Thursday, January 31, 2008

Setting goals and targets

That is my next task. I have some high level things I want to get done and I have a number of "to do" lists lying around and not everything is getting done. The trouble is that interrupts are coming in thick and fast and trying to keep all of the balls up in the air at once is proving a little difficult for me these days.

I'm just not getting on and doing things. I think that it is brought about by this lack of stamina and this inability to break away or to get clear of where I am.

I said that I thought that there is perhaps some anti climax in the way that when you are ill you use your imagination and your sights are set on things - "If I pull through this, I will sail around the world" or "I will climb a mountain" or whatever. The reality is that you are still you, changed a bit, with most of the stuffing and self confidence knocked out of you. You feel things that before you never did, you are over sensitive, over reactive, soft! You don't go and do those things - you get back to living your life and sometimes, that can be a let down (not in a depressing or phone the Samaritans way - so don't worry about that - in case you were - I know you lot!) :-) You know, job, money, house, kids etc.

You take a series of quite major blows to your physical and mental capabilities and you doubt yourself and your abilities. Many will say that isn't like me. I don't have the personality and the bravura that I used to have at all now, I am losing sleep over some idle threat about winning or losing my case. I know deep down inside that I have all of the documentation to fight this. Years ago I'd have loved the fight now I don't fancy it at all. It is actually stressful and it never used to be that. I'm certain that this is part of the healing process and that you don't regain equilibrium for a long time - perhaps years.

You can recover in some way to the physical stuff you go through the operations and the inserting things into your body but you don't seem to get over that they did it to you. It is as if someone got a large spoon and shoved it inside my body and just stirred everything up so that it no longer balances out.

I think I have probably said enough tonight but the holistic must be looked at sometime and perhaps I still treat it like any other illness still. How else can you treat it any other way? That's all you've known?

Thursday Evening

And still there is an urgency about needing to go to the toilet and whilst it isn't pain I'm feeling, it is certainly a tingling . I am SO glad that I didn't need a flexible cystoscopy tomorrow - I'm not sure that I could have managed that or if not me a certain part of my anatomy twice in one week. It sends a shudder down me just to think about it.

I hope that next week isn't as bad as this - I think that the catheter snagging on the way in is a bit to do with it this week. I hope that the lubricant does it stuff next week and hey guys, if you want to get the willies or make your eyes water - there is no local anaesthetic - just a very sharp intake of breath as it travels around the "S" bend and past the Prostate.

As I keep saying though, better this than the other outcomes and other people suffer far worse things than this, far worse so I shouldn't complain and I should be thankful that they are treating me with same stuff they cured me with!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Settling back down again

I find this whole thing far more traumatic than I ever used to before. It does mightily p*ss me off the way people behave these days. Far more these days than it ever did before. It is their bare faced lying and defiance of common law and the norms of society that I cannot get to grips with. What gives people "the right" to try and make money out of you and turn you over is just beyond me.

I'm just getting back down off of the ceiling and realising that these guys will need to produce documents to back the case that they are making. If I remember my case law they actually need to have something signed by me to state that I didn't want them to pay me - I must go and look that up now.

It just doesn't seem to go away.

That's better

A lot better. At last I've actually managed to get on and do some things this morning and get letters and files sorted and to begin to clear things. It isn't as fast as I want it to be but gradually I am coming free of the mud so to speak. I must remember that it is all small steps as I expect a lot of myself. Small steps, a bit at a time and I'll get there.

It is amazing how pleased you become with yourself once you get things done and achieve even small goals.

Off to tackle the next bits now.

By the time

I got to sleep it must have been 3 or later. I'm up this morning and feeling a lot better than yesterday and ready to tackle the ever growing list of things to be done.

I'm going to have to make a start at moving things around, by that I mean adjusting where things are in my office. The PCs, printers, scanner and files have been in the same place for 10 years and perhaps a change around will make it look and feel new. I also need to work out ways of being productive where the current setup of three PCs on an "L" shaped desk doesn't give me much room to manoeuvre.

So many things to do, so little energy to want to do them :-)

Wide awake

At 1 in the morning and it is probably down to the extra long lie in I had on Tuesday.

I'm still quite sore - it almost feels as if it were post operative than post BCG - such is the difficulty of urinating at the moment - it is a grab the washbasin and have a little scream ordeal. Whilst it is getting a little less painful - it brings back into sharp focus how good your brain is at forgetting the last time or the true amount of pain you were in. If you did remember, maybe you wouldn't do it.

I spent the afternoon just relaxing in my comfy chair and watching TV and doing some research into the new venture. I think that I have convinced myself that there is a market out there and there are a lot of amateurs (in the nicest meaning of that word) who are doing research as sideline or for pin money. Reviewing the state of many of their web sites, I wouldn't be tempted to even contact them - only for the usability and rather pompous terminology they use. So I think that there is a market there and I think I can improve on the amateur quality out there. The next bit is perhaps a bit more difficult as I try and work out what market share there is and what value to put on the work. Not easy as again the amateurs have set wholly unrealistic targets and the profession appears to be one that undervalues its worth.

Anyway, - 1 am and awake - I had better go and work out how to get to sleep as I need to be up and working tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

One down two to go hopefully not like that

Ouch, the catheter hurt or rather stung this time and it was a little eye watering to say the least - it leaves you slightly bent over and with quite a stinging feeling.

Apart from that it was much as usual, the routine kicked in and there was sufficient blood and bits to show that the treatment worked. I slept for 12 hours or so which was good and although I feel a bit slow and a bit aching and a little bit delicate - I'm OK. I am absolutely certain that the side effects are getting more noticeable the further down the treatment track I go. Perhaps that is why many give up later on. I can see that this isn't something you would want to continue to do as each one progressively beats you up. It actually feels a bit like that, parts are swollen and and it feels as if someone has punched you all around your lower body.

On the positive side, I am not working and so that isn't making me want to rush back or try and overdo things so I am, at last, taking things easy.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Preparations are over

now I am ready to get going to the Hospital. The good news about that is that it is very close by and so it doesn't mean that I am hanging around. They have to administer the BCG in a small window of time and so I am usually in and out quite quickly. Let's hope so.

a few final things to do before we are ready to go and that is just powering down phones and the like. I need to make sure that towels and things are in place so I am not searching for those on my return too.

It is a bit like baking a cake when we get back. My wife looks after the timer and calls up after 15 minutes so that I can turn to either my side or front or back (as needed) to let the BCG hit every part of the bladder.

I'm not as jittery as I was earlier.


Next steps

I've got my appointment letter and my stress balls ready to go and my tablets are by my bed along with my MP3 player and notepad and pen. Now to go and sort out the bathroom which is off limits from 4 pm to 8 pm today to everyone but me! Luckily we have a downstairs toilet otherwise it would be a nightmare to have to keep things as clean as possible.

After 6 hours from instillation - I am apparently no longer liable to leave BCG lying around anywhere. The bleach and wipes and soap mean we must have the cleanest bathroom in the village come the end of a Monday session.

Just under 2 hours to go and I'm relatively calm about this. I can feel some flutters already as the time nears but - pottering around and organising everything "just so" will make the time fly and I can then get sorted ready to go.

Here we go

I have to have eaten and had my last drink by midday so that I can "last" 2 hours with the BCG inside me. So lunch will be around 11:40 or so. I then go and get myself ready - shower and get into some loose clothes - turn off the mobile phone - that won't be turned on until tomorrow.

I have my notebook ready to record all that goes on and I will then go and get other stuff ready including the bleach, cleaning stuff, old towels and so on. The timer in the Kitchen does for the 15 minutes a side turning regime and the telephone will be moved out of my room once I have completed my 2 hours wait and can go to sleep. One of the key things is to get plenty of bed rest with this and not to feel you need to start leaping around just because you seem to feel OK.

Two weeks today I'll be preparing for my last one. It must be psychosomatic as I can feel myself aching already :-)

Time to move on

I really did fancy lying in this morning but got up anyway and decided that somehow and someway I need to move on. Now that sounds a strange thing to say as, given any stretch of yours or my imagination, the past 15 months of this blog and 20 months of my life have HAD to see me moving on but what I mean is slightly different to that.

I've talked about the rut I'm in, the desire to change but the ordinary sensibilities and the situation you are in - think to yourself if you have wife, family, house, commitments etc quite what could you do to break out of that without there being some sort of impact to those around you and perhaps you'll see what the problem is?

The trouble is that there is a huge desire to do something different to go off and do something life changing or something selfish (perhaps) and a lot of this has to do with common perception (I'm sure) and this is that- if you've survived something like this then you go and climb a mountain or run a marathon or do some good works etc. in reality, of course, you just survive and carry on as normal.

I don't think that I really know what I want as my head and my heart cannot make up their own minds whether the life of a freelance researcher and writer would be what I want or whether to stay and earn some money doing what I have done for 30 years or quite what to do. I'm certainly not planning any mountain climbing or marathon running or anything quite so out of the box as that though.

