Sunday, January 31, 2010

Oh well here goes nothing

Work tomorrow and then a Lodge meeting preceded by a few glasses of wine.  Tuesday off to London to pick up the Treasurer's data from the outgoing treasurer.  Talking of which my last two years accounts need to be transferred to a new standard accounting style.  I think I can do that and then get them checked.  In the interim I am trying to schedule my time for the next 5 months!!!  

5 months to try and sort out a go to market strategy for our venture and fit that in around what can only be described as a crazy schedule of work, Lodge and new venture things.  I am out again for most of this week and it doesn't get any less hectic for about three weeks.  It looks to calm down for a few weeks and then goes silly again.  I really didn't realise that I had taken on so much this year.  

I have to tell the boss tomorrow what sort of schedule I think I am going to be on for the next month or so.   Not sure if they are going to buy it yet.  However, let's see.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Well - what going forward looks like

I thought I would be really wound up and ready to take on the world after agreeing last week that I was going to head up and get our project moving.  In fact I found myself a little nonplussed to tell the truth.  It struck me as strange but then perhaps I was somewhat surprised that they let me do this and was still a little in shock too.

My colleague came over today and we discussed some of the areas around what we need to do and discussed going forward.  I think that I will get a good handle on what I have to do to achieve this over the next few weeks.  I need to work out how to carve up my time to be effective at this and at my other work.  That I think I can condense and do in fits and starts as I can really crunch out the work there if I need to as I know the ropes etc.

I will get some sleep early tonight so I can run a full day's effort at this tomorrow.  I think I now need this challenge as without it I would just go native at work and I don't fancy doing that.  I'm back to my old ways agian of being bored in 18 months of my job.  How people can do the same job all their working lives is beyond me.  You don't learn anything or get challenged so what good is it? Probably it just pays the wages and I don't get that either.  I'm a bit strange like that...

It was good to see my mate today and I enjoyed his company.  We give each other a lift and that is important.  We have both lived through some interesting times and both have the same saying or "Well nobody died"!  Generally no one realises this and it just amazes me how many stupid arguments and petty bitching goes on.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Don't I ever stop bitching

I know, it seems to be a habit these days though.   I was staggered to find out that my counterpart was on a big figure more than I thought he would be.  In fact I am amazed considering what he brings to the role.  However, he is a nice guy etc.  I did think to myself that for the past 18 months or more I have been selling myself a little cheap - bu hadn't realised quite how cheap.

I'm not overly worried as I now have the opportunity to go and renegotiate I think.  I have so much work to do this next 5 months that I won't be able to fit it all in.  Saturday will be a defining moment I think.  I will work out what sort of timetable I will need to adopt to do two jobs at once.    Before BC it was easy to work on many projects at one time and to spread myself thinly but get results.  I worry that I may not be as good as that these days.  Time to try it out and see what I can manage.

A big day tomorrow - meeting a Portuguese Journalist about the family history, back home and then out for the big committee meeting to choose the next master of the Lodge.  It will be my last meeting as Secretary and I will be SO pleased to give it up in one way and yet will miss it dearly in another.  I've held the job right through my Bladder Cancer Journey and I'm quite pleased that I did.  The only down side was that I missed a number of visits however I am lucky that I eventually got to go to three Grand Stewards meetings during my time.  Not many can say that.

Better get off to bed I need my strength....

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Leaving me cold

Another change that you may or may not have picked up from the blogs is that whilst I still have my Mr. Angry moments and also tell people how I feel quite directly these days, another behaviour has raised itself which I thought was strange.

I had a pretty serious meeting yesterday and tackled some heavy issues and normally when I fix things and get things sorted out I get a real buzz from doing it.  I am all enthusiastic and this time I just felt flat.  I actually feel that it is a defence mechanism of some kind.  It was peculiar earlier on just feeling that flat about something I should have been raving on about.

Mixed Emotions

Not like the sort where you see your Mother-in-Law drive over a cliff - in your new car....

More like the brain ache of working out how to do two jobs at once and get enough momentum into each to make sure you do a good job for them.  Additionally found out how much my peer makes a year and found that a hard pill to take.  It surprised me how much the job paid.  Good for him of course and it make my job all the easier now to negotiate a decent fee.

So today I am sat at home trying to figure out how best to tackle the two jobs at once syndrome.  Luckily my friend is around on Saturday and we can sit down and work that out.  It is a nightmare as I have lacked the discipline to sit down and get on with work for quite some time since I have been ill.  I can do it in short bursts but now need to apply myself to a number of months worth of this sort of thing.  It is a long burn and I have committed to 5 months of my time to make this happen (or not).  Today I am feeling somewhat down about that.  Tomorrow may well be different I expect.

