Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve

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

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

So perhaps I'll list some resolutions:

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

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

Happy New Year to you all.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

No Silver Bullet

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 27, 2010

That figures

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

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

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

Well that was unexpected

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

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

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

Saturday, December 25, 2010

And now for Christmas

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 24, 2010

Worked a Treat

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

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

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

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

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

Late again

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Looking Back

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

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

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

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

So what have I learnt looking back?

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Reconnecting with some old friends

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 20, 2010

Well that was interesting

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

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

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

Admin, admin, admin

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

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

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

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Gee but it's cold

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

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

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

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

Extraordinary People

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 17, 2010

Whoa - Snow and Tired and Disaffected and...

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

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

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

Thursday, December 16, 2010

That's not good

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

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

Saw this the other day - Christmas Dream - Perry Como

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

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

Thursday dawns

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


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

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

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

After the High - the Low

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Slept Well

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 13, 2010

Judgement Day

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Still not right

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 08, 2010


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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Blimey it's cold today

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Monday, December 06, 2010


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

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

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

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

No Screening For A While Then

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

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

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

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

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

A Cold - Just the After Effects?

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 05, 2010


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

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

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

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

Saturday, December 04, 2010


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

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

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

Friday, December 03, 2010

Salt Gargle - Yuk

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

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

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

Thursday, December 02, 2010

More days locked in

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

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

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

Just to give an idea

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

Snow and A Cavity

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

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

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

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

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


Wednesday, December 01, 2010


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

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

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