Sunday, June 29, 2008

The deed is done

I signed up for the Degree course. Whether I'll get in or not depends. If I do I'll start foundation in October towards a BA (Hons) History. I've always fancied doing this and it will give me something to work towards over the next few years.

Wat is great is that where I work are some of the galleries and museums that I will need to visit and they are all withing 15 minutes walk of my office - cool!

I see this setting a target as part of my recovery and part of working on long term things again and getting away from having to set quite short term goals and achievements. It is good to get yourself along with little victories and little steps in the progress to getting well again and whilst I can't say I am out of the woods yet, I can at least see the light above and around me. The dark days are receding quite fast and the brighter days are ahead of me, I find it hard to believe that on Tuesday I would have been at work for 3 months! Where did that go? It feels like 3 weeks!

I'm also beginning to see the results of my labour and so things like the Annual review has been published and the diaries (yes we do do diaries at this time of year - 18 month ones which run from August this year.... These mirror the Masonic season and allow forward planning into the next season too.

I am working on a couple of new things which are keeping me busy including a new brochure for us and one for a Province as well as completing the Exhibition area.

I feel really well and I am beginning to be optimistic about life again. There is always a doubt and how often do you hear that so and so recovered and then it came back again but the 2nd time it killed them? Well I don't want that to happen to me (who does?) and that little black cloud of doubt will probably always be there but, it is controllable now and I am pleased to say that the Black Dog hasn't been around for quite a while too.

What a difference a couple of months make.

Tiredness - Update

If anything, knowing about tiredness and fatigue has helped a bit this week as I have been making sure that I move around a bit more and if I am feeling tired that I actually get up from my desk and move around and have a short walk or do something active. That seems to help.

I'm not doing much else different but also having a long chat on Thursday night helped too. My Hypnotherapist friend has a way of explaining stuff that puts this into context.

Next week to look forward too and I imagine not having the prospect of having a catheter inserted in me tomorrow and being sore for the remainder of the week are also something to look forward to and make me feel a lot better.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Come on Cousin

Starts Chemo on Monday and certainly hope that it does the trick and gets things in a position where they can control and sort it out.

Not a nice thing at all. As usual, young, fit and non smoker! Actually in this particular cancer it isn't smoking related.

Positive Mental Attitude, can do approach are the best tools to get through this.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Met up with R this evening and discussed Hypnotherapy and what it had done for me. I was surprised how much R understood about my condition and some of the intimate problems that arise when you have a disease like this.

It was a revelation as I didn't think anyone - apart from fellow sufferers knew about some of the serious brain screwing that happens with living with the "big C".

I need to go away and think about what we talked about now - seriously worrying stuff to deal with still I think.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hot Flushes

Don't really need them with the weather like it is today and I had to go in to work with suit and tie - AGM! It was a good day, I got lots done, I received my Annual Reviews and Diaries and they look great even though I say so myself.

Getting ready for a rather special visit in a few weeks and so I am rushing around and getting hings sorted in the exhibition area.

I have also been trusted with some of the film archive which I am transferring to DVD. It is great fun still and work is brilliant. Our new fund-raising site has gone live and some other initiatives are coming on line soon too.

Despite the worst of the treatments, I actually feel a lot better than the previous two - probably because I had my mind taken off them!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A little better than I thought it was going to be

I am pleased that it wasn't anywhere near as bad as it looked it was going to be. The first 3 or 4 inch lump that fell out of me was frightening enough and the blood was bad but today it has been quite manageable. I've had quite a few bits drop out of me but not with the accompanying blood and gore thank goodness.

Even after all this time it is still so "unnatural" seeing things emerge from where they just shouldn't.....

Anyway, all in a good cause.

This afternoon I took myself on a walk. I had to pick up some badges that work had commissioned and they were local so I had a mile and a bit walk and then caught the bus home (doesn't anybody queue anymore or give up their seats - I did and I did!). Ended up in the Village Pub for a beer (as you do) and that was a nice end to the afternoon.