I'm glad to be getting on with something but at the same time I am having just a few issues with the amount of time I need to put in.  It will be hard work - I just hope that I will enjoy it.  At the moment - I don't think I am but it will all change again in the morning.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Funny old mood

I can't say that I am in anything other than a funny old mood at the moment.  Work really sucks at the moment and I'm having trouble working out why I really need to be there at all.  People are still great but in reality - I just can't see myself lasting out there for much longer.  Maybe I don't need to.  

Tomorrow is a defining meeting in the other world of IT that I inhabit.  If I can get agreement on that, I can head off and do some serious work on getting our service to market.  We have all tried best endeavours but now it needs one or two of us to "step up to the plate" and do something rather than us being a talking shop and just spending our spare time (yea right - what spare time)  trying to do this and do our day jobs too.

If I get the go ahead tomorrow it will mean that I can devote some serious time to this project and that we can see if we can get investment to go forward.

Thinking back to Bertie now that he is dead you know he only really got to enjoy his life in the country in the two or three years before his death.  That is something that I hope doesn't happen to me.  I could do with a bit more than three years....

There's only so much you can take

It was boring and hot at the office and I finally gave in and left about 3:30, got to the station caught a fast train and was home within an hour of leaving.

I am sat here now staring at a load of figures and it still isn't making any sense to me.  I shall have to have anther clean break day and sit down and look at them afresh.

Out tonight, tomorrow night. Wednesday and Friday night too for my sins!  Another full on week and January just seems to have zipped past.

I have an importnat meeting tomorrow which will concentrate on my other business venture and I am hoping that I will be given Carte Blanche to run the next tranche of work.  It has taken everyone a year to realise that they aren't really up for it and so tomorrow we should agree that I take on most of the work and run with it to see if it is viable.  If we don't do this we run the very real risk of never having given the opportunity the chance to be born it deserves.  So if anyone has a quarter of a million (GBP) investment for the initial feasibility work, drop me a line - we need to talk :-) 

Bye Bye Bertie

Or Robert as I knew him. Worked together up until I was made redundant 3 years ago now. I had heard that there was something up last year but was saddened to see that he died around Christmas time. A Brain tumour apparently. How awful - he was a really clever guy and knew so much about the product and how to train and install it. It really is a sad loss, he was such a nice guy with it.

This probably accounts for the serious amount of brain activity I was going through last night, I was awake every half and hour or so and my mind was racing and dreams were coming in and out like trains at Clapham Junction!

At work now - and twiddling thumbs. Not a great deal has happened today and isn't likely to unless I go wake up a few people. I hate it when work goes flat like this. I get a good head of steam up and then nothing for a few days then full on and so on.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Family History

It was great to meet up with family again and then we all realised that it had been 2 and 3 years respectively since some of us met and it felt like it was only yesterday.  How amazing.  It was 9 years ago that I set up the family meet up in the first place.

We aren't a close family for some historical reason the paths split perhaps three geneations back and whilst I am now in touch with all my 2nd cousins, many of my third and some out as far as 6th cousins we still aren't anxious to meet up more than every now and then - perhaps a family trait?

Whatever, it was great to meet and catch up with all tht has happened and the family history was good, some nice lectures and I bought myself a bargain book which was originally £30 and I got it for under £10.  It is all about the reconstruction of the Cty of London after the Great Fire.  

I enjoyed getting to the place early, parking up and wandering into town to have a cooked breakfast and a cup of tea.  So much was on my plate that I lasted all day on it :-)  It was nice to have a mug of CafĂ© tea again - I don't often drink tea but I enjoyed that.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Some progress

I managed to make some progress today crashing through my paperwork.   The office is partly clear but really I should have done a bit more.  Unfortunately, I must have been on the phone for the best part of 2 hours with various phone calls and problems others have caused that  have to sort out for them.

I'm beginning to crystallise a plan of action to work part time and to get more involved in my other business.  It does need some fine balancing work to be done but I am certain I can do that given a little more time to work on it.

Tomorrow I am off to my family History Fair.  I hope to bump into my cousins and catch up on all that has happened in the past two years since I saw them.

Error - Hamster Makes Miraculous Recovery

I just found out that the Hamster made a miraculous recovery and so was taken back to its usual place in the bedroom this morning.  It was looking quite ill and was laying around gasping its last (or so we thought).  Even last night it didn't appear to be doing well when I saw it.

So a bit of a surprise there as it looked like the way all the rest went.....

Getting Started

Having a bit of trouble getting going this morning.  I want to get my office tidy and get my paperwork up to date.  Already had an interruption from the builder who is giving an estimate for our roof ridge tiles which have now become a pressing problem since the snow came and mucked them up.  We instructed a builder three months ago who just continually fails to turn up!  He's toast now and so we have looked to get a new guy involved.

