Saturday, 29 January 2011

Next trip down to Addenbrookes is on Thursday 10th March for another PSA blood test. If that looks good then it could be years before I see the hospital again, if ever! I'll visit my brothers Paul and Andre, and maybe even see my sister Jacqueline. We've started talking a bit more lately and that's been a bonus in all this. People often say 'life's too short' but it only takes on real meaning when you are faced with a possible end to it!

Had a great walk today on the fells, first going up Haystacks and then Fleetwith Pike near Buttermere. Only fell once! God I was knackered at the end but it was so worth it to be up there. On the way up I didn't think I could make it, but I kept thinking of all those poor guys back at Addenbrookes who had been taken over by this disease. I was lucky enough to possibly be cured of it, so I would do it for them, and because I still could. Have a look at the photos on Facebook.

Went to the support group meeting on Wednesday where the main argument revolved around whether we should be called a 'support' or an 'awareness' group. My argument was that people who have the disease will show up at a support group, but who's going to turn up just to be made aware, if they haven't got it? Prostate Cancer is something that just turns up one day if you are unlucky. People rarely go and get the simple blood test, a test that could save their life, because they all believe that 'it will never happen to me'.

I've now missed so much time at Uni that I have almost £500 on my Cumbria Card. That means I have almost £500 to spend in the canteen on lunches before the end of June, and I am only there 3 days a week. (and the food is subsidised!) Anyone know any starving people?

It's all kicked off in Egypt this week! They want to get rid of the corrupt government that has been fleecing the population for the last 30 years. The government in this country are far cleverer than that! They just stay in power permanently, and every 5 years we have a general election where we think we have voted a new government in, when in reality, it's the same lot with different faces! A very clever concept, an amazingly disguised system where the same people rule whilst pretending to be three different parties!

One daughter starting a new job on Monday, one moving to another country, one wanting to remain anonymous and the other two watching crap TV all week, I guess! Well I've been through all those stages many times, haven't we all? As for me next week? It's catch up time ..................

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Well I guess that if you know me on Facebook or you're in my phone book or email, you already know the fantastic, fabulous news that I received at Addenbrookes yesterday..........

They had removed the tumours with a clear margin, so there were no reasons to suspect that I was anything but cured at this stage!
Nemish Shah-The brilliant surgeon, who with his team saved my life.

To say I was ecstatically happy would be the understatement of the year, though this feeling has started to grow only today, because yesterday I was still in shock. Yes, for once since June 18th, I was in shock with good news, but it beats the hell out of being in the other type of shock!

What now? Well I had a blood test yesterday, to check my PSA level. I get the result on Friday by phone. If it is at or around zero, then there is no sign of cancer and the test will be repeated every 3 months for the next 2 years, before dropping off to every 6 months for 5 years, or until my blood runs out!
If it is not zero, then they will wait another 3 months and try it again, because after surgery it is not uncommon for a slightly raised PSA as it is still in the system. If it were still raised then, they might have to go for radiotherapy to mop up those rogue cells on the operation sight. This is all highly unlikely at this stage, so I am not unduly worried.

Beverley's Dad's funeral was on Friday, a beautiful, very sad, dignified event. It's a bit too personal to go into detail here, but she was very brave. Here's a little tribute to Beverley's Mum & Dad........
Jeffrey & Pauline
We travelled south on Saturday, visiting Lincoln Cathedral on the way to Addenbrookes; wow, what a place! Well yes, both actually! I said a little prayer there, feeling a bit of a cheat, because like many of us, we only think we need God when our ship is going down. 

My good friend Andrew, who is a Minister at an RAF base in East Anglia, said prayers with his colleagues for me on Monday morning. Well it worked Andrew! Thank you! Now we are both official members of the 'Prostate Cancer Survivors', and long may we both live! I hope the Official Secrets Act didn't mind me giving that degree of accuracy to your location?

Wow...just had a call from Claire, the Urology Nurse at Addenbrookes, my PSA is less than 0.1
That's the all clear official now, but it's good that I will be monitored for life!

