Monday, 31 December 2012

Day Twenty Five - Have a great 2013

The day started off much as yesterday, feeling a little sickly and tired. I've not had a brew for 2 days as I can't face milky drinks at the moment. So water it is for now. Had a little jam on toast for breakfast, which thankfully stayed down, and made myself some pasta and anchovies for dinner. (the fish was a nice strong taste in my mouth, as it's gone all oily again)
Feeling better this evening, I've eaten all of my curry and rice that Joh cooked, which was nice.
I'd had a chill on the sofa this afternoon, watched a few films, and sent my message off to Rapha over the failed challenge.

Well, I say failed, but in reality what I've seen happen over the course of the challenge I set myself is how the Wheelers and Polocini came to the fore and helped me and each other complete as many miles as we could. I've definitely seen new friendships develop over the last week, and of course the Coffee Shop is now firmly on the map for the Wheelers, and I mustn't forget to mention the amount of money raised for the Beechwood Cancer Care Centre in Stockport.

Thanks to everyone who was a part of that.

It'll be an early night for us tonight, so let me take this opportunity to wish you all a happy new year and all the best for 2013. Remember, all you can hope for is your health and a good strong network of family and friends, everything else is just fluff.

Good night 2012 xx

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Day Twenty Four - End of my Rapha challenge

Joh kindly made me a brew first thing this morning as I was lay in bed, I had a few swigs, felt fine, then without warning, had an overwhelming urge to be sick. Luckily, after last nights sickness outside the Christie, we had a bowl on hand for me to hurl into.
Nice start to the day.
I've spent pretty much most of the day either in bed or on the sofa, just feeling sorry for myself and being waited on by my wonderful private nurse Johanna. God how I love her x
Just before having some dinner, and after a little nap, I was sick again. Once that had settled, I tried a little poached egg on toast, and a Christmas bakewell tart, which so far has gone down ok.
I've had all my meds today and still feel pretty rough. The chemo has certainly knocked me for six this time, although I do remember feeling pretty rough after the first one, and slowly improving over the following week. Lets hope this week is the same.

I'm going to do a Rapha challenge special blog tomorrow and post it on their website, as even though I've not competed the challenge, I feel that the story of my battle against the cancer, and the way my club mates at the Wheelers, and the Polocini Test Team have stepped up to help me, is worth letting them know about.

Thanks to all who helped in my cycling marathon over the last week. I completed 216.8 miles from Monday - Friday, which left me short by only 96 miles. Not bad going considering the time of year, weather and my condition.
If you've been touched by this, or anything I've written, then please help me to reach (or maybe exceed) my goal of raising £500 for the Beechwood.

Thanks again xx

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Day Twenty Three - Chemo Infusion Part two

Heart Rate - 53
Temperature - 36
Miles ridden today - 0

Back to the Christie today for the start of the second (of three) courses of Chemo. No rest between courses. Finish one, start another, three in a row.
Bloods at 08:15, and as it's a Saturday, the Christie is understaffed and over worked, nothing new there then. Apparently there was 1 person to do the bloods of 75 people for treatment today. Great planning guys.
Anyway, as usual the nurses are excellent (well, except one, but I'll not comment on her here as it didn't affect me) and settled us down in a chair to start the treatment. A little later I was moved to a bed to continue my long day.
I started off feeling ok, had a little lunch, going regular to the toilet, usual stuff, then the headache started, and the feeling of lethargy set in. Joh was sat with me and was watching me go paler. I didn't feel well at all.
Anyway, it was a long day in bed with the drugs being pumped in.

While I was there, I met a work colleague who for now shall remain nameless at his request. He's got the same cancer as me, but only a T2 with no nodes. He's on his first course of chemo, and is still struggling to eat, just as I was at that time. I told him of my blog and how the chemo had reduced my tumour to the point I could eat normally, and that was good news for him to hear. Fight it mate, you'll be right.

