Sunday, July 31, 2011

Strange Day

A & L's boyfriends are around now and so we see a lot of them. Barbecue No 2 of the weekend but at least this time they didn't set up the Chimenea to billow smoke and ask out everywhere like they did yesterday!

F1 was good, then the Golf, the Swimming, the Athletics and the Cricket one after the other meant it was a good old day for sport. The girls have bought me some tickets to Brands Hatch to see some motor sport and I've chosen a weekend that suits me so now to see if everyone else can make it? I remember seeing my one and only F1 Grand Prix there years ago and before we had kids my mate was a Marshall so we got to see races and get a paddock pass through him and his girlfriend.

I'm trying to sort myself out for holidays and all that but mindful that I may need to go see my parents so I'll probably hold on for a while to see what is going on in the next few weeks in terms of diagnosis, prognosis etc.

It's never easy of course and Mrs. F. who has now changed jobs can get time off out of the school holidays which is great for us but we may have to consider doing late bookings if the news is not as good as everyone wants.

Dad's health

Seems to be better - losing his Jaundice and getting back to normal but has lost about a stone which is worrying even though he could "afford to lose that" and more - given what he has I'm a little more concerned about things. Mind you, no use second guessing these things and we will know soon enough what it is and what we can or can't do about it.

I guess all of this is taking my eye off of my situation and the reasons behind this blog which is about bladder cancer. Maybe I need to reconsider what goes in here - however, I'll keep it going for a while longer as I'm sure there's mileage to be had in it.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

What a week

I don't feel like it has been a week - so much has happened and yet time has shot by. It's half-way through Saturday and I'm feeling a bit bored - I want to come back in here and do some work but I know that isn't going to do me any good - I need to take some breaks from this.

I have to admit to being somewhat nonplussed by Mrs. F. who is now questioning where to put my new exercise machine. I guess it is going next to my orbital trainer as far as I'm concerned and it could go in my office - it would mean losing the drawing board and all the accumulated cr@p that has arrived on it these past few years but it could be done. However, I was asking as I thought perhaps I could set it up in the garage for the benefit of everyone and as it is on wheels I suppose it could go somewhere downstairs but I'd be less thrilled with that. I think I'll just put it where I was going to put it and say "sod you" to everyone else :-)

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Deed is Done

My Vibration Plate Exerciser is ordered and as luck would have it - the distributor is 10 minutes away from me. I was going to buy another one but as they couldn't furnish me with their terms and conditions I decided to do some further investigation and then found another one that is more powerful so I thought that might be worth having a go at as it has another level of programs, more speeds and looks a lot more sturdy.

Hopefully next week I can get going on that.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Exercise - or rather the lack of it

Well - I'm going to have to change all of that later this week and into next week. I took a count of calories earlier this week and was amazed how much I eat and so in the past couple of days I've dropped the amount I eat significantly. Coupled with that I realised that my odd attempts to get back on the exercise habit have been abysmal and of course then I hurt my leg and my back and so I've only half heartedly messed around with the cross trainer.

Today I was reviewing some notes I'd made some time ago about getting a vibrating plate massage / trainer and spent some time reviewing models etc. I'd love to have the price of a small car and invest in a power plate (who wouldn't) but that would seem a bit churlish of me and so I've discussed a plan with Mrs. F. and I think - subject to discussion tomorrow - I will invest in a Vibration Plate. These machines set off vibrations - allegedly this technology was originally designed to treat bone and lean muscle mass loss in cosmonauts who had spent considerable time in a weightless environment in space, in addition to enhancing power and strength and accelerating recovery in Russian Olympic athletes.

I don't believe that you can just step on one of these and the weight drops off of you but the idea that you attempt to adjust lots of times (according to the frequency of the plate) your body and muscles it is meant to assist in toning up and I'm thinking that if I use this to warm up and cool down on then I can get onto the cross trainer in a better condition than I do now. For what it's worth - it may be a useful thing and I can do a number of short sessions a day on it as well apparently. That would be good to haul me off of the keyboard and to give myself maybe a 5 or 10 minute mini session three or four times a day. Worth a go and anything to get me back into the grove again. I find that I am working long hours and working into the evening and weekends again and I just need to reclaim some of that time back and do some exercise. It sucks, it's horrible, I don't like it but I must get my shape back and get myself fitter again.


Everyone seems to be a bit better this morning - apparently no one gave Dad any advice about having the anaesthetic. So I've sent on some of my stuff about that. How can they do that?! Grrrr.

Anyway - he's better this morning - under instructions from us all to take it easy for the next few days or else :-) I think he's got the message - I've sort of dug into my experiences and told them what happened to me and so I think that might help.

Anyway - first round over and more to come. All seems to be OK for the moment and just need to wait and hear back about the next trip in a few weeks time I suppose.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


So Dad's home - no biopsy but a plastic stent (lasts about 3 months) not a stainless steel one. He managed to frighten the bejeebers out of everyone trying to get up to go to the toilet and staggering like a drunk around the ward as he was loaded up with General Anaesthetic! I suppose if you don't know, or no one told you, well you don't know. Then he wouldn't get into a wheelchair and frankly I'd have kept him in overnight but well they like to boot you out these days so he's at home and not listening to anyone about the General Anaesthetic but I'm guessing he'll go to bed and will sleep through and hopefully feel a bit better and not try and be a bloody superhero in the morning.

I've been there and done that, got the tee shirt and felt an arse doing it! So plastic stent - I guess because there are more MRI scans to go next week or the week after when he has to have an inside out type of scan. I imagine high magnetic field and metal don't exactly work together in harmony if my electrical engineering training is to be relied on.... Quite how my dad and my brother who are both also trained electricians didn't get that connection I don't know. Mind you I could be barking mad and have got that wrong - what do I know?

My mum sounded wiped out when I spoke to her so I'll ring tomorrow morning and see how she is coping. my brother and sister-in-law were both around today and are 5 minutes away. I thanked T for being there for them. There you go, I feel guilty and yet I didn't move away from them and - as I complained a week or two back - no one ever came down to see me when I was ill (not that there's a wrong or right about it - it's just a fact that's all and I'm not overly precious about it). I'm in two minds whether I'm needed or not at the moment. I could go up there and spend a few days but I'm wondering whether I'll be needed at the time of diagnosis to help to put things in perspective.

Dad's annoyed that he has to have more done to him but I suppose that's only natural - I was annoyed I had to go in last time but I realised the benefits of checking out the mark on my bladder whether or not it was made by them, was a scar or it may just have been a recurrence. I suppose he hasn't come to terms with all of this yet and I doubt I would have done either it's only been a few weeks and so rationalising your situation is pretty difficult and coming to terms with being that ill for the first time in your life isn't going to be easy either.

Dad's happy enough laughing and joking but I'm sure that it's defence mechanism clipping in. Underneath I can only imagine how this is churning away for him. Not a lot I can do apart from holding myself up as some sort of example and yet it took me a long time to deal with it all.

Let's see how everyone is in the morning...

Down to Theatre

Well Dad went down to theatre around 12:15 and so I should hear something soon. So this is what it feels like to have a close relative in hospital? I can't say I've ever experienced it as the receiver - I've always been the giver of such grief to my folks!

I have to say I've been feeling quite strange all day - my body is tense so it is a manifestation of stress mainly in my chest and shoulders and upper arms.

Spoke to my kid brother - bless him - he's doing all the running about on this and of course had his own problems with his mother-in-law dying yesterday.

Oh well - let's see what happens later. Fingers and everything else crossed :-)

Distracted and not a little anxious this morning

I had a terrible night's sleep - no major dreams or worries as far as I recall. With dad going in for his procedure today I do feel quite distracted and a little anxious - not that I can do anything for him of course.