Happy Birthday to my son Kyle today, hope you have great day!

Where does the blog go from here you ask? I'm not sure! Do I end it? It's become part of my life! I could make it monthly, I just don't know. What would you do?

Back to Uni on Thursday with a fresh spring in my step.....did this really all happen to me?
So many people have been so supportive to me since last June and I couldn't begin to name everyone but a massive thank you to you all. I quickly learnt that cancer survival is not just about beating the disease, it's winning the battle in your head also. I could easily have lost that battle, and no matter how small your contribution has been, put together with everyone else, you made the difference that kept me going.

Now where was I............?

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Beverley's Dad died this week; a very sad time for her and her family. Some of the events during these last few days took me back in time to when my own Father died, over 20 years back. It makes you pause for a while and think specifically about 'time', all that it means, how precious it is, and how little of it there is for us as individuals. When I was young it seemed like an endless supply that could be wasted without thought. Hours sitting in front of  TV watching crap, or putting a pinch of sugar outside an ants nest, then laying there for hours watching them carry each grain back into the nest. Then when older, filling out meaningless risk assessments, sitting through hours of health and safety lectures, or sitting in a room full of people, who you didn't want to be with, pinching yourself to keep awake while one person droned on about themselves for hours. You were always too polite to walk out, weren't you? Wouldn't it be great if we could get credits back for all those wasted hours? I would probably be 148 before I died. I am far more selective with time now, and if you are in my company, you sure as hell know it's because I want to be with you.

The best part of this week beyond doubt, has been that Beverley has just found her younger sister after losing contact many years ago. Now as her sister's 'next of kin', her Father no longer holding that position, she was able to trace her in a single day and even talk to her! What a fantastic good to come out of such a sad occasion. Thanks Sasha, for suggesting the method by which she was traced.

My friend Andrew gets his results at Addenbrookes this Monday and I know he is bricking it! I still have to wait until a week on Monday for mine. It wasn't bothering me too much but as each day gets closer, I feel more sick inside every time I think of it. "Stay posotive'' I hear everyone say, and I do so most of the time. But I know that the results are in a file down in Cambridge, and they have been there since before Christmas, and those results will not change. I have to say that I feel good physically though. If I get the 'all clear for now' on the 24th, I will then embark on some serious exercise!

I am now officially, a McMillan Volunteer. I had an interview with Sue earlier this week, and I am going to not only give presentations for the charity to schools and in workplaces, but take part in their active campaigns to make life easier for those who have, or have been affected by cancer. Sue said that she often starts her presentations by asking everyone in the audience to close their eyes. She then asks them to hold up their hand if they either have had cancer, or know of a close relative or friend who has. Then she asks them to open their eyes, and invariably, they awake to a sea of raised hands.

If you are about to get married and thinking of a 'double barralled' name, forget it, it's plain stupidity. It might seem trendy being called 'Anthony & Josephine Fothersgill-Smotherington', but when your son meets the daughter of 'Christopher & Miranda Pleasance-Dogbreath' and they marry with the same crazy intention towards names as you, their little boy, Douglas Fothersgill-Smotherington-Pleasance-Dogbreath will struggle with the name on his football shirt. And his Grandchildren will probably stay indoors. So get real, just keep the name you were born with!

Star of the week, what would I do without her...........

When to post the next Blog? I guess that Tuesday 25th January might be a good day! The day after I talk to my consultant; the day I am sort of looking forward to, but then again ............... 

I've just noticed, we have 29 official followers on the Blog, though I know that hundreds look in regularly from all around the world. Come on, who's going to make it 30?

Saturday, 8 January 2011

6 weeks after surgery now, but still over 2 weeks until I get the histology. I must say I feel great! All my fears about falling over during this icy weather came to a head this week when yes, I was out on a photographic trip with my mate Paul, I stood on a frozen puddle, freshly covered by snow and gravity took over. It felt great to have fallen into a crumpled heap and be able to just get up and laugh it off, being in no pain whatsoever and my bladder holding steady...what a result!