Every time I sit down I find that something else needs doing.  I shall just have to get a coffee and start again and see if I can actually achieve anything this time.

It looks as if the Hamster died during the night.  The cage is nowhere to be seen this morning and I await the outcome of L's deliberations whether she will have another one.  She has had quite a few of them now and perhaps she may decide enough is enough.

A Flocky Treat and a sad evening

After the excesses of the night before Flocky called and we were going to go to the pub and run through some paperwork but the Curry House was open and we dived in there.  We were the only guests and we had some really excellent food.  I had a dish which came out sizzling using Pomfret Fish.  They said it was a local fish but looking it up it is a native of Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.  It was excellent though and the first time I have had any.  It will not be the last.

It is a sad evening as the Hamster is on his last legs and didn't look too good.  I feel very sad to see the little fellow gasping his last breath but we all have to go I suppose.  Stupid I know but something clicks inside and I really don't like death at all.  I mean, we all have to go and whilst I want that to be a long way off, it is on my mind and the I'm not sure what triggers the thought processes here.  You see I'm a little torn up by my daughter's pet dying and I think it because I am upset for her in case she is upset but she deals very matter of factly about these things.  I heard a friend died just after Christmas and I didn't know until after his funeral and yet whilst I was sad to hear that, I wasn't emotional about it.  He was a lot older, he had a full life, he retired a very long time ago and enjoyed his retirement and I met him 5 or 6 times a year and enjoyed his company.  It was a shame I didn't go to his funeral but I'm not beating myself up about that either.

I find my emotions are and what switches them on and off difficult to work out.  There are certain triggers in films and it is normally tragedy (kids killed or tortured, parents dying or that sort of thing - human or not).  Then again there are the little choking moments like seeing the Hamster gasping its last that make me feel uneasy.  Sometimes, it doesn't affect me at all.  The strangest thing about the last three and a half years or so is this emotional mixer.  I feel that someone has taken out my insides and stirred them all around and put me back together in the wrong order.

I'm at home again tomorrow and I am looking forward to actually making the family history weekend on Saturday up in London.  Not sure if I will drive or go by train this time.  Driving is quite nice and I can get there and then go and find a place for breakfast.  I didn't make last year and so haven't seen some of the family for 2 years!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A couple of days off

Regrouping required.  What is important?  Interesting turn of events this evening and quite privileged to be able to sit with some serious senior people in the overall scheme of things.

So - need to sort out a plan of attack.  This includes what to do with my business interests, the work at the Charity and further my interests.  In this respect do I go down the Livery Company route or perhaps pursue the possibility to further my ties into Masonry?  

So late home it is silly and the meal was late as the security was crazy (HRH Duke of Kent was in attendance) and tied right down.  I was seated with some amazing people and so just enjoyed the whole event but it was a late evening and really I could have got a Hotel as we caught the 11:36 out of Charing Cross and I got home about 00:40 eventually!!!

Anyway, how often do you get to days like this?  Not often in the overall scheme of things...

Monday, January 18, 2010

The trouble with heading off to work early is

That I put on the wrong pair of shoes in the dark and boy oh boy, am I paying for it now?  You cannot believe the cut I have across the back of my ankle/Achilles.  Typical, Ii staggered to the station on the way home and caught a bus back to near here and have a nice bloody mess there.  I can't believe I did that - my other shoes were well worn in too.  

Oh well - these things happen but not sure if I can walk far tomorrow - I'll see how I am in the morning and what shoes don't rub.  I certainly want to be fit for Wednesday.

I was out with a friend tonight and he drives me to distraction sometimes.  He has little money and yet he wants to spend a bucket load of cash he doesn't have doing something that - if I didn't have the money - I would drop.  He said that he has known me for years and that I am "good" with money.  He is right, I only bought what I could afford when I could afford it and I now don't have a mortgage (although I could have done without catching BC and getting paid off for that to do it).  I have no debt and if anything sometimes I wonder whether that was the right thing to do - especially when I thought I wouldn't be around long enough to spend any of it :-)

No he will spend it even if he hasn't got it on something that is in my opinion nice to do but it isn't essential to life!!!  I really don't get it but then he lives for the moment and the day and I imagine the bill will arrive one day and he will have to work out what to do about it.

If he is that desperate he can have my place I suppose but I hope he has gone away and thought about what I have said.  i doubt it but it would be nice if he did.  I cannot actually stop him doing this stuff - I'd like to but he wouldn't have it.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

All I seem to have done this week

Is eat. I've been out lots of times and enjoyed food and drink and that isn't going to change this week as I am looking forward to attend the Grand Stewards' Lodge 275th Anniversary celebrations. It should be something very special indeed and who knows - I might even be around for their 300th?

