Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve

Here we are again. I went and had a look back to last year and that was funny - I thought that I had gone to get my blood test on Christmas Eve last year and yet the blog said it was New Year's Day? That was a bit strange as I was certain I had done Christmas Eve. Oh well - it just shows how your mind plays tricks on you.

I saw that I resolved to get healthier and lose some weight, so that happened. I'm about 15 stone 10 or 12 at the moment which is pretty good but I think that I ought to go for a lower weight in 2011. I need to get back exercising again too and to make some serious time to work and to rest.

So perhaps I'll list some resolutions:

  1. Lose some more weight gradually
  2. Get fitter and try to make exercise regular
  3. Make time for work and rest and distinguish between them
  4. Try and get a little bit better in terms of outlook (not as depressed as I get)
  5. Enjoy life a bit more

I think they are achievable. I'd like 2011 to allow me to take the business, Doddle, a little bit further than it is at the moment. The survey is coming along nicely which we need to add some real weight to our business plans and I'm getting really enthusiastic about the New Year and the work we are going to be doing in January and February to finalise the business plans and start to find finance.

Happy New Year to you all.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

No Silver Bullet

I remember reading the Mythical Man month by Fred Brooks and part of the re-read recently was No Silver Bullet. You can find a bit more data here and here.

The Silver Bullet - often seen wiping out Werewolves and Vampires is a simple straightforward solution which, of course in real life isn't always the case. In No Silver Bullet Brooks looks at why complexity is inherent in software development.

So what on earth am I talking about? Well I'm looking at the complexity of life and of your actions. You see it would be great to just pack everything in, move somewhere and go and start all over again - that would be great. Then you realise that you have roots, family, associations, friends, work and all sorts of complexity that invisibly hold you back. If you just upped sticks and did it yourself, you'd leave someone else with the mess you'd leave behind as there is a trail of loose ends and things left undone or part done.

I'd like to get a thumping great big broom and get rid of loads of stuff and clear my brain and my life out and just get going from a relatively clean sheet. It isn't going to happen but it would be nice to imagine that you could. New Year's Resolutions wouldn't come much bigger than changing your whole life I guess :-)

For now, I doubt that the gravity of my life will allow me to pack it all up and go do something different but it would be nice if it were possible.


When most people have trouble one way or the other. Ask my friend who mans a telephone helpline for the Samaritans - this time of year is one where break down occur and things start to get troubled for many.

I can see that as I'm probably feeling a bit like that myself again. It happens every Christmas even before I got ill and I work my way through it - or appear to. Things are not always right and it was funny that today, Flocky Bicep called up and I suddenly realised that I no longer have the Secretary's job and actually in a perverse way I miss that because it kept me busy and allowed me to perhaps take out some of my boredom on it.

Then there is the very real changes going on in the household, the kids aren't kids any more and have their own social life and one drives and the other one soon will do. They are out a lot and there is a lot of adjusting that needs to happen basically because kids run your life and when you start to get it back again you need some time to rehabilitate. I've just sat up as they have been about 80 miles and back this evening and gone to a Ski Dome for snow boarding lessons - its a long trip around the major orbital motorway around London and they've just got in way past midnight but then they are 20 and 17 and so it isn't a problem - I very much doubt I was in until the early hours myself at their age.

I just think that things are a lot different this year and that Mrs. F. and I have to start adjusting to it. Unfortunately those adjustments aren't without their problems in that over the years many of the things I like she despises and - if the truth be know - I don't find talking about children and her work in the Nursery particularly interesting nor inspiring, heroic and wonderful thought that work maybe, I never understood the subtleties of 3 year olds psychology preferring to immerse myself in scientific and historical pursuits.

So tonight after trying to work out what to do as the kids are doing something for New Year (well they are having a party at our house) I was trying to suggest things to do and to get out of the way as who wants your parents around to spoil your party? We won't go to London for the New Year's Eve celebrations - whilst the trains run all night I just can't imagine myself in a crush of people to watch the fireworks for 10 - 15 minutes. Parties - well Mrs. F. doesn't "do" parties or people particularly well so that's not on the menu either. I doubt she'd like the pub and these days you have to pay and get a ticket to get into the pub on New Year's Eve. A restaurant might be on the cards (I can imagine not an expensive one though - Mrs. F. doesn't do expensive either).

I'd be happy to get away for a few days to a Hotel somewhere but not sure that will go down well either as she'd not want to leave the kids to fend for themselves. I reckon the UN ought to come in and mediate in the decision :-)

Oh well - I can see why other people, not just me, feel like this, I suppose it is a relief when they all clear off back to school, University and work and leave me home alone to press on with my stuff that some sort of equilibrium falls about the house.

Monday, December 27, 2010

That figures

Heard from a distant relative about her daughter and found out that she had breat cancer which I knew about but that the stress of that sometime afterwards had led to what we old peopl call a nervous breakdown. Having seen this sort of breakdown at first hand and, dare I say, been quite close myself (I'm sure), it would appear to me to be totally within context of having Cancer and carrying on family life and even a career whilst getting on with the business of having your treatment and having the arguments in you mind all the time about it.

Now, I'm not sure if you can get cancer and just treat it in your mind as something like a broken leg or serious illness? My experience says that you actually battle a lot of this out in your mind and that you seriously wonder about the future and you do a lot of inward looking stuff. I imagine some people are so busy or make themselves so busy that they don't think too much. Whatever it is, I think it is pretty important to know that not only are you weakened by having cancer physically you must also be weakened mentally although I also believe you draw an awful lot of strength and determination through it.

Hopefully she is on the mend but these things take ages - a friend's wife has been pretty down all year but came out before Christmas to an lunch and was in good form - where before she wasn't good at all. It takes a long time to repair body and soul when you get cancer and I just hope that she recovers quickly and gets on with things without putting herself under any more stress.

Well that was unexpected

Mr. Waste of Oxygen turned up and was almost a changed man - apparently retirement has done him well, he is less stressed and less obnoxious and was downright chatty and even amusing at times.

I'm staggered but pleased also as this guy has disrupted my Christmas for many years. At least he was bearable and even went as far to make some presents for us (he doesn't normally do presents). We decided this year not to embarrass him by not buying him anything. Now who looks red faced :-)

I've had quite a good Christmas so far and I managed to only offend a few people so I'm getting better at this.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

And now for Christmas

In just a few hours I'll be up and getting things sorted out for another Christmas Day here. Unfortunately the waste of Oxygen man will be here and so I will be extremely busy elsewhere all the time until he falls asleep and can then meet the family. Not my side of the family, Mrs. F's side and I get on OK with them all except the one runt in the litter. You may perceive my disdain and non Christian feelings but at the end of the day he just disrupts the general feeling of proceedings. If he was a horse, we'd have to shoot him - nuff said.

I make a special effort at Christmas to get along with most people but this guy stretched my patience and my goodwill to the utter limit. I'd rather it not be a test and for him and my sister in law to "GET THE MESSAGE" that I'd rather not have this social misfit in the house at all. However, as he amuses everyone else I suppose I had better let him in. Never have I met someone with the airs and social graces of Gollum's father :-)

So - peace and goodwill to everyone but Mr. Waste of Oxygen - to you - all I want is for you to behave and don't give me back chat or be your unsocial, bigotted, ugly self. For once - turn up and enjoy the company and occasion and don't make everyone else feel like they want to murder you at the end of the meal. I take no prisoners and tell him the way it is in direct and non direct terminology - the irony being that neither he nor my sister in law get it at all - someone please bring me a cattle prod or tazer for Christmas - you KNOW I will make good use of it!

Merry Christmas to everyone and peace and good will to all men, except Mr. Waste of Oxygen. Have a good one!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Worked a Treat

Getting my blood done on Christmas Eve is great as I waited all of 3 minutes until my number was called and I was in and out in less than 5 minutes. That's excellent and even better than last year. I went and got some Chestnuts on the way home but declined the Cafe and Pub returning home to cook the Ham and just chill out with the family. The girls been quite funny this afternoon dressing up as nativity play cast members and photographs a plenty have been taken.

Mrs. F. and the girls have gone off to Church and will collect me on the way back and we go - as is tradition - to our friends house for a lively party start to the party season. It is all very special and all the children, who have grown up together, well hardly children I suppose, will be reunited and we will hear all about University life and what they have been up to since we last saw them.

I'm wearing sensible shoes this year and I am not going to fall over in the ice like I did last year!! That was a crazy episode.

Tomorrow everyone is over here and I can get to cook the Christmas Meal - maybe next year I'll do a bit more cooking - after all I'm pretty good at it - there just isn't much call for me to do it as everyone's lifestyle means they are rushing around all over the place.

Merry Christmas to you all. Let's wish for health and peace for the coming year.

Late again

I've decided to go get my blood test again on Christmas Eve - it worked out nicely last time with just a few minutes waiting and so I will do that again tomorrow coming back by way of the Cafe and the Pub. Then it is into Christmas Eve routine of cooking and glazing the gammon and then off to friends for the evening - this time I will not fall over!!!

