Sunday, December 31, 2006

Goodbye 2006

2006 - Am I glad to see the end of you!

What a year, what a ride - no more of the same for 2007 please.

2007 will have to be better - I haven't thought of any New Year's Resolutions excepting the getting fit, eating better and looking after myself a bit more than I perhaps have in the past.

Happy New Year to you all!

Late Again

A sort of pattern emerging although tonight I was coughing and have just gone and sorted out that age old remedy some hot honey, lemon and a shot of brandy to see if I can stop this incessant tickle in my throat.

Whilst seeing if that is working and in an effort not to wake up the remainder of the house I have got myself into my office for a short while.

New Year's Eve - 2007 is going to be a very different year. last year things were going in a totally different direction on many fronts. This year I am going to be considering all sorts of options and making decisions on those - gone will be the snap decisions of years before, lots of planning will be needed to make sure that I work around the Hospital dates and treatments but that I can still keep as normal a life as possible. I don't think the last point will be achievable but I'll give it a go anyway.

Only time will tell if everything I have will still exist in the coming months. I foresee somethings not surviving the changes that have happened or are happening. I'm not going to predict whether it will be work, social, family or other at the moment but I just have this feeling that I'm not only going to have Bladder Cancer on my CV of traumatic life incidents by the same time next year - something else will be added to the list.

It sounds pessimistic, I suppose it probably is, but perhaps inevitable as well. In the back of my mind is the very real possibility of telling someone that "life is too short" and walking away from something - could be work (I've done that before) it could be something I'm involved in socially, it could be something worse - I'll get to that when I get there.

Honey, Lemon and Brandy are sort of clearing the throat and almost finished so I'll finish for now. I suppose I had better work on some New Year's Resolutions!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

It was a long night

I think I finally fell asleep at about 3. Damn brain will go and do this occasionally and go off down some long and complicated set of "What if" scenarios. There is no easy way to stop it doing this. Nothing get sorted out of course as all of these scenarios can only be played out if certain conditions are met and then certain other conditions are met. It is no use second guessing what may happen as it hasn't happened - just try and tell your brain that when you've got Cancer or anything else though!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Living and Survival

I have read a number of accounts of people with various Cancers and the words surviving and living are used with different emphasis throughout.

Surviving in my view is staring death in the face and not dying. However some people survive a number of years. I tend to think of myself as living with the condition and hoping for remission or cure or whatever. I wouldn't consider that survival, I'd call that living.

It really is far too late on a Friday night to even be thinking like this but this is the sort of time when the brain gets active and you know you are in for a long sleepless night!

Failing to meet my expectations

Not me - this is other people. You come out of treatment changed and you expect a lot more of people, you've changed, why haven't they? You set high expectations, perhaps too high and the trouble is they will always fail to meet your ideals.

I can't tell you why I expect more from those around me but I do. I expect people to understand the problems I have been through, the pain, the trauma and to treat me differently. I'm guessing that this is where the problem lies. I've spent ages dumbing down and making light of what I have, now I am expecting most people to realise that actually it was serious and I'm not getting the balance right at all. I always say I'm fine, I'm OK and I am now, I wasn't earlier on - only now do I realise just how much I've been through these past 5 months - the mind must just blank it out.

The real issue is that I am finding it hard to realise that actually I am the only person who has changed and all those around me are the same as before - why should they have changed, there was nothing life changing in their lives. For me, things will never be the same again and so outlook, expectations and time all matter differently to me than to anyone who knew me before. I have a view that I might not be here too long and so you (or I) ought to do something now rather than put it off. I want to fit in more and yet no one else does. I can imagine this is going to lead to some interesting situations as things progress as typically I wouldn't kick up a stink about this and I haven't so far but sooner or later I'm bound to pose the question.

I notice that I really do give stick to suppliers and others when I'm dealing with them on the phone or in correspondence so I imagine it may be only a short time before everyone else gets the "benefit of my thinking".

Tiredness

It can only be that since Christmas Eve we have not stopped having people here, going out and so on. Additionally I have been exercising for about an hour each time which I have not been used to for 5 months or so.

It was Christmas Day that marked the 5th month Anniversary of the first operation. It doesn't seem that short a period at all - I suppose because so much has happened. I've enjoyed Christmas this year more because I didn't think I'd be here.

Today I've just got some odd paperwork to do, the family are out at the sales and I've had a good sleep. I feel a bit tired but not fatigued. I'll see how today pans out.

That Strange Feeling

I reckon that it is one of those things you get that plays on your mind.

"If I get to survive the first one maybe there is another one lined up to get me" coupled with that is "If he wants me that bad...."
"Something else is wrong with me"
"I wonder if it is coming back again"

I can't say that it is worrying me a lot it is just one of those nagging little things at the back of your mind and one of the things you have to deal with.

The slightest twinge or ache gets you worried about what it could be. Having been relatively healthy for 30 years I've gone from being someone who rarely worried about my health to a border line hypercondriac (well not quite) but I'm aware of my body and how I feel all the time.

I don't get it so much now but earlier on in the very early days before the operation and before I knew better the little voices would be there with stuff like "You won't be there for your children when they need you", "You'll predecease your parents" and that sort of stuff. It goes with the territory and its part of the disease. You just have to learn to put the thoughts as far away as possible as that isn't the present situation - nor is it likely to be. The Brain though is a complicated thing and it can be a nuisance having a questioning mind.

Again very tired today

Well Yesterday actually. Absolutely knackered and I slept for 10 hours. I wonder if I am ailing for something? Hope not I could do without anything else going wrong in 2006 and for a good start to 2007. I have a horrible feeling that there is something else wrong with me - perhaps just being a bit pessimistic there but whilst I still feel well something is nagging at the back of my mind about this tiredness.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Ten Hours

Sleep that is - slept like a log only just got up but feel better for it. Off out in a few minutes - at least I don't have to do anything myself today apart from drive there.

Almost overdone it

Phew - what is it? 1:10 in the morning and we have just cleared away from the party. We kicked it off with a walk yesterday afternoon lasting an hour and just went on from there with lots of food, booze and party games! I have to say though I really am knackered. Wife told me to go to bed ages ago but it isn't fair but now I have helped tidy up, I am really feeling it. She is tidying up downstairs, just the last few bits. Out again tomorrow and I hope that as a guest all I need to do is eat, drink and be my amusing self! Any more work than that and I'll be out of it! At least I'll get Friday off.

I caught a little bit of TV magic today - "Goodbye Mr. Tom" I think it was. Blow me if I wasn't almost reduced to tears by the last 30 minutes of it. I can honestly say that I don't get moved by stories like this normally, no matter how well acted but it just hit a chord today I think.

Off to bed now - should sleep like the proverbial log!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

They took a lot more out of me than I thought

I have started to notice that my level of physical fitness is nowhere near what it was before the operations and treatment, I was breathing hard walking up the hill home last night. I feel really well and so it is a bit of a surprise that I am weaker than I feel or not as fit as my brain keeps telling me I am. Going for a walk is not a problem and I have enjoyed that recently but I am thinking about how I now go on to increase my level of fitness as it is obvious that there is a wide gap between what I think I can do and what I can actually achieve.

I did take things very easy after both operations and I have also been extremely careful not to do anything to screw up the treatment etc., that tends to mean being quite sedentary and you certainly don't want to do too much after a TURBT as you can set yourself bleeding again. That leads to sitting or lying down for long periods of time and not burning off the food which, if I think about it, probably grew in quantity although I have not been eating fattening things.

Diet alone isn't going to do this I need to start working on my fitness levels too.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Tired

Again, it is creeping up on me. A long day yesterday and I was out for a walk this morning, with friends at lunchtime and then at a family do this evening and I am really feeling tired. OK It's late now but I've gone past the sleepy stage. I'll need to remember that I will probably be absolutely knackered once I start back at work again. A big difference working from home and travelling and working!

A Change is in the air

I think that yesterday was the beginning of a change of direction perhaps there was a shift of the way I am with people. I fended off the ignorance of my condition and did that nicely. I was a lot more withdrawn and quiet than I normally am I noticed. I did keep myself to myself a lot more than normal. I was very tired by the end of the day. Something is nagging away at the back of my mind about change or the need for it. I can't tell if that means radical or gradual change at the moment.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Sanctuary

Escaped for 5 minutes to my office. Great day but I am very tired. I'll go and get some fresh air before the evening rush!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

This is fun

Yes indeed.

Just tried on a pair of trousers and shot the button across the room. Another pair on at the moment straining - hope they last the night! I've been wearing jogging bottom trousers for months now. Oh dear - this does mean serious dieting if I can only squeeze into one pair :-(

Christmas Eve

Earlier in the year I didn't think I'd make this one and if I had of, I may not have made the next, such was the fear and lack of knowledge about my condition early on. I know differently now and I know that things can change too. So today I am doing what I normally do on Christmas Eve. I cook and prepare and then go to a party in the evening which we have been to for the past 16 years!

Today, I had a good night's sleep and feel a lot better than I have done for the past few days. Not too tired. I'll be cooking and glazing the Ham and preparing the Vegetables for tomorrow. If I get the chance then I'll tinker about with some prep for the gravy too. I can have the Christmas CDs playing around the house, whack on the scented candles and have a few slurps of red wine or perhaps a beer whilst I am cooking. All this gets me into the spirit of the event and then we have the party later on which is a great evening with our friends and all the children all grew up together and get on fine which is great.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Easily worn out

I must be out of condition, the past few days have seen me really tired at the end of the day. I've been doing a lot more than usual and most of that has been physical work. Diet starts the day after Boxing Day - and more exercise too.

Looking forward to the next few days

I'm going to be with my family and we are going to be doing things together, going to parties, having the wider family around on Christmas Day and for the next 4 or 5 days we will be able to spend time with each other. We do tend to live in the same house but pass like ships in the night sometimes. It will be quite a good way to end of a pretty poor year for me and to look forward to a better year in 2007.

