Friday, July 31, 2009

For pity sake now the other PC

My rather swish notebook PC has died. Typical and lucky I didn't destroy the photos on my camera after I downloaded them! The thing just expired which looks like an internal power supply fault. Of course it is out of warranty and of course it is the primary PC I use. Whilst it is backed up it isn't much use to me to transfer at the moment as it uses a different operating system to everything else.

So a trip to my local store to see if they can rectify is in order. It is a damn nuisance of course as it is also the PC I use for presentations.

2 weeks today and I'll be in hospital getting my biopsies done. Please, please, please let it be the last operation I have to go through. I am beginning to loose count now of these. I can understand though that they need to do this. It is pretty aggressive and they want to make sure before going along the next route. With recurrence always a possibility I suppose I ought to also be prepared for that as a possibility - waking up with more troubles than I went in with.

The holiday already seems a long way back in the distance.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Back Home

A great time but tinged with a few disappointments about the Ship but on balance we had a great time and we are still talking to each other. I'll get around to that later I'm sure but the other news is that I have the date for my operation - yes - full biopsies once again!

The problem with that is that I have managed, even with loads of walking almost everyday to put on a fair amount of weight. Oh well - it will be a challenge to see how much I can lose in a few weeks!

I've been well all the time we have been away and actually look like I have had holiday too as it was great weather unlike the UK which appears to have suffered a washout.

Just met up with A who also had a good time in Venice and Rome. L has sent a few messages saying all is OK in Argentina.

More when I get settled back home.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Final Countdown Begins

I have my check list to fulfil including the need to go up to the shops and buy myself some reading glasses. I was repairing my spare set when Mrs. F. tried to be helpful and as I was searching out a pair of pliers she straightened one of the arms against the lens with the inevitable consequence of shattering my lens :-( As luck would have it, they are only £5 a pair reading glasses and so I'm not that upset and can wander up to the Chemist to get some more.

The cars are switched on the drive, I need to check tyre pressures, put out the rubbish, unload the dishwasher and a few other chores and then go and collect Mrs. F. from work and we can get going.

I'm looking forward to the break - the weather doesn't look great, lots of rain everywhere but let's hope that it picks up a bit for us. As ususl the BBC long range forecast of a blisteringly hot summer (the 3rd time in three years they've said it) is, like the previous years, proving to be a bit of a punt in the dark! If they say it long enough, one year they may get it right.

I'll sign off for a while unless i decide to visit the cyber cafe on board and hope everyone keeps well in the next few weeks.

Watch out Baltic here I come

Packed, just about ready and logistics are worked out so as we go A returns and this time tomorrow we will be well at sea and halfway to Norway.

I am really looking forward to this now - I really do need a break too as I am just so damn tired all the time. I have my check list ready for the morning and then I can go and pick up Mrs. F from work and we can get down to Southampton and get away.

I missed the work get together but I wouldn't have been much company as I got off early and still managed to fall asleep on the train.

I've even managed to transfer my e-mails so I can (in theory) get them on the Ship if I wanted. Not sure I do but there you go.

AndyP dropped me a line and he is doing fine which is great news. I haven't contacted the Hospital, I will do so on my return though to find out when they want me in. August is good as nothing is happening but my diary for September is getting full up already!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What is it all about?

Out tonight with old school chums - good laugh, a few beers and life is great. I wasn't on top form but close. Holiday is so near I can taste it and I am really keyed up to go now. L has contacted us from Argentina and is having the time of her life - - oh for the opportunity when I was younger to have done that trip - she really is enjoying some down to earth experiences. Best one - she washed her knickers, hung them out overnight to find a minus 10 C had frozen them by the morning - great stuff and so many anecdotes for later - I envy her but I am SO proud of her achievement - she has worked so hard for it and deserves to go for the effort alone. I've been a bit hard on her as I have made her work for the whole thing but, nasty piece of work I am, I think that if you work for it and it is all your effort then you appreciate it so much more than just us paying for her to go.

It is still strange not having either of the girls at home but reassuring that they are independent and confident travellers at just 15 and 19 years old.

