Friday, 27 October 2017

Wobbly walker

I know it’s been a while since I posted anything. So much has happened since then. I just haven’t been able to focus long enough to write things down. What I CAN tell you is that most of it is positive and I promise I’ll fill you in soon.

I can tell you that I've set up a Facebook page along with the blog -where I'll share these blog posts but also do some Q@A Facebook lives with specialists and professionals. So do join me on my page.

Today, more than anything I wanted to share Phil’s story with you. His dizziness started following treatment for Cancer. His story is below, in his words.

Phil Johnson

For me the problems started not long after I started radiotherapy and as I thought the radiotherapy was going to kill me, being a ‘wobbly walker’ was small beer! I underwent 33 consecutive sessions of radiotherapy & virtually ten weeks on the settee recovering from the horrendous treatment that it is. Once I got upright again I used to totter off to the post-box some 80yds away. I was slow, my God I was slow but I kept veering off to the right, people all giving me funny looks as if they thought I was drunk in the middle of the day! Horrible.
I used to ‘walk’ on the right hand side of the path so that I could brush against garden hedges and ‘touch walk along the 3ft high wooden fences – until one day I completely forgot that some fool had removed his fence so as to get his car out and not put it back in place. Bang, me on floor and in his garden feeling completely stupid and the usual gaggle of idiot children laughing at me. Enough was enough-back to the hospital to see what the hell was going on.
Now get ready for the bombshell. The radiotherapy has caused my eyes NOT TO BALANCE properly (vestibular something or other”). Yes I did endless ocular exercises but they didn’t get me anywhere really and I found that I was 500% safer by simply using a walking stick. That bit of wood was a new lease of life to me I can tell you and it brought home the total truth of that saying, “not all disabilities are visible”. Well I have two of those now as my neck stoma is always covered and my walking stick disguises my ‘wobbly walking’.
The funny thing now is that although I am slow & deliberate, people look at me as if to say “you’re a fraud, you don’t need a walking stick”. Perhaps they might change their opinion if I ended up in their front garden! I find this situation deplorable as 10yrs ago I would be galloping about here, there & everywhere but now, after cancer, chemotherapy & radiotherapy I am a shadow of the man that was…..but I am still here! As a ‘wobbly walker’ I have got used to funny looks and simply accept that people move to the side so as, not to avoid me, but to allow me free passage as they obviously realise I am troubled with walking.
I think that although the radiotherapy was a must as I had throat cancer, thus massive surgery to be rid of it, the radiotherapy side effects were, at times, horrendous. For instance, all the skin was burnt off my neck, I could hardly swallow, taste or smell and I could only totter around the house by holding onto furniture, door handles and my darling wife. I was determined to go outside but I found that our garden (147ft long) was like walking to the end of Southend Pier! The hospital gave me a strong walking stick and taught me to concentrate on climbing 3 steps, then 4, then 6 etc. That gave me confidence to use the stick outside for I’d felt like a geriatric old fool up to that point but I realised that this was now the new me.
I now also have COPD which restricts me even more but seven years past that awful surgery and I am just what I am, a cancer survivor and a ‘wobbly walker’, except that now I don’t care what people think for I know that there are very few that have gone through what I have gone through & even less would ever want to! I’m a proud ‘wobbly walker’ these days for we are whatever we are!

Phil runs the 2020 voice cancer charity in Leicester and they always have things going on that you can get involved in, so if you want to find out more
We will speak again soon. As always comments , thoughts or your reaction to my posts are always welcome.

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