After that I must knuckle down to some serious weight loss. I also need to catch up with a load of paperwork and so ought to talk to the boss about doing some part time work in the next few weeks. I have accounts to complete and other things to do which I just haven't completed.

I'm feeling well but as I was reminded, it isn't long now until I need to have my procedure in Hospital so about 8 or 10 weeks at the most. I was explaining that the decision isn't difficult to take as if I had been offered the course I have travelled this past 3 coming up to 4 years this July at time of diagnosis, I think I would have chosen this. I've had a remarkable journey to get here and I'm amazed that it is so long. We met with some old friends to day and G reminded me that we worked together close to 20 years ago. I was amazed I have to say it never seems that long ago.

Too busy to blog?

Afraid so.  Where did we leave this?  Oh yes, Wednesday evening and it is now Sunday morning.  Not a lot to report apart from being out every day since then and off out again in an hour to another do.  January has been a crazy month and I've been out almost every day.   I managed to work only half days down the week and so far, I haven't had the problems with the trains I thought I might do.  It must be related to the snow and to the experience I had all those years ago getting trapped on that train.

So I'm feeling a lot better at the moment.  I felt quite rotten about not getting into work but then I note that many people had the most horrible journeys and hardly did any work as they arrived at work to be told to go home early.  What is the point?

I did find out that if you do have an existing phobia then a major illness can make it worse in some cases.  

Not a lot more to say at the moment.  Because I am feeling so much better I'm in good spirits and whilst work is still pretty boring, I did get to do some strategy work that was really interesting.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Nice night out

A very dear friend and his wife invited us out for a drink and a curry tonight and we shared the same cruise ship with diametrically opposed destinations last year.  They hit the Caribbean and we did the Baltics - what a contrast but it was nice to catch up on what we all thought.

we trudged through the new layers of slush and ice to the pub and then to the curry house.

It was very nice but he is a naughty boy as he paid for the meal and I wasn't expecting that...

It was also interesting that we had a quick chat about the manifestation about my claustrophobia.  I read today that a long illness especially something traumatic or serious can intensify the whole thing.  It looks as if it can be treated through hypnotherapy or NLP or some other reprogramming of the brain.  What I was interested to see was that I don't have all the symptoms just some of them.  I wonder why that is?

I hope the trains are running in the morning - I could do with getting into work and getting some work done and attending my meeting at 12 too.

Not in at work

The snow came overnight and is still falling and I took one look and decided that discretion should be my watchword and not to put myself in a position to get stressed out.

I can review this later in the day as I really want to be in London on Thursday and Friday as I have meetings.  The amazing thing is that everyone is caught out again they didn't predict the weather over the weekend and they suggested a dusting.   We got a bit more than that and the car isn't coming off the drive!

Mind you things could be worse - let's consider the poor population in Haiti coming to terms with an Earthquake.  

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What the hell is wrong with me

It can be frustrating that I just don't seem to be coming to terms with who I am, what I want to do, the way I am now and all that good stuff.

I just cannot make up my mind what I want to do for the best.  I got to work today and caught up with 4 or 5 day's worth of work in as many hours.  I cannot say that I enjoy the journey - it has become a chore and a experience that isn't pleasant and is almost frightening.  I am so glad that Ii didn't go in last wek as I heard tales tonight about some of the journeys and it made me feel queasy just listening to them.  SURELY there has to be something else I can do from now on that doesn't put me in situations I don't like, doesn't make me do things that are mediocre when I can deliver such value from my experience to others? 

Travelling in cattle trucks to and from work to do stuff that I can do as well at home just seems churlish to  me.  

I'm back where I was some years ago at some sort of crossroads and once again, I just don't know what to do with myself for the best and for my long term mental and physical health.  At present I could happily kick my job into touch.

I don't feel like going in to work tomorrow at all.  I will take a view when I see what the weather is like in the morning.   Life is opening up to be a cul de sac at the moment and I really want it to be so much better than that.

At least I found out tonight that the journey up to town was as bad as I had anticipated and I am glad I made the decision not to go now.  I think I would have ended up at an asylum if I'd have gotten on one of the over crowded trains they described to me.  

Sweaty Palms or what

What a funny old day.  I got to the station fine through the snow and my train was there and wasn't corwded.  I was still the only one sitting in shirt sleeves though.  The reaminder of passengers were togged up against the Arctic chill and yet how on earth could they get any benefit after bing in a hot train for 20 minutes or more?

I got to work and it was quite hot.  I was able to grab time outside as we have a door to the garden area.  However, I was hot everyone else was cold.  I went for lunch and came back even hotter than before!  Crazy.  So I decided to come home and I am just cooling off a bit.  I will have to change my clothes though as I am so hot and so sweaty.  I guess that was just me burning up worrying about getting into and out of work.  The rest of this week will also be half days as I have a number of other things to do.  I don't mind as at least I can avoid rush hour trains and try and get back to some semblance of normality.