I'm late because I worked all day today to get messages out for my survey for the new service, rallying people to the cause and then we watched a couple of films which was nice. Then Blade was on TV - and I have only ever seen the last 5 minutes of that so I watched it and then realised that finishing at 1:40 wasn't in my planning at all.

I'm fasting now until I get the blood test done so just water. The GP instructions don't tell you so I had to ring up. No apology or acknowledgement that they don't tell you of course. At least I'll get that out of the way for another year.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Looking Back

I see that this year, at last, I'm looking in better shape than I have for the previous 4 Christmas periods. For this will be my 5th Christmas since being diagnosed and that in itself is a massive milestone that - until I just checked, hadn't occurred to me. I looked back and each year is slightly better than the year before but what surprised me is how re-reading them I feel that I was "down" in each one and not the way I perceive myself to be.

I feel that I am up far more than down person. I really feel that I have been positive and yet when I read what I felt like last year and right back to 2006 I see that, in fact, I was actually quite low or my writing was quite low. I seem to be rattling on about lots of things that were getting and keeping me down and I guess, being ill, it does mean that you go through a lot of unpleasant stuff and I can remember that Christmas of a few years ago I was pretty ill and another I was trying to recover from BCG treatments and another I had my operation cancelled and I went back in again just before Christmas and so on. This year - I have had a clear in my recent scan, I'm up about the business, I feel confident and I am beginning to get back to the "me" of 5 years ago.

I said earlier this year (here) that cancer took away my self-confidence and made me lose my identity and doubt myself. I can't tell you what that is like unless you have experienced it for yourself. Worse than that - whether it is me or not - I feel that no one I know treats me the same since that date and whilst that may be surprising, it doesn't re-wind and everything resets itself to June 2006 - far from it. I still feel a little alienated from some of my friends and family - not in a seriously bad way but I'm just different and I couldn't tell if it is them or me that changed those relationships. don't get me wrong, some of these relationships have got closer, some more distant and in many ways I say I don't care but in truth I find the loss a little hurtful sometimes.

So - there's me starting off with how good it all is and yet it is still a depressing old post :-) Not meant to be, just reflecting on the changes and the differences. I am massively improved this year - confident - strong - brain working again and firing on 80 to 90% and almost back to my own comfort levels. Self confidence is being worked on - I am much better but the bouts of claustrophobia and emotional wobbles are still there - manageable (just) and I am beginning to cope with them although whether or not I could ever commute into and out of work in London everyday now is debatable, I hated it even when the trains were relatively uncrowded, the recent weather would have completely rattled me with huge delays, cramped conditions and broken down trains - no - glad I'm no longer doing that. Why on earth you'd put yourself through all of that I have no idea.

So what have I learnt looking back?

  • Living is good
  • Exercise sucks and still does but it helps keep you healthy
  • Eating properly has advantages - look I lost a stone and a quarter already and still gradually losing weight - not for the next 2 weeks though!!
  • People and good health are more important than loads of money and stress
  • Worse things happen to other people
  • Humanity is out there - it arrives unexpectedly and unannounced sometimes - that's nice
  • People may treat you badly - it doesn't mean you have to go down to their level and join them (OK so occasionally I enjoy giving as good as I get)
  • I have every right to express my opinion as do you - get over it
  • The biggest rut you have to get out of is the rut YOU are in
  • A one in a million chance still means there is a chance
  • You meet the nicest people on the Internet and occasionally the nastiest
  • If it itches - scratch it
  • Friends - it's nice to have them - value them
  • Jealousy, deceit and loathing destroy relationships
  • Building a business is a lot of hard work and sweat and toil not some romantic journey where you don't participate but reflect in my hard work as if it was your idea (sorry I needed to get that out of my system).

So I'm sure there are plenty of other lessons and things I learnt too. I have made a decision that today is the last day that I am working and the remainder of the holiday period is mine to potter around and enjoy.

I think I'll come back to doing a review over the next week or so as I found it quite disturbing to read how I was over the past 4 Christmas periods. The first one was interesting as of course I was on treatment for CIS and hadn't quite realised how serious that was - thinking that perhaps the worst was behind me at that time - I know different now of course!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Reconnecting with some old friends

I hadn't realised quite how I'd disconnected myself from my old friends - whether consciously or not and it was nice to re-build those relationships and friendships especially now that I am feeling up to it. I think I can now begin to see and believe quite how ill I was these past years and where I thought I was doing a good job of keeping in touch and all the balls in the air - I didn't. I suppose I knew that when I took the job at the Charity - it was a very convenient bolt hole and I'm forever grateful for them for that. I hope they got good value out of me in the time I was there - I feel they did - but I'm biased.

I feel my confidence growing and my strength returning and my brain is getting back to what it used to be like. Things, of course, are not the same as they were before, far from it, they are better in many ways and I've learnt some home truths that I'm disappointed about but not surprised by. These are things about me and I've had to deal with finding out that I wasn't as universally liked as I thought I was before I had cancer. I mean it's no beauty parade with me anyway - that's why I used to run projects and manage things - someone has to do it and someone has to not be liked all the time. I'm slightly disappointed in myself in terms of quite how I behaved then. It is interesting that the new me is quite different although I feel that in order to do what I've got to next year I may just have to return to being Mr. Assertive and things may just have to be done to get to a resolution.

I'm reflecting on what happened to me this time last year as on the Christmas Eve last year I fell over on the ice causing wide spread panic amongst Mrs. F and the girls who thought I had broken something - I had - mainly my pride and composure :-) No new shiny leather shoes this year I can tell you. I had - if memory serves me rightly - only just come out of Hospital too which didn't help matters. At least this year that is right out of the way and I can relax into the holidays.

It has been good to reconnect and it has helped to have moved on a bit. I may go and look back at my blog and see what has happened these past 4 Christmas holidays and remind myself how far I have come. I've come a long, long way - I know this - it takes a period of stopping, reflection and looking back to realise sometimes just how far I've come.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Well that was interesting

Flocky - bless his little cotton socks - picked me up this evening so we could go to our rehearsal as my Jag is in the garage still being sorted out - not good news - been over a week now :-( Anyway, it's snowing and not nice but he came and picked me up and dropped me off - it is pretty slippy out there so big thanks to him.

When we got to the centre I found out that I won the Christmas raffle draw and so I came home with a box of goodies including a nice 1 Litre bottle of Famous Grouse whisky which is great as I was planning on buying one. Also loads of sweet and savoury treats for the family too so for £5 stake I guess there had to be £50 worth of goodies in the box. I'm pleased about that and so are the girls who have laid claim to the two tins of chocolates :-)

It is travel chaos out there and the snow continues to fall, the airports and railways struggle and I imagine we just ought to hunker on down and ride it out.

Admin, admin, admin

Makes the world go around :-) Phew - that's the first lot out of the way. It is one of those things I hate doing, I build things and get the working or fix things but I'm pants at running things. Administration and routine are not my thing at all, I just can't bear to do the same thing day in and day out it would drive me insane.

Still more work needing to be done on another set of tasks which I may leave to tomorrow as I have done so much work today.

Have been considering quite what to do over the Christmas period and I have come to the conclusion that pottering about is favourable. Just doing a bit here and a bit there and just chilling out. Time to get some "me time" and consider what is going to happen next year. If we thought we had been busy this year, 2011 holds far more in store and we need to be a bit more visible and proactive. I can see January being a hard graft filled month as we struggle to get to the real detail of the business costs and challenge all our assumptions and ideas.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Gee but it's cold

I don't remember a cold snap like this for 20 years or more. We got out today but it looks as if the whole place will turn into an Ice Rink tonight and tomorrow. Plus, we have more snow on the way to give us more problems tomorrow.

In the meantime - I am trying to work out why my radiator in my office isn't working? Airlock maybe? Will have to do some exploratory work tomorrow on that. At least working up here the heat is rising up the stairs so warmer here than downstairs.

Getting a crack on with my administration work which is just what I need to do. If I've learnt nothing else about having to do stuff you don't like it is to just "bite the bullet" as they say and get on and do it. I prefer the phrase we use at Doddle which is "time to eat the frog" :-)

Frog partially eaten - more frog to eat tomorrow. Best get it out of the way....

Extraordinary People

I always liked the saying "Remember that you are unique, just like everybody else" - tonight watching the TV I was reminded that so many people just what we think of as ordinary have extraordinary things they have done. Young girl on the TV survived a massive brain haemorrhage, another person today just turned up at a local shopping centre spending 3 hours digging people out of the snow and just RAOK (Random Acts Of Kindness) and then there are the people who have volunteered to work at the Hospitals because staff can't get in.

We forget how good we can all be with all today's negativity and this recent sneering TV attitude these days. Interview with Transport Minister giving him grief about condition of the roads - how often do you get 6" of Snow in 30 minutes? Then when he was trying to answer that they kept interrupting. The BBC used to do good unbiased reporting and they actually used to have news on the news. Now because of some entertainment programmes - you get breaking news followed by some anal entertainment update then some news items about hundreds of people being killed. I am going off the news from these guys as they rarely give unbiased reports, their journalists react rather than report and their propensity to talk down to me and to treat a ballroom dancing light entertainment as world news needs to be seriously thought through. Utter bollocks in my opinion and hardly the torch carrier for the world in terms of journalism.

