A MAN who was told he had months to live two years ago has defied doctors to survive and says he is counting his blessings.

Jim Fulton, 58, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2018 and given only six months to live but he is determined to keep look forward.

The former lorry driver, who lives in Gourock, says the outlook given to him was bleak and he feared the worst.

He said: "I was diagnosed in October 2018 and I was told I had six months to live.

"I was told chemotherapy would extend my life a little bit.

"I had stage three, bordering on stage four, cancer."

Jim's only chance was major surgery called the whipple procedure, which involves removal of the wide part of the pancreas next to the first part of the small intestine.

It also involves taking out a portion of the bile duct, gallbladder, and sometimes part of the stomach.

Due to the advanced nature of his cancer, Jim was told by a medic at Inverclyde Royal that he 'had no chance of the operation', which is only offered to four per cent of cancer patients.

However, after three months of chemotherapy at the Beatson Cancer Centre and a positive CT scan, he was offered the opportunity to be assessed for the life-saving surgery.

He said: "I had three stents fitted, one at Inverclyde Royal and another two at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

"I jumped at the chance.

"I had about 20 assessments and Ardgowan Hospice transport service took me up to all my appointments.

"They were all volunteer drivers and there are no words to describe how good they were."

Last May Jim underwent a 12-hour operation at Glasgow Royal Infirmary which saved his life.

He said: "They cut out all the cancer - the bowel, bladder and intestine, everything was cut in half.

"I had 74 staples and the surgeon Mr Carter was fantastic."

Jim, who lives in Eastern View, was in intensive care for three days before being transferred to high dependency for a further five.

He spent a further week and a half on a general ward before going home.

He is not home and dry as yet, as he still has a small remnant of cancer left on an artery, the aorta, which is inoperable.

Jim has been told that he has to put on weight before he receives any more chemotherapy, after his appetite plummeted since diagnosis.

At one point his weight fell to just seven stones.

He is now using an electric feeder to help build himself up for his next round of treatment.

He said: "I have good and bad days but I am happy that I'm still here.

"I was given six months so that took me up to April and my birthday is in June.

"I didn't think I would see my birthday and I'm still here in 2020 and still living independently.

"It's been a long journey.

"I've cried sometimes and I've thought, it's not worth it as I'm not well all the time.

"But then I think 'you're still here'.

"Every day is a blessing.

"I keep this saying in my head: you only die once, you live everyday.

"It's changed the way I look at things.

"Every single day counts.

"Life is precious."

Jim says he can't thank Ardgowan Hospice enough for all their support and wanted to give something back to them.

He went on social media and advertised a 'free taxi' before the bells in Hogmanay up to 4pm on New Year's Day in exchange for a donation.

His kind offer has raised £75 with more donations still open and pouring in on his Facebook page.

It also caught the attention of the BBC Radio Scotland, where he was invited to do an interview.

Jim said: "I wanted to raise money for the hospice but also raise awareness about what a great service they provide.

"The drivers work in their own free time and sometimes I've been to appointments that have taken two to three hours and they wait for you and take you back.

"It's phenomenal."

Jim also wants to raise awareness about pancreatic cancer which is so difficult to treat because it is usually well advanced by the time it is diagnosed.

He had been losing weight but did not realise anything was wrong as he was was trying to slim down.

A visit to the GP confirmed his worst fears.

Jim said: "The whites of my eyes had turned yellow and as soon as the GP looked at me he ordered a blood test and I was sent up to Inverclyde Royal that afternoon."