I'm out again tonight - in fact out every night this week and both days over the weekend too.  Bang goes any chance of a diet.

I see that Mike and HK in Toronto are having various things done to them this week and let's hope that it works out for them.  HK had a torrid time with BCG and could do with some good news.

I'm just happy to have gotten home without a panic atack or anything else other than a high temperature which is gradually coming down now.   I will repeat the journey tomorrow and see how I get on.

Slowly Slowly Back to Work

I am still feeling extremely apprehensive about getting back to work and have told the boss that I am going to do this gradually this week and so half days.  I start tomorrow.  I will be taking early or later trains and just see how I get on.

The sheer feelings of panic and stress are clear in my mind and it is interesting to note that some of this may be hormonal and adrenal which kind of makes sense in a way as I reckon that my whole body has been whipped to bits these past three years or so and it just needs to try and regain its equilibrium.   Your hormone balance takes a hell of a whack and adrenaline gets used up and not fully replaced.

I wasn't surprised to read some of the stuff about Claustrophobia especially the suffocating feeling you get with it.  The Panic attacks and the feeling that you are going to die provokes a run away from it need and the trouble is you are normally trapped and cannot do that - hence that feeling of being trapped just gets worse.  Unless you've had a panic attack you really cannot understand the terrifying nature of it nor of the havoc it wreaks on you.  Chest constrictions, heat and hot flushes and sweating, nausea, double vision - yuk it is pretty awful.

I know my mother has this and it seems to be a bit of a family trait.  Anyone who hasn't had it probably cannot understand it but I imagine it is how drowning or suffocating or being caught in a fire or trapped in wreckage - like in a building after an earthquake must feel.   

I need to consider what to do about these attacks though as whilst I had some of these before I cannot remember them being as intensely upsetting as they have been this past year.  This time last year because I was trapped in my own head with both ears infected and me being deaf for about a month I was in a bit of a mess.   I was able to control it as I was at home and could look out of a window or go outside.  On a train and an more so underground trains I just have nowhere to go.  I thought I might get like this in St. Petersburg at the Hermitage where they did suggest the crowds were bad but I was more aware of watching out for pickpockets than being in a crowded place and I was with a guide and as I normally am, I was prepared and could actually move around and determine courses of action to mitigate any unforeseen circumstance.

I'm actually quite worried about this now as I worry about if I ever have a cold like I did last year will I just end up dying of suffocation or just stress myself out completely.

People that know me realise that I'm just not like this normally.  I exude confidence and self belief and here I am quaking in my boots worried about getting on a train and going to work and worried about how I'll get home.  In fact, it is the loss of control or normality that has added to the uncertainty and doubt that feeds the phobia.  I must ask my friend if he can undo any of this for me.   

I'm actually frightened and I can only think of a few times in my life when I have actually been this scared of anything.  Cancer itself and all the early stuff was frightening.  Seeing a guy running amok with an Axe years ago was pretty frightening.  Being deaf and ill.  Having a policeman pull a gun on me was sobering.  Seeing a guy get glassed on a train and subsequently going to court was scary.  Being on the edge of the riots in London and missing at least 5 or 6 major bombings were also scary.  realising that only a few weeks after I stopped commuting that I may have been on a train that was involved in a major accident and when I thought I was in the middle of an earthquake in Italy too could be deemed scary.  Those sorts of frightening experiences shook me up for a long time.   This current anxiety isn't as extreme in terms of the immediacy of it.  This is more a pent up fear and I have no idea how I will get on tomorrow with travelling in.  I fully intend to get up early and just see how I do.  If I can't hack it - I can get off the train and come home.  

I'm not looking forward to this one bit but I have to do it I guess.  It seems a strange notion that some of the things I fear are pretty much not possible (running out of air on the train for example) but that is what it feels like and in a panic attack that really starts your breathing problems!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

New Week

Well - I've had a bit of time off this week to reflect on things and I have decided not to go into work tomorrow but just see how the trains are holding up.

It is difficult to tell people who don't or haven't suffered from claustrophobia exactly what it is like and it really has got more acute these past few years and even since the illness last year.   To try an put it into some sort of perspective it feels to me like someone has stuffed a huge weight on my chest so that I can't breathe and the harder I try to calm down the more frantic I get to try and breathe.  At the same time, I can feel my head beginning to buzz and feel as if it is under pressure as if before going in to  a feint.  Then comes the rising panic of wanting to be out of wherever I happen to be at the time.  Everything is hot and airless and that makes it even worse.

I really need to get some control of this.  I rarely have it at home but can do when I have a heavy cold and when that cold renders me deaf as I am trapped inside my own body.  I can easily sort that out by going to a window or standing outside.  

