Monday, July 23, 2007

The Quiet Blog

See you all soon - cruise awaits.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

In all the excitement

I'm not sure I actually said what I meant to say at the end of my party.

At the end I said that I had been diagnosed exactly a year before and that I'd got the clear about 10 weeks ago. I think I said how glad I was to be there and celebrate that with everyone.

However, what I don't think I said and I had planned to was to thank everyone for "looking out" for me and being there and sending e-mails and calling me and taking me out for a beer and all the good things they did to help me out. It was very important to me then and is important to me now. I think they know and I'll thank them individually when I see them as well.

Sense of Humour Required

As some may know we are off on a cruise tomorrow.

Tonight's film on TV was..................



What a great night

Twas my 50th Birthday party and I shared that with an old chum of mine from school days.

What a brilliant evening. I had a great time and celebrated my birthday in style surrounded by family and friends and I didn't get too squiffy :-)

I got some great presents too - people are really imaginative about such things - I wish I was sometimes.

Right - that is enough from me for the moment - I hope to spend the rest of the day doing next to nothing except packing.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

1st Anniversary

By this time last year I knew that I had bladder cancer and was probably reading the leaflet the gave me. I had by the early afternoon a phone call giving me an appointment on the following Tuesday. Those days were a blur. Explaining to my Mother that I had Cancer wasn't easy. I remember using all the soothing and upbeat words and actually thinking the opposite of what I was saying.

So tonight - should I wear the "I'm not dead yet!" Tee Shirt? I think I should.


I've been looking at this label and - is it me - or is this just plain obvious?


Sleep - As evasive as ever

I didn't have the problem I normally have on a Tuesday night (there's a clue then!) as I didn't have treatment on Monday.

Tonight though I'm yawning away but can i get to sleep! No chance. I think I have done the usual and worked all day long on the PC and that has just meant that my brain is too active doing figures and answering e-mails.

I have no doubt that I will sleep Saturday night and in to Sunday!!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Some sort of anniversary

Tomorrow - when I have my birthday party with my friends it will be a strange old day.

By 10 a.m. on the 21st July 2006 I knew that I had Bladder Cancer and my journey began. It seems a strange quirk of fate that Lynne's memorial service will be tomorrow and also that my party will be on the same day. The next anniversary is the 25th July when I had the operation to take out the tumour. My the year has flown by really and it hardly seems possible that all the things that have happened to me - actually DID happen to me.

Anyway, I shall try not to dwell on that but rather on enjoying my party tomorrow.

Winding Down now

I really have had enough now and I have a few more work tasks to do and then I am going to get on to the personal ones.

Tomorrow is going to be hectic. I want to enjoy my party but the organisation and logistics make it that I'll probably be knackered by the time it starts.

At least Sunday should be good as I can relax with the F1 Grand Prix, the Open and Tour de France (unless it is a rest day).

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Treatment fades into the distance

But quite surprisingly I can still feel how tender everything is. I should have remembered from last time that it took a good few weeks to slowly build myself back to my exercise regime.

The Ship has a fully fitted Gym and so I am planning to spend a little time in there slowly building myself back up to fitness. Although I will only be going very slowly as I can feel pulling now when I walk up and down stairs especially.

It is quite frustrating having to wait for things to get back to normal - it just seems to take so long.


Yep - my 50th on Saturday - it should be fun. The food has mounted up in the house, in the Fridge and Freezer. I have 3 days work to fit in tomorrow already.

This weekend is going to be utter chaos but then I meant to thrive on that sort of stuff.

I hope to be a bit livelier tomorrow than I was today!

I'm still not getting any younger

I keep saying that to myself. The problem is that I still think I am as fit as I was a year or so a go. Obviously not, I find a full day out - like yesterday - leaves me very tired the next day. I'm only 50 for goodness sake! I'm not out of breath or physically finding it difficult to walk or whatever, far from it.

This morning I took ages to get going and could quite happily have laid in bed for hours as I just felt so tired. I need to keep reminding myself that despite the way I look and I feel, that I am probably not as fit as I think I am.

Holiday next week - bliss - I don't have to do anything if I don't want to. I intend to just chill out for two weeks.

What a long day

Home about 30 minutes ago. Like it is the next morning :-)

It was a brilliant evening and I am so glad my friend organised a reunion. Last year I was all set to go and had - a few good reasons not to :-) I still have to dash to the loo more often than normal but - then I was in dire straits and couldn't be away from a toilet by more than 20 paces :-)

Anyway a great evening and I had a lovely time.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Some people are so


Like how many times do I have to tell someone "no, I am not interested" before the meaning of my words actually gets past their ear drums, converted to electrical signals and actually stops them following their banal sales scripts? According to Danial (from Mumbai) about 10 times before he got told where he could shove his script, what was wrong with repeating himself 10 times to someone who actually could speak English and how mighty unimpressed I was with his ability to translate my words into sounds that he could actually hear and could actually understand.

When you hear the BURRRRRR you have lost the sale dummy!