I shall now go downstairs, pick up a beer and watch Wimbledon.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Not Great

Possibly the goriest one I have had. Not wanting to sleep at the moment but must try - having to keep getting up and going to the toilet a lot and the results just aren't nice :-( Well I suppose they aren't meant to be. Surely the worst in terms of this I have ever had. I wouldn't be surprised if whole organs dropped out of me :-)

No really though, massive pieces dropping out and plenty of blood too - uncomfortable and I am still awake. I am going to try and get to bed soon and see if I can sleep this little lot off. It is unusual for me to be about at this time of night on the first day of treatment.

Speaking of which the treatment was delayed by an hour so that might also account for it.

Well here I go

The 3rd of the 3 treatments coming up. It is normally the one that gives me a bit of a "kick in" and one that I'm actually pleased to be getting out of the way. Once this is over, just another 3 of these and an operation and perhaps, just perhaps, I can begin to believe that it has gone and I can get on with life.

I'm sort of ready for today and as usual, I am nowhere near as organised as things have fallen into place, my routine is pretty much set up and I am not clock watching quite as much.

It will soon be time to go and get showered and ready for the treatment and get myself prepared for the bravado and kidology that the Nurse and I use to make it bearable for both of us I guess? There is definitely an attitude to be taken towards this sort of thing and that is how I have positioned it and how my friend R worked with me on the Hypnotherapy so that all these things were there to make me better. Sometimes when they are inserting things into places you don't want to know about it is difficult to remember that if they hadn't done that, you'd more than likely be dead by now. 50 or more years ago I bet things weren't so good on the outlook front and 100 years ago - well I'd very probably be dead by now!

Thank goodness I live in such times and where progress is still being made and treatments are becoming more effective and less invasive.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Fatigue Question

I found out today that the fatigue thing is pretty common and no matter how much rest you get it doesn't go away. Well I feel relatively healthy and very much better in terms of well being and my head is pretty much straight these days. I reckon if I can get rid of the fatigue piece by the end of the year and if I get the all clear then too, I should be able to get on with my life a bit better and perhaps try and plan out some other things to do. I am keen to do this Batchelor of Arts in History and the term starts in October so maybe, just maybe, I'll go for that. Perhaps that will give me something to concentrate on and make me sort out yy time more effectively. Maybe it will help get rid of the fatigue?

It takes some time I find to work out now what has happened, what will happen and take stock of the past few years of problems for it was about 2 years ago that the very first minute traces of blood were discovered and what is really spooky is that I will be at a Lodge meeting that I missed at that time on the day that I was first presented with the Symptoms - 2nd July.

The ups and downs have been profound and I now have to deal with spending more time in detailed analysis of that as I am sure I will reflect on what I have gone through quite differently now that it has been so long since I have been clear of the disease. Most probably this time last year when I was having the 2nd lot of full treatment was in fact the time that the caner went away.

I found out today that someone else I know has Cancer and that is sad. I need to talk or write soon to help if can. The person I knew who went for tests on Thursday was a negative and was sorted out on the spot which is a great relief as was another friend a few weeks back.

Someone at work asked me why I was always happy and smiling and I said that I would have to let them know later. Only a few people know at work and whilst I don't make a thing of it - they do know that I am having some sort of treatment and a few know what it is! Not trying to be a "man of mystery" just trying to work out how to tell my colleagues why I am like I am and not making it sound like some sort of super hero stuff, man on a mission or a guilt trip (I hope it isn't that).