Let's hope they are kind and helpful for him and get it over and done with as soon and as painlessly as possible so he can go home and relax. Of course he will have to wait for the results of the biopsy which will probably be just as traumatic.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Stated Far More Eloquently Than I Ever Could

This article in the Guardian

Having cancer is an education, and this is what I have learned - "Illness introduced me to a beautiful network of dependence – and a struggle for autonomy I can't win on my own" by Mike Marqusee

I'd like to be able to write like this but I'm not a journalist :-)

Thinking about dad tonight

I know pretty much what he is going through and he reckoned the last 4 days have been like 4 weeks - yes I recognise that too. Not a lot I can do to help really other than the supportive comments and the empathy.

It's pretty worrying I have to say all the waiting and thinking and Dad's got a razor of a mind, can knock out the Times or Telegraph Crossword in less than 10 minutes, can answer most of the questions on University Challenge etc., etc. So he has a pretty good idea what tomorrow is going to be like and I imagine is forming an opinion of what he has. Me too in a way although there are plenty of good signs here as he isn't hurting, off his food or losing weight. It's all too early to judge and it's all too early to say. I just hope that they get it over and done with for him tomorrow. He will be having an Endoscope which needs to get around to here to take a biopsy and to see if they can correct the blockage causing his Jaundice.

I feel for him and for the trauma and the anxiety he will be going through - I'm bad but under control after having seen more tubes and stuff stuck in me in the past 5 years than I care to remember - I am sure it will be very traumatic for him and for mum.

Just when you thought you'd had your fill of bad news

I got a call from my Mum saying that my brother's mother in law had died today. She had been suffering from metastasised cancer and last year called a halt to treatment - she had had enough of it - and I can fully understand how that would be. We all knew that this was likely and a week ago she stopped eating, went into hospital yesterday and died this morning. Poor old T, my brother, he's dealing with Mum and Dad and now this. The amazing thing is that the funeral could be tomorrow, they live in France - apparently that's normal! The father-in-law himself (I believe) a cancer survivor, will bring the ashes back to the UK. T and his wife can't drop everything and be over there and Dad is in hospital tomorrow morning and T is taking him.

I'm left here not being able to help out on this. Spoke to mum and this news isn't exactly helping matters of course. Dad also has to have a scan that looks outwards rather than one that is scanned inwards. This is pretty new I believe and let's hope that all these things will sort him out one way or the other. If nothing else tomorrow let's hope they open things up and get rid of the jaundice.

I kind of feel a little helpless being all these miles away but I remind myself that I've lived in this area almost all of my life and it was my parents and and brother who moved away from here. I suppose I ought to get my guilt trip over and done with quickly. If my parents had been living here and my brother elsewhere I would have been doing the driving and all that.

Monday, July 25, 2011

So 5 years + 1 day - how's that feel?

You know what - it feels just great and whilst I seem to always be bleating on about it - life's pretty good for me at the moment. It isn't great for other people but I suppose when I wasn't doing so well they were doing OK.

I feel for my parents at the moment, what they are going through and I hope that we will know for certain later on this week or next what is going on and what the future will hold. I'm not sure that me worrying about it or anything else is going to change for what will be will be in these things and I just hope that it doesn't involve too much discomfort for my dad.

Somehow I've resolved with myself just to pull back from it at the moment as I can't do anything and I can't change anything and I also need to not get myself all wound up either.

I decided today to monitor my intake of food as I know that FOCC is pretty fattening stuff - I thought that I was on quite a good diet but in reality with all the odds and ends I eat during the day I tipped 2000 calories for the day. Tomorrow I intend to reduce that by a good couple of hundred if possible although I may be out to lunch :-( which will skew that number.

Anyway - at least I can see where the numbers are and what I need to achieve in the next few weeks in terms of lowering my input and raising my output (exercise) to start to loose some more weight. It looks as if all the work I did do has recently just ground to a halt so a bit more attention to detail is required.

Itty Bitty Internet

It's been a bad start to the day - the internet has been appalling - it wasn't great last night either. They've acknowledged that and are trying to fix it and I've been trying to work in between times.

Funny old day so far - I don't feel very hungry today and so didn't have any breakfast today but will have FOCC at lunchtime. I'm not sure what it is but I just don't fancy eating anything this morning at all.

I had a strange nights sleep and got up a little later than I normally do and it's just all a bit strange this morning as if something has happened but I don't know what it is - if that makes sense?

I'm just going to work my way through and see how it goes.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

If looks could kill

I suggested that I enjoyed the time we spend together to Mrs. F. today - funny really as I did say it in a slightly sarcastic way. We were both out Friday she was out today and I hardly saw her at all on Saturday. This morning all hell broke loose with some garment needing repair before work as it was Ls last day it had to be sorted and so I guess I've seen Mrs. F. about 10 times this weekend and spoken to her about 3 times. I thought it was funny - Mrs. F. looked pretty much underwhelmed and if looks could kill :-)

So it's now late and I am going to turn in. I've come up with some great stuff for the business plan and had a weekend of sport to enjoy. Not great news about my dad but we will have to deal with that after Wednesday I suppose?

I've been wondering quite what to do about all this and suddenly, I'm backing away from wanting to actually "do" anything. What could I actually do? How "helpful" could I possibly be? I know a number of people who have cancer and they're not like me, they don't think or act like me and they get on with things differently - who am I to tell them what to do? I need to play it very much by ear and see what the diagnosis and prognosis is for dad and that won't be known for a week yet.

Alomst Missed it - FIVE YEARS TODAY

Five years ago today - around about 3 pm was when I had the first TURBT and had the tumour removed from my bladder. It was a Monday and I had spent the weekend in a state of heightened anxiety knowing that they were going to operate. Other than that I knew very little of my condition - I took a peek at some online stuff but didn't like the look of it and then realised that most of the people who wrote these things were in a far worse state than I was. A lot were dying or thought they were and it was not a great place to be.

Luckily - I'm not one of them and I survived that episode.

I have no particular plans to do anything - it was only that I wrote today's date on a piece of paper that I remembered.

To anyone tuning in at the beginning of their journey with bladder cancer - things do get better and time and experience change your perception.

Spoke to my Dad

This morning and it was one of those very rare times that I've heard him actually feel sorry for himself or say that he wasn't particularly well. He sounded weak and he sounded frail. He's sleeping a lot at the moment and is due in on Wednesday for his endoscope which we hope will sort out his jaundice if nothing else and take a biopsy. Now he's not hurting or in pain, not shaking or anything else and so in a way that's pretty good news - but we will have to wait and see.

He has some more scopes and things to go through and he's had a number of scans - he's had the dye in the veins one so I imagine he is feeling pretty awful - as I did when I had that. For a guy who hates the doctor and hospitals he's managing OK. He needs to get over the YUK factor and realise that everything happens at their own speed.

I said yesterday that I can't go with him on this - I can't live his pain for him because it hurts me just thinking about it. I feel like I've just had some of this stuff done to me, I feel the back of my hand hurting and knots in my stomach just thinking about it in passing and even now writing this. I really don't need to be giving myself this level of grief and thinking about that dye in the veins thing really gave me a turn - I hadn't realised he had had that. Then again - they didn't know about all the times I had my stuff - some but not all.

Anyway - Wednesday is the big day and with some luck we will know more towards the end of the week.

So here's Some Good News

I've been following a blog called the Assertive Cancer Patient for a couple of years on and off but in recent times have tried to follow it more often. Today there was some great news. How about after 10 years of having metastatic cancer - fighting all sorts of battles you wouldn't believe and having huge highs and lows, Jeanne is in remission HERE is the news.

There's something worth celebrating...

PS: I forgot to say - that last year she was given a year to live and then refused to do so - she has been on a clinical trial which appears to have assisted. Surely a lesson for us all not to give in lightly and to persevere even in the hardest of times.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Holding back

On calling too often at the moment and will have 'normal' phone call with my Mum tomorrow morning. Will see what they've been up to and see what I can or cannot do at this time. I think that keeping things like they normally are is probably better than calling every day etc.