No doubt he was still trying to find out who his auto dialler had rung and why he wasn't speaking to the "responsible adult" of the house. Good entertainment though - and cheered me up no end.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Whatever it is

Get over it. I'm still feeling these little sad pangs. No idea what it actually causing them apart from the earlier blog ideas. Perhaps it is the looking forward to being away without having to worry about anything. I don't know - I'd rather not be getting these little 10 second chokers though. It has to be a guilt thing or something like that.

Rationalise this

I do a lot of that. I'm beginning to wind down for my holiday already - I'm looking forward to it, I definitely need it and it is this - not being busy to distract myself - that I imagine is going to give me more time to think, to be glad I'm here, to be as fit as I am and so on.

I'm sure there is some fancy psychological terminology for it. No doubt someone would be able to stick me on the Kubler Ross chart somewhere :-)

It feels like the end of a battle or a war and after all that has gone on, all the things you did with all the noise and in the heat of the battle now past. All that is left is the quiet of the field and then you see all of those who didn't make it. Miraculously you stand there, hardly scarred whilst many of those who went in with you are lying on the ground around your feet.

The benefit of time to let you think about it isn't always a good thing to have. However, mind and body quickly forget the experience and you do heal and you do get on with it.

And that, dear reader, is enough of that for today!

Wiped out

Oh dear. With Lynne dying and so quickly, my Friend's tragedy and also some other friends also passing away - July has just been just awful.

I sat down tonight and watched The Green Mile, I've never seen it all the way through before and it is a bit like the Shawshank Redemption, from absolutely nowhere at all I felt ever so sad, really tearful and quite upset.

Now as most people will tell you, that isn't really me at all, I'm not particularly your blubby type nor do I get easily phased. I can't tell you what it was tonight but there you go. In pieces towards the latter part of the film.

I'm OK now but I was somewhat taken aback by my uncharacteristic emotional crumbling act.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Just another step

I suppose it is just another step - finally Lynne has finished this journey. Lynne's blog was one of those that I read regularly and it seems sad to realise that in a few more weeks that there won't be too much added content. It would be good though if these blogs are allowed to stay and be tapped into in the future.

Here is the announcement.

Thinking of squeamish

My youngest has just got contact lenses. She looks very different with those on but - urgghhh, putting them in and taking them out I am afraid really gives me the willies. Shudder!!

No, you can stick a catheter where the sun doesn't shine but don't ask me to do anything with eyes.

Not going through the routine

It is quite strange not doing something when you have been doing it habitually for six weeks. So I didn't have to stop drinking and eat early, nor have I had to go and shower midday and get changed into "appropriate" clothes, prepare my bed and the bathroom and get my appointments card and stress balls together.

My wife has made good use of today by going up to London with the eldest to see some art and photographic exhibitions.

I am feeling like I am missing something which of course are the routines. I have to say I am not missing the other things one has to do though.

Compressing my week

This week is a little chaotic. I knew it would be and I moved a lot of stuff into this week so that I could pressure myself into getting some work done that actually does need to be done.

Sounds strange to stress up my week? Not really - I don't normally need to do that but recently I find I cannot get the enthusiasm up for mundane tasks anymore (not surprising) and so bunching them all up together and putting a deadline on them should (well this is the plan) mean that I can get a good run and some momentum up to complete all the things on my list.

Mundane things like some outstanding meeting minutes, tidying up some paperwork, filing some old reports, doing my expenses and that sort of thing!

All this stuff is really broing but has to be done.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Did nothing at all

I feel quite tired by the end of the week - of course I had forgotten what sort of week I had - it seemed to go on so long and be a week of bad news.

So today I just let the TV wash over me and didn't do much at all.

It will all start again tomorrow and I expect there to be a certain amount of brown stuff hitting fans as well - at least I can keep my head down for a few days and then have some celebrations and go on holiday.

Getting going is proving difficult today

I just can't get the motivation to either sit here at the PC and get my outstanding stuff done or to go through the two mounds of paperwork on my drawing board and desk. I know I must get on and get them done by next week.

I really just can't be bothered today. I have also found another complete waste of time - a bit of a laugh also - - it is great fun but whether or not you actually get any work done is another story.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

No Title

I couldn't think of one

Lynne's Blog says it all HERE.

It seems to be nothing but bad news these past few weeks.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Lynne's Blog

Is entering a new phase and her blog has taken on an almost spiritual aura.

I am beginning to find it quite difficult to read as Lynne has been keeping her blog going and was one of my earliest correspondents urging me on. The latest blog is HERE.

Whilst there is a sadness here there are also some calming inspirational moments and some fun in there as well. I almost feel I know Lynne through her writing and it hurts me to read this too often, I find it compelling and disturbing at the same time.

Across the world everyone is feeling different things and going through different trauma but not everyone takes the time to set their experiences down and especially not at this time of Lynne's life. I feel like a moth that keeps flying towards the flame.


Party tonight - that should be fun as a precursor to ours next week.

Suddenly things have got urgent with just a week to go. All the organising is done now to put the plans into execution.

