Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Good grief my desk IS made of wood

There you go a little discipline and I can make a start on clearing things up and organising my desk which appears to be wooden :-)  It didn't take too long, I just needed to ask myself did I actually need the bits of paper - if so they were filed - if not they were shredded or thrown out as required.  At least it gives me a little free space to work with now.  

I'm checking with Mrs. F. to make sure we can pay for the backup solution I'm favouring at the moment for the home computers.  I priced up off site (cloud) storage and was horrified at the cost.  We have a lot of photos (with A being a photographer) and I have a fair amount of scans and photos that need to be protected.  I've made sure all my most precious stuff is backed and indeed synchronised but I've not backed up my music or many other files - well I had but to a drive that went AWOL even though it was repaired I'm still now very nervous about it.  My solution will be a NAS (Network Attached Storage) device which will allow both the Windows and MAC machines to back up to it.  The difference being that this beast is RAID enabled and will have a backup of the backup type arrangement.  I'm going to populate it with a pair of 3TB drives to start with and I might add the 1TB drive I already have.  I can add more drives when required which is great.  It will allow me to set up the family's PCs and MACs to be routinely backed up and to place their files there independently too.  It's a bit on the expensive side but when I think of the time I've put into getting my music stored electronically and perhaps I'll put films there too in future and all my family history stuff - it will pay for itself pretty quickly.

So a little organising should pay dividends in case of future failure of drives.

I'm going to be out and about tomorrow - catching an early train and meeting a friend who will be getting a new Masonic rank at Great Queen Street in London.  To celebrate we are going to Simpsons in the Strand for breakfast (nice) here is the menu and we are dining afterwards at the Grand Connaught Rooms.  This is guaranteed to blow the diet out of the water but it is only one day :-)

I should have been at my Lunchtimers event so I will have to go afterwards and see if there are any stragglers and have a beer with them.  I'm looking forward to an interesting day out.

I hate Halloween

It's a pagan festival that we appear to have inherited from our cousins across the pond and this trick or treat nonsense - or as I like to call it begging just appears to have taken over from the penny for the Guy (Guy Fawkes) which is of course the 5th November.  I don't see much fun in the event at all especially the idiots who just go and a use the cover of dark to wreak mischief everywhere.  I don't find eggs thrown at the house particularly amusing.  

Maybe I'm just a bit crotchety when it comes to this stuff but I don't like the idea of people almost being driven from their homes as they feel obliged to join in.  If you want to join in, stick a lantern in your window - great.  However, I don't particularly like the idea of people turning up on my doorstep demanding treats or they'll do something if you don't.  Isn't that called blackmail?  Or worse extortion and racketeering? 

So having now got that off my chest, let's get on to more important things of the day.  Tidying my desk might be the first :-) 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Rut You're In

Is the deepest one to get out of supposedly.  I kind of agree with this and I've had one hell of a 6 year ride so far and it's still not all coming together and it still doesn't mean anything to me.  

I wonder if in fact it ever will resolve itself and I will become content with my lot?  I think that is it in some way.  I'm not entirely comfortable with who I am now, what survival means, what life now looks like and what the future holds.  It all sounds "mid life crisis" and I'd suggest that there is some of that there too.  

I have so much less in common nowadays than I used to and many of the things that interest me just don't cut it with Mrs. F. at all.  I can understand that entirely.  My interests haven't actually changed that much if at all (I don't think) but the situation we are in now is different.  Going out, getting a house, building that one up, repairing, second hand stuff, living off the garden produce, struggling to make ends meet and all that was great stuff, common interest and as you get older, make more money and move things change.  Then there were children and 22 years almost 23 now of that was also about doing you best for them all the time.

In reality things weren't great 7 years ago but I was pretty much bringing home the bacon (as they say) but I was ill, no doubt about that using good old hindsight.  But I was working away from home if I could and spent a lot of time working and that meant long hours and whilst that was OK at that time it isn't going to work now.  Not that I mind working long hours and being out and about but actually it isn't answering the question and is just prolonging the problem.

So what's the answer?  I'm buggered if I know even after all this time.  I'm just wondering still what to do about it and what strategies I can employ to resolve it.  In other news I've not heard back from 3 opportunities now and of course that is annoying but not unexpected.  I am planning to set myself a deadline.  If I don't hear back in a week or so (time to be set) I will invoke plan B.  Plan B being to then have a serious discussion about what I can do on my own and I'm holding off on my original plans only because of these potentials that have come about. It is just one of those things I suppose.

Stress maybe?

Do you think that we are all victims of convention?  I mean do we pressurise and stress ourselves out because we should be performing to majority held belief systems about work, life and everything?  You should have a job, you should provide for the house, you should do this or that in one way or another and all the stereotypical stuff.  

I wonder if there is some pressure from this status quo view of life.  I am know this territory of looking for jobs, people not phoning you back, jobs that don't exist and so on and it is making the roller coaster run all day long.  I was flat this morning and then went for a short walk in the sun and I was up again, had my haircut and felt fine and then this afternoon the trap door opened and I'm just back to being flat and disillusioned.  Whatever this week brings it will I think allow me to draw some sort of line under proceedings.  Another potential opportunity has arisen which I should know about later in the week.  Of course that too could be like the others and cul de sac too.

November is a crazy month for me and I'm out a lot.  I've forced myself to go to these things to get out of the house - I need to do that as I can quickly become a recluse.  These won't do much for my job prospects (albeit I'll meet a lot of influential people).  But I just need to tune my head to a spot of delayed enjoyment and get my head in the right place.

Monday, October 29, 2012

If you find yourself struggling with loneliness, you're not alone. And yet you are alone. So very alone

This comes from a fun site Despair Inc. There are some funny one liners and quotes on there.

I often use humour to defuse my slips back into depression and this and a number of other sites have some great quotes on them :-)

Things often seem bad and yet they aren't of course.  Poking some fun at myself seems to help me to break out of the cycle so that's useful to know.  I'm very self effacing and so it doesn't hurt me to take the mickey out of myself and try to snap myself around.

Having said that - I'm beginning to look forward to going to Scotland later this month.  We (my friend C and I) did a comedy sketch last time I was there and they want us to reprise the role.  So to add more impact I've bought some props to liven the thing up.  Hopefully they will enjoy our impressions and comedy sketch.  As it was about Nelson being alive today a variety of props including an inflatable Parrot have been purchased - I know it's pirate stuff but hell anything will do to liven the act up.  I've also got a new act to add to it so hopefully we can do our new act and do Nelson as an encore.

I'm going to be really busy in the next month and that's encouraging although I will be flat out in terms of travelling and visiting Scotland will be after 2 days of other visits so I will absolutely wiped out by the time I get home.

Sun shining

Well it is Monday and the sun is shining and I'm slightly lifted this morning and feel a little better. I suppose if you are reading this and don't have, let's call it depressions shall we, the highs and lows of the condition.  I have no doubt that my dad dying has something to do with this as does post cancer issues and also this phase of losing the children, they are grown up and do their own things leaving Mrs. F. and I to try and rebuild 22 years of missing time.

