Thursday, May 31, 2007

A bit disappointed really

It is soon to be my 50th Birthday and we are having a bash or a party. My relatives are coming but not my parents (they don't like that sort of thing - it is a bit far and we will do something else) but my brother and his family (I only have 1 brother) isn't making the journey down. OK they will be down a week or two before and bring my parents for a nice meal.

I do feel a bit disappointed though that some of my cousins are coming from a lot further to the party and my kid brother isn't.

The excitement is building

This new venture is beginning to get more and more interesting. I'm actually going to go and see the head man on Saturday and drive down to meet him. There is work that I need to do on the Project Management side that no one else ought to be doing as we get ready for launch.

How exciting is this? Well I think it has the potential of Google or Skype or PayPal perhaps. This is the only working system I have seen that doesn't cost the earth and that businesses can subscribe to without breaking the bank. I can't say more for the moment until after next week but the market is global - the trouble is controlling the growth rather than anything else. Get the growth right and it is years ahead of anything else out in the market.

Bit of a dilemma

I need to get some travel insurance and then thought well I ought to mention that I have bladder cancer and - well - actually I don't have it at the moment and I'm under treatment so that it doesn't come back. But it could do, so where does that leave me? It is all a bit strange isn't it. Also, even if I should get the symptoms again whilst we are away - there is little that anyone can do and it isn't something that you get sudden relapses or anything else strange happen to you. As I said before - you wouldn't even know unless I told you.

So I shall have some fun asking the insurance companies what (if any) changes they need to make to my policy.

Some will, I have no doubt whack their fees up and I'm sure that the more notable ones will hardly need to bother.

Watch this space.

Preventative Medicine

The meeting with the Doc went well. We were both pleased about the results of the biopsies and also the Blood Pressure readings and the weight loss.

He is a bit concerned over the damage to my Kidneys (not much not significant) and also that some of the readings are getting towards the wrong end of where they should be etc. Most stuff is normal and also pre-diabetic stuff is backed away from those figures. There may still be a glucose intolerance but for the moment the figures do not show that.

Upshot is that there are more tablets - great - I hate any medicines - long story I will share with you one day. Anyway, I have to have these Statins for cholesterol and the like - even though my readings are good and within guidelines he would like to get them to really good.

My Blood Pressure tablets stay as they are and so that is under control - I am glad about that.

He wants me to have aspirin but is writing to my Consultant to make sure that it will not affect what she is doing - he doesn't want something with the potential side effects of aspirin (bleeding) to mess up the work done so far.

Oh and a blood test in a month and then give him a call. At least it isn't a fasting blood test this time. Doesn't matter I still don't like them. Nor did I like the "keep monitoring your reaction" over the next few months.

The biggest upset of the lot? I can no longer have Grapefruit juice or the Grapefuit fruit. That is one of my favourite things. Edited - I said fruit and I meant Grapefruit oops - one missing word and it means something entirely different!

The post arrived

And the cheques were there today. I joked with the wife saying that - that's the sort of money you'd expect if I'd have died. Mmm, she wasn't overly impressed with that sort of humour. Perhaps I should be Darth Vader - I mean I've always been on the Dark Side?

Right - I must away loads to do, little time to achieve it in and let's hope the Doctor is gentle with me today. I certainly don't want to be doing with anymore blood tests and all that malarkey for a while at least.

Back to see the Doc today

Hopefully it will be for a chat and where do we go next. Problems are that I am out tomorrow and next week treatment starts, job starts and so on. I need to chat to him about things like frequency of BP readings and on lifestyle changes made and continuing those on.

I am hoping I just get a "go away" for 3 months :-) We will see I have to go later this morning.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Change - Life's only constant

I find myself today breaking free of the routine of the last 10 months and having to restyle my life around work, keeping fit, home and hobbies. My exercise routine needs to be changed to be at a different time of day rather than anything else.

I could indulge myself with 30 or 40 minutes of exercising, then relax and then go and have a shower and easily I'd have eaten up 2 hours of my day. Leisurely breakfasts and not really having to rush and tear about, eating meals at set times, watching the same shows at the same time each day - routine.

I've got to get out of that routine and change. I take my blood pressure every morning and evening and I won't be able to do that so I think I ought to change that to weekly now. I'm seeing the Doctor later this week and I hope that he will agree. I have 6 weeks or more BP readings and everything looks reasonably steady although I think he wants my BP to be a little lower still. The upcoming treatment will mean that we may have to hold fire on that.

Again, the treatment will necessitate a certain amount of routine. The Mondays are always a series of routines and rituals.

It is going to be interesting moving away from the comfort of routine to the organised chaos that is to come in this job. Like many things - humans aren't great at changing especially where that change takes you out of your comfort zone and somewhere a little beyond.

Vacation / Holiday

Well I went and booked it this morning.

A family holiday and an unusual one. Off on a cruise to see the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Norway. I have always fancied Norway and when the girls thought that Iceland would be cool (I had to get that one in somewhere) we found this cruise that takes in both.

I've never been on a cruise before but it looks to be really interesting. We leave after my party and we arrive back before the next party - most of my friends are either 50 or 60 this year!

I am looking forward to getting away so much.

Insurance clarity

I ought to make it clear about the Insurance. It is something I took out myself against getting a critical illness and not something attached to the NHS or anything like that. It was a conscious decision to cover the family should anything happen to me. The facts are these days, as I suppose I have just proved, that you are more likely to survive a critical illness than in the past and that an ordinary life insurance wouldn't do anyone any good if I survived.

So the way we set this up was to have individual Critical Illness covers (husband and wife) and also life insurances first death paid out the other. This covers all that stuff. We haven't had medical insurance since I worked as an employee back in the early 90s. I was just about to get Medical Insurance when I was diagnosed - how ironic is that :-) However, I probably wouldn't have got seen or operated on so quick anyway.

So - Having said all that - it means that the house can be paid off and that I can go and do this new riskier venture (if I don't do it now and take a risk - then what I've learnt about myself in the past 9 months would be betrayed) and more than that - it is going to help get family life stable again. By that I mean, the knock you take as an individual is bigger than you think. Your confidence and your self belief are rock bottom, you don't feel good about yourself or your body, you know there is something wrong with you, you can't see it and it can kill you. Disturbing. Now imagine what it does to your family - whether they can take in the enormity of it or not?

The family gets whacked sideways as well and whilst money isn't the answer it will enable me to do a few things like have a really good family holiday - it may be one of the last together as the oldest is 17 now anyway. It means that I don't need to worry that I lost my job and I don't need to worry about paying the bills if I did lose my job. It means that we can have a party (my 50th coming soon) and not to worry about the little add-ons that will make it memorable. It's a security blanket because it isn't over yet but from now on, no one needs to worry about the expense of being ill, getting treated and wondering where the next penny is going to come from.

When I said it was a weight off my mind - perhaps you can see that it steadies the ship, it removes uncertainty and it allows us to remove pressures of the mortgage - once that is gone, the house is ours. It means that I don't need that mundane "steady" job I can go for the excitement and risk of this new one. If that falls apart, I can say I gave it my best shot and then return to what I am doing now and it would allow me to setup a business that I would want to run not the one I run at the moment if that happened as well if I wanted.

University beckons for the oldest - that is no longer a worry financially.

Anyway - you get the picture - it isn't Rockefeller money nor is it enough that I don't have to work and it certainly wouldn't work as a Pension but it just eases everything.

Whilst I never really wanted the thing to have paid out at all - I am glad that we went down the route of taking it out.

Getting away from the subject of the blog

Will happen. I just realised this as I was on another forum specifically about Bladder Cancer - The Bladder Cancer Web Cafe which is a great site - there is a link on the right hand side of this blog.

I've arrived at that part of the journey now where, I'm beginning to get my life back and I'm beginning to see that I can control how much I should be concentrating on each aspect. Sure, the weight of the disease was lifted - what - two weeks ago today and then the insurance finally stated that I did meet the requirements and we were never certain we would. You see CIS (Carcinoma in Situ) is written out in the policy - even though it is pretty nasty in bladder cancer terms as it happens. What was in was that there was a malignant tumour. So that is a weight off my shoulders and then, almost at the same time, I've got the job. The job really was reliant on the insurance money though as I do need to finance my entry into the business.

So three things all happening together and I can make plans, work around treatments and know that I can finally begin to get my life back.

That is why, for the first time in 10 months that I can actually start to think about other things and fill this blog with the ordinary things that are happening which should instill to anyone who has just been diagnosed that things do improve and that you do come out of the dark places and back into the light and that you can hope for better days than you have now.

Hope - if you have just been diagnosed - things do get better - it is time and how you and your head deal with it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Don't you hate it when

Your browser crashes just after you filled in page 4 of 5 of the details you need to book your holiday? What a pain. Not only does it crash but it loses all the other sites you are connected to. Thanks Microsoft IE7 no wonder i normally use Opera Browser.

It is a flaming nuisance as I have now spent another 20 minutes getting through all the pages and re-entering the data again.

Technology can sometimes drive you mad.

A half reasonable result today

We managed to clear out huge tracks of the office rubbish and my desk certainly looks more organised. There is still a way to go as there are 5 or 6 projects that are awaiting something being done on each. These are in neat piles now. I am being far more ruthless than I ever thought I would be. My engineering magazines (had them for more than ten years) my PC magazines (at least 10 years as well) have all been dumped. All the old instruction books and old software also need to go - no one wants them anymore and they will not run on today's machines anyway.

