Huddersfield-born Nadio Granata is a chef turned marketing, PR and publishing guru who now lives on a house boat on the Thames. Earlier this year he was diagnosed with throat cancer. Every week he’s charting his cancer journey with a blog. WARNING: It’s gritty and the language could be industrial…

And so the day finally arrives. And when I say ‘finally’, please do not read into that any sense of complaint or angst at the speed in which I have received treatment. Hell no!

From discovering a small lump, similar in size and shape to my Adam’s Apple (should that be in capitals, it’s not an actual town or city lol)… just on my left of said apple, at the end of February to my first day of treatment, has been a whirlwind. Eighty-six days to be precise, including weekends. I’m too knackered to break this down but suffice to say it’s been quick and felt even quicker!

I’d also say this. I feel special. I feel like every time I walk into a hospital I’m wearing some sort of huge hat that says: “Make room for this guy. He goes before you. But do not envy him or patronise in any way or he’ll punch your face in. You have been warned!”

Seriously … the attention to every single need and enquiry has been f****** brilliant. Bearing in mind that this includes:

⁃ Change of GP due to my laziness in not updating my original GP records with my move to my boat;

⁃ Covid jabs in two different health authorities;

⁃ Covid tests (over a dozen, and still counting) in random places such as a car park overlooking Wormwood Scrubs prison and storage cupboards;

⁃ MRI scan, CAT scan, Ultrasound scans and other tests in at least three different London hospitals.

My mask

So, back to the radiotherapy session. I knew what to expect because I have already been in the Radiotherapy Department about three weeks ago to get my mask made.

This involved me laying on a bed, on my back (obvs!) feet trapped against a clamp and my head rested on a hard plastic chopping board type thingy.

I was then treated to three nurses placing this fluorescent green rubber-like sheet perforated with pencil point sized holes, across my face and shoulders. It was warmed to a temperature which made it malleable without burning the skin. Just.

What followed then was a cross between a facial and a pillow fight. Gently and with lots of explanations, each nurse expertly moulded the sheet into my ageing crevasses to form a perfect bust. So far, so good.

Next, if I remember correctly, the bust was removed for a couple of minutes whilst they kindly explained what was coming next. As someone who suffers mildly from claustrophobia, I guessed this was going to trump the MRI scan by a mile. I wasn’t wrong.

The now solid mask is placed back onto the face and shoulders and then bolted to the bed with four or six bolts (I tried my hardest not to count them).

The bed is then mechanically repositioned within the scanner which then digitally (obvs, Polaroids would be useless!) photographs the whole landscape whilst the radiotherapists record key anchor points.

The whole process takes about 40 minutes and my, how good did it feel when those clamps got released. Fooook that was tough!

Man in the mask and the tunnel

And, finally, to the first treatment session. Very similar to the above but without the need to make the mask.

I was told what to expect and though I’d already been through the worst part with the fitting, I’d forgotten how tight that mask fits against the face.

The nose is the first protrusion to be squeezed into place, then the lips and shoulders. My eyes could open, but only half way. I decided it was better not to look anyway.

A little pep talk, Beatles playlist turned up and the bolts fastened.






Waving my hands as advised, I halted proceedings.

“Sorry guys. I’d forgotten how tight this mother is. Let’s go again.”





“Wowzer (sic). I need to frame mesen (Yorkshire for ‘grow some balls’).

At this point the senior radiotherapist offered to move a spacer from the chopping board headpiece thereby giving a fraction more tolerance. To be honest, I wonder if this is true or it is a type of placebo technique. Anyway, full credit to her as this time we made it.

Some of the longest 20 minutes of my life later, the lead sealed door to the radiotherapy room was unlocked and beautiful tiny footsteps could be heard along with “Here comes the sun, dooba dooba. Here comes the sun. And it’s alright right now … doooba bedooba bedum.”








We’d made it. And I mean ‘WE’ because these girls made it happen. Their expertise gave me utter confidence in everything they do, it was my job just to man up and get on with it.

The thoughts that got me through it? In no particular order (the mind races when you are too lazy or stupid to stop it, note to self!);

⁃ This is doing me good;

⁃ I’ve got to be fit to see the birth of Luke and Lauren’s baby. How great will he/she be as a friend for Zadie;

⁃ Sorry for being an arse;

⁃ I hope I don’t forget that half-eaten tuna sandwich in my bag;

⁃ You’ve got a VERY SPECIAL wedding to attend in October, so sort yourself out;

⁃ I wish I’d asked Nicholas (my youngest) to meet me afterwards;

⁃ Can’t wait to see my old mate Brendan Robinson tomorrow;

⁃ How brave is Mandy Taylor;

⁃ “Remember to breathe” all my children at various times of gorgeous Zoom calls;

⁃ Images of baby Zadie, my first grandchild;

⁃ You’ve got to deliver a PowerPoint presentation tomorrow, so get a move on!

READ MORE: If you missed Nadio’s first blog it’s here

And to finish off …

I subsequently left the hospital, forgetting to collect my prescription at the pharmacy for some antibiotic cream to treat my slightly sore peg plus the anti-sickness tablet and other meds in case needed due to the chemotherapy session in the morning. I’m such a dope!

I then grabbed an electric bike and cycled the three miles along the Thames back to my boat in Chiswick Marina, whilst filming with one hand.

The movie sound quality is poor, but there’s some very funny moments.

I am writing this early morning the day after the treatments and apart from a slight hangover from the welcome home party, I feel fine.

Next session today at 16:48 but I expect it to be all done and dusted in 25 mins max. Then only 28 more to go (I promise not to blog about ALL of them!

READ MORE: Huddersfield ex-pat Brian Hayhurst writes a weekly column from Spain – catch up here