It is also a wake up call as I have so many things that I must do - tomorrow is organising day.

Reassurance and recognition

I met someone that I hadn't met since - September last year. The reactions and their body language said it all. How well I looked, you've lost weight, you're more upbeat, happier, forward looking and forward planning etc.

You don't tend to see changes happening when you see someone a lot, they look the same to you or you look the same to them. If you haven't seen anyone for close to 9 months then you see quite a change. It was interesting to even hear myself talking about things I was planning 5 years down the line, what I was going to do, how that was going to pan out, my short term and long term objectives and my still hesitancy to say that I am cancer free - I still think I have BC! I just can't come to terms with the fact that I don't at the moment. Perhaps, I am preparing in case it comes back and (unfortunately) that is what it does - I was warned about that.

Anyway, feeling quite uplifted by the comments and let's face it, I needed some sort of lift after yesterday.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Having a bit of delayed shock and sadness

I'm a bit of a "cold fish" not my ideal description of myself (someone else's) but it will do. Strangely for me then, I'm feeling really quite upset now after this morning. I think I was brassing it out a bit this morning but coming back and seeing my daughter and talking with her has sort of triggered me off now.

No one ever said it was a fair world, it can be horribly cruel though. Cracking a few heads and making people realise this is an uphill battle, it doesn't matter until it touches you. The constant is you know the guy you are going to talk tomorrow is a "Dick" and will remain so and you know that some idiot is going to cut you up on the motorway doing 80 who hasn't thought through the consequence of their actions. These are all the people who should be introduced to tragedy but we all know they wont change you can't easily adjust people's attitudes and behaviour like that. It would be good if you could though!

There is quite a bit of anger about my feelings though, things like injustice and human rights and doing the right thing and yet these people, who have had enough problems to go through in the past, get this to contend with. Surely they have been tested enough and neither deserved or warranted such a cruel twist of fate. I could go on but I've rambled enough about fairness.

One too many

As my friend said to me - "If I ever have to go to another one, it will be two too many".

I cannot even begin to tell you how sad it was today. The drizzle persisted at the grave side and I don't think I have ever felt such sadness as I did for my friends. Life can be downright cruel. One baby dead the other in high dependency. Every time you look at the survivor, what would go through your mind, every sports day, every prize giving. It sends a shudder down my spine just contemplating it.

I'm glad I made the journey and provided what meagre support I could - didn't say much - what can you say? Just a terribly sad day.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I am not looking forward to tomorrow

I've never been to a child's funeral before let alone a baby's one. It is just so tragic and these things happen even in this day and age and advanced procedures and medicines.

The trouble is, with all these things, you feel so utterly helpless. There really isn't a thing you can do to help. I was thinking about that with what I went through and the reactions I got. I met a firend - haven't seen her for 15 months or more I guess - so she had no idea that I had had cancer and why should she, I didn't tell everyone. She was sorry and what for? I'm sorry but I decided to use my body like a refuse cart for years and I can feel sorry for being a bit of an arse but why should someone who has no control over things be sorry? So it is a bit like that tomorrow, what am I going to say and how am I going to react? Don't know, I'll have to see how I do and report back.

And my Doctor

Who I like to pieces is unable to be funded for more than a day a week at the Surgery. He is the best communicator and most amiable GP I have ever met. I don't know - we should be encouraging people like him not messing them about.

Why can't we do the right things right anymore in this country? The wishy washy politically correct liberals ought to be lined up and kicked in the genitals. In fact I reckon I could impress them with my catheter insertion technique. In all the confusion I can't remember if I used five or six catheters. Well do you feel lucky punk? :-)

What is it about July

I heard another person I know died on Saturday. Three funerals this week, there were three or four last week, now one next week. Perhaps it is my age and I've reached that age where people that I know are getting towards the end of the journey?

I also notice on a number of membership lists that I am now in the top third on the list.

I suppose the next steps is to complain that the Doctors and Policemen are looking younger and I can be welcomed to old age! :-)

Tuesday Night Again

Very little sleep and the previous post too - my brain is in a whir on a Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. I hope that goes away now I've completed the treatments.

A tiny bit of overreaction on re-reading the post below perhaps but we will see. I'll keep an eye out for this. Perhaps I need that holiday after all?

A Mixed Evening

I ended up going out and enjoying the evening but not enjoying some of the observations about me.

I've changed - there is no doubt about that. However, what I took away tonight was that my "clarity of vision" is perhaps not in every-one's comfort zone and not what everyone wants to hear. Not to every one's taste perhaps.


I do tend to forget that I speak a language that I didn't even a year ago. Still English but a more direct version! Even at this time a year ago I only thought I might have cancer - I was still hoping it was a Kidney infection but deep down inside I knew what it really was. So - back to this language thing. I couldn't have coped with someone like me back then telling me about ramming things up my nether regions and all that blood and gore - I'd have had to excuse myself and leave the conversation as I'd have felt quite ill. I'd probably never have told people - to their face - how it was - how I felt - what I REALLY felt or whether I agreed with them or not. I was in those days a diplomat. I found out tonight that I probably don't do any of the "people friendly" or "politically correct" stuff anymore.

