Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Radiotherapy Day 6

Day 6 completed and one step closer to remission!

After another long journey to Sutton, I had a meeting with one of the Radiotherapy consultants and discussed a few things about the treatment itself. The Doctor was brilliant in explaining things to me, during my first consultation I said to him that I wanted to know everything and be told the absolute truth, I didn't want anything covered up and hidden from me. So, as a result, today he was totally honest about my treatment and about how they've had to adjust things slightly due to the whole situation with my heart. Also, although I've known about this tumour since February I have never actually been shown clearly where the tumour is in my body, so I asked him to show me and within an instant he had my last PET scan up on screen showing me it's size and location and pointed out on my body where it was. So, now finally after about 6 months of wondering, I actually know whereabouts it sits in my body and I also know where another few cancerous lymph nodes were just behind part of my collar bone.

Whilst speaking to the doctor he was very re-assuring, he said that my lymphoma has gone from 16x12cm to 12x6cm with the four cycles of chemotherapy that I had and that the majority of that lump is more than likely scar tissue, parts of the immune system and other things because the scan showed none/very little metabolic response (meaning only a small part of that lump has active cancer cells). That is why I am having radiotherapy in order to wipe out those last active cancer cells and to reduce the chances of it coming back. So, fingers crossed and just got to keep fighting!

Before the consultation I had my observations done and I was really happy to find out my resting heart rate was 68! That's so much lower than it was when I first went into the Brompton with a heart rate of 120!!! Goes to show how much my heart has benefited from the drain and that it has regained some strength, which is re-assuring for me and my boxing, health and fitness. Also, blood pressure and oxygen levels were really good.

As for radiotherapy, I again started my 'Radiotherapy' playlist on my boxing walk on song 'A.K.A - What a Life!' - the lovely ladies doing my radiotherapy both started humming along to the song saying how much they liked it, so I told them it was my walk-on song and they both said what a good choice it was (hopefully that's a few ticket sales there). Anyway, after the routine scan the treatment begun and again I had no problem with the breath holds, in fact I was taking less rest in between and as a result the session was over quicker. I did think at the beginning of the treatment "Why me? Why do I have to go through all of this?" and then I just said to myself "This struggle will make you a Champion, you will have that extra little bit of will power". I had seen some footage of a guy my age training in America, he was a Puerto Rican kid, he had loads of belts and medals and was training with the likes of Danny Garcia and Gabriel Rosado and I wont lie I was jealous, all I wanted to do was be picking up medals and belts but I know I have to get through this first and all in good time I will be at the same level as that guy and this whole process will only make me stronger and give me more desire to go further and further. I am confident that I will get far despite this setback and I will achieve my dreams. I have fought too hard not to.

So, another day ticked off and another day closer to getting back in the boxing gym where I belong. It will be so nice going boxing every day as opposed to the hospital!

Would just like to finish by saying a massive well done to all those involved in the Connaught and Calthorpe three peaks challenge, the fundraising has now surpassed the £4000 mark which is brilliant!! Also, good luck to Debby & Sam Doetsch who are doing the 'Nuts' and 'Grim' challenges in aid of The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity too!

You can donate to the schools or Debby and Sam on the links below:

Connaught & Calthorpe: http://www.justgiving.com/CC3YP

Debby & Sam: http://www.justgiving.com/Debby-Doetsch1/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=fundraisingpage&utm_content=Debby-Doetsch1&utm_campaign=pfp-share

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Radiotherapy Day's 4 and 5

So, first of all I have fallen behind with my blog a bit. I have been focusing on doing some research and training since being released from the Royal Brompton the other week and have not had much time to write many posts, however, in that time a few bits and bobs have happened so I have a bit to write about!

I had a CT Planning scan last Friday just to check that we could still go ahead with the planned radiotherapy, that all went well and I felt comfortable with all the breath holds necessary for the treatment. Afterwards, I popped up to my second home (A.R.D. Training Camp) and watched the sparring and strength & conditioning classes - it was really nice to see all the guys again and catch up with them. Afterwards I went to the local Caribbean restaurant for some Jerk Chicken with coach Andre and fellow 'Maggot' Lloyd - I have to say this jerk Chicken is awesome, in fact it's probably some of the nicest chicken I've ever had. And I eat a lot of chicken...

After a relaxed weekend, training my friend Conner (who is developing into a really good boxer) it was time to start radiotherapy again on 29th July. So, me and mum drove up to the Royal Marsden again like we have so many times this year and headed to the radiotherapy department, after signing in and a short wait it was time for me to begin my treatment again. Once in the room, I put my iPhone in the docking station and selected my 'Radiotherapy' playlist, nobody would be surprised at the fact that the only artist in this playlist was Noel Gallagher... I have all the songs from his live album 'The Dreams We Have As Children' as well as my boxing walk on song 'A.K.A. What a Life!' to start the playlist. The way I see this is that as I am getting prepared for the radiotherapy to start, my walk on song is playing, so I see it a bit like when I'm about to walk out for a boxing contest.

Radiotherapy - Day 4

So, day 4 begun and everything seemed fine. I didn't have any difficulty in taking deep breaths during or after the session so that is a positive! Not much else to say about the treatment really, other than again I was looking at my reflection on the ceiling imagining myself with a championship belt in my grip and just thinking about how I will look back on this experience once I have completed and achieved my dreams.

In the evening after the session, I got a phone call from a lady from 96.4 Eagle Radio saying that I had won an award! The award is part of a 'Local Hero's' award scheme and I am one of the two winners in the 'Young Persons Award' - so I was really quite proud of that and it meant a lot that my efforts have been recognised. Also, I have been short listed for another award in an awards ceremony for the British Red Cross - So, that's two award ceremonies I will be attending, meaning I will have to dress smart not in my typical shorts/trackies and t-shirt... Really, really pleased to have won and award and to have been short listed for another, the man who nominated me is an ex teacher and good friend of mine Mark Coates, who is one of the biggest nag's going, but it's all for a good reason! Cheers Coatesy.