It's a bit strange dealing with someone in my family being ill - the last major illness before mine was my nephew and niece who both got Diabetes but hers was pretty serious as she almost died. That's got to be about 15 years ago now I suppose. Anyway, what I mean is my immediate family because I'm the sick one really. 11 Operations when I was a kid, rushed in sometime ago with possible heart attack (which proved not to be), a couple of A&Es when I got my nose broken in a cricket match (not by the ball but when the idiot let go of the bat!), once when I fell down some stairs and once when I got my lip split. And of course the 30 odd times I've been in and out in the past 5 years. So dealing with someone else being ill should be easy for me :-)

I doubt it will be. I'm 110 miles away and at least a 2 1/2 hour journey from them which makes for an interesting problem about going up to see them and when etc. So whatever happens in the next however long it is going to be isn't going to be particularly easy to sort out logistics wise - I just need to wait and see.

I also realise that I know a lot about my particular subject matter and I'm also not certain that I will actually be of any "help" at this time, time when they need to work out for themselves what they want to do and also time to get their thinking right about it too. I've got to tread a careful path between their needs and mine. No one got involved in my illness and so I need to make sure that I don't get involved in theirs. That's sounds a bit awful but all I mean is that as well intentioned as I may feel my help may be, it's not my place to do that uninvited and unwanted. I also have to be very careful about my own health in getting that involved.

On a happier note L arrived home after being away for a week and she had a good time away. She is growing up really fast - it's most strange that suddenly she isn't a school girl any more and she will soon go to University, she just appears to have grown from one to the other in a few weeks.

Friday, July 22, 2011


With the level of professional results the three artists put on tonight and the evening shot past. Thanks to Flocky Bicep for turning up and supporting the evening. I think it was a great success and it's great to see young artists displaying challenging work. I was most impressed to see some of As larger photographic work and also some of her original life work in charcoal - I'd never seen these before.

It's a shame that we don't value art as much as we should. We came back home and ended up having a curry which went down very well. We also have a few bags worth of food and drink to use up over the weekend :-)

The Exhibition

I've just dropped A off with a boot (trunk) full of food for the private viewing. I've sponsored the food and drink although they haven't told me how much it is yet :-) I'm looking forward to wandering down there in a couple of hours and seeing what they have done - I haven't seen her work in the new frames or how they've laid it out and so that will be interesting.

At least she will have some intern work in her portfolio and this exhibition. She has another exhibition in the central library later on this year too so that all adds to her experience. You can see some of her work here and the gallery information is here. You may glance some of her painted furniture work on this site.

It looks a hard life being an artist but that's what the intern-ship is all about - she can reflect on this experience. We hope to get her some work experience with one of the major newspapers (not the News of the World obviously) later in the summer so she can experience a week of being a journeyman photographer for the newspapers.

I'm really looking forward to seeing how they've worked out how they are going to present their work and run the exhibition.

Your Thought Process

I remember going through the thoughts - wild as they were between "I'm going to die" and "hang on - they haven't even staged it yet!" It was a horrible time I recall and in a way I just had a couple of days to think about things. I was diagnosed on the Friday and I was in the operating theatre on the Monday! Now that's fast. I had, of course, a relatively high grade cancer and the tumour was of moderate size (whatever that may be). So I can understand what Dad and my Mum are going through.

I can actually feel a heightened level of anxiety in my body - I'm feeling for them - I'm going through the process - reliving my own experiences. I can't make decisions for them and in a way, I'm a bit loathe to get involved unless asked. Dad's got to work through the ups and downs and decide what to do. I mean the crazy thing is we don't actually know that it IS cancer. The signs are reasonably good - very small tumour, could be a cyst but they need to do the investigative work and his first reaction was no. Then again, he's never had surgery etc in his whole life so the shock of all of this must be far worse and at 80 years old he isn't thinking clearly about it. He has the weekend to think things over and they have the phone call on Monday.

I've said to them that until you actually get the results, you'll not know where you stand. If it isn't then there'll be some sort of action to take. if it is, then they'll have something to say about it and a way forward. It isn't great - of course it isn't but inaction is not an acceptable strategy. I'm sure he will come around to a decision based on some logic over the weekend. It is all very raw to him I expect and I doubt his head is "in a good place" at the moment.


Or early as it is really Friday morning. I'm sort of sitting around in a state of light shock I suppose. Poor old dad is probably having a pretty torrid time and will do of course as he comes to terms with what he's been presented with this week. I see a lot of me in him but I'm not entirely like him but in some of the stubborn areas and needing a certain amount of order about things I'm exactly like him and getting more so each time I see him.

I'm not going to second guess what is going on and will wait it out until I hear what the results may be. I'll just have to deal with it the way I normally do I suppose - I've always been the rock steady non emotional one in the family and I suppose I've some experience in these things.

I felt that maybe I should drive up and see Dad but it's A's opening night of her first exhibition tomorrow and I really want to be there. A lot of her mates who've known this is going on have decided to go elsewhere for the weekend and I want to make sure she gets my full support. I'm not sure what I can actually do going to my parent's place this weekend and perhaps it may be better suited a little later on when we know what is happening and when I can do some good.

I was only whinging last week or the week before about how no one ever came and saw me when I was ill. In fact not once in 5 years has anyone bothered but I'll arrange to see them when they need me up there.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Irony, it's ironic isn't it?

5 years ago this very day I was diagnosed with Cancer and today my dad goes home after them having discovered a tumour on his Pancreas. It's very small, you can hardly see it on the scan and so he is home now. He's obviously not feeling good about stuff at the moment and neither is my mum really but they'll hopefully be able to come to terms with this in the next day or two. I'm a good example of what they can do these days but dad sounded a bit defeatist but then I remember being very much like that until good old Mrs. F. told me to "Pull myself together!" :-)

They have a pow wow on Monday and he goes back in Wednesday (even though he says he isn't) for them to do an endescopy and to unblock things so he can get rid of the Jaundice (probably a stent). They also want a scan of his chest as well. I'm leaving him to rest and hope to speak to him over the weekend.

I hope he gets a bit of rest and has some time to think things over. I don't like tone I heard tonight but he's only just been told the news so I imagine it's like I was - hit by a truck!

Dignosed 5 years ago today

I knew by this time of day 5 years ago that I had Cancer and it was and wasn't a shock all at the same time. I knew that I'd need an operation and fast and I remember the stinging following the flexible cystoscopy which I realise now was due to the blood in my urine more than anything else and I guess that I'd never been scoped before. These days I'm an old hand at it having had in excess of 37 of these things shoved up my urethra.

So another milestone reached and in a way it's quite a bizarre coincidence that my father may be diagnosed today after his scan. I hope he hasn't to deal with the sort of shock I did those 5 years ago.

He has had a further scan or XRay this morning and so we hope to hear something today about what is wrong with him.

Something Else that Afffects Your Bladder

I never really got drugs - alcohol and cigarettes and cigars - yes but I never ever liked or even fancied a go at anything else.

Here is a sobering story - I hope you can catch the video here.

"A review into the horse tranquillizer ketamine by the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs is to say that recreational use of the drug appears to be a growing problem.

Although it is not calling for ketamine to be reclassified, the committee is suggesting that the drug is wrongly classified as being less harmful than ecstasy and cannabis.

Ketamine is now the fourth most popular recreational drug in the UK and in extreme cases, use of it can lead to severe bladder damage.

The lad in the story/video had his bladder removed at 18 years old and replaced by a bag for around a year. The worse the symptoms got, the more he took the drug.

Goodness knows what problems will come along after that - if it hit your bladder it's bound to have an affect on kidneys and elsewhere.

Phew - yuk, ohhh, turned me over just listening to it. The stuff some people shove into themselves is just bizarre.

Christopher Francis is currently serving time in Ford Open Prison. Here he explains how his use of ketamine led to his bladder having to be removed."