I still reckon it is one of the best jobs I have ever done, I really enjoy it, I get so much satisfaction from it and obviously it must reflect in the way that I carry myself at work as most people notice that I am always up and always willing to help and assist or do anything at all. I also want to make them feel good about the job they do, some of the thank you letters we get from the children, now grown up or pleased with their results etc are all the reward you could ever need I think. The team do a great job, third sector work is notoriously underpaid but ensuring my colleagues know what a great job they do is alos, I believe, part of my job too. They are great.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Very Nice Curry

It was a very nice curry indeed, plus good company and whilst we ate later than normal it wasn't too bad. There was a bit of confusion around the starter we just said give us a mixed load of starters for the 12 of us and we all got something similar - it didn't detract - just made for a good laugh and the food was very good and so it mattered not.

I have to dash off in a minute to fix someones PC (Yes I know). The trouble is it is driving them to distraction and they cannot work out what they have done. I think I know and it is a few minutes work so I can probably fix that and get back in an hour (famous last words).

I am remarkably awake considering we didn't get back until 12:30 last night!

Friday, June 20, 2008

TGIF - and Curry

Yes Friday and not a moment too soon. I brought back the old pictures to have them framed and the old videos to transfer them onto DVD so I'll have something to do on Monday and Tuesday -my last treatment of this session.

The GP wants my Blood Pressure readings and a Blood Test - luckily not right away as I just haven't got the time and I'm not certain that the current treatment is actually going to give them the sort of results they were after either so a small wait may assist.

Tonight we are mob handed - about 12 of us and we are going out for a curry which will be a nice change. I was out on business last night and grabbed a half a beer and a sandwich at the railway station and then had the journey from hell home!

Anyway, I am tired but not too bad, got off early to deliver the pictures to be framed and can now successfully log on to work from here so all is going well.

I had a review at work yesterday and so far we appear to be getting along fine and I'm doing the job they want me to do which is also very pleasing. I'm taking on more as well which is also not hurting my cause.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Well tiredness must be a side effect

Although I took more time this time to recover and so don't feel quite a tired as perhaps I could have done. I am still taking myself off to bed early to make sure that I recover as quickly as possible.

It was a good, although long day at work today and I think that I managed to catch up with my two days missing work this time. Lots more to do but I need to get a plan out of these people to sort it.

All hell will break loose soon as the annual reviews, diaries and brochures all start to happen about now. I need to agree some holiday dates with them.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Urinating for England

I wanted to make sure that all was well and made sure to drink much more liquid this week to rinse through and it seemed to work. At peak I was visiting the toilet every 30 minutes earlier. Another good reason not to have to travel by public transport the day after treatment - not that I could have done though.

Again I spent an interesting afternoon sitting down and doing my thinking work for the week. Back to work tomorrow for some interesting "discussions" around working with some colleagues. I imagine that the politics of the situation will come into play somewhere along the line - I love watching the dynamics of all this stuff. Not sure if I need it first day back though....

Worse but still not too bad

This one was a little worse in terms of reactions and debris but still manageable. I didn't get the cramps this time but have a sore back and waist/stomach area today - not surprising really considering quite how nasty this stuff is.

It was quite funny last night as I fancied watching the football but knew that if I had sat downstairs I would have made myself feel bad so I used the laptop and watched it on the Internet.

I am going to take it easy for the rest of the day and get back to work tomorrow - I have a list as long as my arm of things that have accumulated in just a day! Back to work tomorrow - I can't see that there will be much to stop me from doing that thankfully. It does seem strange that I am not getting the massive reactions I got to this last time but perhaps I am taking things that much easier - last time I was stupidly still trying to work through it.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Treatment 2

Over halfway through after this one - in fact 2/3rds of the way through this lot and only next week to go. I'm bracing myself for a 'bad one' just in case. I hope that the jack hammers wont be starting up tomorrow morning either.

I think that I would have "bought" this if I'd have been told that I may be cured in 2 1/2 years. That would be a lot quicker than I was planning - I was expecting 12 based on some of the old regimes I have heard about, 8 years was another one.

That is pretty impressive when you come to think about it that less than 2 years ago treatment would have meant years of BCGs and now they have sufficient data to say that the maintenance is only 2 lots if clear. Stunning.