The snow came in with a vengeance this morning and we are back under about 4 to 6 inches of snow - not as much as before but wetter and more inclined to freeze than the last lot (doesn't make sense but the last lot was more powder snow). Somehow we need to get L to work tomorrow if possible. It looks as if we might just miss a further set of snow tomorrow - but we wont know until then.

I have moved back into the office freeing up the dining room I have been working in for the past 6 weeks or so. I need to get stuck into some serious work in the next few days. The survey and web site seem to be going along fine at the moment so I'm pleased about that - but I am curtailing my workload for the remainder of the week and will try to make a fresh start on the 4th January - well that is the plan.

I'm now quite pleased with myself following last Tuesday's judgement day after having a few low days afterwards. Hearing from Steve in the US and also some of my friends - this is quite common and it seems unexpected but when you consider the sort of stresses you are under (even if you prepare and don't show them) you could see how it happens.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Whoa - Snow and Tired and Disaffected and...

So yes - Snow - wasn't expecting that until tomorrow - it has stopped but we have a good dusting - enough to make the roads slippy. The car isn't cured (this is my car) and will have to continue to wait to see what is wrong. Some sort of electrical problem the man says - they just need time to find and sort it out!

I've been working all day and just didn't fancy going out in the snow, hanging around for a train, getting cold all so I could get a few free beers and vol-au-vents - so I just carried on here. I have to say I didn't feel particularly welcome when I went there last time and so in a way I need to make this break with the place. I can't keep balancing that and my doddle work.

We are expecting a huge dump of snow tomorrow - that will be fun.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

That's not good

I've been following a blog for some time and got the wrong end of the stick and thought that Jeanne had died a few months ago and was just shocked but I hadn't read it properly.  Things looked they were going quite well until today when this post was released.

I can't even begin to imagine how this feels.  I'm pretty sad about it but you have to admire and be in awe of this lady's attitude.  The Blog is an excellent resource and testimony to living with cancer.

Saw this the other day - Christmas Dream - Perry Como

I'd forgotten the Odessa File started like this - rather seasonal I thought.

I'm getting into the spirit of this now :-)

Thursday dawns

I was up earlier than normal and I'm pretty much charged ready for today with the team.  I've cleared the decks and I'm ready to finish the year with a flourish and finalise the things I am working on and then get to do some serious R&R.

Before then though - I reckon I need to spend a few days on catching up on my administration work and a few days getting in touch with people I haven't spoken to all year long...

It's rather nice now, on reflection, to be looking forward to a year which promises a healthy start and I hope that it continues when the next judgement day arrives in April 2011 - it sounds a long way off doesn't it?  I bet it will be here in a flash :-)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


It is time to slow down and relax.  The team are here tomorrow and I intend to look at shutting down as far as possible for a couple of weeks to recharge our batteries and hit 2011 at full pelt.  It will also give me time to catch up on some essential administration here.

I could do with a couple of weeks off and just take some time for myself for once.  I don't think I will need to convince the boys too much about that.

After tomorrow I have a few more things to do to get ready for Christmas but it is Mrs. F's birthday first and Christmas doesn't happen until the 17th at the earliest and more like the 18th.  She has to work tomorrow which is a real shame.  We are booked for a meal in the evening so we may get back home before the bad weather - on its way from the Arctic, sets in.   Bbbrrrrr.....

After the High - the Low

Now you'd be right to think what has HE got to be Low about but it is just the way I feel today - I should be ecstatic but in fact I'm a little bit down and not bubbly etc.  I can raise my game to be me when everyone is around but actually I feel a little flat.

I think it is to do with the stress (whether concious or not) of going to get your judgement and I felt really in control and well prepared yesterday and happy but not leaping around when it was over.  I hadn't thought about it one way or the other.

Today I think my body has just relaxed and it is as if I am drawing breath again and so I feel quiet, reflective, grey, neutral and not much of anything.  It is a very strange place to be in but just goes to show how much it takes out of you leading into one of these procedures where you get to have your fortune read and where your stress levels are much higher than you probably thought they were.

After all said and done I am very happy with the result - today though I am just not showing it :-)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I went up to the pub and met my mates and we had a good few beers and a belly full of laughs and I managed to squeeze out my apology for being a "bit of an arse" a little while ago.

For some reason, I like to beat myself up and give myself a hard time about my condition and how I treat my friends and how - well - self centred I am.   You may think that when you have Cancer, it is all about you and I suppose you would be right.  The problem is that I suddenly get a gripping fear about it all being about me and that I somehow turn into a "Me. Me. Me. Me" sort of person.  I suppose it does do that and then I try and redress the balance.

It's not easy being in this place and it's not easy balancing your own needs with those of others.  This blog is the pressure valve on many occasions and thank goodness it is here as without it, where could I have turned?

Today the news has once again been good and I can only hope that it continues to be so.  To everyone I have offended in the past 4 1/2 years I apologise but there is every possibility that I will continue to offend you for as long as I write :-)

Wishing you all a great Christmas - I think that now I am going to have one and that I am ready to pack up work for a short while and just relax properly.


Well that went better than expected - all clear and things are looking up.  The cytology was clear and the scope was fine - in fact better than I expected it to be.  That was clear, so pleased with the news and really delighted that it was a better experience than the first one I had which was of course when I was bleeding heavily and not really at all mentally ready.

Today I started off with drinking quite a bit of water and coffee and just kept going and had around 2 or 3 pints by the time I left to go to the Hospital.  The hairdresser distracted me and I went to have a shower and got myself ready.  As it happens when we arrived I was whisked in pretty quickly, did  a urine test and got changed into my gowns, I swallowed two ibuprofen and two paracetamol and then went in - they gave me two antibiotic tablets and I was then on the bench and if I was there 2 minutes that was all it was.  The Registrar did the procedure and said that he'd like to see me in 4 months for another scope.  

There was some discomfort but not the awful stinging I had last time and it was similar to having the BCG done.  The nurse said my breathing was good and I explained that all the BCGs I'd had probably helped - as usual my stress balls caused some comment but as I explained - I find it works well as I don't move my hands about and it allows me to concentrate on breathing as well.

I'm now going to sit back and do nothing for the rest of the day!  I also had a toasted cheese sandwich for lunch as a reward - I don't eat bread and so it was like comfort eating :-)

I'm obviously delighted with the result and can look forward to Christmas and every other day in a better vein.

Slept Well

I don't tend to if it is an operation and I'm ready to go in and at the moment just waiting for the hairdresser to turn up so I can get my hair cut and then get into preparation mode at full tilt.

Drinking plenty of water and liquids so that I am well hydrated.  It may hurt when you pee but making sure you can actually pee and just wash it all through is equally important.  

These procedures are important little milestones in the overall scheme of things.  I am hoping that I'll get a clear of course but nothing can be guaranteed.  I liked the fact that people tell me how well I look these days - hell I must have looked rough before :-)  I did see some older photos of me and I looked grey and washed out so perhaps there is something in that?  I am hoping that all will be well today - that would mean a good Christmas and New Year and no matter how I play down the fact that this is just one of those things you have to do and that it doesn't play on your mind.  From experience the relief and energy you get after being told things are OK is massive so there must be some seed of doubt and worry, I guess it is just natural to fear the worst - even an optimist must do that I guess.

At least this will be out of the way though and that is a good thing.  More later. 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Judgement Day

In 12 hours to be exact - I'm sort of ready to go, we have the hairdresser at 9 in the morning and then I can go have a shower.  Mrs. F will run me down to the Hospital and I can call her when I am out.  I have my stuff ready to go - a Kindle, MP3 player, stress balls, Meds and some water, my letter and a few other bits and pieces.  I must remember to have plenty to drink.  

Mrs. F. and the girls are going off to London to see the Nutcracker and so they will just drop me off here and I'll look after myself for the rest of the day.  Hopefully they will be home in the early evening.

It is Mrs. F's birthday on Thursday and we were going to book a restaurant but the weather looks atrocious for Wednesday night and in to Thursday morning.   It looks as if we will have a severe fall of snow like a few weeks back.  Not looking forward to that I have to say but we will just have to see how it is.

I'm reasonably relaxed about going for the flexible cystoscopy tomorrow.  I've had one before and although that was a long time ago, I remember the only bit was how bad it stung.  That is why when I arrive and just before the procedure I'm going to bash down two ibuprofen and two paracetamol.  I hope that it will sort me out long enough to get home and then I can just curl up in bed for an hour or two.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Still not right

So I cancelled going out Saturday as my throat feels like it is wrapped in barbed wire and now I've got the sneezes to go with it.  I wanted to go but realised that if I got cold or chilled travelling there and back I may not make the do on Sunday.  It all happens this time of year.

Have maxed out on Paracetamol and had the team around today as well.  Things are coming together quite well but a few minor problems are just holding back our progress at the moment.