All my old Open University notes, files, tutorials, assignments and also my Maths Foundation stuff are also in the recycling bin. You just keep so much stuff that is of no use to anyone anymore. I did find tow or three sheets that I did keep but they are relevant to something I am doing now. The rest has gone to three large sacks for recycling.

Finally I also cleared out my Computer Case. I keep spares - Operating Systems, Modems, Network cards etc. I've thrown away stuff that will never get used again and boxed up some stuff that I may need. But again, I've been ruthless with that - I mean - who uses a modem anymore and 3 1/2" disks - what are they??

I've seen the holiday I want to go on and the family have given "outline consent" so I think I'll go for that tomorrow. If it is available (and the first one wasn't) we can go just after my 50th Birthday party and go on a cruise. Anyway, more when I know about that. I've often fancied trying one out and this looks just the tonic and takes in a bit for everyone. At least that is the plan.

The job starts next week and I'm getting myself frantically up to speed on that. I'm certain that I can bring some really good values to the business and that I can help in a number of positive ways. To that end I have got some added responsibility already which I picked up details of today.

Operation Organise

Is under way.

My office now needs to be turned back into an office. Papers need to be filed. Stuff that has been accumulating here for weeks, needs to be put away. Files need to be put back where they came from, equipment needs to be placed in more useful locations and so on.

My office comprises these days of just two PCs, two laser printers, a large ink-jet printer, TV, drawing board, trolley, two desks and a lot of filing cabinets and cupboards.

Neatly (in some cases) and rather more collapsed heaps (in others) papers, folders, magazines, software disks and other such detritus are each calling out for attention.

I need to get organised as soon as possible so that I can get ready to work out how I am going to now run three assignments at once and have my treatment. It should be a fun ride.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Another sort of planning

Deciding what to do next, how to celebrate being here at all. How to return to what is now how we view normality. Normal will now include treatment, review, continuing life style changes, pills for the rest of my life and dealing with the shock and the aftermath of the experience.

The new job is - the more I look at it - quite a change for me. It has all the normal things I do know about, including managing partners and general management. What is different is how bleeding edge this is and what it will mean once it is up and running. I'm glad that I've decided to do this as I need the change and the challenge. More than that it is a symbol of the changes that have happened to me in the past few months.

Then there is planning to make sure that I ensure the family are provided for. That mortgage can go for a start.

Finally - a holiday - something special, something different and something that will allow a celebration and some luxury and something that we wouldn't normally do.

Intensive Day

I've been working out my strategy for this new job and thinking through how I should approach and manage this. It is quite an exciting prospect I have to say. It will be hard work I am certain and I am sure that I will be able to bring some useful experiences to the job.

I'm going to give this a rest now as I haven't worked out how I am going to fit all the other stuff in at the same time :-) A nice problem to have I suppose.

And of course; this time next week I'll be recovering from my first BCG treatment. A day later I'll be off to Wales and Cheshire for my training. That should be interesting. That week will be absolutely manic as I have a meeting on the Saturday morning, no doubt people will be trying to get me and I just won't be around. I imagine that it will be quite a shock to many when I am not there to sort them out.

Dull day

It was pretty awful but at least everyone seemed much better today. I watched my F1 race it was OK. Not much of anything to speak of, barely any incidents and not a lot of thrills and spills, glad I didn't go down to see it.

I've been working on my contract for this new job - phew - what a lot of clauses and a lot of changes I want. It still surprises me to this day that people don't read these things properly. I was interested that someone has obviously added a clause as all the number sequencing was out so all the cross references were wrong.

I was talking to a friend the other day and I did a contract review for him. When he brought up one of my queries the chap said that they had never had anyone query it before but when they read it - it was obvious that there was an issue.

Let's hope I haven't gone overboard with it. Lots more to do tomorrow as I need to work out a strategy for covering my time over the next few weeks - all hell will break loose!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

All surfacing this morning

Slowly but surely all are struggling out of their beds and feeling better all around - good.

It is a miserable bank holiday weekend it is raining and grey - mind you there is plenty to do and I have lots of things to sort out with work, leisure, treatment, hobbies and so on. Now I just need to work out how to fit everything in. This is a better headache than having nothing to do but now the worries of insurance and stage of my recovery are out of the way I should be able to shake off the apathy of the past and move forward, better to have too much to do than too little - the devil makes hands etc....

Saturday, May 26, 2007


My favourite Grand Prix? Maybe. Well last year I reckoned I might get to this one. Obviously that wasn't meant to be. Perhaps next year. I need to get to one of them soon as I haven't been for years and years. I'm a bit of a petrol head and loved my trip to Brands Hatch years ago to the see The European Grand Prix (I think) if not it was the British one.

Noisy as you like and I just had a fabulous day. Watching from the TV is fine but Monte Carlo is a great place to visit and people watch anyway and with a Grand Prix it would be a great fun weekend.

It has been a strange day. Oldest is OK - she went shopping, youngest has recovered but wife not been seen all day - too tired. So the house has been remarkably quiet. All seem to be recovering though.

It looks like

I'm the only one fully fit and healthy this weekend. Wife lying down in a darkened room with headache from hell, Oldest daughter suffering post exam relief and hay fever, youngest with a sniffy cold.

I'm feeling quite good about things at the moment. I have to go and see the Doc sometime next week to get sorted on BP tablets. Hopefully he will have the results from the Hospital and realise that on Monday week I start the BCG treatments. That will screw any blood results badly as the BCG whips you blood into a frenzy and gets your immune system able to repel speeding bullets, see through people's clothing and all other stuff that Clark Kent can do! It is pretty cool stuff :-)

Friday, May 25, 2007

Calm Down

I have calmed down now. It really has been a pleasing week all things considered. I met up with some very good buddies tonight and we had a curry and a few beers (as you do).

We are still quite a way off the anniversary of my original symptoms but as someone commented tonight - it had been a pretty bad year up until this week. I managed to catch every bit of bad luck going. Well, let us all hope that things get better from now on!

A long weekend off and then I need to hit next week running. Lots to do and fit in. Life is going to get hectic and exciting all in one go.


Got the job, got the job, got the job,

Got the jo - ob, got the job,

Got the job, got the job, got the job,

Got the job, got the jo - ob

Yippee, yee-haa, great, stupendous, brill, fantastic, superb, wonderful (NO I am not using AWESOME) Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and so on.

Adjectives to the power of 10!!!

By the way - I am reasonably pleased with myself.

At last a chance to go for it without let or hindrance....

Sorry - how very un British of me, Ahem.

Well I got the job -



Pulling stuff apart

Nothing I like better than doing that. Some of the contractual stuff just doesn't figure - I think someone has had a go at a few of the clauses and one of them means absolutely nothing. I think someone has edited it and not re-read it.

Like many documents of this nature it is written by someone with knowledge of the law but not real knowledge of the job and so it doesn't really fit. Then, when someone queries it, a non knowledgeable person adjusts it which can result in hilarious consequences. Some of these include, in this case, terminating the contract for cause, without cause, with one week or perhaps one month and given due notice or not as the case may be? So someone hasn't looked at a previous clause before adding or amending another one. It should make for an interesting discussion later today.

Oh yes and there are some other anal bits in it too.

Up and about early

I'm going to get involved in the teleconferences today and then meet the CEO and talk turkey on the job and the opportunity.

I'm going to give myself the summer to get this done and if it isn't to be then I am going to set myself a new direction and follow that. The pressure is off and I really needed that. It isn't about the money, it is about what I want to do now and the money supports me whilst I come to that decision, plan and go down that route.

The strange thing about cancer is that it changes you in more ways than one and it does mean that you question things. The meeting I had yesterday was very much one of those meetings I'd rather never have for the rest of my life. Why it couldn't be done over the phone or to have been resolved by now, I don't know.

So - there we are - an interesting day ahead, a Bank Holiday weekend (with forecast rain - typical) and perhaps a new start next week or the week after that - who knows.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

I must be pretty slow

It is taking an age to sink in still.

I was up in London today and at Kings Cross Station - it was fun to see over near to platform 10 there is a sign showing platform 9 3/4 with a trolley embedded into the wall - nice one Harry! That has nothing to do with this blog I just thought I'd stick that sort of comment randomly in here!

I have to say that Critical Illness Insurance is one of my better decisions. I don't make many of those so I'll claim that one.

I think I will sleep on this now and see what pops into my brain tomorrow

Pinch pinch pinch

No it won't go in that the prognosis is good, I have a job and the insurance has paid out.

The trouble with playing everything in a pessimistic way is that the delight (perhaps the wrong word) that I should feel I don't.

However the more I have thought about it, the more I am pleased that I can support my family now. I was really worried that maybe I couldn't do that 6 months ago.

I'm allowing myself a little



I don't think I realised how seriously ill I was until perhaps last September when my Consultant explained in more detail what I had, why I needed to go back into Hospital again and how near we were to having something even more serious on our hands - like radical surgery. Even then, for me, these things didn't sink in that much. Even now I am still prone to forget to be careful or dismiss it. I often get told that I shouldn't trivialise my condition but I perhaps deal with it in that way to keep my control on things.

I looked at bladder cancer as something like appendicitis, you have it, they whip it out and give you antibiotics, follow up a couple of times and discharge you. Of course it isn't like that at all. Bladder Cancer just comes back and can keep coming back and that is why it is so well followed up and why you go on a rigorous regime.

