Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Day Without the Internet

is just a pretty bad day. As only I can, I decided to update my router to see if I could stop it dropping out as it is prone to do recently. Easy enough, you back up your existing situation, download the firmware bin file upload it to the router, reboot the router and

Nothing! Bloody great. So roll back to the previous back up, the one it asked you to make and it then finds it is corrupted!!! Great, so all day long at regular intervals I've been restarting the router and reconfiguring it, rebooting the cable box (5 minutes a go) and so on until this evening then suddenly off it went and everything came back as if by magic.....

I really feel tight after lifting up the shed at the weekend. Getting up and down with the router added to the pain too:-)

Monday, August 30, 2010

BUPA Advert

There is a BUPA (UK Health Insurance) advert that is doing the rounds on TV at the moment. I guess they are getting over a message that 1 in 3 will get cancer at sometime and that they have it all sorted out for you but it is the simplicity of the advert that is just amazing. One day, so and so was feeling good next day she had a lump, went to the doctors, who referred her, went to the Hospital got it cut out and everything was rosy again!

I realise that the message needs to be put across quickly and succinctly but when did you wander into the doctors, wander over to the Hospital, have it cut out and everything was OK?

Well maybe - but don't you think that's just a little over simplified?

Fixed the Shed

I mean the dark room. I had to remove about 2 foot of rotten floor, which meant propping up the shed on bricks like some wheel thief and then remove the affected area, build a new section and put that in after having treated the wood prior to that. I feel quite useful today - I probably haven't done a serious bit of heavy work like that since just before I had Bladder Cancer when I moved a floor sander around the house which I originally thought was the source of my symptoms in the first place! I felt I had really done myself a mischief :-)

Since then I have taken it pretty easy especially as you do tend to notice a weakness around your bladder area when lifting of even exercising. But anyway, its good that I got out there and did that repair and A is now working with Mrs. F to treat all the wood, block all the holes which may let in light and to evict many thousands of spiders and other creatures that have squatted on my property!!!

The number of snails, slugs and other strange creatures under the shed was amazing too.

It will be ideal for A when it is done as I had it made tall for me to work in and so it will easily accommodate her two enlargers and developer, fixer and water trays plus all the other equipment she will need. It will look quite spooky as the windows are going to be painted black as, of course, there can be no light except the red light inside the room when they are working. she also has to put up a partition between the two enlargers so no stray light from the one to the other occur. It's very exciting and it is nice to see my old workshop used for something again rather than storing loads of odds and ends.

I've been working on and off sorting out the Wiki for the charity and have just about completed it now. It looks pretty good I have to say and I'm delighted that I managed to get the same one as they built Wikipedia out of. If you fancy a peek it is here Festival Guidelines. It wont mean a lot to anyone who isn't an English or Welsh Freemason but finally, the process is documented and available. The great thing about a Wiki is it can be edited by the team and that it can be kept up to date simply.

A busy few weeks lie ahead as we will be choosing the people we want to do our logo and initial branding. Later on we will be meeting another potential member of the team and I think that we need to be taking a reality check on where we are now. I'm also checking out some other contacts for legal and other advice so that they can be lined up ready for the next phases of our work. It's exciting times. If this all fails, I'll be available for shed repairs any day :-)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Angry Days

Very occasionally I'll get an "angry day" one where my temper is nearer the surface or sense of humour is AWOL. It can be for various trivial reasons and I do tend to try and keep out of the way of anyone who may receive the benefit of my sarcasm. Unfortunately, at times like this, humans have a tendency to gravitate towards me drawn like moths to the flame and nature deprives them of anything useful to say rather it blesses them with the inanities so often enjoyed by those with limited education or enables them to say the exact thing that will set off a tirade of verbal abuse that their stupidity deserved.

I managed quite well to keep out of the way for most of the day but I do find being asked questions that people already know the answer too - or that they don't listen to the answer or that it is the wrong answer (based on what they wanted to hear) somewhat annoying and time wasting.

It goes along with lending assistance to be told that they weren't really interested after all.

So it's been that sort of day today and I'm just about to switch off and have done with it. Tomorrow I'll be helping A convert my old shed into a darkroom. They've stripped it out completely and there is a hole in the floor that needs fixing. I'm sure I can sort that out somehow. I used to spend time in there making things for the kids when they were small, like Doll's Houses and a fold away shop - good old days spent happily constructing things.

I wonder whether the onset of this illness killed off such things. I used to do a lot of DIY and gardening and these days I just haven't got the patience for it or derive the enjoyment I used to from those sorts of activities. Looking back, there are a lot of things I used to do that I don't do now. I used to cook a lot, I do a little now when I have to but nowhere near as much. We used to have people over for dinner parties - that's hardly happened since I was ill. There's lots of things that have changed where the habit has been broken and where lethargy kicked in.

In some ways, I find it a shame that these things no longer hold the enjoyment they did. Even my great passion for family history has diminished and I no longer spend hours doing research. Perhaps now that I have some time available again I can look to pick that up again?

Slight Loss

Of weight that is - 15 stone 13 Lbs or 223 pounds. Another barrier through so below 16 Stone now and just need to keep at it. Going to Mum and Dad's was OK as they heeded the warning and we had rabbit food not the normal stick to your ribs food she normally does :-) bless !

That barrier means I can soldier on now and start towards getting to 15 stone. That will be good as I really want to get down much further than that. Targets, milestones, things that can realistically be achieved. I may need to wait for 10 weeks or more to get there.

I got back on the exercise machine and decided to try the most difficult setting - wow, did my legs burn after that one. It just keeps incrementing every 3 minutes so by 20 minutes in you are at maximum resistance. It was a real relief when it freed up and I could do a recovery session. I think I might use that only once a week and go back to my normal 3 peaks one.

Exercise sucks still. An MP3 Player seems to help me pass 30 minutes in what otherwise appears to be a futile venture. I KNOW it does me good but how anyone can actually "enjoy" this is beyond me - surely we were made for greater things like sitting in front of the TV, watching sport and flicking between channels with the remote - surely that is my destiny (as Darth would say!!).

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Chauffeured up and back by Mrs. F and Daughter A was a new experience. I quite enjoyed it apart from how late you can brake in the new car!

Mum and Dad were OK, Dad looks a bit frailer and I guess for coming up to 80 in a few months he isn't bad considering. 3 days is enough time for us to have been there as he can just about handle it. On Day 2 Mrs. F and other daughter L went to Work to see the University there. A dropped them off at the station and then we took Mum and Dad out to Hunstanton for the day. It was quite nice but we wore Dad out a bit. Had a nice time though and had a treat - good old Fish and Chips which were yummy. I even treated myself to a little salt on my chips - well why not?

