Saturday, July 02, 2016

Hard to Believe - TEN years today

Ten years ago today I presented with the classic symptoms of Bladder Cancer and my life changed forever.

Within weeks I had life saving surgery and within that first year I had been scanned and had a second duplicate operation.  I didn't think that I'd make ten years but hoped for five.  I was concerned that I'd not see my children grow up, Graduate and go on to live their life as adults.  I hadn't really thought then that I'd lose my marriage but it gradually crept up on me and now I'm almost divorced.

However, I'm here, alive, living in a post Cancer world and I'm in pretty good health.  I'd like to be slimmer and fitter than I am at the moment and I'm back on course to lose the weight I've piled on this past two or three years since I left the marital home and setup on my own.

To anyone who is newly diagnosed or perhaps in their first  or second year of treatment - it gets better and the intrusion on your life gets less.  I hardly think about having had Cancer these day unless a song, film or TV Programme remind me. I still have six monthly check ups and as recently as January this year have had to have an operation to investigate a red mark in my bladder - the third such false positive I've had.  Of course, the main thing is that as upsetting as these things are, it is better to have the operation to remove all doubt than to suffer a relapse.  I've forgotten how many operations I've had in ten years - I'm going to estimate it at around 12 or 14.  I've had BCG treatments and think that they are around the 24 to 32 mark.  With the other procedures we are talking a long time attending hospital and waiting around or just lying down recovering.

The fallout from the treatment was probably the worst of it all.  Even today I'm still tired and can drop to sleep in an instant.  There's no doubt that the treatment is exhausting but if you think that they were using the body's own defence mechanisms to fight the cancer it is perhaps understandable.

I finally feel that I'm mentally on the right track too these days.  For the past three years I've been in a much better place.  A lot of that is to do with my attitude to everything and I think after I read Eckhart Tolle's 'A New Earth' it helped me to get rid of the emotional and head baggage I carried around all the time.  I don't have that weight on me anymore.  It takes a little doing but I no longer carry around any of the 'problems' I used to have.  I have a clear head which is great.  There's nothing for my mind to chew over and get wound up about.  I don't worry about the past or the future.  The past is over, the future hasn't happened and the only place to live is here (in the Now).  

I'm grateful to the medical professionals who treated me and to everyone who supported me. I' delighted that the blog might is some small way help.  Here's to the next 10 years and lets hope continued health and well-being.  

Regrets?  Yes well my marriage - my Ex really looked after me and held it all together and all I did was walk out on her but there's more to that than I want to say here.  It's all amicable (as these things can be) and after almost three years things get back to 'normal'  whatever you perceive normal to be.

So ten years on, I'm here where some of my friends and my father are not, in their cases their cancers were aggressive and not operable or treatable.  The advances in treatment though are impressive, let's hope that continues and more people recover or are cured altogether. 

Life after cancer?  You bet, things are great.  I hope within the year to have moved from rented accommodation to owning a place somewhere semi-rural away from all the hustle and bustle where nature is right at your doorstep and I can enjoy the life I've now got back.  What good is it if you survive and don't take full advantage of the life you've been given back?

There's hope, there's light at the end of the tunnel.  You must do your bit too and work with your medical team.  You'll have to sort your own head out - they don't do that.  If anything over the ten years it was the head f*** that I had the problems with.  In the UK there really isn't much to help you (or there wasn't ten years ago).  It's a hell of a roller coaster ride and after ten years it's just about stopped apart from twice a year when I go to get checked out - these "judgement days" (Thanks for naming our flexible cystoscopies that Steve Kelley).  It is the only time that I think about the possibility of recurrence which, given ten years after presenting with cancer is a remote possibility.  The longer you go without a recurrence the better chance you have of full recovery. 

Life's good....

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Cancer - Some interesting information

I know that Mercola isn't everyone's "cup of tea" but there are some real nuggets of information that come out and this one about Cancer really struck my eye today.  There is a piece right at the bottom about what sugar does.

It's time we started taking the advice about sugar seriously.  A recent report here in the UK looked at some of the sugar content of over the counter drinks - they were frightening with sometimes up to 20 teaspoons of sugar in a soft drink...

Could it be that carbohydrates really are the bad guys?  

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

ALL CLEAR - Third False Positive - Blood Pressure Normal - What Can I Say?

Pleased but what a horrible couple of weeks.  My Blood Pressure was truly off the scale even after medication but (not surprisingly) as they tested me post operation was back down to more reasonable and acceptable levels.  The nurses were suitably impressed.  I hope that stays like that so I can show my GP in a weeks time.