Add to that, I don't quite know what I want to do next in terms of making a buck and you have a pot full of uncertainty that occasionally gets stirred with a blender or just a wooden spoon.  Everything is mixed up and depending on how you view all the facts, facets and data can influence the way you think about them  They are all interdependent but if you consider one as more important than another your solution is skewed.  That's why it isn't like business.  There you'd be dealing in logical 1s and 0s and uncertainty isn't a big element because there is usually some driving force not several.

Looking for a holistic answer is of course the ideal, something that satisfies every eventuality and even Einstein wouldn't be able to craft an equation for this as there remains uncertainties like emotional responses and the history of the relationship and many other things like that.  Dealing with uncertainty is one thing and in business it is pretty much accepted and people like me come in and sort that out for companies :-)  Of course the thing here is that having to deal with it in terms of your personal life is a lot different to a multi million $/£ corporation.  There's stuff in the mix here that is difficult to analyse or apportion the correct weighting to to make some objective decisions and what it may come down to is "how you feel".  That for me is the danger as if I'm not thinking straight (which I'm not I think) then how can you make decisions on gut feel when that may be telling you all the wrong things?   Over analysing this maybe but if I'm to make a big decision, do I let serendipity take over or do I base it on some solid foundations?  

Knowing what is going on is important but of course tackling it is difficult.  I can't even begin to tell you how low I get when I'm low and what I feel like and how completely lethargic and tired I am when I'm down.  Last night I was pretty flat.  Today I'm not bad middle of the range I'd guess.  This isn't the Dark Dog of 5 years ago which was more about death and mortality and the terrible stuff that was done to make me well.  That again sounds strange but what I meant by that is that you are diagnosed and the shock of that is massive, then very quickly operated on and the impact is major (on me) and I wasn't allowed to drive for a month and just had to sit still. Not long afterwards I had another operation of equal magnitude and then had treatment with BCG which was, shall we say, not for sissies, it was heavy and in all that time I was holding down a job or trying to.  Black Dog was a mocking, nightmare inducing thing and what I have now is nowhere near that sort of thing - thank goodness.

So whilst the sun is shining and things are relatively OK I'm still nowhere nearer sorting this out. My heart is telling me things to do and yet I'm not absolutely convinced that they are right although my "spider sense" and "gut feelings" do normally prove to be correct I just don't trust myself fully to make the right decision, for the right reason.  

The Ups and Downs of Life

Did I say that my neighbour had died?  Her husband died as I was diagnosed with Bladder Cancer and we didn't really say much to her about my recent diagnosis, she found out later on.  We've known her all the time we have lived here and it was actually quite sudden although she was getting a little worse and had visits by the local nurse.  It must have been a few weeks back when the emergency vehicles were outside.  She was a lovely lady and had a wonderful garden.  I was talking to her son-in-law only a few weeks back and whilst we were keeping our eyes open for her, there wasn't any talk of major illness.  Such a shame, a lovely lady.

Her funeral is this Thursday and I can't go I am in London.

Today was a bit flat, I suppose yesterday was a bit of a high but even so I felt quite bad and what with the clocks going back and the dark evenings it really does add to my oscillating in and out of good humour.

It's particularly bad at the moment though and I think it is because I still don't explain fully what is going on.  Sure Mrs. F. is sympathetic but actually there isn't a great deal she can do about it.  I'm just working on what I want to do still.  I met someone on Saturday who may also have a lead for me, working in deepest darkest Kent but that's OK it is better than plodding in to London day to day.

I just hope that I can snap myself out of this pretty soon as I want to move on and I know I'm not doing so. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Mmm Friday and Saturday

Friday was interesting I ended up bumping into an old friend and was horrified at how quickly he had slid into what I'd guess is early onset of dementia.  His memory is really bad mainly names of places and what he had done in hospital and all sorts of things like that.  It really is sad and I just hope that his daughters are doing something about it because it was quite worrying. He went off home and I was talking to some locals who were telling me all about it - I contacted my friend in the Lodge but there isn't much we can actually do to help really, it's just such a shame.

I ended up having a few drinks with the locals and my next door neighbour which meant I was completely tuckered out and so sleepy that I couldn't go out to the tribute evening that night that I'd invited people to go to!!!! Doh

Saturday went well and it was my first full meeting as Master of the Lodge, had many big wigs there too and it was just a great day out.  Very enjoyable.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Blat out for the count

Gosh, twice today (and yesterday) I've just fallen asleep at the drop of a hat and dozed away at my desk and in my chair.  It's been most strange and a sling back to the old days.  I think it has to be the medication and trying to get rid of this cold.

I could do without it as tomorrow I'm expecting a call and I'm out at a meeting and really don't want to sound like I've gargled with sand paper or be coughing but I certainly don't want to sound a bit sleepy and dopey either.  Mind you it is now gone 1 in the morning and I'm wide awake!  Doh.

I've had a better day today as I think that the possibility of working again - or perhaps the fact that I've got to open a dialogue with a potential employer - is just lifting my spirits as is getting over this cold.  

I should be at a big meeting in London tomorrow but that isn't going to happen unfortunately.  That's a shame but I want to be here for this local meet and to take this call.

I've done some digging around on building a back up system and that should come to fruition pretty soon, it is expensive but I think it will be a useful addition to the house so that none of us lose our data.  Of course I can't mitigate for flood or fire but there you go.  It is a quarter of the cost of going into the cloud (over a 5 year period) and so it makes economic sense to me.  The solution is also expensive because it is future proof and will allow me to expand as and when necessary.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Nearly there

This cold is almost gone but the headache and sore throat remain.  Had a long chat with my colleague about backing up my data at home and it looks as if my Network Storage might be the way to go, it isn't bullet proof but it will allow us to back up all the computers here.  It isn't going to be like a data centre reliability model but there's only so much one can do.  Saving to the cloud is actually ridiculously pricey - not sure why as storage is a cheap as chips.  Anyhow it worked out that it is cheaper for me to build my own than store offsite like that.

Am awaiting a call from HR department of a large corporate to see if they want to interview me. Will be interesting to see if they agree with the £s I've asked for in terms of salary.  If they are then it will be worth going for.  I still have my reservations but in a way I've set down the level at which I'm prepared to be bought.  I know that sounds mercenary but it is meant to.  I don't enjoy the lifestyle particularly but with the level of money I could bear it for enough time to increase my pension pot and put some of the money back into the household spent during my recent couple of years sojourn.

Making Some Sense of it All

That's next on my list of things to do.  Some time ago I wondered why I'd been spared and what I ought to do with this "borrowed" time and in some ways I've done something about it and made some changes and whilst I'm prone to over analysing everything I can tell you that there's something definitely wrong.  Now I'm not sure that it's like the something that was wrong before I went down with Bladder Cancer although at times it does feel like it.  I was prone to lethargy and just never felt like doing anything but forced myself to and actually got things to improve a bit up to the point of being diagnosed.  It was 8 years ago yesterday that I was with my parents and got the call that my mum's brother had died and that wasn't a great day having to break the news to my mum that her younger brother had died.  It was, though, about that time that I really started to notice that I wasn't up to my usual standard of mental and physical capacity but not enough to warrant going to the doctor etc.