Whatever - it isn't going to get done either way whilst I sit here stewing about it and I'm getting to the point of trying to work out whether future treatments would impinge on going abroad or even if I get the chance to go to Chicago. It hasn't happened yet and such things are distracting and getting in the way of moving on and making a decision possible.

So this morning, I made a decision to start to put things in order and to start to adjust the way I am tackling things. It isn't going to be easy to change it around as somehow what I despise most at the moment happens to be the habits and routines I am presently in and they need to change as things just don't get done. It may sound trivial but if you can imagine that some days I can sit in front of my PC and start a letter and end up some hours later still working on it, you may see what I mean. I may start to tackle some papers on my desk and end up sitting reading something I picked up rather than dumping it in the paper bank. I'm far too easily distracted and I'm not being efficient and sorting out the things I need to do. perhaps it is some self conscious thing, perhaps some wish not to want to move on.

At least this morning I have gotten three letters completed, and made a start. I doubt that I can continue at that pace for the rest of the morning as I'll be sorting out stuff for my treatment - but at least I'll have made a start.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

it's all a matter of routine and being prepared

Tomorrow will be a build up of a series of routines that I commenced when I first started having the treatments and the things I learnt about them. I will be sorting out my music, my Ibuprofen and Paracetamol tablets and getting my note book ready by my bedside. I write down the things that are going on in case I need the notes - or rather anyone else needs them - whilst it is pretty rare you can get anaphylactic shock although, I haven't so far I am very glad to say. Additionally, if I get violent side effects then at least there is a timetable of what has happened so far. If help were ever needed to be summoned there would be a blow by blow account of what I've done, drunk, swallowed, passed etc!

I tend to record all the gory details I'm afraid including what I observe falling out when urinating or as they call it "voiding". Whilst that doesn't sound a particularly pleasant thing to do, I have a system to do that without having to keep a constant eye on proceedings by voiding onto toilet tissue placed there for that purpose. Whether or not this is clinically useful - who knows but it helps to pass the time of day and certainly lets me know that the BCG is working :-)

In a way I'm now going into slightly unknown territory as the last three I had appeared to me to give me more violent reactions than any of the previous ones when I had Bladder Cancer. Of course it may also have been down to the fact that I was working like crazy at the time too. At least that worry is no longer with me and I can take time to recover properly on each treatment.

Hopefully I will sleep properly tonight - I want to be as relaxed as I can be tomorrow and a good night's sleep will certainly help to start that off properly.

So back to the routine, the preparation and ensuring that eventualities are covered.

Build up begins

No matter how many times you go through the treatments and how routine they become there is still the matter that you know they are coming and you know how you are going to feel (or think you do).

Tomorrow I have the first of 3 BCGs and, to tell the truth, I'm not looking forward to it but I know that it is because of that and the early surgeries that I am here to be in a position to not like them. This is the last three of six and I've had my nine week break in between.

I met a few people who were having their BCGs and they were a last resort and that if this treatment failed they were going to "lose their bladders". These days you don't have to have a bag (I learnt all this early on in my diagnosis and first recovery period). They can build a bladder from bits of intestines but for a man the operation is as serious as having a prostate removed as the results can be a loss of function. It was a big worry to them and I can understand that so I temper my feelings about the treatment with the knowledge that I am here and well because of the treatment. For some that isn't such a bad option - the reason? If you don't have a bladder, it is unlikely that you'l get bladder cancer again (if you think about it).

No doubt I'll get back to some of my habits and routines tomorrow. For today - I have a stack of work to do and not much time to do it. I will be distracting myself a bit as well as it doesn't help me to dwell on thinking about this stuff too much.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Living with something dangerous

Not the wife! Worse than that :-)

No really, I'm still not sure that it ever sunk in how downright dangerous this all was or how close it all came to being a lot worse than it was. A few cells deeper and that was radical surgery time. A few cells further and that was curtains. Well perhaps not curtains straight away but I think if it had of spread we would be calling last orders within a year or two.

The truth is that I read all the statistics and stuff early on and it was so distressing that I decided that I wasn't going to be one of those statistics and the majority of people you meet online are in a far worse state than you are. It is hardly encouraging stuff but it is a very survivable cancer compared to some of the other ones. Being young probably helped me out as well.

Why think about this now? A friend looks as if he has a nasty one and it isn't going to be easy for him to cope with. He will have to go through a bit more uncomfortable times than I did. As it isn't the same I'm not sure that I can help much but I'm "living" proof that it can be a positive experience and with a good outcome too. Let's hope he takes that on-board.

That's much better

A good night's sleep and I'm back to my usual self. I need to make sure that I'm not doing that again in a hurry. I suppose that I should be considering getting my fitness levels back. I had no idea that I am still lacking stamina and fitness to such a level. But then again, I still don't know how ill I have been either!

I'm bit worried about it but not overly so, I just need to do something about it and build back gradually. It is just a surprise quite how much has changed in say - the last 2 years.

Friday, January 25, 2008

A Lot better now

Thank goodness for that - I felt so tired. I had another hour and went to the meeting which, fueled by Adrenaline, meant that I got through that and everything went fine.

I'm back home now and looking forward to going to sleep as soon as my daughter's friend have departed! A nice bunch of youngsters planning their holiday together at the end of their exams.

Well that is the committee meeting over and done with for another year.

Not as young as I used to be

All very well to be up in town and to go out to a number of nice and not so nice places but, oh dear - getting back in the early hours wasn't so good and getting up and getting going again - well - lets put it like this - I've been asleep for a couple of hours this afternoon already and I need to probably go again in a minute and get another hour if I can as I am due out tonight and I feel so tired.

It is just amazing how little stamina I have these days.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Enough of the deep and meaningful

I'm going to head out a little early to London so I can have a long walk and see some of the sights and take it easy rather than rushing about to get to places.

I'll enjoy an evening of getting away from it and spending some time with some old friends and laughing about some of the things we got up to and some of the good guys and some of the idiots we encountered too. We have been involved in some "hairy" jobs and deadlines and had all sorts of adventures along the way. More surreal moments have come when during a meeting two of us delivered a calm review of progress that so upset the main contractor that he stormed out of the meeting! As he walked out (and it wasn't me) my mate said "Its a bit early to be leaving. The Pub isn't open and most of your drinking chums haven't arrived into work yet!" What the chap said is not printable on here :-)

On another occasion whilst trying to get the builder to give me a clue where he was going to set out the walls so that I could start to get the services installed, when he refused again, I asked him to build the building from the roof downwards and that way I could project a line down with a plumb rule. He was nodding agreement for at least a minute before it sunk in and no one else could hold a straight face either. I got my setting out points the next day. This was the same guy who called a huge meeting to answer a list of queries we had (although we didn't realise that was what it was for until we got there). On entering the meeting there must have been 15 senior people there - architects, surveyors, engineers, consultants etc. He told the meeting that he had called the meeting to answer our queries. My colleague and I looked at each other in amazement and produced a large letter we had got from the Main Contractor himself answering all of our queries. We produced the letter at the meeting and showed him - he denied he had written it - strange indeed. we had a lot of fun going through the answers and asking everyone if they were happy with the answers we had been given. Most of them agreed that these were the answers they had given to the main contractor! It was only him who didn't acknowledge his own letter to us.

Ah, good days - enough to write a book? Perhaps :-)

A reunion of sorts

Last October we met up and decided that we ought not to be rushing to get home late at night the next time we meet. We all used to work for the same business and where our office was (or maybe still is) they turned it into an Hotel which is pretty ironic as we used to treat it like one when we worked there!

so I will go back and visit a building I haven't stepped foot in since 1980 - wow. I hope my room isn't where my old office used to be :-)

It will be a very nostalgic evening. We had some great times and worked on some massive projects and have remained firm friends ever since.

I am really quite looking forward to seeing if we can remember let alone find some of our old haunts from years past.

It doesn't get more sad than this- trying to relive our youth - except in those days we could drink all night and get an hour or twos sleep and be back working next day. We will probably want to be back in the Hotel by midnight in case any of us change back into Pumpkins!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Kubler Ross revisited

Elizabeth Kubler Ross and the model for death and bereavement counselling, personal change and trauma.

I've made notes about this before and it is as if I have gone through this once again or actually never got up the final slope and fell back down again.

The stages are:

Denial - Denial is a conscious or unconscious refusal to accept facts, information, reality, etc., relating to the situation concerned. It's a defence mechanism and perfectly natural. Some people can become locked in this stage when dealing with a traumatic change that can be ignored. Death of course is not particularly easy to avoid or evade indefinitely.

Anger - Anger can manifest in different ways. People dealing with emotional upset can be angry with themselves, and/or with others, especially those close to them. Knowing this helps keep detached and non-judgemental when experiencing the anger of someone who is very upset.

Bargaining - Traditionally the bargaining stage for people facing death can involve attempting to bargain with whatever God the person believes in. People facing less serious trauma can bargain or seek to negotiate a compromise. For example "Can we still be friends?.." when facing a break-up. Bargaining rarely provides a sustainable solution, especially if it's a matter of life or death.

