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Award-Winning TV Chef Who Lost His Sense Of Taste To Incurable Cancer Reveals That He Has 12 Months To Live

Tim and his family (PA Real Life)

Tim Bilton was at the height of his career, planning to open his second restaurant and appearing on shows including the BBC's Great British Menu, when he was first diagnosed with melanoma, a type of skin cancer, in his eye in March 2013.

The award-winning TV chef was on the cusp of receiving a Michelin star when cancer treatment cruelly robbed him of his sense of taste, has revealed the devastating news that the disease has returned – giving him just 12 months to live.


Supported by his wife and their children Henry and Charlie, Tim fought it a second time when the melanoma returned in 2015, with treatment cruelly robbing him of his sense of taste.

Tim following an operation to remove a tumour on the left side of his face (PA Real Life/collect)
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After being clear for nearly three years, Tim felt confident he had beaten it, only to discover cancer in his left leg and kidney in December which is at stage four and incurable.

Now focusing on keeping things as normal as possible for their children has regained 80 per cent of his taste, is continuing to work as a chef despite having to give up his restaurants.

“I'd noticed it had grown bigger, but Tim didn't actually go to the doctor for that – he went about four weeks later after pulling his back and asked them to take a look at it," Adele said. Describing how in March 2013 she first discovered an unusual red blister on the white of her husband's eye.

Tim having immunotherapy treatment (PA Real Life/collect)

“Within hours I'd had a call from the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield saying he needed to go to their eye unit immediately," she said. "We were in a huge panic. Everything was a bit of a whirlwind, because at that stage we were also in the process of opening a new fine dining restaurant in Hepworth. He had a biopsy and within days he had the cancer diagnosis. He had a tumor which was diagnosed as melanoma on the white of his eye."


Tim and Henry and Charlie (PA Real Life/collect)

The news was a terrible blow for the chef, who was flying high in 2007 just buying The Butcher's Arms in Hepworth, which he had transformed into an award-winning restaurant,

“My vision was fine because it was on the white of my eye rather than the retina," Tim said. “Surgeons removed the tumor and 30 to 40 per cent of the white of my eye, which they then re-stitched with a baby's placenta.


Tim and Adele (PA Real Life/collect)

“I'd always thought cancer wouldn't happen to me so my attitude was that they'd removed the tumor and I'd carry on as normal. The next day I was back to getting the restaurant ready," Tim continued.

Refusing to curb his ambition, Tim opened a new venture, The Spiced Pear in June 2013.

By the time his melanoma was first discovered, Tim was excelling professionally with two appearances on the BBC's Great British Menu under his belt and a Michelin star within his grasp.

Adele with Henry and Charlie (PA Real Life/collect)

But 18 months after his initial diagnosis he found a hard lump on the left side of his face and his consultant at Sheffield's Royal Hallamshire Hospital confirmed in August 2015 that the melanoma had returned – leading to an eight hour operation to remove the lump, half his saliva glands and some lymph nodes.

“There's no other way to describe it – I looked like the elephant man," Tim said.

Six grueling weeks of intense radiotherapy followed, with him having to travel for two hours every day for treatment, while Adele tried to keep the restaurants ticking over.

“It was like putting my head into a microwave. The first couple of weeks were okay but between week three and seven it was horrendous," Tim recalled. “My mouth was covered in ulcers. I couldn't swallow. Speaking became impossible. I lost 100 per cent of my taste. Everything I tried had the taste and texture of cardboard."

“It's like being a carpenter, wood is your tool," he continued. "And, for me being a chef my mouth is my tool, so not being able to use it was absolutely devastating."

Tim undergoing an MRI in 2015 (PA Real Life/collect)

Unable to eat and struggling to get out of bed some days, he relied on high calorie supplements from the hospital for nutrition, but became extremely dehydrated, so doctors treated him with a feeding tube.

“I thought, 'I'm a chef and that's not going to happen.' I knew I had to do something and I thought about how much I had to live for – my beautiful wife and children – and that made me more determined. I'd been given a second chance," Tim said. “I was eating pureed food and slowly introducing lumps. It took four months from my operation to being able to eat properly."


Tim shaved his head after his hair started to fall out following treatment in 2015 (PA Real Life/collect)

“It was very hard, because we had The Spiced Bear and a Michelin star was my ultimate goal, but I knew I had to concentrate on myself and my health. Knowing I might not taste again and being so close to achieving so much was very tough," he said.