'Young Persons Award - An award for inspirational Under 18's who are creating a better future. Young people who, through acts of courage, will inspire a future generation.'

Radiotherapy - Day 5

After another long journey to the Marsden, I had the same treatment and felt fine during and after again (touch wood). Throughout the treatment my 'radiotherapy' playlist was again on in the background and the whole process is starting to become quite familiar now. Today felt as if it went a lot quicker than normal, maybe that's because I am becoming more used to it, I'm not sure! After treatment today, I felt very tired and a little sick for about an hour afterwards, an early night is probably on the cards unless there's a good film on T.V!

Hopefully, if the radiotherapy all goes to plan then I will be able to get back into training with the rest of the guys, in the classes, at the boxing gym within the next 6 weeks which will be amazing. Hopefully the end is in sight and there are no more hiccups along the last stint of my journey.

I will leave you all with two images, side-by-side, comparing what I looked like in June '13 and July '13 (this month)...



Thursday, 25 July 2013

Chin ups

Before my treatment I was able to do lots of pull ups and chin ups, I was strong and I could usually do around 10 in a row without much of a struggle, but during and after my chemotherapy, where my muscles had weakened so much, I couldn't even do half a chin up. It was really quite upsetting and embarrassing going from doing 10 without any trouble to not even being able to do one in the space of a few months. For me, that showed me and proved to me just how physically weak I had become. 

Since finishing my chemotherapy I have been able to build up my training and start slowly progressing. As a result of the last few weeks of training I have got much stronger, I can really feel it and it is showing in all my exercises. I have been doing a mixture of running, cycling, strength training and boxing work all in order to rebuild lost strength and to try and get my fitness back up to a decent standard.

Yesterday evening my brother did a few chin ups on my chin up bar on my door frame, so I thought 'bugger it, why not!' And had a go, much to me surprise, I did it!! I didn't jump up to the bar either, I started with my legs crossed and pulled myself up with my arms. I was amazed and so proud of myself!

Then today, at the end of my training session I went upstairs to see if I could do it again... Not only did I do it again, but today I managed two chin ups! It certainly sounds like nothing, but to me this is a real sign that my strength has greatly improved and that I am getting back to how I used to be. 

I have also been doing press ups since starting chemotherapy alongside other exercises, but really struggled with these after a few sessions. Now, I can confidently perform 15 press ups without stopping and whilst doing so I feel strong. I have set a target to do 30 consecutive press ups by Christmas time this year as well as 10 burpees consecutively too. 

Just thought I'd share this story of progression with everyone and show other fitness freaks like myself who may be fighting cancer or any other disease, that you can still be strong and fit :-)

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

The Dreams We Have As Children

This post is named after my favourite band: Oasis and one of their (in my opinion) best songs 'Fade Away' in which they sing the lyrics 'the dreams we have as children fade away' - now I looked at these lyrics and related myself and my current situation to them (as I do with a lot of lyrics recently), and I broke it down into two little segments:

1) 'The dreams we have as children' - This part of the lyrics is referring to my own dreams, such as becoming a World Champion. Now, I could be and I am sometimes classed as a child, however, I have had this dream since I was about 14 so this is a dream I had as a child and still have now. When listening to this song I always think of my dream of becoming a World Champion and remind myself of all the reasons why I want to achieve it and what I have done so far to help me, as well as how much it means to me and how much it would mean to achieve such a feat. This part of the song helps me to remember, think about, visualise and re-enforce my dreams and their importance to me and my life - these dreams are the things that keep me going and fuel my desire to keep fighting. So, when I'm listening to 'Oasis - Fade Away' this is what I'm thinking about - achieving my childhood dreams.


2) '...fade away' - This part of the lyrics could be seen as quite negative as it is saying that the dreams we have as children, fade away. However, I use these two words to re-enforce my desire to achieve my dreams and not let them fade into the distance. I always find a lot of people say to me "Oh yeah, I could have done/been good at this... but I decided not to because I couldn't be bothered/I was too busy messing around" and that's something I can't stand, I could not bare to be one of these people who says "I could have been" - I want to achieve something with my life and I refuse to just give up like so many people have done, and continue to do. My opinion is that life is a gift, life is precious, so why not make the most of it and achieve something amazing? Too many people let their dreams 'fade away' not enough people chase them down and pursue them!
In regards to what I was saying about life being precious, here is a quote that my coach Andre once shared with the guys at the club: 

"Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, that's why it's called the present."

I think it's a great quote! It also sums up what I was saying about life being a gift.

Anyway, I guess the moral of this post is to chase your dreams, and not let them fade away, because there will be no bigger regret than not giving your all to try and achieve a dream if it means that much to you. I have certainly had a lot of setbacks recently in the pursuit of my dreams, but I am not giving up and I still believe that I can do it, so if I can achieve my dreams or at least give it my best shot, then so can you. Live your life to the fullest and chase your dreams. Dreams can become a reality.



Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Yorkshire Three Peaks in Aid of The Royal Marsden - Oak Youth Centre

The Connaught & Calthorpe School's - Three Peaks Team
This weekend just gone, an amazing bunch of people set off on a long trek into the peaks of Yorkshire, in order to complete the three peaks challenge in aid of The Oak Youth Centre at The Royal Marsden, Sutton. For anyone who doesn't know the three peaks challenge, the aim is to climb three peaks in under 12 hours - sure, it may sound simple but there is an awful lot of training, hard work and dedication required in order to complete this tremendous challenge, not to mention the pace that the hikers have to walk at is admirable and is made harder by the uneven terrain and the varying gradients.

