This post first appeared on Nottingham Post. Read the original article.
A karate teacher who overcame cancer has posted a picture on social media showing his "unprecedented" comeback from the disease.
James Wells, 28, a semi-professional karate fighter, won his battle with leukaemia following a stem cell transplant in 2011, after spending 286 days in hospital from 2010 to 2011.
Mr Wells, of West Bridgford, was told by doctors after the operation he had lost ten percent of his lung capacity and he could not train for six months.
But Mr Wells says he was in the gym six days later as he started on the road to recovery, going to the gym to train, lift weights and run.
He has recently posted two pictures on Facebook – one of him before the transplant and one after – and said doctors have since told him his recovery has been "unprecedented".
(Image: Victory Visuals)
He says in the original photo he weighed 96kg with around 40 percent body fat – and he now weighs around 92kg with 12-14 percent body fat and is the fittest he’s been since 2009.
“It’s almost unfeasible really when you consider where I was in that photo. It gives an indication of where I was at the time and my mental and physical state to where I am now,” he said.
“I had the maximum strength chemotherapy and radiotherapy I could have. That means there is the greatest chance of destroying the illness and disease – but, at the same time, there is a risk that someone undergoing that transplant will die or suffer complications.
“When you go through chemotherapy you suffer damage to your kidneys and lungs. It puts a big strain on your body to start with.
“From consultants who I have spoken to, to tune my body up to the degree I have done, is, in their experience, unprecedented.”
His dad, Roy Wells, who is retired and also lives in West Bridgford, said his son's recovery has not surprised him.
He told the Post: “It does not surprise me because of his dedication. From the first week he was trying to do exercises – he was trying to do press ups in his room.
“It is remarkable and down to his self-belief, self-determination and because he is self-driven.
“He is determined not to be put off by his illness – touch wood – so far he seems to be on the right side of the illness.”
Mr Wells runs a karate school in West Bridgford, called Bridgford FSK, and founded a campaign called Competing with Cancer as a motivational speaker.
As part of his voluntary work, he goes to the Queen’s Medical Centre and City Hospital to talk to cancer patients to tell them the story of how he recovered and ‘inspire’ them.
(Image: Victory Visuals)
He says he hopes in the future to plan exercise regimes for patients at the Nottingham hospitals to help them recover like he did.
“I believe cancer patients should have exercise as part of their treatments – it should be part of what they go. I believe I am an example of that, but a lot of people have a lot to learn from me and everything I have done and achieved,” he added.
“It is about spreading that message of how I went about it and got success and helping people in a similar scenario. It saved my life at the end of the day and got my life back on track.
“The first thing you’re told from medical professionals is ‘don’t do too much, be careful’. Those people don’t know what’s too much. Of course you don’t want to damage yourself, but I pushed myself to the maximum that I was capable.”
“I’d like to undertake a research group at Nottingham University Hospitals. I’d like to implement a research group and focus groups of cancer patients who exercise and those that don’t.
“I’d like to measure them physically and see how they feel as well as their physical responses. And then implement exercise structures – whether that’s through a charity or a business.”
Rachael Ewing, from CLIC Sargent, said: “James had a really positive attitude throughout his treatment. Part of this was to do with his enthusiasm for physical fitness. He was always really keen to promote these values and support other young people.
“He also came in to speak to a young person who was waiting to go into a transplant as she had some concerns about the procedure. James was happy to come in and was really reassuring which was a great help. He was always been very willing to support in any way he can.”