Comments and an Interesting Link

I am grateful to Lynne (see post below) who sent a really interesting link about the way statistics can be interpreted. I have often found the various figures thrown around difficult to interpret and, of course, everyone is different, has different health issues and so on. The article HERE is extremely good at setting out a positive version of what is shown. So once again thanks Lynne for that.

On the subject of comments on the blog site, it is good to receive these be they supportive, informative or both.

Friday, December 22, 2006

A Bit More Anger Management

I was reading some other posts on a forum and some people were very angry especially as they had some pretty radical surgery. I can understand that. I imagine though that their anger will be tempered somewhat later on, once the pain and discomfort and inconvenience (in more ways than one) have subsided. The reason it will subside is that it really is a lot better than being dead. It really is.

I've said that cancers are survivable and that huge steps now make it possible to survive things like this and so I am being bought time and so is everyone else who has treatment whether radical or not. I think when you work that out then you can control the anger from the absolute rage you get very early on to the stupid stuff I was banging on about earlier.

The trouble with much of this is you probably have to come to terms with this on your own unless you happen to be able to talk to someone who has gone through something similar.. I suppose I am lucky that I know two guys who have both had Prostate Cancer recently and their experiences whilst not exactly the same are good to get a bounce off and to share emotions. Both of them are now cured which is great news. As I said before mine doesn't go away that easily but is able to be managed and maintained.

I could occasionally do with a sound deadened room and a box full of crockery to smash :-)

The Short Fuse

A bit early in the morning to be "Mr. Angry" but the slightest thing can set you off sometimes . Someone hasn't cleared their mess which has been lying around for a day or two, tripping over some discarded trainers left (aren't they always) in the middle of the hall and so on. Sometimes the smallest trigger and it's "all aimed at me". Well it probably isn't but it feels like it is sometimes.

It never gets to much as I can escape to my office and keep out of the way. It just amazes me that I get wound up by such trivial things. I'll be fine now for the rest of the day no doubt. I never used to be so easily "windupable". It obviously comes with the territory. I tend to hide my anger and disappear. Occasionally there will be a few words said.

I reckon I am no longer angry that I got Cancer or that it was me; that seemed to pass pretty quickly you have to accept that it is your lot. There is something more selfish in these little outbursts I find. It really isn't what I am like although I tend to have a sharp tongue at work and not suffer fools gladly.

Maybe it is only me who has changed and maybe only I find that I want (should) be treated differently? Perhaps there is a need to make the best use of my time remaining on the planet (you DO think this way even with a survivable one - I mean what happens if you don't respond to treatment?). I cannot see that those who do not have a life threatening disease can possibly see it that way. I think you do look differently, you've seen the place where you are heading, you firmly believe that you are going to get there a lot faster than you wanted to and your outlook has changed, those around you will not have the clarity of thinking nor will they be operating under the same rules and outlook as you.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas Notes

I'm getting a lot of supportive notes and the odd person admitting to having had or still having Cancer - so that will allow me to have a chat with people I know about things next year. It still surprises me how many people look for cures and full recovery and so on. I am getting to the point that it no longer bothers me and I am now quite happy to explain the situation. I still haven't got to an "Elevator Pitch" to say all I need to say in about 60 seconds - I'm sure I will perfect that with time.

Appears to be gone

That was a strange episode yesterday, I don't have too many of the symptoms left this morning, I'm up early and raring to go as usual. I was due to go out last night for a few beers which I had to cancel which was a bit of a shame.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Strange - Flu now gone

How strange is this? I got up this morning got to my desk and felt really tired and all I wanted to do was go to sleep. I've spent most of the day collapsed in a chair and decided to have a few paracetamol this evening and I feel fine again now. Hopefully that is it. A friend reckoned it is something that is going around and lasts anywhere between a day and a week!

Great - Flu!

Just what I needed. I was alright until about 9 this morning and suddenly I felt really awful. Been lazing around all day with some sort of mild Flu symptoms but the worst bit is I just don't feel like doing anything at all. It is too long ago since the treatment to be that. Its bound to be the usual thing, stop work and get a cold!

Everyone is home for the holidays

This should be interesting. Everyone is home and I am normally stuck in the house on my own for hours on end - I wonder what the dynamics of this will be? I'm the only one up at the moment and all is quiet - let's hope it stays that way

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

What on Earth am I doing here clock watching?

I just caught myself at it! What an idiot :-) I have just been working away cleaning up some files and sitting at my PC and thinking - "roll on 5:30, I can pop downstairs and relax" Then I looked up at the clock and thought "Doh! I'm on holiday this week - what an utter wally!"

Maybe they took my brain out when they operated :-)

Why do I keep doing this to myself?

The trouble with looking stuff up on the web and then reading it is, occasionally, you can take it out of context, don't understand what it is actually saying, or be skilled enough to read exactly what it is getting at.

There is a great deal of stuff out there and I come across new bits of information all the time. What I did today was to follow someone's link to a presentation which was a little depressing as it has figures that looked, to me, far more pessimistic than I'd been led to believe the success rate was for BCG treatment. I certainly don't like the idea of "highly likely" tumour recurrences - that would put me off - but apparently that does happen a lot. I'm kind of hoping that I'll get maintenance but even that doesn't rule out getting more tumours.

The other problem is how do you interpret the statistics - they are probably normalised somehow but who is actually "normal"?

So - try not to do too much of this without putting it in perspective. I do have to admit though that having read this latest one I feel quite down. That won't last longer than an hour or so and I'll be alright again but it can be a shock to the system to read facts and figures. You do need to find out the data behind it and also read some of the things like sample size to start to realise that some is good science and the other stuff, due to the small sample, could be out by a long way.

Perspectives

I was out this morning and talking to an old friend who has to have heart surgery. It was an interesting conversation as the worry is that it is 4 months to get the angioplasty and "I could drop dead tomorrow!" So one of the things he is doing is sorting out all the "dead" things in a "Dead File" - who to contact, what bank accounts and insurances are held where and so on. That brings it home to you having to sort these tings out. I have most of my stuff well organised but I don't have a dead file yet. It wouldn't be a bad thing to make sure that everything was in order and available rather than trying to sift through my office and find it all.

Bit of a sobering thought. I guess if I did it next year as a project it may be useful - not that I am planning on doing anything that would need it but just in case of course :-)

Monday, December 18, 2006

A Real Treat

For the past 6 Mondays I have missed my regular meeting with a bunch of very good friends. So tonight it was brilliant to meet up and have a beer before Christmas and a catch up of all the things that have happened over the past 6 weeks. We put many things to rights of course and once all the problems of the World had been resolved, we went on to discuss the finer points of politics, religion and some of the simpler issues. We had some fun discussing the interesting application methods of my recent therapy (as blokes are inclined to do) of course when it got to anything that may be eye watering or even slightly "below the belt" they gave up on that! :-)

So nice to get out and meet up with my friends again - what a relief to still be able to drink. The only problem is my clothes stink of cigarette smoke - yuk! OK I know I used to but suddenly I am really very sensitive to it. I noticed it with people smoking outside the Hospital - it really makes me feel quite ill these days.

I am off again tomorrow resolving someone's PC problems and I have now managed to track down some legacy equipment for the other problem I inherited this morning. That is my lot for today, I've done more today on my holiday than I would have done if I'd gone to work!! I must be doing something wrong...

A different sort of Monday

Normally I'd be lying down and getting ready for the side effects of my BCG treatment but that finished last Monday. It has been strange today, almost as if something was missing :-) Really though, I don't miss it.

I am meant to be on holiday, so far I've fixed three PCs today and I've another to do tomorrow! None of them mine I hasten to add. Trouble is I'm not really a PC technician - I know about it of course but that is about all.

Glossary

Rather Than re-invent the wheel (I probably could but it may not be round or circular) here is a list of sites that have a glossary of terms that may be of use:

From MedicineNet

M D Anderson Center

From the Bladder Cancer Web Cafe

A brief set from the latter site:

TCC =transitional cell carcinoma--most common form of bladder cancer
TUR= transurethral resection--minimally invasive surgery performed via the urethra, also known as TURBT-transurethral resection bladder tumor
IVP= intravenous pyelogram--test for checking the kidneys and ureters
CYSTO =cystoscopy, inspection of the bladder with a lighted instrument.
RESECTION =(surgically) cutting out.
CIS =carcinoma in situ (flat tumor)
BCG=-Bacillus Calmette-Guerin -immunotherapy for superficial Bladder Cancer
TURB, TURP = TransUrethral Resection of the Bladder or Prostate
RC = radical cystecomy (surgical removal of the bladder and prostate in men, bladder and reproductive organs in women)
MRI= magnetic resonance imaging, diagnostic test
CT= computerized tomography, diagnostic test

End of Treatment and a difficult question

Has the Treatment worked?

Difficult - I am not going to know until late March at the earliest. I'm not sure that my feeling well and feeling great actually means that much, it may be a state of mind but has no basis in fact I think.

So it is really difficult to answer and again if you think about it you'd expect a treatment to work pretty quickly especially as you have finished the course.

I have to explain both the above of course so that people understand that whilst I feel well, the treatment doesn't really kick in until about now and that I have the anxiety of three months to wait until I get to find the results of this work.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

I'll start exercising as soon as I get into shape

I have started doing a lot more now. We are going out every Sunday for a family walk and I am beginning to get out and about a bit more. It is actually quite difficult to put a regular period of time aside for exercise as I often find that I work away from home or I am travelling. I think I am going to start with taking 30 minutes walk each day and see where that leads.

I am blessed with having the countryside just 5 minutes away and a large choice of footpaths and bridleways so at least I won't be trudging around built up areas.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Just realised something

I suppose some people must have a real problem with people who have cancer either from some past experience or perhaps not knowing enough.