The cannula was put in at my wrist which means I can't actually wear my watch at the moment :-) The Day Unit was perhaps the best environment I've been to - you walk to Theatre and I kind of realised that all was OK as I was coming around quite fast.  My Consultant told me that she couldn't see the red patch she had seen at the Flexible Cystoscopy in December.  

That's the good news from all of this - it's still clear, has been clear for years despite now three of these false positives.  Maybe we need to "manage" these better as the cost of an Operation must be more than of a Flexible Cystoscopy and perhaps if they see a red patch again they can follow up in a few weeks. Perhaps I need not empty my bladder so fully - I still believe the scope enters the bladder and hits the bladder wall making these red marks.

I can do without having Operations of course but - at least the outcome is positive.  That's the main thing.

For now I'm continuing the Baking Soda/Bicarbonate of Soda once a day.  I'm keeping away from Carbohydrates and I'm back on my no beer regime :-( well infrequent beer regime.  It's quite interesting drinking water most of the time :-) I've also dropped off nearly all Carbohydrates in my food - the weight is beginning to fall off.  So that's no potatoes, pasta, processed foods, no root vegetables, no cakes, pastries, sweets, beer, biscuits and so on.  I am ashamed to say that in the last 2 years I've put back all of the weight I lost and so I need to start again and this time keep on it for good - my Blood Pressure and overall health are, after all, important to me and just tweaking my lifestyle isn't too much of "an ask".

Anyway, clear, phew, scary as shit to have thought it might have come back again but perhaps the shot across the bows I needed to halt my eating and drinking the wrong stuff?

Monday, January 25, 2016

Ten Minutes to the Off

Ten minutes until we head off to Hospital.  After the pre-assessment pointed out I had high Blood Pressure I had to arrange to get meds to sort that out and got a new Doctor in the process - one I actually like - he is serious and humorous at the same time if that is possible.

Anyway - here we go again - a Rigid Cystoscopy to see what the 'Re Mark' actually is - not long to wait to find out....



Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Assessment and Operation Days set

OK so I have to go to the Pre-assessment this Thursday at 3.  Of course it is in the Hospital with no real Car Park!  How can they have rebuilt it with less car parking?  The operation is scheduled for the 25th January and a start time of 07:30 and you can bet that I'm going to get this checked this time as the last two times as well as on other occasions I've been there and not had the procedure until the late afternoon all under 'nil by mouth' conditions.  I'm not having that again as it is just stupid to dehydrate someone who actually needs to get passing liquids through them as soon as possible after the procedure!

I'm glad that the Cytology is all clear - that bodes well for the operation and any biopsies they may take.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Mixed Results

Now this has happened before so I'm not overly concerned apart from the whole going back through the procedure all over again.

The mixed results are that the Cytology shows all clear, yet the Cystoscopy shows a small red mark although everywhere else is clear. Upshot is an operation in the New Year for a biopsy to be taken. It has happened twice before when they operated they found nothing there so let's hope that is what they find this time. Still let's be upbeat about this they don't take chances and even though it is uncomfortable it is far better than the alternative.....

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Judgement Day

That was nice, got a call to book the appointment although they then changed the date but an early one this time 08:15 and back at the Private Hospital as the equipment isn't working at Beckenham Beacon and so it is Shirley HIlls which means I can get parked and it is nicer so I feel a lot less stress there.  I also know it will be my Consultant who will do the procedure so again, it all means that things will go smoothly.

18th December at 08:15 - here's hoping for a winning streak and another all clear.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Where's all the time gone?

It's been a long time since I wrote here.  All is well, I feel good and I'm getting on with my life.  Today, for the first time in a very long time, I felt all tearful for no reason whatsoever.  It was very strange indeed and whilst I had a reminder about how ill I looked some years back :-) that was a few weeks ago.  I don't think much about my past problems at all these days.  It hasn't gone away, it's just that I don't dwell on it any more.

So I wandered back over to here to report the strange occurrence - which I have to say took me back somewhat as this hasn't happened for a couple of years.  Of course then I realised that I'm away this weekend and it's around 2 years ago that I separated from Mrs. F.  How time flies.  Is it to do with that old life I finally broke away from I wonder?  

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

I missed that

For the first time in a long time I've realised that I'd forgotten the date that I first showed signs of Bladder Cancer (it was the 2nd July I remember that).  I think that I'm now getting to that tipping point where current things are more important than the past and I am beginning to forget the past and leave it behind me.

I remember every now and then of course I do when I hear someone else talking about their own problems I remember mine for example but it isn't holding me back any longer and neither is it guiding my future like it did.