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

All about Dad at the moment

The scan was inconclusive (it that's a real word) and apart from a possibly enlarged gall bladder - they cannot see anything. It looks as if the want to do another scan tomorrow and check the back of that area, no endoscope (for now) which I imagine will please him :-)

Doing well as are my mum and my brother and sister-in-law have stepped up to the plate too which is good. Spoke to mum and she is sort of OK about it and even Dad seems resigned to it now - he is a "little confused" but then he is 80 and has never been in a hospital before (as far as we know) and so it's all a little new and a little bit uncomfortable for him. I know I hate it and he is far more sensitive to this stuff than I am.

I'm a bit more relaxed about things now having had a very bad night on Monday I've managed to sort things out. Tonight my Nephew came along and took me out for a beer which was really nice. I haven't seen him for ages - he's been jetting between here, New York and Tampa for months but looks as if things have settled and he is back here for a while now.

A good chat with him and my business partner about dad has also helped me sort myself out. I feel a bit sorry that I may have burdened them but then again, they've both done that to me in the past and a year ago you may recollect I was pouring said nephew out of a bar in London and into a cab after a night on the town that I'd really like to forget.

Oh well - all is well and it's time for bed - dad is OK and tomorrow we may find out what's wrong with him. I pray it isn't what I worry that it is and that it is something a lot simpler to sort out. Let's hope so.

Good Spirits

Well - dad's in good spirits - laughing and joking with nurses and mum so that's good. I just spoke to her and she is all OK at the moment - or sounds it and they'll go off and see him. I've done the hospital check list for them and all is OK there. He awaits his scan later today.

He's not in pain and seems to be and feel fine which is good, not been losing weight or appetite. Mum says in 57 years she's known him this is the first time she's seen him give blood or been in a hospital. I'd say that's a result as I said to my kid brother - having been in 10 times in 5 years and perhaps more than 20 times in my life, I'd say he was overdue for a trip in.

Also found out that he's been looking a "bit yellow" for more than a week - typical bloke - don't go and speak to the Doc until he looks like a human banana!

I'm sort of feeling stressed for him as I know what he is like - hopefully though, as long as they aren't pulling him about too much he'll be OK - I doubt he will like the blood draws and he wasn't amused that he'd probably be in for 3 days (at least).

Well - let's see how he gets on and what they find - no good second guessing them.

Good Sleep

Unfortunately - my brother was trying to get me at midnight but I wasn't answering emails or text messages. Dad was taken in overnight to hospital on the Doctor's orders after they got the blood tests back and he had to wait until 11 pm to get a bed and sit around in A&E none of which I imagine would have helped his state of mind - he hates hospitals and doctors more than I do and if you felt reading my blog that I have high anxiety sometimes, spare a thought for him as he really does have the most awful time and gets very stressed out - bless him.

So the thing that kept me up on Monday night has happened and he is in hospital and I just know how much he hates it. He wants to go home but, frankly, he needs to have these tests run and they need to find out what it is. I have my own theory but I'll keep that to myself.

I might as well be a million miles away for all the help I can give - I suppose I'd better prepare myself to be able to drop into the car at a moment's notice and get up there. Luckily my brother lives locally and his wife is predisposed to running the folks about as mum no longer drives and the hospital is a fair old way away from them.

Will have to see what challenges are coming his way later on today or tomorrow I guess. I just know how much he will be stressed our by all of this and so I'm really beginning to feel for him.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

See how tonight is

I feel dog tired right now and after writing this I'm going to see if I can get to bed early and catch up on all the sleep I deprived myself of yesterday.

I can't do anything about what is going to happen and neither can I second guess it either! To bed :-)

Bloods Done

No problems - they took a whole armful by the sounds of it - 5 phials worth and results on Friday - he feels fine so that's good I suppose. Obviously not knowing what's wrong is a problem but he will find out on Friday and I imagine they'll scan him soon after that. It depends what the X-Rays and Blood tests show I guess.

I feel a bit better myself hearing that he's OK and actually managed to have a blood test. No use worrying I tell myself and we won't know until Friday and neither will he so - no use pre-empting things. I hope not to be worrying about it tonight and get some sleep and no doubt I'll be tired from being awake half of last night.

Mind you - it is my Dad I'm talking about - and I've only got one....

Horrible Night's Sleep

I was worried about my dad and his blood test today - my kid brother reckons it's the first time he's ever had his blood taken but I somehow doubt that very much - I think I remember him having it done about 9 or 10 years ago. However Jaundice in old age isn't a great sign and of course all it did for me was remind me of the terrible time I had and just brought back my memories.

I don't think I'd ever want anyone to go through what I did least of all my folks. I'm young enough to have gone through a lot of it but at 80 I'm not sure I'd be quite so resilient.

So first of all I couldn't get to sleep and then as I was dropping off I was having visions of hospital beds, drips, end of life scenes, funeral - it was awful. Sometimes I wish I could turn my head off - it launches into huge leaps of fantasy and into places I don't want it to go. I tried to think of other things and all it did was bring back the terror (I use that word on reflection) of some of the early days I had when I was ill and facing the unknown and potentially the thought that goes through every cancer diagnosis (I guess) - I'm going to die. I'm going to die horribly and all the baggage that goes with that sort of mentality. Luckily Mrs. F. told me to "get a grip" early on and I did. So I was haunted by all that and have had a couple of hours sleep. I feel reasonably OK actually - I thought I'd feel worse. I can't do anything about it and it will be what it will be.

My poor old dad though hates hospitals and doctors more than I do and I can just imagine his stress levels going through the roof. I suppose I'll just have to wait and hear what is happening and I have my scheduled call with my mum tomorrow so no doubt she'll update me some more.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Not Good

Had an email from kid brother. Apparently Dad isn't well and looks a bit jaundiced. Has been for X-Ray today, Bloods tomorrow (that will please him NOT - he hates all of that). Then I believe he will have to go for a scan.

I'll find out a bit more tomorrow or Wednesday I guess. I have to say that I felt dread as soon as I saw that. I guess I'm always on edge about these things knowing what I know. Of course it can be a number of things. Let's hope that it isn't what I'm thinking it might be.

Weekend Off Blogging

And good job too. Not much to say other than the dreams of the last few days have been amazing - I can't remember any of them except crashing my car which looked great in full technicolour complete with Mrs. F. in full stereo surround sound saying "I told you so" :-)

I'm still into my FOCC diet but I've changed it slightly. I now use 4 Tablespoons of Cottage Cheese to 2 of Flax Seed Oil and 1.5 of ground Flax Seeds. I then add a probiotic yoghurt into it to give it some fruity sweetness and then pour that over crushed weet-a-bix or over Cheerios. I toned it down as it is quite filling and quite fattening and I wanted to give myself a regular shot of this without sticking the pounds on. I've lost half a stone in the past 3 weeks or so which is encouraging and I'm beginning to be able to stick to a diet without interruptions like a few weeks ago when I vistied my local curry house 3 times in one week and the pub 3 times too! Doh! I also decided against using the soft cheese quark as it was quite a tart flavour. Whilst the cottage cheese does have salt in it, it is about the only thing that I eat that does and the falling off a cliff that my blood pressure measurements kind of tell me that salt, which I gave up years ago, isn't having the blood pressure issues I felt it might do. Long may that continue.

Work is getting a real pace on now - a few difficult days this week will see us on the home stretch - we have some serious figure work to resolve and some of the calculations aren't making sense to us. Once they are done the cork is out of the bottle because we've done most of the work.

Friday, July 15, 2011

What a Week it has been

I've worked pretty hard and I'm pleased with this week's work. Had a funny old evening on Tuesday and a bit of a wobble what with the chap with terminal bladder cancer all because he didn't go when he first got the symptoms. Then the anger when it came out in conversation that none of my immediate family had actually ventured down to see me in the 5 years I've been ill. I've made the pilgrimage to them when I can.

I'm sort of over that now but realised that there's a number of "demons" that I need to exorcise now that the 5 years are here. Not like "getting my own back" that isn't what I mean - it's more a case of getting angry about them and then moving on. I'm not planning to dwell on anything too long either as it's happened and it's in the past. What I need to do is get the monkey off my back and move on - I don't actually think I need to understand it or why it happened.