A has secured her Distinction in her Art Foundation and her place at University is now assured. She is pleased. I am also delighted for her. The examiner's remarks concur with my view that she has put a massive amount of effort into her work and the subtly of her work is way beyond her years. I always thought that our family were good in terms of artistic skills - I could be good if I practised and turned my attention to it. A's work is stunning and when I saw it recently (through the pain of the cost of the reproduction photos) it stood out as an excellent work of photographic art. I feel as if she is so many years in advance of me. I am a keen amateur and I can take the same photo as A but you would look at mine and say what a nice photo and look at hers and ask "what is around the corner or off frame?" Such is her eye for composition.

I kind of look at things and wonder if "my work here is done?" Both girls are ready to go onto whatever their career path holds for them and now, it is beyond my level of expertise and knowledge. My background being useful as a first from the University of Life can probably only give sound advice. theory and usefulness to even comprehend their chosen subjects is now beyond my ability to help.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Blogging at work

Surely the slippery slope here David?

Well, to tell the truth things are a bit slow here at the moment. The bottlenecks are often those I work for and until they release a piece of work back to me after review or unblock a road block for me, I can't get on. What I have done today has been accomplished and it is the middle of the afternoon and I could easily fall asleep or just go home and still get as much work done.

The tiredness continues to bug me though and not being active makes it worse somehow. It isn't anywhere as bad as it has been but even so I find it annoying that it still happens.

Oh well only two more days at work and I can get off and enjoy a break.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Planning and anticipation

I am looking forward to finalising holiday arrangements and after clearing up the last of my "to do" list this morning I watched the German GP and then got down to some serious research as I really haven't gone into details on a couple of the cities - Gothenburg and Helsinki figuring that I have time to do that especially on board as there are plenty of briefing sessions to attend.

No word from the Hospital still - I suppose there is still time but the NHS is struggling with Swine Flu. Someone in the village has it apparently. They are talking about suspending all routine and non essential operations to deal with the "pandemic" - yeah right.

Oh well - just another 3 days at work and we can zip off to our Baltic Cruise and two bits of trivia which I'm not sure I really wanted to know are that our Ship is about the size of ...........

The Titanic

The better news is that Cruising is statistically the safest holiday type :-) - unless you happen to be off the Somali coast that is I guess.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Food still here, less washing it can only mean

The kids aren't here. The house is less crazy, much larger, the milk and Fridge don't mysteriously run short at a moments notice, the toilet paper is always available in the bathroom and the bathroom is always free. No one asks for anything and the sound of (what I swear are Wildebeest) running up and down the stairs, slamming doors and other associated din has gone.

It takes some getting used to but it is rather pleasant actually :-)

Another 3 weeks of this - bring it on!!!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Interesting Evening

Topped off by bumping into my neighbour (cured of Lung Cancer) and discussing our cases at 11:30 at night both on the way home from nights at the pub.

Interestingly I was with 3 young ladies from work and had an evening of bizarre revelations and interesting anecdotes about work. I am an INTJ I don't get a lot of this - I just want to wade in and make it work. The fun is coming soon anyway when I negotiate my hours and my rate. They want to pay me less than one of the PAs and most of the other staff as the job has never been "valued". I shall enjoy myself when I get back from my Holidays.

A part time day tomorrow - looking forward to it and to discussing some things in sober light of day!!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Not good today either

My stomach wasn't great yesterday and this morning I woke up really tired and decided not to go to work.  I ended up with an extra 5 hours in bed and feel a bit better now.

All seems well - planes have landed where they have meant to land and no news is good news.  I completely missed the date yesterday - one of my milestones - the day I went to see my Doctor who pronounced matter of factly that it was probably a tumour that I had and then told me they would knock me out but they did a flexible Cystoscope under local anaesthetic.  

I was pretty traumatised at that point and was in a right state when I got back home.  All I remember was starting to smoke - which I hadn't for ages and drink and generally feel pretty sorry for myself.  That lasted about 2 days then I moved on a bit but to think that it was 3 years ago surprises me - it certainly doesn't feel that way.  Of course the 7th July also hails the anniversary of the London Bombings and I remember being caught up in all of that.