Depression - Also referred to as preparatory grieving. In a way it's the dress rehearsal or the practice run for the 'aftermath' although this stage means different things depending on whom it involves. It's a sort of acceptance with emotional attachment. It's natural to feel sadness and regret, fear, uncertainty, etc. It shows that the person has at least begun to accept the reality.

Acceptance - Again this stage definitely varies according to the person's situation, although broadly it is an indication that there is some emotional detachment and objectivity. People dying can enter this stage a long time before the people they leave behind, who must necessarily pass through their own individual stages of dealing with the grief.

I see all of these in my writing.

The Black Dog

Hasn't been around for a while. The last couple of months haven't been crushingly depressing or emotional to the point of breaking down. It has been very different in terms of how I was affected and what it did to me.

This past few months has been annoying and time wasting where the black dog's visits are disturbing and troubling thoughts and visions and much deeper inside your head than the troubles of the world or actions of a few idiots.

The black dog will make you cry when you weren't expecting it and deliver an unexpected and sad thought into your mind. It will whisper about your disease and make things up; it will torment you and back you into a corner and it gets right at your most intimate fears and twists the knife and doesn't let you go until it wants to. Then it is gone; gone completely until the next time it appears to do its damage to your self confidence and to your dreams.

Until today - I hadn't considered quite how different these were, I thought that the emotions were very similar and yet they aren't at all. I'm sure that the recent ones will go away and I'll be able to laugh about them quite soon. My mate the black dog isn't something you can laugh about or brush off so easily. The black dog is your most pessimistic self somehow magnified several hundred times to bring every fear to its worst possible conclusion. Anyway, he hasn't been around for a while so lets hope he stays away somewhere - or has got hit by a car! :-)

Impacts to health and well-being caused through work

Reflecting on the past 2 months - for it has been that long since the problem came to light, I can see that the impacts on me have been profound. I had been happily working away and doing what I needed to and all was fine until the business (not me) had problems. Since that point in time, I've been angry, very angry, furious, upset and generally pretty damned annoyed with the way that I have been treated.

So what has this done?

Stress - I can actually feel the stress level coming down and my chest isn't as tight as it was
Anger - back under control - I've not been bashing around the house letting off steam or anything - just angry with the situation and thank goodness for this and the other blog as I have been able to rant and let off steam there
Head-games - Loss of sleep, brain whirring and planning and working out all the moves and all the options - it has been a nightmare and how much sleep have I lost as a result?
Physically - I don't think that I have suffered that much apart from the lack of sleep and how slow that makes you. I think that I could now do with getting sorted a bit better physically. I plan to get myself sorted out following the BCGs starting next week.
Overall - tired, irritable and not great fun to be with these past two months and a general depression and malaise were part of the problem too.
Not like I used to be - I'm definitely not like I used to be - in the old days I would have gotten this sorted out quicker and I'd have been far more aggressive. These people had been dealing with me for 6 months or so - all sweetness and light up until the point that things went bad and I was a bit slow in dealing a blow to them immediately. By holding back (as they requested) I've lost about a month in getting things resolved. That for sure is down to me not wanting a harder life and losing a bit of my edge.

The thing is that today I have come out of the shadow I was in a bit and I'm now at the point where I've done everything that I need to sort things out at a business level and I only need to make a few more decisions on that. Everything is in place now. I can go for the throat and bring it all to a head or I can throw it all in the bin and walk away.

Having got to that position - I feel better about myself and in control of the situation again. Whilst I am still thinking about it and contemplating my options - I get the feeling that this now isn't the only thing on my agenda anymore - I have other things to do and I can now get on with those without brooding over this day after day and (frankly) getting nowhere with it.

Impacts? - yes, affecting my health? - yes certain that it has - if not my health then my recovery. at least I am getting out of the rut and getting on and doing other things. Affecting my brain? of course it has, deeply I think, I now no longer care for the industry I have been in for some years, it used to be populated by honourable and decent people - I'm sure there are some still out there but this experience has poisoned that. I thought I wanted to do something should I recover that was different and enjoyable and above all, something I wanted to do on my terms. I have a number of years to go on treatment still and I need a flexible job, I don't really want any stress or having to keep chasing up my money and I don't need (if not me then my family) the instability of these ventures that you work for months at a time only to find they wont pay you.

I finally get to see the light at the end of the tunnel and it isn't the light of an oncoming train! So begins the repair and rebuild phase and I must ensure that I put myself and my health and stability first and build on that.

Solicitors' papers and forms arrive

That is quick. I now have the pack for the next lot of actions. I am waiting to hear what, if any, actions the business are taking now - they have gone very quiet and as I'm almost certain that they have removed me from the mailing lists although not terminated my contract it is all a bit strange at the moment.

I'm going to review the procedures and decide whether to go and pursue them for the money owing. The trouble is, of course, you can spend more time and money than you are actually owed and if they decide to liquidate the business then only a small percentage of the money will be available.

I see that one of the major causes of disease is stress from business HERE. It is surprising - quite why there are so many dishonest and untrustworthy people around. Perhaps it is because they are all selfish b*stards? It is also highly probable that they are allowed to work like this and it is tolerated. I imagine that they would be up in arms about it if it were them.

I'm not feeling as bad about this as I was earlier - now the paper work is here, it is just a matter of deciding whether or not to go down this route. That is strange, I was quite choked about it earlier and now, I feel that it no longer holds the "fear" it did before. I don't feel at all emotionally filled up about it which is good I think. I'm also pretty certain that if these guys defended anything that they would actually just dig themselves a bigger hole. They have a few more weeks to defend the first action I have taken. Perhaps by then their true colours will be found.

So I wondered what impact this has had on my health and I think it has had a significant impact on my well being. I'll explore that in the next blog.

A good evening out again

It is amazing just how an evening out that you enjoyed buoys you up for the next day. I'm up early and I'm feeling good. I was in great company and we had a thoroughly enjoyable time and got back home at a decent hour too.

So I reckon based on that I need to not watch TV or work late at night on the computer and perhaps I can get to sleep quicker and be more ready for the day afterwards.

Now to see how that translates for the rest of the day.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

It is beginning to come back

I can feel that I am slowly turning the corner now. I'm still mightily angry about the treatment I received at the hands of the imbeciles last year and I am still not sure that everyone quite gets how badly treated I was and some people close to me are also annoying the hell out of me with their rather monotonous replaying of their point of view of the situation.

Of course they haven't got the disappointment of being shot as the messenger and a loss of most of last year's time and money to contend with I suppose. They are stretching the limits of my patience and I allow them the latitude of a rather spoilt child at the moment because they are friends. I hope the novelty of pointing out my "short comings" wears off soon or there will be more collateral damage to deal with.

The irritant factor then is still there and the anger is more controlled now and more focused. The want to get it out of the way is huge. I know it is holding me back and that is so annoying as well If only I could get it behind me. When I do manage to do this - I get things done, I move on and I feel better.

Having said that, I am feeling a little lighter and getting a few more things done and beginning to be less lethargic. Today I can feel that things are just beginning to move quicker, that I am getting on with my work and beginning to tackle the list of things that I have set myself to do.

I want things to be like a light switch - on or off and I should have learnt by now that it just doesn't happen like that. Last year I tried too hard to change things and get a quick payback. Of course change tends to happen gradually and I can't expect to be depressed one day and next day Mr. Successful and Mr. Cheerful and Happy! It would be nice for that to have happened of course but it isn't and it is still going to be the same tomorrow and perhaps it may just fade away over a period of time?

Someone said that hard work and taking your mind of it works - well actually it doesn't seem to. I can imagine that the distraction does a certain amount to take your mind off it but you do have to get past the initial hurdle in the first place. Just how do you get started or psyche yourself up for another go. There are only so many times you can dust yourself off, pick yourself up and get going again. I'm no quitter but it does seem to be that there is a build up of past disappointments and events that sit you at the bottom of your rut and each time you get up knock you straight back down there again. I feel like I am in a Hamster Wheel - I'm running like fury and not really getting anywhere fast at the moment. I don't feel like sticking a stick into the wheel either quite yet :-)

Anyway, getting there slowly and far too slowly for my liking. I suppose it is an inertia thing, once you get going you can build up some speed and then it gets easier. The difficult bit is getting going and not having traction control to assist me!

Monday, January 21, 2008

How to change without upsetting the troops

It is a strange thing to say I complain in one way that I want to change but really lack the enthusiasm currently to do so. It may be a lack of will power but then it is also a pretty selfish thing to do as well as it means that either you go off and do your own thing or you make everyone else come along and share your dream or goal with you.

I am perhaps now wrestling with this balance thing. Much as I did last year flitting in a binary fashion between one fad and another and recognizing too late the damage (potentially) I was doing to myself in an effort to get back to full heath (I know - the Irony of it all!!).

