Cancer Eight Years On!!

Cancer Eight Years On!!

Day Out In London With The Kids

The idea was quite simple. I had a journey up to London on the train which meant I was going to be travelling for 4 hours.

Perfect for writing a blog. 

I write a blog on the train, by talking into Otter software programme that turns speech into text. 

I hadn't taken one thing into consideration. 

I have to come up to London, every four weeks for my cancer treatment. And normally, the train is quite quiet. 

What I'd forgotten, was that this is August,  the children are off school, andwith their parents are visiting museums, such as the science museum or Madame Tussauds or whatever holiday attractions.

So the train was full of very noisy, happy, elated, kids. 

Question;  how was I going to type on my phone because talking into Otter software was not going to work. 

So I did as best as I could, just by typing with my finger on the phone

That was yesterday, and finishing it off today.

Three Years Of Treatment And Not Wilting

What I'm writing about very briefly today is my cancer treatment. 

I don't write about it much, because there's nothing to write. It's three years now since I started having immunotherapy treatment, and eight years since the start of my cancer treatment, which started off with the removal of one of my kidneys.

This is important, please take note of the fact that I'm talking about eight years ago. 

Unfortunately for me the type of cancer cells involved were papillaryl cells which were not good for the treatments available. 

However, there was a clinical research, just about to start. For treatments for my type of cancer, and I was offered the opportunity to join that clinical research programme, which I accepted as there were no other options. 

I was not offered a cure. The whole plan was to control any growth or spread of the tumour, which has been incredibly successful.

Of course it's not great to have a cancer, and I have to learn to live with the fact, as do millions of other people. You have a one in two chance of getting a cancer.  Yes, fifty percent!

Every case of cancer is specific and different for every patient, and the treatments and severity vary. 

The IMPORTANT thing to get on board, is that most cancers, as long as you catch them early enough, can be treated with the scientific advances of modern medical technologies. 

I Am Old Enough And Wise Enough To Have An Opinion

As best as I can I have everything under control. 

I have the treatment every four weeks and I have a scan every three months to see what is going on. I had a scan yesterday, and in a couple of weeks time, I will go and see the consultant and chat about the latest scan. 

Apart from that, I can just get on with my life.  If you've been reading my blogs you will know I'm looking forward to getting a motorhome.

This is my philosophy and I am old enough at 73 years of age to have an opinion or two.

Life is for living, every single day. 

In fact, the most important thing you can do as far as I'm concerned, is stay positive. In my nursing days, I found that the people that thought negatively tended not to react to treatment, very well; whereas those that were positive, by and large, had recovered quickly and moved on. Just move on in life. 

Oncology Department Newbies

OK - it is hard for the mind when you first hear that your diagnosis is a cancer.   If you or someone you know is entering the Oncology department for the first time there are inevitably some anxieties and apprehension.

I hope these two  blogs that I wrote three years ago when I was new to it all will  give you some encouragment.

Cancer Screening Not Keeping Track With Cures

Explosion and Shock in my Cancer Treatment

Public Thank You and Moving On

On the whole you will find that everyone is very supportive.  And the oncology nurses and doctors involved are incredible. 

I admit though that I got concerned when the clinical research nurse that had been my support during the earliest days  of my treatment, was moved away from the department to help elsewhere in the hospital during the pandemic.  Anna had got to know me so well and had been the person to deal with all my questions and concerns.

However, what happened. The replacement nurse, Heather was also a gem.  Keep the faith.

I wish there was something I could do to reward them for their incredible help and support. I suppose that this blog is really a thank you.

Well - until I write about cancer again in three years time - I will move on and enjoy my life and have fun with my wife Babs, family and friends.

Quite Pointless And Sad Passing!

Quite Pointless And Sad Passing!

It is not often you will find me deadly serious but I am today.  I am on my soap box.

My career was nursing and there are a couple of things that make me get my megahorn out.

Prevention so much better than trying to cure - vaccinations etc.  (remember Wakefield and all his nonsense about Measles jab)

Early diagnosis - don't live with your worries about a lump, rash or whatever - get it seen early

So why my post about this today?  

