Tuesday, April 30, 2013

That's it - sorted out at last - music sound problems

Transferring my music  to hard drive and then indexing it and then getting the right graphics with the tags and the right genre and information has been quite a long and drawn out process especially with some 30,000 tracks.  The problem I then encountered was that when I shuffled the tracks to play randomly - the volumes were all different.  After some weeks of going through them and equalising them they are now all set at an appropriate level so that they sound like they should and will allow me to listen without having to keep reaching for the volume control each time.

I'm now synchronising these with my backup drives and enjoying listening to some of the fruits of my labours.  I like all sorts of music but this afternoon I'm giving my classical music a run out :-)  Very nice too.

I now know to check all new music for correct tags and graphics and volume levels before adding and indexing my collection.  

I can now get on with some other projects I have in mind including cataloguing all my Vinyl LPs, EPs and Singles and then seeing if I can move them to a collector or a shop or someone who might appreciate them.  As always I reckon 90% are the same as everyone else has - it's the 10% of records I have that are Promos and specials or rare that will be wanted.

I can also get my desk clear of all these small bits of paper with notes on dB readings and the like!

My Goodness - it will be Scar Wars XI in 2 weeks time

Yep - my 11th operation!  That's enough surely :-)  However, sure it won't be the last one I'll have although I'd very much like it to be I foresee they may have to do some biopsies again if this one proves to be a "bit naughty".

Anyway, I'm doing as much as I can at the moment to try and sort my body - the pH count is interesting it was around 7.5 which is OK I guess but I still took a little more bicarb to up that - I think I might do this after each meal more so lunch where I have the Flax Seed Oil (which is Alkali) and Cottage Cheese which is slightly acidic.  I'm going to try and make a sort of Tuna Mayonnaise with the FOCC mix today and add some vinegar and onion to boost the taste a bit.  I'm hoping that my mixing it together it will be easier to eat than as a cream on its own.

I gave a shove to the company that I am in the interview process with yesterday and they've rung back (missed the call) this morning so at least I should hear where we are in the process.  Not sure they've appreciated me giving them a cage rattle but they did say 1 week and it will soon be 8.

Not Sure

I had an invite from a friend of mine to go to a meeting on the Saturday before I go into hospital- I turned it down as I tend to get a bit "Cranky" in the days prior to going in.  Additionally in that week I will have already have been out twice up to London and have had my Pre-Assessment.  I wonder though whether I ought to take up the offer and go out and just enjoy myself?  It will be the first time with my new rank and also I'll be amongst good friends too so perhaps I might just do that.  I'll ask Mrs. F if she'd be happy for me to go - I imagine that if I am out from under her feet it may be a GOOD THING :-)

I had a strange evening this evening - it is funny when people suddenly notice how much weight you've lost - then they get interested - then they want to know the secret.....  Interesting :-)

Also some people weren't aware of my latest news and were pretty horrified and nicely upset for me.  I know that there's a bit more "risk" than I let on but generally, bladder cancer is slow growing and with any luck this will be a case of superficial bladder cancer, will be low grade and perhaps I'll get away with it remaining in the bladder - I certainly hope that it is the case.  Given the mess I was in when I caught it, I'm nowhere near the state I was in some 8 years ago now, I really had a bladder full of the stuff and constant bleeding.  

I do know that there is blood in my urine though as I can feel it - there is a very small "background sting" that you can feel not when you are urinating but leading up to wanting to go. It is discernible and noticeable if you know what you are looking out for.  It feels like you've been on a slightly acidic diet of rhubarb or something similar.

The upside is that they've seen this tumour, I'm going to get the offending thing cut out and it is early in the growth cycle.  That is good news for me even though finding it was bad.  Sometimes it is difficult to tell people that OK, it's bad news but the upside is that we know what it is, where it is and what to do about it.  It would be totally different and far more upsetting if they'd missed it!!!!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Flax Seed Oil and Cottage Cheese - Hard to Swallow

I used to make up the FOCC mixture and then blend in some probiotic yoghurt or pouring yoghurt or perhaps some semi skimmed milk and then pour that lot over some breakfast cereal or muesli or some concoction made by myself involving fruits, berries, dried fruit, nuts etc.

With the diet cereals and muesli and fruit are off the menu as is yoghurt and any dairy leaving me just nuts and only a few of those at a time in reality certainly not enough to use in conjunction with the FOCC.  

The trouble with it on its own is that it is very rich and creamy and I suppose the nearest way to describe it is like thick mayonnaise and if you've ever tried to eat more than a spoon full of that you may begin to understand why it is difficult and slightly gag inducing.  

For the second day I've had it with hard boiled eggs to make a sort of egg mayonnaise salad thing but I didn't grind any flax seeds for it today but it still wasn't a nice meal.  I actually like egg salad and this didn't do it for me - I think because there is a lot of FOCC.  I actually use less than the standard recipes.  I used 4 Tablespoons of Cottage Cheese to 2 Tablespoons of Flax Seed Oil blended (they suggest 6 and 3).  If I have the flax seeds I tend to do 1 Tablespoon ground in a coffee grinder.

I think I will try a slightly different tack tomorrow using the FOCC where I'd usually use mayo.  Perhaps I might try and mix it with Crab or Tuna or make a sort of coleslaw with it or maybe a mixed bean salad.  I need it to be the background ingredient not prominent in the dish.

Steve K advised me that FOCC sets his body to be more acid and after receiving his note I duly went and did a quick test and found that my pH had moved from 8.5 to 7.5 following eating that.  So I'm going to take a little more Bicarbonate of Soda and bring that back down.  I can see that I'll need to do a bit more monitoring than I thought I would need - I was planning once a day but perhaps a couple of times will be more appropriate given this interesting swing in readings.  

I have a very mild trace of blood in my urine which is only to be expected with a tumour in there. Everything else looks to be in tolerance and so that's good news :-)

Talking of things that are hard to swallow - the Bicarbonate is a strange thing to drink mixed with water.  I tend to drink a small glass with it in and then follow up with a large glass of water to take away some of the taste.  If nothing else my dentist should be pleased as Bicarbonate will help keeping my mouth nicely alkali or neutral.

Start of the testing

I started doing the testing of my urine.  The early results look interesting with a high alkali response and some trace blood which is what I was expecting.  Everything else looks to be negative or intolerance so that's OK too.

It will be two weeks today when I'm in hospital and so let's see where things go.  I've been remiss in not having carried out my blood pressure tests for quite a while.  They are around 130 over 90 which is OK but I'd have liked to see them lower than that.  I feel that I may need to review my sedentary lifestyle again.  I did a lot of walking in Italy and I enjoy that so I need to incorporate some sort of exercise into my daily routine - or lack of it at the moment.

