m a man, so I sucked it up, worked on my biceps for a few minutes and then hammered a nail into a wall).

Seriously though, THANKS all.

==================================================================

Friday 28th September, and I’m sat in the pub with my brother. We’re not really talking about anything in particular, but then he comes out with this:

“Oh, I had some good news today”.

“What was that then?”

“Well you know I had to give a sperm sample before I started chemo? The results came back earlier, and basically, I’ve got 16 chances to get someone pregnant if the treatment does make me infertile”.

“That’s quite a productive wank”, I replied. The mouthful of beer I’d just taken tasted a little salty all of a sudden.

Then the idea came to me to write about his visit to the sperm bank on this blog. Now, talking about your sibling’s masturbatory habits is never fun, but when you’re talking about it WITH them, it’s even worse, trust me. However, we’re aiming to cover every aspect of his cancer and the treatment on here, so I began asking questions. It’s something that needed to be done.

“I’M NOT TELLING YOU ANYTHING ABOUT IT”, said my brother, sternly. I tried to convince him that it would be essential reading.

“Go on!”, I urged, “it will be perfect for the blog!”.

“No, mate. You’ve already told everyone that I nearly shit myself. I don’t want everyone to know about me wanking as well”.

I laughed.

“Come on, that was funny! You were going to lay in the bath and simultaneously shit and vomit on yourself!

My brother smirked. I could see he was thinking it over in his head about whether revealing all about producing a sperm sample would be a good idea or not.

“For fuck’s sake”, he grumbled. That was his way of saying, ‘Yeah, ok, let’s do it. Let’s tell eveyone about me knocking one out into a small pot’.

He’d found out about a month before the chemo started that there was a chance it could make him infertile. He visited a consultant; a Scottish lady with a slight beard. She’d told him that he’d have to “mashturbate” (imagine a female Sean Connery) into a pot. You can imagine my joy when he’d first relayed this information to me.

The following is the conversation my brother and I had about his trip to the sperm bank, pretty much word for word:

“I didn’t do anything for about 4 days before I was due to give my sample. I thought it would help me get it out of the way quicker once I was there. I didn’t really know what to expect really. I drove over and when I got there, went and spoke to the receptionist”.

“Hi! I’m here about the wank!”

“No! I just said my name. She smiled and then went and got one of those small plastic sample pots. She told me to go through into another room and to make sure I got as much as I could into the pot”.

“Was she good looking?”

“Nah, not really. Put it this way, I didn’t want to ask her to give me a hand. Anyway, I went into this room, made sure I locked the door, and you know….started”.

“Started what?”

“You know”.

“No”.

“WANKING!” A couple sat near us in the pub turned to look but my brother continued regardless. “I didn’t want to take ages, because I thought that would be a bit weird, but at the same time I didn’t want to finish really quickly because I thought the receptionist would think bad of me. She’d be sat there thinking, ‘What a dirty young man. He only lasted a few minutes. Obviously wanks all the time’. So I’m in there and…”

“Were you sat down or stood up?”

“Umm, well I was standing, but I had one foot on a little table”.

“HAHAHAHA! So you’re kind of squatting? One leg on the floor, one on the table, and you’re pulling your plonker?”

“Yeah”.

“Brilliant”.

“Once I’d finished I made sure to hang around for a couple of minutes. I still thought I’d been quite quick even though I didn’t really rush it”.

“Were there any videos or magazines in there to help you along?”

“Magazines, but I didn’t see them until after I’d finished”.

“Ahahahaha! So you’re standing up and you’ve got one leg on this little table. You’ve got your eyes closed, and your wanking like a little spider monkey, just using the power of your imagination to help you along?”

“Pretty much”.

“I’d love it if someone had have walked it. I like the foot on the table; that’s a nice touch”.

“Don’t put that bit on the blog”.

“I won’t, don’t worry. So, did you manage to catch most of it”.

“Yeah, a little bit spilled out, but most of it went into the pot. Oh yeah, I’ve just remembered something else! There were loads of packets of lube in there as well. I was going to use some but didn’t”.

“Why?”

“I thought it might be too much of a treat. I didn’t want to make a song and dance about it”.