Eighteen months ago there was no cure for covid.  

In fact in my personal situation my oncology consultant told me I was highly vulnerable and the really important thing was not to catch it.  All the distancing, staying home and so on.


Here we are 18 months later with an effective vaccine and better chances for anyone that gets this deadly and I mean DEADLY virus - which has not gone away.

Most of the people I know are now double jabbed and it means I have at last been able to get out of my shell.  

Some of the people I know have not been vaccinated - and I am giving them a wide berth.  What are they thinking?  

This blog is for them.

OK - So what happens when these clever scientists are elated with the initial take up of the vaccine - they are delighted of course.

BUT then out of the shadows comes social media nonsense - whatever you like to call them...

So Easy To Have Stopped This Happening

I decided to write this blog because I know the family of Leslie Lawrenson are urging everyone to get the vaccine so that their families don't  experience the same thing.

There are stories like this everywhere now but this one was in the Bournemouth Echo and the quotes are from the family.

anti-vaxxer dies at 58

Leslie was a 58 year old solicitor.   

Yes - please take that in.

Here is  Stepdaughter Carla's 35 thoughts

"He was a really well educated who ended up in the rabbit hole about the vaccine. thinking that if he got the virus he would be ok."
"I go through emotions feeling sad and frustrated.  There's so much out there, it's easy to get wrapped up in conspiracy theories, the anti-vaxxers game is strong."
"He was just convinced natural anitbodies could fight this and said that the vaccine was not fully approved."
"My mum would talk to him about it, everything she would say he would have a counter argument for, she was scared to have it and scared to not have it."
"If you are on the fence, sit down and look at what has happened to my family."
"My 11 year old brother now doesn't have a dad anymore.  Our life is not going to be the same as it was six weeks ago, it's completely different."

Thanks Jennifer Anniston - Well Said

Thankfully there are more and more people talking sensibly.

One of my acting favourites is Jennifer Anniston.  There is she believes a "moral obligation" to do so and "we have to care more about more than just ourselves."
"There's a large group of people that are antivaxers or just don't listen to facts." she tells 'InStyle' magazine.  "It's a real shame."

Well said Jen.

AND thumbs up to, of all people, Arnold Schwarzenegger who recently said on Twitter: "Know your strengths and listen to the experts.

Please STOP And Think And Look At Real Scientific Facts

To complete I want to add my condolences to the Lawrenson family.

I hope, like you Carla, that somebody reading this will just stop and think NOW and take a simple action  before it is too late for their families also.

Sport, Sport AND Sport

Sport, Sport AND Sport

Sport Has Put Me In Catch Up Mode

I am in catch up mode today.   I hadn't a cat in hell's chance of getting anything written that needed some research over this weekend - simply because there was sport, sport and even more sport that was unmissable for me.  I had the TV set on ALL day and have to admit I had my main meal on my lap watching the rugby from South Africa.

My Sporting Credentials

You may get the impression from that paragraph above that I am an ex sportsman.  

Well NO not at all - 

- there were four football pitches at my school and when we went down to them on a Wednesday afternoon,  I was often on the kick around didn't get picked lads using a side field.

- was just as bad.  I had my triumphant moments.  Somehow one day I scored three sixes in a row and established a nickname as a result.  That was Willy Watson ( who was a England cricketer )  However I also suffered a couple of injuries (the ball is hard)  On one occasion I trod on the ball instead of getting my foot behind it and fractured a bone in my foot.   I actually got out of cricket for the rest of that season.

Tennis  - ??? - let's say no more.

- I was quite good at swimming but the problem was that swimming pools were quite out of reach for me to get to.  We had no car.   

- Surprisingly in my sixties I began to play badminton with a group of Babs (my wife) work colleagues.  Until the lockdown it was all going well and I could return a shuttle.

Sport And My Kids

My son was born out in Oman where Babs and I were helping to set up staffing and commissioning a new quite magnificent hospital.

Our accommodation was excellent and we had a swimming pool 50 metres down the street.

