Day 179 is a mash up of the last 3 days and has seen 13.14 miles walked while climbing 906.84 feet, and 6.97 miles run while climbing 357.62 feet as well as 6 pull ups, 66 press-ups, 176 sit-ups completed while moving 5 kgs over 264 metres or 1320 kgs over a metre, but has also received today the most incredible news which has proven to me, in scientific black and white, just how effective my regime has been, no matter how unrelenting or even obsessive it has, at first glance, seemed.

I endured 18 months of brain focussed treatment which ravaged the mind and the body. Brain Surgery, a full 6 week course of radiotherapy and a year of chemotherapy delivered in 12 monthly cycles without a break. Hit the beast as hard as we can was the plan. I was thrilled when I got to the end of the treatment. My oncology team were expecting to have to pull me from the treatment, like so many before, at the 6 month point of chemotherapy. Instead I made it all the way to the end but at significant cost. The treatment hit the mind and body exceptionally hard and in those 18 months I am quite convinced that I aged in mind and body by 18 years.

My 5Fs strategy for beating the beast of a brain tumour in my right temporal lobe was simply Food, Physical Exercise (It sounds like an F!), Faith, Friends and Family and Focus. In practice this strategy has ensured that I deliver, 5 to 6 days a week:

1. A brisk 1 .5 to 2 mile walk followed by meditation on God’s word in morning prayer knitted around some cognitive and motor skill training on the pipe organ every morning.

2. Breakfast consuming 1 x Banana, 24 Blueberries, oat and seed based cereal, 2 x brazil nuts, 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed, all served with coconut milk followed by a wholemeal piece of seeded toast with butter and marmalade, washed down with a small glass of pure orange juice followed by an apple. All organic if at all possible.

3. A good and progressive physical training session consisting of a run, or a strength training session, or an aerobic cross training circuit, or a swim, or a weighted fast walk.

4. Lunch consisting of poached egg on toast (a tuna mayonnaise sandwich when on the hills) served with a bed of spinach, rocket and watercress salad chased down with 100g of raw carrots, 50g of raw tenderstem broccoli, 12 red grapes, 4 cherry tomatoes and 2 x brazil nuts again all organic if at all possible.

5. A brisk 1 .5 to 2 mile walk followed by meditation on God’s word in evening prayer knitted around some cognitive and motor skill training on the pipe organ every evening.

6. Tea consisting of a freshly cooked meal made entirely from fresh and raw ingredients ensuring I eat no more than 1 portion of red meat a week, white meat a couple of times a week, oily fish no more than once a week, white fish a couple of times a week and a vegetarian meal once a week and served with a good helping of a variety of vegetables including leeks, wherever I could, all washed down with a port glass of red wine followed by a yoghurt with a teaspoon of flaxseed, my daily allowance of turmeric supplement and a tangerine and 2 x brazil nuts and 4 squares of 85% dark chocolate, again all organic if at all possible.

7. A mug of green tea and a mug of three ginger tea including turmeric root and a mug of Horlicks each day, supplemented by a steady flow of water with a slice of lemon throughout the day whether in the gym, at my desk or on the hills.

On top of all this I would then try and deliver as much challenge focussed activity as I can but also try and spend quality time with the family and friends.

Today, in the David Lloyd gymnasium in Newhaven I was given the opportunity to have my overall health assessed through the very clever bodytrax system. I was nervous about what this clever system might reveal as it scanned me, weighed me, and flowed electricity through me. I was feeling good compared to many other days but the feeling of normality continued to elude me for some time. I just felt off kilter. I knew that I had clawed back many of those 18 years mentally but I still had a long way to go. So I was nervous.

The fitness instructor took me through the log-in procedure and then guided me through the assessment. It was very thorough but was remarkably quick and painless. It measured much which I list for you below because it proved to be a fascinating measure of some of the key indicators that I had been warned so very clearly about during my treatment, and if you feel that you might score poorly in any area then I would encourage you to look at your own routine and consider reflecting a similar routine to mine according to your capabilities and any allergies or constraints that you might have. The routine can be adapted to suit you. If you have no faith you can still meditate using meditation CDs that are widely available and will help you find an inner peace and an increased energy. If you are physically inactive, seek advice from your doctor but get started at a slow pace and on a short distance, even if it is only once a day but start and quite quickly you will notice that you can start to build up your speed, or distance, or weight used in strength resistance training. Just see what you can do. Get started and push your boundaries slowly and gently but do push for improvement. Be obsessive about physical exercise and about consuming 5 to 7 proper portions of fruit and vegetable a day. It is actually hard work to do honestly! Follow the NHS choices eating and exercise advice, obsessively and honestly 5 days a week, 4 weeks a month and you will start to see and feel an improvement in your physical and mental health and energy levels, but you have to be true to yourself.

There was no hiding in this test:

First it took my baseline measurements:

1. height,

2. weight,

3. Impedance (a measurement of the bodies fat composition through the passing of an electrical current through the body),

4. BMI (weight against height)

5. Fat-Free Mass (The total weight of the body minus the weight of fat measured in kilograms. This gives an indication of the water, bone, skin and internal organ combined weight. Fat-free mass refers to any body tissue that does not contain fat.)

