The Big C

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The Big C

So eleven months ago I got dealt that life changing card no one should ever hear, you have cancer. A bone cancer called Ewings Sarcoma to be precise, that had started to spread to my lungs. Since then my life has taken a massive U-turn and it’s been a tough road of 14 rounds of chemo, 6 weeks of radiotherapy and a major operation to remove the primary tumour from my right shoulder. For a very long time I struggled with acceptance, frustration, anger and load of other emotions. My body had changed in so many ways I didn’t want to look in the mirror and see a person looking back at me I didn’t recognize, so writing a blog was the last thing I could bring myself to do. However it would have probably been very beneficial for me.

Whenever I was suffering from a side effect of the treatment I would always take to Dr Google to try and find something that reassured me it was normal, it helped to read other peoples experiences that have gone through similar things. I could relate to little bits of different peoples story’s, and they were all amazing. However I never found a story from an otherwise healthy 26, now 27 year old guy that was a keen athlete suffering with a paediatric bone cancer. So, that’s why I’m starting this blog, to hopefully help anyone else going through a hard time, anyone just interested, to selfishly help myself accept it better and it will hopefully develop into my passion which is fitness and getting back into a good state of health. This blog will cover the journey from diagnosis, things I wasn’t expecting to do at 26, like banking sperm, the gruelling treatment and finally recovery and the fight back to fitness. I will try to keep it as full of humour as possible but it wont be winning any comedy awards, after all cancer isn’t fun and there are some things I cover that I have really struggled with and felt it was important to include. So, I am currently 3 weeks post operation with just two rounds of chemo left and all is going well, so close to the finish line and hopefully a couple of celebratory beers over Christmas using my new right arm!


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  • Carmen

    I’m not that much of a online reader to be honest but your blogs really nice, keep it up!
    I’ll go ahead and bookmark your website to come back in the future.

    October 25, 2015 at 8:10 am Reply
    • admin

      Thanks for the support! 🙂

      October 27, 2015 at 7:50 pm Reply
    • Julian

      Thanks Carmen x

      November 11, 2015 at 8:20 pm Reply
  • Millie

    Who know you could write!? So proud of you on so many levels xxx

    October 30, 2015 at 2:29 pm Reply
    • Julian

      Got to say thanks to you as I’m doing everyone and my ocd wont let me miss you so thanks sis xx

      November 11, 2015 at 8:19 pm Reply
  • Mel

    Great blog Jules.. Keep it going! Xx

    November 1, 2015 at 2:39 pm Reply
    • Julian

      Cheers Mel xx

      November 11, 2015 at 8:18 pm Reply
  • Debi

    What an honest and informative account of what you have been through.
    I’m sure that once you get your fitness back and are able to fund-raise you will have so much support, both from family and friends, and people like me who don’t know you that well, but will want to give just because they’ve read this blog.
    Wishing you a full and speedy recovery xx

    November 1, 2015 at 3:21 pm Reply
    • Julian

      Thanks Debi x

      November 11, 2015 at 8:17 pm Reply
  • Nigel Canter

    Well done Julian. You are a real hero.

    November 1, 2015 at 3:31 pm Reply
    • Julian

      Thank you Nigel!

      November 11, 2015 at 8:17 pm Reply
  • James Chappell

    Not all hero’s wear capes, not all hero’s are athletes and not all hero’s are celebrities…

    … what a hero! Keep it up, can’t wait to throw some iron around with you in the not so distance future x

    November 1, 2015 at 3:41 pm Reply
    • Julian

      Thanks James! Kind words mate and I cant wait to throw some tin around with you even if it is one armed!

      November 11, 2015 at 8:16 pm Reply
  • Tess

    I came across your blog via Facebook, I am also from Weymouth and it appeared on my timeline through mutual friends etc. I just wanted to say I think what you are doing is really great. My sister (aged 30) was diagnosed with breast cancer 5 years ago. She had chemo, radiotherapy etc. In August she was told the cancer had returned in her lungs and liver and there is nothing more they can do for her. It’s a wicked disease and not enough is done to highlight it’s toll on young people in particular and the complete devastation it can cause. To have cancer is a lonely place to be. I admire the fact you are writing about it and letting lots of people know it’s true effects physically and psychologically.

    I wish you a fast recovery and a wonderful future. Surround yourself with great mates and great family and always keep looking and planning ahead.

    November 1, 2015 at 4:13 pm Reply
    • Julian

      Thanks Tess. Sorry to hear about your sister and thank you for reading.