My daughter Zoe was able to swim well before she could even toddle.  My son was similar.  They lived in the water,

When we came back to England when Tom was 5 and Zoe was 7 we put them into a swimming club.  We had to - they were both missing Oman in so many ways.  Swimming was the one thing we could offer that would help them find friends with similar interests.

I then came across the issue that so many parents have when their children get to a certain level of competence in a sport.  Getting up at wretchedly early hours to get them to the training.

When Zoe was nine the swimming coach told me that he would like her to attend early morning training - for the real training.   

By this time I was a governor at the school she was a pupil at.  So I went along to the teacher to tell her that Zoe was now going to swimming training five days a week at 5 am.  I just wanted the teacher to let me know if she thought that this was having a detrimental affect on her work.  I was almost hoping she would report an issue and that I personally would be able to reduce the number of mornings that I got up early.

I heard nothing and so I tracked down the teacher to ask her.

Not a bit of it.  Zoe was as sharp as a button and her work was fine.   I had not let out there - so I had to get used to the alarm going off early..

So Tom followed as well.

That is only the start of it - as it doesn't stop there.

The weekends were of course when all of the swimming competition events occur.  The distances to drive were often a long way and could be quite hazardous.  In the winter driving across the hills between Bridport and Dorchester are still in my memory bank of quite terrifying driving.  The fog was always there on the hills - but add to that freezing icy roads and wow - was really pleased to get off of the hills.   Meanwhile the kids with their mates are jabbering away behind with not a care in the world.

What became apparent to me quite early on was that there was only so far my own kids could go with swimming because of their size.  Tom is 5' 7" and Zoe much shorter.   

Tom got married a couple of weeks ago and several of his main friends were swimming with him in those teenage years.   I actually asked a guy called James at the wedding reception how tall he is now - he smiled and said "6' 6""   That made me smile as I remember watching Tom and the starting blocks standing beside James with his height, big hands and feet.  Happy memories though as Tom gave this kids a race.

What is great about individual sports like swimming is that PBs (personal bests) are the important point.  You are really working to improve yourself.  

For about two years Tom was trying to get under 1 minute for hundred metres freestyle.   He was sometimes just a real split second short.  He tried and tried and would be disappointed after a gala if he didn't get that PB.  Then one evening - for whatever reason - he did it.  The curious thing though was that it was two seconds inside the minute.  It was really a fantastic moment.  I can't remember how he did in the race and that doesn't matter - I was just delighted beyond words.  He had got what he wanted to get.   What a useful lesson in life that is.

Zoe was a different swimmer.  Tom was crash crash through the water swimmer.  Us parents used to chatter of course as we waited for action.  Many people said that Tom was like the plastic wind up ducks that whizzed their legs around to propel through the water.  I don't know how Tom got the speed of his arms going so fast.

Zoe - on the other hand was baletic in her swimming.  Particularly in dolphin stroke which can look so ugly and splashy when swam badly.  There was hardly a splash as Zoe slipped in undulating way through the water.  Lovely to watch.

Now for a bit of parenting that I think I got totally wrong but I have to admit I really didn't know how to change things.  

Tom was also into football and the school spoke of his speed down the wings and so on.  So we got involved Tom in a local team.  I was pleased about that as being part of a team teaches you more about life.

I should name this person and the name of the club - but I will simply give you a brief insight as it is a negative story.

The manager/coach seemed to lack any ability to take kids and make the best out of them.  He wanted to be top of the league and had scouts going out and talking to kids and their parents from other clubs if they were good.

I couldn't get my head around the fact that Tom was not played in his best position. he was very fast and running up the wing to cross etc.  He was put to full back (which in those days was staying back) and then dropped from that because he wasn't tall enough to head the ball when an attacking player came in for a high ball.   It all stunk.   

Furthermore the manager had a son who was playing up the wing and could hardly run.  He was never dropped or substituted. 

OK you must get me drift.  I could tell you so much more but I really do feel my blood pressure rising.

The same lads were sitting match after match as substitutes as the elites that had be invited in to this club simply to help climb the league.  

Who cared.  The manager's ego did.