It's similar to how I feel now but I don't feel quite the same and I'm sure it isn't ailing for something as I feel (despite my cold) very well indeed.  I am though bogged down with something and it's deep and it's important and just needs to be sorted out one way or the other.

The crazy thing is that if I knew exactly what it was I could do something about it :-)  I felt like writing a blog titled "The Meaning of Life" but that's not exactly it either.  It's more about the ending of my previous age and the commencement of another.  The changes that have to come about to enter this new age of late adulthood or early old age or something like that.  I have no clear vision of what I want to do, what matters (if anything actually does anymore) and how to go about it.  There's a definite want/need to draw a line under the past and to fix eyes on the horizon to go forward.  

Cold - Worst Over?

It certainly seems so and I've had two impromptu naps today which seem to have helped but have left me full of energy at midnight.  My sore throat is subsiding and sneezing and coughing no longer hurt that much so perhaps I will be OK for Saturday when I need to be on good form.

I've been working on how to achieve decent backups for my data this afternoon and started counting the cost of cloud storage and it's a bit more than I was expecting, so much so that it would be easier for me to build myself a RAID system here than to let it out to the cloud.  Of course there is the problem if there was a fire I suppose but let's hope that cloud costs come down sufficiently in the future to compete.  I can build a decent 6TB system which is plenty for the household and allow backups for all the computers and iPads and stuff that are here.  Of course, the main things are photos and music files which need backing up.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Great news - my back up drive had only fried it's electronics and not the hard disk and so I have a new box with the drive in it and thank goodness - it is looking fine for the moment.  I need to now get some backup stuff in place and I'm pricing cloud versus having a NAS RAID array at home.  That may be expensive now but will prove to be less over the long run I believe.

At least my music is back and I can listen to it - I missed that.

A Cold

Welcome to autumn and winter, feeling pretty stuffed up and not happy at all with getting a cold and it just adds to my less than positive outlook on things at the moment.  It will get better, I know that and I'll be back to my happy self.

I was really pleased to hear that my Mum had gone out on her own yesterday, gone to town and back on the bus and had got out of the house and started to reclaim some independence.  She's going to try and do this every week which is great.  She needs to apply for her senior citizen's travel card and that will mean she can get reduced cost transport.  I'm very pleased about this as she feels better not relying on my brother and sister-in-law and she can go and do her own thing.

Mrs. F. is being super nice to me at the moment but that's because at last she understands what or why perhaps I'm like I am at present.  Mind you I'm beginning to feel better and starting to get myself motivated again.  It's been quite a dip this time but I feel that I'm turning the corner a bit and I just need to work on the positives again.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Full on cold

Sneezing and sore throat, blocked nose etc.  Been having another series of amazing dreams though over the past few weeks, amazing stuff, quite where it comes from I have no idea but the waking one this morning was incredibly detailed with a game show with archaeologists being awarded points and making amazing discoveries in amazing colour and detail.

I took my sick 1TB external drive down to the shop to see if they could sort it out.  We need to read it the last rites and pray for it to deliver up its data.  Shame.  I then had the local electricity people turn up who wanted to lop down a bit of my tree at the back of the garden - which was good as I was planning on doing some of that in a few months time when all the leaves are off.

Another misty day, a mizzly day apparently, depressing and damp but I had a better day today.  The company came back to me to say they were interested in my CV.  I appeared to have the skills they were looking for but they couldn't put me in at a Director level it would have to be a senior level under that.  Well that's OK by me as I'm not certain that I even need to go to that level.  I have though put in a very high starting bid for salary etc.  For no other reason than to actually get me to go back and do what I used to do, I ought to get properly rewarded for it.  From what I've discussed it should be about the right figure for them to be interested and for me to be happy with my lot.

I'm now just having some meds prior to taking my weary a**e off to bed as I'm very tired and could do with sleeping this cold off.   I have quite a few things still on my list to do but I feel that tomorrow I may finally get around to sorting some of them out.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Blast - is that a cold?

Why oh why do people who have colds go on public transport or attend meetings.  I had a hunch on Saturday that the guy next to me was sniffing his way through and I've just started sneezing and have a bit of a stinging feeling at the back of my nose and my throat  is beginning to feel sore.  Just what I don't need right now.

Had a good evening, Flocky Bicep drove us to Essex for a meeting, I had to get to him and so got a bus out into the countryside.  It was quite nice as the driver actually dropped me at the door of the pub I needed to wait at.  How very civilised and how very much different to any London buses.

We had a very nice meeting and it was great to see so many old friends too.  Being in Essex they produced a bowl of Leigh-on-Sea Cockles with vinegar and pepper - what a treat and the guy next to me didn't dine so we shared out his :-)

It was a good distraction today and broke my train of thought and has perhaps given me just enough time to just reflect a bit and restart things in the morning.  Off to bed and I just hope this isn't the start of a cold I really don't need that.


If I thought it was ever going to be easy I was kidding myself.  Whilst I'm feeling lighter in my outlook despite the drizzle, mist and generally oppressive autumnal weather, I still have a number of things to resolve and some of them are just a matter of facing up to the fact they will never happen and ruling them out.  Other things need a bit more time to bed in.  Mrs. F. is quite happy that I set up my alternative business but I'm not yet convinced that I want to do that especially as I'm not sure it will make money for us.  It may well do but I haven't sat down and done the detailed planning.  Doing that will probably assist but I would probably need to convince myself that is worth spending some months on doing.  In reality it should have been ready for launch now ready for Christmas (I can officially use that word as there have been adverts out all this month already!).  

I am certain that it would be about this time of year that the business would kick off and of course people would want stuff provided using that as a deadline - it could be tricky.. :-)  Anyway, whilst I'm warming to the idea, I still need to convince myself that it isn't a pipe dream.  It only answers part of the problem though and I'd be still searching for answers on other stuff too.

I know that I need to step back from all the current chaos and take stock.  That's perhaps what I can do in the next week or two.  Hope is fading for these potential gigs I may have had and perhaps that will allow me to direct my attention to the rest of the things vying for my attention.

It's a bit like living in a vortex at the moment, I know I can tackle it all but I just need to step outside and set some targets for the important and urgent stuff and leave some of the detritus behind for now.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sunday Night

It is going to be a long week I have surmised.  Mrs. F. is off to work as is A tomorrow and then L and her boyfriend head back up to Cambridge tomorrow.  I'll be off on Monday to Essex for a meeting and then not much else until Saturday when I have my first full meeting as Master of my Lodge.  I'm looking forward to that and hope that I can get it right and that the meeting will go ahead smoothly.

It is funny that since I've broached the issue about what to do next with Mrs. F. I've suddenly realised quite how much of a can of worms I've kicked over.  Not for her but for me :-)  It's a strange thing that I hadn't realised how much of my decision making actually hangs on what is right for everyone and not just for me.  It has overloaded my mind a bit and so that's what I now need to resolve.  It's becoming a very difficult time to work out what to do next mainly because I'm not absolutely certain what to do next.  By that I mean that there are now more options available than there were last week and I just need to work my way through them - it's added a lot to the mix but I suppose that's not a bad thing.

