Friday, August 31, 2007
It isn't crushingly depressing or a feeling of being totally wasted. An imbalance perhaps we felt, listlessness and tiredness. Then there is the get up and go - which has done just that and got up and gone :-)
He is getting a lot of physiotherapy and nutrition assistance. I'm not but it is interesting nonetheless how similar we are feeling and when you consider that we both went through our procedures within weeks of each other, it makes you wonder whether there is a pattern to surviving or perhaps comabtting cancer. We are in a similar state time wise but he had far more radical surgery than I did and he no longer has to worry about whether or not he will get cancer back as there is nothing left there.
And our conclusions? Well - We went through the experience and we have changed (a lot) but no one else around us has changed. It is difficult to carry on as normal when normal is no longer normal to us. It is like entering a very slightly parallel universe. Only you know you've moved slightly out of synchronisation with everyone else (like a badly dubbed movie).
It is a most peculiar thing to explain but it does feel as if day to day there is something not quite right about things - perhaps we feel we shouldn't be here or worse still - we felt we may be "frauds" as we didn't have all the hair loss and bag of bones looks so many people seem to believe that you should when you have cancer?
Anyway - it gives us plenty of reasons for talking and going down the pub so that is alright then! :-)
Thursday, August 30, 2007
When the Black Dog turns up you can:
- Burst into tears for no reason at all
- Get all choked up watching emotional stuff on TV or Cinema
- Get all choked up when you see someone achieve something (like an athlete winning) you know what they went through in a way
- Go very quiet and hide away from people
- Have to get out of rooms quickly when you get all emotional
- Act less than rationally when confronted with something slightly out of the norm
- Get horrible dreams about things that happened, haven't happened, aren't likely to happen
- Wake up in the middle of the night and cannot get to sleep - then wonder why you feel so tired when you are at work the next day but you still can't sleep when you get home
- Start to worry about what may happen when it hasn't happened and may not be likely to
- Worry that any ailment whatsoever is cancer of whatever area of your body is suffering at the time (this can get tiresome). Have a cough or a sore throat or your arm hurts or you get an ache and immediately it is cancer (I kid you not when you are in this sort of mood everything is like this)
- General malaise
I'm sure there are lots more and the level of these emotions goes from mild to extreme. They can come and go with alarming speed. The Black Dog can get you when you least expect it to.
It happens less these days of course but you get occasional visits which can take you unaware and shake you to your core.
My recent nightmare? I'm being led out to the scaffold to be hung. Preacher and guards and all. My crime? Apparently I survived - that is it. That's a pretty shaky one to wake up to and I've had this one at least 4 or 5 times this past month.
You don't really need that sort of thing but your brain decides that you probably do and torments you with it anyway.
I'm certain that it is quite normal for survivors to go through this sort of stuff and so I'm not worried about it but it is worth saying it happens and it is something additional to watch out for.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
It is easy to drop into a state of "being the victim" which I know sounds crude but is meant to be the state of mind you get into sometimes. I think people survive things because they believe they can and there are documented cases on that - not too many on those that just played the victim though I guess. Things like the job the lulls and the disappointment - yes disappointment of getting back to work. Things no longer meet your expectations and that includes work, family, friends, and just about everything else. You've gone through loads of stuff, you want and deserve better. That is what coming out the other end does to you as well. The only person that actually got you through it was yourself (sure there was support - but did you take the shots?).
I said before that there was a lot of "Self" in fighting the disease, a lot of me, me, me and the combination of all these things. It is strange that I'll be beating myself up for not meeting my expectations and I'll be feeling down because something didn't happen as I wanted or expected it to.
This stage of things is quite strange and I'm in this sort of no mans land at the moment. In a month I'll have my pre-op assessment and 5 weeks away is the next operation so I'm beginning to see that looming large on the horizon. I'll have to take it easy all over again and then wait for the results. Those results are pretty important this time as a positive result will get me onto maintenance. We don't want to know what a negative result will bring do we :-) So there's doubt there as well to contend with.
Will all this change the world? Probably not - so it isn't worth worrying about really!
Perhaps some hope for future sufferers?
It looks doubtful that it will happen this side of the weekend and so I'll keep plodding away and perhaps next week will be better.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
SO far just about everything I have touched has turned to poo :-)
I'll probably feel a bit brighter in the morning.
It is going to be one of those weeks I am afraid.
Almost three months are up soon and that is the decision point I set myself on this new job.
I need to make and take some key decisions soon as I ought to be thinking whether I want to have an easy life, an exciting one or just "retire" now :-)
Procrastination sets in already and I'd like to give myself a further month because of all the time I lost with the treatment and the loss of Internet service.
Do I need to convince myself, those around me, you or all three?
Monday, August 27, 2007
I'd had one of "those" days when I wrote that and was on my own most of the time. Today that won't be quite the same as we are all going out later to a friend's barbecue.