Gradually, Tim's sense of taste came back, with the turning point being a holiday in Padstow, when he ate scallops with lime, chili and coriander at the Prawn on the Lawn restaurant.

“It was the first time my taste returned, when I tasted lime and coriander. I actually started crying. I couldn't believe it. It was an emotional moment and a turning point," he said.

Tim shaved his head after his hair started to fall out (PA Real Life/collect)

Having sold his first restaurant in 2013 to concentrate on The Spiced Pear Tim then took the decision to sell up again in June 2016 to concentrate on his health. Tim spent a few months recovering from the physical and emotional impact of the radiotherapy.

Then in July 2016, determined to continue in the profession he loved, he was offered a job at a local tourist attraction, Cannon Hall Farm near Barnsley, where he still works today.

“Tim's life had changed and he was no longer in the big chef world, but he was really happy and just wanted me and the boys to be okay," Adele said.

Tim with the mask used for the radiotherapy (PA Real Life/collect)

“He was cancer free and was returning to the hospital for check ups every six months, with everything looking fine," she continued. “But it was Christmas last year that he started to get a pain in his knee which he put down to an old footballing injury. It got worse and in January he went to his GP who sent him for some scans. We had no idea it would be linked to cancer."

Tim recalled being phoned by his doctor, who told him there was a tumor in his left knee, running down his leg.

“It was like a steam train had come and knocked me sideways," Tim said.

A further biopsy at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham in April confirmed the original melanoma had spread to the bones in his legs and later his kidney. At stage four, it was incurable.

Tim and Henry and Charlie (PA Real Life/collect)

Under the care of Weston Park Hospital in Sheffield, Tim is now receiving dual immunotherapy treatment, which activates the immune system to attack the cancer cells, but this can only prolong his life and not offer a cure and has led to inflammation of the liver.

“It was completely heart-breaking news. This cancer is such an aggressive thing and moves so quickly," Adele said. “Tim's reaction was, 'Cut off my leg,' but by the time they'd done that, it could have spread somewhere else."


Tim following the operation on his eye (PA Real Life/collect)

“We don't know if the immunotherapy will work, but without it he was given 12 months," she continued. While they have been honest with their children about the prognosis, Tim said they are now trying to live as normally as possible.

“You can do what you want in our house but there's one rule we live by and that is we don't lie to each other. We've been completely open and honest with the boys," Tim said.

Tim having immunotherapy treatment (PA Real Life/collect)

“They know their dad will be fighting this until his last breath," he added. “We're being as normal as possible. I'm not sitting in a rocking chair at home saying, 'Why me?' I'm still going to work and taking the boys to football and cricket."

In the meantime, Tim has a wish list, which includes taking Adele and their boys to New York, where they celebrated their honeymoon, and seeing his sons lead his beloved Leeds United on the pitch as mascots.

Tim with Henry and Charlie (PA Real Life/collect)

Having hidden away during his second diagnosis, he has also set up a blog to update people on his progress, stressing the importance of sharing and communicating his experience.

Tim has been overwhelmed by his family and friends' support – receiving well wishes from celebrity chefs, too, including Raymond Blanc and Tom Kerridge.

“The blog allows me to update everyone on what's happening and I've actually found it very therapeutic," Tim said. "I always wanted to help other men and let them know it's okay to speak out. Now people are not phoning us asking for updates, they can just read that. People won't come and ask how I am now but will come up and give me a cuddle."

To follow Tim's blog visit https://onaknifeedge.home.blog/ and to donate visit https://www.gofundme.com/msw8x-making-memories

We're all self-conscious about something, and it doesn't help when our faults get thrown in our faces. You don't want doctors hinting that something is "weird down there," nor do you want someone to tell you you're balding. WE KNOW.

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When you know your kids backwards and forwards, this is the best tool in your arsenal.

Getting our kids to listen to us is not always the easiest of tasks. They're willful and stubborn, but we've got a mighty weapon they are rarely prepared for: reverse psychology. Getting them to convince themselves to want to do something against their own initial intentions takes some work and a whole lot of creativity, but a little sneaky manipulation goes a long way. Here are some clever parents' tricks that are definitely worth taking notes on.