      November 11, 2015 at 8:14 pm Reply
  • Mike Young

    Hi Julian, when you have healed up give me a shout at Young’s Fitness and we will support you with your road to recovery. It’s nice to see encouraging words to others. Mike (Gym Owner)

    November 1, 2015 at 5:12 pm Reply
    • Julian

      Thanks Mike!

      November 11, 2015 at 8:10 pm Reply
  • Danielle

    It may be the nurse in me, but I find reading blogs like this so interesting and inspirational, I hope that someone out there who is reliving your journey themselves gain some comfort and support from this!
    Good on you x

    November 1, 2015 at 5:45 pm Reply
    • Julian

      Thanks Dani xx

      November 11, 2015 at 8:08 pm Reply
  • John Gorman


    A young lady named Jamila Wardknott told me to check out your blog. I have cancer but I’m beating it every day. I never imagined at 47 I would hear those words – I imagined needing Viagra long before anything else more traumatic occurring in my life. Reading your blog reminds me of just how indiscriminate and untimely cancer is. I’m told that I got lucky – I contacted a form of Non Hodgkins Lymphoma that is very aggressive and for that reason easier to target with chemo. I was diagnosed in early June and have just completed my 5th chemo session. Scans etc suggest I might be cancer free after one more session, so like you I am going to celebrate victory in December – hopefully for my birthday. While it’s not for everyone struggling with this disease, I elected to try and hide it from as many people as possible. I was able to continue working although at times my energy was very low. I kept going to gym and forced myself to workout as often as I could. I kept meeting my mates in the pub for a few beers here and there. I continued doing short business trips and heavy business meetings. Anything I could do, that kept my routine as normal as possible – I did. I even moved house during these months. I live in California but many of my family members live in South Africa – so as soon as I knew I had a chance of beating this, I chose not to tell them. I didn’t want them worrying about something for no reason – and it forced me to act normally with our interactions etc. My mother has heart problems and a history of nervous breakdowns – I certainly didn’t need her panicked. At work I told my business partner only – with everyone else I pretended I was fine. Because I am often out of the office, nobody missed me when I took every 3rd Friday off for chemo. And as for the hair loss (which I soon shaved off completely) I told anyone who asked, that I had lost a bet and had to shave the head or come up with a ton of money. Aside from that I confided in my girlfriend, my two sons and my ex wife with whom they live. My sons are 18 and 20 and they took it well and have been great throughout. Forcing myself to conduct as normal a life as possible and put on a brave face has really helped me rise and shine and get on with life. Making sure I had no excuse for doing things that others consider normal, was vital for my state of mind. Lots of people asked lots of questions and eventually I confided in the odd friends here or there – I tended to open up to those who lived remotely and whom I was not likely to see – like Jamila who lives in Mexico City – it was easier that way. They weren’t going to come over for a visit to check on me and help me wallow in self pity. Lots of people get sick – at least that’s what I told myself. But a lot of people get healthy again. Being a victim or a warrior is a choice and while I have been through hell these past 5 months, I have refused to think of myself as anything but normal. Like I said earlier – it’s an attitude that works for me and I would challenge anyone with cancer to do whatever you can to live your life as normally as your condition will allow. Great work on your recovery, kid! You’re a brave soul and you’re helping a ton of people by writing a blog and giving crusty old farts like me a platform to speak. God bless you and keep you strong. Peace!

    November 1, 2015 at 8:26 pm Reply
    • Julian

      John thank you for reading and thank you for sharing that. I’m very happy to hear you’re doing well! I’ve viewed it as a sickness I’m going to get over like any illness. Enjoy a celebration at Christmas mate.

      November 11, 2015 at 8:08 pm Reply
  • Mark Sergison

    Saw your post come up on bookface through mutual friends sharing. In typical Weymouth fashion think we have mixed in a fair few of the same circles, even shared a rugby training and match pitch a few times. Just wanted to say that I have just spent a fair chunk of the afternoon reading through your blog. It is bloody well written, funny, real but above all inspiring stuff. Good on you for writing it! I look forward to hearing more about your recovery in the future. Would it be ok to share your blog on FB?

    November 1, 2015 at 8:32 pm Reply
    • Julian

      Thanks Mark! I surprised myself I think with the writing. Yes its fine to share and thank you for reading it!

      November 11, 2015 at 8:04 pm Reply
  • Ed

    Takes guts to talk about stuff like this. Great effort Jules. Good luck with everything.