I suppose it did expose some of the frustrations of everyone else getting on with their lives around you and sometimes no one knows what you went through. That's my problem by the way - not anyone else's.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Friends are fine and are great to be with, not being with your family for hours at a time is not so good. I'm normally happy with my own company but today I could have benefited with a few more minutes of seeing the family.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
It is too nice outside to be in so I suppose I could go and sit out there and read a book. It has been one of those weeks I think, I've taken a lot out of myself and I don't really want to do anything at all and yet I've this nagging voice at the back of my head chastising me for having a lazy day.
The darkest and nastiest being things about how that little cough is probably lung cancer or throat cancer or how I've somehow let somebody else down or treated someone bad or that sort of thing. It doesn't sound like much when I write it down but these thoughts are made up in my own head and you'd have thought that I was cursing my worst enemy the stuff I think about.
I think we all think things that are critical of our behaviour or things, that with hindsight, we could have or should have done better at - but this is nasty stuff. Down to "you cheated death" and that sort of level!
I don't know if beating yourself up mentally is part of the normal territory - I think it probably is. It works on many levels of course and flash backs and re-living things is one, putting stuff out of your mind is another and this taunting is another. I'm sure I'll think of some more stuff as well.
Somewhere there is an upside which is the relief at getting over some of the horrible stuff. I'm also feeling that more now than I did at the time, either I need to as I shut it out or I've heard so many people telling me what horrible things happened to me I am beginning to believe it :-)
I'm glad I only did people and work psychology. All this stuff may mean that I need a shrink :-)
Friday, August 24, 2007
At no point though did anyone one talk to me about "living with cancer" or what it means to me or what I ought to be aware of. It is different to other things you get as I've mentioned before, it isn't as if you have one operation or two and that is it. There is something far deeper going on. The dark side (OK I sound like Darth Vader) but there is a lot of mental stuff to deal with. It isn't like those movies you see. There is the healing process of the body and the mind. However, you just get on and deal with it. In fact - I'd have liked to have known a little more. I knew enough to know what I was going through at the time but not what I'd go through afterwards. All of my knowledge has been gleaned from the Internet and downloading some very good NHS and other pamphlets.
But nowhere have i found the bit to deal with how you react to this yourself and how you affect others around you by your behaviour.
It is almost as if it is an elitist club - unless you have had cancer you have little idea what someone has actually gone through. I couldn't imagine what it would be like to have gone through what my friend had but some parts were common and not nice. To have had any of these things happen is bad enough but to experience the dreams and thoughts and dark moods are a part no one tells you about.
I've always viewed "counselling" suspiciously but having now been forced to sit on the other side of the fence I can see why it can be useful.
Maybe I should pack it all in and go back to being an electrician? Mind you I'd probably need digital test equipment and a PC to do the work there as well :-(
It could be an interesting deterrent for people - if you do anything wrong they would take away your satellite TV and PC connection and mobile and land phone!
Thursday, August 23, 2007
It was a nice lunchtime meeting in this dismal weather but I was interested that he is also having a bad time at the moment, dreams and nightmares and lots of concerns and worries.
It must be something to do with cancer and how last year we both refused to believe or worked out that all the nastiness was happening to someone else. Perhaps now - it is dawning on us that we had pretty serious things happen to us which were a lot more than we made out.
We also concluded that we were quite different people now, less tolerant of stupidity and time wasters and less worried about things in general. The trouble was that we were probably beginning to show that to people and were becoming quite dismissive of some of them.
We sort of concluded that you probably wouldn't have thought like this unless you had been through the stuff we had. Expecting anyone who hadn't had cancer to understand what we were feeling was quite difficult.
Additionally I'm sure that the sheer frustration of my PC problems and also the phone went on the blink yesterday also contributed to a pretty dismal August - the weather isn't helping either.
Getting things done is like walking through treacle at the moment. A bank holiday weekend coming up and so perhaps I should just abandon all of these problems for a few days and come back "refreshed" ready to sort it out on Tuesday?
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
I hate IT sometimes.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
I'd like to tell you what the DVD actually looks like but so far it has taken an hour just to encode it!
You certainly don't want to hold your breath on these. It used to be easy with VCR - plug in the camera, turn on the tape - job done. DVDs need chapters added and encoding and converting and all that good stuff.
It never ceaes to amaze me just how difficult we can make easy things. Perhaps it is the IT industry doing a "Jobs worth" on us?
Monday, August 20, 2007
- You are susceptible to getting cancer so you could get some other form
- This will come back
- You are more likely to get something else serious
- Your life will be shortened.
Yes - I know - but that is how you think. I know that I cannot have this particular cancer spread and that I am monitored more now than I ever have been. It is just one of those things, like the sword of Damocles.
It sort of worries me but not enough to keep me awake at night, it just nags away when I have too much time to myself.
