Tag Archives: Earls Court

Tears and No Sleep…..

imageBlack Wednesday continued to throw surprises into the evening and through the night.  Following a subdued meal Julie decided she would like to go for a walk into Earls Court Road.

Earls Court Road you may or may not know is very cosmopolitan, very busy and always bustling.  We walked to the junction where it joins the busy A4 and just lent on the barriers talking, mainly about our family.  A sharply dressed woman with a black pull along briefcase approached me and asked for directions.  “I’m sorry but I don’t know” I replied ” but those three guys will”. I directed her to three police officers.  She left us alone to continue our conversation.  A thought crossed my mind at that moment ” everyone you meet you meet for a purpose”.

“Let’s go to the Co-Op I fancy something nice to eat!” Julie broke my chain of thought. Something nice to eat from Julie is code for chocolate, Pringles or anything of that nature. “Come on then my sweet” I held her hand and off we went.  “You can get a bottle of wine to take back to our room, you look like you could do with a drink!” She insisted.

As we approached the Co-Op Julie spied a homeless (possibly) man and his dog sat in a corner “I’m going to buy him something to eat and get his dog some food” Julie announced.  There she was just hours after being given some devastating news and she was thinking of someone else’s plight. “Everyone you meet you meet for a purpose” That thought crossed my mind yet again!  “You go and get a bottle of wine” she ordered.

So, there I am stood aimlessly in front of the wine display trying to decide which to buy and an unshaven guy with a top knot is beside me filling up a green bag with bottles of wine!  He turned and headed towards the entrance.  “Obviously not going to pay for that!” I think and start to follow him.  He got to the door and I shout ” Hey you, yes you you thieving twat!” As he turns, “Yeah?” He looks me in the eye, as if daring me to make a move then gives me the finger! Red rag to a bull time, blatant thieving and taking the piss!!! For the second time that day I start running, chasing someone.  I lost him as he ran up Earls Court Road and disappeared in the crowd.  “Jesus, here I am nearly 60 and I’m chasing a thief and for the second time within a few hours running through the streets of London.  I’m too old for this s–t!” I think as I’m making my way back to Julie.

“Have you got your wine sweet?” She asks, I relayed the events of the last few minutes to her.  “That’s what I love about you, never a dull moment!” I picked up a bottle and collared the manager who was totally unconcerned with the loss of his stock, paid and Julie took her offering to the homeless man and his dog.

We left the hotel the following day after missing breakfast, Julie had had a good nights sleep, I, on the other hand dozed off and on, turning things over in my mind.

Following an uneventful trip back, we were picked up from the station by Leah, our eldest, who as soon as she saw her mum dissolved into tears.  Daddies always give their children a big hug when they are upset and this seemed to work this time, even though the news was the worst.

After getting back to ours and being bombarded with questions and theories from Nathan (this is his way of coping),  Trudie, Julie’s long time nurse friend arrived on a social visit.  “I want to talk to Trudie alone” Julie instructed.  Leah, Nathan and I adjourned to sit in the garden to wait for Hannah and the rest of our lovely family to arrive.  After Trudie had left and once I could speak to Julie alone, I asked her why she wanted to talk to Trudie on her own.  “I needed to ask her what is going to happen at the end” Julie replied.  At that moment I realised just how strong Julie is, facing the inevitability of life by looking at it straight in the eye.

There were many tears that day as my family struggled to come to terms with what is to happen at some stage, there were more tears the following day when visiting Julie’s mum and dad and there will be more in the future.   I have seen it as my duty as a husband and father to support all of my family in turn, they of course are concerned about me because I rarely show emotion.  My strength comes from knowing I have to care for Julie and I need to be there for everyone else in the family.

When people and family ask how do I cope I sum it up like this.  I would much rather it was I who had the disease, but it’s not.  I am glad it’s not Leah, Hannah, Nathan or one of their partners or one of our Grandchildren because that is not the natural order of things, parents aren’t meant to out live their children.  What is happening to us is life, losing people you love is part of life.   By continuing to live while we still have time we are still building more memories…….

To be continued..