So today, I pulled out the details from my Insurance Policy:

Cancer - is described and the description given fits what I had to start with a malignant tumour

What has been bringing things home to roost for me are that the policy covers:

  • Coronary Artery By-Pass Surgery
  • Heart Attack
  • Kidney Failure
  • Major Organ Transplant
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Permanent total disability
  • Alzheimer's before age of 65
  • Angioplasty
  • Aorta Graft Surgery
  • Aplastic Anaemia
  • Bacterial Meningitis
  • Benign Brain Tumour
  • Blindness
  • Coma
  • CJD
  • Deafness (full)
  • Heart Valve Replacement or Repair
  • Liver Failure
  • Loss of independent Existence
  • Loss of Speech
  • Motor Neurone Disease
  • Paralysis. Paraplegia
  • Parkinson's Disease before age 65
  • Terminal Illness
  • Third Degree Burns
  • Permanent Total Disability (Can no longer work)

There are some conditions attached to those but good grief - I wouldn't like to have any of those and yet I am lumped together in the same category - yeeks. Perhaps now I'll respect what I have a bit more?

Good things tend to happen to me in May

But only in May - the new job last year and this, the news on my cancer free condition and this morning, and I am still staggering around on this one. The Insurance phoned and they will pay out.

I don't know what I feel but the predominant feeling has to be one of relief. It has taken 7 1/2 months to get this far and I suppose that now we are finally going to get that paid out I can relax even more and concentrate fully on my new job, getting fit and staying well.

I am glad now that I took out this insurance - but then hindsight always has been one of my strongest character traits :-)


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Job

Well it looks like I will take the slightly riskier job. Nothing ventured and all that. I've seen the people, I've partly seen the service, the numbers look good and if it takes off it will be great. If it doesn't, well at least I will have given it my best shot!

They seem cool about the fact that I am not going to be able to do too much with the treatments but I can still work online and use a phone except for Monday afternoons and evenings when frankly I won't want to do too much except lying around.

So - on Friday the CEO is coming here on his way through and we will talk turkey. Early in June I'll be off and about on a training session and the launch party is in mid June.

Oh dear oh dear

I have just been out with a friend and I feel absolutely dreadful - I managed to squeeze down a fruit juice followed by a beer but when I had the second beer I thought that I might see it again :-( SO I quit and came home - I think I will now go and have a lie down.

I know - you have no sympathy for me whatsoever and I should know better but exceptional circumstances!

Right where is the hangover pack.....

Slow Old Day

Oh dear - well I haven't done that sort of drinking for a while and I ought not to do that for some time again either :-)

I have a feeling today is going to go very slowly for me. I also do not expect to get a lot done


Only myself to blame. Good friends or not - too much drink gives you a headache no matter what you do.

It also makes you sentimental and write drivel. Must make a note not to drink as much next time.

As with all notes offering this sort of advice - they mysteriously disappear when you need them! Along with socks, IOUs and other important material - these things must inherit a life of their own. You never do find them.


I have no sympathy for myself - who would have thought celebrating my improved condition would give me such a headache :-)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The previous blog

That is how a blog should be - totally spontaneous and not worrying about grammar and syntax!

I am just amazed that I survived and so thankful for the support I have received from my friends.

Cancer beats your friends up more than you would believe. I don't like the idea that I've hurt other people though :-(

A Tribute to my school friends

Tonight I went out with my old school buddies.

We have known each other since we were 10 years old!

Tonight we celebrated - my recovery and our friendship.

How I value that friendship - how I value the spark to write this blog.

How I now value each magic moment and how my life has a new focus.

What value can you put on those who will tell you that you are being an "arse" speaking out of the same place or just missing the whole point?

Thank God for all my friends - how have they helped me through this?

Friends - YES - friends - they will help you through the path you have to travel. Tell them to tell you exactly what they see and exactly what you should do. You don't have to agree with them too :-)

Believe me - your friends will be there for you. You are also forgiven if you are not there for them - whilst they are there for you?

What am I worried about

I am a bit of a big head sometimes and I am the worst (as this blog proves) of being MR POSITIVE! Yet today, I went to this meeting and frankly no one else was in my league - I wiped the floor with most of them.

It is to do with my personality type and also my "inner" self belief but this stuff was so easy today and it must be my experience when compared against the others which makes me ask the right questions.

Anyway - it went really well today - should I take a chance? Well, after having survived this last ten months what do you think?

What have I got to lose?

Slight doubts

About my fitness and stamina to get back to work and do what may be needed on this particular opportunity. There is a lot of organising (no problems that is what I do) but also a fair amount of travelling about too. The 4 meetings a day culture are fine but the area to be covered is massive and on some of the most congested roads on the planet.

The first 3 months are the hardest in terms of throughput and workload, the next three months in terms of being on the road, after 6 months things look a little easier.

Whilst I am far fitter than I was ten months ago, I'm not certain that I have had to sustain the sort of effort I will need in this job.

Interesting day to come

I'll be off to London to work through this job opportunity or perhaps it would be better phrased as a business opportunity really.

The business case and the technology all appear to be in order, there are a few anomalies in the basic costing model to be reviewed and some questions about the company structuring that need to be ironed out but in general terms this thing could fly. It will be my luck that it is about to fly when I'm having my treatment.

Mind you, I'm no longer that worried about that sort of thing as frankly not a lot matters these days or perhaps things have a different level of importance and a different value structure.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Two weeks today

And the BCG starts again. It isn't so bad this time - I know what to expect and I know how to deal with the side effects and this time we are starting with a downgraded staging. Knowing what it did to the CIS, it should really work to keep it away this time.

At least I'll be clear of the treatments before my birthday party - not unfortunately on my birthday but there you go. I'll then have the summer off to at last get some holiday time in.

I'm still concerned that this job - the risky one - will really need full time attention for the first three months and I may not be able to give it that - 6 weeks at three days a week and needing some holidays too. I'll be seeing them tomorrow and will see what comes of that meeting.

Not enough hours in the day

There certainly aren't enough hours left in the day this coming week now. I have just updated my calendar and apart from Monday - every day looks like I am out. I have some work for Thursday which will lead to a few more days worth I'm sure. I have another meeting in London on Tuesday, I'm out Tuesday night and Wednesday lunch time and it also looks like I'm out Friday night too!

I've called off a few things that I need to do and yet this week is now busy as you like. I've also got a major piece of work I should have finished but haven't had a clear run at that I must fit in somehow. I need to plan that later today.

And - yes it is late, It is 1 in the morning and somehow I have got to get to sleep. I have even started drinking decaf coffee so that I can but for some reason - I'm still awake and firing on most cylinders!

I'm hoping that this week sees the end of some outstanding issues and that I can draw a line under that as well. If that is the case then I can move on with my mind focusing on what it needs to do and not to be worried about any outstanding issues. By later this week that will either have resolved itself or will have thrown up some other problems. The insurance claim is I believe borderline and so that is the problem. It is one of those things you don't even want to think about and another thing that is on your mind and given that it has taken since October to get to this point you can probably see the concerns. I think that the forms sat in the "system" for much of that time and I've said it before, that had my family been facing some sort of crisis or had I been terminally ill then it would be difficult to explain why it had taken 7 months to process the paperwork. As it is, I don't think the Insurance Company could have done much more and I wasn't in a mind to push them.

Anyway - this week will mark that milestone.

Sunday - a lazy day

Well after being out 6 days on the trot it needed to be a lazy day. There was some motor sport on in the afternoon so I sat and watched that.

It is pretty late now though I got sucked into watching an interesting documentary about Jimi Hendrix. It was particularly interesting and had some clips I hadn't seen before.

I thought about the blog yesterday about the guilt feelings and, then thought that 4 of us - that is friends and people I know got cancer last year and all 4 of us got through it. The other 3 don't have it anymore and I don't but of course need to keep up the treatment to ensure that it stays that way.

I am getting a little concerned about these jobs opportunities. I have two and possibly three in the pipeline and each has a different merit to them and each would provide me with a different challenge. Not one of them is the same! So trying to compare one against the other is almost impossible.

One is a big gamble, another quite a safe option although a lot of travel is involved and the other one is a bit more corporate.

I go and see about one of them on Tuesday, I spoke to the guy yesterday about the other one and I have a "holding pattern" e-mail about the third - decision this week or next week.

I wonder quite what I will decide. My heart tells me that the gamble would be the one to go for but I'm not sure I am fit enough to do it. The second job is right up my street and I know my way around the territory and the products etc. It could well be the right choice. Trouble is it starts in July and goes for 6 weeks. First job is five years at least but need to prove your worth in three months or you are out. The third one is full time 6 months or more.

I'm no gambler yet something says go for it. Interesting.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Two more meetings left

Lodge meetings that is, one in June and one in July and then we can have a break until September or October. It is all great fun but towards the end of the season and this last week in particular it was getting a bit much as you tend to have a diary full of meetings, preparing for meetings, rehearsals and visiting.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The guilt of survival

OK - I know I am going to get beaten up about this but can you believe that I now have a guilt feeling about being in the position I am in? I know, how ridiculous after all the whinging I went on about wanting to be there for my family. I got my life back on Tuesday! In the US, a correspondent of mine got the opposite. I feel quite wretched about that until I look at my children's faces and gaze out at my world again. So why even so do I feel like this?