I realise now that you make great plans because you have something to aim at and it keeps you going or it is something to strive towards. Suddenly, reality bites. I can't just go off and do some of these things without destroying who I am, what I stand for and my friendships and my family and so on. To go off and blow the cash or tour the canals in a narrow boat or sail the oceans isn't actually what I truly want to do (apart from the canal boat that is). :-)

I have duties and responsibilities to my family and to my children and that is an anchor pulling me back to the truth. Sure - if I had come off second best to this, they would have had to get on without me - I'm sure the insurance money from that event would have made it quite a comfortable experience :-) the fact is I am here, not a lot different to the way I was before and whilst there is a certain "difference" in me it isn't anywhere near as pronounced or as acute as I think it probably is. There are a few exceptions to this rule of course but generally I am the same with perhaps a bit more "insight" or maybe being a bit more "philosophical" than I used to be.

I think today I begin to really understand that whilst I now expect so much more out of life, it isn't going to be something overnight, it isn't going to be something drastic, t isn't going to involve some major act of human endeavour - no - it is going to be a slow and thought through series of acts and measures that will change things but gradually and without upheaval or upsetting anyone else in the process. Frankly we have all been upset enough these past few years!

Getting out of the doldrums

It is exactly how it feels at the moment. I've not been making much headway at all. I just seem to be stuck with the wreckage of the old strewn around me and the embryo of the new growing a little too slowly for my liking and feeling positively far off in the distance.

The need to get closure and to finally walk away is as strong as ever and yet, it still haunts me. It clouds the decisions I need to make and it claws at my back as I try to move forwards.

This week should be a good one for me as I am going out a fair bit and perhaps I can have a bit of a purge the devil with some old friends of mine on Thursday evening. We are staying at a Hotel in town so may perhaps do some serious drinking and talking - although whether the talking will improve with the drinking may be a moot point!

It is a strange time for me at the moment as I can quite clearly see what I want to do and where I want to go. What I cannot seem to do is break free and get out of the sloth like rut I am in.

I'm not quite sure whether it is some sort of side effect as I really haven't been like this before I got BC and so I am quite annoyed with myself that I am not making good use of my time or gaining full benefit from being without cancer. I thought that I would be up for anything, adventurous, find the inner me and all that stuff so stereotypical of soaps and slush films. Nope! I cannot get the enthusiasm for it at all.

It may seem silly, it may even seem a strange thing to say but I cannot seem to make the effort to get up and enjoy myself and I know I should be leaping about and all excited and doing things I promised myself I'd do if I recovered and what is annoying is this malaise - almost an anticlimactic response to the whole thing.

I intend to do something about it and it isn't just one thing, I believe it is a combination of expectations not met, people who have let me down or perhaps not met my high expectations of them, work, how I feel about myself and others and a whole batch of other stuff too.

I also need to make sure that I haven't become someone I hate. I'm not certain I like my new been there done that me much either.

Well - that was an interesting blog - that took me along way further than I thought it would :-) Gosh - what a lot of trouble and all post traumatic stuff I have no doubt.

I tend to consider that perhaps people aren't making it up when they get PTS.

Phase 2 kicks in

I signed up today with a solicitor who specialises in debt recovery and so phase 2 should be ready for me in a few days time. ACAS (arbitration) were also on to me today - I was happy to go down that route. I explained the details that I had to hand and for them to let me know what they wanted in this respect.

I feel things are moving and I'm feeling OK about this now. I have convinced myself that it isn't "me" and that the stuff I have is correct and that it will stand up in court, in tribunal or in arbitration.

Now to see which way the business will jump. As with all these things, I know that this may not be successful but it may close it down for me sooner rather than later. If it forces them to close down so be it. If it means that I get paid and that I get some compensation for working for them last year for nothing! Then again it is worth it.

I'm gradually getting this Monkey off of my back. The trouble is it is going to do some serious damage to a lot of people whatever happens - there is no way that can stop.

The year of getting better

A week today I go back for treatment and whilst I can't say I am looking forward to it greatly, I understand why I am having it. The way that it worked last year meant that I didn't really get to rest on the second day like I really should have done and this time, I am going to try and make an effort to take my time to recover properly.

There are some obvious issues with having the treatment again. These are that you do feel rough for a day and a bit but also you tend to bleed a bit too and that really is quite disconcerting as it rewinds you right back to those early days and the early signs of the disease. It brings back those memories and the (dare I say) uncomfort/pain of that time far off in 2006.

I'm quite busy over the next few weeks and that in itself will keep my mind off the treatment a bit but will also focus my mind on the task in hand - that of setting up my new business - or rather - deciding whether I should set it up and run with it. Typically I went to look up for a University Course that I learnt about on Saturday and the closing date for applications was - you guessed it - Saturday :-) Such is my luck - I will have to wait until later this year to see if I can get a place or perhaps see if there are other courses worth doing.

Friday, January 18, 2008


Well it was a good day out yesterday. I am the same with most things these days - once I actually get going I am OK - it is getting the enthusiasm to get going that is difficult.

The evening before with a very nice few beers and a curry and 8 of us out for the evening was great and I was up nice and early to get over to Essex for the event.

I arrived in plenty of time and took myself off to Barking High Street. The Cafe I popped into had a "Hale & Hearty" breakfast on the menu which looked just the ticket. So I had a mug of tea and a breakfast that, when it arrived, could have fed a small family for a week! I struggled to finish it off but I eventually managed it. I thought that it was a good thing I hadn't asked for toast or bread with it :-) Phew.

It was a nice walk and I needed the walk back to the school where the AGM and Fair was taking place. I met up with 5 other members of the family which was great and we had a good day out enjoying the talks and the stands. I picked up lots of stuff that I can use to research becoming a researcher!

So I had a great day out and enjoyed myself a lot and now all I have to do is look through the mile of stuff I brought back with me and evaluate it all.

Off out for a ruby

Ruby Murray (Curry). well I've got to get into the Cockney Rhyming slang for tomorrow as it is the East Of London Family History Society AGM :-)

It was an absolute nightmare growing up with my dad who was always coming out with rhyming names for things. Duke of York - Fork, Apples and Pears - Stairs and so on.

Anyway - off for a curry with 7 more mates and I am really looking forward to it. I have finally stated to feel a lot better in myself and tonight and tomorrow are things that I have been looking forward to.

So I'm off to the rub-a-dub for a few pints of beer and a ruby! I'm not sure if it will cost e a Monkey or a Pony (I can't remember what they are in monetary terms)- nuff said!

That's better

I fixed up a load of shelves and bits for my friend's mum and dad. Had a good walk there and back and was able to put up the shelves and sort it out in about 30 minutes.

So I feel good about myself now. I think I have been pretty hard on myself these past few months - not sure why I should think that way. At the end of the day it isn't me who has been a parasite after all. I'm not even sure why I carried around the baggage of blaming myself either. Perhaps that is the way these things work they prey on your good nature and gamble that you wont do anything about it or they are just plain ignorant.

So - now I am in a good frame of mind I shall be getting myself ready for tomorrow's AGM of the Family History Society and beginning to get feedback about whether or not a Family History Researcher can pay the bills :-) Moreover there is a fair on during the day and I want to pick up ideas and meet people in the know and see what they think. I also hope to get back some of my collection of maps, fiches and other things I sold a few years ago as I need them now! Doh!

Also out with the lads tonight for a few beers and a curry which is going to be great - I am looking forward to that - a crowd of 8 or so of us.

Off to do my bit now

As I am at home a lot more I can go and help people out. Just off to fix some shelves for my friend's mum and dad.

That will make me feel all warm and good inside and take away the evil nasty feelings I have towards my ex-employers. well I hope it does.

Oh to see

The look on their faces tomorrow - especially when they read paragraph 14 of their notice.

I wonder what amazing statute or Law they can magic up to defend this?

I must stop gloating as it was only a few days ago I felt differently about this. Later today I will be lending assistance to those in need. I hope that those who have tormented me get to have a very bad day and weekend indeed. I shall not.

On a more upbeat note - I was delighted to be taken out for a few beers this evening which may perchance explain my rather belligerent mood at the moment.

There are not many people in the world that I hold a grudge against but I am sure the tables will be turned tomorrow and that finally, with an official Government document delivered in their hands they will realise that they are finally being reeled in. I am sure my claim is just the tip of the iceberg.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The papers have arrived

My case has been accepted and the papers are about to be served. Author lets out a big sigh of relief :-)

What I like about it is the closing paragraph which states categorically that complete non-payment of wages is unlawful. Argue that one guys.

I feel a bit better today

It is strange how you get that feeling of a "weight lifted off" - it does actually feel like that and today, I feel much better all around as I have made my decision and done something about it.

Perhaps I should have learnt that from having had BC. The problem was waiting to hear what you had and imagining what things would be like. The actual part of being told what you had was if anything a relief because - at least you knew - that was another weight lifted as was being told things were clear.

So the deed is done and is being investigated first to check that there is a case and then these so called "business men" can expect a rather interesting letter to answer. They then have a choice to pay me and stop the proceedings or to contest the case in which event they might find out a very interesting aspect of the Law which is that you cannot use someones services and not pay for them. As a minimum they should have paid the national minimum wage. What I always enjoyed about dealing with these guys was their ability to come up with some Law (that doesn't exist) to justify a position that they were taking.