I used to go to The Connaught School and I know from friends who have previously completed this challenge the year before how hard it is and what sort of training has to be done, in fact the school pupils and staff members who do the challenge are trained by: Warrant Officer 1, Jon Knight, who is currently serving in the armed forces and I am absolutely certain that he does nothing less than beast them each session in order to prepare them for the challenge both physically and mentally. The team this year did the challenge in 10 hours and 37 minutes, smashing the time which was achieved last year! That just goes to show how hard these guys and girls trained and how well they worked together as a team. The beauty of this whole thing is that the people involved have made new friends, got some exercise and discipline whilst raising a whole lot of money (almost £4000 so far!!) for a cause very close to my heart.

My former teacher Mark Coates asked me to pick the charity this year and so I chose 'The Oak Youth Centre' which is part of the Royal Marsden hospital in Sutton. This centre does an absolutely amazing job in caring for tiny little children to teenagers up to 24 years old. Throughout my treatment I have seen countless children and teenagers being treated by all the amazing nurses in this brilliant, state of the art facility, I thought that I had such brilliant treatment at this place and that if I could help money be raised for any charity then it would be this one, so that other children and young adults could be treated just as well and if not better. These brave little kids fighting cancer deserve the best of the best so this charity is close to my heart because nothing tugs on my heart strings more than seeing innocent little children battling cancer and if any money can be raised then in my eyes it should go towards these little Champions.



The students doing the three peaks have seen a powerpoint that I put together for the Calthorpe school in order to inform them of cancer and why they were raising money for the RM, I have had a lot of feedback and they all said how hard it him them and how it inspired them. If I can do other things like this, such as presentations, public speaking or fundraising events then I would love to. I feel it's important to help out those facing hard times in life, like so many people have helped me and my family - the guys from A.R.D. in particular. But I also think it is so important to inform others about cancer and what it can do and ultimately how to try and face it and deal with it.

The guys from Connaught and Calthorpe have done something fantastic, they have raised an incredible amount of money and have given up their own time and effort to do so. If you would like to donate to their effort and help improve things even further at the Oak Youth Centre then please donate to the following link: http://www.justgiving.com/CC3YP - these guys have already raised an awesome amount, but even more would be great!

Brilliant work to all the guys and girls from Connaught and Calthorpe, a big thanks to Mark Coates and Steve Jones for keeping me up to date and involved with the whole process. Brilliant job guys, those little Champions will be eternally thankful and so am I.

Connaught & Calthorpe Champions!

http://www.justgiving.com/CC3YP 

Back After a Week of Hospital Hell...

Hi all,

Once again I apologize for my recent inactivity with my blog but I have had such a hectic week and this week is proving to be similar.

The other week I had some real difficulties breathing, I had an incredibly tight chest and I felt like absolute rubbish, I was feverish, weak and dizzy. I just accepted it on the Sunday and thought it was just a 24 hour thing, the next day I was due to have my fourth day of radiotherapy, so I went to the Royal Marsden and before starting the treatment I asked to be checked over by a doctor. Well, from there I went to the teenage unit where I was being checked over by loads of doctors: my consultant, anesthetists, as well as doctors from the HDU (High Dependency Unit) and several other doctors within the teenage cancer unit. This was all getting me and my mum a bit worried, I couldn't lie down without being in pain and struggling even more for breath and my temperature was going crazy and even went to about 38.8 degrees at one point!

On the Monday I had to have another X-Ray and CT scan in order to try and identify the problem, it was noted that my heart looked 'slightly on the larger side' and that I in fact had a build up of fluid around my heart (I have had this a few times but it just went on its own and was never a major issue). So, the doctors discussed the situation, I had lots of observations carried out on me throughout the day and bloods taken and then my consultant revealed the plan: stay the night at the Marsden and in the morning, be transferred to the Royal Brompton to get the fluid drained. I thought that they would just drain the fluid by sticking a needle in my chest and draining the fluid through syringes, I was a little bit off the mark with that assumption...

After a night tossing and turning, getting no sleep what-so-ever, having regular observations I was told by one of the doctors what the plan was: I was to be transferred to the Brompton via hospital transport after an echo scan at the Marsden, and then they will come and get me later on after the fluid has been drained. So, we got in the ambulance and off to the Brompton we went, however, we didn't take our overnight bag which was in the car because we were told we would be coming back the next day (I think you can see where I'm going with this...). So, after an hours drive through the traffic of London, we arrived at the Brompton and I was taken up to the Elizabeth Ward. I was in an adult ward at this hospital, of course I was used to being in a teenage ward at the Marsden. My room was nicely air conditioned but to my displeasure there was no television! I really wasn't that fussed about the T.V. but I was more concerned with how ill I actually was, after all, I was in a ward full of mature people who were all wired up to probes, struggling to breathe and in a very bad way - I was in a High Dependency Unit, the youngest there and I was surrounded by people with heart and lung problems. Not only did I have a big old tumor sitting in my chest but now I had a problem with my heart. Brilliant.

After an initial echo scan I met a cardiologist who was talking about the situation to me: 'The build up of fluid around your heart needs to be drained, because it is putting a lot of pressure on the heart and obviously you are struggling to breathe and are experiencing pain. This means having a small operation where a drain will be fitted in order to drain out the fluid' - my mum then asked what would happen if I didn't have the operation and the cardiologists response was: 'If you don't have the operation then the fluid will continue to build up and the pressure will get too much and as a result, it will stop pumping' - in other words, in order to stay alive I needed this operation! So, as you can imagine me and my mum were shocked by this and we had a hug and a cry together, realising just how precious life is and how things can change in an instant. I was scared, I wanted to say a final goodbye to everybody just in case, but I told myself there was no need as my life wasn't going to come to an end, that this operation would be a success and I would live to continue my fight with cancer and beat that too. I was determined to keep my title of 'Undefeated'.