I'm away for the 21st and 25th (diagnosis and first operation) I'm in Visby and ST. Petersburg respectively and I never thought I would be.  What will be good is that I have kept my own promise to myself to do some travelling and enjoy myself and celebrate being alive.  I'm really looking forward to it now, so much to see and do.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Strange day

I've actually not been great today, having some stomach problems. I'm certain it is the pub I took refuge in last night from the rain. It seems to be something to do with that pub - I'm sure I got something similar last time I went.

Went off to see L off. She was very upset and in tears. Not because she was going but because Mrs. F. hadn't turned up and everyone else had and they had been asked to get onto the coach. As luck would have it Mrs. F. turned up at that moment and so things were OK. There were many tears and I really didn't like it at all. As I've said before, these sorts of things really turn me over just because of how emotional it all is. It was never a problem with me before BC. These days I do find it disturbing. Anyway, all went off alright and she was laughing and joking as they drove off which is more like her really.

They've had a slight delay but have a long hard journey ahead of them. She is off to Madrid as I write and then flies to Buenos Aries later in the early hours of the morning. An overnight stop and then a 24 hour bus ride!!! I'm sure that she will be fine once she gets there.

That's the second one gone

Just driven off for final briefing. We are going up to the school to wave her goodbye but that is both A and L off of our hands for a while. It is spooky that we wont see them for almost a month each.

I'm looking forward to waving L off though, she has worked so hard for this trip and raised all the money herself whether that be sponsorship or actually working for it. It will mean a lot to have achieved that and I'm sure she will come back a changed girl. Funny thing that she is (she has my sense of the surreal), she had a T-Shirt made up with "Argentina 2009" on the front and "Fernandino" on the back because no one can spell our surname! Good on her, with that sort of attitude I am sure she will thoroughly enjoy her expedition.

The house is quiet now - spooky, I bet the food lasts longer too :-)

I'm looking forward to my holiday too - not long to go now and I can actually get some time to sort out the visits for all the stops after St. Petersburg which has taken priority whilst I arranged private tour guide and driver to get away from the madding crowd and to save a huge amount at the same time.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Day off

I decided to take the day off tomorrow. A good move by the looks of the chaos that is the house this evening. I just let them get on with their small tantrums and by this time tomorrow it will all be over and I'll be staring at Mrs. F. and wondering quite what to say after 19 years of having one or other of the kids or someone else's kids in the house. Spooky!

I will go and wave L off tomorrow and I'll try and be up to wave off A and her boyfriend. I'm pleased that they are getting out and about and exploring the world and doing it themselves. I'm glad I am still around to see it (of course) as I never did think I would be.

Once they have disappeared Mrs. F and I can get down to sorting out our own holiday.

Some massive rain showers around this evening - I got caught in two of them - luckily I was picked up part way home or else I'd have been soaked through even with an umbrella.

Still noticing the tiredness - probably the weather too not helping.

Ready to move on

Disappointment lasted all of about 30 minutes yesterday. I had kind of resigned myself to knowing that it was a stitch up after I spoke to some guys last Monday about it. What is annoying is the way it was handled and when someone says you didn't get to the next stage, they aren't actually telling you why. It would amaze me if anyone had more experience in a couple of the areas they asked for as those who do have more than me didn't go for the job.

So - plan A kicks in and I need to decide what to do here at work. The money is pants but the people are good. The trouble is that right now, the work is slowed up for the holiday period and so things aren't flat out. Maybe I should take that as a good thing? At least I have a few weeks to think it through.

Which reminds me. I had better talk to the Hospital about what they want me to do now?

Sunday, July 05, 2009

So it was a stitch up

I got the e-mail that had gone to my Spam box as it didn't come from where I sent the original. It was very short, non transparent and hardly explained why I wasn't considered.