Some of those overlooked sustitute lads left to join other clubs with kid development positivity.

I wanted Tom to do the same and I appealed with him to go elsewhere - and he wouldn't because he is loyal.  He still puts loyalty above most things.  

BUT he never did realise how he could have got better training.  

I just don't think that the FA had enough control of kids training in those days.

What would you have done if that was your child?  I would love to know - so please comment.

Sport - My Passion For It All

So I love watching and learning more about every sport.   I love the parent stories, I love the persistence stories, I love the emotional stories,   I just love sport!

This Olympics has been a joy to watch.  But it is not just the Tokyo games.

On Saturday - there was cycling and high board diving - where Tom Daley (with his knitting) got a bronze medal.   What a fantastic couple of divers the Chinese had that won the gold and silver.

There was also Test Cricket between England and the powerful Indian cricketers.   It was fourth day and the match was on a knife edge.  Those of you that don't know about cricket will not understand my enthusiasm about a game that lasts for five days.   Once you are savvy and know the rules you understand it  AND I promise  you will get why it is one of the most difficult games to be the captain.  Sadly five days was not enough to find out who would have won this cliffhanger as the English weather got in the way.  It rained all day on Sunday - so it was a draw.

Also on Saturday was the third and final test between South Africa and the British Lions Rugby.  I will simply write one word which was on the front my newspaper 'Agony!'

Finally on Saturday was Football which went the way I wanted.  It was FA Community Shield.  This game starts the Football season here in UK.  It is between the winner of last season's premiership league and the FA Cup.   It was between Manchester City and Leicester.  I'm an outsider really as I would not normally be favouring either of these teams.  However Manchester City is one of those clubs who cares very little about bringing players on.  They are rich and buy their way to success.  They this weekend paid £100 million for Grealish - a record spend for one player.  AND they are after Kane the England striker.    So was I delighted when Leicester won the Shield with a i -0 victory.

Walking, Cycling Compromise

Walking, Cycling Compromise

Walking Within My Limits

When I write a blog and it's a personal story including  friends and family, I wonder if sometimes I am  giving the impression to the outside world, that all is not well with my life.

In fact all is balanced and well.

My wife Babs and I have been together since she was 21 which is 45 years ago. 

And we know each other incredibly well. 

For example:

This morning, Babs has gone off for a walk with a friend and it wasn't even suggested that I could join them.   I am pleased to say.

There is a chance that the walk will be between 6 and 9 miles which doesn't fit with my parameters.  They can go as far as they want but I would not be wise to join them.  

Babs knows better than asking me along.

I had a heart attack in 2011 resulting in me having a stent put into a coronary artery. I also have atrial fibrillation so my cardiac function is not the greatest.   

I know from my nursing days that exercise for my heart is essential.  I walk (reluctantly), cycle (enthusiastically) and play badminton (amateurishly) but always bearing in mind that I have GTN spray in my pocket for any chest pain.   [I have never had to use it I am pleased to say]

Babs actually belongs to a walking group.  It is great to go for walks with leaders that know the local area we are walking in.

There is a  group newsletter, which gives information about the walks available.   The first column I look at is the miles;  under four miles, interested,  five miles, just a go go  -and above five forget it.

The walk guide also gives other information.   Difficulties of ascents, descents  and conditions of tracks and how many stiles there are.

And the other column I check Is - 'PUB'

Cycling With Assistance 

So Babs and I enjoy a walk - given the right conditions.  

However I prefer a bike, BUT Babs doesn't. 

Are you surprised by that? 

Babs doesn't like the roads and the traffic. However,  if there is a cycle path or track all is fine. 

The real key is to get a bike that fits your needs.

When we bought our cycles we had a motorhome and  wanted a folding bike.  We have been able to get both bikes in the back of a normal family car.   Which means we can drive somewhere and cycle along tracks.

We wanted bikes which could carry things and we had bags at the rear over the wheels.  So we could shop when motorhoming.  

A back carrier is ideal for carrying water, refreshments, puncture kit, camera, pump and padlock. 

