James as he looks today

James as he looks today

About Me
Where do I start? I’m 44, a Jersey Bean and I’ve lived here all my life, except for a few years here and there travelling around the world.

I’ve always enjoyed keeping myself fit. I love surfing and my life used to follow the tides. Then children came, along with responsibilities. I still surfed but also wanted to try something different. So, I got into triathlons. I did my first one back in 2014 and then kept it going, slowly getting fitter each year.


The Beginning

My story begins in 2019. I was fitter than I had ever been. The Jersey triathlon was on Sunday 16th June that year and about 10 days prior, I had a sudden pain in my testicles. I didn’t think much of it but hoped it would go away before race day. It got worse, to the point that I couldn’t touch them. The night before the race the pain had eased enough for me to have a feel around, and bang, there was a hard lump in the right one. I thought, don’t worry about it now, get some sleep, do the race and go to the doctors on Monday. The race went well, with a bit of discomfort on the bike but I got a Personal Best.

GP & Urology

Monday at the doctors. The doctor was unsure but put me on antibiotics because it could have been an infection. To be on the safe side though he wanted me to go for an ultrasound. I went private and had it done 3 days later. The Sonographer was also unsure. So, I was sent to see the Urologist at Overdale a few weeks later. Within 5 minutes of being in the room, with one look at my ultrasound and a quick feel he said it’s coming out.

I remember having this smirk on my face, just thinking he’s having a laugh. Then the conversation turned to cancer and percentages and all I’m thinking about is, how am I going to tell my parents, what about work, when is the surgery?

Diagnosis & Surgery

I had gone to the appointment with my wife and our 3-year-old son, not realising what news we were going to be told.

July 12th (my daughters’ birthday). Surgery day!

I don’t think I was in surgery for long, but I now had 6-8 weeks recovery and the wait to find out if the lump was cancerous or not.

A phone call in August from the Urologist confirmed that it was cancerous. The type was germ cell.

Staging The Cancer

I was then referred to a specialist in Southampton. I can still remember that first time sitting in C3 in the waiting room with all these people, either waiting for results or waiting to go through for their treatment. Never did I think I would be returning to the same waiting area for the next 4 months.

The specialist, Dr Wheater, was brilliant. He didn’t mess around and gave me a few options. We can leave it and see what happens or we can do a PET CT scan where they inject you with radioactive glucose. Cancer cells love glucose and because they are radioactive, they show up a certain colour on the scan. I asked him “What would you do?” he said have the scan. Two days later I returned for the scan and then had to come back again for the results two day after.

James starting chemotherapy

James starting chemotherapy

The Plan (& the amendments!)

When I walked in his office, I could see the computer screen and there on the screen I could see this blob of yellow. I knew straight away that it had spread somewhere. Again, in his straight to the point way he said it’s spread to your lymph nodes, we need to start chemo straight away.

The plan was for me to come back in a few days and start BEP chemotherapy. 3 cycles (each cycle being 3 weeks) of 3 days in Southampton then returning home to have small amounts on the two consecutive weeks. I had a blood test before I left to check my markers.

The next day I was called to say that one of my markers was high. This meant that they wanted to change my chemotherapy to 4 cycles (3 weeks per cycle) and 5 days of intense chemo in Southampton then home for 2 weeks for small doses.

The Whirlwind & Support

It all happened so fast that I barely had time to think about it. My wife came with me each time to keep me company and look after me.

It was about this time that I was told about Jersey Cancer Relief. So, I got in touch with them and they paid me a visit. The lady was so nice and understanding and said they could help with some money towards my wife’s flights. I think it was about £1000 in the end. I am planning a charity event at some point to hopefully raise some money for them to say thank you.


The first cycle was administered on a ward because there was no room in the day release section. By the 3rd day I was starting to feel sick and felt like I had a hangover from hell. When I arrived back in Jersey, I felt awful. It took me a week to start feeling better and then by the time the third week had finished I felt almost normal. But then it was back to Southampton to start it all again. When the third cycle was in full flow, I felt horrendous, I was green, had so much nausea and just wanted to sleep all the time. I’d had enough.

James' chemo-induced hair loss

James' chemo-induced hair loss

Treatment Days

BEP Chemotherapy consists of three different types of chemotherapy. My day would start with the nurse trying to find a vein. Then I had a 500ml bag of saline for starters, then a 500ml bag of chemo, followed by a bag of saline, then chemo, saline, chemo and finally for dessert a nice bag of saline to flush out my veins. This took between 6-8hrs every day and I would pee about every 20 minutes, then snooze, pee and so on. By the end of the day my feet were huge with so much water retention, I had to take water tablets to make me pee even more.

James' post-chemo curls

James' post-chemo curls

The Joys of Chemo

Every evening I had to inject my stomach to stop any clotting. On a Sunday evening after returning on the Friday night, I had massive chest pains and couldn’t sleep. I woke my wife and said call an ambulance. The pain was so intense. They gave me some liquid paracetamol as the morphine went in and came straight back up again. This took the edge off it. They took me to A&E and kept me in until about 4pm. They did all sorts of scans and heart checks, but it was a build-up of white blood cells caused by the injections that created the pains. I was glad to get home.

After the fourth cycle it was recuperation time. Time to start getting stronger and getting myself back to normal. It took longer than I thought it would.

James and Movember

James and Movember

1-Year On

It’s hard to put into words how I reacted to it all and how I got through the weeks of chemo. My wife was there with me the whole way and I loved coming home to the kids after each week in Southampton. I lived on cheese on toast, this was my saviour, but it had to be sliced cheese not grated. I still get flash backs and I can walk into shops which remind me of Southampton, and I find myself getting real bad nausea. I have clothes that I can’t wear because they have such strong ties with that moment in my life.

I made it through and feel very grateful for all the help I had and how nice all the doctors and nurses were and still are when I go for my check-ups. I’m still clear and have 3 years left of check-ups to go. It’s impossible not to get a little anxious each time I go for the results but once done it is a relief.


June 2019


July 2019

  • Orchidectomy


August ???2019