As we say in Blighty "Pick the bones out of that!"

Yes - feeling better and glad I finally made this decision.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A Good Day and interesting evening too

Well that was an enjoyable and interesting day and evening. I rushed off as a friend was going up early to London and forgot part of my regalia - my collar- which was a nightmare as I was probably the only one of a couple of hundred not wearing a collar. DOH (Thanks Homer).

Anyway - it was nice not to have to do anything and to enjoy a day out with good company. The last couple of speeches were well written but poorly delivered!! I need to remind people that comedians are funny because they have timing and delivery skills. No matter how good a Vicar and a Lawyer may have thought they were - they were not amusing and wasted 30 minutes of valuable drinking time IMHO.

Right - off to bed with a Statin now!

Great - well that cheered me up

My daughter "A" has had two Universities say yes and give her the opportunity (subject to Exam results) to go to them. She has another two, further away, one of which requires a project and portfolio to support her application, the other is by interview in a few weeks. She is a very good Photographer, better than I could ever be. What I liked was that she wasn't certain she had done well at the interview and it is amazing how sometimes you can walk out of somewhere and think you did really badly and yet you get the job or whatever. They were pretty tough on a 17 year old - but then again I was actually working when I was 17!

I always wanted to be a photographer when I was young and, of course, that really wasn't the done thing so I went into engineering with a solid Apprenticeship - not that it did me any harm and it has set me up for the last 30 odd years and I have all the stuff you need etc.

But of course, you always wonder what would have happened if we hadn't moved from London to the sticks where the curriculum was different. If I'd have stayed in London I'd have been in the right sets for top school placements as a new kid in the country I was put in the bottom class and didn't go. That was out of my control and frankly, if the family hadn't have moved we would never have had the lifestyle our parents gave us so I'm not saying that it was wrong either - that's just the way it is. I just wonder whether I'd have been living a different life altogether?

For those reasons, we have stayed in this house for 20 years to provide a stable environment and whilst I think that Photography is highly competitive and perhaps not so well paid, I see no reason to force a change in emphasis on "A" at all. If she can do this, she should. Good luck to her.

I'm really pleased for her, delighted. One of my ambitions or regrets I suppose in reality, was to not to have gone to University. perhaps I will get the opportunity later this year to do so with my new venture? I'd like to think that I can rise above all the present wreckage and do that. Something up my street like History will do me fine.

It is Done

I don't feel particularly good or bad about it but the form has been electronically filed this morning and I hope that it will set in motion recovery of some of my money. This is the one that can easily be addressed as there is a Government Agency set up to do just this.

The business to business claim will be a bit more difficult but I will probably do a little work on that and then push out an official document to get their attention. The trouble with this is that it will cost money and as they haven't paid me much at all - I may as well use my money to better effect.

I can't say that it is a weight off my mind or that I am happy about going down this route but it is one of those things I suppose. I actually feel a slightly sick feeling in my stomach about it. Anyway, I can hardly see why that should be I am after all the victim here.

It will be interesting to see if the claim is accepted in the first place and how they will respond in the second. The key thing here is that I get my claim in now and join the queue of creditors!

So having said all of that - I'm sure that in a day or two I will see that this is the right thing to do. Goodness knows I gave them enough time and attention explaining how these things worked.

I'm off out later today to a very special meeting in London which I am looking forward to immensely. I went about three years ago and had the most fantastic time. I need to enjoy this one as I may never get another chance to go again. An invite is as rare as Hen's teeth.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

What on earth is holding me back

From pushing the button and going for the people who obviously didn't give two stuffs about me? I still think about all the other people who are affected and yet I know I should take this action and it is going to lead to other consequences. Push the button, submit the form, await the due process of the law. Come on - do it and have done with it.

Should I give them one more chance or did they squander that when they libeled me? Do I give them an opportunity to get off the hook? Has it all gone too far for that now and what really needs to happen is that reality needs to kick in.

I know that some people are going to get hurt (not me) when I do this and to be honest with you, I don't think that I can find any redeeming feature in any of their behaviours or characters that should be making me stop, think and double check what I am doing I mean, for goodness sake, I just went through 18 months of health hell and a few legal letters and an appearance in court or similar shouldn't be daunting for me. Inconvenient perhaps but it has to be done. If not for my sake - then to stop them doing this to anyone else and thinking that it is perfectly acceptable to employ someone and then not pay them. Who do they think they are? It is after all against the law to take someone's efforts and not reward them.

It's amazing that I am even thinking like this when I should just be getting on and sorting it out.

I am afraid that it is another one of my recent traits - I never used to be this indecisive (but now I'm not so sure)! I had to put that in there before the readershp did :-)

I have printed out the legals and will read it all again in the morning. If it makes sense and I still haven't had any response back from my other communications then I shall do it. If nothing else at least it will force some sort of end game and some form of closure.

The Joy of E-mail

I dropped a note to the Hospital and they confirmed that I don't have to go in on the 1st and it is back to plan A. That is finish off the 3 BCGs and then come in 12 weeks later for an operation to take the biopsies. I'd have actually preferred the flexible but there you go.

Good - all sorted in a few hours thanks to e-mail.

That is a bit of a shock

I just had a letter from the Hospital wanting me to go in for a Flexible Cystoscopy on the 1st February. The reason it is a shock? Well I am in the middle of my BCG treatment at that time and I was told that I would need an operation not a flexible and that 12 weeks after the 11th February. It is also lucky that I decided not to go away that weekend too by the looks of things.

I will have to ring up and see what is happening. I don't mind but it would seem a bit unusual to do this right in the middle of treatment rather than seeing how things had progressed after it?

I will have to give them a call and ask the question I suppose. I don't fancy getting a flexible on Friday and then having to get a BCG one on Monday. Ooh it makes me go all shivery just thinking about it.

At least the Flexible is done at the local Hospital - the first one I had was at a Hospital some distance away and the drive home was excruciatingly painful. At least this way we can be at home in a few minutes and I can just curl up in a ball and be able to sort myself out.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Push the button

It is getting nearer to the the time when I have to do the right thing and push the button and start the litigation process off.

Curiously enough I am a man of my word even if they can't be. I said I would wait for them to reorganise their business before I did anything and await their response. Well they set up their business (new one) last year and still haven't told me so I reckon that in the next few days I will push that button which will send off the forms and set the wheels in motion.

How sad that it should come to this. And again, how many others have suffered the actions of these handful of ignorant, elf-centered, arrogant fools?

You may perhaps have gauged from the tone above that I have little time for these people anymore. Rightly so, I notice that they haven;t suffered any issues because they have been getting paid regularly from the investors! Just a shame they squandered all the money and delivered nothing over 2 years really :-)

Co-incidence or...

I got a call from one of my fellow suppliers to the business and it was just as I was dropping off the aforementioned pee sample to the Hospital. He is in a worse position than I am having worked for 8 months and not got anything apart from one payment and he is due money himself. Soundest advice I could give was do he feel that he would realistically get his money back. It isn't just me who is suffering from the morons - there are others too.

Anyway, I then handed in my sample and went to the Library to get a readers' card and came back via the Post Office (Passport and photo) and then via the pub so I have had a good 3 or 4 hours out walking and doing things. I have to say my head feels the better for it!

Plus a few beers and lunch and an hour thinking about "things" seems to have assisted me to move forward.

Moving a step closer

I completed an employment tribunal form this morning. I just now need to hit the button for the form to be sent and proceedings to commence. I'm still a little hesitant to do this as it will rain down a level of Government backed legislation on the business that they probably never dreamed off. If they think they are beleaguered after upsetting the majority of shareholders and watching them walk away, they should see what they have unleashed here.

As usual, the pleadings of these people will be those of some oppressed much put upon entrepreneur and yet, they cannot continue to get people involved in their business, use their services and then not pay them.

I feel like someone about to let loose an Atom Bomb by pushing the button. I'm not sure what day will be the right one to press it or what damage will be done? Do they deserve it? You bet they do.

Quiet Sunday

It was thank goodness a quiet sort of day - I carried on experimenting with picking up records and doing online family history searches and worked some more on testing my ideas. I also booked myself onto a course in early February all about becoming a family history researcher which I hope will give me the measure of whether or not to do this.

Next weekend i am at my Family History Society AGM and there is a Family History Fair there as well. I will be introducing myself to a number of stall holders and getting cards and flyers and ideas as I go around the meeting.

Tomorrow is "Wee" day - I need to provide a sample - post BCG - and prior to the next lot. This checks on progress. They have a couple of new tests that I believe they are trialing which can, so I am led to believe, detect bladder cancer by testing urine. Of course, I may be way off beam there but that is what I am led to believe.

Two weeks tomorrow I am back on the BCG treatment. Luckily only three of them. I can't say that I am looking forward to it but then again, at least i wont have the pressure of dashing back to work to contend with and will make sure that I fully recover each time.