Looking forward, I'm pretty much happy that we have gone as far as we can with the business for now and that it needs to be tidied up and thrown out to see if anyone else believes what we do. This is not going to be easy - great idea that it is, it requires a sack load of cash to achieve it. If we go ahead it will be another huge change in my life but one that I will relish. The trouble would be how much time and commitment it will take to build the business but, then again, whilst I'm doing that I can't dwell on other stuff :-)

Productive Week

I have just finished a series of documents - the last one is close to 400 pages (yes 400). It surprised me as I've been building it for the past 4 years and it relates to all the sources of information that I've used to build the business and so it represents the provenance of how the business has been built this way.

It's 3:20 pm and my business partner has been lucky enough to go to the Open Golf this afternoon which I'm sure he'll love - I remember it being just amazing to watch the best golfers in the world thumping their way around Sandwich. I used to work there as well once upon a time - Sandwich not Royal St. George's :-) Pfizer had their huge place there until recently when they closed it with the loss of 3,500 jobs :-(

I think as he has gone there and I've finished 3 huge documents this week that I can take the afternoon off and go and watch the remainder of the day's golf.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Gosh - I was tired this evening

Have been thrashing away at a document for 3 (yes three) days and finally finished it. It was very detailed and needed a lot of concentration to ensure I'd got it all properly listed. Phew :-) I decided to tackle the most difficult jobs first and then work towards the easier ones - that way I'll get the boring and tiresome stuff out the way first and accelerate towards the finish post on the more enjoyable bits.

All that hard work made me feel pretty tired I can tell you. So I'd better get off to bed and be up ready to get on to the next area in the morning.

Sad News

My friend last night was telling me that his friend has been diagnosed with metastatic Bladder Cancer. He had blood in his urine and ignored it and continued to do so for some time. That's sad, really sad as I imagine if he had seen a Doctor straight away then it may have been a different story.

This has finally fixed in my mind something that I've known about for a long time. I'm extremely lucky to be here today and there is no doubt about that. I'd left it a few weeks but I wasn't absolutely sure what I had.

If you have blood in your urine or it is a strange colour - go to the doctor straight away because you are a long time dead! This poor guy has been given 6 months. I imagine there's a fair amount of "what if?" going on. I can't imagine what he is going through with this - it doesn't bear me thinking about but it does scream at me that early detection is the way forward.

A bit angry last night

I was a bit angry last night - unusual for me. I intend to get over that in the coming days and move on. It's been gnawing away at me for a while and I wonder what it would take before I could get my immediate family to come and see me. Probably I'd have to be on my death bed - and I'm not kidding either.

So I think I'll be a little bit seething for a while - I haven't "addressed it" until now preferring to think of it as an idiosyncrasy that my immediate family have - it's like allowing them their eccentricities and smiling about it but in reality, that's not it. I'll not be able to change them they are far too entrenched to change and in reality I am a million miles away from them now. It's sad but it's not one of those family feuds - we speak regularly a couple of times a week at least.

So there you go - I'll just have to move on and pull another monkey off of my shoulder.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Feeling a little bit bitter

Now forgive me for this, especially those of you who know me but, I was out tonight with my school chums. It's a lovely evening out and it is a strange evening as it dips back into our youth - when we were 10 or 11 years old and moves with some speed between then and now. My three friends have all lost their fathers and one has a mother who is not very well at all. We are all 54 (ish) years old.

We grew up together and I had a great dream about us all a few nights ago cycling and making dams and being crazy kids during our summer holidays - around the corner from here - in Sparrow's Wood. All summer we were out of the house, on our bikes, at the Lido, just out all the time - the sun always shone and we always got into and out of scrapes and just had the most wonderful adventures. There were no creepy people, no paedophiles, no drug lords and all that sort of shit. We just went around catching frogs, damming rivers (well streams really), riding bikes at break neck speed, leaping around the playground swings and slides and getting a great tan! I look back and think what a great time we had, no mobile phones, PCs, iPods, MP3 players, Sony Play-stations blah-de-blah......

I was so happy tonight - my friends and I drank my health - we remembered my friend's dad died at the time I was ill... Sad enough that I couldn't attend but all is forgiven especially as they now know how ill I actually was. 5 years...

But things got a little sadder because I recollect that on my birthday (and my friend and I shared as you may recall - our 50th in 2007) no one from my immediate family came. My Aunts and Uncles did and my cousins but not my parents and not my brother and his family. I wondered about this - I know my Mum would cut off her arm or leg to come but she was bound not to come along. I find it now with my daughter's birthdays. None of my immediate family have come to A's 21st or L's 18th but my wider family have and for that I am very grateful. My mother is truly mortified by this - I know that as I speak to her. My kid brother has always been a self centred person who has taken much but given back little.

My family, such as it is, is spread over a large geography and I don't expect anyone not local to be able to turn up - I couldn't get over to the US or NZ without lots of planning but you'd have thought, given 6 months notice your local blood could have? I mean 2 hours drive FFS!!!

I suppose that I must acknowledge that I am different to most of my family in that I would put myself out and go (even if it isn't my 'scene' to be there and make the 'best of it'). I could see the hurt in my friend's eyes tonight when one of them asked me why my parents and my brother weren't there at my 50th considering the shit year I'd had recovering from Cancer?

I write this as it arrived in conversation tonight - until I got home it hadn't really struck home what they said but you'd have to ask yourself why your parents didn't make the effort? As I said before - my Mum's not happy about it at all and I can hear it and I don't make a fuss about it. The thing is - and it does nag - what does it say about what my folks think about me that since I was diagnosed - no one has ever come down to see me at my home and my locality. I've always had to drive up to see them?

I'm living with it - well I've had to live with it. But only now 5 years on is it coming home to me that no one even came to see me when I was in Hospital or Recovering or did they put themselves out to do so. I had friends fly over to the UK to see me. Now you may see why I feel a little bitter about this. I mean I could have turned up my toes and died - I wonder if they'd have even come down to my funeral if I had?

Bitter? You bet, my friends and brethren from the Lodges I'm in have been top class as have my extended family but my kith and kin - perhaps through the horrible shock and trauma I have delivered at their door, perhaps not so. I can't be that pissed off as they are my family and I love them dearly but - sometimes you have to wonder....

As for my own little family unit - I am surprised that they have put up with me. I really am strengthened by A and L who have their mother's pragmatism and - I like to think - my sense of humour. We've had some good holidays since I was diagnosed and the girls really work hard and are rewarded in results from School and University. They have a good work ethic and are both socially responsible - giving to their community as youth leaders, I cannot want for a better family unit. I just feel that when I said I'd lost friends along the way that I'd also lost some of my family too. I don't blame them nor will it be a wall driven between us - that isn't fair either - I just find it hurtful that I defend my family's non-show all the time.

Sometimes I feel that getting Bladder Cancer made me but just f**ked up the rest of my life. I lost and made friends. I got great insights and lost other vectors on life. I became a better and a worse person all at the same time dependent upon how you knew me. I became humble and passive where before I may have been aggressive and assertive. If you knew me as one of those I probably became the other. This was my survival mode - I needed to be the way I was to survive and beat this pernicious disease that was coming to kill me. It was as if a nasty dream was being realised in real time, some scroat with a gun coming to kill me. How was I to react? Lay over and die? you don't know me then if you think I'd do that - I'd fight and I spoke like I was fighting and came out of my corner all aggressive - against my disease - not against my friends and family! Those who haven't had cancer don't get that. If you wish to live you fight you scramble, you claw, scratch and bite - live is worth hanging onto and sometimes - sod your friends and family because it's all about YOU - you need to survive you need to live - it's all about you and it's all about survival.

Well I'm going around in circles and not answering my own questions and statements - I'm so confused as I don't "get it". I don't understand why my immediate family are so distant - maybe they thought I'd die - maybe that would be OK for them. My poor old Mum who I speak to all the time is taking so much sh1t it isn't true probably would come see me at the drop of a hat but she is bound to my father and the local family. Honour :-)

It cuts me to the bone and yet I have so many good friends who spoil me and always wish me well - I just wish that my family would do something - I feel that they'd praise me to the rafters when I was dead. They just have no idea how to deal with me when I'm alive.