It's a nuisance not knowing about this job.  They said one week when I went for the interview and that was close to 8 weeks ago now!  One way or the other I need to know.  As soon as I do know I can plan for things - at the moment everything is a bit rudderless and I guess until I know what the latest episode of my cancer is it will remain so.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

That was different

I just made myself a batch of clarified butter which was quite easy to do, you just need to melt the butter (unsalted) very slowly over a very low heat source.  It took quite a while but the results look great - so I now have ghee at a much lower cost.  Mind you when you see the gunk left in the pan afterwards it makes you wonder what you are shoving down you neck sometimes :-)

I had my version of Egg Mayonnaise but overdid the ground flax seeds - I need to remember that for next time.  It seemed to work out OK - I used three hard boiled eggs and cut those in half then made up the FOCC and poured (more like spooned) that over the eggs.  Added some baby plum tomatoes and too much ground flax seeds over that.  

I'm feeling a lot better now after lunch :-) I've had my half teaspoon of Baking Soda (Bicarbonate of Soda) in a pint of water this morning - it really isn't something I'd say is an enjoyable experience but let's see if it works along with the FOCC and I'm having a half teaspoon of Baking Soda before going to bed too.  

I'm just working out when is best to start checking how things are going - I suppose tomorrow might be good to start I've built the spreadsheet to put the records in.

Sunday woe day

I still feel rough on Sunday - normally because of my off diet activities on a Saturday :-)  Cheat day is great but after all those forbidden foods I do feel decidedly out of balance the next morning.  I hardly want to eat and have to force myself.  However, it does sort of prove the idea that some of the food you eat can't be good for you if it gives you indigestion and gas and it definitely throws my body out of equilibrium.

I'm just pulling together my spreadsheet for testing my urine and just having a review of what things are like now leading up to the operation and afterwards.  I was going to leave it until afterwards but now is a good time as I know I have a tumour I should be able to see a marker for blood in my urine.  I have no idea how this will turn out either so it will be a good experiment to do.  I'd often thought about doing my own periodic testing - mainly for blood as an early warning sign if you like but let's see what happens.  

I can also start my BP testing again especially as it is warmer and I'm not wearing jumpers and sweaters and can easily get readings.  

I'm back onto FOCC and intend to do a daily hit of FOCC as part of my diet.  I'm going to make a sort of Eggs Mayonnaise with the FOCC as the Mayo.  As I can't water it down with dairy, this way it can act like a mayo replacement and I can have it with a salad too.  I need to work on finding some interesting recipes for the FOCC - I have about 4 pages worth from a web site some time ago.  

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Strange how well I actually feel

You can't second guess this stuff can you, I mean there I am with a tumour in my bladder and you and I wouldn't know about it unless they'd actually had a look.  In fact I feel great, not at all like I felt when I first got it when I did feel something was wrong but couldn't quite work out what it was.

So I'm feeling fit and well and altogether better.  Losing the weight has helped a lot with breathing and also the claustrophobia which appears to have abated - it's still there but no where as bad as it has been in the past and the meeting I went to on Monday where I'd had a very bad time the year or two years before was bearable but the air conditioning could have been better, it was the previous time once we'd got started.  

I'm out for a Centenary meeting of a Lodge this afternoon which I'm looking forward to.  It is my Lodge's sponsoring or mother Lodge and so more of us than just the two should be there. I imagine they will be in the big hall which will be great - no issues with space there!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Testing Kit Arrived

Amazon - you can find all sorts of stuff on there :-)  Not all of it as competitive as you may think but on this occasion it seemed abut right.  I've "invested" in a Urine test kit plus some bottles.

The urine strips actually do a lot more than I need for my use and so I'm learning about some of the other markers available in the test strips.  They all look useful but I'm really interested in the pH test.  This follows on from a blog entry by Steve in the US HERE, HERE HERE.  Steve also kindly dropped me a note with some more information on it.

I'm thinking about leaving the testing until after the operation and until I've got over that but there might be merit in doing a before and after?  I'll think about that over the weekend.  There are 10 tests on each strip and I suppose it would be useful to setup a spreadsheet and record the results.  I'd also need to record intake too I guess so this will need a bit of thought.   Nothing ventured nothing gained as they say but it may be a useful addition to the armoury.  Some of the issues with this are the lack of protein but then the chap was facing radical surgery not a small recurrence.  

I'm certainly going to do some of the basics anyway - FOCC and then Bicarbonate of Soda - perhaps twice a day with my water intake - it is easy enough to add a half a teaspoon twice a day and to do the FOCC once a day.  I can give myself a good chance to get things moving in the right direction at least.  I'm probably at the top of my water intake at the moment - I was told to drink copious quantities of water to irrigate the bladder - which I am doing and with the slow/low carbohydrate diet you also need to keep drinking too.

Being on the 4HB diet (with slight mods) I think is still OK to do as I'm keeping away from sugars and starches and too many (bad) carbs.  

I have to admit to being a bit nervy at the moment - slightly heightened stress or nervousness.   It should pass I hope - perhaps I'm just getting over the shock or not looking forward (who does) to going into Hospital again.   I think though I'll sort this out in the next day or so, I just need to reset my head and get back into the zone.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Confused - you won't be after this week's episode of

Soap - blimey do you remember that :-)  Funny stuff...

Anyway, an update on calling the Hospital.  I had to have three stabs at it eventually but spoke to the Urology office and explained the situation - they were perplexed.  Phoned the New Referrals office where the letter came from - they couldn't find anything other than my Pre-Assessment and Operation.  Urology confirmed this too and once again when I called back to let them know that New Referrals didn't see my notes either.

So I just covered my arse as I don't want to be noted as a no Show when I would actually be in the same building albeit about half a mile the other side when they were expecting me there!  So it's just a pre-assessment as it normally is so that's good then.  At least I don't need to do the 6 hour fasting and then try and give a urine sample afterwards!!!  It just doesn't work and I'm not sure that it was the right scan as normally I'd have to have a full bladder rather than an empty one requiring a drink at least 30 minutes in advance.  

Anyway - that's all sorted out and it is just a pre-assessment so I'm happier now and some, but not all of the heightened tension is out of my body but not all, I can feel the tightness but now this is sorted it will probably retreat.

At least they looked through my notes and saw that a scan wasn't needed and certainly not for a small recurrence.  

Sort of even keel again

Well, I'm no longer angry which is good.  A good night's sleep sorted that out.   I'll call the Hospital later, get on to my Consultant's Secretary and explain the situation and no doubt she can resolve it for me.

More later.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Now it's anger

All the usual symptoms (Kubler Ross) going on here.  Nothing to see, move along please :-)

But really, tonight I was in a rage, a rage about the stupid letter but that had made everything real and sort of rammed it all home.  Then I was annoyed about the incompetency of the whole thing.  Miraculously the pre-assessment and the operation fall on days when I'm not doing anything so that's pretty good I suppose.  I can manage things - the pre-assessment falls between two meetings.