I think that it is because I have met with people who have more advanced problems than I do (mainly online) that I feel this way. Why? Well my diagnosis has made my potential outcome a lot better than theirs. I'm in all probability going to make it, some of the people I have met haven't and will not. I cannot understand why I should be singled out to survive and they didn't - I KNOW - It is a stupid way to think about it. I can't help feeling that - and it is a strange thing - that I shouldn't have survived really. I imagine it is the same with the survivors of a ship wreck or plane crash - how did I survive and how did I come through this and everyone either side of me didn't.

I just feel sad that some of the suffers, diagnosed when I was, haven't made it or probably wont make it. Stupid as it may seem - you now look at your own survival as cheating everyone else. You get a kindred bond with those fellow sufferers you meet online but - and I've said this before - generally those you meet online are more seriously affected and need to share their problems.

I do look on myself as very fortunate and I'll be doing everything possible to keep this well and this healthy. I owe it to myself, my family both here and wider and to my friends who have proved their worth many times over. I have friends who are outspoken (cringingly so) and some who don't express themselves well and some who we just nod and we know what we mean.

It isn't the "Stockholm Syndrome" but there must be a technical term for this - I cheated this but I'm sorry because not everyone else did!

Getting ready to go out again

Since last Monday I have been out every evening. Tonight is the last night and so tomorrow I can get some rest. I'm back out again next Tuesday and it looks like Thursday as well. Just to make my life easier this afternoon, a number of people have pulled out and so it should be fun to find officers to do the jobs especially as one is the Master of the Lodge and now can't make it!

I've got some more decisions to make next week about career direction. I have a potential job I could start straight away and another that I could start in July - both are very interesting and I could fit both around my treatment. I'm not sure about holidays though. we all need a break and I'd rather we all go away than I get a job that would keep me extremely busy over the summer. In one way I need the challenge of the job but in another way, making sure that it is the right time is probably more important. It should be fun next week "doing the right thing"

Keeping up the regime

It is too easy to drop your guard and go back to the old lifestyle just because of one bit of good news. I'm sure that my lifestyle changes have supported the work that the treatment gave and my new levels of fitness can only help when the treatment starts again in a few weeks time. It does knock you about a bit and it can leave you very tired and a little sore.

I think that because I am that much fitter and a lot of people have said that I "sound" so much better in myself that I can only improve my chances of this not coming back.

If I can manage to be clear at the next stage in October then the chances of recurrence get less. Each time you are clear thereafter the chances also decrease.

It is a nasty little cancer though as it can just keep coming back. If it does they can cut it out and stick you back on the roller Coaster again.

Where have I got to on the Roller Coaster? Probably just through the water splash - gone past the terrified stage and now in the exhilarated stage.

Much happier today about things.

Friday, May 18, 2007


I was at one of my Lodge meetings this evening and announced the good news and there was a round of applause when I said that I was, to all intents and purposes, cancer free.

That was a bit embarrassing to me but it did make me realise how many people are "fighting my corner". I feel a little weepy and humble tonight and I met loads of people that I know and their pleasure at my news was so spontaneous.

I am very pleased that so many people are also in my corner fighting with me.

At Long Last

My printing has arrived - the wrong address on it - no wonder they couldn't find me.

I now need to see if I can stuff 200 envelopes with personalised letters and documents so that we can get them posted tomorrow.


Another from my Uncle - Nice one!

Two women met for the first time since graduating from high school.

One asked the other, "You were always so organized in school, Did you manage to live a well planned life? "

" Yes," said her friend.
"My first marriage was to a millionaire; My second marriage was to an actor; My third marriage was to a priest; And now I'm married to an undertaker."

Her friend asked, "What do those marriages have to do with a well planned life?"

"One for the money,
Two for the show,
Three to get ready,
And four to go!"

Senior Moments

I'm obliged to my Uncle for sending me this and some more:

A distraught senior citizen phoned her doctor's office.

"Is it true," she wanted to know, "that the medication you prescribed has to be taken for the rest of my life?"

"Yes, I'm afraid so," the doctor told her.

There was a moment of silence before the senior lady replied,

"I'm wondering, then, just how serious is my condition? This prescription is marked 'NO REFILLS'."

It is a dilemma

I mean what do I have if there isn't any cancer left in my bladder? Believe it or not I'm still technically a bladder cancer patient and I'm still undergoing treatment but, if there isn't any cancer in there then it seems quite strange. I'm not cured, I just don't have cancer there inside me now.

It is a very strange feeling I have to say. There isn't anything there at the moment. Now those cells have got to start behaving themselves normally again and that is what the treatment should teach them to do.

It really is the most surreal thing, I can't quite work it out at all and I'm not slow but I just can't take it in that it has all but gone. I occasionally stop and think about it and give a smile and then move on. Writing this I still can't quite believe it.

A Bad Night's Sleep

I had a bad old night, woke at 2:30 and didn't get back to sleep until about 5 I guess. It was none of the usual brain stuff, worrying or thinking things through because - what is there to think through now?

I feel fine this morning though. Another one of my busy days due in no uncertain measure to this parcel being late. When that arrives I've got stacks of work to do that should have been done on Monday or Tuesday.

I'm out again tonight and tomorrow afternoon and evening and hopefully I can just relax on Sunday.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Every Night This Week

I have been out every night this week so far and I'm out tomorrow and Saturday night. It has to be the busiest week of the year so far. I didn't plan to be this busy but one thing led to another and this was how it worked out.

Oh well, at least next week is looking less busy.

TMS - Summer must be here

The first test match of the summer - at Lords (I was there last year!). Test Match Special is on and you can get it on the Internet from the BBC web site.

Blowers is on good form - very excited and already on the Cranes and Pigeons and Buses are all good fill in material between each ball.

It isn't quite the right weather - a bit warmer, a jug of Pimms and perhaps a few cold beers. Maybe I'll get to the Oval or Lords later this year.

For anyone not in the cricketing world I apologise for this particular blog as you probably haven't got a clue what I am talking about.

Also, how can we have invented a game that takes 5 days to play? Well imagine that the bar is open all day and that you can have a picnic, read your Newspaper and wander around and just spend a great day out in the sun (normally). They also do the best bacon rolls in the world at Lords!

I must stop doing that

Telling a joke or a smart arse one-liner when people have a mouthful of drink!

The one-liner?

We were talking about someone we knew but we weren't sure how old he was and as the conversation was going around in a circle I suggested - as you do - that we cut the blokes head off and count the rings!

After avoiding getting covered in beer we did re-think my strategy as being pretty terminal for the guy we were talking about.

The cumulative effect of knowing that you are getting better

It is a strange old thing. I'm obviously pleased that I'm clear for the moment, that the treatment will in all probability give me a clean bill of health within the next 5 months, who wouldn't be. The ten year long term follow up plan is great and if, as is often the case with bladder cancer it comes back, at least they can get it early and not as I started this journey - an early diagnosis but could be earlier :-)

Anyway, yes I'm really pleased about it and as every day has gone by, I'm a little more pleased about it and feel a little more confident in what I've been told and the odds have improved. Speaking of odds, because there was no recurrence in the last three months since treatment - the odds change. Finding two precancerous areas is better than finding CIS or a tumour there so my odds of recurrence have gone down as well which is good.

All these things are really positive - they all add up to the best news possible. It is just taking me a long time to get used to the news and the improved outlook and the optimism that must go with that.

The lost parcel

Which should have been with me on Monday has been found, in South London - hey couldn't find me as the house number was transposed and there isn't a house with that number in my street.

I'll have to wait until tomorrow to get the parcel and it contains all the stuff I should have posted on Monday. Blast - that means tomorrow I'll be busy as you like stuffing close to 200 envelopes and trying to get them all posted.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Well we had a few tonight

I met up with some friends and we discussed the news and all were happy and we had a few beers in celebration. I am feeling a bit better about things at the moment and whilst I'm still not dancing in the street I can see why my consultant was happy and why I should be :-)

I'm not really a miserable old wot-sit but I am quite measured in how I react to most things. This being one of them!

Working without a watch

The battery died on my watch yesterday and I am finding it a strange experience not knowing the time and keeping on looking at my arm but there isn't a watch there!

The spare watch and my pocket watch have also stopped working so I need to buy three lots of batteries.

It has been a somewhat strange day all around and I've gradually been getting a bit more animated about things. I'm out again tonight - I'll actually end up being out every night this week now and I'm out on Saturday afternoon too.

Perhaps Saturday evening or Sunday we will get out the Champagne - there are a few in the fridge.

End in sight

In more ways than one. It looks like - at last - the Insurance company has all the paperwork it requires to make a judgement on my case. I should hear in the next 5 to 7 days. Whatever way that goes will also define how I tackle the next decisions especially on the job front.

They called me today to let me know straightway that they had all that they now required. If they payout then it relieves a number of niggles and small worries and gives us breathing space as it isn't just about me although the decisions would affect what I had to do to run the home financially.

It has taken 7 months to get this far on the insurance claim. I'm not too bothered but if I was terminally ill or perhaps severely disabled with this I think I would be annoyed - it is one thing you really don't need to be thinking about at a time like that. It isn't the insurance companies hold up either. Finally today they got the last pieces of paper they needed. They had to phone up and get them but such is the chaos that is the NHS at the moment.

I've had the attitude on this that if they pay out it is a bonus and that I'm not expecting it to cover what I've had. I'll leave it there for the moment. It is one of those other things you have to deal with when you really didn't want to know.