Why do I say that? Well, I have had to cancel all sorts of engagements and meetings and I have always sent apology notes explaining why I cannot attend and giving a very brief update of where I am now and how I hope to attend again in the New Year. Not one person has dropped me a line back acknowledging that I have sent a note or apologised, asking me how I am or anything like it yet they still send the invites. I'm not particularly worried about that but it crossed my mind this morning when I saw an invite to a meeting and it can only have been last week I wrote and told him that I would make January onwards.

There's none so queer as folk (North Country Saying)

Big day today

My wife is 49 years and 365 days today. My parents and my brother and his family are making a long journey down to be with us, later more friends will arrive and I thought I'd better blog now as I won't have time during the day.

I hope everyone concentrates on the birthday and not how I am. I imagine for those around me it must be pretty tedious for me to always be the centre of attention. Right off to blow up some balloons, get breakfast on for everyone and generally get myself prepared for non stop catering.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Set E-Mail to auto respond

Telephone diverted, e-mail "not in office" auto responder on, I'm outta here!

Demob happy

Yes, only an hour to go and I'm off on holiday (vacation) for the next two weeks - fantastic! There is a celebration in the house tomorrow - someone is 50 and it isn't me :-) So we will have a party running almost all day.

As a celebration of making it through the 6 BCGs I have put a bottle of Champagne in the fridge with the intention of marking the end of this year's treatments.

My daughters and I will be preparing the house and the food from early tomorrow and I am sure that we will have a great day with family and friends. If there is no blog tomorrow - then you'll know why.

Strange old night

Yes that was strange. I'd been out for a few hours and just couldn't get to sleep. Nothing particularly on my mind just couldn't sleep hence the late blogs and conversations with the US.

Anyway, it is my last day at work today and I then finish for Christmas. I can take a few weeks off, the treatment is behind me and I can concentrate on other things for a while. I might even take a break from blogging for the odd day

Learning a New Language

Yes - it IS going to be a long night - I am wide awake at 2 am. I just had a chat online with a buddy in San Francisco and it occurred to me that there is a whole new language to learn when it comes to bladder cancer. I was looking on the bladder cafe web site and the contributors regularly rattle on about grade 2 tumours, invasive, TCC etc. It takes a while to get exactly what everyone is talking about.

Given a little time it is easy. TURBT sometimes TUR = Transurethral Resection of a bladder tumour. CIS = Carcinoma in Situ and so on.

I will get around to pulling together a glossary of terms as otherwise no one is going to know what is going on. The problem also is that a TURBT is specific to the subject although you can get something similar in Prostate Cancers. So when most people would have heard of a tonsillectomy you really need to find your way around a bladder and all the various stages to understand what is going on. I'll try not to use any buzz words but if I do I will ensure that I explain what they are before hand.

Further Stages of Kübler-Ross Cycle

The normal state is steady

Then comes:
  • Shock - Initial paralysis at hearing the bad news
  • Denial - Trying to avoid the inevitable, disbelief
  • Anger - frustration and an outpouring of pent up emotions
  • Bargaining - Seeking (in vain) for a way out of this
  • Testing - trying out different scenarios and solutions
  • Acceptance - finally finding a way forward and eventually back to a steady stage again.

This can be applied to not only grief stricken people (loss of a loved one for example) but also to those who are diagnosed terminally ill, it can equally apply and be used for change in a business context - someone losing their job or their job changing. I think it applies equally well to being diagnosed with a disease like Cancer too. If you read this blog you'll know that I am newly diagnosed and under the first set of treatments. I think that I have come through shock and denial although I'm not sure that denial lasted long enough or whether I had enough time to do that. Anger - well yes but not a long period of this, I have more trouble in small things making me angry (looks like a bit of denial there doesn't it? :-) ). I'm not sure if bargaining comes out of this as it is out of my hands to some extent. I have to do what is right and my Specialist advises me and I take their advice and keep my side of any treatment regime. Testing - this blog is a way of testing and people like my guardian angel drop the odd note back to me to tell me what they read that I said and how they read it (if that makes sense - they may see a hidden meaning or signal and let me know). Acceptance. I am definitely not there yet but I think that you may have to accept a number of different things here:

  • Accept you have Cancer
  • Accept what that means to you and your life
  • Accept what that means to your family and friends
  • Accept the treatment and the various routes that it could take (good and bad) - this will take some time I think.
  • Accept that inevitably you will have this for the rest of your life or be watched over (in and out of Hospitals with things stuck in you) for the rest of your life. I haven't quite got the measure of that yet
  • Accept that it isn't a short term fix and you will have to adjust your life etc to live with it
  • Accept that it just may kill you - got to get to grips with that - I saw the demons when I was diagnosed and I don't want to go there again.
  • Accept that I may not be able to tell some of the people who are nearest and dearest to me my darkest fears and worries as I'll probably hurt them more than any benefit I'll get for off loading those. I'm not sure what I'll do about that. The blog can only go so far, the dark places are very dark indeed and perhaps a trained counsellor or a support group although I don't feel the need for that yet.

So a lot to do before you get there but I do think that I am making progress, that I am working my way through but more than all of that and importantly, I feel that I do know that I am going through these phases and I have enough people around me to help me if I get in trouble with any of them.

Still Awake - Thinking




My guardian angel dropped me a line and as always, made me think differently about the anger I was feeling. Interestingly enough, I know about this and from my Consulting days - especially when undertaking major cultural change or business change, staff can go through one or all of these stages.

It is based on the Kübler-Ross Grief Cycle albeit that no one actually dies. It Has a series of stages:
  • Shock
  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Testing
  • Acceptance
It is actually quite a complex subject and no one size fits all. Some people get stuck in the stages, some get the stages out of order and flit backwards and forwards between them, some miss out stages altogether. It was (and indeed still is) my job to ensure that staff going through a change at work were mentored through the change and that things like the shock itself was softened, that there was good communication that we could use the bargaining time to get acceptance and buy in and by minimising any time in the depression phase we could make the cycle as short as possible. The reason we were trained in this technique was that some people got to the depression or anger state and just got deeper into them without coming through the cycle. We also had to make the cycle as fast as possible and as manageable as possible as we would inevitably lose production. In the early 90s we were going through massive changes and huge losses of jobs and so we had to be careful about how we communicated, managed and delivered the changes.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A strange thing to say but

If there was such a thing as a "good" cancer to get it may well be bladder cancer. It is treatable and generally (in men) you can tell pretty quickly whether you have got it. Most of the people going in with symptoms have the earlier presentation that can be surgically removed or can be treated. The response rates are good and so on. There are of course other issues but generally it is one that caught early can be treated and it appears you can have it recur for a long time and keep treating it.

It occurred to me that not all cancers are going to be like that. some of course are just cut out and that is it. Some are far more difficult to detect and by the time they are detected they may be advanced.

I was explaining that I felt I was very lucky to have bladder cancer and to be in a country where it is treatable.

Lunch with a survivor

It was an interesting lunch time today. A friend of mine who has had his Prostate removed at about the same time I was diagnosed is (of course) now cured albeit, he has a long road to recovery. We met some time ago and between us were comparing war stories.

It was quite therapeutic for both of us I hope to be swapping stories and identifying with the emotions you go though. He had some very dark moments indeed. I've not had such massive depressions thank goodness. We both thought it was fun about how angry we could now get and how quickly that anger could come out although we were able to control it. Then there was the evil sense of humour and interestingly enough this one:

Neither of us waits to get consensus anymore, we cannot spend time prevaricating, and so we just go ahead and make plans and people can live with them or not, we are not bothered about having to get complete buy in.

Also another was the area of pleasing yourself and blow what anyone else thinks and finally one that we differed on slightly, he felt he was more compassionate and I felt that I perhaps hadn't stopped to consider that but I probably would be, I'd just not put it to the test. My one which he didn't share was the occasional "lump in the throat" especially in well made films or documentaries - as I said earlier, don't let me watch Bambi - I'd be in bits....

It was a very enjoyable lunch and it is great to meet someone who has been through what you have been through and feels the same as you do.

Let that be a warning to .............

ME.

So all the fuss and worry about what the "idiot" was doing at work came to not a lot. I made a few calls then called them and it was just a badly worded e-mail, in fact it was a non event really.

So "Warning to Self". Stop, take deep breath, it's not personal, they are not out to get you. Slow down and take it easy. Now I normally do these things and I am normally cool calm and collected so it is obviously something to do with me getting worried about getting back to work, trying too hard to re-make my mark back there or some such thing. So I am warned and ready for the next one. Communicate by phone it is easier better still look them in the whites of their eyes!

Anyway, anger has been managed, sense prevailed and I only got angry on this blog and not elsewhere so that is alright then!

On to the next challenge :-)

Do not read too much into these posts

I use the blog to get things off my chest and occasionally it can look like I'm severely depressed but I'm not really. I don't think I'd post at all if I was that down.

So the blog is about how you feel and the things you think. I can get morose and dark but it doesn't last long as I take out out on the blog here and then it is gone.

Thank Goodness only 2 days to go

Then I am on holiday (Vacation). I have plenty to get on with but I have one idiot who obviously wants to get some point across and yet can't say or ask a straight forward question. You probably know the sort of thing that you read and you think; "Hold on, that question is loaded" Well it is like that, the way the questions are worded and phrased and their general ambiguity are ringing alarm bells. I know the answers yet it would probably be best for me to go and do a day or two research. That of course is a waste of time but it may get the point across.

And the moral of the story is? When you have had your life changed you really cannot see the benefit of office politics, transactional analysis and all that psychic mumbo jumbo. Life really is too short.

