But when the problem continued he was sent for a CT scan, and told he had terminal pancreatic cancer.
He was given six months to live in May, but has been undergoing chemotherapy and hopes to spend as much time as possible with his wife and his son and daughter, who both live near his home in Bathgate, West Lothian.
Mr Dawson also has a five-year-old granddaughter who is starting school this year.
“I'm making the most of it,” he said.
“I can assure you I've never had so many holidays in my life.”
Mr Dawson, a self-employed taxi driver, has been supported by cancer charity Macmillan to access benefits allowing him to stop working and spend precious time with his family.
The charity also gave him a grant to spend on new clothes, as he lost 11 stone following his diagnosis.
Without Macmillan, Mr Dawson said he and his family would not have been able to cope with the financial stress caused by his cancer, as his wife Margaret’s work on a supermarket shop floor is part time.
“It was a huge load lifted off my shoulders, because when the cancer was first diagnosed I thought I was just going to have to work until I drop,” he said.
While his current chemotherapy treatment is gruelling, Mr Dawson said it was worth it. He has gone through 15 weeks, and recently started a second course.
The results of a CT scan at the end of the year showed the tumour had not grown since October, which Mr Dawson’s wife described as “the best ever Christmas present”.
“I'd rather have the treatment and have a bit longer with my family, than stop the treatment and pop my clogs,” he said.
Mr Dawson knows of another patient with the same cancer, on the same treatment, who was also given six months to live, but is still receiving treatment 18 months later.
“I might even get this year, you never know – fingers crossed,” he said.