In March 2016, I was diagnosed with inoperable, stage four throat cancer. My treatment began immediately, with intensive six-week courses of both chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

While successfully ridding me of the cancer growths, the treatment caused me to lose a lot of weight (something I desperately needed, but perhaps not 13 stones (182 pounds) in less than 12 months!) As you might imagine, this left me very weak indeed, a position which wasn’t helped when I was rushed into hospital with double pneumonia and sepsis a month later.

The radiotherapy also robbed me of the ability to both eat and speak. Now, over a year later, both tasks remain near impossible. I ‘feed’ myself by pouring nutrient-rish milkshakes down a tube that runs directly into my stomach, and I frequently have to resort to texting my wife on the other side of the room to make sure she understands what I’m trying to say.

I’m now also suffering from both lymphedema (swelling of the tongue and throat) and trismus (a form of lockjaw), both of which have slowed down my recuperation considerably. I am getting better, but it’s a looooong process.

Due to my poor health, I have been forced to close my events calendar for the foreseeable future and I’m unable to visit schools, libraries or festivals until my health improves.

My sincere apologies if you were hoping to book me for a visit any time soon.

When I am well enough again, I will resume my events. In the meantime, I’m putting together a package of creative writing tools and exercises that you can use in your classroom.

Watch this space for more details!

Coming soon…

 The complete story of my year-long battle with cancer.