I see so much of me in my Dad it worries me - I certainly hope I don't "get like that" later in life. It was amazing how set in his ways he is, life is all about doing set things at set times, I suppose that it is one of those things that you need - routine and yet I shun from that as much as I can but we are all creatures of habit. I find myself sitting in the same seat or area of a train going up and back from London, I like to do things in a certain way etc.

I had quite an interesting time when I stepped on my parents scales in the bathroom which showed my as being 15 stone 12 lbs. OK that's 2 lbs lighter than I thought I was but - hold on - I was wearing my clothes and had my watch, wallet, phone etc all on me ready to go out. Surely the scales were wrong? Apparently not they are pretty accurate. This casts doubt on my scales in the bathroom which show me at 16 stone (or thereabouts). When I went to the Hospital they weighed me significantly less than I thought I was. Perhaps I never was 17 stone :-) Anyway, it was a pleasant surprise to find I was a lot less heavy than I thought I was. Our scales now need to be checked for accuracy.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Chilean Mine Workers

I felt really ill last night, a sinking feeling right in the pit of my stomach and actually had to get up and walk away from the TV as I felt so rough.

Those poor guys stuck down a mine who have now been found. They may have to wait for upwards of 4 months to be rescued, in the meantime they are stuck in a hole in the ground. Me, given my claustrophobia would have started drilling out with my own fingers by now or just have gone completely off my rocker. I suppose someone like me would never have gone down a mine in the first place. Then to find that they had drilled through and found you only to be told that you'd be down there for a lot longer than you thought you would - like 4 months longer.

It makes me ill just thinking about it - poor souls but at least they know that help is on its way. I guess, I'm second guessing what it's like here a bit like people second guessed what my condition is like. I suppose that thinking you were going to die and then realising that there was then hope and then a way out are pretty similar things, maybe they feel differently now but even so, stuck under 700 M of rock in a small space would just about freak me out!

You can see why this would work

In the BBC today "Drinking water before meals helps dieting, says study" explains how drinking two glasses of water before meals helps you lose weight.

It makes sense if you fill your stomach with water but I tend to go with a bowl of soup to satiate but perhaps I'll give this a go. You may have seen an email that suggests you should NOT have water after a meal as it solidifies the oily stuff in you stomach and may cause Cancer. This is NOT TRUE - see here.

Monday, August 23, 2010

What a Day

Internet has been on and off making me very angry - consider I am uploading a Wiki and when I lose the connection I lose a lot of coding and have to start again. On top of that a network crash due to loss of internet access (I guess) meant a 160 page document I was printing had to be started multiple times, finding out where is stopped and restarting it again.

Off in the morning to my parents for a few days which will be nice. At least I'll get a few days R&R - could do with it after today's nonsense building this flaming Wiki site. Nothing is ever easy.

Suppose I'd better get packed and go to bed then too - I've been at the PCs all day today and at least I can get a rest from them as well - no internet where we are going.... What will the girls find to do all day??

Sunday, August 22, 2010


That my daughter and her boyfriend showed up late tonight. I was getting worried as we have a severe weather warning and getting out of Festival Car Parks can be notoriously bad when it is just slightly wet. Clever girl, made a call early on in the evening seeing the weather was closing in to get away a little earlier than the finish and so they arrived looking for clean toilets and showers when they arrived - bless them.

I have not idea what my mother would have made of such things if I'd ever have gone. Working in London I just used to go to concerts straight from work so no problems there.

The lot of the parent!

Today has been a strange day as I've actually worked today - right through and now wished I'd taken a break but need to remind myself that I've three days coming up when I will have a break when I see my parents.

I kind of find it funny that I get the occasional snipe about not seeing them that often but in reality they moved away from here not vice versa and it is pretty difficult to get consensus to get the family up there. With Mrs. F working during term time it also means that she can only have school holidays off which severely limits us. I try and get there when I can and if my work takes me nearby. It hasn't recently of course but there you go.

I did loads to day and got my visa to visit the US sorted out. Not that I have any plans but the fee goes up in a few weeks time so I might as well apply now rather than cough up for the privilege when I do get to go. I'm hoping that in the next 2 years, if things do go well to finally get over to the States. I nearly got to Chicago three years ago - nearly. About the only place my old employers (who were US based) never sent me was the US. Fingers crossed that we get the business rolling along and we can get over and see some ex-colleagues.

Let's hope that our plans come to fruition and that we get the opportunity to do something with them. I was a bit depressed when I heard that for every 1000 ventures only 1 makes it to market. I'm sure that can't be right. Hopefully I'm not barking mad or have some sort of lunatic plan that will never make it especially as we have had it reviewed by some seriously powerful people both sides of the pond. Oh well - the journey is the thing and we are really picking up some momentum now.

A bit better

I've lost the 2 pounds I've put on and I'm back to 16 stone (224 pounds) it looks less as the needle is just below but I can't claim that right now though.

It's nice to get back on track and as long as I lose a little each week I'll be happy. This week might be difficult as I'm off to my mum and dads. Mum's, of course, have an in built filter that makes their children look emaciated and they then need to fill you full of starch and other stuff to swell you out to make you look better :-)

I've just come off the phone to her and gone through dietary requirements including what I do and don't eat. It will be good to go and see them, I haven't seen them since Christmas and as a family it has been almost a year - it was October 2009. Time flies. I might even get to see my kid brother whilst I'm there who knows?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Ooerrr that wasn't expected

Damn it. Every now and again this happens, flashback, me all upset in Hospital, not recently, when I was a kid and woke to find my arm in a harness where lots of tubes were fed into it. It is one of 'those' horrible moments as I remember being terribly upset about it. As I've said before, many times, if I actually know that is likely to happen I can work through it. As it wasn't it spooked me especially in the drugs they used to use in those days.

It must have been brought about through the letter from the Hospital which arrived today. That was good but in its usual dour tones from the NHS, "The Biopsies were clear with no signs of Carcinoma in Situ or Malignancy" - it goes on to say that I've had the BCG Immunotherapy and BCG Maintenance and that now I would be observed at the Flexible Cystoscopy clinic which is a relief.

So, that's all OK then but that was a horrible flashback - these things are just randomly shoved into your conciousness by your brain (for what purpose I have no idea). Given the shift in my emotional equilibrium even knowing that it is in the past and can't hurt me, it just wrenches away and makes me feel sad.

There is probably something in here about not wanting to go back and that hopefully, this will be the last of it and I can move on. In a way I can but Bladder Cancer likes to come back and revisit even though an unwanted guest and it is the thought of having to go back through the last 4 years again that is perhaps nagging away in the back of my mind. I should try and move on, its the right thing to do but such is the nature of the beast that it resides in the back of your mind to remind you, when you least expect it, what fear is all about. For fear is also at the back of this, I suppose it is an everyday thing that you just fight and try and keep away.

Weekend of Work

Got a lot to do and I'm away for three days next week so I need to do some work here over the weekend.