Just because you're not paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

What if I am one of the 30%

The BCG treatment and maintenance appears (depending on where and what you read) to have a 70% chance of working. If you end up being one of the 30% then there is a 50% chance that the next go with BCG will sort it. They are pretty good odds. Of course if you are one of the 30% then you only have a 50/50 at the next go but even so, they aren't bad odds if you think about it. It's not as if you are doing the lottery at about 47,000,000 to 1!

Mind you, I still don't know how I'd feel to be one of the 30%. The best thing would be to be seeing the Urology Nurse again soon after the biopsies are done and be on the Maintenance course. You'd have thought that wouldn't be so but if you get the nod you then go for 3, 6, 12, 18, 24 & 36 month instillations of BCG (you get a course of 3 each time not the 6 like I've just had). Not sure if these go all the way out to year 10 like the US Dr. Lamm protocol. I suppose I'll find out soon enough.

Losing Patience

I do find that I am losing patience with people these days. I suppose that before I'd be quite happy to listen to them and think they were stupid and just get on with it. Now, well, life is too short really! I can hardly believe the utter bollocks people come out with. I've also noticed that I am treated differently which is great fun and could be exploitable. This is going to be interesting. On one hand some people are just being plain stupid and thick (either on purpose or they really are) and on the other they are being patronising and acting as if I have somehow had my brain scraped! Oh the fun of it all. I shall enjoy getting back to work - if they don't sack me for being belligerent that is.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I haven't heard this for a while

Whilst in a conversation with an old friend today - "Like pissing razor blades" was muted as an accurate description of one of the side effects.

Yep, I'll go along with that if you don't have some pain killers that is.

Long old day

I think I'll have to call it a day soon and go downstairs and relax in my chair. I bought myself a recliner chair so that I could relax after treatment and it is great.

I don't know quite why I didn't get much sleep last night and it is the first time I've had to take tablets in the morning to settle things down.

I read something interesting about the treatment and that is that it is now that the Immunotherapy has reached its full potential and is at its height so it is the build up that gets you to this level and the immune system is now doing its bit on its own - hence you don't mess about with it for 3 months then as it carries on working.

Clever stuff.

Whoa Calm down Tiger

I think I said earlier you can get some wild mood swings. Logged on to work - a right arse hole message in my inbox. Something I have been saying since I joined, turned around and played back to me as if it were their idea. Coupled that with a conversation I had with them last week and that is in there as well played back to me.

So - do I yell at said s**t for brains or just reproduce the 20 odd memos and say why are you asking me when I've been asking you the same question all the time? Luckily I have gone into calm down mode after explosive mode. The trouble is this would normally not get me this angry I'd be able to treat it with the utter contempt it deserves and move on. These days, I just get really pissed off with people wasting theirs and my time and frankly being stupid.

On the flip side of this mood swings stuff I also need to avoid anything that is sad especially kids in hospitals with horrible diseases etc. Also stupid things on TV can just catch me unawares too. I hope they don't show Bambi over Christmas - I'll be wasted :-)

I also hope when I get back to work not to be too aggressive towards them. Generally when someone comes out with a stupid remark I might look at them a strange way or ask them to repeat themselves until they realise but judging by the anger I've just felt with this, I've got a feeling I may just tell them straight out which way "up" is :-) I could have well lost all my carefully honed people skills. Out of my way Ricky Gervais, let me show you how I run my office :-)

That's Over!!

Perhaps I should be screaming that from the roof tops? Not in my PJs and Dressing Gown - better not :-)

Wow, that is it, all over for now. No disturbed Monday and Tuesdays. I'm looking forward to the end of this week too as it means I can finish work, sort out my office and all those little things I need to get done and then have a relaxing Christmas and New Year.

9 Weeks

That is what I was told yesterday. Expect the letter to come in in 9 weeks and to be in in 12 weeks to see how the treatment has worked.

Long time to wait isn't it? Mind you, I doubt I'd feel particularly up for going in at the moment after 6 weeks of this.

Not the best of nights

That was a pretty bad night. The symptoms were more manageable than before - you get used to them and you manage them but this morning I'm a little bit sore and I only got about 3 hours sleep. I managed a couple of hours into the evening so that may account for it.

I can't say that I should be feeling any worse than normal (whatever normal is) there is no reason I can see. It is quite peculiar I feel quite out of it this morning. I'll let today run its course and see how I get on.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Tell everyone or keep it to yourself?

My guardian angel - before I was diagnosed told me to tell everyone that I was ill and to share it around as much as possible (or words to that effect). I think that, for me, that has worked and this blog has been great. The blog is good because other people can look too and perhaps get some crumb of comfort from the fact that it isn't "just them".

I'd probably be the sort of person who would share all of this stuff anyway although I hadn't really thought about blogging it, sending out e-mails on my condition would be normal.

I think it would be very bad for me to have just locked myself in and become quiet and non communicative about it. I can't see that it helps a lot as the only opinion you can seek is your own and frankly I still don't trust, even my analytical and intuitive, bits of my brain to come up with all the right or even sensible answers. The phrase "you need to get out more" applies in spades :-)

The only downside I've noticed is the look of concern on some people's faces when they meet you and perhaps I'm not communicating enough about the good things or perhaps I'm not continually reinforcing the message about how well I feel etc.

To answer my own question - do what my guardian angel said and tell as many people as you can and it will make you feel a lot better than bottling it up and keeping it to yourself and your overactive imagination.

Thoughts on the BCG Treatment

I found the whole set of treatments manageable. The first treatment is a bit of a non event apart from the waiting and the worry about the catheter which really isn't that bad. I'd rather do this than have a blood test and I'd rather have a blood test than a cannula shoved in me so it isn't that bad and I am squeamish.

The lack of side effects at week one was an issue as the side effects at week two were unbelievable, like getting hit by a truck as I tell anyone who cares to listen. The books and even the nurse doesn't really tell you it is like that. My Consultant did. I was told not to drive or fly or attempt anything too ambitious and yet I feel that whilst that applied to the second week, ever since I have been well enough to travel albeit I wouldn't want to go more than say 30 minutes at most from home just in case I needed to find a toilet. Towards the end of each week you get progressively better at this. I have my treatments on Monday that wipes out most of Monday and generally Tuesday morning as well although I have been up and about since the third treatment on a Tuesday I still have minor side effects for the remainder of that day which of course gradually get less and less.

By weeks four and five I was getting into the swing of things and you get into a routine. Shower an hour before, set up the bedroom and bathroom for the coming turning and side effects etc. These little rituals also help to bring about a bit of calm. To start with my whole Monday was wiped out, all I could do on the PC was to play games and let those eat away the time. Now I can do work and add to this blog and do other things because I don't have to worry so much about it. It is still a little concerning of course but it is manageable and soon will be the last one and I can forget about them.

I hope it has worked - I really do. Someone posted (elsewhere) that the level of side effects does not affect how the BCG has worked. Feeling and seeing what it did do - it has done something - it is just the hope that it has done what the Consultant has set out to achieve. If we can get this manageable and able to maintain it I will have got the very best I could have hoped for.

Now to learn to live with this going forward

So the Treatment is over and my bladder has been scraped, bruised, battered (not like the fish batter), and finally has been in contact with live BCG. And that is after it had Cancer. I'm beginning to feel very sorry for this poor little thing :-)

Anyway, from this point onwards, I now have to work with living with it - Cancer that is. Whatever the outcome of the treatment and that won't be know for 3 + months there are some things that most (if not all) cancers have in common and that is that they can come back. It is quite frequent in bladder cancer to find that a tumour will come back and that it will have to be scraped away again. It also means that I'll be in and out of Hospital a lot for the foreseeable future as they need to check up regularly and I may also end up on a regular maintenance of BCG (if I am lucky) so my next steps are to settle down and get back to "normal" and to live with these things. I'm guessing that everyone will have to do this and the Cancer Research site gives some good pointers about this on their site.

You go through just about all possible emotions and personality types. Some will cope with them differently and it will take different times to do so. It will be interesting now that I will get some more time to reflect on this what I am going to make of it.

A friend of mine told me this was going to be like a Roller Coaster Ride. Once you were strapped in there was NO WAY you could get off the Roller Coaster, you had to go where it took you and there were going to be bits you liked and bits you hated, sudden changes in direction, loop the loops, dark places, water splashes (I put that in here I can't think what that would allude to!) and so on. You could only get off the Roller Coaster when it had stopped and it was safe to do so.

It feels like I have just completed one circuit and the carriages have pulled into the station. I want to get out but I've been told to stay on board. I have to wait and it takes time to fill all the carriages but I know that soon I'll be on my way again. I should be a lot better this time - I know what to expect (or I think I do). I'm more knowledgeable about what is going on and I can learn to tackle the bends and loops easier. I can even begin to enjoy some bits of the ride and occasionally we could get switched to a quieter length of track altogether. I'm on the quiet stretch now, there are no high speed bends, no loop the loops and the dark places are few and far between. I can see the scenery now, everything looks fine and nothing is blurred. I have to stay on the quiet track for another 3 months and then I'll find out which track they want me on next.

I think I'd be very disappointed if this treatment didn't work this time. I need to build myself towards getting that news in a way that keeps me positively focused on sorting this out yet realistic enough to realise that I shouldn't expect this to go away. It will be interesting to see how I can do that in the coming months.

6th and Last Treatment

Of this session that is. It is the morning before the last treatment. I slept well but I had a good day yesterday which probably helped.

Once today is out of the way then I have three months, a quarter of a year, to wait to go into Hospital and have the biopsy operation and I suppose two or three weeks after that to hear the results. It seems an awfully long time but perhaps I can use it to normalise my life, it having been far from normal for the last 5 months. Perhaps I'll be able to do some reflecting on things as opposed to just having it happen to me, who knows?

Yesterday was good. Many people worried about me but also very pleased to see how well I looked. We had a great Christmas Lunch and as usual a table of great people with whom we had a lot of laughs. On arrival home, the girls and I lit the fire and sat down and watched Oliver and MIB II so a good day topped off well too.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Trouble With Finding Out More....