So, a few hours later I went down to the operating theater where my operation was about to begin, I looked down and saw some pretty big needles, I wasn't quite looking forward to that... The professor gave me some anesthetic to the area being operated on but that did not work! I could feel a long needle going through my chest, it felt as though it was going through bones and the needle was grinding against them. It was a horrible feeling and I was in a lot of pain, I was moaning in discomfort and the doctors administered me with some more of some drug which pretty much sent me to sleep! Everything went a bit grey and dull, and my eyes felt funny. The next thing I remember was watching the doctors take syringes full of this orange coloured fluid and then after covering the drain which was now attached to me with dressing. I then got transported back to the ward and into my room, it was all a blur from this point on really and all I can remember is getting to my room and going to sleep.

The next day I woke up, breathing so much better and feeling a lot better, no longer ill or feverish. However, I was in quite a bit of pain where my drain was, it forced me to stand very hunched over and there was a bag attached to this drain which collected fluid which was still draining from around my heart. During the operation they drained 600ml and over the next two days the drain took out a further 200ml, so a total of 800ml of fluid surrounding my heart. That's some amount, it amazes me how my heart was able to beat with such a large amount of fluid surrounding and pressing on it. I say thank god for the fitness and training I did which has obviously made my heart strong enough to weather this little storm for a while. Over the next few days I got really quite depressed, I know I am always talking about being positive and believe me I was still being positive the majority of the time, however, at points things really got to me. I felt like a young man in an old man's body, it didn't feel right being surrounded by mature people and I just felt so unfit, unhealthy and I was worried about what was going to happen. I was getting fed up with the waiting around and the doctors constantly changing their minds with what they wanted to do. The whole time was very frustrating and was a long process.

On the Thursday, I had my drain removed and that was another painful experience! I had my dressings taken off and that was just like waxing as I have a hairy belly. Then, when the doctor pulled out the drain it was a lot longer than I first imagined and it felt like that same grinding feeling, it was horrible but luckily it didn't last too long and once it was out it felt so much better. I was able to stand up straight and I just generally felt much better. During the day my best mate Elliot and his parents came to visit me, which was really nice of them - it was a long way to come but it was great to see and talk to some other people. They bought me a few books which I've been reading including Paul Scholes' story (he is/was my favorite footballer), they kept me occupied for the remainder of my time in the hospital. Afterwards, mum went for a short walk around the areas of London near the hospital and bought me back a McDonalds, I loved that, it was just what I had needed! I slept well on the Thursday night, I was a lot more comfortable and we were moved to the York Ward which wasn't high dependency, therefore, they didn't have to perform regular observations on me so as a result, I got much more sleep.

On Friday morning I had two further echo scans which showed no fluid and no effusion, therefore, I was allowed back to the Royal Marsden. We were driven back by Ambulance by two funny, but lovely guys called Eddie and Russel. After about an hour or so getting back, we were told we had to stay at the Marsden overnight just so I could be observed and if my temperature stayed down I would be allowed to go the following morning. By this time I had, had enough. I was so fed up of staying in hospital and all I wanted was to go home and see my friends and family. I begged with the doctors to let me go home but they were adamant that I stayed in, so maybe that was for the best.

I finally got home on saturday after the cooks at the Marsden cooked me a full english, (which was lovely) I was shattered from the past week and I was fed up. I couldn't wait to get home, see my friends and family and enjoy my own bed! Much to my surprise once I was home, guess who turned up? My nan, who lives in Spain! She had come over to visit which was a brilliant surprise after such a horrible week! It was really nice to see her and spend some time with her.


I will write some more posts soon about my second journey to the Brompton as well as this week at the Royal Marsden. I hope to restart radiotherapy this week!

Thanks guys.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Apologies

Apologies to everyone for not posting recently and not posting about my radiotherapy, however, I do have a good reason! Last week I was having some issues with my breathing and so I had to get it checked out before I started day 4 of radiotherapy, it was confirmed that I had some fluid around my heart. 

There was a substantial amount and so I needed to get it drained and I was therefore, switched from the Royal Marsden to the Royal Brompton. I required an operation to get this fluid drained because if I left it, there would have been too much pressure on the heart and it would have soon stopped beating. So yes, I was going to have that operation without a doubt!

The operation took place whilst I was awake and boy was it painful! The whole thing was an unpleasant experience and I was fitted with a drain to the sack surrounding my heart which was full of this liquid. During the operation they extracted 600ml of fluid (so about two cans of coca cola) and the drain attracted to me extracted another 200ml approx. so in total around 800ml of fluid was surrounding my heart. That's a lot!

I was in hospital from Monday to Saturday morning and so this is why I have not posted. This is only a short and brief post on what went on last week but when I get to my laptop I will write a lengthier description of the past week and my experiences. 

Thanks guys

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Fitting back in

I don't know how it is for other cancer patients, but for me it feels weird coming to the end of my treatment, feeling almost well again and getting back to the things you used to do. 

I wouldn't compare myself to somebody in the armed forces, but I often hear about soldiers who have left the army and struggle to fit back into civilian life - this is how it sort of feels for me and possibly many others in my situation. It's weird. Very weird, because when you start getting better it's not obvious that you're ill, your hair starts coming back, you generally look healthier and most people don't notice that you have cancer. 

I went into town earlier today to get a bottle of water, when I walked into the shop the security things went off (please excuse me I don't know their proper name!). I was immediately stared at by everyone in the shop, the staff were shouting to the manager and she ran down an aisle towards me. This alone really ticked me off, I'm already very self conscious about the way I look as a result of my illness and all these people were staring at me as if I was a theif when I was totally innocent. 