The routine will kick off again in an hour or so and I'll be back to clock watching again. I might get "done" earlier as they said just turn up and we will do you in turn. So I could get there early and be back early too. I hope so.

I do feel completely different about this set of treatments - perhaps knowing that it is so effective and that it may well be my last lot, I can start to be quietly confident that things are going in the right direction. This time last year I was on full treatment (6 weeks worth) to make sure as there was some precancerous stuff in the tests. Now, I am clear - i makes a big difference and your confidence and your outlook and attitude change accordingly. I suppose no matter how much spin you put on your attitude, when you actually have cancer to when you don't are two very different things and you react accordingly.

Must go.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day

I wore the Tee Shirt they bought me a year back - which was rather touching - it says "A Dad is for life, not just for Father's Day!"

Little things matter often more than others, a small gesture or a few words said go a long way.

Tomorrow is Treatment 2 and I will get to the Hospital a little earlier as they do us in order after we have checked in at the desk. That way I can get it over with quicker. You can never second guess the reaction you are going to get so I hope for good things and we will see how it goes.

Work are very good and I now have the remote working software - if only I could get it to work. I will talk to the IT guys tomorrow and see if I can get that to happen.

I am enjoying my job so much that I need to work on balancing things out a bit. I still cannot get over just how tired it makes me every week and it will be good to have treatment and operations behind me in 2009 and rebuild my strength. I suffer from fatigue more than I let on but I tend to get a lot of sleep over the weekends and I don't do much - I fell asleep in the comfy chair at least three times this afternoon! Of course, I am wide awake now that I ought to be going to bed :-)


I probably haven't driven my car for over a month if not longer! So stepping back in was fun yesterday as I altered the seat, mirrors and steering wheel etc. As I turned out of the drive and changed gear I got cramp in my leg - I guess I just haven't used that particular muscle set in that particular combination. I drove us to the wedding reception (very nice) and C drove us back again. Luckily it isn't too far to go.

We met up with some friends and with someone I haven't seen for years who hadn't seen me since before my bladder caner problems so it was an interesting conversation. She was glad that all was OK - me too of course, me too....

An interesting evening all round - the dynamics were interesting.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A bit better

This always happens during treatment - you just get back to normal and the next treatment comes along and smacks you back down again.

We are off to a wedding this afternoon - or the reception for one. It was abut 25 years ago we went to her first one :-) mind you I am still yawning so I might get there and fall asleep.

Apart from the tiredness, I am feeling remarkably well and enjoying just about everything at the moment. Work is great, it is coming up to summer proper and I can really see the things that I am doing making a difference now.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tiredness and another early night

I can only imagine that the treatment has knocked a lot more out of me than I let on or than I realised before. Today was a lucky one as I had to get away early from work to sort out some frames for pictures for our exhibition and the chap I needed to see wasn't there yesterday. Anyway, that appears to be a good move as the price is a lot cheaper.

I'm off to bed in a minute and I hope to have a bit of a lie in. We have a wedding to go to tomorrow and so I had better be cheerful and chipper for that!

I will get to drive the car for the first time in weeks too! Crikey I had forgotten that, I walk and take the train everywhere these days and working in London don't take the car at all.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Tired still?

I'll say - I even left early today to go and get some quotes for the pictures at the exhibition to be framed and got home and promptly fell asleep again.

I do tend to feel that the treatment I had last time occurred when I worked at home most of the time - I know there were the odd day here and there where it didn't.

So I can only deduce that the treatment makes you tired and that as I hadn't been up and about and working at the rate that I do now, which makes you more tired, it just makes the side effect that much more noticeable.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I am pretty tired. I did a full day's work and feel pretty tired and need to get off to bed now. It is surprising how much it takes out of you that you don' realise.