At least we got the customer survey and questionnaire finished and I can publish that in time to bore all my friends at Christmas.  

Best head off to bed and see if I can't shake this cold or whatever it is off.  It isn't debilitating as such it is just a nuisance.  It has been a week since I had my tooth out and that appears to be healing OK although there is still some swelling around the area. 

Mrs. F & L are off to Gloucester tomorrow - L is attending the University there for an interview.  She has a presentation to give and has to discuss education with them.  I think she will do well.  They have to get there and stay overnight in an Hotel and then carry out quite a bit on Saturday and they'll get back Saturday night.

I hope that I'm fit and well when they get back or for Sunday when we have our Christmas Carvery Lunch which I am really looking forward to.  Of course next week will be interesting too as I have my judgement day and it is Mrs. F's birthday too so again a busy week ahead.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010


I feel rough as you like today - sore throat still, I'd have thought that should have gone by now and thudding low down headache.  I've had enough pills to kill a horse and I'm finding sitting down trying to work just isn't doing anything for me at all.  

I will perhaps give up and just go and lie down when Mrs. F and A and L arrive back from the Nativity Play up at the Nursery.   

I was disappointed to hear last night that a friend had lost her job after 15 years in the job on some trumped up disciplinary.  Little people hide behind this sort of behaviour, if you want rid, step up to the plate and say so don't dress it up as something that you made up that they did wrong.  This is someone who went out of her way to make sure things happened - in her own time and all the other heroics she performed.  The good thing is that the people left behind who assisted in the betrayal don't know the half of it and it should be amusing to watch it all tumble down like a house of cards.  However, she is left with the bad taste and feeling that she did wrong when  once again some little jumped up spreadsheet jockey - who obviously has no balls - wants to balance his books.  Good for him, I hope that his employers - for he answers to others - sh1t on him like he has on others.  Little prick.

I've quite tired myself out doing that little flame out.  I'd like to meet the little git face to face, little dictators are my speciality :-)

Right - retiring hurt - I feel I want to cough but know it will feel like barbed wire if I do :-(

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Blimey it's cold today

Then I found out Mrs. F. had wound the thermostat down to 15!  15 for goodness sake no wonder my feet are like blocks of ice.  The best bit is she gets in and says it's cold in here why don't you put the thermometer up?  

The laptop has been playing up all day - it intermittently drops the network but not the internet and just randomly connects and disconnects as and when it feels fit.  This is apparently quite normal.  Of course if I'd like to invest a few thousand pounds upgrading the reminder of the house's PCs and infrastructure then it would go away.  As if!

Finding that some of my team aren't taking the launch of the web site in the right way seeking only to publish the web site address without positioning it with the obvious result that people don't get it and have written huge critiques about it.  That has been put right now and hopefully the little note positioning it will go out and stop wasting everyone's time.  Certainly we got fed up with trying to fend off loads of comments that wouldn't have been fielded in the first place if they were correctly managed.  Some people have an overly romantic view of what it is to build a company from scratch thinking, I am sure, that this will all be easy and corporate.  Those of us who have done it before know that this is the honeymoon period, the worst is about to break upon us in 2011 if we get the money.  I feel I may have to just give these guys a reality check talk soon.

So today has been one of cold feet (in more ways than one) a few smack downs and at last I have completed the customer survey form and got that on-line and in a printable version - thank goodness for that.  It has taken me months to get everyone to agree it and finally that is done.  

This time next week I'll have had my judgement day inspection and no doubt be hopping around peeing razor blades.  I am getting myself prepared for that but frankly, after having had plenty of things shoved up me without the benefit if local anaesthetic and all the other stuff they do to me these days this will be a relief not to have to prepare myself for an in patient procedure.


The latest information on Aspirin - amazing findings out this morning from the BBC and I just saw the interview it is pretty impressive findings based on lots of data.

A small daily dose of aspirin - 75mg - substantially reduces death rates from a range of common cancers, a study suggests.

That's the dosage I've been on for around 4 years so let's hope that it is so.

Monday, December 06, 2010


Having fun, enjoying the company of people and just all getting along with each other.  It was so nice this evening to find that the guy I've been having so many problems with over quite a period of time is almost back to his old time best.  He is still in deep trouble but at last seems to have accepted that and is fighting his way back.  His old sense of humour is appearing again and that's just great and it is pleasing to see that.  Fingers crossed for him, he has an interview and could land himself a job that may actually steady his ship and allow him to build into 2011.  I do hope so.  He has had a wretched time of it this year.  It will also give me a bit of a breather too.

Talking of a laugh, L & A were on top form tonight L has my sense of the absurd and A has my darker sense of humour.  Between them bouncing off each other and taking the rise out of me too it was seriously amusing in the house tonight.  We haven't had quite so many laughs for a long time.  I like it and they are very funny when they relax and get going.  I hope that the next few weeks will be good for us over the festive season - goodness knows we haven't had the best of times these past 4 1/2 years and I'm seriously considering just putting everything on hold and just going for a two week mellow and chill out, leave the business to look after itself and see if we can't all get back to normal again.   

Not that things were abnormal but you can probably imagine that things have been strained and we have all had to deal with me being ill.  I may whinge about how I've been, to them it can have been no easier seeing my looking like sh1t and perhaps  not being my usual self.

Time to let our hair down and make up for the rather staid Christmas holidays we have had before.  I will see if I can make that so for us all, it would be a good goal to aim for before the end of the year.

No Screening For A While Then

This report just out: and the report can be downloaded here show that it isn't conclusive to run screening tests at the moment to diagnose bladder cancer.

I know that I am still providing samples regularly which I believe are in part to do with this.  They get the sample some time before hand and can relate the actual results to those in the sample.

I'm still pretty impressed with the rate that discoveries are happening and after listening to Professor Colin Cooper a month or so back about the advances in Prostate Cancer research - I think that things are moving in the right direction.

Let's hope that bladder cancer, which is getting pretty much high up on the list of male cancers at No. 4 will be able to be detected early and dealt with swiftly in the future.  Until then, we need to be thankful of the work that has been done to date especially in the efficacy of BCG.

1 week to go until my Judgement Day.  At least I will not be going through the pre-assessment (would have been tomorrow) and all that palaver.  Now to see if I can brave the Flexible Cystoscopy out - after having my Wisdom tooth pulled last week and root canal a few weeks before that I sure hope so. 

A Cold - Just the After Effects?

I can't tell whether this sore throat and occasional sneeze is a cold or the after effects of the tooth extraction.  I have felt lousy for the past 4 days ever since I've had the tooth hauled out.   I'm still whacking back the tablets and hoping that they will resolve the headache and other jaw and throat issues.  

Last night was one of those nights where - as often happens - I got to thinking too much and the room closed in around me and I felt claustrophobic and melancholy all at the same time.  I'm not sure what brought it on, maybe the slight tweaks in my throat and nose were making me breath unusually or perhaps thinking about things too much from the previous blog.  I certainly had an unsettled night taking a while to relax and then to actually fall asleep.

Little episodes like this happen and I sometimes don't understand why - I'm really fragile and vulnerable at those moments.  I was really sad and down and just felt sorry for myself.  Luckily these episodes pass and I can get up and on pretty fast from them these days.  

I need to see if I can find out what the trigger event(s) were so I can recognise this sort of thing coming and deal with it.  At least it isn't as bad as the earlier episodes which gives me hope that these will continue to get fewer and farther between and be shorter and less intense.  They are still not very nice though.  I guess my heads repairing itself as well as my body getting back to some sort of normality.


Is everything so the tag line on our site goes.  But perception means many things.  I like our tag line as it works on many levels it says a lot about how we feel about the business and how we feel about ourselves.  It also asks the reader to reflect on what they are thinking and feeling etc.

So perception - how do I or others perceive bladder cancer?  It floated into my head tonight and I  considered what I knew from the various conversations I have had and some of the observations I made on my journey.   There are major differences of course if you talk to someone who has or has had cancer as opposed to someone who hasn't.   

Perception is the knowledge between those of us who have had cancer and how we immediately understand the situation of the other person.  By this I mean as soon as we both realise that we have had cancer then we automatically have a bond of understanding and we know what the other has probably been through and it is OK (generally) to talk in some detail about what went on and how we are, the tests and the blood and gore etc.

If we haven't got that cancer bond then it can be a difficult conversation and that in itself is where the perception bit comes in.  It is just difficult in terms of subject matter and different people process it differently and that makes for some interesting conversations.  

I was quite surprised to see someone almost jump back in surprise when I said I'd survived cancer :-) it was as if I'd have come back from the dead or something.

Some people are curious, some patronising, some fearful and some just want to get the hell away from you.   It's all driven by what you do and don't know and what you think or how you are taught to think.

Sunday, December 05, 2010


My Jaw is aching - not surprising I suppose considering the near 1 hour struggle the guy had getting my tooth out and yanking it this way and that.  The damage I can feel with my tongue is pretty extensive and where he has had to leverage against my lower jaw and lip it is still numbed.