Thanks for the lovely food and company in your new home on Tuesday night Paul & Nikki, always great to see you and so good to have you as friends.

My Mother is not at all well just now and I would like to wish her well, and also thank my brother Paul and sister Jacqueline for looking after her. Not easy times, I know!

Had our Ecology exam at Uni on Thursday, wow it was harder than I expected. The pass mark is 40%, which when I was at school would have got you the cane, but that's progress! I might have scraped it, and having missed 5 weeks of lectures, I'd be delighted with 40%.

When I was at school, Ecology was never, ever mentioned and yet it is, without doubt, the most important subject that needs to be taught. As a guide to life and an explanation of how everything was created, we were given the Bible. At 5 years old you believe everything you are told by adults and especially your parents. My Mother was very religious and until I was at least 12, she had me believing that God was everywhere and that I could do nothing without him seeing me. I didn't know who I feared most, my Dad or God, but at least I could see my Dad and hear him coming, but God was even in the plumbing system, so I had no chance with him! I could never work out how God was connected with Father Christmas and the tooth fairy; did they all live in the same place? I would pray for all sorts of things but nothing happened. I would pray for some very dangerous and outrageous things, like the Queen to be killed by terrorists, but no luck ever! I used to hide under my bed covers and whisper to God, "bet you can't see me now". I never got an answer. I flushed one of my Mum's crucifixes down the toilet, then waited to be struck by lightening; but still nothing! When my younger brother set fire to the local Catholic Church, after stealing all the alter vessels, I though, 'now we are for it'! But nothing happened, no matter how bad we got! I soon came to realise that God had no power over me at all, but thankfully, my Mother was still a true 'God fearing Catholic'. I used that to huge advantage over my brothers. I could do something wrong, then blame one of them. When confronted, I would walk in with my hand on the bible and swear it was not me, and she was compelled to believe me every time, even if I had the 'blood' all over me! The Bible certainly gave me power beyond my wildest expectations. So I spent most of my childhood, oblivious to Ecology, the truth of how things were created and how we all come from the Earth and are returned to it. Ecology is simple and believable. Now you can't say that for the bible, can you? I trusted the church and believed in everything I was told, but the consequences were terrible because most of the information given to me just turned me into a very gullible person. I believed that 'honesty is the best policy', only to realise as an adult that we are ruled by people who are more dishonest than those in prison! I believed in justice, only to find that it rarely exists, except in it's natural form. Now I have read books on Ecology, I understand life and I'm not afraid of death. I won't have to be interrogated on a cloud by someone in an angel suit, before they decide if I have enough points to make heaven or if I will burn in eternal hell fire. I will just return to my basic chemicals and one day, be reborn as bits of all sorts of other things, constantly in harmony with the Universe. Now that feels better!

Happy Birthday to my daughter Chantal this week. Love you No. 1 xxxxxx 

On Tuesday, I went to the AGM of the Northwest Cumbria Prostate Cancer Support Group. Met some lovely people and stayed for a few drinks after. Tim is the Chairman and John the Secretary, fantastic people. One of the members, Dave, showed us some amazing photos of him racing his 750 against Barry Sheen! They elected me 'Treasurer' would you believe, so I am now on the Committee. Can't wait to get stuck in, there's so much to do because tens of thousands of men over 50 are walking around in this country, oblivious to something growing inside them, with no symptoms, that will eventually be discovered too late. THINK HARD! Who do you love who is 50+ and male. ASK THEM THIS WEEK IF THEY HAVE HAD A BLOOD TEST TO CHECK THEIR PSA LEVEL.

Some great photos for you below........................

 Me, just before I walked into nearly 7 hours of surgery. They are called surgical stockings. Not only do they stop blood clots forming, they make you feel sexy too!!!
 After surgery, still drugged up and well out of it!!
Can't even remember these being taken but glad to have it all out of the way. I could show you the one of the 6 surgical wounds, but it's a bit graphic!