Once the woman got to me she asked if I had sun cream in my bag and asked to see the code, but I said to her "I also have a port inside of me which sometimes goes off when I walk into shops" and she just ignored it and looked at me as if I was making up some excuse. Obviously not many people know what a port is or understand it unless they're a medical professional or have experienced cancer themselves or within family/friends so I understood her disbelief in a way. 

The thing that gets me though is it went off as I walked in to the shop, so how could I have stolen anything before I'd even got in there!? Whilst in the shop everyone still seemed weary of me and looked at me with disgust as if they were all high and mighty. I was quietly thinking to myself 'don't stand there looking down your noses and me and judging me, I'm a nice guy who's been through a lot - if only you knew half of it!'. I am not afraid to admit that I was angry and felt hugely disrespected. 

It just seems like now I am on the mend (hopefully) nobody knows what I have been through and I don't feel like a normal person anymore. I feel like an outsider and I have spent so long in and out of hospitals that it has become the norm to me. It feels comfortable being in the boxing gym and at home but when I enter a public place it just doesn't feel normal. Hopefully soon this will not be so and I will feel comfortable in public. 

Just before I finish I would like to clarify that my port does actually make the shop security alarms to go off, it has happened several times in several stores but this is the first time I've been confronted and accused of shoplifting. For anyone that knows me that's something I would never even consider. 

I know this is not a positive post, but I thought it would be beneficial for others to understand how I feel and through writing it's a good way to get things out and say things that I couldn't explain as well through speaking. 

Enjoy this nice weekend everyone. 

Take care!



Friday, 12 July 2013

Another extract from my Vision Book...


This is me, Tyler White. This is my quote. I am a cancer fighter and I'm a survivor, a victor, a Champion! 

This is me, standing at the highest peak in a place called Caesar's Camp - I often ran here before being diagnosed, it was never a real struggle - but on Tuesday 9th April 2013, the sixth day of my second cycle, I walked, ran and power walked my way up there and it wasn't easy, it was tough, but then... so is life!

This picture shows my optimism, my heart, my fighting spirit and my absolute refusal to give up! I have big dreams, I want to be a World Champion and this cruel disease will NOT stop me. 

NEVER!

"I will become Champion."


This sort of article I write in my vision book is something I use to help myself, it's not really designed for others to look at and it is for me in order to instil confidence and belief in myself throughout this tough journey. However, I thought I would share this with the world to help out those in a similar situation, as it may be something they wish to try in order to help them and boost their confidence and self belief. I would highly recommend this to anyone who is having a tough time or may have some issues with their own self confidence, because like they say 'nobody will believe in you, if you don't believe in yourself' - so start somewhere and do something like this or list all the good things about you, or if you can't think of anything get somebody else to!  

Radiotherapy Day 3

Day 3 of radiotherapy complete! 

Cruised through the process today and had my iPod plugged in to the docking station in the room - of course I had my Oasis playlist playing, which was great because I was visualising myself training again to the very same music I started out training to when I first began boxing at the end of 2009!

The process is now feeling pretty normal to me and I'm used to it, however, when I did my last breath-hold I had a slight feeling/pain in my chest. Just for a fraction of that last breath hold, so I'm not sure if that is a normal experience for other lymphoma patients or not, but I will bring it up with the radiographers before my next session on Monday. I have a feeling that this pain/feeling could be to do with the tumour itself, possibly reacting to the radiation and shrinking or it could perhaps be scar tissue beginning to form?

Of course I don't really have much of an idea as I'm no doctor, but I will definitely bring it up with the team on Monday and see what they think it is. I will keep everyone up to date with this issue too.

Other than that I felt good today and the whole process has become a lot easier and it is becoming quite routine. Also, managed to get some training in this morning before the session which involved some Fartlek (Swedish for speed play) style training, as well as some strength work. Definitely feeling much fitter and stronger than I did a month ago!

Hope everyone has a great weekend and enjoys the weather!!

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Radiotherapy Day 2

Second day of radiotherapy at it was a lot easier to handle, I now knew what was going to happen during the short session and understood the process. I also know that despite all this treatment I am going to achieve my dreams, so I was less worried than yesterday - this meant I was twitching and shaking almost 100% less too which was more beneficial for the radiotherapy.

For those of you who don't know during radiotherapy the usual process is: you lay down on a 'bed', with a mask moulded to the shape of your face, this is fitted onto your face and is bolted down to the bed, so you can't move your head. This is done to keep you still and to reduce the damage the radiation does to your healthy cells.Then, they line you up accordingly and fire the radiation at you and after a short while, that's you all done.

However, my tumour moves as I breathe, therefore, I have a different type of radiotherapy that is usually used with patients who have lung cancer. This type of radiotherapy involves ABC (Assisted Breathing Control) which involves me laying on that same sort of 'bed' however, there is no mask involved and instead I have to put in a mouthpiece (much like the mouth part of a snorkel) and a peg over my nose. I then put my arms up above my head and hold onto a bar, this bar is like the bar you get on a kids scooter, when I'm told to I squeeze a trigger on one of the handles on the bar, then when it's time I have to take a deep breath. When I take this deep breath there is a cut off point, this point shows that I have taken a big enough breath and I have to hold that breath for 20 seconds. This ABC machine stops me from breathing and after the 20 seconds is up (the radiologists/radiographers count you down from 20-0) I breathe normally until my breathing drops back down to its normal rate and then am asked to take another deep breath and repeat this process.

At the moment, for these first three sessions I have to repeat the process about 8-9 times, this is more than it usually would be because during my first 3 sessions I have to have scans before they start the actual radiation, however, after this I will probably only have to repeat the process about 6 times. When I am holding that deep breath, the machine moves around me in a circular motion, that is when the radiation machine is active and is firing me with these higher intensity X-Rays, as soon as I breathe normally the machine stops where it is and so the radiation also stops. The machine begins to move again and the radiation is fired again once I take another deep breath.