So I've had plenty of pain killers and some throat tablets too as I've got a sore throat and sound like I've gargled with sandpaper for a week.  Talking of gargling, having to wash out my mouth with salt water 3 or 4 times a day isn't too much fun either.  

The snow is melting fast and I was able to get out and drop L off to work this morning without too much drama.  I certainly could do without the jaw ache and mild headache and sore throat though.  

Oh well I shall just have to get on with it and hope that it settles down over the next week or so.  It will be the other end in a week and a bits time.

Saturday, December 04, 2010


I went out last night, walking down roads where the snow ploughs had been - it was an amazing, quiet walk through frost sparkling roads to the pub to meet my friend.  To my amazement the pub was heaving.  We had a couple of beers and then wandered off to another pub that was a little quieter.  We had a few more beers and I wandered home again in a spooky white sparkling world.

Even after ploughing the snow must be 4 to 6 inches thick on the road.  This morning a quick thaw has gotten under way which is really getting going now.  We have the prospect of an overnight frost though and I need to drive tomorrow.

This morning I had the Jaw ache from hell and had to come downstairs to get plenty of pain killers and just lay down in my chair for a few hours.  I eventually dozed off and things are a little better now.  I suppose I ought not to be surprised considering how long it actually took to get the tooth our and also the amount of damage my gums, lips and jaw have taken.  I just need to keep taking the tablets and gargling and getting back to normality.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Salt Gargle - Yuk

I hate gargling with salt - not having tasted table or sea salt for a long time now it really is quite strange tasting so much salty water in my mouth.  It is doing me good so I have to remember that.  At least I am not looking like a Hamster this morning but I'm pretty tender and so using the pain killers just to take the edge off of it for the moment.  I woke up and there had been a bit of bleeding last night so my pillow looked a bit like the Godfather scene :-) it always looks a lot even if it wasn't.

So today the girls and Mrs. F. Have dug the drive out to the road and in some areas the ploughs have been through and sorted out the bus routes.  Local stores have been replenished and gradually people are emerging into the white scape around here.  The ploughs haven't got to us but the road looks passable with care this morning.  Just as well as we have to get L to work tomorrow somehow.

At least I have been able to get on with some work these few days and now that I'm clear of dental work for the foreseeable future I only have to go get my blood done and have my flexible cystoscopy.  I wonder if I can actually look this time?  Not sure that it would be in mine or their best interests as to pick up even the new slimmer me may be difficult :-)

Thursday, December 02, 2010

More days locked in

It seems that we will still have this appalling weather with us for some days yet and that's OK as I can stay in and get all my work done. There is sure to be plenty of disruption to come with burst pipes, refuse collections to be caught up and deliveries and post to catch up.

I'm just about to polish off some more pain killers and then do a salt gargle to sort out my mouth. It is OK but as with all these things needs careful attention and to follow the instructions to make sure it resolves itself properly.

Other than this I am feeling OK and looking forward to the morning when I can get a warm drink and food inside me.

Just to give an idea

This was yesterday - today it has doubled and so snow is half way up the cars.

Snow and A Cavity

Well another 8" of the white stuff overnight and the country is paralysed. Barely anything moving, no trains and just the odd 4WD.  It is so deep most people don't realise that they are actually acting as snow ploughs with their front spoilers piling up snow.  Efforts to move a van around the corner have made 2 hours and about 10 yards so far.  

The trip to the dentist was hard going, sometime up to my knees in snow but as he had made it in it was incumbent on me to do so as well.  The Wisdom tooth extraction was difficult and I can really feel it as there was much pulling and grinding and plenty of extra local anaesthetic which is now wearing off.   It has left a pretty badly damaged mouth and local area but plenty of pain killers appear to be sorting that out.  We are waiting for the snow to stop a little later today then the temperatures will plummet to -6 to -9 Celsius which is about 16 degrees Fahrenheit if I remember rightly!

No trains at all today again and it is amazing that we have this much snow this early in the season.  It reminds me of when I was a kid.  We don't do snow in England and we have no investment in the sort of kit that many others have as we don't normally get this sort of winter...

Anyway, no more tooth work for me until the new year - I'm going to see my dentist in March for a check up and see how things are.  For the rest of the day no hot drinks or food and starting tomorrow the old salt water rinses and slowly get back to normal.  I have to say that the Root Canal work might have been preferable but looking at the state of my tooth it sure needed sorting out.

I need to go and get some more tablets in a minute as these are wearing off and I feel like an opponent of Mike Tyson must have done.


Wednesday, December 01, 2010


If yesterday and today are anything to go by. Why two quite large lorries decided to come down our little road is beyond me. They both got stuck and thankfully a 4WD came and towed them on their way but - of course - not one could get anywhere whilst that was happening.

I reckon I haven't seen snow like this since 1967 or perhaps 1987 - it has drifted to be up to 2 feet deep - this is a lot for us in case you were wondering. Last year 6 inches of snow brought the place to its knees, this has done about the same and we are in for more. so they say.

Tooth due for extraction tomorrow which I am not looking forward to. I will call in the morning to make sure they are still going ahead. It will be a fair old walk to there - it is normally 20 minutes or so - I expect it will be 30 or 40 with it snowing.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Now that's what I call Snow

What an amazing sight this morning.  There was a fair amount of snow overnight but it just got worse during the morning and Mrs. F. kindly went up to the Hospital with my pee sample as she had to take A to get her blood test done.  I was waiting in for my business partner but the roads and basically the whole country shut down again today and so he ended up going home as the road here was blocked by abandoned cars and traffic accidents.

As there were hardly any people around A got her blood test about 30 seconds after she got there which was a blessing as she, like I, does not greatly like such things.  They handed in my test so that in 2 weeks time I can have my Flexible Cystoscopy.  Not something I'm greatly looking forward to but something that has to be done of course.

It looks as if we are in for more travel chaos - they only knew the snow was coming for about a week and they still couldn't cope.

Suddenly Christmas is upon us and I've a mountain to climb in terms of getting things done and trying to make sure that I have work and leisure things tied up.  Trouble is there are just so many things vying for my attention.  Oh well - I'm sure they'll all get done sooner or later.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Must remember

Pee in a pot tomorrow morning and get that off to the Hospital. The threat of snow here is now getting nearer. None so far tonight but that can change as quick as you like.

It is 2 weeks away from my Flexible Cystoscopy and only three days away for my tooth extraction and to top that the Doc wants a blood test (maybe I can do Christmas Eve like last time - it was empty then!!). Talking of which - the new simpler way of sorting this out isn't! They now have a printed paper form not the old bag and handwritten form - yippee progress. Well it would be if they actually informed you whether the fasting blood test is actually necessary. You see they say you no longer need to these days. On the old form it told you what to do on this one? Of course, not a word, you have to guess I suppose :-) Luckily Mrs. F is heading down to the quacks tomorrow so will ask the question of them. Typical! I wonder if it is me. Service and thinking about what you do before it backfires on you doesn't appear to be in the human Psyche at all. Why does no one think this stuff through? Someone else's job I suppose.

I'm feeling good and I had such a great weekend with the guys up in Scotland. So good that I feel that could (or should) become a regular feature on my calendar.

Some Photos of Strathaven

Pronounced "strayvan"

The Hotel

 That's roughly how cold it was :-)

The Town

Town Church

The Castle

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I'm Alive

Well I survived Scotland including the snow and ice. It was a really great time. More when I get some sleep - 7 hours + in a car there and back were enough to make me feel really tired. Let alone two nights of getting to bed gone 3 am don't help either.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Yay - web site is up

Finally the web site is up and running.

I can't even begin to tell you how disruptive it has been to get to this stage but now it is completed, I'm really happy with it and it is just enough to get our message across without too much detail.


Now to get on with the rest of the planning work.

Cold snap

It is pretty cold here and the damp weather with this cold snap goes right through you. I've been working away today on various things to get the survey questionnaire completed and we have been struggling with the web site getting that loaded onto the web site and tested.

It worked find in test, a doddle in fact, but at the moment all I can see if the text and none of the images and they really are the thing that makes the site work.

Off to Scotland - where the worst of the weather is - tomorrow morning at 05:30 so I need to get myself ready and sorted for that at some time tonight! I am looking forward to it but not to miles of snow and ice that will go with it!!!

Maybe it is finally time to move my books and computer back up to my office and work up there where it is a little warmer than in our front room which is always cool - even in the Summer.

No it can't be

Yes it is it is 1:25 in the morning and I can't work out why that should be? Then I realised I was watching a channel that was +1 on TV meaning that I started it an hour later. Oh nuts...

Oh well, that will be why my feet are cold then. Tomorrow (well later today) I need to get ready for Scotland on Friday morning. I am still sat here at my computer thrashing away. Had a good day today and the web site is agreed and ready to roll out. That will be by the end of the week.

Suddenly lots of the business and the plans are coming together in my head and I really could have done with just spending the weekend writing them up. However, Scotland beckons and we are due lots of snow just for the hell of it so instead of going up in my friends rather swish Mercedes Grand Tourer we are going to go up in the Jeep instead. Not sure what that will be like but we shall see no doubt....