It sounds like I'm a right wimp having this sort of thing, the tinnitus and everything else - in fact the past few years have seen my body breakdown really but I'm not decrepit or particularly ill in that way.

I'm going to check tomorrow to see if the trains are running properly and then set out a series of actions to ease myself back to work.  I have to say that I really don't fancy the idea at all at the moment and perhaps I will need to just go part time or sort something out.  I really am having difficulty with the travelling side of it.  It is as if my body is telling me something about work, travel or some other message that I'm not getting yet.

I need to sort it out soon though as I don't want to continue this situation into the foreseeable future and I need to be able to travel without the fears of being cramped or trapped on a train or any other situation  arise that I cannot handle.  

I really am surprised at how bad I feel about this - I even get it in cars as well these days.  I can only imagine it is past experiences, bladder cancer  and recent events that have made it worse.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Trapped inside

The weather is pretty terrible and I hope that it starts to clear soon.  I really could do with getting into work next week especially on Tuesday and Thursday when I have meetings.

The trains are still running an emergency timetable, setting low expectations and then failing to meet them.  I still find that the prospect of cramped, slow, airless, overly heated trains fills me with dread and I will certainly not travel until I feel less threatened and intimidated by the journey.  If it continues into next week I might well look to getting up to town and staying at a Hotel or something similar.  

Anyhow, this long spell of snow and ice has at least allowed me to sit here and catch up with my own work.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Not going in today

The big freeze continues and I dropped a note to the boss today explaining a bit more about why I'm not coming in whilst the transport is so bad.

I've had to admit something that I don't admit to many.  I hadn't realised or owned up to the fact of quite how bad my claustrophobia has become and it is as if a weight has been lifted that I have now made him aware of the situation.

I control and manage this, as you probably know, through routine and other techniques but uncertainty over whether trains run or not and the overcrowding this could cause are just too much for me to cope with as I need control and order to manage the panic attacks that can be caused by over crowded, hot and airless trains etc.

I am stuck at home and will be until they sort the transport out to my satisfaction.  I cannot believe though how bad this has become.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

You Just Never Know

The snow came along and in fact it looks less than the lot before Christmas but there are warnings of a band moving through later.  I decided not to go and try my hand at the revised train timetable and so didn't get ferried up to London on a cattle truck or have to suffer worrying about whether or not I'd get home.

It is amazing when the advice is to stay away, severe disruption to travel and all this and employers expect people to make it in to work.  As I am both employer and employee I let myself off.  I don't suppose my work are too impressed but it isn't as if I am a member of the emergency services or had anything worth getting freezing cold for and also, knowing my disposition to hot and crowded trains and overcrowded carriages, worth me getting all stressed out for either.

Yet you know employers will be making people drag themselves into work in trying circumstances that could see them taking hours to get in just to go home again when they could work from home like I am today.

An interesting piece on the BBC web site today about surviving cancer HERE.  It is one of the major things that I have noticed about my treatment.  Not just the tiredness but the weight problems, the lethargy and the terrible bone weariness I sometimes encounter.  On many occasions I have blogged about the state of my mind and what having cancer has done to that including the memory problems and the inability to find the right word to explain myself during conversation and when writing.  Then there are the moods and the emotional roller coaster and things like my claustrophobia and panic attacks.  I've done a bit about these myself with hypnotherapy and controlled breathing and other mitigating actions.  The trouble is that as this article states, they treat the illness but not the whole person.  There really should be some sort of holistic approach that could be taken but Doctors are doctors of medicine and they repair and put that right.  You can't expect them to do the fluffy bit as well I suppose but someone really needs to as it is as much a part of Cancer as the physical symptoms are. 

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Travel Nightmare

Without a flake of snow they managed to lose all signals in the local area and so I came home early and had to make a series of tactical rail journeys.  I wasn't going to get caught on the one train they had going out that three or four times the number of passengers that would normally be carried were meant to get on.

Mission accomplished and I managed to take the Underground and another two trains and got home safely before the snow - which has just started - prepares to dump up to a foot on us.  The train company were going to go onto emergency timetabling tomorrow come what may and frankly I can do without living like a sardine, it just starts my claustrophobia off again and I get pretty panicky these days in situations like that.  I can keep it under control in normal circumstances but not when they pack us into really hot overcrowded trains.

It beggars belief that they want us to try and make it into work tomorrow.  It is in fact crazy as why spend two or three hours each way when I could get up and start work in my office here and deliver perhaps three hours or more work on top of my working day.  I despair that these old fashioned views still exist.  They still have a lot to learn.  I'd rather not get paid and get on with something else if they don't like it.