Is that you get to read things that you would rather not have done. You get to see people far worse off than you are which cruelly gives you a lift but it is the long term statistics that get you. I am a complete newbie at this - 5 months since my first symptoms. Some people have had this 20 years or more and it is quite common for them to have recurrence of tumours; have a few years clear and then have to go back in again.

It could be that those who don't have this problem, those that have no recurrence just never write into to these online forums (I suppose they don't have a need to). I was also somewhat horrified to find out that CIS (Carcinoma in Situ) which is looked at in other Cancers as quite treatable is in bladder cancer quite treatable but also considered a very aggressive form. If you look at Insurance cover it states that you cannot get a pay out on CIS. So I suppose you also get conflicting information you need to sift out.

The mortality rate for CIS is good and dependant on what you read the treatment I am on now is good in 50 to 80% of cases. I guess the worst bit now is going to be waiting for 3 months to see if it worked.

So what else is wrong with finding out more about your own disease? It makes you a real bore :-) I am out today at a Christmas meal with about 100 or more people, I hope that I don't become a bore doing my "Yes I am feeling well but I won't know until next year", "No I will probably not be cured but they can control this for life for me". Perhaps I'll just go and prop the bar up for a few hours instead!!

More Information

A trawl through the Internet brings many sites of interest and a few you'd really wish you had not seen.

Here are a few worth looking at to find out what this is all about.

Click Here for the Cancer Backup Site
Click Here for the Cancer research Site - you can find out just about anything on this site
Click Here for the Bladder Cancer Web Cafe
Click Here for some more on a fact sheet

There are more like this but the basics are available to run through.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Almost Looking Forward to Monday

Strange but true. Last treatment (for the moment) and I'm almost wanting to get there and get it over and done with. I think I'll give a miss to the wag who reckons that I shouldn't take the pain killers and everything so that I can really feel that it is working. Mmm, thanks for that bit of advice but I choose to ignore it :-)

I'm feeling a lot better today, last week was a dark week for some reason. Anyway, just banged out close to 1000 e-cards this morning and now need to finish off the snail mail ones and that will be me done this Christmas. All cards done, all presents done and wrapped up. Cool!

Friday, December 08, 2006

End the week on an up beat note

I have a guardian angel who reads my blogs and picks up when I'm feeling a bit down in the mouth and drops me a little note to cheer me up which on a murky old Friday night has just happened.

I think I can put this week behind me now and move on - I've got things to do this weekend and next, I'm going out and meeting people and I'm going to have a good time come what may!

I'm really grateful for those little pick me ups I get.

Snake Oil

I was amazed how many "Snake Oil" sales people cash in on people's woes, despair and the downright terror you get with Cancer.

All sorts of stuff is being plied as a cure or some sort of help. Call me a cynic but I think my specialist would have told me if ground bat's droppings were the thing to be on? I suppose that it may just be me who finds it offensive to take advantage of anyone like this yet you can find this sort of stuff through a search on the Internet. I like the ones that are Scientifically proven and yet have some old Doris from Wisconsin telling you how it cured her as the single source of the miracle of the slightly dodgy stuff they bang out. Judging by the price of this stuff, it would be cheaper to buy a gold bar and swallow it - it would probably do you more good too!

Whinge over for the moment :-) Have a nice day now!

And another one

Who thought that it was hoped that my medical problems were behind me now. I suppose it is only natural for people to think that way and I read some things about other cancers these days and don't like what I read so I'd probably not understand someone else's condition, nor would I specifically go out and read about it unless they were perhaps closer to me.

So I suppose I shouldn't get angry about it. I find it quite difficult to wrap up in a few words exactly what my future holds for me anyway as that isn't exactly clear at the moment. It is quite an uncommon Cancer I suppose, I hadn't heard about it before I was diagnosed - heard about the big ones - Lung, Prostate, Throat and Breast etc., but Bladder - no never heard of it yet it is the 4th most common in men.

Anyway, just another of those things where I know that I'll be under long term observation (at best) and that I will not be fixed by Christmas this year or perhaps next year either or the year after that. I'm still coming to terms with that aspect of it and I've not got there yet so explaining it to someone who thinks this course of treatment is the end of things can be quite difficult.

Let that be a lesson

I was really tired yesterday. I am guessing that I am really not quite as fit as I feel and going out on Wednesday evening, walking to the venue and being out and not resting at home all contributed. Not that I feel ill or anything - I was just tired.

I will have to build up gradually if that is the case. I've planned a few outings after my last treatment next week. I shall make sure that I am fit enough to do them.

It all adds to this week's underlying theme of being quite angry. I'm angry about most things; work, insurance, fitness, perceptions, being stuck at home etc. I will work on getting that out of my system and "kind of" looking forward to the last treatment on Monday.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Tired? I'm Knackered

Well my little excursion last night brought something home to me. I am really knackered this afternoon, I'm yawning and can't concentrate - I'm going to take myself off for a lie down.

And my other computer has just blue screened - oh great :-) I can see next to nothing getting done here this afternoon if this keeps up.

Just cannot get going this morning

I cannot get going at all this morning. I've a piece of work to finish and I have sat and stared at it for 30 minutes and not done anything with it. I'm feeling quite tired too. Perhaps going out last night and the walking has just tired me out?

At the risk of repeating myself

I was asked if I was "better" last night. I suppose the answer is yes. I'm better than I was 5 months ago. On Christmas day it will be 5 months since the first operation. I'm better than I was when I had that done. I'm better in terms of all around health and I'm better in other ways too.

It is again one of those difficult questions to answer because you look and feel better but I have no idea if I AM better until April next year. Even then I'm expecting that this is a long term thing. So you have to caveat your answers with a yes and no type response. "Yes I'm better but no I'm not cured" or some such thing. As most people start off a conversation with "How are you?" it can be difficult answering that honestly. "I'm fine" doesn't cut it neither does "I'm getting there". Trying to explain that you are well but you are really (actually) ill and will remain so for a long time is quite difficult to phrase easily.

As I really haven't been in too many social events these past months it should be interesting to see how a number of people react to me on Sunday as I am going to a large Christmas Lunch. I'll see if I can come up with any easy to use responses to "how are you?"

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Life is unfair - I feel a fraud having read these

I think these are really special blogs and bits of news. I know that I'm ill and all that but take a look at these and go stare someone in the face about your troubles.

Sophie's Blog

Josie

Let us all remember our place and how lucky we really are.

Oh you look well

I was just amusing myself over at the Bladder Cancer Cafe HERE there are some great stories and some very sad ones to. It is a good place to go to some of the time. I have to say that it can actually work the opposite way and make me quite depressed too.

However the humour section made me laugh and I thought I'd share some of the more trying moments with you.

I met up with someone who said "Wow you are looking great" to which I retorted "They didn't operate on my face!"

Too many people think that if you have Cancer you look frail, have no hair and are sick everywhere. Not true - the trouble is that even though you can't see it, it is pretty serious and it isn't one that goes away easily. Ho hum...

The Long Distance Pee

I seem to be back to the every 15 minute routine (actually it hasn't been that bad). I can't see that I have drunk anymore than I normally do. Perhaps I ought to keep records. I do on treatment day so I know how many pints of water I have had post treatment and when I went and what the results were.

It has actually settled down now but late this morning I was in and out all over the place.

Navel Gazing

Strange past time. Trying to get people to look up and ahead is interesting. You can warn you can explain, you can talk but you cannot make people listen. It amuses me no end when we get to the point where it has all gone pear shaped and I wonder whether to utter those word "I told you so". The fun part is the person it happens to has absolutely no idea what is coming down the road to hit them and it comes as a complete surprise.

One of my favourite sayings is "I may not always be right; but I am NEVER wrong".

Not a lot better this morning

I can still feel the anger inside me. Whilst I'm not as angry this morning as I was yesterday I have to admit to being quite up for an outburst or two at this moment. It is probably the way I am feeling about myself and what I have and why no one else can see it the same way I do - I think.

I didn't know anything about Cancer before I got it and so it would be difficult for me to understand a colleague or friend with it. In fact, it was only after I got this that I fully comprehended how some of my friends who have gone through other Cancers must have felt, hurt and recovered.

Perhaps I need to communicate more and try and give them some understanding of what it is really like? The trouble is, you tend to sound "attention seeking" or worse "self centred" but you don't really mean to be. My "honest this is how it is" approach also has its drawbacks as it is probably too much detail and quite disturbing?

So perhaps that is it. Work, in contact with real people (face 2 face) looms large and perhaps their grasp of the situation will need managing so that they get it.

Right, that's enough of the deep and meaningful stuff on a Wednesday - time to get on with some work.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

An Angry Day

Tuesday has been an angry day. I didn't get done what I wanted to get done. Stuff got switched around and totally screwed my day up. I had a sense of humour failure on a number of things. the Insurance, Work, Projects and generally me being fed up.

I hope tomorrow is a little bit better. Not that I don't feel well, just one of those days. I must be careful not to use the "who gives a s**t" sort of answers when discussing some insignificant point at work. Careful son, careful :-)

I'll bid you good night as I ought to get some sleep and forget about today altogether!

I don't think they got it

Yes, I'm certain that some people didn't really listen when I said I'd be back at work in January full time they have taken that to mean that this is the end of my treatment. In fact that is probably far from the truth. I am expecting that this is the beginning of my treatment. Let me explain:

The Cancer grade meant it needed an operation to get it manageable. The second operation was to attempt to get the grade to CIS which it is. After that - then treatment can begin. This batch of treatments are to stop recurrence of tumours. I thought I had explained that to them.

If this is successful then maintenance is an ongoing thing, for many years to try and control this.

It looks like I'll be explaining it to them slowly again until they wake up and get it.

