Double the Disease

Well add a third if you count my kidney failure

So I’m in hospital In Macclesfield this is my first set of fits since Jan. But when I do I go for it, we had been down to see my Dad who himself was recovering from an eye operation. It’s not just what they’d taken off the eye, it’s what they had taken off the back of his scalp to replace what was on his eye and it really shook my Dad up , so I was really glad I went down.

Bergin SNR post op

So this is going to be the most difficult blog I’m ever going to write. Since the late 80’s I’ve been a regular drinker, 3 or 4 times a week. Then when in 1995 I moved to Oddbins the wine merchants I stepped it up, it was the culture of the organisation. We would have a drink most days, close at 10 then run down The Rose in Allerton (actually the real Penny Lane) and do a couple.

So far so what young professionals do in their twenties.

Then a move to London where the drinking culture was even worse here, especially when I became an area manager. We once went on an Oddbins 4 day trip to carcassone and didn’t complete a single meeting

So with thoughts of having a family and without heeding the advice of the pet shop boys, there followed a move back up North. Whilst no longer still working in wine or hospitality, I was still doing the regular office and mates working followed by social drinking.

Years later when I moved to Didsbury to work at University as Head of Catering we discovered a great local community nearby. At this stage I still thought I was in control. Okay, I did occasionally fall asleep on the toilet

Joe at 18 getting his Dad a drink

So increasingly and all together I just drank too much, but it was yet to take over.

Then my glioblastoma diagnosis was given. A glioblastoma 4 is an incurable form of brain tumour and this happened during the first lockdown and then the following happened

12 hours of surgery later
A bit grim

Now most peoples nature would be to become healthier. Eat well, stop drinking. I decided to go the other way. I had to retire and we moved from Didsbury in Manchester to Bollington for a variety of reasons including financial. I cashed in pensions and threw myself into raising funds and awareness for brain tumour research, about 40k to date as well as supporting individuals and families with poorly children. I’m in the rare but not unique position of having a GBM, but also my Wife’s son died of another brain illness 3 years ago, my stepson. Never say you know how you must feel to a Mum that’s lost a child, unless you have, you don’t.

Start of the C2C for brain tumour research
We made it

Once you get involved in the Brain Tumour community, sadly, the inevitable happens, and those you make friendships and connections with continue to die.

Look at the ages apart from my family Laura very much still giving it some

Then just after Christmas 2021 my drinking started to get out of hand. This is a long winded way round to say I’d become dependent on it, an alcoholic.

This was not going to end well. There is no doubt my last bout of fits was triggered by alcohol. As well as being in hospital for brain related epilepsy, I was on a drying out ward

This is difficult for me to say as it’s been so much of my life, but like many functioning alcoholics, which I’ve possibly been for years, something is going to finally find you out. In my case a terminal brain diagnosis. Now my first instinct was to think ‘fuck it’ I’m going to die anyway. But that’s when I’m blessed to have great family and friends. Things they noticed that I didn’t.

I woke up fancying a drink . I started to hide my wine bottles in next doors recycling. I was taking bottles of wine to bed. I was ordering a glass of wine whilst paying the bill / Jen going to the toilet. I couldn’t cook without a bottle, I was struggling to get on the bike. The drink had taken over it and it was damaging my relationships as I’d get angry with family and friends when challenged

So whilst I’d suggest better ways to face the problem than having several epileptic fits whilst your wife is driving….it’s actually made me face the truth. My eldest Joe had a visit with me in hospital we went to the cafe. He’s 20 now at the end he said Dad it’s been great to have this chat and have you here and coherent. We may not have as long as we’d like together because of the cancer but let’s make the most of the time we do have.

So as I said the toughest blog I’ve ever done for a few years, people in our community have been very kind complimenting me on my BTR stuff , little knowing that it’s not always been great for Jen, the family and closest friends.

I will be working with some local agencies .I’ve got a great close knit support, and know I need everyone’s Awareness while I’m in a social situation without an alcoholic drink, and if you ever see me waiver just tap me on the shoulder.

So that’s it I’m an alcoholic 5 days dry and I’m doing a day at a time.

Cancer diagnosis can truly have more impact than its inevitable side affects

Thank you to all in advance and mostly for all that you have had to put up.


6 thoughts on “Double the Disease

  1. Bloody fantastic Liam!!! With this determination and the support of experts and your wonderful family, you’ll definitely turn your life round. All the very best. from Don and Anne Picken xx


  2. Fair play to you you Liam for your honesty and integrity. I have the utmost respect for you on your journey. 🥰🥰


  3. It takes a lot to admit to having a problem but that’s the first step to beating it. We’ve never met but you sound an amazing person and have helped a lot of people with your fundraising. Btw you are totally correct when you say NEVER say you know how you feel to a bereaved parent if you’re not one cos you don’t . I’m with you all the way and if Jack if all hearts can help you in any way you know just where we are . Just a call or a message away . It would actually be nice to meet you . Wishing you all the best 👍👏


  4. Wow Liam. Such an honest and open blog. Incredibly brave of you. I salute you.
    I feel blessed that, to this point, my life has been simple and easy and am now very conscious of how easy it has been for me and that I should spend more time thinking about the challenges o the face.
    Good luck.


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