Thanks for reading 🙂

 

Rebecca Ferdinand & Julie Atkins

Image result for rebecca ferdinandToday we’ve heard the terrible news Rebecca Ferdinand, pictured below with her husband Rio Ferdinand, lost her short battle with cancer.  So what has this got to do with Julie, my wife?  How are they both connected?  Here’s how.  Both Rebecca and Rio and  Julie and I both have three children.  Both Rebecca and Julie fought and in Julie’s case, is still fighting Cancer, albeit different types, but both just as deadly.  Both Rebecca was and Julie still is being treated for this life changing disease in The Royal Marsden Hospital in London.  photo(30)

The picture of Julie and I (left )was also taken before she was diagnosed and at that time we had no idea of the onslaught that was to engulf our family.

If anyone who has never been this situation tells you they know how it affects you, your family and your life in general, they don’t.  As Rio, Rebecca and their families have found out, one day you are going to work, speaking to each other normally, laughing, arguing and just living life as normal, then someone presses the button which says you have cancer.  When this happens, boy, your life changes.

It takes a little while to digest how this affects your life.  Julie and I both decided within hours how would tackle the situation.  She was told without me, at that stage when I was summoned to join her in the hospital where we  were only told “the fibroid” wasn’t a fibroid but a huge growth which (had been misdiagnosed) was cancer. We were told the diagnosing hospital couldn’t treat it successfully as they didn’t have the knowledge and duly referred to the Royal Marsden Hospital in Chelsea (below).  I say we because although Julie has the disease,  we fight it together. http://www.floydslaski.co.uk/images/RMH_big.jpg

When we first arrived at the Royal Marsden, we had no idea what news was about to be given to us, we had booked into a hotel, stopped on the way from Earls Court to Chelsea at a local wine bar for a drink because we were early before going into register and enter the packed outpatients waiting room.  Julie was called more or less on time or probably a little later and we were taken to an examination room.  A man, possibly about my age entered with a specialist nurse entered and introduced himself as Ian Judson, “Ian” it turned out is Professor Ian Judson, the softly spoken hehttp://www.sarcoma.org.uk/sarcomaukfile/upload/IanJudson.jpgad of the Sarcoma Unit and one of the foremost oncologists in the world! His specialist nurse, Alison Dunlop a straight spoken Glaswegian lady with a difficult job, supporting and imparting information to mainly but not always, incurrable patients.

Professor Judson sat on the bed dangling his legs, and started speaking. “After studying the scans sent by your hospital, It’s not the nodules in your lungs which are concerning me, I think we can deal with those relatively easily but the tumours on your liver.”  I didn’t want to ask the question,  before I could gather my wits and say anything Julie asked “So you’re saying I’ve got lung and liver cancer?” The professor went on to explain the type of cancer Julie has is a Uterine Leiomyosarcoma, a rare type of cancer which form in muscle tissue.  This he went on to explain had been dealt with but because it had been left too long had spread to the liver and lungs.  I could see Julie had been taken back so I started asking the questions.

Obviously we needed some sort of prognosis. “Until we’ve done our own scans, all I can tell you is that it is incurable.  We are very good at what we do here and have access to different and more radical drugs which other hospitals don’t have” Prof Judson continued.  ” He has a way of giving bad news without making it seem like a major disaster, in fact all of the staff at The Marsden are the same. “Alison will go through the details of the first treatment we’ll try which is Doxorubicin, if this doesn’t work we’ve plenty more in our armoury.”  Plenty more was said I’m sure but that is what stuck in my head.  We shook hands and the professor left.

Alison went onto explain the side effects of the drugs and how it would be administered then reiterated how this wasn’t the only drug to use, she also said as did Ian to go home and think about all that was said before making a decision as this was a lot to absorb.  You’re telling ME !!

We went back to the hotel, discussing this monster inside Julie and how to tell Leah, Hannah and Nathan, our three children and her mum and dad.  Prior to dinner that evening over a drink Julie said to me ” I’m not giving up without a fight, this fucker’s not taking me easily!”