As for how I am feeling - well still a little fatigued and I still firmly believe that the tablets are something to do with this as well as general recovery. The latest bit of paper in my pills informs me that I can have Grapefruit Juice but not a lot! Thanks for that. It also warns me about "excessive" drinking and that my Doc should have warned me? Well - I cannot be caught out on that one but I wonder quite what excessive (alcohol) drinking actually is - I suppose over your 1 or 2 units a day? Ho hum well I don't tend to go over the top except for the odd celebration and lets face it there haven';t been too many of those recently :-)

I will have to ask when I see the Doc next. The aches and pains are tolerable and so whilst I recognise these as side effects the pills should be doing good things - more so than the side effects.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

An escape of sorts

A good afternoon out but I did a lot of the organising and it was very busy and people forgot their words and what they should be doing and there was hardly a minute to spare for me.

Things calmed down and we had a great meal with good company which always makes for a good evening.

I was driving so didn't drink but overdosed a bit on the Tomato Juice and Worcestershire sauce! Nice stuff but three really is the limit on these :-)

So what else to tell you? Not a lot I suppose. I met some people who didn't know the news I was clear and they were delighted and it made me realise that a lot more people care than I thought they did. A number of people didn't even know that I was ill in the first place! So they were shocked and pleased all at the same time.

So it has a been a busy old day and I am ready to hit the sack now. I think someone wants me to be at a meeting in the morning. I imagine that by the time I get out of my pit the meeting will be finished.

Defence Mechanism

Perhaps all that anger, all the emotion and all of the other baggage I am carrying around is me being defensive?

Not sure being defensive against what? Being hurt? Getting involved, not getting involved wanting something different and not wanting to hear everyone's view? I really don't know.

Just another of the funny stages you go through when you come out the end of this sort of experience I suppose.

Off out in an hour or so to a meeting and I hope to have a good time with some friends.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Over Sensitive - Over Reactive

I have been pondering on this. I have become well, to put not too fine a point on it, a little bit sensitive and a little more emotional and a little quick of temper than I ever was before I was diagnosed.

I think I did the feeling sorry for myself bit some time ago and I don't think I had the anger bit - you know "why me". I knew "why me".

It is a disturbing effect as I am not usually afflicted with a sensitivity to criticism, nor do I usually get all choked up about things, or come close to tears or get as angry as quickly as I do these days.

It is a strange result of whatever is going on at the moment. More when I think of it.

Nice Spot of Lunch

very nice indeed. A huge Mixed Grill and as usual very good company. We managed to talk very little about our health which was also quite good.

So, what's new? Well we purged the devil on our "anger management" problems. Actually we are pretty good as we will phone each other up or fire off an e-mail and then get a call going to vent some of the anger. At least this way we can keep a check on it.

It is difficult to disguise it when talking to people these days. When you have to deal with a numpty or a bunch of numpties it can get quite frustrating. It is of course down to the "life's too short" or "stupid dumb ass question(s)" or just someone demonstrating general ignorance.

I had the "see it my way" conversation the other day from someone and the one thing I did try and get across was that it wasn't relevant what he felt about the business and why it fell apart as he didn't actually know or understand the details but more than that, the "advice" was made from a position of protecting his interests and not mine!

I suppose I ought to laugh about it but I do get fed up with all this "free advice" that is ill informed, inaccurate and biased towards their interests and yet wrapped up as if it is good for me.

But - having said all of that - things are calming down a bit and I am getting on with some planning although I would want to do a bit more if it wasn't for all the interuptions that are going on.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A better day all around

Whilst I was up late I did at least get a good run at putting together the researcher basics and have begun to outline a plan for moving this on.

I hope to have made a good stab at getting back to raising my profile with all the old genealogy groups I used to belong to. That has at least started to get my enthusiasm up for kicking off my research and in a couple of weeks I will be meeting some of the family at a Family History AGM which should once again boost my enthusiasm for getting things done.

I now need to see how difficult it is to access and use the indexes that I will need. It looks as if some of these web based businesses are a bit on the slow side - to say the least - I have outstanding queries with a number of them and so far no one has got back with answers to some simple queries. Perhaps this whole business needs a professional touch.

I am stopping now and going to bed so as not to keep seeing figures and names whirring around - lets hope I can get some sleep and actually get up tomorrow!!

A Recharging of the Batteries

I was up late again this morning but slept well. I don't like sleeping in but tend to have a non habitual sleep pattern this past couple of months. I do think that part of this was the business I was in and the effort I put into that. I worked long hours and disrupted my sleep and actually it made me miss a number of things that I wanted to do and I cancelled it for them.

The body must also be repairing itself as well and I think that the 18 months worth of operations and treatment have each taken away that stamina and physical ability I had.

I'm certainly taking things easy at the moment and not knowingly overdoing things. My Treatment starts again in a few weeks time and so I am not planning to do too much in the way of over working or over exertion.

This imbalance is exactly what a number of people have told me about. It isn't that you aren't well as such, it is that your whole body has had a shock and that it is trying to get back to some form of equilibrium. Various things in the body are "out of balance" and this includes hormones which are either too high or too low and competing with each other. I'll be speaking to my friend tomorrow and see if his CHEK meetings are making any difference to him. The hormone balances were all over the shop when he and I last spoke and the problems he was having are more acute than mine.

I'm also a little concerned that the Statin tablets I am taking are also slowing me down a bit as well. I can't imagine the other stuff I take - ace inhibitor and aspirin - are doing this.

I have said that the "D" word doesn't get a look in but really there is an element of that creeping in as well. Some of the symptoms are those associated with depression and I'm aware of them. I'm a pretty positive person normally but the past 2 years have felt like I am trying to wade through treacle. I'm not getting anywhere and I'm not getting anywhere fast either :-)

Mid Life crisis? You bet. Decisions I make today or in the next few weeks/months are those that I hope will allow me to move on over the next 10 to 15 years and allow me to do what I want to do and yet at the same time support my family as well. For many years I have held down jobs that weren't that great but paid the bills and he last few were exciting but both came to sticky ends. I want whatever I do from now on to be exciting and challenging, flexible and interesting and pay the bills. The trouble is, can it be done?

A Long Day

It was indeed a long day I was up at 5 and picked up my friend and two colleagues and we drove down to Margate for the installation of a new Provincial Grand Master. It was a very well attended affair and I was stand in Provincial Standard Bearer which is a great honour. I was chuffed to bits to get that job.

We had a nice lunch and I dropped everyone off and got home around 4 pm. It was good but a long day.

I got changed, sat down in my chair and promptly had a couple of hours sleep.

An enjoyable albeit a long day. Glad I went really.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


That was a good evening. No one called me a head case for wanting to go out and do my "research thing". In fact all I got was supportive nods and agreements on the basics that I thing are the building blocks of my business.

All a bit worrying - no criticism - no - "you don't want to do that - it's too risky". How strange.

I was expecting a hefty amount of "get real!" "It hasn't a chance!" and so on and yet, looking at this, it looks as if I may be alright.
I have booked a meeting with my very good friend who had his cancer at the same time I had mine. We will meet up on Friday and compare notes. I regard his judgement above many others as he and I went through similar (but not the same) experiences at the same time. His recovery is far more complex than mine though.

We really understand each other and the "feelings" you get being diagnosed, operated on, treated and recovering from this. So, if anyone is going to put a stick in my spokes - it will be him.

We have many a phone call on the utter anger we feel. Far more than any emotion, is this pent up anger with people, politics, management gurus, life coaches etc. I really cannot explain why my normal toleration of these people has gone away. I used to be able to handle them in a professional way and yet now - I just want to smack them in the mouth!

We both need Anger Management lessons and fast. Hopefully we will work this out on Friday.

I am looking forward to that.

Now - I really should be getting to bed as I need to be up in 5 hours and get ready to take a bunch of guys down to Margate for a rather interesting meeting. Au revoir..

Lad's Night Out!

That is what I need - and I am out tonight for a good few beers and to catch up on the latest gossip. Had another call about the nonsense going on with the last bunch of idiots. Some sort of take-over being planned - which makes for an interesting new slant on things.

Off for the day tomorrow which should be good but out at the crack of sparrows to get down to Margate for a meeting.

Looking forward to a good few beers tonight though and some male adult company!

Celebrate and Enjoy

Do you know what struck me this morning? It was this simple fact - that the day I got the all clear those SOBs ate into my celebrations. Then I remember one of them referring to some sort of conversation with me he had on the day.

They robbed me. I am now firmly of the opinion that. If you had been given the all clear from Cancer what would you have done? I had an afternoon and evening drinking with my mates and then went straight to work and worked the weekends, evenings and everything up until the end of November when, frankly it all went pear shaped. So what is missing? Some sort of acknowledgement and event to really celebrate the all clear that's what is missing.

I haven't had closure on that bit of the journey. I haven't had the time to work out what that actually means in terms of living and health. I haven't really been able draw the line under it at all.