I got home and was boiling hot - another side effect you do get the odd hot flush when you least expect it and then had a meal and promptly fell asleep in the chair. I have come upstairs to sort out my e-mail and do this blog and then go to bed :-)

I have some minor throbbing pain but OK otherwise. No debris or bits so that was good.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

It is always a surprise

When lumps of blood or debris come flying out when you go to the toilet. Nothing had happened for 24 hours and yet lat this afternoon I got a small fallout. Nothing since just the one lot.

Actually - the strange thing is that generally the side effects get worse but the debris is getting less. I am guessing that the stuff that was coming out before was the cancerous bits and now it is just the last remnants of the work that needed to be done.

I am very pleased that I wont have to do this for years on end. Very pleased indeed. I had resigned myself to having to go through this sort of thing for 3 to 8 years. This is indeed a time when less is more.

Just Great!!

The Jack Hammers / Pneumatic Hammers started at 8 this morning. When they weren't going the people a little further down are having trees removed and so there is a chipping machine also going full blast.

So a lie in this morning wasn't possible. Actually - I feel pretty good compared to normal this was a 4 on the Richter scale that is BCG side effects. Although, having said that it was for a very short time very painful indeed and my middle now aches and so I won't stay hunched up over my PC for the rest of the day that is for sure.

I had a series of cramps and joint pains last night but not enough to be a serious attack just a niggling set of slow cramps that didn't need rubbing. I got plenty of rest yesterday and overnight and so I am pretty pleased that I am OK this morning.

Only 2 more to go this session and 5 more in total. It sounds like the count down to a launch 5 - 4 - 3 - 2- 1 - Blast Off (or Thunderbirds are GO! - if you remember back that far?).

As my Urology Nurse said yesterday - "See, I told you you'd be glad to see me again, despite what I do to you". Jokes aside, both nurses are absolutely great and considering the job they have to do are great. Not sure if I could be a Urology Nurse considering what you are dealing with every day?

Monday, June 09, 2008

Just slowly getting ready

Had my shower, got the note book and pain killers by my bed. The Bleach and bits are in the bathroom and I'll need to take my book in there as well as I will spend some time in there later just letting things happen.

I am not nervous about this time and neither am I looking forward to it. I am pretty neutral - I thought that I'd be upbeat - which I suppose I am really given what I am going to have done, looking forward to it isn't exactly the top of most people's lists.

I got a lot done earlier. I hope I can do a bit more soon before we go off to the Hospital.

Keeping busy

This morning I am keeping busy and getting ready will begin at 11:30 when I take an early lunch and then at 12:15 stop drinking - 2 hours needed to ensure that the BCG isn't overly diluted.

I need to get all my bits together - note book, pain killers, anti-inflammatories, bleach tablets and anti bacterial wipes, etc.

It is a lovely day today as well but I will be stuck inside this afternoon resting up. At least the next door pneumatic hammer gang haven't arrived - we were expecting them. Knowing my luck it will be tomorrow when I need a lie in!!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Well the Treatment looms

Tomorrow I'll be back on it for the first of three for this session, 9 weeks off and the next 3 and who knows, with any luck after December, perhaps I can be signed off and not have the treatment after that.

Of course, bladder cancer is a bit naughty and can come back even after quite a while and so I need to make sure I keep well, keep observant and be on my guard.

I need to get back into routine and also to get back into the mentality of this comes first. I know that I want to go back to work on the Wednesday morning but I have to be alright on the Tuesday to do so.

I will be getting back to my routine tomorrow and need to remember the eat and drink early and to get everything set up for the treatment and after effects themselves.

It was a year ago that I was on the 6 treatments which started a year ago last week (as I recall). I then went to Wales and all over the place on the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of that week. A year ago since I started with the company who were launching their wonder product a few week later! They just relaunched it again. That sort of says something about how things are going.

I suppose one thing I am glad about is that with all that trouble, I had a nagging feeling that I'd affect my recovery. Happily that hasn't happened and my real recovery is going to be through giving this lot of treatment every chance of success again and getting past that winning post of being clear for more than a year. It would be the launch to the new year that I'd be looking for and would turn around a pretty awful few years for me.