Redditor u/LeanderD Asks:

Parents of reddit, what's your best example of reversed psychology on your kids that actually worked?

He Floated His Idea Through A Back Channel

Giphy

Wanted to name my boat. Anything I would think of was dismissed as stupid by my 13 year old son. After deciding on a name, I confided to a male friend my son liked. Made my friend suggest the name as though it was his idea. My son thought the name was perfect. Done.

calypsodweller

We Always Want What We Can't Have

One of my best friends through childhood used to be punished with no salad if she misbehaved. She cherishes salad now and would always try to eat as much as possible during school lunch. Coincidentally, her now husband used to be punished with no books, it had the same effect. I think it's hilarious that they'd be hitting the salad bar and library like some black market their narc parents couldn't reach hahaha.

cookiearthquake

A Deceit That's A Cut Above The Rest

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Don't know if this counts, but, at my high school (private, boys only) in the 1960's, they made a big deal about how long your hair was, and would occasionally order a boy to go home and "get a haircut".

I thought it was stupid, until years later, a master confided to me at a reunion that the policy was deliberate. The school figured we'd spend so much energy rebelling about hair length, that we would ignore other aspects of teenage rebellion. (Not?) Surprisingly, they were mostly right.

FrankDrakman

Damn! That's smart. Wow.

fangxx456

Oh they don't like long hair?

I'll show them. I'll grow my hair out as lon- what?! No I don't want to go "party"? I gotta try out this horse shampoo.

DankeyKang11

The Forbidden Book

Hi I was a victim,

There was a forbidden book that I was not allow to read on the shelf. My parents said I could only read it if I behave myself.

It was summer holidays and I was playing games all day (after 6 hrs of summer homework). One day I was home alone and had the opportunity to grabbed it. I read like half of it in one go. It was 5000 years of Chinese history.

Safe to say I was bamboozled.

oddstodd

Flowers Of The Queen

My parents always told me my broccoli were the flowers of the queen and that I really shouldn't eat them, or else the queen would get very upset! I, of course, ate the whole broccoli in a few seconds.

Subwoofy

I'm telling the queen and she's gonna be pissed

draculacletus

Sleeping Beauty

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I taught my kids when they were toddlers that no amount of yelling, shaking or hitting can wake a sleeping adult. The only thing that works is a gentle hug and/or a nice kiss on the cheek.

Edit: Probably needed some more details for the reverse psychology aspect to be clear. It went something like this - Step one, tell the kids I'm going to sleep and nothing they do will wake me (head buried face down is the safest position). Step two, after the initial onslaught dies down pretend to awaken on your own. Tell them you got a bit of nap left in you and nothing can wake you, especially not hugs and kisses.

DrMethusael

Holy sh*t...if my daughter woke me up like this I would buy her a pony.

All-Seeing_Elon

I am saving this comment because this will save lives if I ever have kids, stg.

smerter

A Walk In Someone Else's Shoes.

Split custody with my ex. When my son was around 10, he visited two weekends a month. I was waiting tables and didn't have a huge amount to spend, but he was so needy from divorce (and I'm not blaming him, it was ugly), he begged constantly for MORE when he was with me. Whatever more was, it didn't matter... he'd be eating ice cream cone and begging for teriyaki.

I finally realized that he just felt empty, and getting MORE whatever from me wasn't filling him up. His next visit I handed him $100 in cash and told him it was our food/fun budget for 3 days and two nights, and he was in charge of it. I bought him his own wallet to carry. We figured out how many times we were going to eat and what we were going to do, and he paid. He got to keep whatever money he had left...thought he was rich...then realized just how much everything cost. Well. Shoe on other foot then. If we had no money for food, we ate leftovers - and I didn't contribute more to pot. After a few weekends of running short or not getting something he actually wanted because he was foolish with funds, he started to really think about how to spend that money. He budgeted and kept to his budget. And a few times he actually went home with a little cash for his private stash.

Many years later, he thanked me for this. It really changed the way he thought about money and love.

Augumenti

This Is Worth Giving A Shot

Took my 3 year old son to one of those doctor's visits where he was going to get a shot. He was worried about the shot on the whole drive over, almost to the point of tears. We get to the doctor's office and a nurse subtly lets me know that my son is not just scheduled for 1 shot, but 5 of them in the same visit.

