an Oh Myyy Property

Man Shares How He Credits Yoga In Helping Him Beat Cancer Through Chemotherapy And Immunotherapy

PA Real Life

A “cancer Viking" claims to have beaten the disease by “battling its dark forces" with yoga and aggressive exercise, in the spirit of the feared Norse pirates – running a half-marathon during chemotherapy.

Diagnosed with grey zone lymphoma, a rare and aggressive cancer of the immune system, in October 2016, recruitment manager Tom Harper, 32, from Peckham, south east London was at one point given just a 15 per cent chance of survival.

Claiming the cancer “robbed him" of 18 months of his life, Tom, who doctors discovered had tumors all over his body, including an orange-sized growth on his lung, said: “When something like that happens, you have two options – you either die or you fight it."

Tom pictured on the day he was diagnosed with cancer in October 2016 (

Collect/PA Real Life)

He continued: “I just developed this blind and dogged determination. In my mind I started to think of myself as a 'cancer Viking,' battling against the ethereal and dark forces of cancer."

A keen martial artist since childhood, Tom was committed to doing as much physical activity as possible, even during “intensive and grueling" treatment despite concerns expressed by medical professionals and exercise coaches.

Yoga became his salvation, helping him to cope with the devastating effects of both the cancer and the chemotherapy, which caused him to lose all his hair, except for his beard.

Tom's Viking beard (Collect/PA Real Life)

“All my body hair fell out apart from the hair on my face. That's where I got the Viking idea from," said Tom, who is single.

“I thought, 'If I can't grow any other hair, I'm going to grow the only part I can as much as possible!'"

“Pushing my body with yoga and exercise benefited me enormously."

Tom weight training during his treatment (Collect/PA Real Life)

He added: “I felt like no matter what they threw at me with the treatment, I would be able to take it."

Tom first realized something was wrong in February 2016, when he developed lingering pains in his back.

Tom during one of the worst periods of his treatment

(Collect/PA Real Life)

But when he started losing to opponents he would normally beat hands down, Tom suspected his aches and pains could be more serious.

Repeated trips to the GP proved inconclusive, but all the while Tom was becoming weaker and weaker.

“I would get these night sweats and wake up in the middle of the night with my sheets utterly drenched," he recalled.

Tom in London Bridge Hospital (Collect/PA Real Life)

“I started becoming sick more and more frequently. At first, I told myself it was food poisoning, but it started happening so often that it became increasingly clear that something was really wrong."

And in October 2016, after 13 visits to the doctor, Tom's worst fears were confirmed when a large lump was found in his neck, leading to a diagnosis of lymphoma.

Prescribed six rounds of chemotherapy at the private London Bridge Hospital, where his treatment was covered by medical insurance, doctors hoped to blitz the tumors that were soon in all parts of his body – the biggest being a 5.11-inch wide growth on his lung.

Tom during one of the worst periods of his treatment

(Collect/PA Real Life)

Despite the intensive treatment, Tom vowed to maintain his fitness and complete an hour and a half yoga session every day.

“One of the best pieces of advice I was given, was from a doctor who said, 'If you act like a patient, you'll become a patient,'' he said.

“So, I tried to be as active as possible. Every day I'd get up, have a shower and go for a walk."

Tom having completed the Hackney half-marathon (Collect/PA Real Life)

He added: “I didn't want to be lying in bed and letting the cancer bring me down. I wanted to be up and at it and feeling like I was doing something to fight it off."

Amazingly, in January 2017, when Tom was at his worst, he completed a 30 day yoga challenge, performing the stretching and deep breathing discipline each day despite having just had five months of powerful chemo.

“It helped to build up my mental resilience," explained Tom.

Tom's Viking beard (Collect/PA Real Life)

“I would meditate regularly, also repeating mantras about healing and strength over and over in my head."

“The words would wash over and relax me. It was like having a cool, damp cloth wiped over your forehead."

But to Tom's horror, a scan in April 2017, following six bouts of chemotherapy, revealed that all his efforts had been in vain, as the tumors had not shrunk at all.