To some extent, there is a freedom piece in me that says - why bottle it up anymore, why be the "nice guy" when I have a new angle on things? Not that I am right, just that things to me look so different now that it doesn't matter? That, perhaps, is an over simplification of the thing I am trying to say. Which is (and I may change this subsequently):

  • That I am not entirely comfortable with the person I am at the moment. I am more brash, self assured and in your face than I ever have been. I'm pretty good at reading how things are and knowing how to tackle these but, it appears, that I now freely let people have the benefit of my insight.
  • That like it or not, there have been some major changes in the last 12 months that I don't see
  • I'm probably not the nicest person to be around anymore as I do things that please me not anyone else
  • Worse still that I probably don't give a sh1t about whether or not it matters (although I'm not sure I am that bad or that selfish).
I hate this sort of soul searching stuff. I know I'm a bit more outgoing, a bit more brash and a bit more likely to take a risk than I was before but I hadn't thought I had changed that much? Well obviously I have if I managed to p1ss my mate off tonight then maybe I have.

As much as I like to think that I've "learnt a thing or two" I'm actually quite injured to find that I might be upsetting people along the way. I do find myself stopping at the "shock" stuff these days. I honestly don't think it is that bad - I had a rough time of it yesterday but, it isn't that bad compared to what other people have to suffer.

I probably need to go and think all this through as it would disturb me if I was really like that.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Getting better

As the day wears on but I've also gone and had some more pain killers at lunchtime and that appears to have done it I feel a lot better now although still beaten up a bit.

I'm really quite pleased that this is the last one of the 6. I can see how some people would want to give up if it does this to you on a regular basis.


I am getting back to some normality. I wonder if sticking that Catheter into you straightens you out or bruises or scratches you. I don't know but it is darn difficult to go to the loo at the moment without it making you go Ohhhh or Owwww or some such expletive.

At least the pills kicked in nicely and so whilst I can feel somewhat sore around the middle at least I can move around without too much difficulty.

Future Treatment

I got a surprise yesterday.

The Urology Nurses always say that if we meet again that it is a GOOD thing as that means that you are on maintenance and can also tolerate the treatment. It means that they are keeping their eye on you. Maintenance (and I keep banging on about this) is where - if you are clear, you get 3 shots of BCG, they wait a period of time and you get a flexible cystoscopy and if still clear you get another 3 shots and wait a longer period and get another 3 and so on until it gets to a point that if you have had no recurrence in the gap in between (which is then measured in years) - you are nigh on cured.

So the surprise came when she said that I might not need any further treatments at all. Now that IS a surprise. I'm still of the opinion that I'll need them only because of the staging and grade of the original tumour. Whilst it was called "superficial" it was anything but.

I'll have to wait and see but no treatments just a peek and poke every 3 or 6 months. Given the working over I had yesterday, I can see that it would be nice not to but these odd days of getting the stuffing knocked out of you are actually doing you good.

Always thought it was a perverse thing to say that the stuff that was making you better does it by making you feel bad? Where was Mary Poppins when I needed her? Not that sugar in my medicine would have made it any better!

Trying to get back to bed was crazy

Phone calls, door bell.

So I've had a shower, had my usual morning meds and also now had some ibuprofen and paracetamol which I am hoping will take some of this throbbing (the only word I can think that describes it) away. I feel like I have been punched in the stomach or just below and am sore all around my middle. I daren't tell you what the other part of my anatomy is feeling but it isn't at all pleasant :-)

So thank goodness the last one for a while. I have a feeling this will take most of the week to recover from.

Ow - Knocked sideways

I've just got up and got myself a drink but I'm going to go back to bed. I'm still getting bladder spasms and it hurts to pee. This morning there isn't any debris or blood but last night was pretty bad.

More reports later. Probably the second worst side effects I have ever had. If I hadn't of had the pain killers then this could easily rank as the worst. I'm sure that is the nearest a bloke can get to feeling like he has given birth :-)

Monday, July 09, 2007

Not a good one

Are there any good ones?

Wallop - this is turning out to be a thwack with the man in the truck again. I'm just going downstairs for some food and some more tablets - my bladder is palpitating and it must sound like I'm giving birth when I go to the loo :-)

More tomorrow. Ouch!

Last time for a while that I need to do this

This? Going through my little rituals prior to having my treatment.

I cannot drink for 2 hours prior to having my treatment so I eat before 12 and have a cup of soup then. I will, in fact, not normally drink after 11:30 or earlier.

Other things like having a shave, getting ready, getting appointment cards and stress balls together, preparing the bedroom and toilet areas all eat up time in my ritual so that we can get to the Hospital, get in and get seen around about 2 pm and then get back and go through all the turning, pill popping and so on.

Curiously the things you miss are those little rituals - not for long though.

One of the things I don't do now is get down in time to watch the News anymore. I'm no longer ill or unemployed and so other things have taken over.