As usual, I'm working like crazy but no one else back at the charity is as they have other work to do at the same time. I'm a bit lucky as I just get stuck in. Yesterday was close to a 16 hour day - and there was pretty good progress so that's OK. No phone calls and I could complete huge pieces of work.

I didn't even get to exercise yesterday as I just carried on through and judging by my last email at 1 in the morning - I ought to spend a little more time resting this weekend and keep work to a reasonable amount of time. Mind you exciting times and real progress on our new venture too so it is all happening.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Working from Home

Has advantages and disadvantages. It's nice to get up and have no travelling so saving myself a good 3 hours a day - 3 hours that I fill with work but also using 1 hour or so of that to do my exercises.

The problem of interruptions is partially but not completely solved and so in a way it isn't too bad but when I do get an interruption it tends to be a long one. I can play my music through speaker not through a head set and I once I get into the zone I can switch off external noise and just blitz my work.

Yesterday was a case in point - I stitched back my 125 page document, re did all the graphics for it, and did loads of work to get it back to where it was before the guy I am working for tore it apart. It took me most of the day to do that and in the interim I also managed to write a document for our potential designers to produce our logo etc and managed to edit and review another. By the time I had finished I had gone through 8 or 9 hours work steadily and it felt like it had been just a few hours at the most.

Yesterday L got her first year A level results - she wasn't happy with them although, with one exception, they weren't bad - she can stay on to complete them but it has made her re-think her strategy and where to go for University as there isn't much hope to get to some of her choices with these results. As you do, when you are 17, you party anyway and at close to 2 am they arrived home!!! We don't wait up but I didn't sleep properly until the door went. This morning A and her friends left at the crack of dawn to go to the V Festival she wasn't going originally but somehow got to go by some convoluted route! She goes to Reading next week. It's tough being a student.

So I'm a bit tired this morning and trying to get sorted out after late night and early morning not caused by me!

Off to my parents for a few days next week which will be nice - I haven't seen them for close to a year but they moved away a long way from here and it is a bit of a trek - I can get to Paris or Brussels quicker than getting to them!! It's not too bad getting near to them but the last part of he journey cross country takes ages. I'm looking forward to seeing them and we are taking the other car (which I don't drive) so that will be interesting for me having always driven there and back before.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

London Calling

Ended up there today and had a good set of meetings, a nice lunch, raised our glasses to the new business and made my way home. For what was meant to be a cool day I ended up roasting nicely in the train on the way home as the sun was out and the sky was blue! Not sure how they got that wrong this time but there you go.

There's lots of construction work going on in town and the Shard is coming along nicely - I can see the number 37 peeping out from below the shuttering. The glass is coming up the building too. There is also stacks of work where they have pulled down the old London Bridge House and all around the Market area work is going on apace.

My business partner and I are both 4 year cancer survivors and so we were thinking that next July we ought to do something that celebrates in an unusual way our statistical survival for the 5 years :-) So we are putting on our thinking caps for that one.

Today we moved on another step after setting the company up and picking up the websites we set to work on our "elevator pitch" our 30 second and 2 minute drills and other key messages. We have such a difficult service to explain - it contains massive technology but not at the customer end, it all happens silently so it is difficult not to draw parallels or to describe. Anyway, we are on our way to doing that as we need to articulate our service and differentiate it. The fun of it all.

I find the whole thing really challenging - which is what I wanted. The work we are having to do to achieve funding is amazingly in-depth but consider the investor who needs to be certain we know what we are doing.

I've managed to still be sat at my desk at 1 in the morning and that is getting too regular. I need to set out working time and rest time as whilst it is all very exciting and full on - I can't do this work if I am not awake, alert and smart.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Rapid Progress

As I used to joke at work was running between meetings!

Today brilliant, we incorporated the company and we grabbed our domain names. I'll post it all up once there is something to see but today it all started to become real. The last 2 months has been really hard slog and finally we have a name, an investor and customer pitch, a new language, plans for the next 6 months and most importantly an identity, that's most important.

Today felt like we were finally tuning the corner or getting over the top of the hill. Of course there's lot more to do but three significant milestones have been met and we can move on a little freer than we have been.

I've blitzed the exercise today too and will go and wind down with a shower in a minute. My Blood pressure is getting back to closer to 120 over 80 now which is excellent too. A bit more hard work and a few more pounds weight loss and I hope to stabilise at that sort of level.

Today's been a real buzz and a rush all in one.

Monday, August 16, 2010

All here

A returned from Edinburgh dragging a photo enlarger, red light, photo chemicals and assorted dark room paraphernalia. Now she is only small and even with the assistance of her boyfriend you have to admire her tenacity bringing it all the way home by public transport. She has done well as on Freecycle (a way of offering unwanted goods for free) she found someone getting rid of a professional enlarger which Mrs. F. Picked up. The donor also gave her a professional SLR Camera as Mrs. F. was explaining she was a Photography University Student.

She now has two enlargers and somewhere in the house (or maybe my shed) we can set up a darkroom for her. I am most impressed though that she is getting things sorted herself and taking advantage of cheap alternatives to me having to fork out for all this kit. Amazingly, you can pick up a 35mm camera body at an absolute steal on eBay etc because no one uses them anymore. We have already picked up a number of compatible camera bodies that will allow her to try out all sorts of different set ups.

So now we are all back together again as a family it is most strange - the house is full and things are happening all over the place. I'll see how long I can last with that and the clutter and chaos that No.1 daughter brings with her. She's a bit of a whirlwind and leaves the house as if a small Tornado has whistled through the corridor!

I'm impressed with a new web site www.we7.com which is an internet juke box - amazing on demand songs and playlists etc. Very good.

My business partner is over in the morning and having rescued the dining room from becoming a photo shop, we will make big progress tomorrow as we go for the registration of our company and all the other stuff that will go with that. It will all become real soon, it is all a bit like the phoney war but I can see it taking on its own life once we give birth the the company tomorrow.


What a pointless thing exercise can be. Stepping, running half cycling on my cross trainer for 30 minutes.

I know it does me good, I can feel it and results are good. It just seems most bizarre doing 30 minutes and going nowhere. Interestingly I am now back to where I was about 5 weeks ago - getting nearer to elusive 8kM in 30 minutes mark (about 5 miles). Today I did 7.8kM and I feel that in a few weeks I will have enough stamina restored to try and go for that.

I have changed my MP3 to give some more pop and rock type tunes so that I can run to the beat which helps maintain cadence.

This week I hope to get back to the straight and narrow a bit and eat bit more sensibly than the last two weeks. Here's hoping that is the case.