Tom lost all of his body hair, including his beard, during immunotherapy

(Collect/PA Real Life)

“At that point, it was the stage where they begin saying that they will try to make you as comfortable as possible," he recalled.

“But I thought, 'No, I'm not just going to slip away. I'm going to keep going until I beat it.'"

As his chemotherapy had failed, in April 2017 doctors put Tom on a 12-month course of immunotherapy, a radical form of cancer treatment that targets the enzymes on the tumors.

Claiming this was the worst period of all his treatment, Tom said his physical appearance changed drastically and he even lost the Viking beard that he had so cherished.

Now entirely bald and with a deathly white palor, Tom, “looking like a ghost", sought support from the charity Look Good Feel Better, which helps people to manage the visible side effects of cancer.

“There aren't many places where men can discuss cancer," explained Tom.

Tom back at work in March of this year (Collect/PA Real Life)

“Men tend to be more buttoned up about these things than women and it was fantastic to find a group where I was able to discuss my treatment and the effect it was having on me."

Thankfully, Tom's $17,336.00-per-dose immunotherapy, which was again covered by his insurance, began to work and, after 14 bouts he was declared cancer free.

And, after his grueling physical regime had given him so much physical and mental strength throughout his ordeal, he decided to run the Hackney half-marathon around North East London in May this year.

Tom on holiday in Greece during his treatment (Collect/PA Real Life)

“Everyone thought I was mad to do it, and obviously I was very carefully monitored throughout," he said.

“It was also pretty tough, as essentially I had just one lung after the cancer pretty much wiped out the other one and, throughout the run, it felt like someone was stabbing me in the back with a knife."

“But I managed it all the same."

Tom at a wedding in California in August 2018 (Collect/PA Real Life)

Tom has now returned to work and also volunteers for Look Good Feel Better and for Lymphoma Action – after his half-marathon raised $5,778 for them,

Continuing with his yoga and daily meditation, he is slowly getting his life back after a year and a half of thinking each day could be his last.

“I don't sweat about the small stuff anymore," he said.

Tom at a wedding in California in August 2018 (Collect/PA Real Life)

“Knowing you could be dead at any moment for 18 months really focuses your mind on what's important. Now I feel much more uninhibited and happily express my feelings, making sure my family and friends know I love them."

Sarah Porch, head of information and support services at cancer charity Bloodwise, said: “Although we know that staying active may help people with blood cancer, particularly with managing fatigue, there's no evidence that any particular exercise program can improve your condition or how you respond to treatment.

“It's important to talk to your doctor about an appropriate level of exercise if you've been diagnosed with blood cancer."

A version of this article originally appeared on Press Association.

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.

Keep reading... Show less
Fox News, @hewster1369/Twitter

A guest on Fox News is being roasted online after his unusual description of how one would get high on marijuana.

Keep reading... Show less

Hmmmm, I don't think THAT'S your essay....

Keep reading... Show less

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


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.


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.


A Deceit That's A Cut Above The Rest


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.


Damn! That's smart. Wow.


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.


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.


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.


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


Sleeping Beauty


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.


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


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


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.


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.


Put This To The Taste


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.


So what was the candy?


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."


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.


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?"


"Does it go on my head?"


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


"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?"


[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.


Some Foot For Thought.


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.


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.


Toddlers man. Completely unpredictable.


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.


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.


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.


The Boy Who Cried 'Ouch'


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.


Kelly Sullivan/Getty Images

The internet has been dominated this week with talk of Sony and Disney splitting over their agreement to have Spider-man in Marvel's Cinematic Universe.

After Deadline reported that negotiations had broken down in the contract renewal, everyone has had hot takes on the situation.

Keep reading... Show less

Reddit user cuddlethrowawayy found himself in an awkward situation recently when his in-laws and wife chastised him for cuddling with his 15-year-old daughter while the family watched a movie.

On the famous subreddit "Am I The A**hole?" he told the entire story in a viral post entitled "AITA for telling my wife and in-laws to f*** off after they told me to stop cuddling my daughter?

Keep reading... Show less