This is one of my rambling on blogs - I apologies to you for that. It's what it is like though - I remember watching the film Philadelphia with Tom Hanks - the one where he had Aids - it was tremendously powerful and portrayed the bigotry that a Gay Man suffered way back then. It is somewhat similar in tha cancer world - there's me - little miracle - still alive - no one understands that - as survivors - it is far more likely you'll meet people like me now - survivors and - wow - you can even talk to us too.

A joke from years ago:

A chap was driving along when he got a flat tyre. Stopping outside the mental institute he proceeds to take off the wheel nuts - putting them in the hub cap so as not to lose them. He takes off the flat tyre and brings the new one from the boot. He knocks the hub cap and the nuts roll down a drain and are lost. The driver is full of woe and holding his head wondering what to do.

An inmate suggests that the driver takes one nut off the remaining three wheels and drives to the local garage - obtains 4 more nuts and adds one to each wheel and he can be on his way. The driver is amazed and asks "how come you can think of that when my mind was a blank and work out that sort of logic when you are incarcerated here?"

The inmate looks at the driver, looks to the sky and says "look here my good man. We are mentally unstable not stupid!"

May I say I know just how he feels. I really love my kids - I'd be mortified if anything happens to them and I'd be there if anything happened. In the 5 years that I've been ill - I have had to be there for my folks - they've never got off their arses and come and seen me. It's all arse about face - for God's sake I was the one who was ill...

By The Way (BTW) it's great having Cancer because you can be really aggressively angry and everyone let's you :-) Let's go for it then shall we?

5 years I've been ill. I've been unable to drive my car, I've had 10% of my working life recovering from shit! I've had pipes shoved up my penis I've had all sorts of stuff happen that you would hate and not once have my parents or my sibling got off their bums and driven the 100 or 120 miles south to see me. NOT ONCE in 5 years. Angry? of course I'm bloody angry.

If I was your child/sibling would you have come and seen me once in all that time? Just once. They've never ever come and seen me. I suppose I should be beside myself but, as they are my "flesh and blood" and that I share the same genetic sh1t as they do I actually understand them - I don't get off my arse and do stuff sometimes - being a lazy git =- however, if my brother had of had this I'd have been up there offering to do driving and whatever his family needed. That is where we differ so much.

Bitter? Yes and No. I am and I'm not - I lived with these guys all of my formative years so I know what they are like. I look back and I'm just amazed that the only person who took any of this seriously is me!

Nuff said!

Monday, July 11, 2011


I missed the tribute to Severiano "Seve" Ballesteros Sota and so watched it on the BBC iPlayer this evening. He was a wonderful golfer as I'm sure you are aware and his fight with Brain Cancer played out in a programme not so long ago.

He was just a few months older than me. That brought me up short. Just a few months older. Somehow I never see myself as being that old - I mean 54 is no age to die is it?

The affect such things have on me isn't one of sadness or luck but it does make me consider how fortunate I am. His words were something along the lines of "don't feel sorry for me - I have had a wonderful life and had so much - many people are worse off than I am." That's the measure of the man and it was sad to see him in his latter days. However, you can't take away the enjoyment he gave to millions of fans around the world.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Up late - spoken to the folks - decided that FOCC can wait until lunchtime and had some bacon, eggs and mushrooms as a treat and very nice too - forbidden stuff but tastes just great :-)

On the FOCC side I have no taken to adding my pro-biotic yoghurt into the FOCC mixture to dilute it before putting the whole mixture over some cereal. This makes it a little sweeter and adds a light fruit flavour to the mixture and that really makes a big improvement over just releasing the thickness with milk.

Today is a sports fest - the delayed Scottish Open is under way (I think) it will be a full on day as they have to complete Friday's second rounds - they've had localised flooding, landslips and all sorts to contend with. It is Davis Cup Tennis, Tour de France and Silverstone Grand Prix and if that wasn't enough there is Super Bikes on too plus GP2 and Porsche Super Cup. I feel a sit on my arse day coming up :-)

On the good news front A has sold one of her photographs (she's already sold some of her stunning painted chairs). Finally the photo of Brighton Pier has sold - I think it was a £50 one and there had always been a lot of interest in it. I'm sure Brighton Pier has many photos taken of it but she captured the complexity and beauty of the construction it looks as if it is a black and white shot when in reality, when you look closer it is a colour one. That's why photographers are different to most of us they have an eye for showing us something we didn't see when we looked at an object. Her exhibition work is packed up ready to go - it is interesting as she has spent quite a bit of money on the frames which are double sided glass so that you can see the work behind the photograph (these are the photos that have needlework on them). It is all encouraging stuff for her as an artist - I'm really pleased for her - she works so hard that she deserves to be rewarded and perhaps she can make a few more sales... She'll be able to keep her poor old ageing dad in his dotage :-)

Sometimes you just can't make it up

So L wants to sell her iPod and we put it on eBay and get a reasonable price for it and send it off. Punter drops us a line saying it doesn't work. We write back suggesting that it may need rebooting and that you don't push hard on the controls they need a light touch and also that you have to be a bit careful that you are pushing in the right area.

We get a half hearted apology back saying that he's bought it for his 5 year old who can't operate it and so wants a refund - which we arranged today and got the goods back. How on earth can a 5 year old operate something that is lightly touch sensitive and surely to goodness they aren't going to have the patience required or the good sense to look after it properly! Good grief. I hated doing eBay trading as so many people just didn't play by the rules or did things like this. We won't sell it again now as we can't be arsed frankly. Who wants to deal with idiots like that?

It is very good that I don't say what I think to these people :-)

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Back Ache

Completely gone and normal service is resumed. A good day yesterday and lots of progress on the business front. Now to just buckle down and sort the business plan out.

As usual though I'm sat at my computer and really shouldn't be. I also realise that I should also be doing some other non business work too but have left it sitting in a pile by my desk - oooppps.

The fun of it all :-) Anyway a good day - Silverstone Grand Prix today and tomorrow so will look forward to that and try not to be computer bound all weekend.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Good News

Yep - my bad back is just a twinging reminder when I get up or down from a seated position. So far so good. We had a full on business day ending at 6.30 pm but all sorts happened before then it was a bit fragmented but we got out of the day what we needed to and that's great. It wasn't as tough as I expected it to be but I'm always well prepared and I'm always surprised that I'm surprised that I am properly prepared :-) Stupid but there you go.

We retired to the pub and back to the Indian - which was great - all 6 of us had the food and my business partner and I paid for the lot of us because they had given up their time for us it was only fair.

It was my third time there in 5 days!!!

I intend to have a good weekend now - I have no more appearances or meetings until September and so it is also my beloved Silverstone (home) Grand Prix (one day I WILL go) and the Tour de France is on and the Open down at Sandwich. Mrs. F. and I were there 18 years ago. Just before L was born. Mrs. F is somewhat vertically challenged and stands 4' 11" in her stocking feet and is quite small so when she is pregnant - well you notice it. It worked ever so well for us as we walked around the Open and she was often offered a seat by gallant people. Bless them all for that I was worried the whole time she was about to give birth at a moment's notice. I had "earned" the weekend away and we had 4 fabulous days of Corporate Hospitality and the most fantastic Golf. Greg Norman won and I saw John Daly driver the 8th (I think) he was really (and I don't use this word often) Awesome. The standard of Golf was just amazing and Nick Faldo lost to Greg Norman. I think that the experience of an Open (especially the last day) is one of those things you can only dream about and when you are actually there it is so easy to get caught up in the moment. Mrs. F. seeing Andy Murray the other day was another such thing. We tend to forget how very fortunate we are to do these things.