I’m pretty sure Rebecca and Rio probably had a similar experience to us, this beacon of light, The Royal Marsden, gives all the same treatment and the staff never give up until all avenues are exhausted and even then they continue to give pallative care.  The Ferdinands and their families will have cried together, hugged and kissed each other, made vows to one another, unfortunatley Rebecca has lost her fight, it is up to Rio to be both mother and father to his three children as they grow up missing their mum.  Ours are all grown up but as a close family it’s no less painfull.

As I write this Julie is in bed recovering after another bout of chemo, feeling and being sick and sleeping while this, her third different drug in the last 12 months does it’s stuff, hopefully.  I don’t know how much time we have left together, after being with each other for 40 years and married for 35 of those, I guess we’ve been lucky so far.

My heart goes out not only to Rio, his children and family but also to all of the many cancer sufferers who have to deal with this disease because I know how you feel.

With cancer, you get up in the morning, it’s there, you close your eyes and wake up, it’s there, whatever you do every single second of every single day, it’s there, waiting like a dragon to sneak up and when it’s ready, to eat you.  The only way to live with this monster is to accept what it’s capable of and fight.  Sometimes you feel like you are winning, other times, you are backed into a corner.  If you are lucky, the dragon’s hunger stays satisfied.  Other times as in Rebecca’s case he sneaks up behind you and feeds.

To the Royal Marsden I say this, your work is invaluable, even if sometimes the results are negative, your attitude is always positive.  Keep up the good work!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Lethal Weapon 5

photo 1(8)Back to London today for Julie’s next scan in the middle of the day tomorrow, I’ve forgotten how brutal you have to be here just to be able to get around.  Victoria Station (picture left) was quite quiet today, but on the way from the platform I managed to run over at least one arrogant looking business man who looked me straight in the eye and refused to move.  Don’t try and play chicken with a man who doesn’t give a s****, you’ll lose every time, mister. My next encounter was with a very tall man, he seemed to deliberately try and walk over me, a shoulder barge dealt with him!  I might be only 5’8″ (the same height as Mel Gibson) but like the famous actor, without the looks, I am a force to be reckoned with when carrying a weapon.  Mel carries a glock, I wield an armour-plated suitcase.

The next obstacle is always getting on the tube.  The tube is always busy no matter what.  Today’s surprise, a bunch of our European cousins had tried to get through the barriers with suitcases big enough to carry a whole Harrods full of towels to the beach and guess what, one of then got stuck, causing an almighty jam. IMG_4580(1) I of course, as you can see,  prefer to carry the light machine gunners version, thus being able to nimbly slip past the enemy only to encounter more of the blighters at the bottom of the steps.  Yikes! Think quickly, ” Mind Your Backs!” I roar like a panzer tank at full speed,  worked though.

Onward up the platform only to encounter a bunch of people filling the area in front of me, here we go, “excuse me please” no reply or movement, two sets of hurty ankles then.  Ha Ha Ha.  Then I realise,  Julie is filming …..


Finally we get to Earls Court and the warm welcome at the Premier Innphoto(12).  The view is from the top floor,  generally we are on the other side of the building which overlooks the road but I think I prefer this, overlooking the tube and Earls Court Exhibition Centre.

Anyway I digress, Julie and I go out for a little lunch down on Earls Court Roadphoto 3(6) at the local Greggs.  I’m sat there drinking my coffee, Julie said she’d like to go to the local Boots, I usually go with her but she seems fit enough and off she trots, happy to be out on her own.  Twenty or so minutes later I spot her across the road and decide a picture would be in order.  No, I mean Noooo.  A bit of shopping in a London Boots and she’s turned into a diva.  Luckily,  I spotted the star trying to sneak across the road while hiding behind a bloke.  The arrow marks the spotphoto 1(9).  I caught up with the elusive Mrs Atkins however around the next bend, after taking a few shots then being made to only publish one of her choosing we, I mean she insisted I use this onephoto 3(5) She’s a tyke!!!! Here’s a couple more pics as you can see not a bad area to stay in.  Thanks for reading 🙂IMG_4585IMG_4586IMG_4584