I suppose I could go and look it up and see what year it was or I could calculate it but frankly - I'm not bothered to do it - it isn't really important.  What IS important is that I am still here, I survived and I am going forwards and I'm still in reasonable health I like to think.


Friday, May 29, 2015

All Clear Once Again - Delighted With Progress

It is amazing to think that It's been almost 9 years since I was diagnosed.  I went back today to that same Hospital (the first time since) and I'm delighted to say that once again my flexible cystoscopy was all clear.  That's just great news and must be 7 years since the last signs (despite the two false positives resulting in operations that found nothing).

So it's all continuing to look good and long may that continue.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Surprised that it's been so long

My word, it's been 3 months since my last posting here.  To say I've been somewhat busy is an understatement but life's changed (again) and I'm fully occupied on a few projects and that's OK.  

Within the next few weeks things should change once again and I can set course on a new direction.  I'm perfectly healthy and feel great but losing a few friends this year has been difficult as it "wakes me up" to realise how lucky I've been myself and that I'm still here.  They were not so lucky, if indeed luck has anything to do with it.....


Friday, January 30, 2015

Is It Really That Long? Anniversary and a Sad Day

It is 1 year and 2 days since I moved out of the old house.  I didn't think I'd be here for a year but here I am and there's little chance of moving on as the house fell through just before Christmas and we have to start all over again.  With my stuff in storage my finances become stretched but there you go.

The business www.unlockmypast.com is now launched and I've been doing real work this week on Cine and VHS conversions plus some photo scanning so that's great.

Yesterday was not so great as a friend lost his battle with Bile Duct Cancer.  Just 48 years old and a lovely, beautiful man he was too.  It's somehow unfair that the "good guys" tend to get ill and die. 

In other news after a 6 year battle in one case and a 5 year battle in another and a 1 year battle - I finally got the bank to change all three accounts (and link them together).  You cannot believe the utter utter nonsense I've gone through with this.  I've one person left 6 years ago and they are still sending stuff to him.  Another one died and "No, I'm sorry I can't get him to sign the mandate to change".  I've been awfully patient as the call centre chap said to me.  Of course, it makes me angry but it's no use getting all upset with these things any more.  All I do now is take a breath and just keep it friendly and level tempered and finally I got the results needed.

My health is good and I would though rather have been looking to move to my own place soon.  Unfortunately that isn't going to happen and renting is expensive so I could do with getting that sorted out.

I hope that I can attract some more business but as usual it is difficult to do sales and operate the equipment at the same time so life is busy for sure.  It's nice to get some work under my belt though and I feel I've really achieved something this week.

I hope my next blog is a little sooner than a month like this one! :-) 


Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas In A Box

I think I've done my usual this year and got everything delivered to me.  I don't get the "attraction" of pounding around crowded shops to buy your Christmas Gifts when someone has set up a business that allows me to see what I want from the comfort of my own home and allows me to have Christmas come to me, including all the food too.

Today, the food arrives and the last of the presents (I hope).  I am looking forward to symbolically turning the corner and getting aligned for 2015.  I've given over this year and rightly so.  It's time to chill out and relax and then to be ready for 2015 and moving things onwards.  

Of course the 1st January is a day just like any other day but you can use it to make changes I think and from that point of view it will help to get rid of the old and bring in the new.  

I did find last year quite a strain and it was all a bit "put on" as I knew what was happening even if half the people didn't!  New Year was horrible but this year it will be better even though I'm not "in my own home" as this place is a halfway house not a home.  

So here it comes, Christmas in a box and we have a couple of things to do and then we can press on and tackle 2015.  

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Still Around

Well - that's over a month without posting here.  I guess there isn't a lot to say as I'm busy launching the business.  Other people are busy having their own fight against Cancer and me?  I'm doing fine, getting on with life and things are happening but altogether slowly at the moment.

The house sale fell through and I ended up with all my stuff in storage and so I'm hemorrhaging cash at the moment until the house gets sold.   I'll have been here a year next month and that doesn't seem quite possible but there you go - a year ago I was hunting for a flat. 

Christmas will be with P and her family which will be nice.  Looking forward to that and New Year we are off to a Hootenanny which once again I'm seriously looking forward to.

Next year is going to be different, I can feel it in my bones.  I just need to get my head around the business and move on - it's not difficult to do that it is however fragmented as the odds and ends that need tidying up get sorted out.  The segways they take you on sometimes hardly seem worth the immense effort expended (yes I'm talking to you HMRC).