I remember saying last year that a friend of mine invites me to a meeting at the Guildhall - it is fantastic, a wonderful occasion and how privileged that I've had that opportunity (and more than once). I need to remind myself of my very great fortune. Some people never get to do that - how fortunate then that I do? Yet I know - I'm certain that some would moan about it.

Those in Sudan and Ethiopia and Kenya at the moment are once again suffering the most awful privations and horrendous problems and for the want of a few pennies the West can save them. They'll never have the privileges that I enjoy, their privilege will be to live and to have their children live. Their daily harsh reality is their privilege. What an awful world we live in that this biblical famine/drought has once again come to pass on these noble people. I wish that I would always be the sort of person who considers this at all time but I don't. I don't think about them when I throw away some food or enjoy an excess of drink or restaurant fare. I'm not a bad person - it's just that I take my life and my situation for granted.

Well enough of this and where it's going tonight - I really feel that I could write a complete book about it but that won't help. I saw the news and wanted to do something but that won't help as I too have dependants on me so it doesn't scan. As I say that's enough for now....

Thursday, July 07, 2011

And bang - your energy is gone

As a Cancer survivor one of the things I notice most is the lack of energy I have - I've spoken about the fright or flight problem that is associated with cancer and it's similar outcomes to post traumatic stress disorder. You have nothing left in the tank. You energy is limited and that's a bit like it is now. I've worked really hard tonight to be the sounding board to someone who has a "few" problems. OK it isn't life threatening but it isn't great and so he has family, business and other problems and is getting it in the neck from his wife who doesn't understand the complexities of the problem.

I can understand this as I am no automation going to work 9 to 5 to collect a pay cheque and neither am I your basic single task automation. Here is the issue then. Does he sit down and waste his talent just to bring in the dollars or does he do what he is good at. Can he exercise his judgement in terms of his ethics and beliefs and move away from the job as it is abhorrent to him?

As attentive listener and therefore arbitrator - replaying his scenarios back to him and trying to get him to come to his own decision using logic it has been a busy night. We ended up going for a curry - the same one I went to Monday and will go to tomorrow!!! How we laughed :-)

At least I think he has gone away with a thought through series of answers and actions. He is also turning up tomorrow being one of my key people - I nearly lost him tonight and I don't want that to happen as he is a key member of the team - I think he has also gone away with that message which I have not told him before. He's important to our success so perhaps there is something afoot here to make it so.

I say my energy is gone and so it is - I'm exhausted as I've been sorting out someone else's problem again. It is also exactly a year ago since I had one of the worst nights of my life when my Nephew got what I can only attribute to being alcohol poisoning and I had a bit of a meltdown trying to sort out someone who was in terrible distress. I didn't say it in that post (maybe in another) that I went to pieces as it was family and I just didn't know what to do or how to sort it out - I was on the phone to Mrs. F. and just blubbed up and then did a "get a hold of yourself" talking to and was then able to sort it out. I reminded him of the fact tonight just to get my own back if nothing else :-)

These things just drain you as you are on your guard and having to react to things and be balanced. Anyway - things are Ok and I'm off to bed. My back is giving me some jip at the moment and rightly so but I hope that tomorrow will be better again.

As I may often say to myself "Why me?"

Back problem

Is easing today and I can actually move around without hunching over :-) The pain of getting up and down is also going away which is a big relief I can tell you. For someone who rarely got ill and has only had a few odds and ends go wrong in my life it sounds as if I'm always ill these days - which I'm not. I hate being ill and having a bad back really has been a nuisance this week.

Big meeting tomorrow with the whole gang for a business review. We really hope that we can put the last areas of the business to bed. We have some really good guys involved and with a bit of luck we can nail these final bits and then do a two or three week burst of activity to finalise things.

I'm off out tonight now as I need to go help someone who is feeling pretty deep in the dumps. Luckily it is local so no worries about walking or travelling and screwing up my back. I've cancelled today in London as I was worried about that to start with. This though sounds like it needs my attention. you know when someone is telling you something and they go quiet on you? Well that's what I heard in the call and after waiting and then asking the 'bleeding obvious' "are you OK?" realised he wasn't and offered the meeting as he and I go back a long way and have some 'history' about such things. Anyway, that's to happen later. I could have done without the 3 hours of no internet access which remains an unexplained fault yet the 2nd time in 24 hours it has happened. I know it isn't a fault at this end as my network monitor indicated exactly where the fault was. My supplier isn't admitting anything so three hours lost with me doing my customary tracing and re-booting to find it wasn't me at all :-)

Better get on with a little light clearing up as the office needs to sit 6 of us tomorrow :-)

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

That makes sense

A friend suggested that this may be down to the compensation I was making for my incredibly bad leg last week. Goodness - it sounds like I'm an old crock but I feel fine apart from my back giving me jip! I guess though that's possible I walked about 4 miles with the bad leg and was favouring it and walking all sideways.

I cancelled tonight's meeting and have just taken it easy with watching a couple of DVDs I got for my birthday. I've cancelled tomorrows trip to London for the same reason. It feels a little easier right now - and I'm off to bed to get a good nights rest.

It's amazing how these odd things keep cropping up. Anyway - things could have been a lot worse - they might have found something when they checked me out a few weeks back. I need to keep a sense of perspective :-)

Not good

My back isn't right and it's making my leg buckle every now and then when I put weight on it :-( It's OK when I sit or when I stand but transition between those steady states is accomplished with ooohs and aaahs!

Discretion being the better part of valour etc I have cancelled going to tonight's Lodge meeting and tomorrow's lunch in London. I'd like to go but I know I'm just going to make my back worse if I do.

I can't imagine that this was just doing exercises as I was pretty careful to be quite gentle about it.

Oh well - take it easy I suppose and see how I get on.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Well that's unusual

I don't often get a bad back. I wonder if it was the exercises I did yesterday - I wasn't particularly vigorous with the stepper or the dumbbells but I suppose not having done any exercise for 2 weeks may be a contributory factor? It is very unusual for me to have back troubles - occasionally of course I suppose.

I've cancelled my Wednesday and Thursday outings as I'm not certain that I'll be OK for them - its a lot of up and down stuff and it is a nuisance but I need to be ready for Friday as we have a big team meeting here at the house with most of the team here. We are really quite close to the end of the road now and after this meeting which will set the direction for the last part of the business plan we can pretty much get on and complete out work.

It's taken well over a year - hardly believable - but not entirely unexpected especially as we lost half the team along the way! :-) It will be interesting to see what the summer now holds for us in terms of moving things forward.

Let's hope my back holds up - I'm being very careful sitting and getting up. Sitting more especially is quite painful and so I really hope that I can keep it rested and get rid of the problem before Friday. What a nuisance!

Monday, July 04, 2011

It's my birthday

4th July - it's the same day every year :-) Another year older and a lot happier than I was last year. I was alright and a lot lighter than I am now but I hadn't had operation No. 9 at that point and was just about scheduled for a pre-assessment. Little did I know they were going to give me the worst of all 9 operations then :-)

Today though I'm really upbeat and quietly confident that I'm going to have a good July - no hospital for me. No more treatment just an inspection in December. I just need to work on my weight and getting back to do my exercises once again. It has been a difficult week this week but I feel that 2 weeks after the Operation is a good time to restart. My diet is OK but I need to beware of snacking but this week is a pain as I have two big meals coming up and I'm out on the beer on another night too. Oh well - after that there's isn't anything for the foreseeable so I should be OK to get back to my diet and exercising.

Glad I'm still here - 5 years on and beginning to enjoy myself a bit more at last.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Depression the D Word

I was reading another blog and a fellow sufferer has just gone through one of these dark troughs of despair and is coming out of it. Stuff like "the world without me" and other subject matter was almost a precursor to a very quiet blog and the need to be cheered up but not lectured to.

These days the Black Dog doesn't come visiting me much anymore. I used to get huge swings and ups and downs and I don't tend to get that bad. It's pretty horrible and also debilitating you feel physically bad as well.