A good day tinged with a little sadness

It was a good day and the meeting went really well and apart from a couple of minor problems a good time was had by all.

The sad news was that one of our number who is fighting esophagus cancer is losing his fight and that is so sad as until recently all the signs were good. There really isn't a lot to do about it either. Rather than all of us contacting him, one person becomes our collective voice and it is inevitable what the outcome will be and in not a great deal of time either.

He is very straightforward about it and is facing up to it well, his daughter who, ironically, is one of the world's top specialists in this area, is flying back from the US to see him soon.

There were good signs yesterday that my mental dexterity is back as I was able to fire off some very good one-liners at the meal after the meeting and keep the troops entertained. When asked about my successor (who doesn't quite get it right all the time) taking over next year as being "natural succession" - Not in the way that Darwin may have written about - no but rather it was his turn. Thank goodness for that I thought I was going to have long term brain slowness after the operation.

Friday, June 06, 2008

The Week

Shot past. I am on a mission tonight to get all the work I need to get done for tomorrow ready.

I envisage that I will be up for at least another 4 or 5 hours getting it sorted out.

Then I have to be there at about 9 tomorrow to make sure everything goes to plan.

At least this is my last big event this year - a few smaller ones to come in July but this one is massive and needs my attention so the weekend will be busy.

Treatment starts on Monday and I hope that I can be fit enough to return to work on the Wednesday morning. We will see I suppose.

Thursday, June 05, 2008


Another busy day and finally I got to turn up at work in my Masonic Suit and the cat was out of the bag. I got my exhibition pictures mounted today which was great and managed to thrash through a load of tasks and get things finished.

As for health - well I have stopped bleeding but I'm not quite right - I think that my body is putting the plumbing back where it should be. Of course, I'll just get to be fine and they'll knock ten bells out of me next week.

Today already

I went off to my Jazz night and I have been going for 20 years and one month now! Met up with some lovely people and of course, this time last month I was recovering!

Great news, well received. Good day at work - it went really well and I was involved and useful.

Big day later - today actually - a meeting in London. It is almost the end of the Masonic season and it is so busy. A meeting later then Friday another and Saturday my biggest meeting of the year!

I need to prepare for that so I will probably miss the Friday meeting to allow me time to prepare.

It will be my last year as Secretary starting Saturday - I will miss it especially as the last 2 years I really haven't been well enough to go out on all the visits I should have.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

A really good day today

Apart from some more blood - not much - enough to take notice though. Thank goodness I wasn't on treatment this week!

Anyway, the day was good as I got so much done yesterday and today - mainly because I had stuff prepared and I am getting used to it these days. At least they are happy with me - they still don't know how I can do things so fast though :-)

Staff meeting tomorrow so an opportunity to move things on again.

I really like this job - it just keep presenting challenges and is so varied.

Monday, June 02, 2008


What a day - it is late evening and I have just got in. I did so much work this today it made my head buzz and we had an enjoyable evening meeting in London. We even got home at a decent time. Often, at this meeting, I have been home at 2 in the morning!!!

I should be OK for work as I was careful what I drank tonight - there was as much wine as you wanted but that is very dangerous of course....

The rest of the week is as nightmarish as this - I think it is only tomorrow that I have a free day...

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Phew - that made me tired

I fixed the roof yesterday - the lower one as I had some people in to do the upper one. Spent a day cutting wood, ripping down the old one, repairing the rot etc. Absolutely wiped me out and I can feel various sections of my body aching. It probably also started off the passing of a load of debris again! That has stopped now as well.

I suppose it is a good thing I am not having treatment starting tomorrow. It is the beginning of a busy week as I have relatives coming over today, passing through and it is the music festival, I am out tomorrow, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (possibly) I have my big meeting next Saturday and on the Monday after that treatment starts...

At least during the treatment I'll be taking things a lot easier.