Then again maybe not

I ended up sitting downstairs until 3:30 as I was a bit annoyed after having been out for a meal we returned having discussed some things but then we hit a rocky bit and I just needed to be left alone to think.

Today's been a bad one and not helped by a friend who contacted me and has had some pretty awful times, now on various charitable schemes and also having been very down and close to suicide.  I'm far from that and wouldn't contemplate anything like that because surely things can't be that bad that you need to do that.  I would suggest it is a pretty selfish thing to do especially if you have family.  

So today has been a misty, raining, autumnal typical English heading towards winter day.  It's damp and solemn and drippy and misty. It's downright depressing and so my mood matches it.

And yet I have moments where I feel quite normal and upbeat.  

It sounds bad doesn't it?  I'm not in a really bad place though so don't worry about that, I'm just now working through the stuff I need to to work out what I need to do next.  

Saturday, October 20, 2012


Was spent sorting out Christmas stuff which made for some time for Mrs. F. and myself to be together.  No one around so we fancy a meal and will either head off up to the Indian for a curry or possibly head to the pub for a bite to eat and a few beers.  Not sure which at the moment but small steps - good stuff.

Nice Meeting

A breakfast meeting with a cooked English Breakfast (a Full one - no idea why they say full English).  It was very nice indeed and a nice way to start the day.   We then had a pleasant enough meeting and a I was home before lunch which was very good indeed.

It was nice too that Mrs. F. had done some work in the new bathroom and so has now headed off to the tip to throw away our old rubbish and dead tiles and stuff.  When she gets back we are going to work on doing something together - not sure what that will be but let's give it a go and see where we end up.  We can just work on something and see where it takes us.  At least we are talking which is a huge step up from last week.  Not that anything was bad just not right.

I am hoping that we might get to start working out the rest of our lives or begin to find some common ground and some heads of agreement.

Friday, October 19, 2012


So once you've worked your way up the greasy pole, provided shelter and food for your family and are in a position to pretty well do what you want.  What do you actually do?

Sure I'd like more money and all that but what if that isn't important anymore?  What if I just want a quiet life and to no longer have to work every hour sent and travel for miles and miles?  What if I reverse work and home so that home is more important?  What then?

I questioned why I was spared some years ago.  Was there some "greater purpose"?  Whilst I did a long stint at the Charity I still wasn't absolutely sure.  I made a difference to many people and that's good but it is soon forgotten - like they have forgotten who did some of the original thought leadership.  People are surprised that I may have had any involvement because those who remain  will naturally take the kudos, I'm no longer there, out of sight out of mind.

I enjoy working in some ways but I get right into it, I was never a 9 to 5, it isn't in my nature to be a worker bee / drone.  If I went back into work I reckon I'd be stuck into it and have no home life (again) and all I'd be doing is bringing in the bucks for my retirement and perhaps to have a new car and some other frivolous stuff that will look good but ultimately do the same job as the stuff I' have now.

Had a long chat this morning about things with my business partner and we are struggling with this sense of purpose, a need for a holistic solution and a better work life balance into the future.   

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Conundrums indeed, it's the problems that need working through.  I've said it before on here and it goes something along these lines:

Many things have changed since Bladder Cancer.  Life means something entirely different.  Work means something entirely different.  I don't want to live like I lived before.  I don't enjoy doing what I used to do and go out of my way to avoid some things altogether.  All the stuff that went on before is now almost null and void for no other reason than it no longer exists or holds its interest.  Only I have changed and I don't expect everyone else to do so just because of me.

I was explaining that the things that really brought us together no longer exists.  That would be building our house, saving and getting the stuff of life, cars, furniture and all that good stuff.  We built a home then we had kids and then found out that all those things we did no longer exists other than in a set of then and now photographs.  You can't live in the past - it's a shame but it can't happen - many people are trying to go back to the days of their youth and it's not a good look people! :-)  Having witnessed the 60 years olds with long grey hair tied in a pony tail reliving their acid days at some tribute band gig is not where I want to be and not what I want to do.  It captures nothing and takes you nowhere further on.

I don't think I particularly need to do anything way off base either, I just want to enjoy what's left of the rest of my life.  I'd like a house by the coast or in the country, a local ambiance and village feel to the place, the opportunity to know people and to do something to make ends meet but just to make ends meet.  The trouble is that this idealised lifestyle may exists but comes at a price and that's giving up what we have here.  I may be prepared to do that but would others?  How idyllic is it in reality and so on.  On the other hand, I'm quite happy to go and revisit my old life but I think that, if I do, it will be on my terms and that won't be acceptable and I'd want to live near where I work not have to commute which I really cannot stand either.

I may want all of these things but, it is what I want and not what suits everyone else.  That's the thing that needs sorting out.  If it doesn't work for two or more it may not work at all.  That's the worry and perhaps why it has taken so long to get to this point.  But here we are, at long last, able to at least face up to it even if we don't enjoy what we are seeing.


I suppose that's good, things are different all of a sudden but it's strange not having the normal "day-to-day" atmosphere happening.  Of course, it's just a day in but perhaps it's the start of a new dialogue.  Let's see what happens and how things progress.

Off out later to a meeting in Gillingham and so a small trip out is in order via bus and train - it's a reasonably long journey, I used to do it regularly years ago.  Hope that they don't go on for too long as it usually means I'm getting back way gone midnight.

Funeral tomorrow of one of our members, a nice guy, not too sure whether to go as the place will be mobbed out and I really don't like crowded rooms at the best of times.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Another Victim

Ex work colleague, a few years older than me, told he has aggressive form of Cancer, dead in 6 weeks.  Shame.

If you've had Cancer and you are a survivor it brings back some strange feelings and a queasy uneasiness as you recollect your own memories of the diagnosis and the prognosis.  I don't think I actually asked whether I would die because it wasn't explained to me as terminal, it was aggressive however and it was close to being out of control, a few layers of cells and we all know how small they are!

I try not to make too much of it but in reality it IS a big thing and it altered everything.  Years back I suggested collateral damage and there's every possibility that is coming to be now although I don't know what that means, it does concern me.  Of course, what will be will be and whatever may happen couldn't be anywhere near as bad as getting Cancer, I don't think much else comes near at all.  

Needed to be said

Well things needed to be said because I kept coming back to the same old road block in my thinking.  I played a scenario where I would live as long as my dad giving me 27 more years on this planet.  I then played the 10 more years until I can "officially" retire, that gave me perhaps 17 years then I worked out that as I'd already had cancer once that I might well be more susceptible to more (I have no evidence whatsoever to support this).

What I kept coming back to was that many of the things in my bucket list were things that only I really would enjoy doing.  I then started making a list of things that Mrs. F. and I enjoy doing together which never got past 2 things!  Many of the things that kept us together in the past, buying and renovating our two houses, the massive garden and all the fruit, doing our own wine and jams etc growing our own veg were all part of how we grew up together, then there were the children and everything has gone into their health and wellbeing and now that they are substantially off our hands (not entirely) there's nothing much left to do and please I don't need a list of suggestions at the moment - only we actually know what would work.