What is interesting is to go back and read the early stuff from time of claim and some of the early material here and realise just how poorly I was last July/August. On reflection I am so much better than I was then, still (perhaps) a good few pounds heavier now than then, but I am really quite fit too with all this exercise and healthy eating stuff.

Precancerous - exactly what it says on the tin

A premalignant condition that, if left untreated, may lead to cancer.

The treatment should ensure that there are none of these precancerous cells return and that nothing gets back to where it was before.

It is a strange thing that you can't see anything wrong, you can't even feel anything wrong most of the time and you can't see what progress you've made or how the treatment is going. It makes having bladder cancer a surreal experience. In fact, the only times I feel ill are post operation, the stress before an operation and the BCGs make you feel tired and a bit sore. Other than that, you wouldn't know you've got problems. It was like carrying around an unexploded bomb in your body and not even realizing it. Bizarre.

As today progresses the more I realise that I really have crossed that line between the extremely dangerous and the dangerous but manageable. I still thought that I'd get hit with waves of relief or joy or something and it is not really like that. It is more a satisfied smirk than a fist clenching and pumping YEA! Oh well - you can't have everything.

Well I feel different this morning

It could be wind :-)

No - I do feel like a weight has been lifted off of me this morning (it does feel like that too) and I feel well in myself. I've done my exercises and pushed those hard this morning so there is a bit of exercise buzz in there too.

It is nice to have others around you who speak rationally about the news and make me see how good things really are - which is great, so thanks to them all for that.

In business one of the arts is to separate the emotion from the facts and in business, I'm good at that. It is very difficult to do it when it is you and your body going through this.

Positive and upbeat thinking needed today.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Should I be leaping about or just like I am now

I really am quite low key about this. I thought I'd be leaping for joy at the news and I have again surprised myself that I am quite matter of fact about it. I made one of my mates squirm tonight talking about what I was about to have done and - realistically, this time last year I'd have squirmed too!

I'm just nowhere near as upbeat. Perhaps I set sights low so as not to be disappointed. Whatever it is, I'm going to go to bed now and perhaps wake up in the morning feeling great! Who knows.

A Brazilian?

Not quite.

In an earlier blog I mentioned that there was a huge bare patch on my leg like 6 x 4 or perhaps even 6 x 8. So I had to ask what that was for - as you do.

Well it was interesting. They have to cauterise the areas they cut out of your bladder and that is obviously electric. If you ever saw the film clip of the operation they use a loop of wire and as it cuts out the tumour it cauterises behind it.

So - bare leg?? Yes they have to earth your body so that the thing actually works. Being of somewhat hairy disposition, they have to have a good contact and that is why I have a shaved patch on my leg.

The female element of this household were sniggering that Dad had had his legs waxed. Well the best bit about this was it was done under general anaesthetic and I didn't feel a thing! So there!

Fast and Efficient & OH YES!!

Left at 4:30, appointment bang on the dot at 4:40 home by 4:55.

Deep breath:

Here goes:

Clear - original areas are clear
Small areas - tiny, precancerous - cut out and no longer there

Next Steps:

6 more BCGs starting 4th June finishing 9th July.

3 Months after 9th July - oh dear - operation to biopsy the bladder and see what has happened. Interestingly enough this HAS to be done when you are knocked out.

If that is clear - maintenance - but it has to be clear to do that. Maintenance is 3 BGCs, 6 months, flexible scope, review, another 3 BCGs and so on. You get the 3 BCGs and gradually they build the time between reviews from 6 months outwards.


I really wasn't expecting to have the biopsy operation. At the back of my mind I thought it might be needed but wasn't sure quite what they do but if they have to take more biopsies then they have to do that under a general - she did say that she could do a local but it wasn't particularly recommended and wouldn't be high on her list (or mine if the truth be known).

So, if you'd have put this on the table and said to me last year that in May 2007 you won't be worried about losing your bladder and using a bag, they've stopped the cancer from invading and this next lot of BCG is only tackling two tiny areas rather than the larger areas from before, I'd have pulled your arm from your socket.

Deep down inside I am really pleased. The BCG did its stuff and the next lot - whilst not pleasant, should see off these little pesky areas. Not sure about yet another operation in 4 and a half months time but perhaps I can live with that now.

Have things changed? Perhaps. I actually need to adjust my thinking and challenge myself a bit as I know this is a great step forward and I know I can live with this. It is whether I can work around it and manage my life with it that are the next big steps. No doubt more as I run through all the options and ideas and feelings that I have now.

Yesterday I thought I had this planned out for all scenarios and I'm not walking around with a big smile or anything at the moment - perhaps that will come later?

I'm out for a few drinks this evening so perhaps I can relax a bit then and temper the relief, excitement, gratefulness and yet slight disappointment and work out what really is important like getting a few beers now my neck and having a good time :-)

Count down

I'm just getting ready to go to see the consultant. One of the last appointments of the day and so I could end up waiting for ages or be seen in moments - who knows - another outing for the MP3 player (not that my MP3 player is challenged in that way you understand).

I'm ever so slightly on edge even now. I know they aren't going to do anything, just tell me where we are and what is left to do and plan out the follow up treatment. Yet I'm quite nervous about what they will say and how they will say it. Strange - I suppose it is just the uncertainty and realising that I shouldn't second guess what they will do next.

I see this as a moment where I can get a grip on my life again and set off tomorrow with a clear understanding of how I am, what I can and cannot do and what I need to do to keep me well. After that I can get to planning and tackling this backlog of work.

Improved Chances

The BBC are doing a story today about survival and cancer. In fact it is their theme all this week.

The Web article is HERE

There are no league tables here but you can imagine that developing some cancers are better than getting others. You may think bladder cancer is a bit eye watering with what they have to do to get in and out but, the treatments available are well proven and the prognosis is generally pretty good. Certainly the 5 year figures are good. Of course, the other problems that mess up the figures are when was the cancer diagnosed and at what stage was it.

Anyway, it was an interesting article and bit on the TV today.

Had a seriously bad moment back there

You get some bad times and sometimes when you don't expect it.

I was just sitting here thinking and suddenly I had a flash back of the three operations the original procedure under local and the dreaded IVU and got quite upset - I feel quite upset now writing this as well. It was all the grizzly bits and the re-living of the stress going into theatre and so on.


It passed pretty soon but perhaps that was my brain drawing a line under that lot and getting ready to move on - I sure hope I don't have to have any more of those.

Strewth, 3 operations, one local procedure and an IVU X-Ray thingy all in the space of 10 months. Now that I put it like that no wonder I'm feeling a bit emotional.

Like waiting for your exam results

It is quite important isn't it? A friend had to wait an extra week to find out that he didn't have something really nasty - imagine that sort of wait. I remember waiting to be seen the first time and hoping that everything would go away so that I didn't need to be seen.

Those were frightening days - 10 months ago now. Of course then I knew that I was seriously ill, thought that it was something like kidney cancer perhaps bladder cancer and we wished it was something a little less. Waiting 2 weeks to get seen whilst showing major symptoms was pretty bad. Some of the other waiting was as bad as that. The appointment after the first operation was a major worry as we needed to see how invasive the cancer was. It was early invasive and they did the second operation to check that out.

Waiting for those results was more worrying but the meeting wasn't what we thought it would be - things were a lot better and it was CIS. So much better that they had to go and re-check their results! The return meeting was a bit worrying as well as casting doubt on the good results worried us but of course the consultant was doing her job "belt and braces". CIS is pretty dangerous but in my mind not as dangerous as the invasive (I have been known to be wrong)

This time, we know that the outlook is good, I was told that and also that the smallest scrapes was done - if they do anything larger you get catheterised. So I'm going today hoping to get some good news. Something this time that is proactive rather than reactive. All will become clear later today.

Monday, May 14, 2007

One Year Ago Tomorrow

Was another defining day.

It was the day I went up to London and was interviewed for the job I had last year. How strange are these coincidences or perhaps we just see patterns in such things (or I do - sad old g*t) :-)

Anyway, a whole year ago and I remember being so excited about the possibilities and the challenge of the job. It would be the 23rd of May that I actually started and I remember going up to Yorkshire and spending a week there coming home through the Friday night bank holiday traffic wasn't the greatest of fun but, even so, they were exciting days!

I haven't given it a thought about whether or not things would have turned out different if I hadn't have been ill. I actually think that there may have been some interesting personality clashes at some point in time but hey ho - let it go.

Tomorrow - a Defining Day

In all ways really. The main event will be getting to see the consultant and getting the news about what the next steps are going to be. The next is this job offer (of sorts) on the table. I've got all the paperwork and it all looks too good.

I can only fault a few pieces of what I have received so far. I'm relatively cautious on this sort of thing and so I am giving it a lot of thought. There appears to be a lot of data and details to take in and so far, I'm pretty taken with the ideas and the potential. Can't say more - sorry.

So by this time tomorrow I should have an answer about my future health and well-being. A bit later I imagine I'll be testing the ideas for the job with some colleagues as we are out for the evening.

Perhaps by the end of this week I can have lined myself up with something useful to occupy my time? I'll know when I'm due in and out of hosiptal and I'll have a fair idea how much time I can devote to work and also and almost more importantly I can get some holiday planned.

Blimey look at the size of that!

Sword that is.....