The trouble with doing a late night

Is getting going in the morning. It IS Monday so there is that added complication and I have now gotten up to some sort of speed with my work. The added complication is that I will have to work on this and on my consultant commitments for the charity at the same time. That will be fun :-0

The nice thing is that we have started to emerge from the really heavy bogging down work needed to start a business and get into some sort of momentum. I did loads of work at the weekend which has moved things on nicely. We have a company name and are checking out domain names and finally I've managed to get some real progress into breaking down the business in to some sensible departments to take it forward. There is just so much to do. For such a simple concept, the complexity of the back office is incredible. SO big is it you have to apply 'Elephant eating' techniques to it - How do you eat an Elephant? In lots of small bits.

Actually the fun is the journey in this - we are pushing the limits of our experience and knowledge and seeing how far we can take this. At the moment it is just hard graft but once we get up to speed with this it will accelerate and it will be a nothing ventured nothing gained sort of effort. The journey is far more important than the outcome at the moment although I feel that the outcome is now becoming important because we can see real substance in what we are doing.

It drew some amazed looks when I explained that I was setting this business up at the party yesterday. Not many people can just quit their jobs and go out on a limb like this. As my business partner and I are both cancer survivors I think we just have a different view on it. What's the worst thing that could happen? I'd need to find myself a paying job in the New Year if this doesn't come off. If it does come off then I'll have a paid job!

L is asking for a lift to her friend's house. Dad's Taxi service is needed. It will be nice to get the Jag out for a run :-)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Early Night - Obviously Past Middle Age

I HATE it when we go to my friends for a party and at just gone 9 everyone wants to go home. Then Mrs. F. wants to go home. So at 9:30 we have to get going and so home before 10 and I'm wondering why and perhaps how it has come to this. I mean - we never used to start a party until 9 and so to come home before we used to start.

So I'm sat here n front of my TV and Mrs. F. has hit the sack. It is just gone 10 and so I've put on one of my FAV films - "Pulp Fiction" - there's something disturbingly interesting about Quentin Tarantino's films. I enjoy his cinematography and his dialogue. Samuel Jackson's character just cracks me up every time I see it.

So - me? I could carry on all night. What a great time my mate GP and I had when we were kids. When I moved here from London 43 or more years ago he was my very first friend and we have been friends ever since. When I first went to school he was the first person I ever met and his Dad died of cancer just as I was diagnosed. A deep thing.

His children, whom I've known all their lives were there tonight, they are just lovely people and it was great to see them but a shame my girls weren't there to meet them.

Having had a great evening I was a little annoyed that it all had to end at 9. I could have gone on for hours. I was also surprised that so many people commented on how I didn't sit down - I just don't these days. It was also quite amusing that I was going for seconds of salad stuff. Someone, I have no idea who it was was amused as I arrived at the table and said, "There's something I would never have heard myself say 10 years ago - Mmmm, more salad - lovely!"

Mind you it was nice - Rocket and Parmesan, home-made coleslaw, baby tomatoes and so on. Of the Barbecue I did do some road kill (as you do!).

So - as usual - I want to live and go for the moment. Everyone else? They just want to go home early.

Oh well. Beer and Tarantino - excellent - one of my favourites :-)

A Little Disappointing

I put on 2 pounds this week so am 226 Pounds or 16 stone 2 Lbs. Not surprising as I have been out three times this week and I'm sure the Curry on Thursday - as I went for the full mixed grill didn't help. However, I'm not too downhearted about it, I have a birthday barbecue to go to later and after that I hope next week I can get back to some serious training and back to normality with the diet. I've just reminded myself that I was at work in London on Monday as well at which there was a very tasty buffet. So for four days this week I have had bread in some form or other and I very rarely have any at all.

My diet is really just keeping away from bread entirely. I have pasta or potato to input carbs which you must have. I tend to eat a lot of fish - sardine, pilchard, crab sticks (which are fish in reality) and tuna and mackerel. Lots of salad and fruit, nuts, dried fruits, pro-biotic yoghurt and plenty of soups. I eat cottage cheese a lot and I use pickles just to spice up what can be quite bland tasting items. Other than that, I have the occasional dressed crab, piece of ham or corned beef with a salad and I have a roast dinner on Sunday. The other ingredient? Don't snack, if you need to, eat fruit or vegetables. Don't eat past 7 pm. That isn't easy either so again, I'd probably drink tomato juice or have some fruit and break my own rule. It is pretty difficult not to do this but works I think.

I managed to squeeze a 30 minute session out of the exercise regime on Friday but missed yesterday out - I lost all track of time. This week should be good - I think there are few distractions and I hope that I can get back on track with the diet, the exercise and with lowering my weight and blood pressure. Work is really picking up pace and I've also got some work from my consultancy to do as well.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Worked out OK - kind of

I got away to the Jazz and that was nice - I met some people I haven't seen for a while. A friend was serving behind the bar. Mrs. F. Called and came along too (that's highly unusual). There was a terrific band and he Clarinettist was brilliant. Why then, when it was a premium event, do people have to talk through the music and even through the man introducing the songs. It's just bad manners. These weren't my age either, these were my parent's ages. I suppose they just come out for the social with some "background music". Nevertheless - it's another one of those things that never fails to wind me up. At least they weren't singing loud and out of tune like a concert I went to a few years ago. Unfortunately it is also a very strong trait inherent in an INTJ who need the certainty of stable environments and personal space together with courtesy and manners.

However, people were up and dancing and enjoying the show which went on until 11:30. So when we got back to still find 20 or so fancy dressed heroes and villains in the house I expected that I'd be a little bit annoyed but all I did was start tidying up and turning on some lights (that sorts them out). By the time I'd got to cleaning the garden and picking up the plastic cups and discarded tins and bottles!!! Many had gone. So by 1 am I was hitting my bed. It's amazing what kids these days drink at parties. We don't provide any alcohol if they want any they bring their own. Vodka, Scotch, Alco-pops, Some sort of strong cider and wine. We used to have light beers and cider but spirits were almost unheard of - the sheer cost involved were nightmarish.

Anyway - apart from the floors (wooden thank goodness) looking like swimming pools where people came in and out from the garden I suppose it wasn't too bad.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Compromise best of both worlds!

Tents and Gazebos are up and the rooms are cleared - so that means in and out all night. I feel like going up to the Jazz evening at the Sports Club or at least going to the Pub.....

Mrs. F. Suggested we should have gone out for dinner tonight. Nothing stopping that until she realises she will probably want to "police" whatever is going on.

I have to admit to not enjoying such things. Out of my control and I'm a control freak, I can't "manage" the situation or stage it the way I want. Best I disappear off out and a night of Jazz will be OK I reckon. I haven't been on a Friday for years and years. Should be fun and I can get back as they turn out of the house which will also be good for me.

Damn weather

Means that L's birthday party is now to be held inside. Thunder storms on the way and heavy rain and rather than have them traipse in from the garden and make the house sodden they can stay inside and get sodden :-)

I hate these sorts of parties - I'm 6 foot and all the kids are taller than me - I was in Hospital this time last year so it didn't matter but the year before two of her "friends" nearly got the benefit of my wrath. They certainly weren't impressed with the verbal abuse I gave them and that shut everyone else up. I will be issuing a stern warning that if anyone really wants to give me any back chat or be "smart" with me, they will have to deal with the same acid mouthed response I'd give to anyone who was abusing my hospitality.

