Tuesday, 17 November 2015

R.I.P. Jonah 1975-2015

Jonah Lomu 1975-2015

Very sad to hear of the passing of this guy, one of my favourite players from the world of rugby. I had the privilege of watching him live in Edinburgh and accidentally (well planned) walked into the All Black's hotel with Jonah and the team after the game. Sadly, security were as alert as the New Zealand defence and I remember him smiling as we were bundled out.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Discover your personality type....

Ever wondered why you are the way you are? This is a free personalty test developed by Carl Jung and Isabel Briggs Myers.
It takes you through a series of questions, which if you answer honestly, can give an extremely interesting profile of your personality. I turned out to be an ENFP, just one of the sixteen different personality types. I've copied my report below, and not surprisingly, a person who is an ENFP would do that.
If you have an inkling that you may be a bit 'odd' or just 'different' to other people, now's your chance to look at your profile and see who you really are. It's nice to know that we all 'fit in' somewhere, no matter how strange a family you have.

Just click on this link to get started....

This is my report, and if you know me, I think you'll find it fairly accurate....
ENFPs are both "idea"-people and "people"-people, who see everyone and everything as part of a cosmic whole. They want to both help and to be liked and admired by other people, on both an individual and a humanitarian level. This is rarely a problem for the ENFP, as they are outgoing and warm, and genuinely like people. Some ENFPs have a great deal of zany charm, which can ingratiate them to more stodgy types in spite of their unconventionality. 
ENFPs often have strong, if sometimes surprising, values and viewpoints. They tend to try to use their social skills and contacts to persuade others gently (though enthusiastically) of the rightness of these views; this sometimes results in the ENFP neglecting their nearest and dearest while caught up their efforts to change the world.
ENFPs can be the warmest, kindest, and most sympathetic of mates; affectionate, demonstrative, and spontaneous. Many in relationships with an ENFP literally say, "They light up my life." But there is usually a trade-off: the partner must be willing to deal with the practical and financial aspects of the relationship, and the ENFP must be allowed the freedom to follow their latest path, whatever that entails.
For some ENFPs, relationships can be seriously tested by their short attention spans and emotional needs. They are easily intrigued and distracted by new friends and acquaintances, forgetting their older and more familiar emotional ties for long stretches at a time. And the less mature ENFP may need to feel they’re the constant center of attention, to confirm their image of themselves as a wonderful and fascinating person.
In the workplace, ENFPs are pleasant and friendly, and interact in a positive and creative manner with both their co-workers and the public. ENFPs are also a major asset in brainstorming sessions; follow-through on projects can be a problem, however. ENFPs do get distracted, especially if another interesting issue comes along. They also tend towards procrastination, and dislike performing small, uninteresting tasks. ENFPs are most productive when working in a group with a few Js to handle the details and the deadlines.
ENFPs are friendly folks. Most are really enjoyable people. Some of the most soft-hearted people are ENFPs.
ENFPs have what some call a "silly switch." They can be intellectual, serious, all business for a while, but whenever they get the chance, they flip that switch and become CAPTAIN WILDCHILD, the scourge of the swimming pool, ticklers par excellence. Sometimes they may even appear intoxicated when the "switch" is flipped.
One study has shown that ENFPs are significantly overrepresented in psychodrama. Most have a natural propensity for role-playing and acting.
ENFPs like to tell funny stories, especially about their friends. This penchant may be why many are attracted to journalism. I kid one of my ENFP friends that if I want the sixth fleet to know something, I'll just tell him.
ENFPs are global learners. Close enough is satisfactory to the ENFP, which may unnerve more precise thinking types, especially with such things as piano practice ("three quarter notes or four ... what's the difference?") Amazingly, some ENFPs are adept at exacting disciplines such as mathematics.
Friends are what life is about to ENFPs, moreso even than the other NFs. They hold up their end of the relationship, sometimes being victimized by less caring individuals. ENFPs are energized by being around people. Some have real difficulty being alone, especially on a regular basis.
One ENFP colleague, a social worker, had such tremendous interpersonal skills that she put her interviewers at ease during her own job interview. She had the ability to make strangers feel like old friends.
ENFPs sometimes can be blindsided by their secondary Feeling function. Hasty decisions based on deeply felt values may boil over with unpredictable results. More than one ENFP has abruptly quit a job in such a moment.
(ENFP stands for Extravert, iNtuitive, Feeling, Perceiving and represents individual's preferences in four dimensions characterising personality type, according to Jung's and Briggs Myers' theories of personality type.)

Functional Analysis Of The ENFP

Based on Jung’s framework of mental functions - by Joe Butt

Extraverted iNtuition

The physical world, both geos and kosmos, is the ENFP's primary source of information. Rather than sensing things as they are, dominant intuition is sensitive to things as they might be. These extraverted intuitives are most adept with patterns and connections. Their natural inclination is toward relationships, especially among people or living things.
Intuition leans heavily on feeling for meaning and focus. Its best patterns reflect the interesting points of people, giving rise to caricatures of manner, speech and expression.

Introverted Feeling

Auxiliary feeling is nonverbally implied more often than it is openly expressed. When expressed, this logic has an aura of romance and purity that may seem out of place in this flawed, imperfect world. In its own defense, feeling judgement frequently and fleetly gives way to humor. ENFPs who publicize their feelings too often may put off some of the crowd of friends they naturally attract.