As promised a week or so ago. That chap in the middle holding the sword is me. This is the inside of Freemasons' Hall in London at our annual meeting. I was desperate to be fit and well to do this. I was meant to do this twice in my year in office but was in Hospital last September and had to miss it but, luckily it meant my deputy was able to fill in for me. We met on the day and he was pleased that he had the opportunity but not happy it was at my expense but, what it meant was that we both got a turn to do this during our year which was fair.

Anyway, a very happy day for me and at one time, one I thought I'd never manage especially when they started moving my March operation back in time!

That's encouraging

I lost another kilo (2.2 Lbs) last week!!! I am pleased as punch about that. I thought I felt a little better and lighter.

The week before it sort of stood still - well the scales were flashing up and down half a kilo so I took the middle and reckoned I'd stayed the same.

Weighing myself this morning I was expecting a similar story or perhaps to have added a bit more but obviously the exercise and remainder of the week's diet has seen me OK. It is amazing considering the two 3/4 course meals I had during the week.

So I have lost so far 9 kilos - that is almost 20 Lbs. The strangest things is that only those people who haven't seen me for 6 or 8 weeks or more would notice! But, anyway, really pleased with that and although it is a bit more than the Doc wants me to lose at least I am not feeling hungry or unwell through doing this.

I do notice the loss on things like fitting into my clothes, exercising - I can really push on with that now and I am on the more advanced programmes and do 30 minutes at a stretch not 3 x 10 minute sessions. I also go further on the machine now - close to 5 miles and burn off more calories of course.

Good - that is the way to start off a week - positive thinking.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Returning to the subject of this blog

I guess that the pressure is off somewhat and that I'm taking a breather from medical problems for a while.

With the issuing of my 50th Birthday invitations this weekend I am looking forward to the birthday I thought that at one time I wouldn't have.

I'm looking forward to seeing the consultant on Tuesday and getting the definitive answer on what will happen next. Whether it is 6 or 3 BCGs and whether it is 3 or 6 months follow up regime.

It is going to be a case of - at least I'll know. Curiously enough that is one of the things that makes things worse - not knowing. If you know you can deal with it. You may not like it, it certainly hasn't been the words you'd want to hear but at least you know and at least you can plan your next moves.

So much hinges on this - like getting that holiday, like a job or getting something approaching a job, knowing when I can realistically start working at that job and stuff like that.

I know I'm doing bits now, have irons in the fire etc but you can tell when you talk to me that there is uncertainty in my voice and I hesitate to commit. My concern would be that I'll let the person down. After Tuesday, I hope to be able to get rid of that problem.

What else? I suppose I then need to get back to working on my fitness and losing weight more effectively. I'll probably lose a bit through the treatment this time. I need to be careful about the timings and any exercises I do. I'll cross those bridges when I come to them.

Seems Like Therapy or perhaps hard labour

Doing the envelopes, folding and stapling address books, treasurer's slips, letters etc and making sure the right ones went in the right envelopes.

Anyway - it is mostly complete and the remainder are coming from the printers tomorrow so I will have my hands full with that.

Getting going

This morning - I have been printing off hundreds of labels, letters and getting ready to assemble the notices for my Lodge that all need to be posted tomorrow. It is quite a logistical feat as I have to get stuff back from the printers and to make it all come together and all the right slips of paper (all personalised) need to go in the right envelopes.

So it looks like a day full of folding, stapling, checking and envelope stuffing for me. At least the Spanish GP is on later and I can watch that. It has been 4 weeks since the last one and I kind of miss it not being around. Monaco in a few weeks time. I was going to go this year but I need to be around on the Friday evening so it would be a bit difficult. I must try harder for next year.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Much merriment going on in one of the girl's rooms

They are watching the Eurovision song contest - so bad it is good if you follow me.

I really don't have the time or the patience for it these days and once you've seen how it has nothing to do with talent and all about political voting you really can't watch it again - or maybe YOU can?

So, I've actually been working today reading and researching this potential new job. It sounds too good to be true and that is ringing the alarm bells with me. So far I have found nothing untoward and all looks to be OK.

Being a sceptic I do tend to go for the hard facts and not quite but as near possible cast iron assurances.

So far it looks good and the next steps are in place to take it on further. It would mean 3 months working without any salary to start with but after that then things get interesting.

The fly in the ointment is that I really do need a break - a holiday that is and if I were to take this job I wouldn't get one I don't think.


2 am - huge crack of thunder and a cloud burst and that was sleep gone for a good hour or so, the road outside was like a river and the noise of the rain was tremendous. Two of us woke up and the rest of the house slept through it.

It is a beautiful morning out there and I was about to start exercises when my nephew turned up and so I haven't done that this morning so perhaps I will do that this evening as the damn Eurovision Song Contest is on.

With a bit of luck I can get on and get this backlog of small jobs off of my desk today.

Wish me luck as I'll need it

Friday, May 11, 2007

An Early Night

I haven't had one of those this week so I am just going to take my blood pressure and then turn in - I have a stack of things to do but they can now wait until the morning when I can get some sense and order into my life - I hope.

I am going to wish myself well for that as I doubt that it will actually go to plan :-)

The phone hasn't stopped ringing

Well it has or I wouldn't be able to write this. It has been chaos this morning. However, all good chaos if you know what I mean? All positives and some very interesting stuff coming up.

The main thing is that I may well have this job I was after. That will be great. It will mean a lot of work of course and a fair amount of travelling about too but it could be just the ticket as it means I can work and be based from home too. More I am sure later.

All sorts of other things are rearing their head and I am trying (still) to find enough time to cover off everything.

Not long to wait now before I get the outcome from the consultant and know with some clarity what the future holds. Today for the first time in a long time I actually feel like I can look forward to something and pick up and run with it. Perhaps, de corporate speaking it. I now have something that can pick up and hold my interest a challenge that I can use to move out of where I am now and something I think I will enjoy.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

A great evening

Again, a fantastic evening. I think that I now really appreciate a good night out whereas perhaps last year it would have been something I just did. Now it is something to savour. Like yesterday, a superb meeting and a lovely meal afterwards. I was a bit disappointed as the letter of invitation promised Orange Mouse and when I got there it was Orange Mousse - I was so so upset :-)

Anyway, so good to get out and about but it plays absolute havoc with my diet.

OK Today or it seems to be

Thank goodness all appears to be OK today. No blood bits.

I again left off exercising this morning so as not to antagonise things any further.

I hope that the remainder of the day goes as well and I can not have the minor anxiety every time I go to the loo.


Well last night was special and I am out again today. It involves a further meal and the requisite amount of alcohol for toasts etc :-)

I had a bit of a shock today as I measured my waist - I normally go by my trouser size but the tape measure must have lied as it was 4" more than my trouser size. I've got a new chart to plot body measurements and weights and it is a more accurate measurement of progress and you can the calculate BMI (Body Mass Index) and also overall fat in the body. I'm not intending to frighten myself stupid but perhaps this will enable me to focus in on key areas to work on.

It is surprising how quickly you can lose weight but to keep it off you must do it gradually. Combining weight loss with exercise and a different lifestyle are also contributing. With the new chart I'll be able to monitor more accurately what I am doing to myself and how effective it has been.

I'm fully expecting that this week will be more or less static and next week I should be able to get back onto gradually losing more weight. Also, I have just eased off with the few little blood clots/scabs appearing and it is better to take things easy than do any damage.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Hypnotism - Mumbo Jumbo?

We were discussing earlier on this evening about the "healthy Scepticism" that we had about hypnotherapy.

Now I think that the stage shows have misled people along with the swinging pendulum nonsense as well. It isn't acting like a fool nor is it something where you are in some one's power - in fact you are in control. The participants on the stage shows "want" to be controlled and are eager participants.

I am a BIG sceptic as anyone would tell you and as this blog probably testifies. However, I do now hold with the fact that hypnotherapy has actually been really useful in making me face up to the challenges I have to face and to keep a positive attitude to them.

Quite how this works is difficult to say but I have always been terrified of even going for an appointment let alone being ill and having to have something done to me. So to take me from close to terrified to close to accepting that I have to be seen can only be a good thing. It isn't "all the way" and I doubt you could convince me to walk in and get my arm chopped off or something but, to get me in and relatively calm has got to be a good step.

So it worked for me - a real sceptic and I wouldn't recommend it unless I felt that it would actually give you an opportunity to breathe easily, rest a bit and to accept your lot and move forward.

What A Great Day Out

I have just been treated to the most fabulous afternoon and evening out and I'm still buzzing from the experience.

To go into one of London's Livery Halls is something special on its own. To go into Plaisterers' Hall is something else. It is the most amazing building see and we dined in the hall with the three large Chandeliers. It was pretty special I have to say and I am so pleased that my friend invited me.

Getting a Taxi in London when it is threatening to spit with rain was another matter but we eventually succeeded and got a cab and then a train home. Luckily my local was open on the way back so I slipped in for a crafty beer on the way home.

So a great day and I'm afraid that the only thing to marr it was that I was again passing a small amount of blood when I got home. OK, it is very small but even so, it sort of worries you even if you do know what it is.

I am still so surprised at how injured I am when I don't really feel it.

Anyway, CD, you know who you are! Thanks for a wonderful day out - I cannot even begin to tell you how much it means to be even able to go out like this and thanks for inviting me.