I'm just waiting for A to get back in she is walking back from the local pub so shouldn't be too long.  The weather has turned though and so I'll just wait up and make sure she is safely in before I turn in myself.

They say this is going to be the worst snow for 30 years.  If so - I remember that week well as we were stuck in our old house and couldn't get into work for a week!  

Monday, January 04, 2010

I hate commuting

It was OK this morning as the new Train timetable has an earlier train with longer carriages and so I get plenty of room.  They are still stupidly over heated even though it is minus 4 or 5 you don't need to boil passengers like they do.  Me?  I have to take off my coats and scarf etc. to sit down and yet others doggedly sit there with full hat, scarf, gloves and all on and honestly the carriage has to be 25 or more degrees C.  It is crazy.  Tonight I decided to get an earlier train and feel that I may now do that more often as it goes about 20 minutes earlier than the one I normally catch and is a little less crowded.  I still have these claustrophobic reactions and tonight needed to open the window on the train for 10 minutes or so before we moved off.  Again just so hot I could hardly breathe.

I notice that since my treatments I am a lot hotter than other people, I am always warm and need to be in cool rooms and transport.  If I have to sit in the furnace like conditions of some of these trains I get problems breathing which takes me a lot of effort to control.  

I have arrived home to find that a friend's wife has died over the weekend.  She had been ill for many years and had not been in great health.  I often hear the words "it was a relief" and maybe that is true for her and her husband but even so, it must still be a shock to the system and I've been asked not to call and so I wont.  I do not deal with death particularly well at the best of times and post BC find it acutely upsetting when experiencing it at funerals or similar situations.  I could handle it quite well before all of this and can gaze on my own demise stoically but show me anyone else suffering or losing a loved one and I find that I am not able to cope with it.  Let me talk to a cancer victim and discuss the symptoms, treatment, potential outcomes etc and I'm fine with that too.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Back to Work

No doubt the alarm will come as a bit of a shock in the morning and that the cold walk to the station will start the return back to work off in a not too pleasant way.  We are in quite a cold snap at the moment but we are not as bad as Scotland which appears to be in the -15 Degree area and that's Centigrade none of your woolly Fahrenheit nonsense.

I've spent the day plotting out what the year looks like in terms of appointments and meetings and so far it looks to be pretty much panning out to be suitably busy.  I have my wall planner set up and also a brought forward file to put all my paperwork in this time!  It makes for easier remembering where I have put things.

2010 is one of those years, I feel, where things are going to happen either planned or by serendipity.   Curiously, though, I don't have the usual plan worked out on what I am going to do and how I am going to get there.  

The adventure starts tomorrow - let's see where it leads me.

Welcome to the first day of the rest of your life

It is strange that as you travel on your journey post Cancer that the threat exists for as long as you live and is always with you in some way or the other.  I was reading Steve Kelley's Blog and especially this really interesting piece mapping out the journey ahead.  It occurred to me being a Project Manager that the successful outcome of the journey would be to die naturally without Cancer having reoccurred.

You'll have to excuse the morbid way I just wrote that but actually that would be a result I think.   I don't think I am any more susceptible to another Cancer but I am perhaps more likely to get Bladder Cancer again.  I'm not planning on that but it is a possibility that grows more remote the more clears I get.

Going back to Steve's posting - the mapped out journey has no end date and as a Project Manager you always like to see something concrete delivered.  A Programme is slightly different as it can continue to move and grow and doesn't always have an end point defined at the beginning.  

Until I can get my head around not having a definitive end point I think that I am going to continue to struggle with coming to terms with Bladder Cancer.  I've reflected many times on the fact that if you break a bone or have an  illness, in general terms there comes a point in time when you were back to the way you were before.   That doesn't happen in cases of serious illness because it messes with your head as well as your body and I can't see a point where I'd be "back to normal".   I'm still amazed at how some people react when they meet me and find out I had Cancer, they almost do a double take and they just utter the strangest things.  I wonder if I would be one of those people if I hadn't have experienced this first hand?

Because there isn't going to be a sign off and a point where the Doctors say "go away" or  "you're all done now", because I am going to be having blood tests and check up every year and perhaps, like Steve's plan, a Flexible Cystoscopy for every year of my natural life, this will just stretch on to my last days.   I think that the UK might be different though in terms of moving the inspections to longer distances so they go out to 18 months, 24 months, 36 months etc.  I'll find out all about that in April and May of this year I hope.

I hadn't really managed to grasp this point until I looked at Steve's chart and considered that this is no one off project it is a full on programme (program) which has multiple facets, multiple outcomes, hundreds of possible paths and priorities and Bladder Cancer is one of the major work streams pulling every other part of the programme along with it.  It is no single entity, not one thing to deal with, it affects everything I do and almost every decision I make.  It is a single reference point and commands the highest priority in decision making and actually, in that way alone it is also the commonest excuse for not doing something and procrastination.

