Saturday, 18 October 2008


As a Martial Artist i push myself and live with aches and pains. I ran my own business on top of an `engineering career. I would exhaust myself but be able to get back to training.

A couple of years ago we went in February to Thailand for a holiday and it was as if we'd run into a brick wall and suddenly stopped. Caz, my partner in life, and i were exhausted. When i came back i was sick with a bronchial infection that wouldn't clear.

After this i noticed a big deterioration in my recovery and i put it down to turning 45. I started training less, too tired to and yet i could always lift myself for seminars or going to LA to train at Guro Inosanto's Instructors camps.

Signs started to appear that i ignored but in 2008 i traveled to Brazil on work. At night i went to train in BJJ at the Carlson Gracie Academy but i was exhausted and my ankles were swollen.

A couple of months later, after a stressful time at work thanks to a Manager who ended up being sacked partially due to his behaviour towards me and many others, i went to LA to train and on to Houston on business. Again my ankles swelled and while i felt great in LA i cut down the number of hours i trained. When i got Houston i was not well and put it down to hayfever from the pollen on the trees.

Back home i was exhausted and my ankles were swollen. Over the past 18 months i had felt a pain occasionally when i was rolling on the ground in my side. Could it be Kidney stones or DVT? I went to colon cleansing and that reduced the bloating i had been suffering from, in fact i dropped a trouser size with that and felt better.

I went to the DR, something i wasn't used to doing and they took blood. My results showed high sugars so i did a fast and went back again. Was i diabetic?

No i wasn't, phew! But there were liver results slightly abnormal so i went to get an ultrasound.

I was just about to walk Kali my dog and i received a phone call from my doctor. It was cold, matter of fact. You have a Tumour on your Liver. My world collapsed while i struggled to hold it up. My mum and dad had died from cancer and now me. I walked the dog devastated but that act initself pulled me together and i knew this disease would not have me.

It took about a week or so before i talked with Caz. I went back to the DR but id seen the spot on the ultrasound and i'd had the Dr's call so i understood. She had referred me to the hospital and i just had to wait there.

She assured me that it wasn't related to my parents separate cancers.

The reality of the situation is that i was an angry young man, i may go into that later or not at all. However i turned that anger into a teenage rebellion that saw me extreme in everything i did. I grew up on the football terraces, i got into music when punk hit the scene and i partied every which way i could. My body then told me to stop and at the same time - around 21 years of age - my mum died. That week i started running and soon after took up martial arts and changed my life.

The shadow of that time was left on my liver and thanks to my good living since im healthy everywhere else so i will beat it.

So i go to the Dr at Woodend Hospital who takes more blood and x rays. Now its important to establish whether this is Primary or secondary. Primary is good as its therefore no where else. Secondary and we are fighting on different fronts. its about this time i start to feel more exhausted and i have pain in my side going upto the shoulder blade. I seem to have Liver failure at times and im short in breath. A week later i get a CT scan.

Around this time i sent a mail to Greg Nelson. I know of Greg and whilst i trained once with him i have dvds of him and several instructors are good friends of his. He had cancer twice and beat it both. I wrote about 5 emails and deleted the first four. Eventually i sent it. A few days later i got a response that has encourage me to do this blog. His help and attitude has already made a difference. He encouraged me to eat for energy and so i started protein shakes. Steve Riley had traveled over from Australia to see his dad before he died of cancer. Before leaving he gave me an oat based protein mix that has been wonderful.

Suddenly my energy has gone sky high. Caz recommended milk thistle and i haven't used pain killers for over three weeks. I have held pads for fighters getting ready and taught with much more energy.

After two weeks i go to see the surgeon at ARI (Aberdeen Royal Infirmary). im there at 12 but dont get seen till 1.45pm. Then the surgeon has to leave to go to theatre. Before that he tells me about whats there but taking it from a worst case scenario. No i say, im going to be alright. More tests to come.

Im in on the Thursday and get MRI, heart tests, blood tests and to see the anesthetist. Its a long day but im told that ill be in Sunday night for surgery monday am.

i tell work, i tell mates and work colleagues. Calls come in from the US and Australia, mails from New Zealand etc. Tremendous support from friends. Thanks, i need every ounce of strength and IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE. I pack up on Friday at work and leave. Im tired.

the phone rings. The operation is delayed for a week. Im devastated, its a body punch that floors me. I crack from the hard exterior i put on. I speak with the surgeon who still awaits results. His logic is sound, i am comforted and recover.

So another week to go. Ill watch the UFC tonight elated after Chelsea's 5-0 win without thinking of my sunday trip to ARI.. From now on you will read daily-ish updates

my mantra is greg's: I may have had cancer but cancer won't have me. No surrender!


Rannoch Donald said...


You are a fighter through and through. I know you will have a bunch of good folks in your corner. I'll be thinking of you tonite as the UFC kicks off.

Putting your thoughts online is braver and more generous than you know.

The gloves are off.

All the best Rannoch

Ray Wilson said...

As strong as ever - very positive and influencial. Here, here Rannoch, A fighter through and through - perfect statement.
Low blows and the ref steps in, chance for you to suck it up and come back fighting Pat, do it!
During these times, your energy when teaching proves your life long passion Pat. Great energy, great man - I`m in your corner.

Ben Randall said...


A fascinating read,thankyou for sharing it with us. You are a true inspiration to us all. I will always be standing by your side.


p.s another fluke result by Chelsea lol:-}

Heather Kerr said...


You're an amazing guy with immense strength and courage. We respect you, look up to you and will always be there with you. You will win this fight. A problem shared is a problem halved; you have helped all of us with our problems and been there with encouragement, support and to crack the whip when we slack off! We all depend on each other and will be with you every step of the way.


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