That said I don't have a problem with people enjoying themselves just those who can't hold their drink but more especially can't keep food on their plate. Accidents happen - 90% of people are caused by accidents! However, if you drop food or spill drink then clear it up don't tread it in and then pretend it's funny. You certainly ain't going to like it when I throw a wet tea-towel or cloth at your head and make you do it no matter how bloody big you are. So they will be warned that it is MY house, they are guests in my house and they will treat me with respect of they will be thrown out. These are kids but that's no excuse. A's friends were never like that its just this mindless minority and their selfish behaviour.

Well that's that off my chest. Damn weather - I'd have been able to isolate the little apprentice human beings out there if it wasn't for that!

Flame off. You must think I am some sort of spoil sport but it annoys me that I should clear up after these people and be treated like an alien when asking them to clear up the mess they made.

Bang and the diet's gone!

I was working pretty hard today and time flew by. L arrived late from Scotland so I had to do some driving chores to get her here, changed and back up to London for Billy Elliott. The man who was scheduled to pick up stuff from me didn't appear.

Mrs. F. got in and hadn't eaten anything, I was about to exercise having been delayed for an hour in case matey boy turned up. However - such was Mrs. F's hunger we repaired to our local Curry House and had a very nice meal. I managed to wash mine down with 2 pints of lager.

Hence - diet has broken down a bit today. L's birthday today - blimey 17 years ago - hardly seems possible but there you go, possible it was.

PC has been giving me grief all day hence it is 1 in the morning and I'm still doing stuff to try and get it to work properly. I recollect that Microsoft sent updates along earlier that I put on. Can you guess what has happened to my PC? Bound to be - they always manage to screw up something or other.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

More things to concentrate the mind

I've a little bit of a sweet tooth but have been really cutting back these past 2 months but I still use sweeteners in my coffee (not Aspartame - Saccharin based). However, the more I read about this the more uncomfortable I felt about using those too.

Today in Steve K's excellent blog is some more news about Sugars, Nectars, Honey and Fructose that really made me sit up and take notice. It appears that the sort of things that you take for granted when you are healthy really need to be further reviewed when you are under threat. Bladder Cancer just hangs over you like the Sword of Damocles as it can return out of the blue and that of course can pretty well mess up your day I can tell you :-)

So to find that potentially natural sugars will do what I knew some refined sugar does and what allegedly Aspartame does is pretty worrying.

I think I need to consider what to do about this for the future as part of my healthy eating regime. I managed to give up salt in about 6 weeks after the initial shock to my body. I now hardly touch it and can tell if something has been cooked in or seasoned with salt. Now that my Blood Pressure is reasonably under control I'm not so worried about having a little salt but just choose not to. Perhaps I will review what sugars I'm ingesting and see whether I can cut back or remove them. The trouble is so much is in prepared foods etc.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Exercise continues

Another 5kM in 20 minutes - it felt a little easier today - and a little shorter - I hope to gradually get better at the 20 minute and then get back to 30 again which I feel is the optimum.

Had a good day today - business partner around and positive moves forward again which is good. I just need to knuckle down now and get on with the in depth planning work - easier said than done - lots of silly distractions which I hope will go away in the next few days.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Exercise the gradual return

I've got back onto the cross trainer and this time did my three peaks routine but only for 20 minutes not my normal 30. I did well though covering 5 kM in 20 minutes including 3 pretty stiff simulated climbs is fine.

I can feel how weak my middle is now - it never ceases to amaze me quite how they must pull you about in Hospital to leave you feeling like this.

I'm sweating up nicely which means I did actually do some work and I've even given my weights a few minutes too (I know I said I wouldn't but I have gone easy).

It is a shame that Steve K in the US has had to call off our weight loss competition but Steve has stayed about the same whilst I have to admit I'm dropping weight quite readily. I'm guessing that I'm just getting back to the weight I was prior to living it up too much last year on the Cruise and just over eating.

Just on diet - I am still keeping away from bread entirely and have one large meal a week on Sunday - some sort of roast meat and potatoes etc. During the week I eat crisp breads and rice cakes with a variety of fish or curd/cottage cheese a little low fat hard cheese. I have soup quite a bit and salads. I also have the odd jacket potato with Tuna or Baked Beans and tonight I will have some pasta with seafood of some sort in it, probably crayfish tails and squid. I have some dried fruit and nuts every day now, apricots, prunes, figs, Brazil, hazel. almond and walnuts. A daily pro-biotic yoghurt and that's about it really. I'm really good with portions of food too these days and hardly ever over eat.

The way it works out

Finally no children around until Thursday late afternoon and where is Mrs. F?? Working - she signed up for that a month or so ago (normally she has summer off as a nursery school teacher) and so I'm Macaulay Culkin, Home Alone.

Not that I mind that but it would have been nice to have spent some time sans kids. They look to be enjoying themselves at Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

At least I can get on with work I suppose and can listen to whatever music I like - hey - it isn't so bad after all :-)

Monday, August 09, 2010

No Kids

hardly kids. L has arrived in Edinburgh and her sister has sent photos of them feeding her in case we were worried!

I'm getting ready to blitz my work for the next 4 days now today is out of the way. I might try and get back to exercise tomorrow if I can but maybe take it even easier than the last time. I'll give my weights a miss for sure.

After Work Drinks?

Nope - got jilted. No one remembered to let me know that they couldn't make it. At least I left work early and got home in reasonable time too so nothing too bad came of it.

Next trip up there is next Month but picked up a fair bit of work to do in the meantime which will help fund what I am doing on my own stuff.

It was strange going back up to London and seeing the same old faces on the train and on the walk to the station.

Troubled Night's Sleep

Not sure why that was - I was awake every 30 minutes or so, strange half dreams, bizarre things going on in my head. I'm at the office now - got the early train and needed to run off some documents so thought "why not?"

I'll test the lie of the land for slowly exiting from here too as it appears my replacement has picked up the gauntlet and run with it and the boss appears impressed too which is great. It is always nice to have chosen the right replacement, one who should be better and can build on my early work.

I said 2 and a bit years ago that I really wanted to make a difference. I think I can say that I did. I can see the work I am doing now fading down as the guy who owns it wants to be in the limelight and he can't do that if my finger prints are all over it can he? :-)

I am hopeful that I may get some sort of Trustee arrangement with the Charity in future years as I'd be able to deliver something extra that way.

It will be a long day today - pouring over a major framework document that I initially spent a long time editing only for the owner to destroy and chop into bits. Once he and his team have finished today, no doubt, I will be asked to stitch it back together, put back all the indexing and all the cross referencing, colour code and interlink the headers and put back all the fancy stuff they originally wanted and wondered why it had disappeared when he chopped the document to pieces! It's a funny old world sometimes.