Today - two weeks on I am still having to run utilities to clean up the PCs.
So I hope that after today the blog can get back on track a bit.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
I#m hoping that tomorrow I can get back on with some work as the disruption has been marked these past two weeks and with the holiday I have lost a month's effort almost.
So - I need no more trouble with my PCs from tomorrow onwards.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
The worst thing is you have to wait so long and often the results are variable to say the least. Silly things like an e-mail coming through or opening up an application can throw the recording and so you have to leave the PC to go and do its own thing. Then the PC decides to hibernate and the next shot is ruined.
I shall keep persevering, the videos and photos look great - getting them onto external media so other people can see is the difficult bit!
Friday, August 17, 2007
Well - it is gone midnight! There is very little money in my wallet. I have just had to have cooked myself:
A Toasted Bacon Sandwich, with grated cheese, tomato sauce and just bordering on the crispy side - back bacon.
Now that IS a great night out n'est pas?
Cheers K! I wish my wife would come and pick me up from the pub at chucking out time - you don't know how lucky you are. It was also very civilised of you to give me a lift home even though I said I would walk :-)
OK - Who's next?
So a friend phoned and said did I fancy a pint. I nearly ripped his arm off - do I ever fancy a pint. I'm off in 5 minutes
Whatever it is - it is a damned nuisance as my productivity has been at best a few hours a day and trying to catch up when all you have are crashing PCs and various stuff in a state of being powered up or down has been tiresome to say the least. Today, finally, I have been able to get a few hours of uninterrupted work done. With a bit of luck by this time next week I will have run far enough, fast enough to have caught up.
At least it keeps my mind off of other things I suppose :-)
Anyway, we had been racking our brains. Id heard it before and A had taken a snip on her mobile phone so we managed to pull out a few lyrics. So it snapped yesterday that I thought it sounded a bit like Enya and I played a bit of Caribbean Blue and Orinoco Flow. We then looked it up and our "theme for the holiday" turned out to be......
Enya and "Anywhere Is" - so with one of my birthday vouchers we purchased "Paint the Sky with Stars" or Enya's Greatest Hits and now we have played it to pieces.
However, it really does still bring a bit of a lump to my throat and makes the hairs stand up on my arms when I remember the photos of Iceland set to this music - Cool!
Thursday, August 16, 2007
This morning it finally looks as if the internet is back properly and the past few day's worth of e-mails are happily downloading and I can actually get in to see this site and a number of others which appear to have remained hidden.
Looking at the service page there appears to have been some very serious outages and some areas lost their TV as well as their Internet. The disruption - almost two weeks of it has been incredible and it worries me that I am quite as reliant on this technology for communication and work as I am. What are the alternatives? Well we used to do fine with letters, phones and telex, no mobile phones, bleepers, PDAs, PCs or anything - now I am sounding old - I can even remember all gathering in amazement around my mate's desk when he bought his first calculator - it was a week's wages and was brilliant. Now you can pick these up for a few pounds.
I must stop this I am obviously getting old - which reminds me - don't the policemen look young. Doh!
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
I'm resigning myself to the fact that this will probably continue for a little while longer.
Short of pinging their server every few seconds I'm not certain how else I can keep the connection from crashing and making me go through a now - well rehearsed routine or routines to get service back.
"Our engineers are aware of and working for a resolution to this problem" hardly seems reassuring. A glance at their web site shows massive outages all over the country. Lord alone knows what other NT Hell and Virgin Media customers must be going through.
My blogging activities are being seriously curtailed - sorry about that. If you would like to complain about that - then I have set up a premium phone number that you can ring and pay an extortionate amount whilst I slowly take your details, check your account, ask you some stupid security question and then take you through all of the steps you've already been through (because you aren't stupid are you?) and then at the end of that I might agree with you that your opening statement was in fact correct!
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Today I am trying to catch up on the lost production of last week and the difficult thing is prioritising it. Last week it would have been quite easy to sort out as all I needed to do was to tackle things in order and get one out of the way at a time. Now - well everything needs to be done at once. Oh the fun of it all. The fall out from the IT problems is also that I have been fiddling around with the IT settings to ensure that firewalls and the like wouldn't block getting me reconnected. Now I have had to reset all the settings and to learn a few new skills especially now that I have a remote firewall.
All good fun :-) NOT.
I beginning to feel a lot better as well now. I've lost almost 1 kilo this week and sensible eating and a bit of exercise seem to have helped. Anyway, I can't keep on chatting to you all day - back to work!
Monday, August 13, 2007
I think it was getting my land legs back and the massive change in eating habits. You really can eat for your country on board. I also have had it confirmed that the ship shouldn't have been that bad and vibrating as much as it did - which I'm certain is the root cause of all of this.