I'm off to bed now - going to try and get some sleep - hopefully the car will be back tomorrow!  I stayed in all day waiting and wouldn't you guess it, the only time I stepped out of the house (to go to the garage and fill up on some onions) the phone went.   Grrrrrr.  Anyway, hopefully tomorrow I'll get the damn thing back.

It's amazing how angry I am and at the same time how close I am to just wanting to go hide in a corner and feel sorry for myself too....  

Ohh stressy - depressy and messy

I suppose the letters make it all real and because they are so utterly stupid and badly coordinated it's set me on edge.  I certainly don't want to talk to the people today as I think I'd probably yell at them down the phone and ask them what were they thinking about to make both appointments clash.

Of course I could play arseholes and just not turn up for one of them :-) that's the anger talking there but of course I'm all wound up now and fuelled with adrenaline or whatever it might be that makes me feel this way.  It's a mixture of anger and fear all at the same time....  I feel degy one minute and depressed a few minutes later and just want to go roll up in a ball somewhere.

Oh well at least it will be within the month and interestingly gives me sufficient time to recover for my Sunday lunch a few weeks later.

I'll be alright a bit later today but I'm always like this.  I don't want to see anyone in case I bite their heads off - by the time everyone gets in from work I'll be in a quiet mode (I hope).     

Thought I'd add a bit more - late on this afternoon as I feel quite bad - all of a sudden it feels as if someone has punched me in the stomach, I feel quite low and it is only to be expected really - you can't feel up all the time when you've got a bladder diagnosis.  I'm still trying to work out exactly what they are trying to do with the appointments - but that WILL wait until tomorrow - I think I'll go direct to my Consultant's Secretary and get her to sort it out - she has always been very good on this sort of thing.  I ought to ask her what the scan is all about as they did a scope and so know what's going on.

Anyway - imagine you've just been punched in the stomach and you're slightly winded and also have that slight breathlessness and that metallic taste in your mouth where your fight or fright senses are kicking in.  I'll just have to ride this out for the rest of the day.  Which reminds me - where's my car - I was expecting it back this morning so I could go out shopping!  Probably a good thing actually I wouldn't want to drive in my present frame of mind.  

I actually know what is going to happen, how I'm going to feel and all that and yet somehow, that counts for nought at the moment, emotion has trumped reason for a short while but I'm allowed to feel angry, p1ssed off and so on.  After all it's me with the tumour :-)

Surely Some Confusion?

I have letters from the Hospital that all seem to be OK until you read them closely.

Pre-assessment on the 8th May at 14:00 and Operation on 13th report at 07:45 so nice a morning operation which will be good.  But hold on, they want an Ultrasound Scan (the first time ever before an operation anyway).  And when do they want that - 14:00 on the 8th May.....

Now I'm good but I can't be at Surgical Assessment and X-Ray at the same time.  A phone call will be made after I've triple read the letters.  It is highly unusual to want an Ultrasound beforehand but I suppose they know what they are doing.  It also screws the day up as you have to fast for 6 hours and are then - I suppose - meant to have the scan followed by the Pre-Assessment.  It suggests two appointments on the same day but it's obvious that no one has coordinated it properly so that they are at different times - I'd be surprised if they can get the timings right anyway - if one followed the other they'd be in danger of missing slots.

Oh well - let's give them a call and see what they really want to do.  I think I'll speak to the pre-assessment team first as they can make a call on whether the scan is needed.  They've also got the funny bit in there about requiring a urine sample - which is a bit difficult if you haven't eaten or drunk for 6 hours....  Surely some mistake?

Some more information

It is interesting the more you investigate your food and the way stuff is reported.  If you've read the other information that I put up on Bacon this ought to add some more and also put a little doubt in your mind in two ways:

  1. Does the report from Harvard contain "shody" research and were conclusions jumped to?
  2. Reading the other areas in this article - seemed to underline the research although the article seemed to imply what I stated in 1 above.
Like so many things you read it's all about how the science was conducted.  In many ways we still don't know an awful lot and with so much contradictory information out there you have to be careful what you pick up and use. 

I'm still convinced though that there is something to the reports even if it is statistical - and it was a high number of people polled.  It also "makes sense" that something that is smoked and contains "known carcinogens" is *likely* to not help an existing sufferer.  So in my book, it's out and might only be eaten rarely rather than everyday.  

Starting Point

So there's no Bacon or Ham or any other processed meat as of today in my diet - except for the odd bit that may slip in here or there.  There's none in the house so that's the main thing and today was scrambled egg using Ghee, Spinach and a small amount of Chick Peas.  I have steak, chicken and liver lined up for the next few days.  I'm also going to introduce small quantities of hard cheese into the diet as this shouldn't spike my insulin but should add some fat and protein.  I'm still not touching white stuff - milk, pasta, flour, potatoes, rice and the like.

After I get my car back today I'll go up to the shops and hunt out some cottage cheese and start to being that back into my diet regularly.  Not sure if I am going to do this daily at the moment but it is a possibility if I can make it appetising.  I used to make up a batch with probiotic yoghurt and then pour it over breakfast cereal, muesli or just make my own nut and dried fruit concoction.  Of course with my diet everything except the nuts can go :-)  So I'm thinking I might make the FOCC up and use it like a mayonnaise dressing and perhaps make up an Egg Mayonnaise with it - using the FOCC as the mayo.  That would probably work and would make it easy to build with boiled eggs, perhaps some salad and the FOCC mixture.

I've been advised to drink lots of fluids which I do normally anyway.  

Let's see how this goes then and hopefully the removal of carcinogens from my diet will bring things back to where they should be.   

Interesting Infographic

Getting there - gradually

I took over the Lodge accounts some years ago and last year managed to finally settle 3 years worth of accounts after having one hell of a job in unravelling what had gone on.  With losses in the first year of close to £2,000 it wasn't sustainable but finally this year I've got a surplus of getting close to £1,000.  That's a hell of an improvement.  The problem now comes in recovering the losses of the last 3 or 4 years and keeping the finances healthy.

It's been a rough old time too as you tend to suffer the problems everyone else does in times of recession.  Subscriptions become difficult to collect, increases in costs force you to make demands on the members and so on.  Anyway, at least it is all under control, the balance sheet balances and I just need the auditors to check my work and away we can go.

Isn't it strange how music affects your mood?  I just heard John Barry's Midnight Cowboy played and it transported me back to the 70s and a happy and sad place all at the same time.  Happy as I remember hearing it on a holiday we had, sad, because I remember the ending to that film and also it was one of those hot summer holidays with the four of us together so fond nostalgic memories.  Of course there's also the Nilsson song on that soundtrack too which I remember very well.  I have the soundtrack loaded up and will listen to it tomorrow through my Sonos system - I like the way I just searched for Midnight and up it came along with other similarly named tracks.  

Started to get the first jitters at what will be happening to me in the next few weeks.  Difficult to plan anything but I've gone ahead with some engagements with a proviso that things may change suddenly.  