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

London - Hate It

It has lost much of its appeal for me these days although Covent Garden looked fantastic, they have huge tree baubles hanging from the roof - they must be 20 foot across. Amazing.

Work was as insanely pickey as I remember it being from the last time I was there and somehow things were more distant than they have been for some time. Maybe it is all wearing a bit thin now? Anyway, I have some work to do on the site - phew, lots of work, the number of changes are substantial for me although they are minor in nature it is still quite an undertaking which will keep me busy through December and January.

The Web site is completed and we now just need the files and we can upload them and hey presto, we will be up and running - I hope.

It is late

I really should be in bed but for some reason, best known to myself, I am wide awake. Had some amazing dreams last night, real Sci-Fi stuff and how on earth the brain can deliver Blu-Ray quality images as good as that I have no idea, it was fantastic, with huge machines coming down out of the ceiling and stuff moving about everywhere, bright chrome and metallic stuff everywhere, sound, colour the lot - and then the phone went!!!

So stuck wide awake now - really getting buzzy about the website which is all but finished, a few bits of code to go in to finalise things and there we go. If I say it myself, I am pleased with the results. I hate my photo but then I hate my photo, my voice and everything else about me - I don't know why but I do dislike seeing myself and hearing my voice on tape or film throws me every time. No one else complains so I suppose other people see me differently.

Now all I want is the web site active, the email set up properly and away I go as it then starts to get really interesting.

I am off to work in about 5 hours time!!!! Back up to London to finalise the Wiki and the documents I have been working on all year. This will give me some money prior to and just after Christmas which will be nice to have. I can't see investment being available until Easter next year at the earliest!

I'm feeling self assured about my visit to the Hospital as a few weeks before then I will have a tooth extracted and having just gone through Root Canal treatment, I can only imagine that having a flexi a few weeks later will just be a doddle...

Well - I suppose I ought to go to bed now or suffer the indignation of falling asleep in a meeting (not for the first time I hasten to add!!!!) :-)

Monday, November 22, 2010

What time is it?

Or something like that I said as at 7am this morning my friend called me "Did you ring me" he asked. "No" I said dozily. "Oh well, sorry to disturb you, bye."

So I was up and I really could have done with the sleep if the truth be known!

Anyway that was a rude old start to the morning :-) SO I got up and started work early - I will be looking forward to my bed tonight though.

Some good news is that Steve Kelley's Blog has just got an award (see below). So congratulations to Steve on that - it is excellent news.

Today I managed to get really cracking on some work at last. The Web Site has been finalised over the weekend and should be ready to go up and be hosted in a few days time. It has been a long hard road and so disruptive and instructive all at the same time. My business partner and I knew there would be times like this. Indeed, this is one of those times where we are just coming down from a really high point caused mainly through the chaos and stress that the creative process has put us through. You see we are methodical process driven people who work through things and get stuff done in a planned and organised way and we drive through our workload without a problem when we get moving properly.

I hope that I'll be able to publish the web site this week before I go to Scotland that is.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Well it was 2 am

When I eventually got everyone home and then drove myself home. All was OK until a friend rang at 9 this morning. I needed that - Not!

Next week going to Scotland will be nice - apparently that is some event, it sounded a bit frightening to me. We get there around about lunchtime and the advice is - go to bed and get a few hours sleep then they go out and do many hours drinking and enjoying themselves. Then they get back in time to get a few hours sleep and have brunch! Then the real thing kicks off.

I feel my Liver giving way already. :-)

A quiet day today - it will all kick off again tomorrow when we get back to work....

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Nitty Gritty

The web site getting launched is like pulling teeth, an absolute nightmare at the moment as it doesn't get any easier to finalise. It looks OK now but there are some areas that need improvement but the Designer/Developer is giving us a hard time over it. A bit of a shame really as you'd have expected that one review and changes would be included!

Anyway, I am sure that a "chat" on Monday will resolve that and we can at last put the site out there, live. There is so much work still to do but I managed to get the research polished off for the background of the Business Plan. A few more weeks and it will be Christmas and I will be working flat out getting letters and cards written. I hope to "encourage" all my friends to look at the website and also to fill in my questionnaire too so that I can have a file of evidence on what people want from what we are doing.

I am off out today, doing the driving for my friend and his son, as I did a year ago. It seems only fair as he is driving me to Scotland and back next week. I shall be abstaining from drinking which is no bad thing given that these guys will have their meeting, a nice meal and then they will repair to the Conservative Club and drink anything less than conservatively :-) At least I can run them home and then get back to my bed - last time it was 1:30 or 2 in the morning!

I don't even want to think what it will be like next week!


I had a thought tonight walking back to the house after a nice Curry and a few beers with Flocky Bicep and a potential member of our Lodge. The thought I had came from meeting an old friend who's Brother-In-Law has cancer - non Hodgkinsons Lymphoma type - and is receiving a good old thwack of chemo for his troubles.

His attitude - is - well, resigned and dour and this, in my humble opinion (and his) is not the way to tackle this. OF COURSE, it isn't easy to face up to it and OF COURSE it isn't nice and OF COURSE it knocks you about a bit but the very last thing you need to do is to take a negative attitude to it or to have a resigned attitude.

In my mind I firmly believe that Cancer made me a much better person. Many people have alluded to this quite assured and almost arrogant person they knew before the cancer to someone who has a real empathy with people - especially those in a similar situation. Cancer took me from being one sort of person to another. I explained to my friend about how things were really good for me at the moment. Whilst life wasn't straightforward any-more it was so much better, I also laughed about my "I'm Not Dead Yet" Monty Python Tee Shirt. It's all about attitude, I'm convinced that if you want to "roll over and give up" that you will get your wish. I was determined to beat this and to show everyone else that there was no shame in having cancer, that it wasn't something to be scared of and that you can get on with your life and continue as long as you had the will and the humour to do so!

I feel sorry for the guy with the wrong attitude. You have to make up your mind to battle away with what you've got or have a laugh trying.

Cancer changed my life and "made me" what I am today. That's no bad thing.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Spotify and WE7

Amazing you can get your favourite music piped to your desk these days. I've been able to rediscover lots of music and just set up play lists and listen when I want. If I don't like a track I can skip it.

Its interesting that technology can do this for us. The team are over here today. My business partner hasn't been terribly well this week so we have slipped a bit. We hope to get the website sorted out pretty fast as it should have been live this week. Our emails are working though which is cool.

I'm having to reload lots of software and that's bringing its own fraught moments as I am having to muck around just to get this new laptop to see the network - the arrogance of the business that released something that just doesn't work properly. I hope we never do that.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Relaxed about things - and then again

Last night was a difficult sleep night. I can only put it down to getting the letter to go in for the flexible cystoscopy. Yet, I know there isn't much I can do about it or about the outcome and I actually feel quite OK about it. I realise that it is one of those things that I have to do regularly and if it is good news then Christmas will be that much better.

You get to know straight away which is pretty impressive (one way or the other) and I suppose that for that I should be grateful. I think I should be OK and Mrs. F. says she is around that day so once I get "done" she can come and pick me up. I might ask her to drop me off so I can find the place first - it is the local Hospital. I must also remember that I need to do a urine cytology sample a few weeks before hand too.

I think, given the fact that I've had one of these before and I've had numerous BCG instillations that I'll be OK. It is all pretty much over and done with quickly and so it is just the stinging that I need to deal with. I have a strategy for that and agreed that with my Consultant and that is to arrive with a bottle of water and some pain killers and take those as I arrive about 15 minutes before the procedure. Hopefully that will help sort things out.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Scopes Away

14th December in the morning for my flexible Cystoscopy - late morning so I'll have a good chance to hydrate ready for it and as long as I thwack back a few pain killers early on I should be OK - although having said that of course it may be different to the first one of these I had. I imagine that I shouldn't get the stinging I got first time. Famous last words indeed. I think the family are off to see the Nutcracker that day. It somehow seems appropriate :-)

Let it all out

It was an interesting comment, chatting to a friend who just went in to melt down, middle of a restaurant. Luckily his mates were with him and the waiter got turned away as did other helpful people in a nice way of course. It was interesting as I also read about someone not knowing what to do whether to laugh or cry and I can fully understand that - almost a daily occurrence things just set you off or trigger responses.

I was never receptive to these things before. With today's full on internet information you get a lot more stimuli than before and somehow I'm more connected to the news and people's experiences than I ever used to be which I fully attribute to the realisation of my own mortality.

Someone did say that your whole body goes out of tune and out of equilibrium, your natural balance of hormones just get out of sync. Your ability to call on reserves such as adrenalin for flight or fight situations often calls on reserves that are almost empty or are empty. Whether that is so or not, I'm not sure but I often have these moments, several times a day where I stop myself getting involved too deeply into something that will result in me feeling bad or make me get emotionally involved.