I turn to my son with an exaggerated smile and tell him, "Good news! They figured out how to take that one big shot you were going to get and instead break it up into these 5 little tiny shots so it won't hurt nearly as much!"

You could see the relief wash over his face. He stopped squirming and relaxed completely. He took the first shot and even smiled and said "It's true! The small ones don't hurt!"

We actually made it through the third shot before the effect wore off and reality kicked in. Still... I counted it as a victory.

blackbird77

Put This To The Taste

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My mom would tell me she only lets me eat soup after candy and she'd only buy me candy that i didn't like. After a few times, i stopped trying and begged her to let me eat soup first. She gave me a smirk and told me go ahead. This doesn't sound as evil as it was. But trust me i suffered.

turkeypr0

So what was the candy?

Poster_Main

Mint chocolate, raisins, stuff like that. I still hate them to this day. Who the f--- thought while eating chocolate "hmm id like some tooth paste with this."

turkeypr0

This is Truckin' Awesome

Mum had sworn a bit around the house.

When 4, while out at the supermarket, I said F word really loudly.

Very quickly and intently, she asked if I had just said "Truck" and said that was a bad word and not to ever say Truck like that again.

I thought that was the bad word so used that when being naughty.

GodOfTheThunder

The "Silly Mom" Routine

The "Silly Mom" routine.

My kid, and a few other kids I've known, would balk at getting ready to go. I'd grab their clothes and say, "Well, if you won't put on your clothes, I guess I'll put on your clothes. Cute shirt, by the way! Does it go on my foot?"

NO!

"Does it go on my head?"

NO! IT GOES ON ME!

"Oh, that's right, thanks! So, it must go on your legs, right?"

NO!

"I just can't figure this out! Where does this adorable shirt go?"

[kid grabs shirt and puts it on] ON MY TUMMY! SILLY MOM!

"Oh, thank you so much! Now what about these pants? Shirts go on tummies, so...the pants go on the tummy, too, right?"

NO!

[continue until kids have dressed themselves]

I would also do things like hand the kid my keys and say, "Alright, you're driving, I'll sit in the booster seat in back," attempt to feed the kid by putting a spoon up to his ear or his belly button, and attempt to put away his toys in the refrigerator.

insertcaffeine

Some Foot For Thought.

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My mum would always yell at us "if you don't do X, you have to go to bed without socks!"

I never wore socks anyway, and I'm ashamed to admit that this worked.

Splittsky

That would work really well on my son, or make him cry for a really long time... He's 3 and over the last few weeks has decided that he is fully unable to sleep without socks on.

PJQueen

Toddlers man. Completely unpredictable.

SheaRVA

I'm Greens With Envy

My mum had a friend that would put vegetables on her own plate and not the kids.

When the kids asked she would be reluctant to share, "that's grown up food. But I suppose I can let you have a little."

Her kids grew up loving vegetables.

I sat at the dinner table for 3 hours staring at the yucky cauliflower I refused to eat.

laik72

This reminds me of an instance when my child convinced my wife and myself to change our plans for dinner. We were in a grocery store to pick up something quick and easy to eat that we wouldn't have to prepare. Our daughter, wanted none of that, she demanded that she wanted a salad from the salad bar. We started to argue back, but then realized: "Our child demands that we feed her vegetables for dinner instead of a microwaved meal, why are we saying 'No?'"

We had salad for dinner that night.

Galaxy_Ranger_Bob

The Power Of Choice

I don't so much know if you would call it reverse psychology, but I didn't realize it until my dad told me this.

When there were chores that needed doing, he noticed if he asked me to mow the lawn, I would complain and procrastinate. But if he asked would I rather mow the lawn or wash the windows, I'd pick one and just get it done.

Shattered my brain when he told me when I was in my twenties. I use it when I'm coaching or baby sitting all the time and it almost never fails.

AppealToReason16

The Boy Who Cried 'Ouch'

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I've done this one with tens of kids. Any time a kid gets "hurt" (falls down on grass, gets gently hit in the face with a ball, etc.) instead of stopping the activity to pick the kid up and see if they're ok you just scoot them off to the side and resume. Within 10 seconds of not getting all the attention and seeing the fun is resuming they pop right back up and are magically healed.

This of course is only for the "injuries" that aren't actually injuries.

pedanticProgramer

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