If all goes according to plan - then I should be back on the BCG regime in November or possibly December (I hope not then). That


It is amazing how disruptive having the treatments has been. Monday afternoon and much of Tuesday can be written off through recovery. Occasionally I can get some work done on Tuesday afternoon.

I have been loathe to drive too far on Wednesday for comfort reasons and also that I'm still not quite right. I can work at home and I can travel short distances but I couldn't easily walk to the station - be on my feet all day or drive further than about 30 minutes and then not in heavy traffic.

It makes trying to get things done interesting. I was looking at my schedule this week and frankly it is a nightmare. Compressing everything into three and a half days and restricting travel to Thursday and Friday do make challenges for scheduling my time. Given that I only have 8 1/2 working days left before my party and holiday also have come as a bit of a shock so - I am spending a bit of time arranging a schedule to get everything done.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Perversely looking forward to tomorrow

The last treatment of this set of six. I can see why a lot of people find them difficult to live with but it must be the same for anyone on Chemo or Radio as well. I feel I just get myself back to normal and feel better again when I have to go and have another and whatever side effects you get.

Bizarrely I find the fact that I am having these treatments to be a good thing. It means that everything I went through has had some result and some outcome and that this, unpleasant as it may appear to most and as tear jerking and scrotum clenching as it may sound, is probably a better thing, given my circumstances than the alternatives. You have to have been there and reviewed the possibilities to understand this though.

So tomorrow is another one of those milestones. It means the end of this lot of treatment and the stop watch now starts for three months to go back in and have the next operation for biopsies. I don't fancy that of course but I (again) have no option.

So getting tomorrow out of the way means that I can - in a week or so - restart my exercise regime - yes I stopped - as I just didn't feel fit enough to do it - :-) I can also forget about having Monday and Tuesday as days out from work or anything else I do.

In addition, I can look forward to the summer off and perhaps spend some time with the family - if I've done nothing else this past year I deserve some time to spend with them considering all the time they have spent with me.

So - out of the way at last. I make it that in the 53 weeks since I first noticed the symptoms that I have had something like 12 weeks under these treatments, 9 weeks in operations and recovery mode, a week in and out of my GP and for tests for that and a lot of odd days here and there in between mooching about. That is about 22 weeks - goodness knows what I have done with the other 30 weeks - written this blog I've no doubt :-)

Not alone

I'd rather I was the only one suffering from cancer but you find that there are lots of you around. It is a bit like buying a Green Mondeo and then driving around and seeing every other car is the same as yours (well almost).

You talk to people and it comes out that you have cancer or are being treated to keep it away and then they tell you they have it or you talk to someone else and they tell you that someone else in the village has it and that comes as a shock. I almost fell into my trap the other day and said "they don't look like they've got cancer". I should know better. Both of my friends who's funerals are this week did - I am afraid to say - look as if they had cancer but treatment makes you loose your hair, jaundice and other physical signs also make you realise.

Apparently I just looked drawn and greyish. I was also a couple of stone heavier than I was when I went in. However I don't think I actually looked "ill"

So enough for now - the Tour is on the TV and I need to get ready to work out how in the household we can get to watch F1, the Men's Tennis (wife and 2 girls will watch that) and the Tour all at the same time! I have enough TVs and PCs with TV cards to do this - I need a plan that delivers the Wide Screen TV in the front room to me without it appearing that I planned it that way. If I offer to let the spend money at Bluewater - they'll smell a rat. Off now to work on my cunning and devious plan for World (no scrub that) total TV domination!!!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

To go and watch the Tour de France or not

We cannot make up our minds whether to go or not. Too much on all on one day - F1 at Silverstone, Men's Wimbledon and it seems a long travel and wait to see a couple of hundred bikes rush past and then spend a few hours getting home again.

So we decided that the best thing to do was to watch all three on TV - that way we all get to see what we want to see.

7th July - and then it occurred to me

That whilst I was having my own battle to go across the threshold of the Doctor's door I hadn't realised that the 7th July was the anniversary of the London tube and bus bombings. I had been there the year before, just after they had gone off.

Until today I hadn't even linked the dates. Why should I - nothing else happened on the 7th July apart from me walking into the doctors and coming home in an absolute daze and then being so upset you cannot believe it.

Then the 21st July is the next date - when I was actually diagnosed. The 21st this year is the date of my birthday party - it is also the date of the second lot of London bombs which failed to go off.

The 25th July would be the next date to commemorate as that is the date of the operation which got rid of the tumour.

The dates are of course coincidental - I was just amazed that until today I hadn't linked the 7th with anything other than me!

A sad week this coming week

There are three funerals next week. Two - those on Wednesday and Friday are people I knew who were diagnosed with cancer (lung and liver) and who didn't last very long at all. I cannot go to either of those. Both were unexpected and quite shocking in their own way. Both were past retirement age (but one only just so) - it doesn't make it right but it may help too position what follows:

On Thursday we will say goodbye to my friend's son who died at birth. His brother survived but is in intensive care - how do you even start to come to terms with that sort of tragedy? We were only speaking last week about the excitement of the birth and all. I spoke briefly to my friend last night about the mixture of sadness and joy it is very difficult to come to terms with two events so closely linked that could possibly leave you with such bitter sweet thoughts. I said that I was finding difficulty in finding something suitable to send as whilst one son had died we also needed to be fighting the other little fella's corner whilst he battles too. Not easy is it?