Extraverted Thinking

Thinking, the process which runs to impersonal conclusions, holds the extraverted tertiary position. Used on an occasional basis, ENFPs may benefit greatly from this ability. Less mature and lacking the polish of higher order functions, Thinking is not well suited to be used as a prominent function. As with other FP types, the ENFP unwary of Thinking's limitations may find themselves most positively mistaken.

Introverted Sensing

Sensing, the least discernible ENFP function, resides in the inner world where reality is reduced to symbols and icons--ideas representing essences of external realities. Under the influence of the ever-present intuition, the ENFP's sensory perceptions are in danger of being replaced by hypothetical data consistent with pattern and paradigm. When it is protected and nourished, introverted sensing provides information about the fixed. From such firm anchoring ENFPs are best equipped to launch into thousands of plausibilities and curiosities yet to be imagined.
Perhaps the combination of introverted Feeling and childlike introverted Sensing is responsible for the silent pull of ENFPs to the wishes of parents, authority figures and friends. Or perhaps it's the predominance of indecisive intuition in combination with the ambiguity of secondary Fi and tertiary Te that induces these kind souls to capitulate even life-affecting decisions. Whatever the dynamic, ENFPs are strongly influenced by the opinions of their friends.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Some weeks nothing much happens...

You get those weeks, don't you? Sunday comes and you look back to last week and it's fairly blank. Did I live? Did I work all week? Was it same old, same old?

This week I went to so many places and did so many things, my head can't take it all in. I'm absolutely knackered. China Town, India Town, Sikh Temple, Buddhist Shrine, Lebanese and Thai Restaurants, it never seemed to end. 2 days on a Grammar refresher course with Soda from Cambodia, Michael and Jack from the States, Tanita from Australia and Dawn from England. I wished them well as they start their CELTA tomorrow. I start mine early January and hope to qualify as an English Teacher in early February, teaching adults of mixed nationalities. 

Great, no, AMAZING  news from the UK about my late Mother's estate. At last we are going to see some justice from a process that's dragged out for nearly 2 years. 

My PSA result returning another zero, though sad news for others not so lucky. I always think and wish the best for them all, feeling guilty and relieved at the same time.

Paris? What the hell went on there? Organised religion showing it's ugly face again. Our hearts go out to the victims and their families as they try and cope with this.

My guess is that I'll never have a week in Bangkok where 'nothing much happened'. 
It's crazy here in a lovable way, and yes, this week, I'm lucky, I lived. 

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Stockholm PSA trial...

Number of biopsies reduced by 27 per cent without compromising 
patients' safety find Swedish trials of a potentially game-changing 
screening programme for prostate cancer. We examine the results
and explain why we're funding further research into the trial before
getting too excited. 

A new prostate cancer screening programme could significantly 
reduce unnecessary biopsies and better detect potentially dangerous
cancer tumours compared to using the PSA blood test alone, 
according to the results of the STOCKHOLM-3 (S3M) trial published
Currently, the standard UK clinical practice is to refer any man with a Protein Specific Antigen (PSA) level of 3ng/ml or over to a urologist for further investigation.

Better blood tests mean fewer biopsies

But in the Swedish trial of 47,688 men aged between 50 and 69, anyone with a recording of 1ng/ml or more was put through a panel of genetic and protein biomarker blood tests that – when combined – would give a reliable indication of the presence of aggressive prostate cancer. Those that scored highly on these tests, together with those who recorded 3ng/ml or more on the original PSA test, would then be referred to a urologist for a Digital Rectal Examination and prostate volume check – only then having a biopsy if abnormalities were found.
In the end, only 4,947 of the men in the trial were biopsied – 27 per cent fewer than if the procedure had been based solely on a PSA level of 3ng/ml or more, with the instance of negative biopsies down by 38 per cent overall. Together, these results give compelling evidence that the S3M risk assessment model can dramatically reduce the number of men undergoing unnecessary biopsies, without compromising the safety of men who do have an aggressive form of prostate cancer.

Results need to be validated in UK

But while these results are extremely promising, the men studied in Stockholm were from quite a narrow background and further research is needed to prove the tests could work with a more diverse ethnic and socio-economic population like the UK's. There are also questions about whether the NHS could justify the costs and practicalities of administering such a rigorous screening programme.
Prostate Cancer UK has been working with the trial's Swedish research team since December to come up with a plan to address these issues, with a funding scheme for research to validate the trial's findings in the UK to be announced in the next couple of months.
In the mean time, we're funding an international team of scientists to develop a risk assessment tool for use in primary care in the UK as part of our mission for better diagnosis of prostate cancer in our ambitious new research strategy.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

No Ace today...

5 years since surgery and my PSA was checked in Bangkok today. After diagnosis in June 2010, I would have settled for being here 5 years later in this crazy city that we both love.

My odds of a bio-chemical recurrence at this stage are just over 8%. That's like putting 12 cards on a table every 6 months and drawing one. Ace of spades and you go down a different route, but you get 11 fresh cards every time, which I think are decent odds.

Today I picked from the pack for the twelfth time and hey, I missed that card again. PSA ZERO for the twelfth time since surgery.

In the UK it takes 3-5 days to get the result back, so I was impressed when they could do it next day in South Africa. However, in Thailand, I gave blood this afternoon and then enquired how long for the result. I was ready to put it on my phone diary, but the nurse said 1 hour! I had to check my understanding, after all, when I enquired at a supermarket a few months ago when they would be getting new stock in, the guy said 7 years, but he meant 7 days. No mistake, an hour later the lab report was in my hand. Relax until May now, or should I take a chance and leave it a year?