- What makes you laugh or smile?
The banter with the guys in my local pub
- What inspires you in life?
That’s a hard question. I suppose what inspires us changes at difference points in our lives. When I was a child a couple of role models – my grandfather and an ex RAF PE teacher inspired me to work hard, and after that there were people in my career who inspired me. Then at age 57 I was diagnosed with lung cancer. Anyone who knows the figures knows that I had 4 or 5% chance of surviving ten years. That was in 2004! So I know it’s a cliché but my inspiration now is being glad to be alive and trying to make sure I enjoy my time.
- If you ever wake up feeling low what do you do to revive your sparkle?
I’m lucky that it’s rare but if I do feel low I force myself to go out, sitting at home doesn’t help.
- What is your favourite secret health-recipe?
It’s a long answer so bear with me. I used to be fit and active right up until I was diagnosed, I was lucky, we caught it early, it was operable and they threw the kitchen sink’s worth of chemo at me because I was fit enough to take it. In the middle of the chemo I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Roughly a year later I had a stent fitted, happily before I actually had a heart attack, and since then the list goes on and on ….too numerous and boring to mention, most of which were treated with a plethora of tablets but some, like swollen feet and quite a bit of pain in my limbs went untreated. It was when we were seriously thinking of buying a mobility scooter I succumbed to my wife’s nagging to see Tone. I came to the conclusion that I didn’t want to give up and simply accept the inevitably downward path. I’m pleased with the changes that I’ve made, each of which has been a mini health recipe (see below) but my best advice is that it’s never too late to make a change, and that the changes need not be huge, even small changes make a difference which gives you the motivation to make more.
- How do you relax?
I read and enjoy going to the pub.
- What is your favourite book?
1984 by George Orwell. Currently it’s anything by my two favourite authors of historical novels – Conn Iggulden and Bernard Cornwall.
- What is your best quote?
Oscar Wilde (and others apparently) ‘no good deed goes unpunished’. I’m afraid you don’t get to my age without being a little cynical, and it’s depressing how often this quote is appropriate. I say to my wife – get involved if you want to and it feels right to do so but don’t do it for thanks.
- What would you do all over again?
Get married, although don’t tell my wife I said that!
- What do you think has helped you to be fit and healthy today?
I wouldn’t say I’m fit and healthy yet; it’s a work in progress. So here are my little changes: I was overweight, and have lost a stone since I started see Tone – still a way to go. I’ve reduced my carb intake, try to eat within a 12 hour window, added fruit and chia seeds to my porridge, and drink kefir milk. I eat three meals a day; before it was a bit hit and miss, and do a healthy meal plan for the week (but only including things that we enjoy) which stops us grabbing the nearest convenient, less healthy meal. Without going into too much detail (!) my digestion has really improved too. Tone is helping with the pain and my limbs are not so ‘heavy’ which makes walking easier and I’m no longer using my walking stick – so I walk more and further than before, the clinic’s podiatrist suggested I change my shoes which means I have much more support when I walk which helps too. Tone suggested my wife massage my feet and legs every day and my feet are no longer swollen. I now drink 2 litres of water a day. I still go to the pub (Tone suggested I ask for a pint of water instead of cider – I’d never have lived that one down!) but I’ve cut down how much I drink when I’m there and reduced the amount I drink at home. Diabetic medication makes it harder to lose weight. I’m on the maximum dose of tablets for my diabetes and have to inject insulin at night but now I’ve gradually been reducing my insulin amount as my blood sugar levels are falling. As you can see, all these improvements are interrelated – eating better, losing weight, sorting out my frame and pain, reducing my medication, getting more exercise …..
- What advice would you have told your younger self?
My one regret is that I ever smoked, not just because of the obvious: lung cancer losing half a lung, but because I also have COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) which impacts my breathing. Tone is working on opening up my chest but my lung capacity will always be impaired. So I’d say not to smoke but whether my younger self would have listened to an old guy of 71 is another matter of course!
Thank you so very much for your kind support and for being such an inspiration to us.