My body appears to be functioning normally this morning - thank goodness. I still take a bit of a deep breath and hold it when I go to the toilet just in case though :-) Nothing quite like bits dropping out of your body to keep your attention.

Free sandwiches at lunchtime and drinks with my work mates tonight. Let's hope the meeting isn't boring.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Rather unfortunately it appears

That I've still a little more debris to remove from my system some 3 weeks and 2 days after my operation! I could hardly believe it as two smallish clots made their way out. Luckily it was just before I was about to do some exercise so I killed that idea off for the present. I think I will miss out tomorrow - I'm pretty much enforced to anyway as I have to go into London. I will start again on Tuesday and monitor the situation.

It is a fine balance but I want to get back to some regular exercise to complement all the other stuff I am doing.

I'm in the office tomorrow - must be the first time for a month I guess which will be nice. They are providing the food so that will be good too. I'm off in the evening for a few after work drinks with my colleagues which again I look forward to.

Weight - How do I call it this time?

I shall have to say no loss but the little red needle is below the 16 stone mark but not down by a whole pound. So I think that I should call it that it stays the same....

224 Pounds.

Getting back to exercise will I hope start to improve things a little. Not sure the celebration poached eggs, mushrooms and bacon will have improved things this morning but I'm allowed a little off piste eating every now and then, I'm not a Hermit after all!

Saturday, August 07, 2010


Well that went a little better than expected.

I dialled in level 3 (the starting level for many of the exercise routines) but didn't choose a programme to run. I then put in 5 km (about 3 miles) and 30 minutes. I can normally do between 6 and 7.4 km in 30 minutes. I was surprised to finish 5 km in 20 minutes considering I haven't been on the machine in 3 weeks!

My blood pressure reading is a tiny but higher than I was expecting but give the exercise a few more days and I'm sure it will dip down once again.

I feel reasonable after this so that's OK. I'll slowly lift the bar over the next few days to get back to my 30 minutes and three peaks exercise.

A clearing out of my clutter

I had no idea that I had accumulated so much clutter. We have a thing called Freecycle (it runs locally on Yahoo Groups) and it allows you to dispose (free of charge) of stuff you no longer want but that may be useful to other people. So I have hundreds of CDs and DVDs of software that I no longer need or want and the associated magazine that can go to a new home. Also some records that were lying around and some other bits of software that I've no more use for.

My shelves in my office look pretty bare now but that's OK - all it was doing was gathering dust.

Interestingly A got an old Kitchen Chair from Freecycle that she is painting up as a summer project. She is still up in Edinburgh at the moment attending the Fringe and L is going up at her sister's expense on Monday and returning Thursday as part of her birthday present. She is 17 on Friday!!! Unbelievable - she will start driving lessons soon and I'm just amazed how quick time has gone by.

I'm still feeling great - really upbeat - really happy - really light and bouncy. I know that I probably haven't beaten Bladder Cancer yet but what I do know is that I'm making every effort to stay clear. I feel the need to get back on to my exercise regime this afternoon as I haven't had any bits drop out of my body since Wednesday so I should be all right to get slowly back - not go mad at it just slowly return to peak.

Losing a stone has made a big difference and I intend to keep on losing weight until it gets back to normal levels and my blood pressure and everything else settles to where it should be.

Early morning or late evening

for me - I've just got back from our Curry night - 17 of us out for a few beers and then at a Curry house for a really good evening meal.

Camaraderie is probably a good view of what it was all about and one guy is staying locally in a hotel having travelled about 80 miles to be with us. We are are ranged in age from 30 to 85 and so a good mix and not a bunch of trouble makers - so Flocky Bicep (who is often seen contributing to this blog or being the recipient of my scorn) was the guy that organised it and it is just a great fun evening. We had a good laugh in the pub, great food and fun at the restaurant and we left feeling we had a good evening and both the pub and restaurant profited too :-)

At the moment life is good, my life is in "re-build" mode and perhaps I can re-build my life with my family and with my friends because now - I am normal again. I'm no longer someone different with cancer, being treated, suffering from and different to them. I'm back where I was 4 years ago and I'm socially acceptable again. It sounds harsh but it is reality and I don't bear any malice in that statement - it is the way it is - I'm sure it would be if it was someone else. My friend KL was saying that his wife is now 10 years clear of Breast Cancer and ready to be signed off. In my world she was clear 12 months after we knew she had it following her treatment. I have altered my view since then but if I wasn't a (I wanted to use victim which is the wrong word) co-sufferer I would have a totally different view.

Friday, August 06, 2010

BCAN Awareness Day

Big shame there is nothing like this in the UK yet. However, kudos to these guys in the US raising awareness etc. I support them with the Orange Wristbands - I must get some more soon I'm running out after distributing them amongst friends.

Bob Schieffer on Bladder Cancer

This is perhaps one for the US audience who will know this gentleman. The graphics are excellent.

Bang and my brain explodes

What a good week it has been. Not only has Tuesday and the good news lifted a weight of my back (whether I knew it was there or not), it has also been a good week for releasing creativity especially after yesterday's meeting when suddenly it all started to fall into place about how we could run this business successfully - then the scary bit kicks in about how many £Ms of finance we need to see this through.

Suddenly it isn't just about the doing and the technology and the business setting up. It is also about raising the capital and making sure that it is available and drawn down at the right times and used properly. Suddenly all of that clicked into place too. It's stuff you know about deep down inside but you need the reality of a serious business conversation to flip the adrenaline switch....

Exciting times as suddenly the most difficult part of the business starts to come together. For 3 years we have struggled to express what we are doing in a simple and straightforward manner. The reasons are that we are solving not one but several issues all at once and describing that in simple language is too difficult. If we reflect what it may look like we start to draw comparisions which is unhelpful.

So after many hard weeks and many iterations we are boiling things down to a point where we can actually call it something other than its working title. I'm firing away on corporate planning, financial forecasts and all that good stuff. I just need to get into it and cut loose. There are too many distractions at the moment. The incentive is that this is our own money we are burning and we wont have customers for quite a long time so the longer we spend on it the more it costs us. Also part of the rush is the reality that we have no income to speak of and need the investment to come in in around 6 months.

How on earth I get all this stuff out of my head and onto paper I don't know - I just cannot type fast enough....

It is fab to get my life back again and have something really exciting, complex and challenging to do.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Something to make your head buzz

Phew - meeting went well - fantastic buzz afterwards as my head went off in to full explode mode. The more we get into the depths of our business the greater the challenge. I thought that our scale and ambition has always been set high and today we started to realise just how high. What came across and perhaps surprised us is the availability of finance options.

