The Path Ahead

This time next week I will be lying in a hospital bed

 I woke up this morning to a very wet cold day and the first thing I said was I am grateful for everything I have in my life, from my friends to my sport there is not a day I don't wake up and say Gratitude. However today had more meaning as this time next week I will be in surgery having the back of my head and neck cut open to remove the tumour. 


So what is in my thoughts today, FEAR is pretty high and I keep watching the clock go from hour to hour so fast. It has done this since I was diagnosed again. Time seams to go so fast and before you know it the day is over and we have maybe missed opportunities because we have been so wrapped up in the future or worried about the past. Today has taught me again that our relationship with time should be to live in the moment so we don't miss the beauty of the world we live in.


I watched the movie 50/50 this week, some may say not the best idea as it is about a young guy with a similar tumour to mine. It certainly hit a nerve and I cried but also laughed. It taught me how important it is to tell people around you that you love them and never take them for granted. I told my mum last night I loved her and that I know this is harder for her than it is for me. We both handle it well together but I know I cry in secret and I know she does.


I am fighting the fear with setting my goals, like looking down the road on any challenge, perception of the road ahead is the most important thing. I can not wait to stand at the top of Mount Ventoux one of the most famous climbs in the Tour De france in April, 6 months after surgery. 

Next week is just the same as standing at the bottom of any climb, there is a road to the top you just have to choose to take it then work for it. Through the dark times, there is always moments that take your breath away and thats why we have dreams and we should never stop fighting for them. 



Pain is temporary quitting lasts forever.

"The person who says they can't & the ones who say they can are usually correct"

Never has these two statements meant so much to me, as I lay here in my hospital bed exactly one week on from surgery tonight. The pain in my neck is unreal as I lay here writing this but I feel the luckiest guy alive. 


Last Tuesday morning at 7am I arrived at the hospital prepared both mentally and physically for this surgery. Not knowing what lay ahead I was very scared but holding it together. My parents were crying and as i tried to stay strong and treat it like a race or more relevant a fight. I sat there hood over my head thinking I was about to step onto the mat to fight for my life. I stood at the bottom of this road looking up the climb and telling myself this is like climbing any mountain in life, you can not fear it, but you must respect it and then fight it. You have to have a plan, you can not go in blind.


Then the curve ball, I am sat waiting to be taken and am told, "we have no beds and you might not be taken today, we are sorry".


You can imagine the impact here, I have been preparing for this date for weeks and now I might just have to leave and go home. The unknown.... The unknown is the most scariest place you can find yourself. 


Then Tom my surgeon arrived and waved at me then with a nice smile said lets go give you a sore neck.


From then on life moved in a different way than it has ever before, family scared as they listen to the risks of the surgery and as I signed the forms, I could feel there fear and worry. I had to stay strong. 


I gave them a hug and said see you on the other side, for me this was hard, I held back my tears just as i felt both of them cry in my arms. I was very scared, nervous and could have falling to my knees crying but I had to hold it together not just for me but them.


Then the walk down to surgery and onto the bed in Anaesthesia,  I lay there watching all the tubes go in and went into my meditation routine that I have practised everyday. This was it the next time I open my eyes I will know my future, or maybe I will never open them again, thats the thing with surgery. The risks are high.


I remember coming round and feeling very calm and in a very nice place, I could move my legs, I was very happy and emotional but just told myself to keep breathing and allow body to recovery. Over 5 hours of waiting for family in the hospital must have been horrid for them, the not knowing and the panic, I can only imaging how hard this day was for them.


After few hours I was back on the ward and spent two days pretty out of it and in so much pain. I could move my legs and my lungs were OK. I was very grateful for this. 


The next few days are hard ones as I could not sleep with the pain, the reality of what has happened sinks in along with what your left with. This is when you can defeat yourself, this is the hard part where your left with your mind and its thoughts all day and night, there is no hiding.


I set small goals everyday and before I knew it I was standing, then walking and today managed the stairs.


Two things happened just before I closed my eyes last Tuesday before having my neck cut open, I seen myself on the podium in Rio and I got this overwhelming sense of positive energy from all the people who have thought and prayed for me. I have never felt anything like this in my life but I could feel it and for that I than each and everyone of you who have thought about me over this time. Your all very special to me.


I think back to my last post and thinking about that climb in life we all have, our own battles are all relative and how we spend our time each day is so important, today I watched the guy next to be diagnosed and told his options, I lay there with empathy and smiled at him across the room. I could feel his hurt. We are all human and we all hurt but we have got to fight to keep our dreams alive. It is OK to cry and be scared, but you have to then be strong and fight in this life.


I have so many people to thank for your support over this week, and I hope I can make you all proud to be my friend and in my life, my mum has gone through hell this week but has sat at my bed every night helping in anyway she can, I can feel how hard it is for her and she holds back her tears every night. 

She gets up each morning to receive my juice delivery from Will, Georgie, Ian and the team at Juice Well in Soho London who have been amazing and sent me a whole supply of fresh pressed juices each day from London to Oxford. I can 100% say this has been the biggest help in my recovery and can not put into words what it means to have them go out there way to do this everyday for me. I am drinking 8kg of veg juices a day and my heart rate is down to 34bpm resting, and all bloods show no sign of surgery at all. in fact some readings are better than normal. The only thing is the PAIN and not having much function in my arms. 


Laughing is always good and especially in dark times, some nice visits from good friends always provides that and I have enough fruit and veg to last till I go home to Aviemore after Jaco my cycling team mate stopped in the other night. 


As I log off now for the night I feel a tear run down my face of joy and look forward to the battle of rehab over the next months.


david smith