FUD

Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt = FUD

A Bit Annoying

I received a letter from the Insurance Company. The letter they sent in October hasn't been actioned by the Hospital. Six weeks would seem long enough. the trouble is that it is one of those ticks in the box I want out of the way. Treatment [tick], recovery [tick], holidays sorted[tick], Insurance [Tick], Biopsy Operation [Tick], Diagnosis and future plan [Tick]....

Let's hope that the Hospital get the reminder today and send back the form and we can all move on again. It would get it out of the way and stop part of the FUD that goes with all of this.

Can it be Cured?

I don't think Bladder Cancer is one that gets cured. I think you get remission on this one (I could be wrong I need to check it).

Some Cancers can be cured, some of course get cured as the radical surgery removes the infected organ entirely. I suppose if they do that then perhaps it is cured in Bladder Cancer cases.

I state this only in as much as someone dropped me a line hoping that I'd be cured. I'll have to do a bit more research on this one.

Different Again

Well that treatment was different again to the last one. The instillation was much easier and less uncomfortable. The frequency of going to the toilet was down and so was the pain level. I could be getting used to it I suppose but I doubt it. I again waited until after the two hours to have the Paracetamol and Ibuprofen. I then slept for 2 1/2 hours before waking to go to the toilet this time.

Whilst the frequency was down the level of gunge and clots coming out were more pronounced and this morning quite the largest two I have ever seen.

I am feeling very well again and my body is warm all over which I have tended to notice over the past few weeks.

So an interesting change in side effects. I spoke to the Nurse yesterday about everyone else having colds and I have to let them know if I get a cold especially Flu or Flu like symptoms, additionally if I get a chesty cold too. In the latter cases they would delay treatment - something I do not want at all.

The Urology Nurses are very good and I liked the comment about this nurse needing her sticky labels - I asked if I'd get one for being a good boy? No - these are to put on the treatment syringe which she actually showed me. I still reckon that the syringe and all the equipment hanging off it (tubes and bits), if it were a real injection would make you pass out in fear. It is massive.

I'm up and about early again this morning and fully with it. A little discomfort and that is about it so we will see how the rest of the day goes.

Monday, December 04, 2006

That wasn't so bad

Apparently I have a tight urethra hence it is a little more painful for my treatment. I was hoping they wouldn't mention size at all really :-)

Actually, I can't put my hand on my heart and say that it hurts. It is unpleasant and uncomfortable and you get a sharp gasp as the catheter passes the Prostate but other than that it isn't like thumping your thumb with a hammer or cutting yourself. I'll not mention pricking yourself as I know that the audience for this blog has a strange sense of humour :-)

It is brilliant to know that I only have one more of these to go.

More later - off to lie down now I have done my 15 minutes a side routine.

5th Treatment

Here we go - 5th treatment of 6 looms large today. I had a much better night's sleep than I normally do before these. The Appointment is earlier too. I am going to re-run last week's timetable which ensured I had an easier time of the side effects.

I only hope I don't crush the stress ball too much

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Exercise

I managed to get out a couple of times down the week and so far I have been out walking every Sunday. The muscles around my stomach are where the problem seems to be and I am hoping that as I increase the exercise I can get them working better and tightening back up. Also I need to lose some more weight. I've lost a little but I really need to lose some more. I am eating sensibly now and not snacking as I'm not just sitting around anymore.

I suppose putting on weight could be viewed as a good sign but really I need to be back down to where I was beforehand.

All Around me are ill

This will be fun. The rest of the family have various colds and Flu like symptoms and I've got to get my treatment tomorrow and report any "Flu like" symptoms which could be serious side effects :-)

I'll have to have a chat with the Nurse tomorrow and see what that is all about.

Downhill from now on

Yes,

2 more treatments to go - one tomorrow and then just one left after that. Something to look forward to leading up to Christmas.

You feel with this treatment that you just get back to feeling great again the day before the next one :-)

Life is like that don't you think? No doubt the specialists worked out that it takes roughly a week to recover and so this was the best frequency for treatment - clever aren't they!

Beginning to get back to "normal"

As I said yesterday, I am beginning to notice long periods of time where I don't think about or act as if I have the disease. I think that this is a good sign as I am coming to terms with it and I am beginning to manage it and not it managing me. A lot of people talk about having a "state of mind" about cancer. I'm sure there is something in there about that.

In this instance I think that you do get a very big shock to start with, you don't believe it for a while, you tackle it with denial (or however you tackle it), you then get to the point of acceptance. I think you get to acceptance and then you go through a stage of depressive acceptance and grow out of that. I think I have now got to that part which is I've got it, I've gone through the treatments and I'm recovering and feel almost fully recovered, I don't have anything on my near term radar like tests and operations to cope with, Christmas is coming, things like work are getting back to normal, my day to day is getting back to normal and very soon, I hope that I'll be going a day at a time without thinking too hard about what I have got.

I'm going to be making sure that I eat and drink the right things still but these are becoming habits now so that should also help me to think less about these things.

Well I am pleased about this, I was beginning to worry that all I'd ever think about was how I am, measuring everything I was doing in terms of what effect it would have on me etc.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Not so bad

I have just finished the majority of newsletters and Christmas Cards and notes to those who don't know. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be apart from one - someone I should have told a long time ago and completely forgot to. Other than that - nowhere near as bad as I thought it was going to be at all.

Hope it stays that way.

Beginning to think less about it

I'm beginning to think less (all the time) about what I have now. I can go for many hours without my thoughts turning to the facts and that is beginning to help a lot. I can concentrate on things and it is only seeing the paperwork and other reminders that take attention away.

Today is going to be difficult not to think about it all day as I am doing my Christmas Cards and inserting newsletters or writing notes to people.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Silly Season

1st December - no one wants to work, no one wants to make meetings, meetings that have been planned get canned and moved to next year.

Here we go, it is Christmas and all the crazy behaviour that goes with it. For once - this year I'm going to take extended time off and I am actually going to spend time to myself. I've often taken time off but hardly ever have I done what I want to do. I have absolutely no idea what I AM going to do yet but I'll have fun thinking about it. Two more treatments and two more weeks left and I can relax up for a while. Nice!

Friday - Time for a laugh

When I got my Outpatients Appointment letters they arrived in six envelopes over two days.

Now, you'd have thought that someone booking these knew they wanted a recurring appointment, on the same day each week for 6 weeks (albeit not all at the same time but near). How difficult would it have been to make 6 appointments and put them all on one letter? Everything would have been in one place, the cost of letters, envelopes, handling and postage alone would have (you would have thought) paid for the difficulty of doing that.

I reckon though that the computer system cannot do this and each appointment once made automatically generates a letter.

Perception of the treatment

I had a funny chat today. Someone thought that - the treatment I was having now would be the lot, you know, I'd be fixed and that was it. I'd probably say that my impression would be the same if I didn't know all about my disease and the treatments available.

I will have to do some educational work I suppose to explain what it is I'm having done and what it really means.

I was disappointed to read today that this disease gets a lot of recurrences. I don't like the idea of that at all. The operations are stressful things to cope with and to imagine having to have a number of these again in the future is worrying. I hope that the treatment will get me as near to OK as is possible.

It's not that I don't like you - it is just that I could be writing this blog for a number of years!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Itching to get back

I'm itching to get back to work in the New Year. By getting back to work I mean actually going to the Office and getting out of the house and going to customer sites. I have been working at home for quite a while now I really could do with a change of scenery.

What is your problem

I've mentioned it before but another example this morning of something that was obviously a major problem in the house and, when you boiled it down wasn't. It needed a yes or no answer, a bit of thought and reason applied and that would be it. The answer was either yes or no there was no middle ground. People were gong to get upset one way or the other.

I was watching this unfold and was almost at the point of wielding the size 12s but decided that is was best I kept out of the way. You see, it was that easy to see what was going on, it was a "no brainer" what to do about it and yet all hell had broken loose. Why even bother, make a decision and stick to it (right or wrong). After you have made the decision be big enough to accept the consequences. It really is that simple, that black and white. For something so trivial as someone deciding whether or not to go in when clearly not feeling well and the row that caused in the house this morning it was hardly worth it. At the end of the day, after going in and out of the house twice, the problem was resolved - too sick to go in.

I can be downright insensitive on stuff like this. It was so blindingly obvious that the best thing to do was to stay at home. Did I really need all the nonsense and arguments going on? It was like a mad house for 15 or 20 minutes. I like the bit when they try and get me involved - that often happens and they always don't like the answer anyway. It's like work - sometimes you want to walk into the office and just yell - life is too short for this shit, sort yourselves out or I'll do it for you.

Even now - they are not sure and may or may not want to go in - give me a break. They wonder why I get angry with this stuff. Simple, I really can't stand fannying around like this. Make a decision, stick to it and get on with it.

Now that's my whole morning screwed up. I hope no one phones up in the next half an hour with some sort of problem they may get more than they bargained for :-)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Breaking the News

It is the time of year when, bad as I've been all year keeping in touch with folks - I do actually get around to sending off news. I've bitten the bullet and actually written two versions of the truth. One is for family and friends and the other one is for colleagues and acquaintances.

Both were difficult to write as breaking bad news is never really easy anyway. I'll see what the reaction is. I've mentioned the blog in one of the newsletters but not the other one yet.

No Way - BBC says Bacon Butties give you Bladder Cancer!

Click HERE if you don't believe me.

Good grief - I'll never look at a Bacon Butty the same way again now......

A little bit of a heavy article but interesting on BCG

Click HERE

Donald L. Lamm, MD has a number of articles, both here and in the bladder cafe and on his own web site which talk about BCG and its part in fighting bladder cancer or more properly getting the body to do that for you.

Superficial Cancer

Is what it is called. I don't see anything superficial about it at all. I think that the term may need adjusting over time as even in its Carcinoma In Situ form I believe it is pretty nasty.