I don't appear to have any more bit dropping out of my body today. I think if nothing has happened by Sunday I will get back into light training on my cross trainer. It will three weeks tomorrow and I should be somewhere near the zone.

I certainly don't want to lost the habit or lose the benefits that it appears to have brought so far.

It's a curry night tomorrow which with 17 of us going along should be a great evening.

Blog before Breakfast

Then off to London to meet the new potential financial guy. Jazz was good except when I went to the toilet and passed another huge scab. Obviously not ready to get back onto the exercise bike today. I managed to get soaked as a rogue shower emptied its contents on me. Even with a huge golfing umbrella I was soaked up beyond my knees and my shoes were just about to give up when I got into the hall.

It looks a great day - it will be interesting to see quite what it brings :-)

Wednesday, August 04, 2010


I cannot fault going out the the Jazz evening as I really enjoy a bit of live music a a few pints of Old Speckled Hen to wash it all down with.

I need to wind down a bit as today was full on with the new business and tomorrow we actually get to start meeting and greeting people and perhaps welcome another member to our team.

Today it dawned on us just how big our task actually is and in many respects how far we had already come along the way. It is pretty impressive to see the quantity and the quality of the work done so far.

Get off Monkey

What a huge difference I notice in myself today - the Monkey on my Shoulder's gone and I feel light (the weight has gone) I feel bright and cheerful and ecstatic and all because I don't have to have an operation in 6 months.

That and to again have found no cancer inside of me too. If I could exhale for a minute or longer I would do PPPPPPPPppppppphhhhhhhhheeeeeewwwwww :-)

I can't tell you how huge a difference it has made to me - I'm somehow really upbeat, optimistic and cheerful all at the same time. My business partner is here today and I'm looking forward to getting stuck in to an uninterrupted 6 months of work. Tomorrow we go and meet the guy who is - potentially - going to be our Financial man. Tonight I'm off for a nigh at the Trad Jazz evening.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

The guy that encouraged me to write this blog

Was the chap I met tonight whose dad died last night. They had just moved back in to the village here and just a few weeks later it was all over and his dad died. The new next door neighbours came over to complain that the lights were left on last night.

"That would be on account of the nurse coming over due to "a serious and sudden deterioration of his condition" my friend suggested. Well - "my wife found it hard to sleep and I hope it doesn't happen again?" "I doubt it" my friend said "he died 10 minutes ago, you should get some sleep tonight!"

He and I like my "I'm Not Dead Yet" Tee-Shirt I wear occasionally. Everyone - listen to me - stop being such annal retentive dick-heads and "GET A LIFE"

How dare they come over and complain that a light was left on when at that actual time a human life was going out??? Sometimes, when I see the world's sufferings and man's inhumanity to man graphically displayed on the news and then you get some self centred NMBY (Not In My Back Yard) on - don't you just want to go and drill them? I know I do - but then I'm getting old and far more right wing than I ever was.

I had a little cuddle with my mate as he arrived at the pub. We don't do that sort of thing normally, we are British and that's not the way we greet each other - you should shake hands and all that but my friend just lost his Dad and after all, an arm round your shoulder says a thousand words because - not only don't we like touching each other, we are also very bad at saying the right thing either!!! It's tough being British as our stiff upper lips get in the way of our feelings and we aren't very good at expressing ourselves. I don't think I've ever given him a "cuddle" but I just felt it was necessary and saved me the embarrassment of having to express my sentiments at his father's demise.

I have to say though that KP - he knows who he is - is massively responsible for this blog and so I do hope that he reads it and realises the major part he has played in getting this diatribe out into to the wide world and the benefit for me - if for no one else?

Respect KP - you've played such a major part in my recovery - I just can't express how important it has been to have this outlet available and your support during that time.

Oh Happy Day!!!

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!

OK - I waited 30 minutes to see the Consultant (Doctor), Jo, my Urology Nurse, picked me up from reception and we walked through. "Have you got your stress balls?" she asked. "I hope I don't need them!" I said as we walked into the office. It was smiles all round and my consultant, obvioulsy not in on the joke looked at me. I explained that I was surprised Jo "recognised me with my clothes on" and that when I have the BCG treatment, I carry in a pair or Stress balls. Having sorted that out - we exchanged pleasantries (as you do) and she just said that the results were clear.

"Great" I said. Then the even better news - "we can now go to a check by flexible cystoscopy"

I have to tell you that this is such good news for me, 4 years, 9 operations and an explanation that the reason they had gone for lots more biopsies, especially around the neck of the bladder (where the original tumour was close to) was to allow them to be able to take this decision.

Relief? You're not kidding. I am so pleased that I'm smiling writing this yet I have a tiny tear of emotion in my eyes too. I was hoping so much to move on and this really has let me do that. I can't even begin to tell you what a relief it is. I had a small whinge about the treatment I had received and also asked for the fainting fit to be stuck on the notes so that people knew not to back pressure my bladder next time (if there is one). I'd certainly say something but thought the notes should too!

As I say that, I find that one of my friends from school I am meeting tonight (we meet every month) just dropped me a note with 2 messages. His brother - who I haven't seen for 35 years will be coming over tonight but that their father died last night, of cancer. The other friend who will be there is the one whose dad died just as I was diagnosed causing all sorts of anguish I can tell you. The one who cannot make it tonight, his father-in-law - who I knew quite well died of Bladder Cancer just last year after many years fighting it. I intend that we will celebrate life and to help the cause Ii have already had three pints of Spitfire on my way home. Mrs. F. and L accompanied me at the pub to celebrate :-)

What a strange and fateful day for me. I like the fact that we will celebrate my friend's dad's life - I have no doubt that is what he would want us to do. I only met him a few times but he was a lovely man.

I am so pleased with the outcome - it was the best news I could have had especially after all that trauma of the past few weeks.

Monday, August 02, 2010

WAMU: The Diane Rehm Show Podcast : NPR Podcasts

WAMU: The Diane Rehm Show Podcast : NPR Podcasts


2nd August 2010 - Bladder Cancer. This is a podcast and is about an hour long. It is very interesting stuff and highlights one of the key things about bladder cancer - that is the sheer cost of treatment and its recurrence rates. Some very interesting points here for the US audience and here in Europe too.

I have been trying to explain how different bladder cancer is to people for a long time, about the long term follow up work and the high levels of recurrence but with the frequency of follow up and the slow growing nature - they are able to give us BC survivors a good prognosis. There are still further treatments and things they can do in the future should I get another recurrence. More treatment, surgery and even more radical things can be done to prolong my life.

It was also interesting to hear that as this is the 5th most prevalent cancer in the US and the 4th here in the UK how little attention or funding it gets. Is this because it is a "below the belt" cancer?? Given how much it costs the NHS here in the UK (paid for by our national insurance scheme) and individual's insurance in the US you would have thought there were some long term financial gains to be made by advancing the research into Bladder Cancer.