Interestingly enough, as I understand it, they had an incumbent and had to advertise the post. It will be interesting to see who it turns out to be as I can't think of anyone with the same level of internal experience as I have but there you go.

I'm a bit annoyed that they wrote such a sh1t letter back and it was so poorly handled that I hope the new chap actually does something about the process. A few words of explanation would have gone a long way to smooth things out. The way this is done just arouses suspicions and gets hackles up.

Other than that the week has been very busy but I have been struggling with tiredness. Birthday was good, very enjoyable and today was a quiet day watching Wimbledon and recovering.

The weather looks set to break tomorrow - thank goodness as the hot nights were getting to be a bit much.

L is off to Argentina on Tuesday and A is off to Italy. Things are going to get weird around here after Tuesday :-)

Thursday, July 02, 2009

3 years in

Hardly seems that it is possible that it has been 3 years since it all kicked off.

Hardly a day has gone by when I haven't thought about my health since then. Things are getting better now as the memories fade and the traumatic times and the stress subside into the subconscious.

I'd like to think that this is it. No more for me thank you. But that isn't the case and I'll soon be back for either an operation or flexible cystoscopy to see how I am getting on. Not having the Treatment has been good and whilst I still get tired, it is nowhere near as bad as before. Now I can control it and go home early or fall asleep on the train. You adapt and move on.

There are other health issues but they are just things that getting old throws at you. I can't say I feel 100% fit but neither am I needing constant supervision and running to the doctors.

Things are OK at the moment. The collateral damage is limited to my immediate family and most of my spooked friends are back and able to talk to me. The job is good but not stretching and whilst it was the right thing to do last year, I wonder how long I can live within my capabilities and within the scope of my ambition?

So - life is rosy really, I don't have the dreaded Bladder Cancer - haven't really for getting close to 2 years and 9 months I guess. I'm feeling good and in reasonable health, I have a job that I like, that I am good at (although it doesn't challenge me), the kids are OK and my holiday is coming up soon. All in all - that is so much better than I guessed my outlook was just three years ago. I didn't realise exactly what I had at that time but I knew it was serious. Within a week it was dawning on me what I had and within three weeks I was diagnosed. A few days after that, I had the operation and my roller coaster journey really got going.

Have I changed? You better believe it I have. Goodness, what a difference in my outlook, the way I take care of myself, the way I treat other people and the way I see my life from now on. Apart from the quite strange "certainty" that goes with what I say and do now and how I talk to people, most of that I am comfortable with. I find my brain sharp as ever now in analysing business problems and coming up with plans etc. But the flip side is losing some of my well-organised side - it is as if the ordered side of my brain has surrendered that so that I can be more creative.

I am off out soon for lunch and hopefully will be able to just forget about everything.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Eve of the 3rd Anniversary

Crikey - we have been having a heatwave and I've not felt like doing much and the fatigue that this hot and humid weather - in a country that doesn't really have A/C is getting to me. Home early as I was so tired today and I am off out. Have been out every day and night this week and that goes on until Friday night.

Saturday - my birthday - Independence Day - will be one of flaking out and resting I reckon. People in my place are just plain crazy and still wearing suits and ties!

It appears that this other job may after all be a stitch up and someone has already been chosen. I think though, that the lack of correspondence and feedback is pretty bad. I know they have read my messages but even now they don't respond. I will be talking to a couple of people about it tonight and Friday and see what the situation is. If it is a stitch up then I imagine things will get a little ugly.

Tomorrow is the 3rd Anniversary of the presentation of my symptoms. Not official diagnosis day. However, it is a significant milestone for me and I am out at a lunch (how hot is THAT going to be I wonder? I shall be thinking about the onset of this which happened about 5 pm that day as I recall.

Still no news from the Hospital and I am happy enough to go on Holiday and then come back for whatever they are going to do to me. Whether it is a GA full biopsies or a peek and a poke.

I feel fine if not very tired and still somewhat overweight although if the weather carries on like this I will probably lose loads as I hardly eat in this sort of temperatures or what I do eat is normally salad.

I'd better go and get ready! A suit in this weather - what am I thinking!!