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Ouch - more expense

The damn car's just needed all its up and downstream sensors replaced which has cost me another small fortune.  Of course they needed to be done - the damage to the catalytic converter would have been a consequence otherwise.  

Could have done without that - and I've still not heard about the job which comes with a car (if wanted).  It's crazy that no one has got back to me after all this time.  There you go though, it just  adds to the fun of my current life.  If they'd taken me on last year it might have been an interesting time right now with all that is going on with my return to hospital.  I have no idea if it will have a bearing on my prospects - I would hope not.

I have to keep in mind though that I may need to do something flexible in terms of turning a buck if this comes back and I have treatment again.  I guess I need to make up my mind pretty quickly what I want to do.  It seems to me that I should decide by the end of May what needs to be done - I may have the results and understand the lay of the land by then.  

No More Bacon

That's the end of my supply and so I'll just substitute that for some other form of protein.  I can have eggs of course and perhaps I'll work on some way of fitting some Flax Seed Oil and Cottage Cheese in with that?  At least I'll make a start on this as soon as we've been shopping and I've got my ingredients to go.

I managed to successfully work my way around the food last night all except the crab cakes which were bonded to their breadcrumb outer coat!  Other than that it was easy enough to stay on diet.  I find it pretty easy now to think about what I can and can't have and just manoeuvre my way around it. 

I was reading a few more details about Nitrosamines which are a known Bladder carcinogen.  The PDF is available here.  You can right click on the PDF to save it or hover over until you see the disc (save) icon.  The trouble is that they haven't done the sort of study you'd expect and it is a bit open in terms of its findings - however, I think there is enough in this to make it prudent for me to skip Bacon and perhaps be careful about skinless chicken.  I think I will also be very careful about what I term as typical british barbecue food - - burnt :-) 

Just an interesting article anyway even though a bit difficult to follow for the layman.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Nice afternoon out

At a meeting over in Twickenham - Flocky Bicep drove me there and back - I just had to get to a pub near him and it was certainly an enjoyable day but so hot inside - their air conditioning is always a bit dodgy and so it proved again today.

I'm just waiting up for A to get in from work she is on a late event and they pay for a taxi home but she doesn't have her keys with her so I'm staying up to let her in.

I had a funny old turn on the bus going to the pub to meet Flocky.  I suddenly saw my dad at the end, lying in his bed, eyes open.  It fairly shook me - and I felt quite upset for a moment as the vision - clear as you like - came upon me.  I have no idea what brought it on or whether I'd been thinking about my dilemma.  Then there was a moment when I thought that I wouldn't want to do that to my family - a strange thought - because you really don't mind when someone is ill and for a long time.  You just get on with it.  You can understand feeling like that and that was something along the line of my thoughts.  Things like I didn't want to go like that or I wouldn't want to die alone or something like that.  

It passed as quickly as it arrived but it did take me aback - I don't tend to get moments like that, that often.

What is in my diet?

I'm following the Tim Ferriss diet, the 4 hour body (4HB).  It is a modified Atkins type diet, high in protein, low in carbohydrate.  Where it differs from Atkins is in the lack of milk or milk products, the cheat day (1 day in 7 you can eat what you like) and it brings in legumes to give calorific load and a sort of slow release (low glycemic) carbohydrates.  The main idea is to provide you with a low insulin, low glycemic index diet that helps you lose weight.

So far so good.  Protein builds your body, repairs it, helps maintain muscle and loads of good stuff.  Carbohydrates in quantity are bad they trick your body into wanting more of them than is good for you or that you could possibly use and so store it away for future use.  Of course you do use some of it.  There's no fruit and all white things - flour, potatoes, rice, pasta and bread are strictly off limits for 6 days out of 7.

So this diet shouldn't be bad for me, in fact being higher in protein it should be good and help me repair my body what could I possibly have done to brought on a recurrence?  Given that at the end of August last year I was clear and had a CT scan as well and had almost 5 years of no recurrences.

So I listed some of them:

  1. I have reduced my Flax Seed Oil and Cottage Cheese intake - in fact I haven't had any for 4 weeks.  I brought it down from daily to twice weekly then it tailed off for reasons I'll discuss later.  I've been on low levels for 6 months or more
  2. I eat a lot of the same things over and over.  Eggs, Bacon, Mushrooms, Spinach, Chicken, Liver, Kidney, Steak, Sausages etc
  3. I exercise a lot less at the moment so a little more sedentary than I was
  4. I'm two and a half Stone lighter than I was in September
  5. I haven't taken up smoking
  6. My blood pressure is lower than it was 6 months ago
  7. I'm in a better place mentally than I was 6 months ago
  8. I'm no longer taking antacid tablets every other day for indigestion etc
  9. I'm still on my basic blood pressure and statin meds
Well, there's not a lot to go on here excepting areas 1 and 2.  I had been eating a lot of Flax Seed Oil and Cottage Cheese before my diet but last year was aware of the dangers of adding milk or these probiotic drinks to the mixture (to thin it down a bit as it is a bit thick).  Once I took away those parts it made it difficult to fit it into my diet.   I'd used it as a mixture for my breakfast cereal (museli) now not in my diet and then with dried fruit and nuts (the fruit not in my diet) and so got out of the habit.  I now intend to get back into the habit of having this again.

But the one that stood out from the rest was Bacon.  The reason?  I have 3 or 4 rashers every day with eggs to start my day off.  It's a staple of the 4HB but I remember questioning it at the time but hey, the pounds dropped off and it worked but there is something wrong with bacon and with other cured meats for that matter and somewhere in the back of my mind, last week, I thought about two things.  First, that there was an issue with bacon and a direct link to Bladder Cancer and secondly that it was the quantity and frequency that may be having an effect.  

So today I'm doing a little research about bacon.  I'm going to drop it off of my diet in the next day or so and then re-introduce the flax seed oil and cottage cheese.  I'm not certain what I am going to replace the bacon with at the moment.  I will also drop all processed meats for the time being including sausages and stick to chicken, steak, tuna and like.  There's no hard and fast stuff here yet but the circumstantial evidence is there. 

The evidence is a it sketchy but here are some links I've found so far:

Link One - Blog
Link Two - BBC News
Link Three - The Telegraph
Link Four - The Harvard Crimson
Link Five - The Independent

It appears that the Nitrosamines are the fellas to blame and I guess, as I've already had Bladder Cancer I'm just so much more susceptible to it.  I'm thinking that it may perhaps be OK to eat a few rashers of bacon once a fortnight but that sticking the stuff down you neck as often as I do can't be good for you.  

So that's where I am in my thinking.  I've made loads of changes to my lifestyle and a recurrence wasn't exactly what I was expecting or hoping for but that's the hand I've been dealt so I've just got to get on with it.  Right at the beginning of the journey I said that I had to take responsibility for the non surgical elements of my treatment and I've done that trying to change diet and lifestyle accordingly.  It would be ironic indeed if changing my diet brought this on :-)

However, I can at least remove bacon and all other meat that may have been cured or preserved in such a way and take away one potential contaminant.  I can also reintroduce my Flax Seed Oil and Cottage Cheese regimen - although quite how I'm not sure yet - to boost my system a bit more and give me a good chance of recovery and hopefully no more recurrences....  That's the plan anyway.