One of the panellists has been checked for 30 years (she is only 50) and it could be much much longer of course. Imagine if you will what sort of costs that is for a theatre, all the laundry, personnel, doctor, heating, lighting etc and all the drugs and stuff - then multiply that by 30 and you can see quite how expensive it is.

Interesting stuff I think you'll find.

Verdict Day approaches

I'll have a walk to the nearer Hospital tomorrow - at least it has an open out patients area not like the other place which triggers my claustrophobia off nicely as it is hot and over crowded and pokey.

Let's hope for some good news this time and that the lab reports follow the visual one and there is nothing there. It really needs to be given the experience I had this time. I nearly got back onto the exercise machine today but decided to wait until tomorrow and get the SP from the consultant and then I can make up my mind what to do next.

I'm quite pleased with myself as I made my first batch of Cottage (or Curd) Cheese last night and had some for lunch today. It is pretty good and quite different to the pots of stuff you get at the supermarket. It is much finer grained and a little drier (maybe I overdid the draining). You get a fair amount out of a few pints of milk and you get sour milk / butter milk so Mrs. F. made blueberry muffins with that too.

I am toying with the idea of following Steve K's inclusion of the Budwig Protocol in my diet and so will source some Flaxseed Oil (or Linseed as we call it over here) and some Flax Seeds themselves to add to the Cottage Cheese and try out the mixture. If you follow the link above you will see Steve's take on it and I feel I ought to give this a try to add in to my diet. I've been pretty good about what I eat but once again, this week finds me out three times - tomorrow with my school chums, Wednesday at the Trad Jazz night and Friday Flocky Bicep has organised a Curry Club - there should be about 15 to 17 of us out for the night. Each requires me to drink beer (of course) and Friday to have a Curry. However I do tend to go for fish or vegetarian these days so hopefully that will stop me piling on the pounds.

Exercise - I must get back to it and so far it has been two days since the last appearance of scabs and bits falling out of me. I am guessing that I could easily do light exercise without turning on the resistance magnets just to give myself a light jog rather than a workout. As for the weights - perhaps early next week.

I'm trying to get some sleep but for some reason my mind is skipping ahead to tomorrow - even though there is nothing I can actually do about the outcome!

A Grand Place

It most certainly is a Grand Place. I don't remember it being as crowded as this but then I wasn't always there during the tourist season as most of Europe closes down around about now and everyone goes on holiday.

It was a good break and perhaps the only one I'll get away with this year whilst I am working on getting some funding for our new venture. That is proving hard work at the moment as we grind through the tedious stuff of naming the project (we already have a working name). We need to choose something appropriate and that sticks in the mind. It may well be changed later but we need to rally around a flag and start talking a common language. There will be more later but what we are doing is radically different but we are reluctant to use existing language to express what sets it apart as it associates it with existing technologies. We are nearing the holy grail of having new language and new definitions, a sales drill and other things. We are also close to getting the team built now as we have found our "missing link". I'm pretty good at financial stuff and have produced all the finances to date but really needed as specialist. It looks as if we have found that person which is great.

I am feeling a lot better today and I'm getting back to work albeit a bit slowly as I need to catch up on the work my colleague has done whilst I have been off work. Tomorrow I find out what the results of the biopsies are and where my future lies. I was impressed today as I needed a belt to stop my jeans falling down!! I seem to have shrunk around the waist and chest all of a sudden even though I've only lost a few pounds this week. Strange :-)

Sunday, August 01, 2010


Not a river in Egypt - a thought going through my head.

It could even be not taking it seriously or taking it too lightly. It just appears to me that so many people talk to me and it's the way that they look at you and the tone of their voices that trigger this reflection on whether or not I understand the gravity of the situation that I am in. Sounds funny? Well to me it does as I don't look at it that way.

I think that there is some measure of truth about being in denial or not taking it seriously as I am certain that it doesn't actually accomplish anything for me to be thinking like that so it is a bit of kid-ology attached to it. I think that bladder cancer is also "a little different" to other cancers in as much as it is very treatable in the way that I've had it. In other words, whilst it is nasty and we all know it is a killer, in bladder cancer terms, caught early, non-invasive and low/medium grade as mine was - is controllable. After they've gotten rid of the offending tumour, treated the bladder with BCG, they keep their eye on you at a minimum yearly.

Bladder Cancer is slow growing and so they can quickly whip any new tumours out or identify any areas of concern. That's happened to me already with a minute recurrence but this time all looks clear. The downside is that I'll be being checked regularly for the rest of my life by the looks of it and possibly that will be yearly (I don't know what the future is on that) I assume. It may be different with advances in treatment over what's left of my life.

Because I am comfortable (might be the wrong word) that they can catch any recurrence in a timely manner and that they should get this before it has an opportunity to harm me, then I feel a certain level of confidence about the disease I've had and feel I should convey that by being positive and optimistic to people I meet. I guess we are all, deep down, frightened of Cancer and perhaps that is what people don't quite get when they meet me. I have a pretty healthy respect for it but I also think that you must also communicate the good stuff too. I survived, modern medicine boosted my immune system to fight the cancer and these days you are more likely to survive. All of these things are worth communicating and I like to consider that I am being a mini ambassador for the disease and for the advances in treatment that mean I survived.

I don't think I'm in denial and I'd like to consider that I know pretty much what has happened to me, why it happened and what I can do to improve my survival chances. All these things are actually good news and deserve to be communicated. I imagine that generally things are negative and such things as hair loss and the loss of loved ones to Cancer sets people's behaviour so that they see my attitude as unusual and the opposite of what they expected.

Denial? Maybe but only for self protection - I never ever want to go look down the abyss again and I surely don't want my old friend the Black Dog to come visit again.

Weight this week - a pleasant and unexpected surprise

224 Pounds or 16 stone. Good grief - I thought I would have put on a lot although I have eaten sensibly and done plenty of walking. That's about 1 stone since I've started my "health kick". Still more to go and it is a good feeling to start noticing my clothes being loose on me.

Perhaps I should complain to the Belgian Beer Companies that their beer isn't full of enough carbohydrates :-)

Talking of Belgian beer - I did enjoy a few (as you do) and still like Duvel (Devil) as it is quite strong but not like the Trappist beers. There are some bars in Brussels that sell around 200 beers and there is a different glass (shape, logo etc) for every beer. One of the more amazing ones is Kwak which comes in a wooden handled mini "yard of ale" type glass. I recommend a visit to Belgium just for the beer alone.

As for my ongoing recovery - overnight I've been visiting the toilet every hour or so - which is to be expected as I have been drinking a lot to ease the pains I was getting. This morning, after several more bits have fallen out or been passed out I am a lot better and peeing is less painful. I'm still quite tender around my bladder / stomach area but that is only to be expected I guess. I'm going to take it easy again today - plenty more water to drink and hopefully I'll be fit enough to return to exercising later this week.