I'm sure there is something about this somewhere - there was certainly some stuff in the Post Cancer Fatigue document I read but in this country we treat the symptoms and are beginning to look at the cause but no one thinks too hard about the emotional wreckage that Cancer leaves behind for you and your friends and family. Interestingly MacMillan are doing something in their survivor programme. Learning to live in this post cancer world may take a bit longer than I thought.

Hennesey XO and a Chinese to savour

What a lovely evening. The Chinese restaurant was heaving - which on a Tuesday is pretty good as nowhere else seemed to be. A superb meal and a wander up to K's house and some rather nice XO Cognac and a few hours setting the world to rights was all we needed to round off a lovely evening.

On a cold winters evening a lift home from V was also most welcome. Just time to review my emails and consider what we spoke about and what I learnt tonight.

Most importantly - I have some very nice friends and we share very similar values. I feel uplifted and happy to have decided to have spent time with them. That will do I think.

We had an interesting conversation on "values" and I'll try and work some of that in to the blog down this week. Now back to the issue of trying to sort out all my misbehaving laptops and PCs!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The pain starts when

You pay the bill. End of Root Canal work today and I suppose, on reflection, it wasn't too bad. I needed a few Ibuprofen later on when I got back but it was a difficult one, so he said, and I needed my jaw jammed open. I was there for an hour and 15 which was a long time. I was a bit too tense to start with but once the tooth was ready it was OK and I started to breathe a bit better.

This just leaves the extraction to come in a few weeks time, I gave myself a few days between Scotland and having this done. It will be early December and whilst I remember having it done some time ago - I have given myself a fair bit of time between then and Christmas to allow me time to recuperate.

I am out tonight with some of the team for a Chinese meal and I have to say I am looking forward to that immensely. It's nice to get out and have a chat with my friends. Unfortunately one of them has had to cry off with something approaching "man Flu" - poor chap :-)

My computer woes grow and it is just a pain trying to get this computer to talk to the rest in the house. I can see that there may be "words" soon if it doesn't start to work properly. It's just pants that this can be allowed to be the normal experience people have with their computers.

My fault for setting the house up with shared printers and services.

It's very cold here today and my feet are freezing - I may decide to go back to my warm office environment in the next week or two.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Whatever I did Yesterday

Has disappeared today and about midday the network on my PC broke again and I was left without network connections and without printing just when I needed it. I hate IT, I hate PCs and Technology just sucks, it never ever used to be this difficult, someone just decided to screw it up and make it insensible to us. And I know what I'm doing (or have a rough idea).

So today was reasonably OK and was a bit sticky being a Monday. My Car Alarm went off at some ungodly hour as Mrs. F. had popped the boot (trunk) and it was frozen solid. She decided not to get the stuff out as she couldn't open it and reset the alarm. Well all was OK until it defrosted and I couldn't find the key to switch off the alarm. It sure got my attention and probably everyone else in the neighbourhood. It switched itself off before I found where the key had been cunningly hidden - not in the drawer where the car keys are kept but in the kitchen drawer - silly me for not using the full set of receptors and mind reading capabilities I should have been born with! Anyway, the morning got off to that sort of start.

The day didn't get much better with the technical issues and reviewing the web site was a bit of a yawn but worthwhile. Later on Flocky Bicep called to say he could make the afternoon meeting of one of our related Lodges and so he came and picked me up and we went there for a very interesting meeting, we came out, grab a beer and some snacks and then went into our practice session afterwards.

Dentist for me in the morning at the crack of Sparrows. It should be, I hope, a simple procedure and I can get back to meet my Business partner and we can finalise the web site. We are then off in the evening for a few beers and a Chinese meal. I haven't had a Chinese meal out for about 3 years I guess so I am really looking forward to that.

I started a thought process today about some of the problems I've been having over the past 4 and a half years and have noted that I've always had problems in terms of self criticism and blame. It's in my nature so I reflected that I do look back at things I've done and decisions I've made and reflect on these in negative ways. There are things that I've done that I'm not proud of and there are things that, given a second opportunity, I would do differently. Everyone must have the same thing surely? The trouble is that I look back and defy all logic (as I am applying hindsight and modern values) to give myself a hard time about things that are history. I should be considering learning from these things but what I do is give myself a hard time about it. I even think about the time back in the 70s when smoking at concerts was OK, most people did it and I feel bad that I may have blighted someone's life for doing that. It isn't logical, it may or may not be true but there is this self-harming type of mindset. It doesn't want me to move on, it wants to pull me back in to the dark ages. It is as if there is some sort of self-destruct mechanism in place.

It's me that does this and I am my own worst enemy, always have been. I don't think I have a low opinion of myself or low self esteem but I just think that I have set myself high ideals and fail to meet them. I can't set low ideals, it isn't in my make up to do so.

It's a funny old world where you know what the problems are (or think you do) and you know how to get out of them (or think you do) and yet I choose to be negative about it. I will happily set on myself rather than work out a way to turn it to my advantage. It's the regrets for the past that are difficult to shake off I find, I'm not sure where I find the benefit in going over old ground to beat myself up over something I cannot change. I'd prefer to go over old ground and say don't do that again or don't make that mistake again, learn from the experience.

It just goes to show that Psychology and its branches wouuld not have been a good career move for me - I'm glad I didn't take that path :-)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Go with your gut feel

Sometimes that's the right thing to do I find. This problem with my new PC has been bugging me and so I thought let's think about this - it happened on the old PC recently when an update came in and by turning off the IPV6 setting I got it to work, I also thought, I would clear out all the old settings. As insurance I have downloaded some network tools and spent about an hour today sorting it out. Glory be, I can now see files, printers and everything else on-line.

Thank goodness for that - go with what you feel - worked for me.

I seem to have settled down a bit after quite a few months of being a bit fragile. I wasn't great last night and today, being Remembrance Sunday always fills me with sadness and Elgar's Enigma Variation - Nimrod - wrecks me every time I hear it, it is a haunting piece of music. All those people who died in all those wars, it just seems such a terrible price to pay for liberty and freedom. So I get a little down on this day every year, thankful but down.

I think the end of Summer also doesn't help the dark mornings and afternoons, the rain and general greyness are pretty depressing.

Yesterday was nice, I got a round of applause for my delivery of a Grand Lodge Certificate which was a bit of a shock, I've never had that happen in Lodge before but lots of people enjoyed it so that is great. It was a very nice meeting yesterday which was pleasing - just like it should be, it's about people and getting on with each other and enjoying other people's company. All very special as it was a 50th Certificate too.

At least I've fixed my PC so I am pleased and today was the end of the F1 season so I'm a bit sad about that but it was good going down to the wire in the very last race.

Someone mentioned Christmas to me - I knew it was Christmas as in August the adverts started :-) I need to try and get that sorted, at least I can do what I normally do and use my PC to do my Christmas Shopping.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A good afternoon

I hope - off to the Lodge. I'm Treasurer and I also get to do a bit of work today - that is presenting a Grand Lodge Certificate to one of my candidates. That will be great. I hope that I remember what I have to say and that I can read my crib notes too.

It is an old friend's 50th year in Freemasonry so he also gets a special recognisition certificate today it should be a nice pleasant afternoon and evening. It is our last meeting of the year.

Life's pretty good and I should get my tooth finally fixed on Tuesday. That will be interesting. It wasn't as bad as I thought - but I still have Tuesday morning to go.

This new computer keeps disconnecting itself from the home network which is such a pain, I've managed to get it to work occasionally but it just isn't playing nicely....

I haven't heard when I am due in for a scope, I hope they give us good notice as there is so much going on these coming weeks. Life's good - that's important.

Friday, November 12, 2010

I will be glad to see the back of this week

For no other reason than it has been one of those weeks that has just been hard work. It doesn't seem to be getting us anywhere and yet I know, deep down, that we have made massive progress this week it has just been like wading through clawing mud to get there.

I really cannot wait until the web site is up and running and when I will be able to let everyone know about it because that is when things will start to accelerate. Indeed it has been a bit of a "Phoney War" in terms of what we are doing generally as we don't appear to be doing anything. However, I am sure that will all change soon.

I was thinking of how well I feel and that's good stuff really, I do feel good still but the one thing I have let go is exercising. It must have been 4 weeks now and I'm certain that if I got back to doing that the weight would just fall off me as I am still losing weight gradually and fit into my shirts and suits again now which is a great relief I can tell you.

Perhaps when we get through this hard section of work I can recommence.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Bumpy days

Only bumpy because we are trying to get to a final point in the web site to get it finished and published. The creative process is quite bumpy and start / stop by its very nature it has to be I suppose. It isn't like good old logical project management where things get a tick or a cross a 1 or a 0 whether they are done or not!

So we have been looking over and over at out web site and its layout, the images and the way spacing is used etc. It is hard work and of course the more you look the less you like it so it is nice to get some outside opinions. We have really bootstrapped the web site but it does look slick even though it isn't for our final audience yet it looks as if it is.

Everything has just taken an age today down to silly things like getting an image to go on the site has taken me a couple of hours.