Bank Holiday Phase Shifting

That is the trouble with Bank Holidays. I keep thinking that it is Tuesday when it is in fact Wednesday and my whole week is screwed. I have a huge backlog of little things to do and it just seems to be taking me ages to get through them.

I almost certain that by brain is waiting for the appointment with the Hospital next week and the outcome of that before deciding what to do next. Perhaps it is because I have other things on my mind then that I'm not achieving all I want to do in my day. Things do get done but slowly and it tends to take hours rather than minutes to do them.

Once next week is out of the way I can plan again and I will sort out that holiday too.

When now actually means next week

I'd quite forgotten how work is. I am doing some work that should have been delivered on Friday night but wasn't quite ready as there was some data missing.

Yesterday I spoke to everyone about it and it was no worries, not in until the end of the week and it can wait. That threw me a bit as I was fully expecting to have my ear bent that I hadn't delivered it. I'm still waiting for the data of course which I might get on Friday.

The fun of it all. I keep expecting people to work at my speed and throughput and that just doesn't happen.

I'm not sure quite how I am going to return to work as I am sure I am going to get the maintenance treatment and probably another 6 weeks of Immunotherapy treatment. That takes 2/5ths of a working week out for me so I could do with finding a three day a week job for 6 weeks. Perhaps I just ought to set my sights on finding Hen's teeth and rocking horse poo, they'd be an easier ask!

All clear

This morning all is OK and back to normal. I decided to skip the exercises and to take it a little easy as I don't want to antagonise the situation.

I am looking forward to going out this afternoon - I have been invited to a Lodge that meets in the City of London and I don't have to do anything except sit back and enjoy myself which is always an easy thing to do of course. I am also going up to London tomorrow but this time it will be the Central/West End.

I don't think that I have been out and about so much for at least a year and so it is a bit of a treat to get out and to enjoy someone else's company.

Even without exercise the blood pressure readings are good again. I suppose there is a bit of a silver lining after all when you see that other problems I didn't know about have come to light and been tackled.

On Off On Off

I got the tiny little blood spots every other go tonight. Luckily the last two have been clear. It is a little bit frightening when you see this despite knowing that in no way can it be a tumour and it is more likely just to be the scabs dropping off.

What it does mean though is that I just need to take it easy and not overdo it. I was only saying a day or so ago that I thought I had been pretty good about slowly building back to normal and yet today's little warning obviously says I'm not ready for that so I will drop back to medium exercise again.

One of the problems - and I've said this before - is that you can't see or really feel too much wrong with you and so you can easily overdo it. Your body just revolts against this and you get the little warnings and set backs like this.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Forgive the running commentary

About my urination frequency and contents :-)

The last one was totally clear so I am guessing that all that is happening is that the biopsy and the resected area are just releasing their scabs.

Roll on the day when I can just go and have a pee and not worry about it :-) At least the post operative sharp intake of breath just as you are about to pee has gone and things are back to normal now.

Carbohydrates for dummies

I need that book :-)

I just worked out what I was doing wrong on my diet. I cut out loads of things that really I shouldn't have done. The primary one was, as you probably remember, I cut back heavily on bread and just have a little homemade bread now and then - I am no great lover of rice or pasta and so didn't have those and I had potatoes but I doubt I had them every day so it appears that I inadvertently cut down too much and lowered my carbohydrates too far. hence blood glucose levels were shot to pieces.

It also appears that the way I tend to eat fruit, generally all in one burst in the late afternoon or early evening is also not to be done either! I should be spacing that out.

It appears that in my eagerness to get the salt out of my diet, start to get the weight off and ramp up my exercise regime I managed to screw up my bodies metabolism.

So - as of today, I have changed my diet to make sure that I get carbohydrates three times a day and that I spread out all the healthy things to balance those out across the day too.

No one ever said that lifestyle changes were going to be easy.

Oh dear bit of blood

I thought there was a bit this morning and this afternoon another small bit. It could be the scabs coming off I suppose as it looks like tiny little clots and only one at a time not a lot at a time like I've had before.

Whatever, it is quite alarming to see even these tiny amounts. It takes you right back to those early days. Mind you there is a big difference, I actually have a good idea what is going on now. Then - well - I was just in a state every time I went to the loo.

I might have overdone the exercising now that I am using a more strenuous regime and then again, the wounds do need to come off and the bladder repair itself properly. I can't imagine it is anything other than that as these things don't grow that fast at all.

Worrying just the same and I just need to keep my eye on it.

Exercise, Diet and Blood Pressure

I recorded really good blood pressure readings this morning, almost as low as those when I was on beta blockers. It hasn't just dropped to these levels it has been gradually going down over the last three weeks and today I was recording 110 over 70 which is almost the lowest I've ever had. I keep a chart of my BP readings and do morning and evening. It has been quite gratifying to see things dropping down and normalising over time. Mind you it isn't something that is particularly accurate as you can have a high reading one minute and five minutes later it can be normal. You do need to follow a set routine which I now try and do. Rushing to get it done is bound to give you raised readings.

I also had a nice surprise on the scales. I haven't put on weight but neither did I lose any either. However, I was convinced that I should have put weight on given the excesses of last week.

Unfortunately this week I have two more meals to go to and I am certain that these too will put the weight on or keep me where I am.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Working on a Bank Holiday

I finally got all the important paperwork out of the way about 5 minutes ago.

I now need to tidy up my desk again which looks as if a mischievous Elf has ruffled the papers and put them in to all the wrong piles.

I still didn't manage to get the little bits and pieces done - you know those odd e-mails out to people that aren't really important but never get off your "to-Do" list. I need to make a concerted effort tomorrow to get a little more focused on this.

Unfortunately (or fortunately) my lunchtime appointment has been cancelled tomorrow. I was actually looking forward to getting out for a short while and so I can probably put a lot more effort into tomorrow to get things done.

The trouble with doing too much

I have given up a lot of things, not necessarily through having Bladder Cancer. However, like a lot of things you do, you end up running things because nobody else will or because they do it so badly.

It is difficult to walk away from some of the things that I've been instrumental in building up but I don't want to be seen as interfering and in all reality I would far rather not get involved, leaving things for the new man. Like all clubs I suppose those who actually do things end up doing them.

The trouble with doing too much is that you don't get time to yourself (I am doing admin on a bank holiday) and you don't get much time to yourself. If I had disappeared I wonder what would have happened?

Good News

We made £3500 on Saturday at the old people's home. That will allow us to finance the new garden furniture. They have a lovely garden area where we also hold the Easter Egg Hunt and the existing parasols are beginning to get worn out and we need decent ones as they get so much usage.

I didn't think we could make that sort of money on the day and it is easily the most we have ever made.

To think that this time last year I hadn't even heard of Bladder Cancer!

Changed the Exercise back upto the next level

I have been working my way back up to the levels of fitness I was at prior to going into hospital. It may surprise you just how much a short procedure like I had takes out of you.

It has taken me close to 3 weeks to get back to where I was. Today I upped to a 30 minutes straight routine on one of the harder programmes. I normally do 3 lots of 10 minutes on a relatively simple 3 peaks of effort in each 10 minutes. The one I did today takes you gradually upwards 3 times to three plateaus of effort.

There are a few reasons that you cannot do exercises straight away - one is that you have a number of cuts inside your bladder and they are healing, the other is that you are pretty sore from the pulling around and you feel a bit groggy from the anaesthetic. When the use a rigid cystoscope they also stretch you out internally. Your urethra - now ladies, your transit is a bit better than us lads is the way they get in to undertake the procedure. If you imagine the lads urethra goes up then bends down and back up through the prostate and then into the bladder so a sort of "S" shape. Well sticking that pipe in you straightens everything out and believe me, whilst it isn't painful particularly but it is uncomfortable and this also sort of limits your ability to climb Mount Everest or even do a little off road cycling. You can imagine that the bladder being balloon shaped means that the pipe needs to be viewed from some pretty odd angles and be twisted and pulled into place. Thank goodness you are knocked out during this procedure. You certainly don't want to start exercising before a week is up - I think that I waited for a week and a half.

Anyway, so almost three weeks after I started again I am back to where I was and ready to go on a bit further. It is surprising how much it takes out of you. I can see why I was so weak last time I had the more major procedure.

It still amazes me that people think I am cured

Casting aside that meat can be cured of course! Yes, it is strange that the downgrade has implications like "So that is it and it is all over?" and I have to politely explain that well, it really is the next part of the journey - I've only just begun if the truth be known.

Interestingly phase 1 is over and miracle of miracles, downgrading means that they got rid of the Carcinoma in Situ in the lining of the bladder and it looks like (I'll know soon) a small tumour that perhaps was seeded last time - who knows. After the next little cycle of treatment I expect to start to get back to "normal" although I very much doubt that anything can be considered normal anymore.

The trouble with bladder cancer is that it comes back and it can come back years afterwards - it is the most costly of diseases because of that. The good news is that you get constantly monitored (it ain't nice but you do get monitored). The other good news is that they can control it and that when you get it in the format I had it in, you can cut it out, treat it and in 80% of the cases you can halt it and regress it (like they have in me).

But you don't actually get cured this soon, nor does it mean that you are at any less risk. 2/3 rds of people get a recurrence. So I also need to temper the excitement and current elation so that should I get it again it will not be a crushing disappointment. As you can imagine, to have to go through the operations again would be pretty soul destroying but if that is what needs to happen then so be it.