Which has to lead me onto the stuff that doesn't happen when you get the all clear. You actually aren't back to normal or indeed likely to be for a long time. After a cold you feel rough for a few days and then you are pretty much back to normal. Well I'm nowhere near normal and no matter what I do I am constantly reminded that physically and more so mentally, I am nothing like I used to be and I'm not sure I'll ever actually get back to normal - whatever normal may be?

So I need to do a bit of celebrating and enjoying the fact that despite everything and no matter what I am actually free of cancer and for that I should be rejoicing and enjoying the fact that I can go and celebrate it.

Now to smash the gloomy little cloud that hovers over my head most of the time and try and move on. Yea right :-) Easier said than done - believe me.

For the best

Two people have said that to me today after I told them my work (or no work) story and how I am most probably out of work and starting afresh. I'm definitely coming to terms with this now. I know a friend of mine who is still involved is still keen for me to continue but he isn't going to pay my wages or cover the debts the company have racked up with me nor, I doubt, get an apology for the libel or allow me the satisfaction of watching them negotiate a million other hoops I'd want these jerks to slither through before I'd go back.

For the best is how I think that I would best describe the feeling - more so in a few weeks time when some more of the issues have been ironed out.

The issue still is that I cannot seem to break out of this entirely and let one thing go and the other commence. One is going to be a long protracted illness and eventual death or perhaps hanging around grasping on to lie. The other is trying to be born whilst all this nonsense and non productive introspection is going on.

I have a couple of days and evenings out over the rest of the week and so can enjoy some light relief - at the expense of former "employers" and some much needed recharging of batteries, cheering up of humour and some fresh ideas to be getting on with.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Things that now make me sad

All the time recently.

I was talking to my friend and we both have this now. it can be at any time and it is a bit like the Black Dog except not as dark and crushingly depressive as that.

Before Cancer and all the treatments and all of that, we were both quite mentally tough, were OK with things like Bambi's mother getting it or some sort of sad event, death, dying, people being hurt and so on. Bambi would probably wipe me out if I saw it now.

Well now, I get choked up when anything sad is on, even if I know it is drama or fiction - even a cartoon can do it. Things that I can't do these days - I realised that last year I made excuses, at the last minute, not to go to a number of funerals. I find anything that relates to someone hurting someone else or being cruel to people (except in certain film genres) really upsets me - things that reflect reality are powerful and yet, sad moments in films aren't violent moments or battle scenes or stuff like that that is fantasy adventure but it is more to do with saying goodbye or knowing that they aren't going to see each other again or some tragedy.

I find scenes where people are saying goodbye for the last time, scenes where some-one's loved one is taken away or is dying or has died and that sort of thing really make me have to get up and go out of the room. I can rattle on about lots of things historically and yet the only scene in Private Ryan that does me is when Ryan asks whether he earned being saved - had he been a good man? That's me - out of the room. What else? Not sure but I really can switch from being fine and upbeat to being almost weepy and I can't predict when it will hit or what will bring it on either. It can be almost anything that does it.

We kicked around the idea that it may be part of the Kubler Ross cycle - like losing a limb and grieving for it, or perhaps that we hadn't had the opportunity to let it all out. Perhaps there is something else going on subconsciously?

It is quite unusual for me to be emotional at all given that I don't have the personality type for it. I am known to be a bit of an ice man and yet when I do get going - you don't want to get on my bad side - I'm not violent - my weapons are words, logic and a hefty whack of sarcasm.

So - why all emotional? It is so unlike me to be like this so perhaps I am grieving for something I lost in the past few years? Maybe my past is dead? Maybe the ongoing uncertainty (BC can come back of course)? Maybe the realisation that I am mortal? Perhaps I now appreciate things that I never did before? Perhaps life is sacred now? My pain threshold is up, maybe my emotional threshold has gone down to compensate? Perhaps I am recognising something of myself in these scenes and I am actually feeling sorry for myself? It could be the current situation and being fed up of being no further on? Perhaps I think too much? That sounds more like me! :-)

Talking of thinking, I've only started to realise recently quite what I have been through and it may be that I am reacting to that. It isn't for sissies as I was once told - and I'd agree with that. You do need to get on with your life and you deal with what you have and what you are going through in the best way you can. No one tells you how to deal with it. Perhaps it is relief or realisation or some other delayed shock? Whatever it is, it isn't worrying me although I have had to leave the room a few times when everyone was there.

I find great empathy with people suffering and I can barely watch certain programmes like that on TV, I have to turn over or turn off. Perhaps it is that - God knows I've wanted to sit down in a corner a cry and let it all out - maybe I ought to - in a controlled way of course :-) I still feel pain in my hand where the cannula normally gets put and in my lower abdomen where I imagine the muscles still aren't back to where they should be. I know that in a few weeks I am back on the BCG Treatments too. I'm also acutely aware that I'm actually doing alright and other people are in a far worse of state than I am and yet, it is all about you at the end of the day.

I tell this blog more than I tell some of the people I know. I've seen the pain in their eyes or in their voices when on the phone listening to what I have done to me and even now a lot of that is for me to know about. No one else was with me when all the stuff happened (apart from the professionals of course).

I'm not sad now- I'm OK but being quite reflective about things. I realised that when I read certain blogs too I get sad. Not my blogs, other sufferers and those who didn't make it. It can be no coincidence that it is also coinciding with some major crossroads in my life and some major choices for the road ahead. There are a head full of emotions, facts and figures, rights and wrongs and past and futures to be filtered, reviewed, filed, dealt with and for a plan to come out for how to move forward again. It is perhaps that too which is making me review all these things and get rid of them, move the emotional roadblocks out of the way and to get on with life.

Blimey - that was a long blog to say that I felt sad sometimes! :-)


Oh I'd love to go to University. I got a letter asking f I'd want to do some more studies with the Open University. I did a course a few years ago and had a great time. It was a correspondence course though. however, it was to Post Graduate level and I got great marks in it. The worst thing was doing a 3 1/2 hour exam and feeling as if my hand had dropped off as it was a written test and who uses pens these days?? :-)

Anyway, it would be interesting and I am going to have a look and see if they have any courses for History or Researcher or something along those lines. That would be useful for me to be learning something as well as changing jobs! I see there is also a course in Family History Research which may be just what I need.

We were never really told that we could have gone to University after leaving school and so I missed out - perhaps now I can get back in there and in the words of Darth Vader "Fulfill my destiny"?

Sunday, January 06, 2008


People are disappointing. Not all of them mind you but some people are very narrow minded and very selfish I find.

So Flame ON - it isn't necessarily about BC but it may just get this out of my system :-)

I hadn't considered for one minute that the reason most of the people I was dealing with were being so utterly illogical and weren't facing up to the truth and were (and still are) totally oblivious to the legal repercussions and why their communications to me were ferocious and personal attacks on my character until it struck me today what it actually was.

This business should have unleashed a service that would make millions and that very quickly. I'd always treated it as a high risk although had I known that the back office was missing I'd have walked away earlier.

So my point? These people are only focused on the money. They are blind and oblivious to the obstacles in their way. they can't see those. It will never happen for them because they cannot see further than being mega rich and yet, to actually achieve that, they need to forget that and work on the foundations first. In fact they need to do some work and planning as well but they have been corrupted by their greed.

What is disappointing is that they are blindingly charging into oblivion and for some, legal minefields and certain criminal and corporate proceeding and rather than taking a realism tablet and waking up to it, they are giving me a hard time for bringing it to their attention in the first place. Where they had people(including myself) sympathetic to their cause, they have so royally upset them in just a few weeks that even the hardest of them has walked away. The trouble with that is that they all want their investments back now and these guys are liked cornered wounded animals. They haven't got the money the owe and can see only one way out which is to fight and in fact it will be their downfall.

It is their inability to see past the money that makes me annoyed that and their ignorance of the law and the way that they will trample over anyone to get to their goal without realising that it will eventually be the undoing of them. I told them this in October/November, I read them their fortune and what would happen if they continued to pursue this course of action. They continued, it is falling down like a pack of cards and it is my fault! Yea right!

I am having a problem with the fact that they robbed me of 7 months of my time/effort as the one thing I do know about is time and how precious that commodity actually is. Whilst I don't like to wish ill on people, it would be good if they were banged up for fraud as that way they would have their time taken off of them and be in a position to reflect at last on what they have done. Frankly they should rot in a damp jail somewhere for 5 or 10 years for fraud except they still don't see that or get it.

Yes, I am very disappointed with these people. For robbing me of 7 months time and then making me out to be the criminal. For taking other people's money and not delivering on their promises. For managing themselves into a corner and then blaming everyone else but themselves for their failures. For not being people with souls, backbone, moral fibre and for being liars and taking things by deceptive and fraudulent means. It may not get me my money back but this little blast made me a feel a lot better :-)

Flame OFF

An amusing addition to this is that I was discussing a point of Law referring to a contract when one of the Directors gave the diametrically opposite meaning of the Law I was talking about. Ignorance is no defence in the eyes of the Law, these guys should defend themselves. It won't stop them going down but it will give the Court and the Judicial system plenty to laugh about.