Today, when I was laying there holding my breath I was facing towards the ceiling and I could see my reflection, all I saw was me laying down, straight legs and hands raised above my head and I just thought "Hah, that's funny... I'm laying down in the position having life saving treatment, and I will be standing up in the same position one day holding a title belt above my head, not these handle bars." - then I began to stare at this reflection, visualising a world title belt in my hands and then reflecting back on this moment when I have achieved my dreams. It may sound really silly, but I think things like this are signs, so although I am laying in this position now when I am ill, I will be standing in this position when I have fully recovered, when I am at my strongest and fittest having achieved my main ambition. I thought that was pretty amazing. It encouraged me and made me really believe in myself.
Example of the position I lay in for radiotherapy

So, that's two sessions done. Fifteen left to go. One more session tomorrow and that is it for this week, then back to it on Monday for the full five days. I aim to write about each radiotherapy experience I have, even if they are similar because I think this could be beneficial for other people in my situation. I would also like to say, that anybody who is going to have radiotherapy, make sure that you tell your doctor that you want the least damage done to your healthy tissues as possible. I know that may sound stupid as doctors aim to get the best possible results with the lowest amount of damage, however, I explained my long term ambitions with my consultant as well as my concern for the damage the treatment may do to my lungs and heart and as a result, they have taken extra time and gone to extra effort in order to maximise the potential damage and have chosen the ABC breathing control treatment instead of the regular type because it was better for me as an individual (this does not mean that this type of radiotherapy would be ideal for you).

Thanks for reading,

Keep up to date with my blog for my next instalment on my journey with radiotherapy!


Tyler White - A.R.D. Training Camp Fighter




Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Radiotherapy Day 1 - Part 2

Just on the way back from my first radiotherapy session and it lasted 14 minutes, slightly longer than usual as they had to do some routine scans.

Well, what can I say? That session was probably one of the most horrifying moments of my life. It wasn't horrifying because of the machine or the sounds it made or anything like that, it was horrifying because I knew that this treatment would more than likely reduce my lung and heart efficiency/capacity because of where my tumour is. Yeah that probably sounds a bit of a weird thing to be 'horrified' of, but the truth is I was horrified of the effect this could have on me achieving my dreams. 

If you don't know already I am a boxer, it's my absolute love and passion. As a matter of fact, if it wasn't for boxing I wouldn't be coping half as well I am with this cancer diagnosis and treatment. Furthermore, my lifetime dream is to become a World Champion, and we all know that boxer's have some insane super human fitness levels (like I did this time last year!) and it scares me so much that this reduction in heart and lung efficiency/capacity will stop me from reaching and achieving my dreams. This is what horrifies me - that my dreams won't come true. 

However, I will bust my back to achieve my dreams and I know I will push myself the hardest I possibly can. I will get my fitness to the very best it can be - with the help of the terrific team at A.R.D. Training Camp - after all this is over; then the fitness which I lack, I will make up for with my boxing skills and heart. There's no way on this earth that I am going to give up. 

After a few sessions the nervousness I was feeling today, which was causing me to twitch,will begin to fade and the process will seem much easier. The nerves began to lessen when I tried some psychology exercises and this whole process is going to make my mind so much stronger as it is, because I will be conquering one of my fears (hospital scanners/machines) every day.
I will read this post before each session and re-assure myself that I will become a Champion.

I will not stop chasing this dream. I have worked too hard and overcome too much to give it up. 

I will achieve!

Remission, here I come!!!


Radiotherapy Day 1 - Part 1

Just travelling up to The Royal Marsden now for my radiotherapy treatment. This is my first day and first session. Today I will find out how many sessions I will be needing and after this week I will have to attend the hospital Mon - Fri for treatment. Originally the doctors estimated that I would need around 17 sessions which works out at something like 3 & 1/2 weeks of treatment. However, that will probably change today when I get to the hospital.

Just entering Sutton now, so expect me to be having treatment in about an hour or so's time. I will post about how the treatment went and how it felt after I have left the hospital. 

Thanks guys, time to kick some arse!

Exercising with cancer

Hi guys,

The following is an extract from my training diary for the training I completed today (10/07/13) - this is the sort of thing I will be posting in my 'Exercising with cancer' page, so be sure to check it out. There I will express my opinion on training during cancer treatment and I will also be posting my training sessions, showing you my gradual progression and the sorts of things I do.

I am not an expert in exercise or rehabilitation after cancer treatment, but I have experienced the disease and have trained with the disease both after and during treatment. I also have a keen interest in fitness and exercise and am also studying a Sports Exercise Science course at college, so I have a pretty good idea of what I'm doing! Not to mention, I practically lived in my boxing gym before my diagnosis so I have lots of ideas and experience. Please take a look and see what you think! :-)


Wednesday, 10th July 2013:
'I went for a run this morning at about 8am before the sun got too strong. I went down the path and back again, this time without a rest at the half way point. I really pushed myself and at some points I really picked up the pace. I was encouraging myself both in my head and out loud. I would shout random noises and words like 'strong', 'cancer' and 'come on' which worked and motivated me. I ran for the whole 1.05 miles without a rest, this is some definite progression for me because I ran 1 mile last week and it took me 13 minutes, today I ran 1.05 miles in just under 13 minutes. Very pleased with myself!

Once I got home I had a short rest and a bit of a stretch, then did 100 core exercises:
  • 20x seated crunches
  • 20x ankle wiggles
  • 20x crunches
  • 20x leg raises
  • 20x russian twists
Good morning session!'



Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Fancy a laugh?