Dealing with the "depression" that this brings is the most important thing for me this year.  I use the D word and yet whilst I am certain it is that - it isn't anything like the Black Dog Depressions I used to get a few years ago and which thankfully don't affect me any more.   This is the feeling that I am on the scrap heap job wise and all those years of experience and lets not beat about the bush, money that used to go with those jobs may well have gone now.  It was poignant when my kid brother told me he had to take a pay cut to stay in his job last year.  His pay cut was more than I brought in for the whole year.  That felt like a wet fish slap around the face.   Money isn't everything and I probably don't need to do that sort of work any more anyway and I don't really need the money I suppose.  However, that needs to be resolved this year.  The current job could be done in a few days a week not full time and I really want to get involved in my other business venture where I can.  

So one side of the problem - I'm not using my brain enough, my skills aren't being used and I'm well enough now (I think) to move on to something a bit more challenging but where that is I don't know.  Many think I should hold onto this job.  I'm good at it and I have the ability to make it my own, perhaps make a bigger role and I know that I am guaranteed work to 2017 - so what is the problem?  Many would say that you should accept and carry on - "go native".  That would never work I can't just 9 to 5 and not make a difference especially in an organisation that works like it is still in the 1960s.  

On the other hand - things aren't so bad with my health and coming out of the rough bit of the BCG treatments and being clear for quite a while should give me confidence to move on.  In fact I am happy to move on but I find that I will probably be plotting a solo course on this.  What I want to do and what everyone else wants to do are quite different and no one wishes to share that with me.  So another side of the problem is that try as I might to move things on, if I am not getting the support to do them, then this too will add to the dilemma.  

Some time ago I mentioned that the difficult part of the whole thing was that you can't change people's reactions to your Cancer.  They have to deal with it themselves and when I was at my most cynical a few weeks ago I dared suggest that perhaps they expected me to die rather than live and haven't worked out how to live with a ghost yet :-)  

So whilst everyone has been most supportive and stuck with me throughout this pretty torrid time,  they may not be the most appropriate people to go ahead with and move forward.   

It now depends how you value your friends and family and how whether you are prepared to burn bridges.   I would hate to do that and having lost a few friends because of Bladder Cancer (I'm still in touch but they couldn't deal with it and went into quiet mode), I'm not sure dumping those that helped me through the hard times is a good strategy and yet, it may be necessary for my own well-being and peace of mind in the long run. 

This may not be the first day of the rest of my life but I think that I have finally put a few more pieces in place to help me decide what to do next.   To continue in a way that sees me dissatisfied with life, the universe and everything is not the way forward.  I can take away the assumption that there is an end point to BC and remove that from my calculations.  I can take away the possibility of recurrence and just have to deal with it if it happens.  I have to tackle and weigh the options on whether to shrug off the hands that hold me back and go and do what I want to do rather than try and gain a quorum or gain levels of acceptance or grudging agreement.   I'm very good at keeping the peace, promoting the Status Quo and being the good guy, always bending to fit in but perhaps it is time now to change that and do something about it.

To vacillate or not to vacillate - that is the question......... or is it?

Life can be so complicated can't it :-)

Saturday, January 02, 2010

New Year Resolutions

Easily broken in my experience. Mine are still to try and keep healthy and get better each day and to get out of the rut I'm in. The only thing stopping me is myself I reckon.

I really can't be arsed with work or much else at the moment - only in as much as I have other things to do and through wasting my time these past days just haven't gotten around to doing any of them. Even my wall chart is out of date, no calendars have been changed or anything so tomorrow (well later today) I ought to do that.

I'm not happy with myself these days, I must tackle all the things I should be doing without hiding behind the fallout from my condition. It is time to try and wrestle back some control now and see where that gets me.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year

Well here we are 2010. Another year and another one that I'm happy to be alive in.

I took myself off to the Hospital today to get a blood test for my GP so they can continue to prescribe me all my heart pills. It was a good move, I got up late and wandered down there gone 11 and there were 5 of us in the queue which meant about a 10 minute wait and I was done and on my way home. Suitably rewarded with some left over bacon from Christmas I decided I might as well finish off all the fatty, calorie heavy stuff now as I won't be touching that again for a long while.

I'm now going to concentrate on losing weight and getting back into shape again as well as trying to get back some of my lost get up and go which has got up and went.

A look back at the last 10 years tonight on TV gave plenty of food for thought and yet no one mentioned my little milestones - perhaps best left behind and move on. It's a bit like having had a very bad cold for 3 years! Not :-)

Let us hope that this next decade brings us a little peace in this world and some massive improvements in Cancer detection, prevention, treatment and cure.