It is blowing a gale outside and at the crack of dawn this morning, some tree feller types came in and started hacking down next door's Yew tree. All very well but it couldn't have been much past 7:30 and so there was all that noise of chain saws and pulping machines outside the house until about 10:30. The gales look to be increasing and we had what looked like a baby twister out here a few minutes ago, a squall cam and picked up all the leaves on the road and dumped them against the windows and front of the house.

It looks as if it has calmed down again for a short while and the rain has stopped. All in all it has been a miserable, windy, wet and a dreary day and the work hasn't been much better either.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A nice evening out

And the last until Saturday. It was a small, friendly evening with some very nice people and we made the very best of it and filled in for missing officers and just got on and had a good time. That's what it is all about really and so tonight went really fast and I was home by around 10:15 so that too was good.

Today was a good day as we looked back over the past months, looked at the website and realised how far we had come in 5 months since our Boot Camp in June. Goodness, I've had an operation and good news since then and wasn't particularly great come June if I remember.

No problems. We are close to our major goals - those of having web site and sales messages in place. I've got 3 potential backers to talk to - after I've got the web posted and we are about to break cover after all these years, working in the background. It will be quite exciting. I've managed to start to change profiles and set up links but that is a tiny bit premature as I don't expect the web site to be up until the 19th November at the earliest.

We are a couple of months behind but, nil desperadoes, we shall just get on and tackle the next piece in the same methodical manner - it cannot be rushed.

I'm feeling relatively OK but concious that I am beginning to run out of steam a bit having done about 4 or 5 weeks full on. I am trying to get the children to make up their minds about a winter holiday but no one (once again) wants to make a decision. I hope that they do soon or else we just wont have a break and that is really what we could all do with.

We got the first look at

The web site today and I've started changing my business profiles to allow the web site to link up with my profiles. The site isn't live yet, far from it, but it has a certain wow factor now that the animation is working and the words are laid out on their various pages. There is still some way to go as we actually need to go and buy the pictures which will up the quality and just check over the wording which now, seeing it on a web site, looks wrong. But that is how these things work and hence why it is in test mode and hidden.

I'm off out tonight to a Lodge meeting, just as a visitor, which will be nice as I don't need to do too much, just turn up, stay awake and enjoy myself.

It's only Wednesday - it feels as if I have done a full week or work already. By the end of the week I will be exhausted! It all kicks off this weekend as it looks as if I only have one weekend free from now until Christmas! Crazy.

Life's good, my tooth appears to be fine, no real pain as such which is good, still slightly numb but probably to be expected after such serious work. I guess I'll be called in for a scope next month or January but I don't have a date as of yet.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

A night out with friends

A great night out and as usual we had a good time but slightly tinged with sadness that one of our number had suffered a bereavement. It is the second time this year that he has had to deal with this and we sort of agreed that we are "or the age" where this is bound to be a common occurrence amongst our parents and even some of our older friends.

It is doubly sad because KP, who has an awful lot to do with me starting blogging in the first place, has had his own bad luck in terms of losing his job and retraining to find that the retrained jobs didn't exist and finally he has got himself a job in the Charity Sector which is just great. The Third Sector doesn't pay huge money but the work is infinitely more satisfying and re-builds your confidence, I know it did in my case and I am very grateful for it. I am though a tiny bit concerned over my confidence levels about what I am doing now, I do feel extremely confident that I can do what I am doing now and I am growing into the role. I felt it tonight as I was suddenly entirely behind the new business and could (at last) actually articulate what the business was about.

I have a slight headache from the work on my teeth earlier but have decided to have a glass of Scotch in a minute to see if I can numb the pain :-)

Everything is right with the world tonight. My Daughter A has returned from my parents and both L and A have a wonderful Dolls House and all the accessories to go with them. These were my Mum's pride and joy in the old house but they cannot go into the new one. I hope that she will be pleased that the girls have one each and they will be treated with the reverential awe and respect that these wonderful pieces of craftsmanship deserve. I was amazed to see the minute detail in each of the rooms (one house even has electric lighting). Sad in one way that these things had to go but I hope that them staying in the family and being treasured by a new generation will be some sort of comfort for their loss?

I've also got a whole load of books from my Dad that can go onto my library shelves to be read later. I have so many books that I should actually have retired when I was 25 so that I could read them all :-)

Life's good tonight, I feel really charged after seeing my old school chums, they always lift my spirits and we are very comfortable with each other's company - if you know what I mean - like an old pair of slippers :-)

OK - That wasn't so bad

I have to say if I never had Root Canal work again it would be once too often. I mean it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be and I've still got some work next week to finish off. I had to have a second shot to deaden my tooth. It was just a lot of work in an awkward place so took time and wasn't straight forward. The x-rays of the other side - to be taken out showed a tooth that may be a bit difficult to get out (a Wisdom tooth) although the one next door I had extracted cam out easily enough - this one may prove difficult but that is for a few weeks time, let's get this one done.

I have to say that the dentist is very good and I don't fear going like I used to but I did find myself unusually anxious only because Root Canal has a fearsome reputation - I can imagine if you hadn't got local anaesthetic it could be awful.

Anyway, it is with some relief that I sit here drinking my tepid coffee. Out with the old school chums tonight - although one is possibly not going to be there as his Mother-in-Law is very poorly in Hospital and may not make it through the night. Terrible news. So with that shocking bit of news and my mouth making throbbing recovery I will take my leave.

15 minutes to go

And I feel quite anxious about my visit to the dentist - it was nice of Flocky Bicep to drop by earlier and that took my mind off things for a while.

I have to say it is with some trepidation that I go off to see my dentist. Finger crossed it all works out to plan.

Monday, November 08, 2010

OK That's good

Mr Angry apologised for bad behaviour last week and bought me a pint of beer to set that apology right in a bloke to bloke sort of way. I graciously accepted and we carried on without it being a problem - that IS the way to deal with such things. I could hear him chatting to a friend of mine saying that he had really rattled me but luckily my friend was on the right wave length and said that all was forgiven and a beer was the right payment! Too right, things are back to normal and on an even keel. His wife isn't at all well but there you go.

I had a long liquid lunch - it wasn't meant to be like that but it just was. I met a friend of mine who has now been out of work for 7 months at 12:30 and we managed to drink and chat for the best part of 5 1/2 hours which meant I got home way after 6 and needed to stock up on food as I hadn't eaten all day!!! SO I threw down food and then Mrs. F (Bless Her!) said did I really want dinner to which I had to reply that if I didn't I would be totally unable to function! So I had a massive supper and then went out and had a few more beers in the evening!

Home now though thank goodness.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

What will you leave?

I wonder what my legacy will be? I wonder what good I may have done in my life and what difference I will have made? I say this because I read a very moving tribute to some children's grandmother. They listed all the things they remembered and liked about their late grandmother.

They were the usual little things you remember about your grandparents or your relatives. there was a nice one about sneaking out for a MacDonalds which rather amused me but that sort of mischief has to be something that sits in your memory from years back.

I imagine you make many impressions and leave many legacies in your life, you mentor others as you were probably mentored.

I often thought that you had to have made a big impact but now I see that even the smallest things have an impact and affect people's lives.

I recollect a number of occasions where something almost insignificant and perhaps shared by just a few people made a profound affect on me. I recollect the words of wisdom from people I knew in passing - the odd phrase or gesture or anecdote - and consider that those people made an impact that they probably never realised. So we all make our mark and we all leave something, somewhere. We may not realise it at the time but our words and actions, our deeds or non deeds, our helpfulness or not all have an affect on someone. All I can continue to do is continue to do what I do.

I remember saying that I thought it was too late to change the world and perhaps that may be true but because it is late it doesn't mean that you should stop trying.

Interesting call

In case said "dickhead" turns up tomorrow and rattles me, friend called and let me know the circumstances behind last Monday's silliness. I'm OK with things. I did fancy letting the guy have a little more room to explain himself this week but I will gloss over that anything happened and if he does then that will be an end to it, we all make mistakes and I probably come off the rails more than many although I have to say I tend to do that in a different way and I tend to crash and burn and just end up as some whimpering idiot to my friends.

Last week was a bit strange as I didn't get the feelings I normally did going back to work. I felt that perhaps I couldn't go back there in any other role other than the one I am in as a part time consultant. I've been invited to the Christmas party this year - I guess I ought to go but just be careful what I wish for so as not to set my expectations too high or too low. These things can be somewhat tedious.

I'd really like for some outlook on my future there. I am doing good work in supporting the team but I'd like something a bit more substantial to get my teeth into. The thing is that the work I do is valued, its just that I sometimes don't see the value of the work I do. To me the things I do that I think are normal are outside of most of their experiences and they certainly don't do problem analysis and solving the way that I do so perhaps there is a value there. I just want to make sure that they are deriving some real value from my work.

The weekend was given over to repairing my friend's laptop which is now done and to doing some accounts that I needed to catch up with. My network crashed and my printer needs sorting out which has given me a few issues trying to complete things today. I do need to do some focusing on my time management this week. I have a number of meetings, the first of my trips to the dentist and I am out three nights this week too!

I think that an early night will be useful so that I can get a good run at the week ahead.