So we will go and say goodbye on Thursday, it will be absolutely heartbreaking for all of us but my friends what on earth are they going to be going through. My friend (a Cancer survivor) and his wife didn't deserve this after all they have been through themselves in the past 2 years. I have no idea what they will be thinking or how they will be able to go from the funeral straight to the Hospital and see the other son straight afterwards. I remember apologising to him for not understanding what he was going through (or had gone through by then) with his cancer. I don't want to know what it feels like for him now. I'm not sure if I'd be strong enough to cope with it.

Friday, July 06, 2007

And then

When they've made you re-load all your software on again for the second time and you go and activate it - they won't let you - so you have to ring up and then they ask the stupid questions about what "other" PC you were loading it on and I was ever so good - I had to bite my tongue as I gently explained that I had spent 15 hours or so doing this and re-loading the software mainly due to the fact that their software screwed it all up in the first place and that there was every possibility that somewhere on my PC that the software actually was but I couldn't find it.

Anyway, Sharon in Mumbai managed to sort out the codes to reactivate the PC. All I have to do now is see if I can find what the PC did with some of my data files. I have most of them back....

Oh the fun of it all and this is meant to make a user's experience better? Could it get any worse?

Utterly and abjectly p*ssed off

This re-loading has taken me all day and it keeps wanting old disks and new disks to upgrade and re-load and it can't find half the files it messed up the first time so I have had to re-load applications only for them to be over written half an hour later.

I never had this problem with upgrading from XP Home to XP Pro. To have wasted most of my day on this is just ridiculous

Computers and Software

Must be a real pain to anyone who doesn't know what to do with them. I have a new PC but it came with Vista Home and after a few weeks I realised that I was having problems with it because it doesn't have some of the functionality that I need.

So I dutifully upgraded this morning to Vista Business - alright!

No - not alright - so far I have spent all morning and some of the afternoon recovering the basic drivers and making the system work. Additionally I am going to have to completely re-load the office suites, the updated files and then get the network working (well done they disabled that and then asked why I couldn't connect to the Internet!!!!).

Now I, allegedly, know what I am doing with PCs and yet this morning, for a new OS written to be user friendly this was anything but - it never used to happen with XP so why now/ This has cost me a whole day (or it will do) and very probably the next few days too to get any information back to where it should be!

What a damn nuisance and another waste of time all down to someone not working out that you would upgrade from one to the other. Nightmare.

Life, The Universe and Everything

Well it is Friday morning and although it isn't the 7th July yet, I remember this day as the one I went down to the Doctors. I have a early to mid morning appointment, it was a pleasant enough day so I walked. Little did I know then that I must have done that walk and back more in a year than I have for all the rest of the time I have lived here put together.

I got there really early I had over estimated how long it took to get down there and so I had a long time to kill. I was also very worried. Silly mistake next, I went and bought a pack of cigars and had a few before I went in to the Doctors.

I saw the other Doc, not the nice one I have now. The procedure I had to go through was explained although not the bit about being awake for it!

It was after I got home that it fully dawned on me what I probably had. Once you know better, you realise that it was pretty fortunate to get bladder cancer as they can do something about it if it caught early enough. I had no idea that it was that, some sort of Kidney failure problems or what. To say the next two weeks were the worst of my life is very possibly an understatement. An over active mind, a less than full appreciation of the medical condition, prognosis and treatment also doesn't help the brain to work out what is wrong, what to do, what to expect or to work out your chances.

I was certain that it was pretty much curtains. Lucky for me - I'm not a Doctor :-) A year on I'm still here and I'm OK.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Some people should

stick their brain into gear before opening their mouths or committing anything to print. Some dipstick wrote me a response to one of my forum messages and obviously hadn't read the thing first or understood what I was writing about.

I'm afraid I have just had to shoot the idiot down in flames. Nicely of course, he will probably think that I really was interested in his asinine response :-) I hope the remainder of the community will read into it, the utter contempt that it deserves.

I think I got away with that

Yes - no headache! I obviously wasn't trying hard enough. This morning is dragging though and I have a meeting to go to later today which will be good - I will enjoy that. After yesterday's excitement, today is a bit of an anti climax.

It was

Today a year ago I phoned my wife and said "make an appointment for me with the Doctor".

i walked across the bridge at Wetherby, went to a pub and then a shop and bought some cigars. I walked back, got changed and went to a restaurant, I drank water all night. Italy ( I think) were playing football. I was completely distracted and had to keep going to the loo and passing blood all the time.

About now I started to realise that things wouldn't be normal again and I started to believe this was serious. Just how serious I wouldn't know until late July.