It actually feels like a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders and probably off of Mrs. F's too as she is as aware of this as I am and so it just now needs to be worked through.  Unfortunately she isn't a pragmatist or an optimist when it comes to these things.  She can't see that she could easily give up the rubbish job she is in now and we could go and do something far more fulfilling but that's a discussion to come.

Today I'm going to sort out a huge crop of apples that are lying around in the kitchen and a little later will meet up with Flocky Bicep for a few post work beers and a chat.  I do feel quite bad that I've upset Mrs. F. but I also it should at last get stuff out of my head, off of my mindmaps and out for discussion.  If we don't talk it through then there's no chance of resolving things.

Anyway, at least we've kicked off the dialogue and we will see where it goes.  Whilst I don't feel good about that, it needs to happen and containing it like I have for these past years wasn't a good ploy but perhaps I just wasn't ready to do anything about it.  Who knows, cowardice on my side or perhaps, more like me, keeping testing and checking to make sure that it wasn't "in my head" before coming clean.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I Feel Horrible

God I feel bad, I hate upsetting Mrs. F. she is a diamond lass and does everything for her children and more.  That's both the good and the bad as I've largely been ignored for the "children years".  Not that I minded that, it was my job to hoover up the big bucks and provide the house, funds for the school, trips, dancing etc., whatever was needed and whilst I was away grafting my arse off, the mortgage got paid, the bills were covered and everything worked fine.

In fact all was well until a year or two before I got ill when suddenly I wasn't quite "me" any more and in fact I was ailing.  Since then I've struggled mentally and physically - and as regular readers know - I've gone through the mill every which way possible.  That's my outcome from cancer, not everyones of course.  I'm changed and I'm no longer who I was and my value system has changed possibly diametrically so if I really level with myself, I'm no longer the person she knew and the change is marked.

But I feel really bad to bring this all to a head now.  In reality I feel that I must have definitely left the signal on the browser consciously so Mrs. F. could find it.  It had to be done, it needs to be said and glory knows we haven't spoken to each other properly in years.  She works her butt off and is always tired, can't spend time to talk to me, is in some sort of mood and so on.  The kids always come before me (and I don't begrudge that) but that's just where it is.

Anyway - I feel really bad because I've upset her tonight and she is taking it really badly.  All I want to do is discuss it but I'm a professional consultant type with all the questions and all the answers.  I need to tread on eggshells when we do talk.  I feel like a sh1t but I know I have to do this :-(

Sh1t Timing

I have to say that I have sh1t timing and I was a bit lax here.  I recognised that there was some problems happening especially in terms of "empty nest syndrome" and somehow (maybe consciously) it was left as a search string in the PC Browser.  So Mrs. F. cornered me as I got back from the pub.  Now as I said at the time of being so cornered - it isn't a great time to talk to me after I've got a few beers down my neck and I'd been laughing and joking with the lads but we had some discussions (shall we say).

It wasn't pleasant but then again I didn't expect it to be but it was a little more unpleasant than I really wanted it to be or needed it to be.  In fact it got a bit ugly but then I suppose it was time I said something but I really didn't want to be talking with a few beers down the neck although, on reflection, at least I said it as it was.

Of course, now I've upset things and have been trying to smooth it all over but it's all about money, who does what at home and all that old tosh.  Frankly, it wasn't a fair contest and so I stopped it and we need to talk later but at last and at least we are going to talk and I've been wanting to do that for years.

Finally we agree that we don't like each other's choice of music, TV, friends and many other things and that's a huge amount of progress.

Let's see what the rest of the week brings.  I feel an absolute bastard for bringing it up but it needs to be said and the conversation needs to be had.  I'm worried about the future and Mrs. F. isn't looking past the next pay packet, we are so off base it isn't true.  Let's now hope we can work this out at last.

I was surprised I said some of the things I did tonight but I was pretty explicit about my life expectancy and the short time I felt I had left.  Mrs. F. is worried about things that aren't even remotely likely to happen unless she wishes hard enough for them to.   

At least it is out in the open and at least we know where we stand.  I just think that she has held on to too much for too long and thinks it is all her fault when, in reality I think it is mainly my problems we need to tackle.  Let's see where it goes from here.  It isn't a good night but it is progress and that's what I need now.


There's something a bit strange going on here.  There's me ranting about being unconventional, not wanting to go back into Corporate life and all that good stuff and yet here I am feeling quite OK after submitting my CV to one of the largest Corporate entities on the planet.  

I even feel quite good this afternoon and that's also strange.  Oh well, I will roll with it and see what happens I guess.  So far today I've been on a "bit of a roll" and that's what is so strange about it as it isn't anything confirmed just a possibility.  

Off out tonight to see my old school chums - blessed with good friends from around 1967 when my parents moved us to here from London.   45 or more years how nice is that? I have to say that I was very lucky indeed to have been able to continue to have such good pals after all this time.

Nearly wrote last night

But I held off as I felt that I wasn't in the right frame of mind. It had been a strange day as I have been in a bloody strange mood since last Thursday and that's not the fault of my mate K, he just asked me how things were and of course he isn't a close, close friend and so the last time we actually spoke spoke was a few months previously when dad died and I was more concentrated on that than current things.

My business partner turned up unexpectedly in the afternoon and we had a good old chin wag about our respective problems, neither of us are certain about the life, the universe and everything :-)  we have incredible moments of self doubt and somehow it is our shared experience that is giving us problems.  We both had cancer at the same time, we both spent time discussing it and meeting up and it was good for both of us to discuss common problems, we worked together for 2 years (or more) and so we have a lot in common.  We get on fine and he had just been for an interview for a very powerful job indeed - that was an interesting in its own right.

We kicked around lots of ideas and put forward lots of reasons for why we weren't feeling great.  It boils down to many things including:

  • Sense of purpose
  • Need to "make a difference"
  • Survivor syndrome
  • Impact of Cancer on mind and body 
  • Although we don't think the business was a failure - that must be in the back of our minds even though we don't think like that
  • Uncertain future direction - not happy to go back into stuff we've done or been to before
These aren't all of them but it's enough.  It just goes to show the turmoil rattling around in our heads.  In a way we looked at the distraction that the business gave us and the sheer amount of work we did must also have had some impact.  Often the end of a project isn't euphoric it is flat and an anti-climax and later you can look back and celebrate.  It's possibly grieving for the project that sits there, to this day, with the ability to change people's lives around the world not seeing the light of day?  

Anyway it was interesting as Flocky Bicep noted the somewhat morose content of my blog of late.

Last night I wasn't feeling a lot better but today, after having my CV submitted to a major business, I feel slightly more upbeat even though I'm not particularly sure it is what I want, it actually carries different weight into the equation as the business is a world leader and the job would likewise be of the level of seniority that would switch on a few of my needs.  

So I feel better but I am not sure if I would want the job under normal circumstances. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Another Day another Dollar?