And with that, we ended the conversation.

==================================================================

Next chemo session: 3rd October.

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An arse like the back of Batman’s car

Wednesday 19th September: Session 1, Part B of chemotherapy. This time, no pasties were consumed on the way to the hospital; instead I focused most of my energy on laughing at my brother’s need to go for “a massive shit”, as he described it. This in itself would be a huge achievement; my brother had mentioned how he’d become “a bit clogged up” since the first chemo session and had resorted to laxatives earlier in the week in a bid to coax his bowels into spewing the contents of them out of his anus.

It had worked, but not quite as he had hoped. He’d found himself glued to the toilet seat, pissing gravy out of his bum-hole with great force. Every time he went to stand up, he would get the urge to go again, and so he had to hop back onto the porcelain throne and grimace as a torrent of liquid exited his body at an alarming speed. On top of this, he also felt nauseous because of the treatment, and he felt like he could vomit at any moment. I laughed as my brother came out with this gem;

 “At one point, I was sure I was going to be sick, but I couldn’t reach the sink from where I was sat. I thought about laying down in the bath and just letting it come out of both ends. Then I thought about what it would feel like to be laying down in a bath full of my own shit and sick, and I decided to just stay where I was and hold the vomit in. My arse was on fire; it was like the back of Batman’s car”.

 A beautiful image.

Upon getting to the hospital, my brother managed to find the toilets (after a frantic search). He was delighted to report back to me that this time he had passed a “normal stool”, just as I was taking a sip of my coffee. I knew he’d timed it like that on purpose. I admired him for that.

We made our way up to the chemo ward, and found a spot where my brother would have one of the reclining chairs that he is already growing to love, and we could also spy on the nurses as they went about their jobs. A consultant came over with some results and advised my brother that he would now have to have 6 courses of treatment and not the previously advised 4, to be sure they got rid of the cancer. I could tell he was pissed off as he was hoping to finish chemo before Christmas, but at the same time he knew that it was for the best.

Part B of the treatment was exactly the same as the first; numerous drips over varying time periods. The most eventful thing to happen was the bloke next to my brother could not stop throwing up. We happened to catch the first round of sickness; it shot of his mouth like it had been fired from a water pistol. One of the nurses leapt through the air with a container and managed to catch most of it. It was quite remarkable. She pulled the curtains so we couldn’t watch him anymore; much to our disappointment.  The nurse that had seen to my brother the first time was on holiday, and this really pissed me off because I’d have to wait even longer to find out if she’d actually bought, read and liked my EBook (available on Amazon).

“Bit selfish”, said my brother, when I told him.

“You’re the one who told her to buy it”, I replied.

“She’ll think it’s shit”. We both laughed. He’s probably right.

Once again, my brother got offered a foot massage by the elderly volunteer (late seventies, I reckon) who seems to wander from ward to ward, fulfilling his own sexual needs by touching other people’s feet, and again he turned it down.  I urged him to have one, “We’ll get a great photo for the blog!”.

“Look at his hands! It will feel like he’s rubbing a dead snake over my feet. No thanks.”

“But he uses creams and everything”.

“Fuck off!”

 “Worried you’ll get a boner?”

At this point the nurse came over to change a drip, so we had to stifle our laughter.

Next treatment: October 3rd.

SHELVEY WATCH: Still doesn’t look like Jonjo Shelvey. Lookalike rating of 1/10

HOSPITAL LUNCH FOR CANCER PATIENT RATING: 1/5 (This was fucking brilliant! My brother looked so disappointed with it. He had soup, a sandwich, crisps, a yoghurt and a couple of biscuits. He hated every mouthful. I took great pleasure in watching him trying to eat it out of politeness.)

HOSPITAL LUNCH FOR GUEST RATING: 2/5 (Again, I had a Costa sandwich. Cheese and onion filling; it was better than last time, but I wondered if it perhaps tasted better than it actually was because I was enjoying watching my brother’s face of disgust as he ate his sandwich )

DAY HIGHLIGHT: I saw a cow running at speed through a field on the drive back. It looked funny.

DAY LOWLIGHT: Dragged a bit.

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