An Evening to Treasure

I cannot even begin to tell you how wonderful an evening I have just had. It is my 50th Birthday and I spoke to my wife and I chose to go to my Lodge meeting rather than go out. We have a series of our own celebrations lined up, I had my parents over last weekend and we have a big holiday planned and I really wanted to be with people that mean a lot to me.

So not mentioning names but the Almoner's of my Lodges were there - these are guys who look after people when they are sick or just need a pick me up. Let me tell you that these guys have been real rocks and have been quietly working away in the background to ensure that I have always had support. If things had gone "Pear Shaped" then they would have looked after my family.

So - tonight it wasn't only about ME. A number of the members made "welcome returns" to the Lodge after serious illness. We had a great evening - I was looked after like a lord - I had a fantastic time and I am so pleased that I decided to celebrate my birthday at the Lodge meeting as these people mean more to me than I think I could explain easily to you in this blog.

I was made to feel SO special tonight. I really didn't think I'd make this birthday and so the whole thing has been a celebration of survival, a festival of hope and a real feeling that I didn't go through this alone. everyone took a little chunk of my pain and made it theirs.

I may pretend to be shy about being the centre of attention - and normally I would move away from it, but tonight I really felt that I was special and that means more than you could ever believe. It also fires me up for the next part of the journey as well.

So a tribute to my Almoners and also to those who prayed for me - I find that very difficult to come to terms with but believe me - I will take any help from whatever angle it arrives from.

You don't know what you've got 'till it's gone.

Out there are a special breed - they are called Almoners - Thanks guys - NO Really.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Good Grief

I have a conference call at 2 but have lunch with "her Indoors" set up. What do I do?

Of course - delay the conference call - how often am I 50 years old for goodness sake?


Also I am frightened that she will beat me up otherwise :-)

No different

I eventually fell asleep about 3 pm. I was listening to some music and felt myself drifting off. Up early and then a lovely call from family in New Zealand - what a lovely surprise.

I'm feeling very good this morning as I made one of my milestones that I set last year which was to see my 50th birthday and be well on the road to recovery. Given the fact that I didn't think I would early on is an even bigger bonus.

Damn it Tuesday Night Again!

Wide awake

I should be sleeping and snoring away with the beers I drank! No - wide awake again

It must be the treatment

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

So Far So Good

10 minutes until I am 50 officially. I need to check the actual time of my birth! I don't want to be 50 until I really am. Not that there is anything wrong in that you understand.

I had better be up early so that I can open my cards and pressies I suppose. I will set my alarms to make sure I do.

How does it feel being 50? No different from being 49 except I know what is wrong with me and I am under the best medical supervision I could have hoped for. At age 49 I just knew I was very ill.

Lad's Night Out

It is that time of month when my old school chums meet up - there are going to be a few more there tonight so the stories should be flowing along with copious quantities of beer.

Tomorrow I am also going to be out (I know on my birthday) which isn't great planning of course so we will have to do something later.

It is a hectic weekend as the Tour de France is in London and will come through the Kent countryside on Sunday so I fancy seeing that. It is Silverstone and the British GP as well - now I am torn between events. If it stops raining it is Wimbledon finals - oh for hot weather a glass of Pimms and watching the finals and having a barbecue. So as usual this week is a good one for sports but difficult to fit in a family celebration (my close family this is) unless we do something at the weekend as well as doing one of the three above.

Big differences between treatments

I had a look back at my notes for the first lot of treatments and it is interesting that the major differences are actually in what comes out of you?

Bit of a yucky subject - sorry about that.

On the first set of treatments there was a lot of debris, stuff that looked like miniature tripe and what I can only call white ooze. This time, very little white ooze (just treatment 2) and very little debris this time. It is occasional bits yet last time there were many.

I am hoping that this is because the areas to be worked on are very small this time. Last time, you may recollect, there were two areas - one which originally had the tumour there and one area which they scraped but, in addition, there was CIS (carcinoma in situ) which was also in there. There was a lot to tackle that time and this time not so much.

No - a definite cumulative effect

That was interesting.

I was in and out in a few minutes which was good. Major difference was for the first time it did feel uncomfortable as it took a little longer to instill the mixture and there was a slight interruption. So I left with a stinging sensation. The good news was that I got through my turning earlier and so got to eat earlier and take my tablets. After saying I was going to stagger them I realised that I tend to be asleep at the time when I could have taken more so I decided to take all 4 tablets in one hit.

I did indeed sleep for a good 3 hours but some idiot kept ringing and not leaving a message - when I have found out who you are I will explain it to you!!

When I got up to have something to eat - it really kicked in and I ached around my middle and could feel fibrillations going on inside as well. Again these are uncomfortable bordering on painful By this time 4 hours had passed and the easiest thing to do was to take 4 more tablets.

Thankfully they kicked in quickly and I was able to lie down on the bed and the pain went away quickly. I can still feel it now - almost as if there had been some bruising. The usual bits of bladder and blood were there but on the whole much less than I have had. There can't be too much left to do now.