But here was the big point - the absolute YES YES that is for us.

I have cardiac condition and these bikes are electric.  It just made hills manageable.

Now we're talking.

Believe me, they are still exercise.  We do have to put some effort into going up a hill even though it is much easier than before. 

I've even ridden  up hills in St. Ives in Cornwall, which are incredibly steep.

Electric bikes are common now,  but when we got these about six years ago they were very new.

I really enjoyed passing other cyclists going up hills with them wondering how I was shooting up the hill.

I remember using the electric power for the very first time I thought wow, this is strange but nice.
It felt like someone was pushing you.

This is my joy and I love it - exercise but with fun involved; being able to stop, take photos, move on and it's just the sensational way to get around.

I encourage it.

Darn It - That's Not Good

One cautionary tale.  

We were out cycling in Spain, when we had our motorhome.  I stopped to take some pictures.  When I got back onto  my bike the power wouldn't work. For whatever reason - NO POWER. 

I had to get back to our motorhome under my own steam which is quite difficult because the bike with the battery is quite heavy.  

The bike was under warranty but of course I couldn't do anything about the problem until I returned to UK. 

A disappointment. 

Exercising Together For Your Health

Although this blog post has been about the preferences that Babs and I have about exercise the really great point is that we have found ways to compromise when we do want to be exercising together.   

Get out and exercise - it is essential for your health - we both totally are up for that and that's the main message.   

Memory – Remembering Names

Memory – Remembering Names

How good are you at remembering names?  

I have to admit I am rubbish at it BUT there is a reason.  

The great thing is that it is easy to rectify - my mate, the hypnotherapist Adam Eason tells me so.

It is courteous to remember names.
It is good manners and it shows that they are important enough for you to remember who they are.

So why I am so bad at such an important thing?

If I look at the rest of my memory it is good. 

I can remember the details of physics that I learned at school.  I am also learning new material all the time in the web development field.  AND it is on board.

The reason they are there is that I was engaged and wanted to remember them.  

 The classic key ingredient is attention and awareness.  

I am not attentive enough when I meet people.

Simple Process -Be More Attentive When Meeting People 

The main reason why someone forgets another person's name, is  because they weren't paying attention when they were introduced,

They have failed to file information in a memorable enough way to store it in their long term memory bank.

Remedy:  When you meet someone new, repeat their name back to them. If you can do it without feeling embarrassed ask how they spell it. Use the name, again, as soon as you can repeat it once more. especially when you say goodbye to that person.

Outcome: Get good at this and their name will be stored permanently in your memories database. 

Losing Possessions

I actually have overcome this problem by follow this advice I got.

Here comes attention again as the problem.

People lose personal items such as their keys, spectacles or pen, because they weren't paying attention when they put them down.

Cure: Create a special place to create items you've misplaced regularly. Make it a logical place, and visualize it every time you come in to and go out of your home and office. 

Even if you didn't take your keys out with you. check to make sure they are still there.

Another Name Issue

It took me several years getting roung to the Netflix drama "Breaking Bad" but during the last three months I got completely into the series.   

How many episodes are there?   Well over 50.

Last weekend I was telling a friend about the series and he asked who starred in it.


Frankly I hadn't a clue.

That shocked me!!   

I wanted to say Walter White, Jesse Pinkman and Skyler White.  

I have since found out that they were Bryan Cranston,  Aaron Paul and Anna Gunn

Even Though I Am In My Seventies I Can Be More Attentive To The Back Story 

Blogging offers some solutions here.

In this blog challenge I have written about a few celebrities and sportsman.   

I have not done that in the past as my blogs were personal stories..   

However writing about celebrities and sportsmen means I have to learn more about the individuals that are in the story.

Yesterday it was Simone Bisley and her special bronze peformance.   Doing my research for the blog had the interest, attention and awareness to not only know the name in future, but also a memory dump of interesting data.

Audios In Hypnosis For Download

In my Hypnosis For Download online store there are a couple of Memory Improvement and Enhancement audio products recorded by Hypnotherapist Adam Eason.

Memory Enhancement

Memory Improvement System