Diet and Holiday

I had a real concern that I would stack on the pounds on a holiday to Italy but in general terms I tried to be pretty sensible but still have a good time.  So to find that I'd put on about 3 pounds over the week was pretty gratifying especially as I've had around 8 cheat days in a row.

Luckily the Hotel had cheese and scrambled eggs as well as ham available, the remaining things other than water and coffee were cereal or flour based or contained sugar of some sort.  Now a good plate of Scrambled eggs, ham and cheese will do you a world of good in terms of staving off hunger.  I could manage to exist on these all day long so on the odd occasion that we stopped for lunch I'd just have something like a beer and maybe bruschetta or a salad.  I'd leave eating until the evening and then generally have red wine and mixed meats and cheeses followed by some sort of seafood a salad and aubergines or something like that.  On the odd occasion I'd have the bread provided (with mussels to assist with the gravy) and I did have a couple of desserts and gelatos.  We did a lot of walking but even so I have to say I'm pleased with my visit to the scales this morning.

I don't eat ham, unless I make it myself as I find it salty and "wet" generally and I was loathe to eat it on holiday as indeed it was salty and wet :-)  but this got me to thinking, as you do, about food and processed food in general.  A lot of the food I had for a starter was meat cured in some way and then that got my head into a real tingle.  What had I done to myself in the past 6 months that could have brought on a recurrence?  Did the food I now eat do something to me?  See the next post.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

With Views Like This

You just know that it says Italy, the Mediterranean and beautiful turquoise waters, blue skies, warm sun and great food.

I have to say that I thought last year's holiday where we travelled to the major cities of Italy by train was special but this was in many ways better as we had plenty of time to take things easy and with views like this wherever you go, the backdrop of the Bay of Naples continually with us and sights like Vesuvius, the Amalfi Coast, Ravello, Sorrento itself and Herculaneum and then the Island of Capri to cap it all with its views and stunning colour of the sea around its coast and the steep ascent we made to Anacapri up what appeared to be a never ending staircase up the side of a mountain and you can see we were enchanted by the area.

This balcony is part of a Sorrento Hotel and you can dine here.  It overlooks the Sorrento and the Bay of Naples and Wisteria grows and blossoms over the loggia.  It's all picture postcard stuff like this.

Here a Cruise ship lies in anchor just outside the Harbour - they were only here for half a day - hardly enough time to see the town.  The backdrop of Vesuvius  dominates the Bay.  To get an idea of how big the mountain was before the eruption draw imaginary lines from the low sides upwards and you can see how high it was before.  You feel that you could just reach out and touch it.

The sea is blue and you can see into its clear waters to see fish swimming throughout.  We went to the smaller or the harbours, called the grand harbour (this is Italy - it makes sense to them) and there had fried sardines (almost larger Whitebait) that had been landed a few minutes earlier.  We saw the fishermen bring in whatever they'd caught in their nets and hand it over to the various restaurateurs.  The food everywhere was stunning and plentiful but overall it was expensive eating out lunchtime and evening - although after I'd shown Mrs. F. the Scrambled Egg, Ham and Cheese breakfast trick (loading up with protein) we found we could last with that breakfast and not need to eat - other than perhaps a Bruschetta with a beer until the evening.

Our Hotel was great, the restaurants were great and the views were stunning.  Interesting point is though that I'd probably not go back there again although I have no reason not to. 

Well That WAS A Nice Week

Well - after all the performances we finally got to the airport on time and have duly had a fabulous week in and around Sorrento in Italy.  I'll post some more details when I get the time this week - it's been a hectic week in some ways and relaxing in others.  We spent a great deal of time actually doing nothing this week which is very unlike us.

Mrs. F. actually found out that she doesn't mind some shellfish where before she'd shied away from it.  This is great news and I enjoy preparing and cooking various shellfish.  

I've just had myself a good time and tried to not think too much about the recurrence.  Of course though, I've given some thought to what might have sparked this recurrence and I'll share some of that a little later this week after I've done a little research.  I made a major change to my diet in January and it suddenly occurred to me that one thing that is now a daily staple of my diet may just be the culprit.  I intend to dump this from my diet as soon as I have finished off the present batch.

I've also had a bit of advice that I'll follow and share as well.  More later

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Ohh Packing - Keep Out Of The Way!

Nothin worse I find than Mrs. F. Packing and at 8 in the morning saying that "I'll never be ready! Why did we say we were going to your friend's birthday party?"  and so on.  There's no pleasing her she will go off and do the martyr bit and try and do everything at once.  As usual I am all but ready I just need a few things from the laundry and that's me done.  I've done all the reading, got all the documents ready and to be fair (why is everyone saying that and "to be honest" at the moment?) we were going to my friend's 50th way before we booked the holiday it isn't as if I just sprung it on her :-)

I just want to be there and enjoying the place and relaxing a bit too.  I would like to spend some time just doing next to nothing but we will see if Mrs. F. has anything else planned she did say she was going to relax - it would be a first for sure.  I just need to eat sensibly.

I'm in a strange place today for sure - I know that I've got the cancer back again but I'm not like I was when I was first diagnosed - in fact just before I was diagnosed - I was really in bits.  Now - well I'm more pragmatic about it.  Sure it is a set back and sure I really don't need it but I am lucky in that it is very early on in the process and that it has been caught relatively quickly.   I am also thankful that at present it is in my bladder and let's hope that is where it stays.  

I have to say that I'm really positive about things as I know that they can sort this out but what I don't like is the possibility that I may be getting closer to the point where I may lose the bladder altogether.  That is someway off I believe but we will have to see.  My friend had a number of recurrences and a number of BCG rounds before having to have his bladder removed last year.

Anyway - positive thoughts and working on ways to live with this diagnosis are now high on my list.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Reflections on another recurrence

In some ways it is a bit disappointing to make such progress and then get a recurrence.  It shows the sort of problems bladder cancer throws up.  In many ways it should act as a reminder about how serious this stuff is.  I know I tend to speak lightly of it but that's because I'm pretty positive about tackling the damn thing and I also know that it is controllable and that I should have a pretty good chance of getting over this and whether with treatment or not be able to overcome it.

It's so annoying because I've been doing everything I can not to get a recurrence but I have to say that last year I did neglect my diet towards the end of the year and only really started on it again in mid January.  It just means that I need to double my efforts and keep all sweet things and as many carbs as possible out of my system and make sure I settle in to it and not fall back into old ways.  I also feel better today than I've felt for years and so also find it a little confusing that now, when I'm in much better shape than I have been that I've got a small recurrence.  This time it wasn't a red spot (which turned out to be nothing) he drew a small cauliflower looking thing on the diagram.  I now know that I've got to have a rigid cystoscopy for that and then see what will happen from there.  