Well Being Continues

Again, up with the Lark and feeling good and ready for action. When I work out what the magic ingedient is, I'll let you know.

For now, I shall just enjoy being this awake and back to my best.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

BCG for Bladder Cancer

One of the best articles I have read about BCG is HERE.

The whole web site is extremely useful to understand the disease.

You Know you are getting better when

I thought I'd note down that some normality is returning. After all the things that have happened to me; the blur that has been diagnosis, surgery and recovery at last I can see and feel changes - especially today as I can see me getting back to work full time and sorting out what I need to sort out.


So the title of this blog is You know you are getting better when:-


  • You start to lay the law down in meetings
  • You start asking really difficult questions
  • You volunteer for certain tasks and projects
  • You welcome a good argument about a project
  • You start making executive decisions knowing you can back them up


I shall keep my eye out for more observations and jot them down when I can.

Book or Blog Titles

Lying around and making notes yesterday it occurred to me that there could be some interesting book titles about Bladder Cancer as opposed to the Scholarly ones I have seen to date - here are a few:-

  • The Long and Short of it
  • Extracting the Urine
  • Shaken not Stirred
  • Getting Bladdered
  • A Sharp Intake of Breath
  • Size Matters
  • All Men are the Same Lying Down - a Urology Nurse's View
  • Stop that leak
  • Bladder Farts Don't Smell
  • Light at the End of the Tunnel
  • Willy's Progress
  • The Catheters were not a Southern French Religious Group?

I'm sure you can think of more.

Bladder Farts

I know! I had to bring things back to basics. No matter what you say, a Fart is one of the funniest things. My children derive no end of amusement, to almost hurting themselves with laughter.

So yesterday, I was on the listen. You see last week, and the week before, I thought I had heard wind coming out when I was peeing - and not from where it traditionally does!

So this week, when voiding the BCG mixture out, there it was, two farts! Excellent! :-)

I suppose air must get instilled with the mixture of BCG as it is inserted (there must be some air in the Catheter.

So there you go, I told the children who, predictably, fell about in a heap laughing. even I thought it was funny but had to make sure I didn't laugh too hard in case I erupted another bladder fart :-)

As well as could be expected

I changed the plan yesterday to have the painkillers and anti inflammatories after the 2 hour instilled period and before the side effect kicked in. This appears to have worked really well.

I did the usual turning regime and then waited an hour and voided that. There was a slight sting and some light blood but it was manageable. I then grabbed some food (don't take Ibuprofen on an empty stomach) and so had the tablets at about 2 1/2 hours after instillation. I then went to sleep for about 2 1/2 hours and then went to the toilet. Much better than the week before and there was only one stinging moment a little later on. By 9 p.m. I had eaten, had my second lot of tablets and was asleep. I woke at 10:30 and went to the toilet then and again at 5:30 this morning - no signs this morning so far.

This seems to have worked better than last week. Most of the symptoms whilst still there are so much more manageable than week 2.

I am now 2/3 rds of the way through my treatment. The Nurse was very good yesterday. I asked about the Catheter and she told me that it was lubricated and showed me the bag it cam in. She said they could not give a local anesthetic alongside the treatment. However, I'm not sure I'd want one as the one I had with the Flexible Cystoscopy invoked a stinging sensation that made me feel that I wanted to go to the toilet and that would not do for this.

Anyway, the stress ball took a pounding as the catheter went past the Prostate but other than that - if it is at all the right thing to say - things were a lot better yesterday than they have been. I also reckon one of the worries I had yesterday was that I knew it was going to be a different nurse - but she was really good. In fact they have all been absolutely marvellous - it cannot be easy for them having to deal with what could be an embarrassing thing to have done and also what can be a sensitive thing too.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Waiting - You have to do it

I hate the waiting around. I know that I have exactly three hours left before I get the treatment. I suppose that is better than an Operation when (generally) you only know if it is morning or afternoon. There is a ritual to go through before each. Perhaps I'll look at the operations one as a separate blog. The only ting to say now is how stressful it is waiting to go down to Theatre - it fills you with fear, dread, foreboding.

The treatment doesn't do that but you naturally are going to get nervous. I don't eat well before the event. I have had no coffee today, sipping away at a glass of water doesn't help as my mouth is as dry as the Gobi Desert. I know that all this really isn't necessary as I have done it before. I can't imagine how I am going to feel again waiting for the results of this treatment. I have to wait until April. At least when I found out I had Cancer I knew as soon as I had been examined. It took about 4 or 5 weeks after the first operation to find out how serious things were.

So - whilst you have to hang around to have things done, it builds up the stress levels approaching the time to leave the house.

The sort of preparations include:

  • Light breakfast
  • No coffee
  • small glasses of water
  • Lunch an hour earlier than normal
  • Water jug and glass beside bed
  • Tablets ready beside bed
  • Cloths over the bed
  • Toilet prepared with books, glasses, CD player ad CDs
  • Bleach and Bleach tablets close by
  • Disposable gloves, surgical wipes in bathroom
  • Cheap toilet rolls ready to use to wipe stuff up if needed
  • Stress ball in pocket
  • Appointment notes and booklet together by the door
  • E-mail auto answer switched to unavailable for two days
  • Mobile phone charged but off during treatment
  • Shower 1 hour before leaving
  • Clothes laid out ready for Hospital visit (easy to get into and out of, comfortable etc)
  • No drinking for two hours before going
I'm sure there are more. Having a ritual like this I suppose helps. I get most things ready during the late morning (from now onwards in fact) as it fills the time between now when I start thinking about it and actually going and getting the instillation done.

That will do for now.

Treatment 4 looms large

I managed to get a reasonable amount of sleep last night. I've found that it is now a good idea to stop drinking lots of water by about 6 or 7 at night as well. I don't feel half so uncomfortable nor do I get up in the night (apart from on treatment night).

It is surprising how nervous I still feel - if not nervous then perhaps a little trepidation about going to have this done. I suppose that it is only natural to feel like that. I very much doubt that I'd look forward to it. Perhaps knowing that I'm going to live through a 4 to 6 hour wave of side effects may be the reason.

This is the 4th of 6 treatments and that in itself is an incentive to get there and have this done.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Write it Down

I find this blog very therapeutic. Also, you tend to gloss over some of the things that happen to you so writing it down here can bring you back down to what happened and also I can point to this is someone wants to know more.

If I didn't do this I would probably write this down somewhere but in a less structured, more notes type format.

Now I AM going to bed..... :-)

Preparation for the 4th Treatment

Well -here we go. Getting ready for treatment No4. This time tomorrow I'll be 2/3rds of the way through. 4 down and 2 to go.

I'm going to slightly delay taking the pain killers and the anti inflammatories until nearer the 4 hours afterwards mark to see if I can get more effective use from them.

Another thing that bugs me - when I go to the Hospital, my wife - who has been fantastic - drops me off and waits for me, even if she has to drive around for a while. The reason? No car parking spaces to be had. A brand new hospital and you can't get parked. If I had to go myself it would be a nightmare getting parked nearby, getting treated, getting back etc.

I wonder how many people miss their appointment because of that. Before you ask, yes you could get a bus or public transport but you really don't want to as the very last thing you feel like doing is waiting in the rain for a bus when you've just had a load of liquid shoved into your bladder. Luckily we don't live too far from the Hospital and so we can get back withing 10 minutes of me being instilled.

Anyway - off to bed and hopefully to sleep. I feel a lot better than I did this time last week and so I'm hopeful that the brain will "give it a rest" tonight and let me sleep.

I Just wrote my Christmas Newsletters

One for family and friends and one for colleagues and my personal work friends. I have yet to write the family history one - that will be fun as I haven't done much this year on that.

It was quite strange to write about Bladder Cancer in between all the usual stuff about life, the universe, the kids, holidays (of which we had none this year) and all that. I struggled to get it off the single subject but finally - I think I managed to get some balance into it.

I hope that most people know but I am sure as I write my Christmas cards and send those off around the world that I will realise that some people don't know at all!

Blimey - I hope it isn't too much of a shock to people.

Someone - bless them - came up to me the other day and sort of muttered "why is it always the good ones?"

Turning the corner

I am now over half way through my treatment and I can hardly believe it is less than 5 months since I first noticed the symptoms and just 4 months since the first operation. Having two operations has probably the thing that knocked me sideways although a lot of people keep telling me to "wake up" you've just had major surgery or at least serious surgery. I suppose so. It is so matter of fact to me - I reckon it is a defence mechanism.

So, back to what I was going to say. I have taken things so easily and given everything - healing, treatment and so on every chance to work that I have put on a stack of weight. I know the traditional view of someone with cancer is a sallow complexion and hair loss etc but, I look and feel well but the extra 2 inches or so on my waist have got to come off. I have also been wearing jogging or track suit bottoms for a long time (they are comfortable - they are also easy to wear when you are having treatment too). I tried on a pair of trousers last week and they were very uncomfortable. I also reckon that the muscles around my middle are probably not particularly strong either.

So as of today, I am going to start back exercising each day. Today will be a walk of some sort. Luckily I am on the border between town and country so I can be in the fields and woods in 5 minutes. With Christmas coming I suppose I will have to be careful that I don't overdo it then by over eating - so easy to do when you are relaxing or recuperating :-). I am planning to go back to work full time in January. I need to be careful not to overdo it by trying to catch up on the lack of progress I have made on certain internal projects. I'll do myself a mischief if I do that.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Walking the fine line

There but by the grace of God go I.

I have to remember that I am pretty lucky at the moment. I now don't feel unwell and I can feel my energy coming back, my demeanour is much better, I am confident that things are working out for the best and I can share a laugh and joke about it all. The dark days of July and September are gone and the treatment I am getting is the best news I could possibly have hoped for given the seriousness of the earlier investigations.