Not quite, it's been a week and I haven't heard anything about this possible job.  I'm somewhat disappointed but I am also not surprised by it either.  It may or may not happen and that's just the way of it.  The trouble with this is that you can't plan on ifs and buts and maybes and it undermines planning.

Not that I'm a lot further with that either.  Procrastination halts me on even the simplest tasks and indecision, uncertainty and doubt certainly manage to give me the runaround.  It's not all as bad as it may sound but I could certainly use some clarity in thinking these days.  So much for me being the big strategic thinker!  

It's like a Plumber whose house if never quite leak free and I find that I'm good at what I do for customers but not at home, that's different :-) 

So there we go it's all a bit befuddled at the moment.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Dawned the new day

My shoulder wasn't great overnight and in fact during the day.  We went to the Black Tie lunch - it was a bit strange dressing up for it but we had the restaurant to ourselves and very nice it was too.  Chez Vous was given over to us for the afternoon and it was a nice lazy afternoon, starting with Champagne and ending with a beer before we went home we had the most marvellous food in between and some superb wines too.  All in all very nice.  A bit too rich for Mrs. F. but you can't have everything.

It was nice to rest my arm a bit but I had to still try and stop this damn leak at the connection with my new radiator and it did need  a serious tighten.  It looks to have sorted it but will leave it overnight and see.

I wasn't in a great mood this morning unfortunately and Mrs. F. got the silent treatment a bit.  The usual nonsense about going out - it does my head in slightly when suddenly after months of knowing we are going out there such a kerfuffle over what to wear, whether she knows anyone, then she left her glasses behind, then we had to get back into the house to pick up some driving shoes and a list of other things that really annoy someone who is organised like me.  Everything is a drama and I have things planned out and set out so that I know where I'm going, how I can get there, what the place looks like (thanks Google Street View) and so on.  I know how much money we need to take to pay for it and so on.  Mrs. F. knows that I'm this well organised and always have been and still I get it in the neck :-)  I don't tend to answer back in these situations as I'd obviously be wrong or stupid :-)

As it happens, it was all sort of OK.  

I think my underlying concern is that there's a hint of things to come and that what's called "Empty Nest Syndrome" may be creeping in here.  For 22 years we've done nothing other than look after the kids, feed them, take them to school and back and our lives revolved around them pretty much.  Many things went by the wayside, I gave up Golf, I hardly play my musical instruments or much of my music these days.  Now that A and L aren't around much we suddenly have a big house with 2 of us rattling around in it to such an extent that we can be in the same house and not see each other for hours at a time.  

Mrs. F. isn't a great fan of music, let alone my music, she doesn't particularly like going out for meals and similar events (which I get plenty of invites to).  She doesn't like going to "my sort" of concerts and there lies a bit of a problem.  She has no interest in other interests I have, History and family history nor does she read as prolifically as I do and certainly not the same sort of books, the only interests I see us having these days are holidays and walking but whilst I quite like warm hot places she doesn't, neither does she like cruising (sea or inland).  

It appears to me that 22 years investment in the children is well spent but the "sacrifice" in terms of our social lives does appear to be a bit heavier than I expected.   Something else to watch out for no doubt!  Oh well, at least we are speaking terms after the meal.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Oh Dear

My backup hard drive has crashed whilst I was transferring files - not happy with that as I may have lost some stuff but hey ho I will have to see if my local shop can recover the data.  I am somewhat annoyed as these things are meant to be pretty much bullet proof so I need to warn A as she has one of these for her work!

It's doubly annoying as I was in the middle of backing up and getting ready to move to a more cloud based environment - I will just have to do it if and when the recovery is complete.  At least all my important stuff is contained in the cloud as well as there.

I've been on my own here today as Mrs. F has been baby sitting for someone who was going to a wedding - the bad news is they were late and she has only just arrived home.  So another day here alone for me.  Whilst I got work done, it's been a pretty quiet time.  It often is unfortunately and something that I'm getting used to.

We are off out tomorrow for a Black Tie meal in the middle of the day - well almost afternoon as it is sit down at 14:00 - very late for us I have to say.  Mrs. F. doesn't really want to go, in fact she doesn't want to go to many of "my things" these days so she is doing it out of sufferance.  I hope that it won't show :-)

My shoulder is giving me a bit of jip still - hope it will be alright tomorrow.

A little better today

Not such a bad start to the morning excepting I have cricked my shoulder once again - it is an old wound which I got from plumbing years ago and having had to stem a small leak I've pulled the muscle and it is giving me a bit of jipp I can tell you.  So the bathroom should almost be done now as long as I've stemmed this tiny leak - a drop a day at most from the radiator.  I've done the final bit of grouting and set the bath cover back on and it looks OK.  I have some chrome pipe covers to install and then we are almost done.  A small amount of sealing still to go, as I've held off finishing the WC until I'm convinced that I can finalise it and seal it off properly.  It just needs a coat of paint now and I need to make that happen when there is sufficient time to let it dry.

I feel better than yesterday but still a little flat but I think that is to be expected as I'm trying to make some big decisions and I want to get these right because they are big decisions affecting not just me.  If it were just me then I think that I'd be OK.  I also don't want to be undiplomatic about things either.

Still not heard anything back about this job which is upsetting decisions on my calendar and is complicating me making other arrangements.

Friday, October 12, 2012

A Flat Day

Nothing leaves me as flat as having a few drinks and reflecting on another series of conversations that don't actually get me any further forward than I was when I started.

So today is one of those flat days where I don't see much going forward and I can't be arsed to do anything much, I have little inclination and despite wanting to break myself out of this cycle of ups and downs I haven't the "energy" to do much about it.  It's the sort of day when my coffee goes cold all the time and I have to warm it up in the microwave, things that could be done are left undone and so on.  

I dislike these days as I never quite get up enough head of steam to get myself motivated and up and at them.  I was planning on doing the bathroom but really couldn't be bothered and I'm sitting at my PC most of the day, goodness knows what I'm doing, it isn't much but there you go.

It is actually a nice looking day outside, the sun is shining and it's a crisp autumn day with the leaves turning colour nicely and yet that's not motivating either.  I know things are bad as I've put one of my Coldplay albums on :-)

Oh well, muddle on for the rest of the day and perhaps I'll pick up at the weekend :-)

And it leaves me...

No clearer than it did before.  I met my friend K and we had a few beers and then hit the Turkish Restaurant in town.  Had a nice meal (fish based) and a beer and then headed off to an old fashioned boozer that is still "out of the way" but has history when it was in the middle of nowhere!.  Got back and went to my local as "Billy No Mates" and did the quiz.  Of course I knew people but decided that I needed more booze.

Had a long and frank conversation with K but it sort of ended up as a problem area as I have to make some sort of decision.  The trouble is that I can't make any sort of decision regarding where to go next because whatever I do affects other people and I'm really not into upsetting others, I'm happy to take a "hit" on my feelings and work and so on but I don't want to upset anyone else.

Result?   I realise that my actions will affect others and that's why I am not making decisions.  I also realise that I don't want to be the catalyst of major change.  However, the change will be good for me but it will not be good for others.