I think this is the 3rd recurrence but in reality it is the first since I cleared the BCG treatments.  

I'm going to just cut loose and enjoy my holiday and then figure out what to do after that.  The timing is pants of course especially if I was to get that job I've been involved in for 6 months - typical it would come to a head just as I've got this diagnosis.

Go With Your Gut Feel (Sometimes)

Well those little flecks I thought I saw were indeed from a very small tumour about 1/3rd the way up on my bladder wall - not where they have been before (not sure if that's what he meant).  After waiting for an hour and my MP3 running out of battery :-( I had some sort of suspicion that it wasn't going to be good news.

As far as it goes - there will be an operation (rigid cystoscopy) in 4 to 6 weeks time and then I suppose they'll biopsy it and see what to do next.  

I'm feeling pretty neutral about it.  Disappointed that after 5 years or so I've got a recurrence but pleased that it is small, operable and that I'll get it sorted in relatively quick time.  They told me to drink lots of liquid which of course I do anyway on my diet.

Will just have to regroup after our holiday and reset my expectations.  Other people are always more devastated than me at my news :-) 

Off for a bit of a rest - more later.

Eggs and Diet

Not a newspaper I normally read but the Daily Mail has an interesting article on eggs here.  A large part of my diet is made up of eggs and it seems amazing that they've been so demonised   in the past.  It seems utterly bizarre to me that the advice we get to eat grains and the like is right.  Vegetables and meat and eggs - yes I get those but fruit - although lovely - does spike your body to produce insulin.  This article mentions milk is OK but I can't see that as it also produces an insulin reaction in the body.  I imagine it wasn't generally available to man until after he started farming although, who knows, maybe they kept a few around?

So far I'm feeling pretty good on this diet and getting ever closer to dipping under 16 stone - it's the thickness of the needle at the moment :-) but I can see progress which is also great.  Next week will be a challenge in Italy but I reckon if I stay off the Pasta and the Bread I could get through without too much damage.  I know what I can eat and although I may end up with the odd beer here and there I can stick pretty much to the low carb diet.

A Little Too Keen

Have to laugh - I was just getting ready to go when I realised that it is only 08:30 not 09:40!!!!  Nervous - not me :-)  mind you I think that anyone who would consider rushing out so you can have done what I'm going to have done may be looked at suspiciously.

So far no more signs of anything wrong with me but at least we will find out today.  It seems strange that 6 months ago I was clear in all areas but let's see what happens - I can't second judge this and the tests and scope will determine it.

Other than that - I've just found an hour to kill :-) maybe by then the weather will have settled down and this drizzle will have gone - it looks as if the sun wants to burn a hole in it so fingers crossed on that one.

Here we go again

The final lap before getting into the Hospital and having my scope.  I'm pretty much prepared for it these days, it's not a major problem for me to go on my own now - I'm sort of OK with preparation for that and as long as I make sure I'm hydrated properly and that I take my ibuprofen and paracetamol just before I have the procedure it means that any pain can be controlled.  They are using a new local anesthetic these days which seemed to make a real difference last time.  It certainly stopped the stinging I've encountered a couple of times.

I haven't seen any problems since last Sunday and so I'll just have to see what the answer is tomorrow.  I guess if it is bad news I'll have to live with that and go around the roller coaster again.  It's a bit too early to say of course - tomorrow we will know I'm sure.

I've got some water and my stress balls to take and my MP3 player will be charged up with some tunes so I'll be fine with that.  I intend to do next to nothing when I get back other than a few calls and update the blog I suppose.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

No Signs

I don't know what is going on and tomorrow we should find out for sure with the results of my urine test and the scope.  I haven't seen any signs of haematuria (blood in my urine) since I thought I saw a fleck or two last week.  I'm being vigilant but the test tomorrow will sort this out.

Last thing I need at the moment would be a recurrence but I'm surprised as I actually feel very well and the gloom and depression has lifted away and I feel fine not at all like I was when I had Bladder Cancer the first time.  Anyway, I can't second guess the scope and so we will have to find out tomorrow. 

Interesting Graphic Fructose Overload

I know that the Mercola site can be a bit daunting in terms of all the information in there and recently I've only gone for the weekly digest as there was so much information coming out.  This information though I felt was worth putting up on the site as it should be frightening to us all.  Whilst it is US based information I imagine that the same holds true over here although Agave and Jell-O aren't familiar to us.

You can read the whole article here.  

fructose overload infographic
Discover the fructose content of common foods, beverages, sauces, and even sugar substitutes in our infographic "Fructose Overload." Use the embed code to share it on your website.
Discover the fructose content of common foods, beverages, sauces, and even sugar substitutes in our infographic "Fructose Overload."

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What's Going On?

At last - hopefully - I will get an answer on this job I've been lined up for.  We are now in month 6 (or is it 7) in the process and they have a meeting late this afternoon.  Let's hope that they arrive at a decision one way or the other and let me know.

Curiously I haven't seen anything abnormal in my urine since reporting it on Sunday, nothing and yet at the back of my mind I did think I saw something and saw it on a few occassions.  It could be nothing or it could be a recurrence.  At the moment I'm just being vigilant but it has been three days and no signs at all.  Could it have been something else - perhaps there's some explanation but of course I'll find out on Friday if there is anything.  I'd sort of be surprised if it were - I had a clean scan and had no recurrence for 5 years or so.  Oh well - let's see I can't second guess these things.

Feeling a little jaded today after my friend's funeral yesterday it wasn't as somber an affair as I thought it might be and so that was good and we had some interesting anecdotes to tell because strangely my friends knew him but through his association with Rugby and I knew him from his Freemasonry and work at the old people's home where the Easter Egg hunt is held each year - he arranged the Spring Fair for many years.

I'm planning our activities in Italy and hope that we can go to Herculaneum and Pompeii and if the weather is good to go to Mount Vesuvius too.  Having printed off all the details and downloaded a few apps it all looks to be readily accessible and nice and easy from our base in Sorrento.

A drunk man's words are a sober man's thoughts

And so I offer you my late night thoughts.....  Having attended a friend's funeral today and having been eating and drinking since then I have perhaps attained that position where what I say might actually reflect what I mean :-)

Having spent a day mourning the loss of a friend who was only 6 years older than I although in family terms much different with married children and grandchildren, I found myself in a strange predicament this evening discussing the ups and downs of having a cancer prognosis.  My friend had a very very very bad prognosis and within weeks died.  That in itself should give you a clue to my issue.  You see, I had a pretty bad prognosis and no one in my immediate family seemed (to me) to be that concerned about it and I, for my part, never ever gave the appearance that it was any worse than I perceived it was. 