Today, perhaps the most obvious (to me) fall out is the emotional response I get to seeing anyone hurt, physically or emotionally and it doesn't even need to be real - I can feel it in fictional characters too.

I don't ever think that I was "hard as nails" in the way I was but lots of stuff bounced off me and I wouldn't be affected by it. Now I'm a blubbering wreck sometimes (when I'm on my own) but can also still be pretty effective at the logical, calm sort it out person to start with. It depends on what that was I was sorting out depends on how I feel afterwards.

Anyway - it is difficult to describe it other than more emotional than I ever used to be but additionally a lot better than I used to be too.

So depression? It was an unfortunate part of the process of getting better and one that I imagine you probably have to go through I can't imagine that many would consider it has an upside but I think to go through it you appreciate quite how debilitating it is to others and can therefore empathise with them and it can give you insights into yourself that you probably didn't have before. It's scary as hell sometimes and it's black and dire and not at all a nice place to be. It leaves you tired and weak and emotional and it stops you being you. When you get out of it and that's scariest of all (what if you don't get out of it) things look a lot better but there are lessons you can learn about yourself along the way. You just need to analyse them and to act on them.

I was considering some of the other areas that suffered too. Relationships, friends, family, work colleagues. Then there's my Claustrophobia which has really gotten bad now although I can "manage" it - I do find it still causes me trouble. Getting in a lift on Tuesday was a case in point but luckily they had people managing the process which was good. If I can avoid trains and the tube (underground/metro) then I will too. I've always had this but never had it as bad as it is now.

I find hot places / rooms difficult as I am still feeling these "hot flushes" or I just feel hotter generally. Stick me in a hot place and I really dislike it.

Sleep patterns are still all over the place but that could also be work - as I work from home you can merge work and home and also the mind is racing when doing this level of planning.

Fear - there's a constant nag that every ailment you get is cancer. Don't ask me why, it just happens like that, ouch twinge in knee (cancer), sore mouth (cancer), cough (cancer) etc. Now I'm not sure but I wouldn't be surprised if this a direct reaction to having had cancer? It does appear to me to be a bit of a strange thing that happens.

I suppose though that the bottom line is that I'm pretty much fixed now and that this roller coaster of a journey hasn't just been about finding, diagnosing, staging, removing, treatment and following up the cancer I've had. What you don't get to realise is that there is another experience that you get along the way which includes a physical and mental one that runs in parallel. Add to that the way that relationships change and who your friends really are, who go, stay and new ones and then how people treat you. Then there's your family and their reaction - some good some bad to deal with and perhaps after all of this you realise that there is far, far more to getting cancer than dealing with that on its own.

It's not surprising that every now and then you'd get a little depressed now is it?

Saturday, July 02, 2011

5 - it's a magic number

Yes - 5 years - the 5 year survival rate and here are the UK survival rates - suffice it to say that age, prognosis and other factors also play a part in all this. I don't suppose I really knew that much early on and so like many who are diagnosed wondered just how long I'd last and early on, faced up to death - stared it in the face and decided that I'd say "no thanks". I was almost 48 and on the eve of my 49th birthday. So age was on my side, I did have a high grade cancer but it hadn't gotten outside of the bladder so in reality, as long as they could cut that out and control it so it was contained then they'd be able to save me and that they did.

The main thing is that I'm here now and thanks to the wonders of modern medicine and science and the skill of my Consultant and her team. I look back on 5 years and I'm amazed how far I've come and let me tell you how pleased I am to be here still! :-)

5 Years - it hardly seems possible....

5 Years

A bit of fun after 5 years. The first one may have been my outlook 5 years ago and the second one is how I feel now :-) The first is quite a doom laden gloomy outlook - basically in 5 years, that's your lot sunshine and the second one is a far better outlook in 5 years.

Here are a couple of online videos to watch unfortunately they aren't embeded!:

The first is 5 years by David Bowie a bit down beat :-(

The lyrics are:

Pushing thru the market square, so many mothers sighing
News had just come over, we had five years left to cry in
News guy wept and told us, earth was really dying
Cried so much his face was wet, then I knew he was not lying
I heard telephones, opera house, favourite melodies
I saw boys, toys electric irons and t.v.s
My brain hurt like a warehouse, it had no room to spare
I had to cram so many things to store everything in there
And all the fat-skinny people, and all the tall-short people
And all the nobody people, and all the somebody people
I never thought Id need so many people

A girl my age went off her head, hit some tiny children
If the black hadn't a-pulled her off, I think she would have killed them
A soldier with a broken arm, fixed his stare to the wheels of a Cadillac
A cop knelt and kissed the feet of a priest, and a queer threw up at the sight of that

I think I saw you in an ice-cream parlour, drinking milk shakes cold and long
Smiling and waving and looking so fine, don't think
You knew you were in this song
And it was cold and it rained so I felt like an actor
And I thought of ma and I wanted to get back there
Your face, your race, the way that you talk
I kiss you, you're beautiful, I want you to walk

We've got five years, stuck on my eyes
Five years, what a surprise
We've got five years, my brain hurts a lot
Five years, that's all we've got
We've got five years, what a surprise
Five years, stuck on my eyes
We've got five years, my brain hurts a lot
Five years, that's all we've got
We've got five years, stuck on my eyes
Five years, what a surprise
We've got five years, my brain hurts a lot
Five years, that's all we've got
We've got five years, what a surprise
We've got five years, stuck on my eyes
We've got five years, my brain hurts a lot
Five years, that's all we've got
Five years
Five years
Five years
Five years

The second one is 5 Years Time by Noah and the Whale

Here are the Lyrics - far more uplifting I think :-)

Oh, well, in five years time we could be walking round the zoo
With the sun shining down in every me and you

And there'll be love in the bodys of the elephants tool
I'll put my hands of your eyes, but you pick through

And there’ll be sun, sun, sun
All over our bodys.
And sun, sun, sun
I’ll die in next
There’ll be sun, sun, sun
All over our faces
And sun, sun, sun
So, what the hell

‘cause I'll be laughing around your silly little jokes
And we’ll be laughing about how we use to smoke
All those stupid little cigarettes and drinks to put wine
‘cause it’s what we need to have good times

But it was fun, fun, fun
When we were drinking.
It was fun, fun, fun
When we were drunk
And it was fun, fun, fun
When we were laughing
It was fun, fun, fun
Oh, it was fun.

Oh, well, I look while you’re saying: “it’s the happiest that I've ever been”
And I'll say: “i love to feel that i have to be James Dean”
And you say: “yeah, and I feel a pretty happy too, and I'm always pretty happy when I'm just thinking about with you”

And will be love, love, love
Love through our bodys.
Love, love, love
All through our minds
And will be love, love, love
All over her face
And love, love, love
All over our minds.

And I'll remember all these moments suggesting my head
I'll be thinking about then and there's lying in bed
And I know that you believe that might not keeping come through
But in my mind I'm having a pretty time with you

Five years time
I might not know it
Five years time
We might not speak
And five years time
We might not care about
Five years time
We might to prove it along

Oh, there'll be love, love, love
Wherever you go
There'll be love, love, love

Friday, July 01, 2011

01:15 Friday morning

What on earth am I doing sitting here at that sort of time for goodness sake! I'm charged today - I was flashing back through some of the work I'd done and was mightily impressed with what I'd achieved to date. You forget quite how much ground you've covered when you are working on your own so much.

I pulled out some quite large documents and just needed to top and tail them and issue them. Tomorrow I'll tidy up some of the others and we should soon be ready to get towards finishing things off in our business plan. A big meeting next week to settle and finalise numbers for the next phase and we will probably be in a good position to really leap forward.

I'm feeling OK and the only thing I've noticed is not having done my exercises for a week and a half or so - I'm feeling now that I ought to get back on track so I intend to do that tomorrow. My diet was brought to an abrupt halt yesterday as I forgot we were going out for a meal. The beer was excellent so I just had to have a couple and added to Tuesday's drink and food I'm feeling somewhat guilty but I've gone back to basics today and tomorrow should see me back on track.