Bottom Line?  I managed to express my fears but didn't get anywhere near sorting them out!

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Of out in a moment to have a few beers and then grab some food.  Old friend and I need to catch up and see what's going on and what's to do.  I'd better get some food down my neck before going though as I'm certain it will be more beers than food.

My diet is getting a bit of a slap though with a meal on Tuesday night sending my count going way over what I normally eat and a few beers today will also send the figures off the graph.  I've gone back onto a modified diet at the moment with a bit of exercise, no bread or dairy (except cottage cheese) back to having FOCC (Flax Seed Oil and Cottage Cheese), lots of vegetables and I need to get back to using my juicer again in a more controlled way.

Food wise I'm cutting out most carbs but do have a few like rice cakes occasionally to keep that count up.  After the excesses of the holiday and really since my dad died when I stopped eating sensibly, I've put on all the weight I lost (well actually that's not accurate - I've put on a stone and so I'm still below where I started by about a stone from the beginning of the year).

In terms of exercise I'm doing burst work on the X-Trainer and doing some work on the Vibration Plate (no more than 5 minutes).  The burst work is doing two or three full speed - until you run out of puff and energy - bursts every couple of days.  These bursts of exercise are pretty much full on things but apparently are better than doing longer stints.  So let's give it a try.

Unfortunately I have lots of events that will interrupt my diet in the next three months but I will just have to take it easy.  I am recording everything I eat which seems to work nicely.  

What next?

It's a strange world and sometimes you have to laugh I suppose.  Well, I got a job potential today - to work in..... The Philippines????  What!  I've had loads of job things coming through for jobs that I used to be qualified for years ago.  I've had jobs totally wrong for me which are the results of computer glitches and because these recruiters don't actually read even the summary of my CV which would give them a good idea.

I get mistaken for a senior Programmer, a specialist in Forte programming and because of my past in the Construction and Process industries and get crazy jobs in strange places sent to my inbox.  However, a relocation to the Philippines certainly was an unusual one.

I'm still waiting to hear about a potential job in London and I'm still in two minds about whether to go for it or not.  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Roller Coaster

Continues to take me up and down the emotional highs and lows of living with 'post cancer' survival.  I had a great day yesterday and yet arrived home and from being high I ended up being morose and down.  That's how quick it can come and go these days.  An interesting conversation this morning suggested that it can take a decade or more to get over the impact that having had cancer makes to your body.

Your body goes through all sorts of changes and of course the treatments and the operations and tests all take their toll.  It's difficult to explain to someone who hasn't had the full Hospital experience and the build up to operations and treatments quite what this means.  It's exhausting both physically and mentally and as I said many times in this blog it is very similar to Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and so there's all sorts of problems including depression and sleep problems, ups and downs and the most incredible fatigue you can imagine.  

What this means is that this makes it difficult to make decisions or be rational sometimes as your emotional state is switching about and making logical thought difficult.  I know and realise this and so tend to take my time to come to conclusions but of course in talking and writing it tends to put a different slant on things.  What I mean by that is that it depends on what my mood is like as to the way I write, talk and act so it's a bit like living with a schizophrenic I guess :-)

Anyway, I'm all OK today so far.

Sad Day

I went to a Lodge meeting tonight and my friend who has been having some "awareness" problems of late was in a bad way tonight.  He knows he has something not quite right with himself and that he forgets things and that he can get lost walking to the shops.  And another friend turns up bloated from his drugs which I think are steroid based.  He looks fine but he was so slow and I had to get him and another friend up the stair lift to the meeting and back down again and they were puffing and panting and not quite knowing what was going on.

I suddenly found out that I was taking responsibility for making sure they got up to the room, down from the room and to the dining room and to their wife's cars.  Of course, they are in their 80s and 90s now and I knew them when they were my age!!!!  Oh shit!!

I also had an interesting conversation with Mrs. F. this morning showing her the article I cited yesterday on the blog.  She hadn't realised and wanted to know what she could do and of course, there's nothing she can do, it's out of her hands and in my head. It's an interesting scenario I think.  Now she realises what I'm going through but there's not a lot she can do to change it - the only good thing is that perhaps my behaviour over the last few years may start to make sense.  The huge problem for me is that the cure is pretty nasty and needs me to separate my current life and make a new one.  The issue being that I cannot quite work out whether it is a single or joint effort required.

Oh shit, it's something that suddenly I can't contain anymore but I'm glad she realises that it isn't her - it's ME.  You see the problem doesn't sit with those who are secondary victims of bladder cancer, it sits with the victim themselves - me.  I have changed and that's got to be the case, it's happening to me after all.  For my immediate family, they've had one of their foundations messed around with but they've other things to do and they are busy living their own lives.  I support fully that they should live their own lives and move on and do what they need to do despite what is happening to me.  At the end of the day it makes little difference to them whether I'm there or not and occasionally I may have some input.  

Anyway, the sadness is that people I knew some time ago who were my age are now infirm and strange things happened like they lost their cases or didn't know how to operate things, I had to get them up and down the stair lift and these are people whom I respect dearly and there I am acting as nurse to them where a year ago they were fully able to get up and down the stairs on their own etc.

Suddenly it brought it all home I have to say.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Says it a little better than I can

A Guardian Article HERE.  "For many patients, remission of the disease is just the first step in a long and emotionally draining process of recovery"

It says much about the sort of problems I still have.  I'm not in remission either so there's still that to be tackled.  I believe remission is a minimum of 10 years clear for Bladder Cancer patients.  I cannot find the supporting information for this statement though.  I'm sure it is somewhere about there.  By remission it means completely clear with no recurrence which unfortunately for Bladder Cancer is very common.

There is more acceptance of the sort of problems we seem to get and Macmillan have a page worth a look too HERE

So if you might be wondering why I blow hot and cold and go up and down in terms of my demeanour, this may help you understand it.  It's probably a lot more complex but now 6 years on I'm getting a lot better and feel quite well although I'm still having problems with my diet and weight but I hope to be getting that under better control once I decide what I am going to do with myself.  I've some ideas and some avenues to explore in the next few days and then I think, if they draw a blank, that I will be looking to make some serious lifestyle changes for myself affecting work and leisure and home.  Let's see what these avenues bring first.

"Rates of depression and anxiety are very high when treatment ends," says Dr Michelle Kohn, director of Living Well, a programme that offers emotional and practical support to cancer patients at Leaders in Oncology Care, a private London-based clinic. "Other emotional issues, such as low self-esteem, anger, stress or sleep problems are also widespread."

I can vouch for the sleep problems and the anxiety and there's the other stuff like the mini panic attacks and the claustrophobia to deal with as well as my attitude problems :-)  I don't take any prisoners sometimes and appear to have lost my "diplomatic touch" somewhere along the line. I think you get past all the trauma and you have a "So what" attitude to other people's petty gripes.  It isn't (or I hope it isn't) one upmanship, it's more a case of trying to get people to get a grip and man up a bit.  Because the train is late or it's raining isn't a cause for depression and sadness :-)  

"On top of this, cancer survivors are often battling with physical and practical challenges, anything from huge financial losses, to the side effects of medication, profound fatigue, a confused-feeling known as "chemo brain", or lymphoedima (swelling). Their loved ones, meanwhile, might be increasingly baffled as to why they can't bounce back and make the most of life. "People suffer for years, often in silence, without any real support," says Kohn. "Life after cancer can actually be very difficult and lonely."