So other than that I've realised it isn't too long to go until I get back into the swing of things and get my next lot of tests. I haven't done my exercises since I've been back but I intend to change that in the next day or so. I've cut back my food to what I used to eat before the holiday and so now I need to get back into the routines I had before.
That is about it for now. The Internet has been up all day so far and let's hope it stays that way. I'm hopeful of actually getting some work done tomorrow.
Seven days! So apologies for no real meaningful posts apart from those aimed at keeping me sane.
I hope that this will change this week..
Sunday, August 12, 2007
I am still having intermittent disconnection problems with the ISP. So far today we have suffered about 10 outages. I am DEFINATELY going to have a sense of humour failure tomorrow, I've worked hard for it, I need one and I just deserve it. After all - I believe that NTL or Virgin Media should have the benefit of my experience of being a customer of theirs.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Frankly I lost the whole week to having no real IT and I have written that off ready to start on Monday. It looks to be set fair for the weekend so beer and barbecue would appear to be the order of the day.
I'm going outside now - I may be some time!
Friday, August 10, 2007
Dodging the tourists would be the difficult bit in Norway - in the Faroes and Iceland I reckon you could easily dodge them all day.
I can hardly believe how much this has affected my work this week. It is now Friday afternoon and I cannot claim to have had one substantial call or conversation or to have managed to get more than a few minutes work done at a time. What with re-booting the complete network and getting all the PCs working - then finding that the internet had gone down again and having to keep on re-logging in and resetting everything I have had a total sense of humour failure this week, no work done and I am going to write off this week entirely.
It could be related to this cold/flu/dizzy stuff or perhaps the Statins which apparently have cramp as a side effect :-(
Anyway - I suppose the better news is that the internet is back working and I am not having to spend all day booting and re-bootings PCs, Routers and Cable Modems! Will have to see how that goes on today.
Thursday, August 09, 2007
I hope so I sure don't want to feel like I do at the moment for much longer it is quite disturbing as when sitting you can feel your body shaking and when standing moving from side to side, almost imperceptibly but you can definitely feel it.
After dealing with whoever from Mumbai - it turns out that IT IS NTL/Virgin Media's problem after all - it isn't on their announcements on the phone which I have diligently checked. The Internet is back on line now (not sure for how long though they expect another 48 hours worth of trouble).
To say I was getting irate would be an understatement - some-body's head was going to get chewed up the way things were going and no one was interested - customer support is now outsourced at 25p a minute, reporting a fault - 25p a minute - what is that all about.
Luckily they have decided to refund the cost of my phone call - bit it was a known fault and frankly it was driving me utterly mental trying to solve it as the acknowledgement page said that all was OK and yet after re-booting PCs, Modems and Routers (all in sequence) the same provisioning screen kept turning up and then every now and then the Internet would come back and I'd re-boot the PCs around the house and re-set everything only for it to go down again.
I am one very unhappy camper. You'd have thought Branson and his army would have brought some sense and sanity to the customer service department - perhaps some over ambitious number crunching, greasy pole climbing spotty Herbert after consulting his life coach made an executive decision to screw up the people that pay for the service. Perhaps I should go back to BT? Now there's something I never thought I'd say!
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
There is a lot to be said for cruising and - possibly because we have always independently travelled - quite a bit that we didn't particularly like as well.
The stuff we didn't like included:
Excursions - a necessary evil to give you a flavour of the places you are visiting - you are at the mercy of the other 40 odd people in your party.
Lots of people - we are used to staying in remote farm houses or on board our own Canal Boat or in an RV or something similar. We are not used to so many people being around us. Not that the ship was crowded just lots of people.
The Ship was a "bit tired" it shook and rolled more than perhaps a larger or newer vessel.
Stuff we liked:
The ports of call were fantastic
The food was good
You were made to feel special
The scenery came to you at a slow pace.
My Internet router died on Sunday and I could just about use the Internet as long as I was three inches from the wireless antenna!
On Monday we got a new Router and then my trouble started:
1. I really haven't felt well since I got home - I felt a lot worse on Monday and yesterday
2. My provider (not recognising the MAC address of my new PC(s)) wouldn't let me connect
3. When I did manage to get connected it wouldn't let me set up the router and I had to go through the re-connection process again ( a BIG pain as it demands renaming PCs, re-entering Pins and passwords and all that, re-booting PCs, Modems etc.
So finally today I used my old PC and set that up downstairs and managed to sort out the router, the pcs and now I am back to where I was on Saturday afternoon/Sunday morning trying to catch up with 1500+ e-mails.
I'm feeling a bit better but still quite dizzy and with a sore throat. A friend reckons that the dizziness is having come off the Ship and getting used to being back on land - which may well be right. I remember that even when we have been on Canal boat holidays.
I could do without the swaying which I am still doing now!
Saturday, August 04, 2007
Needless to say - had a great time, fascinating places we visited and things we got up to.