Today I want to do everything and anything.  I want to celebrate life and enjoy myself.  Life is, to me, very short indeed.  This Friday, perhaps, I may get some bad news, I know not but life goes on, people argue over trivia, over a seat on a train, over borders drafted by cartographers, over a recipe or some other trivial matter.  People die to protect these ideals and boundaries and for what?


That's right - for nothing.  Why can't we just live together without all these niggles and problems?

I hope I may plumb those questions in the next few weeks - I really do.  So far I haven't found any relinquishing features in humankind to pull us back from the abyss.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Slow Monday

Things got better during the day - I was able to eat a little at lunchtime and a fair amount in the evening.  I am back to normal this morning.  I drank plenty of water yesterday and consequently went to the bathroom frequently but there was nothing to see and no repetition of what I'd thought were flecks in my urine.  I'll keep a watching brief but Friday will be the day when we see if it is just me being paranoid or that I didn't imagine it.  Either way I'll just have to live with it and you know things could be worse.  I'm going to a funeral of someone who was only 6 years older than me later today.  Sobering stuff.  I don't suppose I've ever felt "old" even at 55 it doesn't feel much different to being 40, perhaps I'm not as physically fit though as I used to be.

A friend who can only be 3 or 4 years older than me was telling me that he's just been diagnosed with emphysema that on top of his existing colitis and suddenly you start to be thankful that you've only had Bladder Cancer - which isn't to trivialise it!  Add to that my other friend who has just been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and suddenly it looks like we are all in the firing line.  I'm pretty pleased that all I've really had is the Bladder Cancer.

Things are back to "normal" this morning, a nice hearty breakfast, on my 2nd pint of cold water and a black coffee and at the PC.  I'm doing some more research on my holiday which I am looking forward to.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Monday Blues

The day after cheat day is always a bad one for me.  With yesterday's scare with something in my urine I drank quite a bit of beer and water all day and noticed nothing which is a tiny bit reassuring.  Luckily I have my scope on Friday and so that will determine what (if anything) is going on.  I knew I was a bit cranky during the morning but by the afternoon I was performing for the crowd and I felt OK albeit I didn't mention it to anyone not even Mrs. F.  I think if I had seen any more then I would.

This morning I feel like poo, cheat day really does mess with my system and I suffer reflux overnight and that's not nice.  So it starts to reinforce some of what I've been reading about food and I don't suffer from indigestion or gas or heartburn at all during the week.

I daren't even tell you what going to the lavatory is like the day after a cheat day other than - you seriously get an idea of the rubbish you throw down your throat that you think is good :-) 

I have to say that I feel so bad this morning that I don't even want to force myself to eat breakfast.  Now it's one of the golden rules to eat within one hour of waking but I just feel that if I eat I will probably just feel worse than I do at the moment.  My stomach is churning away and all I'm doing is keeping hydrated with cold water.  

My friend Flocky Bicep has just called to say he is ill and cannot go to a meeting this afternoon and as my car is showing an engine warning light it is doubtful that I can go either as it is a fair distance and I need my car checked over before I drive any distance.

The Piano, despite being booked to be taken away on Saturday didn't happen so that needs to be attended to.  At the moment - my thoughts are on Friday's scope followed by our trip to Italy.

I'm wondering whether to just calm down cheat day somewhat to try and minimise the sick feeling I get overnight and the next morning.  I need to do enough to spike the body's insulin but not so much as to make me feel so horrible the next morning that I don't want to eat at all as I do now.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Oh Dear :-(

I know I can be a bit paranoid but that's the third or fourth fleck of something in my urine in a week.  It isn't noticeable in terms of feeling it but I've just caught these tiny flecks out of the corner of my eye and can see them in the pan - only individually too.

OK it isn't conclusive but it does make me feel as if there may be a recurrence.  So I'm not feeling quite as chirpy as I should be on cheat day.  I'm just going to monitor the situation and see how we go from there.  It is a little concerning but I have my scope on Friday and that will determine if there is anything there or not.

At the moment it is infrequent - perhaps 4 or maybe 5 times in the last week or more.  

Can't even begin to tell you quite how this makes me feel.  Fear is high on the list :-(

At least today we have people over and I can let what's left of my hair down :-)

Worst possible meal choice

Was out with good old Flocky Bicep - thank goodness he was able to take me as my car is showing an engine light :-(  The food was a nightmare as it was completely full of stuff I can't eat.    I just didn't eat it - that simple and just had some more when I got home.  It's cheat day later and so I'll make up for it then.  I certainly find the sorts of meals that you get put in front of you aren't as healthy as you'd like to believe.

It's a friend's funeral on Tuesday as well as lad's night out - not sure if I will want to be in the Church as it will be absolutely rammed full.  I may perhaps arrive for the interment and then wander over to the club where his wake will be.  It's one of those deaths that were quite sudden and yet perhaps not unexpected in some ways.  

We have the family around later tomorrow - the piano didn't get moved and when I fired off a text - they were pretty mortified that they hadn't sorted it out.  The trouble is that this has gone on for about a year now and so it needs to happen fast.  Let's hope they sort it out soon.

This time next week we will be almost ready to fly off to Italy which I am looking forward to now.   There's lots to do in and around Sorrento and I just watched a programme on Herculaneum which was very interesting indeed and Pompeii and Vesuvius are of course nearby.

I'm hoping to relax and chill out a bit later - it's cheat day and I can have a beer too as well as get stuck in to some chocolate cake I see they've made.  The opposite side of me though has started to view any food as suspicious these days and so I'm wary of what may be in the food I eat and I'm also noticing that even though I can cheat - I only do so a bit and don't go mad and eat say 6 or 7 roast potatoes - I may have 2 which is far less than I used to eat.  Perhaps you change your attitude to the food that is likely to mess up your system?

Saturday, April 06, 2013

The wonders of ghee

Well it arrived whilst we were out - very quick delivery and was left with a neighbour which was great.  I did my first cooking with the ghee tonight and yes indeed it tasted very nice but tomorrow will be the breakfast test - they say that scrambled or fried eggs will taste double yummy using ghee.  My Indian friend also told me how to use my leftover cottage cheese and I made a sort of fried paneer with some onions and tomatoes and it really tasted quite pleasant with added spinach.  

I'm still carefully reading articles and books about this low glycemic index way of eating and I am drawn towards the Tim Ferris diet as that appears to be working quite well but I might take some of the Protein Power, Atikins and Insulin Factor recommendations too, especially the potential use of hard cheeses that have next to no lactose in them.  I'm only thinking about for flavouring meals to make them interesting as they have very low GI and are mainly fat, it's the lactose element that needs to be cautious.

I did remarkably well today as there were chips on my plate and I didn't need them not even "just one" as to me that would defeat the object of the exercise.  Cheat day is going to be Sunday as there are cakes and puddings galore for A's birthday party.  Looking forward to that.