Then it looked at my composition:

1. Muscle mass which includes the skeletal muscles, smooth muscles (such as cardiac and digestive muscles) and the water contained in these muscles.
Muscles play an important role as they act as an engine in consuming energy. As your muscle mass increase, your energy consumption increases which accelerates your BMR (see below) helping you reduce excess body fat levels and lose weight in a healthy way.

2. Water Mass. Water plays a vital role in many of the body’s processes and is found in every cell, tissue and organ. Maintaining a healthy total body water percentage will ensure the body functions efficiently and will reduce the risk of developing associated health problems.

3. Fat Mass. The actual weight of the fat in your body. Body fat is vital to your basic bodily functions such as regulating body temperature, storing vitamins, and cushioning joints. However, too much fat can also damage your health. Reducing excess body fat levels will reduce the risk of certain medical conditions including high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. I lost too much weight during treatment. I became almost skeletal but was now putting on weight so was concerned in this area.

4. Bone Mass. This indicates the amount of bone (bone mineral level, calcium or other minerals) in the body. Research has shown that exercise and the development of muscle tissue are related to stronger, healthier bones. While bone structure is unlikely to make noticeable changes in a short period, it is important that you develop and maintain healthy bones by having a balanced diet and plenty of exercise. I was warned as I started chemotherapy that a significant risk of prolonged periods of chemotherapy was osteoporosis. I did a quick bit of research and discovered that weight bearing exercises were a great way to try and prevent it so ensured, through chemo that I did strength training every day. Now, after treatment, I do it at least twice a week. More usually three times.

Then the test gave results from the measurements:

1. BMR: Your Basal Metabolic Rate is the minimum level of energy your body needs when at rest to function effectively including your respiratory and circulatory organs, neural system, liver, kidneys, and other organs. About 70% of calories consumed every day are used for your basal metabolism – I scored Green

2. BMR Score: This is a calculation which illustrates an individual body’s ability to burn the fuel it takes on board throughout the day. The higher the score, the more this can be expressed as that body’s ability to burn any calories or ‘fuel’ consumed – I scored a very light Green. My BMR was massively supressed during treatment which has allowed me to regain a healthy weight but then I needed to get it fired back up again through regular exercise and a good diet. So I am happy with a very light green but there is still room for improvement.

3. Muscle Score: This is a calculation which illustrates the amount of muscle in an individual body and expresses it as a numerical measure. The higher the score the higher the muscle content in that person’s body. Just amber – not too worried. A would like to get it to a light green but I really do not want to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger!

4. Visceral Fat Rating: This is the fat that is in the internal abdominal cavity, surrounding the vital organs in the trunk and abdominal area. Research shows that even if your weight and body fat remains constant, as you get older the distribution of fat changes, and is more likely to shift to the trunk area. Ensuring you have healthy levels of visceral fat may reduce the risk of certain diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and the onset of type 2 diabetes. Clearly really important and very reassuring because this is the fat that we cannot see but that can do the most damage. I scored Green.

5. Degree Of Obesity: This is the percentage between 1 and 100% that a person is away from their ‘ideal weight.’ I scored Green.

6. Now the big one. My Metabolic Age: This calculates your BMR and indicates the average age associated with that type of metabolism. If your BMR Age is higher than your actual age, it is an indication that you need to improve your metabolic rate.
Increased exercise will build healthy muscle tissue, which will improve your metabolic age. My metabolic age?

29!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

In other words, my unrelenting and obsessive regime has not only helped me to beat the beast, but has also helped to ensure that I have not only bought back those 18 physical years that I lost to treatment but has also helped ensure that I do not die as a result of another serious ailment triggered by the treatment. I have a physical age of 29.


Finally I would like to refer to my mental health. I struggled during treatment, of that there is no doubt, but having supportive family and friends, a strong faith and a focus of trying to help others through the challenge helped keep my chin above the water in that deep dark river of despair in which I found myself on several occasions.

Godmum Mel left me the following message on a post: ‘I have to say, Archie, that your feelings of temporary despair are felt by us ordinary mortals with difficult lives unconnected to brain tumours or cancer in general. You have such strength in adversity, with your faith and love of family and friends and of LIFE. You are an inspiration, probably more than you know, for us to fight our personal demons and beat our own Beasts. Xx

Godmum Mel I thank you for your unstinting support and sending me a message that lifted my spirits considerably. I am humbled by your kind comments and only hope that I can provide the hope, inspiration and encouragement to never give up, never ever give up to as many as I can for as long as ever I can.

Today’s post is long and scientific but has given me much food for thought while being hard scientific evidence of the success my regime had in extremely testing circumstances. I only hope that it will provide a light to follow in the development of improvements in your own routines and those of your family and friends and their family and friends etc etc etc in order to truly improve the lives and life chances of so many more people. Please do all that you can and as I asked in the posts on the 04th and the 06th of January to help me make some noise.

Yours aye