Just to prove me wrong

Went to bed last night and slept for 11 hours! We had been out at some friends and we just had a good time and there wasn't anything going on about old jobs or anything else, we had a good meal and a good laugh afterwards which is always the best medicine :-)

So it can be done.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Mid Life Crisis

I reckon it has got to be a combination of the mid life crisis - the relief of getting past having cancer and the loss of 7 months work (my time) last year that is giving me these sleepless nights. This isn't laying awake worrying about anything. This is laying awake replaying past things, formulating plans and my mind going off on "what if" scenario plans. This is major activity and it isn't switching itself off like it used to. My brain does this all day long at the moment.

I cannot easily stop this processing of data though as it is pretty important if I am going to make a dash for the hills and get out of my past life and into my new one. I need to make sure I am making the right decisions. I mean after all, do I burn my bridges and just go off and do this (highly unlike me to do that)? Do I gradually change into this new role? Do I "big bang" this and emerge as if from a chrysalis Monday morning a new me?

It feels to me as if it is a mid life crisis fueled and brought on by the bladder cancer and the realisation that I am mortal. It is just such a big departure from my everyday cautious self - or is it? Let's face it all I am doing at the moment is typical due diligence and risk analysis - what I haven't brought to the surface or perhaps this is in the back of my mind is the risk and consequence of failure?

I think I think too much. Such is the curse of an INTJ!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Week one

Out of the way, some research started and some ideas are coming together now. I have an inkling of how I can bring this together and some ideas of costs to set up and prices to charge and how that could be achieved.

I'm just going to do some research on my own tree to see how difficult it can be to do the detective work for others. I am making it difficult to find the data by using wider searches and trying alternative spellings (something all too common in this business).

I'm hoping for a bit more inspiration over the next few days and to give myself an opportunity to work out a plan to get the idea to market. It is a little more complex than I first thought mainly due to the way that the web site will need to be structured and the high level of automation I will need to ensure it runs when I am not in the office. This will mean some time to specify what I need and a while to develop the site an the merchant account and shopping basket for it. It is good stuff - I just need to immerse myself in it a bit further so that it gets exciting. I'm not at excited yet - I am at skeptical still.

The morning blues

It is the 4th January 2008 and already I'm getting tested. A nice job came in the e-mail this morning. It would pay the bills, be easy enough to do and be a way of recouping losses on the previous venture but my heart just isn't in it. I really am quite anti getting back involved with anything to do with IT, project management or anything like it. I get tired of telling people what is wrong (what I am paid to do) only for them to yell at me and say I'm wrong and then their whole organisation comes crashing down like a pack of cards and somehow it is my fault.

You may detect a slight flash of anger in that last sentence :-) It does make my blood boil how many times this has happened and how often the problems are identified and various strategies are produced to manage around or past the problem and n one listens or does anything. When the worst happens no one can quite believe it and they all look like creatures emerging from the dark blinking in the sunlight.

So, better off out of it but it makes me feel almost empty to be leaving that all behind. I know I should do it for my health and for my sanity but turning your back on something you've done for most of your life is actually a lot more difficult than you'd think. Anyway, having said that there is an empty feeling there is also a growing idea for the new business which will keep me focused and hopefully get me over this uncomfortable period I am going through now. I imagine it is like getting a divorce or losing a loved one as it feels to be a great part of your life being removed.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Well I've gone and done it

Prompted by an earlier comment I thought why not? So I have put my name forward for consideration for this gig in Chicago in August. I have already written most of the paper and would have to add about another 40 minutes to make it a 1 hour talk.

It should be interesting to see if they fancy me delivering this piece as I'm not a recognised academic. However, I have been published using the same material on three separate occasions so who knows? I now need to wait and see what happens. Final places are awarded in March. Wish me luck.

Bigger decision than I thought it would be

It is quite a taxing problem to deal with. You can kick around all the pros and cons of running a totally new business and to make something that I am a "good amateur" at into a profession. My business training alone will allow me to control all of the day to day things that need to be done.

Surprisingly for what appears a simple business they are a bit daunting as the plans need to include for a level of web based automation as I wont be sitting at the phones or at my PC 24 x 7. This then leads onto the real difference between being an amateur and a professional and having put the time in to make a business that actually works and that isn't a hobby bringing in the odd bit of beer money.

It is taking the first step that is the difficult bit. I remember setting up my own business 10 years ago and having to do exactly that, take that first step into the unknown. Once I had done that, it wasn't so bad and I adapted quickly and the business went along nicely. this time, I'm that much older, in an industry that is potentially one of 80% amateurs and 20% who know what they are about. The first step is the one.

Then there is all the re-branding to be done - I would imagine that it would be quite a conversation piece and that word of mouth and networking will be useful but when was the last time that finding a researcher came up in conversation? It is more than that though - it is like moving away and leaving all your friends behind. Going to a far away land and leaving all the comforts behind, breaking routines, getting outside of your comfort zone and - more than likely - breaking all of those habits I've built up over the past 10 or 20 years.

That is where the battle is taking place at the moment - not that I can't do the job, not that the technical challenges cannot be met - as I know they can but it is the actual getting up and doing it that is hard. The biggest rut you have to get out of is the rut you are in. The most uncomfortable thing about this is that it is the unknown that holds part of me back and yet the other half of me is screaming "do it!" The rational and the emotional are having a good old fight at the moment. Breaking the bonds I can feel them tearing away one by one as I slowly pull myself out of the baggage of 30 years of supervising other people :-)

I'm sure it will all work out OK in the end. I just hate the procrastination bit I have to go through (the curse of the Project Manager's mindset) as I weigh the options the risks, work out contingencies and all that good stuff. Unfortunately that is me and how I am. It would be good once in a while just to go off and do something on a whim though :-) It would terrify me but a lot of people run their whole lives like that! Wow - exciting...

Enough thoughts for this afternoon - I am getting on with some much needed admin and cleaning up my office.

To be or not to be

And all that malarkey.

I've been invited to submit a paper for inclusion in a convention in Chicago in August this year. I'd love to do it. I need now to convince the wife and children that they would far rather go to Chicago than to New Zealand where I was originally planning to go. Of course - everyone also has an idea where "they" want to go as well - one is possibly heading for University and the other is probably old enough to go with her friends on a holiday with them.

Decisions, decisions. If I go to Chicago I can present some of the research I have been doing for a number of years and perhaps kick start my new career. That would probably mean that I'd be hanging around at a convention for a week whilst the other 3 might be bored out of their minds. Oh well - I have about 2 weeks to make my submission - wish me well as I am not sure who will win this round of "negotiations" . From a totally selfish point of view I really do fancy doing it this time - I was invited a few years ago but really could not afford it and I hadn't prepared my papers either. Since then I have been published a few times so perhaps that would sway the organisers.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

All that Jazz

First Wednesday in the Month. For almost 20 years I have been going to the first Wednesday Jazz evening. Subsidised beer and a cheap entrance fee and as much live Trad Jazz s you can handle with warm real ale too! Heaven.

It was a good evening and well worth the walk out in the cold air. We will be getting snow tomorrow - probably the remnants of the US storms of last week - it usually is - and with a few centimetres of dust settling we will probably bring the whole country to a standstill! We can manage this on a few old leaves in Autumn (Fall) or a few flakes of the "wrong sort of snow". Global Warming has yet to kick in around these parts. Roll on the days of mediterranean summers, grape vines in the back garden etc!

I have to say that I am in a really good mood at last after this evening. I hope to have put most of the recent rubbish behind me for at least a day!

Deliberations begin

I'm starting today to set in motion my deliberations for changing my career altogether and taking on a researcher based role focused on family history. The changes to life and what I have done for most of my 35 year working life are immense although, to be fair, I have come a long way from being an Apprentice Electrician to someone who Manages IT and business projects and programmes.

The problem as always with such things is whether or not you have the willingness to change and whether or not you feel you can do it in such a way as to achieve your personal and family commitments. It is all very well having a calling or perhaps a vocation but if it doesn't pay the bills then it is a bit pie in the sky.

The next few weeks will be critical in sorting this out I suppose. I'd like to think that it is all a done deal and that I will do this. There is no doubt that I would enjoy it and make a good "go" of it too. It is the heavy injection of realism that I need to make sure that whatever I do I am not back in the same position as I am now.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Year here we go

I have been battling with the "what's holding you back?" question these past few days. It is that old nugget - the fear of change itself.

I think that the change will be a good thing albeit that there is bound to be an initial stress level caused by whether or not I can make a go of this. I think once I can work my way through these "obvious" objections I can begin to work out some more of the practicalities.

As is usual I like to plan and spend time making sure I understand the market and that I set things up correctly. I think that 2008 is going to be interesting.

As for health - well I go back on treatment in a few weeks time - another 3 BCG Instillations - Oh and I have to give a pee sample in a few weeks too. Then 12 weeks after I get to go back in for an operation for biopsies - Great - NOT! Oh well, all in a good cause.