I can understand this stuff too, it is very difficult to see what my problem is, I don't look any different, I'm not horribly disfigured (although you may think so! :-) ) and it is a hidden disease to even those closest to you.  It is really difficult to get up and go when your get up and go got up and went :-)  I'm mostly past the fatigue bit now thank goodness although I can still sleep at the drop of a hat.  It's almost like passing out, I can sit watching TV and just drop off.  It's a bit worrying but it doesn't happen at work or driving or anywhere else so that's good.  

Some of the comments are telling.  There is one about guilt, the guilt of living, the guilt of not having chemo or radio, mind you as I was reminded, Immunotherapy isn't for sissies either!  But it is interesting that I felt internally bad that my dad (and some friends who have died) knew that I had survived and yet their prognosis wasn't good, how did they view me?  Well if the truth be known they were probably happy for me.  I do hope that they didn't feel any other way but I felt bad for them.  I thought about the other areas too and you see, all these things add up to what it means to survive.  It is great to be alive and to have (so far) my health coming back albeit gradually.  Dealing with the head bit is a challenge as those who read this blog regularly know.  You are diagnosed and the trauma of the symptoms and the diagnosis are just awful.  Then there is the gap whilst you think the worst and that your number is up.  Then there is the sudden realisation that there is hope and you can fight some of this and you can realistically stand a chance of survival.  You fight it on your own and you use your strength physically and mentally and make big changes in your life style.  The experience changes you in many ways and some are subtle and others not so.  You are, after all, fighting for your life and every ounce of strength goes into it.  It's exhausting, it's traumatic, it's terribly frightening and upsetting.  You keep up your front so that your loved ones are reassured by your strength of character that all will be OK and inside you are eaten away by guilt and you punish yourself for all your past transgressions, your life style, every time you upset someone and so on.  

Later on, you realise that you've been ill for sometime, there were tell-tale signs, the anger and bitter way you spoke to people, the flying off the handle at little things, the exhaustion, the inability to do anything, work or home stuff just getting delayed and having no interest in anything.  I thought I was just getting old!  I hated myself and my lifestyle but all that was in the past, it didn't do me any good reflecting back like that but that's what you do to yourself.  I know a lot better now of course.

Then there's the 6 monthly check to see if the Cancer has returned or not, you are never really free from this.

This all sounds very downbeat but it's more a case of saying that despite the fact that I'm here, quite well and clear of Cancer, there is still so much more work to do to get me out of the place I find myself in.  Gradually I'm getting there but very slowly.  I hate to admit it but I'm still struggling to get myself in a "good place" where I'm comfortable with my survival and my lot.  It is terribly difficult to describe this "place" to anyone and even here I haven't done it justice.  Of course things are a hell of a lot better now than 6 years ago but the internal damage still remains and the brain stuff never quite leaves you.

Moving on

It was dad's birthday yesterday and mum was OK until reminded of the fact but there you go, it i bound to be pretty awful and these constant reminders are things to be dealt with and to move on.  Things are what they are and that's it, move on.  Easy for me to say but then again, if I dwelt on the past too much I'd be fit for nothing and it's the same about the future.  I was impressed by Dale Carnegie's take on this and I've probably mentioned it before in this blog but as I will paraphrase here, you cannot do anything about the past, it is history and you can't change it and whilst you may be sorry for what you did (or didn't do) it's in the past and you cannot alter it. The future hasn't happened and if you worry about that it isn't constructive you have to live in the now, today as tomorrow may not happen.  Another friend died whilst I was away, suspected heart attack and there's my dilemma all over again.  I see this and I tend to live by this if I can.  I realise that I need to do something about my future and to live my life on a day to day basis and live for the day and for the moment.  The trouble is that it is just me that wants to do this.

So, for me, my dad is dead and I wasn't particularly emotional about it yesterday (his birthday) or today.  My brother seems to be having it bad, probably worse than my mum and the trouble is that there is nothing you can do about it and it happens - that's the way things are and getting all het up and steamed up about it doesn't solve anything at all.  I certainly remembered my dad yesterday and considered that there was no way he'd want me to be upset or choked up.  There's only good things to remember, fun and happy times, my education and what I am, surely they are things to celebrate and keep the memory alive.  Not sure that dwelling on such things actually achieves anything.  I've said it before, when I see my dad's photo I smile because it reminds me of good times.  Realistically we all have to die and it isn't nice but that's the cards we are dealt with and no matter what I do I can't reverse history as much as I want to.  I don't think I'm callous or being disrespectful, it is just what it is and can be no other way and getting all upset and emotional isn't going to do a lot really.  I don't decry that some people deal with it this way but it's time to move on and live your own life because, it is pretty short and it isn't a rehearsal, you can't go back and make it right.

So, time to move on, live your own life and whilst being respectful, realise that there but by the grace of God go I.  I'm alive thanks very much and that's great, time to get on and use the time left to do what you have and want to and try and do it without let or hinderance.  Throwing off the shackles of the past - damn difficult thing to do.  I like the following clip though - my business partner and I often say this to each other when getting caught up in the past and the circumstances we find ourselves in - ENJOY :-)  

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Marvels of Engineering

On the journey up to Northumberland was very fast, faster than I remember it in the past but the roads are much better and we were already part of the way there.  I had planned to make two stops at some marvels of modern engineering or perhaps art.

The first was the Angel of the North.   It was cold and blowing a bit of a gale but we got out of the car and went and had a walk around anyway.

That's my mum at the bottom of the sculpture just to give you a rough idea of scale.  we were lucky that we had mostly sunny weather but it was very cold on this day and we certainly needed layers on as it was so windy and bitterly cold.

There is a new attraction not far on from here called Northumberlandia. There is a sculpture here on a massive scale "human landform sculpture of a reclining lady. Made of 1.5 million tonnes of rock, clay and soil, she is 100 feet high and a quarter of a mile long." we walked around it and my pictures hardly do it justice.  There is a good idea of what it looks like from the air here.  My pictures just show the ground level view:

It is on an amazing scale and was only open at the weekend as it is about to be officially opened later this month.  I was most impressed with the scale of the vision but you don't get too much of an idea even climbing the viewing areas. 

It was good to see them though and broke the journey up but we were still 4 hours too early to get into our Apartment so we visited a Garden Centre not far from here and then stopped at a lovely Inn for lunch which we found to be just 10 minutes drive away.  It had fabulous views over the local countryside out to the faraway hills and over towards Holy Island.  The Cat Inn - nice food and nice staff too.

And so we arrived at the Apartment a little too early but there was a parking place further on overlooking the sea and we sat in the car for about 30 minutes and were then able to get into the Apartment and unload the car.  A few hours later it was time to collect Mrs. F. from the train station and then we did some shopping and settled into for the night.