If you want to laugh, be amused, be cheered up or you just want to smile, head over to Toni's YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCk0uX-Av6MeZEjRc4uBfISg/videos - she's a talented girl who's recently started up her own channel making some great videos. She's awesome, now go watch her videos!




My Journey Continues with Radiotherapy Tomorrow...



"No matter what life throws at me, I will keep moving forward, keep fighting and keep winning. I'm not someone who falls at the first hurdle!" 

I made this quote around this time last year, little did I know that that a year on I would have been diagnosed with cancer, had four cycles of chemotherapy and be about to start radiotherapy. So happy I thought of these words and decided to write them down, because I truly believe that I have stuck by the quote above and have kept moving forward and kept fighting and hopefully winning - as it says in the quote 'I'm not someone who falls at the first hurdle'. Bring on the radiotherapy for the next four weeks, time to kick the crap out of this tumour some more. 


WARRIOR!!!


Lance Armstrong

This man may have taken PED's, however, in my eyes he will always be a hero and an inspiration for battling and defeated cancer, but also for all his work with Livestrong.

An absolutely awesome Quote by an Inspiration.


Monday, 8 July 2013

My Visualisation on 06/06/13

Extract from Vision Book:

'Today after a light walk and stretch off, I sat down; relaxed and meditated whilst listening to the sound of a running waterfall. I focused on my breathing and soon found myself in deep visualisation:

Me and Dad sat on the side of a Pond similar to that in our old house in Roberts road, having a hug and talking to each other about how proud we are of one another and he was telling me how I am going to beat this and we looked at each other with proud tears and shared one more father, son hug. Dad then slowly faded away, I became a man and my little boy (named Paul after Dad) sat where my Dad had previously. I cuddled my little boy and cherished the moment, before telling him stories of his granddad and explaining just how great of a man he was.

Such a lovely moment: nice weather, dreams, memories, my dad and my future. My dream is to re-live this as most I can and one day create a pond in memory of my Dad.

I love and miss you Dad x'

Visualisation is a great way to make you feel better and to give you that extra bit of hope and positivity you may require. Give it a go!


Tyler White - A.R.D. Training Camp Fighter

This picture says a lot


The picture above is relative to my earlier posts about being positive. I will leave you to read the picture and understand it, but before that this is the way I interpret it:

  • 'someday everything will make perfect sense' = In the end, everything's going to be alright and everything will be worth it
  • 'so, for now, laugh at the confusion, smile through the tears' = keep positive and be happy throughout the bad times
  • 'keep reminding yourself that everything happens for a reason' = re-assure yourself that things will be alright and that (as the picture says) everything happens for a reason.

My Book...

Hi guys, I'm currently in the process of writing a book, it is basically about my life before I got diagnosed with cancer, all my treatment and my recovery (which I will write about after I have finished radiotherapy) and will include some ways I have dealt with having the disease. For those of you who don't know I have had some pretty eventful experiences growing up and I have quite a lot to talk about which a lot of people don't know about, even those who know me best!

Hopefully it will be good enough to get published and who knows maybe if it does and things go well then there could be some more books about my life after cancer, my boxing career, etc.
I will post some extracts from what I've written so far occasionally, just to get some feedback and see if there's anyway I could improve what I've written.

Keep visiting my blog and please let's your friends know about it too!


Tyler White - A.R.D. Training Camp Fighter

The Reality...

This post may upset some readers, but it is something which at the time I felt I needed to write. It is one of the 'articles' from my vision book.


The reality is, it is cancer. You may die. I don't care who you are or how positive and strong you are it will inevitably make you think about dying and yes I have thought about it.I have thought about it and it has made me realise just how special life is, just how important some people are and just how important it is to make the most of life and attempt to fulfil your dreams. The reality is in order to beat this disease and stay as happy as you can throughout the treatment, you need to first of all accept it (cancer itself and the fact that you sadly have it) then accept your mission: to defeat and destroy cancer. Next you have to tell yourself that you are going to win and that you are going to remain positive - there will be tough times, but remember...

"Tough times make Champions of us all."

I am a strong believer that in order to defeat this thing a strong mind is necessary. You cannot allow yourself to crumble or submit - by all means you can cry, scream; shout, but never give up. You can't give up and let this cruel disease take another life, fight it with all you've got.

"Death is a possibility, but never an option."

I know it's not easy, but you have got to stay positive, for the mum, dad, brother, sister, girlfriend, boyfriend, the kids - for YOU! If cancer can't get the better of your mind then it has less chance of getting the better of your body.


My name is Tyler White: Stage 2B Hodgkin's Lymphoma. I lost my hair, my muscles weakened, I put on a lot of weight, I couldn't walk and I lost my dad to the same cancer.
Does any of this stop me or discourage me?
Does any of this stop me from fighting?
No. It doesn't.
This is because I have set and focused all my energy and positivity into getting better and then going out there and chasing and achieving my dreams! 
If I have learnt anything it is to appreciate the decent, kind and caring people in your life and to make the most of the opportunities you get.
One of those opportunities is life itself.


Do something with your life, grow, learn, flourish and achieve. Don't waste the gift, that is: life.


The moral of this post is: throw away any negativity and make the most of your life.

Cross out NEGATIVITY



Tyler White - A.R.D. Training Camp Fighter

My Fourth Boxing Contest

My 4th Boxing bout (me in the blue)

Sunday, 7 July 2013

The Importance of your Mind

Hi all, this is a short post, all about your mindset and your mental strength. I feel that keeping a strong and positive mind has helped me an incredible amount during my treatment and it will continue to for the rest of my treatment and most importantly, the rest of my life. Read on for my thoughts, ideas and techniques...