    November 1, 2015 at 8:32 pm Reply
    • Julian

      Thanks Ed! x

      November 11, 2015 at 8:02 pm Reply
  • carrieanne

    You’re so brave, what an inspiration. 2016 will be an amazing year. Hope you feel better soon x

    November 1, 2015 at 10:06 pm Reply
    • Julian

      Thanks Carrie-anne x

      November 11, 2015 at 8:01 pm Reply
  • Jemma king

    Hi Julian i was in your year at school and i just cant believe what i have been reading. How has this happened to such a lovely guy? You are inspirational to be able to share your true feelings with others. I wish you all the best for the future. Stay positive xXx

    November 1, 2015 at 10:57 pm Reply
    • Julian

      Hi Jemma! Thanks for reading and your comment x

      November 11, 2015 at 8:00 pm Reply
  • Becky

    Hey came across this on Facebook and hope you recover fully. It is scary to think this could happen to anyone no matter what age and I hope this is over for you soon so you can get back to training. I have always said illness/injury is always so much better when you are active and sporty as people don’t understand how much sport means to you so when your used to being busy then suddenly can’t do anything it massively sucks! Your so brave and I hope you keep fighting it. Just an idea but I think it may be really useful if a mate or your girlfriend could write a guest blog entry on how they found the journey as I think it may help others who have found out people close to them have been diagnosed. I know it is hard and upsetting so would understand if no one wanted to do this. Best of luck!

    November 1, 2015 at 11:53 pm Reply
    • Julian

      Thank you x

      November 11, 2015 at 7:59 pm Reply
  • Becky

    * sorry I meant illness/injury is so much worse when your sporty/active (not better)

    November 1, 2015 at 11:54 pm Reply
  • Brad

    I am not sure if you remember me but we went to college together many moons ago. To do what you are doing after what you have been through is truly inspiring! Cancer is crap and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemie. I will be reading, watching and supporting my man, stay positive X

    November 2, 2015 at 2:07 pm Reply
    • Julian

      Hello mate! Long time no see. Thanks for your comment x

      November 11, 2015 at 7:58 pm Reply
  • Rachel

    The strength you have shown not only during your recovery journey but to reflect on it with such humility and humour highlights what a very special person you are Julian xxxxxx

    November 2, 2015 at 8:51 pm Reply
    • Julian

      What a lovely comment. Thank you x

      November 11, 2015 at 7:58 pm Reply
  • Bubble

    U r one hell of a strong man bud amazing. Glad I can call u a friend of mine. Keep up the blog bud stay strong. Xxxxxxx

    November 2, 2015 at 11:34 pm Reply
    • Julian

      Cheers big man x

      November 11, 2015 at 7:57 pm Reply
  • Polly Barker

    I don’t know what to say without it sounding generic or insincere but you are truly so inspirational. X

    November 4, 2015 at 12:27 am Reply
    • Julian

      Thanks Polly x

      November 11, 2015 at 7:57 pm Reply
  • Nick Reid

    Julian, we were both at Exeter together and a fellow EURFC clubman passed a link on to your blog. I’ve spent this morning reading it and have been left with a huge mix of emotions but most of all I feel inspired by your words and what you have done. I couldn’t agree more with the quote above that heros can be found everywhere and you’re a perfect example and sure this blog is going to give others the motivation and tools to tackle their challenges too. I’ll keep reading and thank you for sharing it.

    November 4, 2015 at 12:05 pm Reply
    • Julian

      Thank you Reidy!

      November 11, 2015 at 7:56 pm Reply
  • Claire Wales

    I can’t imagine you know who I am but we’ve met afew times through mutual friends. Never been an avid “blogger” and I certainly never normally comment on things like this on people I don’t really know. I just wanted to say how funny, honest, sad and positive this blog is. Without a doubt you’ll be helping someone go through what can only be described as a vile and shitty disease.
    Keep up the amazing work of this blog and your road to recovery. You’ll get there. Xxx

    November 4, 2015 at 10:14 pm Reply
    • Julian

      Thank you Claire! x

      November 11, 2015 at 7:55 pm Reply
  • Richard Martin

    Shocker but so glad to hear you are on the road to recovery! You were always the fighter.

    November 5, 2015 at 9:26 am Reply
    • Julian

      Thanks Richard! Hope you’re well mate.

      November 11, 2015 at 7:53 pm Reply
  • Mary scholz

    Hi Julian It’s almost a year since you stated your blog ,I came across it on The lovely Tracy McSherry’s FB page , .
    It’s a dark grey day here today so I thought it’s a good time to start to read your blogs ,& I must say it has brightened up my day, with your courage & your sense of humour I’m looking forward to reading the rest to see how it unfolds ,I can see there are lots more .you are writing it really well .and I hope you are feeling really well too . From
    a friend & neighbour of the MaSherry’s .
    Mary X

    October 7, 2016 at 3:11 pm Reply
    • Julian

      Hi Mary, thank you so much for such a nice message. Im glad you like my blog x

      October 7, 2016 at 3:48 pm Reply

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