Friday, April 05, 2013

So much to do so little time

Had two calls today that took over 2 1/2 hours of my time.  Then heard that a guy I worked with a few years ago had died of a Cerebral Haemorrhage.  Life's a bit cruel and he was thousands of miles from home too.  I can't say that we had a good working relationship but he was pleasant enough company and bright as a button and as sharp as a razor.

That's the second death I've heard about this week and another funeral is next week of someone else I know.  

On a positive note my Ghee has arrived and I'm looking forward to getting used to using it.  My Indian friend told me where to find that at my local supermarket and also suggested I try the Indian Cottage Cheese which is superior in all ways!  So he says :-)

We went out to lunch today but we all smell of smoke as the fire which was raging away was also blowing back down the chimney and so we all smell like a barbeque :-)  I had a superb mixed grill and gave away my chips (fries) to everyone else.  It was all in all a very reasonable meal and I also managed two nice glasses of Rioja - most civilised.

Now I need to sort out my calendar and arrangements as we are away in just over a week and I have calls on my time all over the place.  I need to seriously DIARISE - ohhh that shows off my days working for a US Corporate.  I learnt some incredible hair raising phrases there.   Shudders!

Anyway - the dining room is finished much to my surprise - Mrs. F. managed to sort it all out so we can have the party here on Sunday.  Great

As it is late Friday afternoon I now fancy wandering downstairs and perhaps popping open a bottle of red (not just for me I hasten to add).  

Thursday, April 04, 2013

More on MP3 Music

So having put thousands of tracks on my server and have my Sonos setup I decided that I should experiment with random tracks and so set my Sonos to shuffle.  Now all was well and good if you find Pearl Jam followed by Bach an interesting combo :-)  The problem though was that my music is all recorded at different volumes and I've used a host of different ripping programmes and bought online and so the volumes are all over the place which is a bit distracting.  Luckily a wee open source programme called MP3Gain has come to the rescue - mind you it is doing batches at the moment which is taking a while but hopefully this will be almost the last piece of work I need to do in the library.  All future MP3s will be checked, tagged, associated with album art volume checked and then entered into the system.

This morning my accounts were audited and flew through scrutiny - not too difficult as I had a professional accountant review them in the first place.  I've one more set of accounts to do this year.

It is a bad month already.  Yesterday heard about Jim Tuffin's death.  A friend known affectionately as Yogi died in March and his funeral is next Tuesday and another friend died on Monday - he had been ill for a while but there you go - it was a great shame and his funeral is when I'm away in Italy.  Another friend has been diagnosed with Bowel Cancer and he is undergoing Chemo.  He though isn't in a great frame of mind about it.

It's hard to believe but we've had flurries of snow again today and it's April for goodness sake!   

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Calm - Everyone in Bed

Got back from Jazz, a most interesting evening with a lot of old songs I recognised but didn't know the title to.  I won a bottle of Red Wine which is great and kept to drinking red wine even though they had three guest ales in.  The hardest thing about the diet is beer - I really like beer in all its forms and the real ale they serve is second to none.  They have great names and my friend had a half a pint of Ginger Tosser?  

So the house is quiet and everyone is asleep which is great - I've left a note as I have my audit team over in the morning and as the Dining room looks like North Korea has invaded it I have to use the kitchen table to do the accounts on.  With any luck I can get that done, then sort the car out and then whatever else needs to be attended to.

I've researched the various routes between the airport and our hotel and know the prices and times so we can make a decision based on what we find when we arrive.  There is a direct bus, a bus to the main station and a train ride or a bus to the ferry terminal and a hydrofoil ride across the bay.  Whatever way we travel I'm sure we will be bowled over by the area given the photographs I've seen today.

I also watched a documentary on Herculaneum and I am really looking forward to seeing that, Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius.  We might go to Capri and perhaps take the Amalfi Coast road although I'm not sure about driving in Italy after last years sojourn in Bologna :-)  

Mrs. F. suggested that we ought to take a few days rest which is most unlike her - she's the one with the round arse who never keeps still for a moment so it will be interesting to see if she does actually take a day or two to rest.   It would suit me just to take it easy and have leisurely breakfast, lunch and dinner and just do next to nothing all day :-)


Another Cancer Blogger says goodbye.  I've been following Jim Tuffin's fight for a while and heard today that he died on the 24th March 2013.  There are some useful lessons in his blog (I hope it stays up) which should  humble us all.  Dealing with a terminal prognosis and keeping on going and letting us know about it too.  It's sobering stuff for me.  I suggest that those of us who have lived through this and lived to tell the tale relate to and feel every word of this stuff.

I was contacted by Jim perhaps 10 years ago and only ever knew him electronically in business.   His last entry was on 12th March and comments on the 18th March, he was hoping to live until 18th April, his birthday.   Just 12 days later he passed away.

Another cancer victim but what is interesting is his desire and drive to make sure his family were catered for and if nothing else, reading his blog will give you a sense of the way it messes with your emotions around your loved ones and your own mortality. 

Just One Of THOSE Days

Mrs. F. does this occasionally - she has a week off this week, we have a family party on Sunday coming, she decides to decorate the Dining room......

I don't get asked it just happens and the place if a tip.  I had to assist yesterday and then today I am asked with 30 seconds notice to take the radiator off the wall - in doing so I spring the leak from hell and was lucky to recover the situation but trying to get Mrs. F. to understand that I wanted a screwdriver to shut a valve off - was she just being obstreperous returning with one of my jewellers (watch and spectacle repairs) screwdrivers which of course is as much use as a chocolate wrench.  Of course I sort of shouted at her, she's not unintelligent after all said and done.  Anyway, despite her best efforts to test my patience I managed to sort it out pretty quickly and stop the leak which was threatening to call for a lifeboat.  

This project that I had no knowledge of and have washed my hands of is just crazy but there you go if that's what she wants to do in her week off then so be it.  If there ever was something likely to p1ss me right off then this would be it.  Luckily I'm out tonight to the Jazz night and so I can just let her get on with it.  So far we've also had 5 or is it 6 shorts on the electrics requiring me to repair the fuse and taking out the downstairs lighting, this despite the fact that I asked her to tape the damn thing up.  No tape she said but after the event I found the tape about 3 foot from the switch!  Crazy.

Anyway - tomorrow I have people around for my audit so I just hope that I'm not going to be asked to put the radiator back when they are here.

A chat with my friend and he confirms that he has T2 diabetes and is now on drugs for that and further tests including a scan to make sure all is what it seems.  He's lost another Kilo and his BP is coming down so let's hope things are OK for him.  In some ways it isn't surprising given his lifestyle and he does enjoy his food.

I've been busy sorting out the holiday and the car.  So far I've managed to book us in on-line and the seats they've allocated us are fine - we could have paid a little extra to choose our seats but the selection we have is fine as we have window and adjacent there and back again.  I've been looking at transfers from the airport to the resort and that looks straightforward and may even work out nicely with our arrival time too.  Let's hope so but there are a number of alternatives which allow us to choose various routes involving sea, rail and road so that's OK.