As soon as you hear the dreaded words 'you have cancer' you immediately question whether you will live or die, I don't think anybody can think of anything else in that first instant. My instinctive answer to that question was 'you will live', I was determined to win this fight and winning was the only option, I didn't even consider losing. I thank my boxing training for this! In boxing you have to focus on boxing well and ultimately winning, you don't even consider defeat and this was the approach I took with my cancer, I saw it as another fight. A World title fight.

I have always tried to look on the positive side of things, I don't like negativity. Positivity and negativity are contagious, so as a result, it's best to surround yourself with people who think and act positively as opposed to people who act and think negatively - this way you will catch the positivity bug and too act and think positively. The positivity that you feel will make you happier and you will see the brighter side of things, that's why positivity is so important if you're battling a disease such as cancer, if you can think of your situation positively then the whole treatment process will feel like it's going faster and you will generally not feel as ill, whereas, if you were to dwell on your diagnosis and be depressed all the time then the treatment would feel as though it was going on forever and you are more likely to feel ill. Of course, nobody expects someone to be positive and happy all the time, everyone has their moments of negativity, but if you can keep positive as much as possible then you will see the benefits. 

Trust me on this one! This is coming from a cancer victim. Whenever I was feeling negative, it felt as if the treatment process was going on forever; I felt terrible about myself and was doubting myself. However, when I was thinking positively (99% of the time) the treatment felt as though it went by pretty fast and I knew that I was going to win this war and I re-enforced that several times in my head and on paper.

I have said it in my last post, but writing things down really helps me! I write in some of my books little messages to myself encouraging me and telling myself how good I'm doing, it may sound strange and as if I'm talking to myself, but so what? Talking and writing to myself has really helped me, if you can write down positive things to yourself that's just re-enforcing your positivity, this also goes for talking to yourself, if you're talking to yourself saying "You're going to smash this" then you're both re-enforcing positivity and what you want to do/achieve.



The picture above is me after a 2.5 mile walk up hills and over mixed terrain, during the first few days of my second cycle. I reached the lookout point and wanted to get a picture of me doing a pose like Rocky at the top of the steps in Philadelphia, after the photo was taken I thought it would look good edited with a quote that I made myself "My dreams, will become a reality - Cancer can't stop me." This quote and image together really made me believe in myself and showed myself and my friends/family that I was feeling positive and confident, this not only gave me confidence and filled me with positivity but it also did the same for the people who saw it.

Here are a few more quotes that I've made myself that encourage this strong mindset I am talking about:

  • "Strength is found during the worst of times, embrace that strength, learn from it - flourish and grow!"
  • "Chase your dreams, even if something holds you back, don't give up. Just keep chasing and chasing, don't lose hope of a dream for anything!"
  • "Stop moaning and start living!"
  • "Nothing will stop me achieving my dreams."
  • "No matter what life throws at me, I will keep moving forward, keep fighting and keep winning. I'm not someone who falls at the first hurdle."

These are just a few quotes I have thought up and I continue to create them. I hope this post has helped you to understand why a strong mindset is so important, what I speak about can be related to your own life and things like your work, family life etc. not just me and my cancer. 

"A positive mindset is a happy one" 


Tyler White - A.R.D. Training Camp Fighter

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Write things down. It helps!

As I've learnt over the past 6 months in my battle against cancer, writing things down helps! I'm not sure about you, but I personally tend to keep things bottled up inside, which isn't healthy. Therefore, I like to write things down. I keep several journals/books which I write what I call 'articles' in - I write articles about certain situations and about my feelings and opinions on things. This helps me get my feelings and emotions out in a positive way!

This isn't going to work for everyone but it's worth a try! You can write things down like your dreams and future ambitions and explain them, this could be done when you're feeling low and can make you so much happier and upbeat. I write these articles to make me feel happier and also just because I find it useful writing my feelings and opinions down as it helps me to understand myself, my views and I can compare this with other people's views or my view a few months later to see if it has changed.

All you need is a cheap book/notepad and a pen. Its a really worthwhile thing to do and well worth a go!


Aspiring Boxer, Hodgkin's Lymphoma and a Dream...

Hi guys, this is my first blog and also my first blog post.

I just thought I would share my story with you and if you find it interesting then you may want to follow my blog and read more about me and what's going on!


I am a 17 year old male, currently studying a Level 3 Extended BTEC Diploma in Sports Exercise Science and I am also fighting cancer, Hodgkin's Lymphoma to be more specific. I was diagnosed with cancer in February 2013 after a CT scan revealed a large tumour beneath my breast bone, the tumour was approximately 6 by 5 inches big. I began an intensive course of chemotherapy within a few weeks of the diagnosis and have now completed all four cycles required for my treatment. Scans taken after the completion of my second cycle revealed a shrinkage in the size of the tumour at that it was showing no/very little metabolic response (this is positive news), however, the lump had not quite shrunk enough and therefore, I am needing radiotherapy to try and shrink the tumour even more and to ensure that there are no active cancer cells.

I have recently finished my fourth cycle of chemotherapy and I am feeling much better, my radiotherapy is due to start on Wednesday 10th July and hopefully after that I will have won this battle and can return to my beloved boxing. I am an aspiring young boxer and have currently had four contests, winning all of them. My ambition is to become a Professional boxer within the near future and then reach my ultimate goal of becoming a World Champion. I haven't boxed since 29th September 2012 due to my disease and I will not fight any time soon because of how the chemotherapy has affected my body, but I am in the process of rebuilding myself and aim to be in the ring in around a years time.

This journey has not been at all easy and I never expected it to be, but it has been even harder for me to accept because my dad passed away from Hodgkin's Lymphoma four and a half years ago. However, I am confident that my fate will not be the same as my dad's and I WILL return to the ring and achieve my goals and dreams.



Please keep up to date with my blog if you want to hear more about my journey and my progress, writing is a passion and hobby of mine so I will be posting often.


Thanks,


Tyler White - A.R.D. Training Camp Fighter.