So - I think that this lot of treatments I am feeling a cumulative effect as Nos. 3,4 &5 have each been a little stronger. Nothing as yet has compared to treatment 2 in either sets of treatments - that must just be a huge reaction by your body.

Anyone going through these - stick with it - it isn't pleasant but it is targeted directly where the cancer was or is and acts directly on it. The shocks to your system are manageable, you just mustn't think that you can carry on as normal straight afterwards - the best thing is to lie down and take it easy, drink plenty of liquids and take things steady.

Another tip to stop you flushing the toilet immediately (before you have had chance to bleach for 15 minutes) is to tie a ribbon around the handle! It works for me - it is such a typical and habitual reaction so putting some reminder there is useful.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Here we go 5th treatment

I'm just off to prepare myself for No.5. FIngers crossed that it is better than No.4 or No.2!

1st Anniversary

Not anything that I think I ought to celebrate but at around about 6 p.m. today, one year ago, I arrive - after a long drive - at a Hotel in Yorkshire.

On going to the toilet - I was presented with the most obvious symptoms of Bladder Cancer you can imagine. Urinating blood. At that time, I thought it might have been a kidney infection. Towards the end of that week, I was pretty certain that it was far more serious.

I only realised yesterday what today signified! The next anniversaries are 7th July - Doctor tells me it is probably a tumour and refers me, 21st July the diagnosis. That will be a VERY interesting day as it falls on the day I will have my 50th Birthday party. I hadn't realised that when I booked it - it seems very appropriate that on the 21st last year I didn't think I would be here at all! But then I didn't know what I was dealing with then.

The Job

I find it disturbing and amusing (in a way). For 34 years (or thereabouts) I have been in jobs that were interesting, quite technical in nature and that somehow fitted my character. I say that to try and explain some of the strange things that have happened since I took on this new job. You see I like to think that I had a fair amount of respect for being a good Engineer etc.

The business is an Internet based business and is relatively simple in concept and leaves you with a "Why has no one ever thought of this before?" view. Because it is simple and that it could actually make a big impact and therefore big money, it gets looked at with a lot of scepticism. Again, I have no problem in that either. In fact, I have no problems at all in it (the idea) being taken away and decomposed and re-built and to check all the assumptions and to test all the figures. Again that is fine. What I do find remarkable is that people read the first few sentences of the explanation and immediately dismiss it. Up to a point that too is fine but to dismiss me in the same breath - and some people have known me for years is a bit strange. I mean it isn't snake oil (you may remember that I have no time for those sorts of people), it isn't as if they cannot have the discussion/argument. It is treating me as if I have somehow gone over to the dark side or perhaps have turned in to a lunatic that at the moment makes me a little angry. That and being totally dismissive of something that they haven't read, haven't thought through or haven't researched.

I'm still keeping an open mind on this and if it goes, it goes and if it doesn't - it would have been well worth the time to at least try it.

Of course this is all out of character for me - I run programs and projects, I am risk averse and I don't go into things without checking it out or making sure it can actually fly.

So what has changed there then? Well, it is slightly riskier than some (but not all) things I have done in the past, I have checked it out, it appears to be built on solid foundations and - I actually haven't changed that much - this has a very good chance because it is well thought through, simple, realistic and is built in a risk mitigated way. That is exactly how I have always set up my projects, that is why I find so many people's lack of faith or even time to talk to me properly annoying.

I said before that if I didn't give this a go I would regret it. If it doesn't come off, it would have been a huge learning experience. If it comes off, and it looks likely to, then it will be interesting to see the reactions to it and to me.

Contrary to popular belief I have not become unhinged or "lost it" - I just have a different outlook on life :-)

Whinge over!

Treatment No.5

Unlike Channel No.5!

I'm changing the music on my MP3 player this morning - there is only so many times you can listen to what is on there and I haven't changed it since the last operation so that is one job to do. I have a list of things to do to keep me busy this morning most aren't work related at all - I had totally forgotten about them and so I need to do those urgently now.

Monday morning's aren't good at the best of times but I try and makes sure I am busy as possible to take my mind off everything else that is going on.

Starting to look forward to the end of treatment now

It will be 5 out of 6 later and I have to tell you that it is quite a relief. I will see tomorrow if the cumulative side effects story is beginning to hold water. I think that perhaps it is the case that your body builds up a certain reaction to the treatment and that is - after all - exactly what it should do.

Last week the reactions were a little stronger although nothing as bad as week 2 again. I am preparing myself for this one as I would all the others but I might just change the way I take the tablets so that I have two every two hours this time from the start - that should help if I take 2 paracetamols, then 2 hours later 2 ibuprofen and so on alternatively. That may make a difference - it is worth a go to see if it will stop the stinging if nothing else. At least it is normally all finished by midnight and I can sleep most of it off.

Anyway that will be 5 of 6 and the end is in sight. We then have the three months wait to see what this lot of treatment has done. It goes without saying that we all hope that the next operation proves to be clear. That means maintenance and maintenance means no more operations but local procedures - not nice but then again - not quite the same as the alternatives of course.

More tomorrow no doubt!