A lot of people do not have the luxury of having that outlook mentally or physically so I thought I'd highlight the difference that ,whilst I have something with the potential to do me a LOT of harm, I look on it as curable, beatable and something that should be seen as part of everyday life - even if you don't want it to be there - it is with you all the time waking or asleep. It must not - as far as possible - stop you doing what you normally do.

I in no way wish to be flippant or disrespectful. This blog is the way I see it and it may well contain stuff that those in a more serious condition would not find amusing. So apologies to them.

Anyway, on with the blog and another thing has been taken out of my brain and released into the ether :-)

What you do with the Bleach :-)

Well - as I tend to think everyone actually knows what I am talking about, I had better make it perfectly clear about the treatment and what you actually do with the Bleach.

You DO NOT wash your Willy in the Bleach! It stings bad enough without resorting to anything like, use Bleach, A Brillo pad and plenty of elbow grease :-)

The reason you use Bleach for 6 hours after the treatment is that you are disposing of a Bio Hazard because the BCG is a live vaccine of TB type stuff (Hope that was technical enough for you?). After you have "voided" or had a pee. You must sit to stop splashing BTW - a sure fire way to make sure that the man in your house keeps the lid down :-). You put the bleach into and around the pan and leave for 15 minutes before flushing. The Hospital give you bleach tablets to do this.

So - now you know - please keep the questions coming in - it made me laugh when I read it the first time, then it made my eyes water at the thought of it

Friday, November 24, 2006

Blimey - another good day

Yes, again, up early, feeling good about the world and myself - despite the post below.

I wonder what it is making me feel this good? If I find out I'll bottle it and sell it on.

At a crossroads

I think that only I feel that I am at the crossroads at the moment. Perhaps only I can see the permutations that may lie ahead and the extent or limits of each of those roads. Getting anyone else to see that time and opportunity are precious is difficult without coming straight out and saying it and frankly that is not a particularly subtle way to deal with the problem. Of course neither is trying to dress it up and see if they can get there themselves.

I think now that only those with the disease can see things this clearly and whether it frightens you or not, a glimpse at your own mortality, and an appreciation of how thin the line you are treading is an insight and a warning. I want to live life now, I want to do things I haven't or may not get the chance to do. I want to live a little on the edge and I want to do a lot of things that if it doesn't work out, I'll have at least given it a go.

Having said all that, you still have to go on working and bringing in the money, providing the steady home and all that and everyone else wants to carry on as normal. The trouble is normal isn't normal anymore, its a waste of time and that is running out (or could be).

This is not meant to be depressing, it is the new reality.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Word is getting around

I am getting a lot more messages on e-mail and a few phone calls now that the word is out. All have been supportive and offers of help but of course, generally, you don't need help as such. I suppose I ought to ask them to send emergency rations of beer around, its a win/win situation then :-)

Almost Unheard of

I was awake at 6:30, all bright eyed and bushy tailed. ready to go. Got downstairs, felt great, had a decent breakfast and I'm here at my home office desk at 7:55 after having done 30 minutes on e-mails already.

When I said I felt well, I do mean it. For a number of years, now thinking about it, I have been quite low and depressed almost, difficult to get up, procrastinating not any real energy etc. Perhaps this is a temporary glitch - I hope not. I wonder how long I have been ill?

Happy Thanksgiving to those of you who celebrate it.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Another good day

I am amazed how much I have got completed today and how well and cheerful I have been all day. Perhaps last night and meeting everyone has bolstered me, or perhaps I just am beginning to climb out of the pit of depression and not being well (albeit I never felt unwell - just beaten up).

I will have to see how I am tomorrow.

Friend from long ago called

Word gets around and I got a call out of the blue from an old friend. He phoned to see how I was and he was delighted to hear me in such good spirits and being so positive.

I have to say that I still feel very positive about the whole thing. Another friend of mine (don't count them I must have at least 3 friends!) told me after some horrible experiences at hospital that he was so pleased that he had been diagnosed with MS! What? Yes he went on, I really thought I had Leukemia!

I think that you need to look at things that positively. You've got whatever you've got and that is it, it is a fact. You can't blame anyone, you can't get rid of it, you have to live with it. Looking around you will soon find that there are lots and lots of people far worse off than yourself. Some countries you'd be left to die with what I have so count yourself lucky that you live where you do, have access to specialists, have the best treatment you can possibly get and you have the best possible chance of recovery, treatment, cure etc.

Reasons to be Cheerful - Good old Ian Dury - great record :-)

Concentration Levels begining to come back

I have been finding it quite difficult to concentrate since the Operations either because of the General Anaesthetic or because of thinking about the disease whether consciously or subconsciously which meant that I was having real difficulty concentrating for long periods of time. today I feel that I have finally come out of that, albeit in a small way. I have actually spent most of the day in a productive manner and produced tangible things. Wow!

Catch up with the Nurse

It is quite a reassuring thing to do - call in a few days after the treatment and make sure that you are OK. The main thing here is that if by now I was suffering chills or flu like symptoms or anything worse then they can do something about it.

I went through the symptoms I had on Monday/Tuesday and all is OK. I am going to slightly change the plan next week to take the tablets just prior to the onset of the side effects (say an hour or so before) and see if I can get these under more control.

I hope it is not one of those "negative" signs - like on the films or where you hear someone is doing really well before the relapse but I am feeling really well and perhaps for the first time in many months and I couldn't tell you why that is. Perhaps the therapy is working in a way to clear out everything else in my body - I just don't know. Stay tuned folks!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Be Thankful for people who listen to you

Tonight I was really pleased to meet up with some friends and colleagues. It was nice to get out of the house, even if only to my local pub. It was good to chat and catch up, better still they were good listeners.

With Cancer you do get very much "Me, Me, Me" syndrome because, well it is happening to you, you don't get out much and you don't have adult company all that often nor do you get a sympathetic ear.

So it was very kind of every one to listen to me and ooh and arr in all the right places. Also not a "sorry for you" in the whole thing so also much appreciated.

As a complete aside, my jacket absolutely stinks of smoke. Until recently, even not smoking, I wasn't quite so sensitive about it, but now, knowing that it may well have been a contributory factor in my illness, I appear to be almost hyper sensitive to the smell of smoke. However, I notice it more on my clothes than in the pub itself. We were in a non smoking area but were only in the main bar for a final drink. In the 20 minutes or so that was happening my jacket and clothes really stink.

Next year all things will have to change and I can see that it may well improve sales in places like pubs if the air is clean. I really hadn't noticed it was bad until now and funnily enough I am quite OK with people smoking around me. I used to years ago and I don't want to appear a holier than though reformed smoker even though I could yell from the rafters that bladder cancer is a smoker's disease!

It would make no difference as no one there knows me. I try not to have a dig at my friends about their smoking but I do offer them the ability to read this blog and see whether it strikes any chords with them.

Interesting Lunchtime

My friend who is a hypnotist met up with me at lunchtime. I told him that I haven't felt this well in years. No really, I know that the treatment yesterday knocked me sideways and all that but actually, I feel very well in myself, I look well, my skin and general complexion is good, I eat the right things and I have completely changed what I eat etc.

I also have a much more positive outlook in recent weeks so perhaps it all adds up to the feeling and looking well bit!

This morning

I forgot to say that drinking all this water is not only good for you but your skin feels good too. Also I drank about 4 pints of water from after the treatment to getting up this morning and a half pint of Cranberry Juice (the jury are still out on whether it is any good for urinary tract problems or not). Anyway, whether it is good or not for you, it tastes better than water alone.

This morning I still have a light stinging or aching but I feel a lot better than I did last week when I suggested that I felt I had been hit be a truck. This week I feel as if I have been hit by a wet fish.

So how was it for you?

Well Treatment 3. I was a little bit more worried about going to get the treatment this time which surprised me. The stress ball was great and it does help. If anything the catheter this time was less noticeable than last time but you still get a little gasp but it isn't painful.

So I did the turning for 15 minutes a side - this to ensure that the vaccine gets to every part of the bladder. My friend's son, who is a Doctor, stated that the reasons are quite easy to explain. Most patients prefer to do the turning regime rather than to Bungee Jump which also has the same effect :-) Well it made me smile!

So I kicked in the "Cunning and Devious" plan and after the turning and a piece of toast (you shouldn't have Ibuprofen on an empty stomach), I had 2 Paracetamol and 2 Ibuprofen. This left me 30 minutes after which I voided the BCG stuff and took the usual precautions with bleach etc. I started drinking water just before this and had a pint by the time I needed to go again. I also laid down in bed this time and slept until I woke needing to go. I had been asleep for about 2 hours.

The side effects kicked in again after about 4 1/4 hours but this time without the ferocity of the week before. As you can imagine it is pretty upsetting to see blood and clots in your urine but the treatment is meant to do that. The stinging started up again but without the intensity of the week before. At only one point did it really hurt and that was passing a rather large clot - I found a good swear was useful at this point. I was able to take some more pills four hours later and that really helped again. I didn't need to go with the frequency or the urgency of last time and so that also helped.

I set up the bathroom with a few books and magazines and a CD player as last time I seemed to be holding out squatters rights. Again this time I was able to visit and not spend a long time in there. So all in all the "Cunning and Devious" plan worked. If anything I may hold back the first lot of tablets until later so that I can get it nearer to the time when the side effects kick in.

So - perhaps a plan of action and also knowing this is about to happen can help you to work on this. It was nowhere near as bad as last weeks which came on so fast and with such ferocity I didn't know what had hit me. This morning, there is some slight stinging and a little soreness around my middle but other than that it is fine.

Finally still be prepared for a little leakage even after all of this but it was minute compared to last week and simple precautions of some cloths on your bed and some old underclothes sort it out.

So, half way in my treatment, 3 down and 3 to go. I feel so much better this morning, I am up early, have had breakfast and my first coffee since Sunday :-)