So now I am telling people that it isn't cure, it is downgrading, it means ongoing treatment - perhaps for up to 10 years and then, and only then, if I have been clear all that time, they may say that it is cured. Gives you something to mull over with your cornflakes & coffee in the morning that I'll be seeing a lot more of the Hospital in one way or the other, that I'll be continuing the BCG treatment regimen and that they will still be sticking little cameras into me for a good few years yet.

At least my GP doesn't need to see me for a month and by then I hope to have this blood glucose problem fixed. One of the major things I think I did was to come off the carbohydrates so suddenly and so completely. Apparently I ought to just get that balance right which I intend to do. I made the first steps with that today and will be ensuring that I get that right in the coming weeks.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

A late Sunday again

Perhaps it is just me getting towards the end of the week but it was again a lie in Sunday today - I was awake but really just didn't feel like facing the world and so just lay there day dreaming. I appear to pay for it later - like now as I am wide awake.

Maybe exercising late on a Saturday night didn't help either.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

After two nights out this week and today's indiscretion

I should have expected the scales to tell a tale! They did, I've put a kilo on by the looks of things although the scales were hovering around a bit.

I had a four course meals on Tuesday, a three course meal on Wednesday and of course a burger and some sausages today!

As many people have said before it is easier to put weight on than take it off. Mind you I am still heavier than I was this time last year by a good 6 kilo.

I do like my GP's words though - he was saying about not living like a hermit and to vary food and to do things in moderation. I heard someone discussing a lady of 100 who reckoned that she had lived that long through moderation in all things. She had in fact decided to give up smoking when she was 95 :-) Brilliant.

Saturday Night - Nothing on TV and you did what?

NO - Not what you were thinking! Or at least I don't think it was thinking what you were thinking.

No I decided to get onto the exercise machine and punch out 30 minutes worth of exercise on a slightly higher setting. That will make up for the burger I accidentally ate at the Spring Fair - oh and the Pork and Leek sausage, well when I say sausage I really ought to say sausages. Well they were going to get thrown away otherwise and so I helped out - they were tasty though.

I have part repented by overdoing the fruit this afternoon but then again, I accidentally had two pints of beer on the way home too. As you can imagine, they needed to be forced down me :-)

Who am I kidding :-)

It was a bit cold

I don't think I want to trust the weather man again. Said that the cloud would burn off by 10 and it would be a good day so I turned up in a tee shirt and froze as I was on car park duty! After freezing away all morning - you've guessed it, when I got home the sun came out and it has been lovely this afternoon.

I've escaped upstairs as they are watching Borat and - I'm afraid it really isn't to my taste.

It quite took my mind of everything else today which is great and it is only now that I have even thought about things. Long may that continue to happen.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Are you really a fraud because you survived?

It is a strange thing. I spoke to someone else who mentioned that he felt that his cancer was fraud as he recovered and is healthy again. I think I felt a bit "strange" about it at first - having cancer - I mean you cannot take that sort of information in easily. The first reaction is normally two sided - one - a relief at least you know what it is or what you guessed it was, you knew you were pretty ill but hadn't grasped it all and of course then you get home and you go through the "I'm going to die" bit. Now frankly that isn't nice. A little later on you begin to get used to the fact that (in my case) you have a pretty good chance of surviving this.

When I speak to most people they say I have been through a hell of a lot and I suppose, looking back at some of the stuff I've written, I probably have but you don't really have a choice in this. well you do I suppose but I chose to have the treatments. So given that the treatment isn't comfortable or by any means over yet, people wonder why I think sometimes that I'm a bit of a fraud.

I think I guessed why that is today. It is because I survived it, because you expect to get cancer and die and in reality that isn't the case (I at least know that now). However, when you see people going through far worse, or getting a terminal prognosis you kind of feel guilty. Yet, knowing people who are getting the all clear and being discharged - I am so happy for them. It is all a bit strange but then that is the disease all over. The common misconception about cancer is that it kills you - if it doesn't you feel there is something wrong with you! How stupid is that :-)

I find the logic of some of the things I think utterly bizarre - cancer makes you far more inward looking and thinking perhaps I think too much and don't let things just happen to me.

So - enough of the deep and meaningful stuff for the moment - a bank holiday weekend beckons. Tomorrow I am off to help the annual Spring Fair - I do the Car Park duty which is OK.

Oh - That's Alright Then

That's good. The Doc called and whilst the readings are high, the trend is only recent and there is no trace of these problems in the past (apparently you can tell based over some months back!). Meaning that I need to go and see him in a month - yea - I bet I'll have to have another blood test :-( however. the kidney function hasn't changed and so I'm back on the Ace Inhibitors.

The concern is still there that there is some glucose intolerance but that is going down and so at least I can be observed. It is possible it is to do with the pulling and poking around at the Hospital and I've no doubt that is so.

I would imagine that my body wonders quite what the hell I've done to it as well, it has had a complete change in diet in the past month and a half - I imagine it is traumatised and shocked! Poor old thing...

It is all go today

This working for a living is a bit of a drag isn't it?

I suppose someone has to do it and it might as well be me!

Actually it is quietly quite exciting doing this sort of stuff again. Don't tell anyone that I like it though.....

A Sad to read note this morning

I follow a fellow sufferer's blog and was extremely sad to read this blog this morning (HERE)

Whilst I am sad about that news I am very thankful that I don't have that decision to make right now. This sort of decision puts everything else in perspective.

I must also get out of the habit of apologising for surviving.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Doc didn't get back to me

I was expecting a phone call to get my blood pressure pills renewed (or not) but nothing so far - I will have to ring tomorrow to see what has happened - I fully expect to get called in again and to have to work on something to do with high blood glucose levels!

Oh well, I'll see what tomorrow brings. Luckily I am working from home tomorrow so can go and get a prescription or go see the doc if needed.

I had a few calls about a contract starting in a week or two and I've sent off my CV for that. My next appointment with the Hospital has been confirmed for the 15th May in the late afternoon. Again, hopefully I will then know what is going to happen there too.

Work - a four letter word

It was OK this morning I suppose. It took a while to get together what I needed to do the job but there you go! I have all I need and am back at home working out how I am going to do it and in what order.

It is quite nice to be working again but what a horrible location to get to and from - I wouldn't want to do that every day.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Went Really Well

I did my talk this evening and it went down really well or appeared to. That was a relief as I had to change it a little and so it was the first time that I had delivered it, in its new format.

It appears to have done the trick as there was lots of interest and a commitment to become Patron of the Association from the Lodge which is great. A lot of people also want to become life members of Patrons themselves which again all adds to the efforts.

It was a long day yesterday

I am as tired as you like today and I've got to go out again tonight and give a talk about the work I do at the Old Folk's home. Tomorrow I am actually going to be doing some work - I know it is hard to believe isn't it :-)

Might be a day or perhaps two days work. Not sure if the GP will want to see me on Friday to screw up my second paid day though - I'll find out on his return tomorrow.

Why not leave it until the last minute?

Oh - you did. Stuff that should have been done a few weeks ago has only just arrived with me and it needs to be done? That's right - Now.

What do these people think like? Now it is with me they think that it is off their hands and they can of course blame me for it being late.

One day I think I will actually let them down and then lets see what happens.

Selfish Git

I am a selfish git. I am sorry that this is all about ME. I cannot see anything past me, my family and me.

It isn't meant to be shocking I think it is just the truth that, all of a sudden, you cannot care for anyone else any more. You are for you and yours and that is the lot.

I give all the time, I give to anyone without any thought to race, colour or creed - it was how I was brought up and it is what I believe in.

Now though - I look on some people as bloody spongers - I don't tell them that but I watched a few "performances" today and I don't believe half of it. I'm turning into the sort of person my parents warned me about!

I Don't know!

Interesting comment received earlier. I'm in that mid point, that indecisive bit of wherever I am. I feel like Alice - literally not metaphorically - I don't actually know whether to laugh, cry, dissolve, scream or just go and be ME - quiet guy in the corner?

They don't want to see me for another 2 weeks. That screw my plans. Everything now goes back another two weeks.

Point One - They aren't screaming to see me now! Good news - low risk

Point Two - I have to wait two weeks before being told that I need to go onto maintenance which I know (I Think) already.

I'm feeling tearful about that - only that it sets everything back another two weks, I should have really known last week or this week. Now everything is delayed by two weeks and it isn't my fault.

A good day with one exception

I have had a great day. I've met new people and I've carried the heaviest sword you can ever believe!

However - what is annoying to me tonight is about my Cab journey from the station. I asked him to pull over and he swerved the cab all over the place throwing me out of my seat. I wouldn't mind but all he had to do was to stop the cab slowly like all the other cab drivers normally do. No swerves, up the curb, off the curb and back again just as I was taking my seat belt off! BASTARD! Not funny. He and I will meet again one day and the fun will be on my boot.

What an absolute idiot. "Are you alright?" he asked. "Sure - I didn't expect you to drive up the curb and stop quite like that!" - No answer. £5.40 Guv. Great here is £5.50 keep the change!

I wish these arseholes would work out their problems on themselves not on their passengers - we pay their wages after all.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

New Day - New Way of Viewing Things

Yes, a new day and one I am out to thoroughly enjoy. The weather is brilliant not a cloud in the sky and I'll be heading off to London in about half an hour to rehearse and then meet some friends for lunch.

Everything happens from 3 pm this afternoon - then we have a few beers followed by a meal and wind our way home.

At least that will take my mind off of things for a while.