Once we were done, we packed up, not having eaten much, and headed outside to the car. I was feeling ok walking back to the car until the cold air got to me I guess. I stopped, bent over double, and dry puked into the bushes near the carpark. Not nice. That's the first time I've puked in all of this. I held onto Joh and retched a bit more, then steadied myself, wiped my eyes and mouth, and we drove home.

I've had a little soup, water and a yogurt, and feel a bit better now. Lets see how I get on tonight and tomorrow.

Good night xx

Friday, 28 December 2012

Day twenty two - Day 5 of the Rapha 500

Resting heart rate - 57 bpm
Body temperature - 36.2
Miles ridden - 51.8 miles (83.3km)

Another day, another ride. Can the Wheelers do anymore for me over this challenge? I think not, the support from them and Polocini has been nothing short of tremendous. We started with 10 riders this morning, picking up Andrew to make it 11 in Alderley Edge. A change of route and a slightly longer route meant that it was going to be a challenge from the off. However, I needn't have worried, with Si and Scott taking point and keeping the pace reasonable, we breezed through the first 26 miles for a little pit stop in Congleton. 
Nice little shot from Si there :) 
After that, it was the climb out of Congleton that nearly killed me, and made me realise how tired my legs really were. Again though the lads came to my rescue and helped me along, shielding me from the wind and towing me along the final 24 miles back to the Coffee Shop. 

Tony tucking in. Watch your fingers Tony!

Rob, who's already completed the challenge, well done, and Richard who helped me out on Xmas day, with Jim in the background.

Home for a bath, where I found my hair coming out in clumps, so did the only thing you can do under the circumstances. SHAVE TIME!

And finally, after 5 days and 349 km, I treated the Ribble to a big wash in preparation for Sunday.

Big day at the Christie tomorrow, with another 10 hour infusion of chemo drugs, and a further 21 days of chemo tablets to bring home with me. At least the legs will get a rest.

Finally, I'd like to say a big thankyou to my darling wife Johanna. I couldn't have done this week without you. Coming home tired, cold and wet nearly everyday, finding my dinner on the table, all the jobs done and no stress from being out too late or too long, you're a bloody angel darling, and I love you dearly xx

See you out Sunday boys and girls xx

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Day twenty one - day four of the festive 500

What a great turnout for this mornings ride! I counted 13 of us braving the chilly morning start to meet at polocini coffee shop. Actually, there were a few who didn't quite make it at the start time but managed to catch up with us later. Fortunately we had a puncture early on that allowed Rob and Alan to catch us. Rob then had his own later that morning.
Punctures aside, it was a cracking ride with the majority of the riders being Manchester wheelers. Richard from the test team came along and also my good mate and petrol head Peter came along too. Route was the same as Monday with much better weather for the first half of the ride. We stopped at tatton for a brew and cake this time as well.
We set off into the rain after that, rob having his puncture not long after, headed to wilmslow and back to polocini in Romiley. All a little tired and damp. Once again, a big thanks to you lot who are helping me reach the target mileage. I'm at 163 miles now this week, so 53% of the challenge done. I feel the next four days are going to be the most challenging.

After a rest this afternoon, we went out for a lovely curry with Sarah and Ian, who were escaping the joys of new parenthood for an evening.

Symptom wise I'm still very slowly losing hair and my legs ache!

Laters xx

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Day Twenty - Day 3 of the Rapha 500

Resting heart rate - 55 bpm
Body temperature - 36.4
Miles ridden - 44.2 miles (71.1km)

Happy Boxing Day everyone :) How did you spend yours? I spent the morning of mine riding my bicycle. 
Along with the Manchester Wheelers and the Polocini Test Team, we got together for a cracking ride over to Tatton Park and back. The rain held off and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Starting at the coffee shop at 10am, we all had a brew inside us to warm up
 Tony and Scott of the Wheelers.
 Jon and Chris of the Test Team.
 Pat from the Wheelers and Alan, the Test Team BOSS
Getting ready for the off, all wrapped up warm. 
We made good time on the first half of the ride, as a large group we held a good position on the road and didn't hear or see half of the inconsiderate drivers we've had recently, which was nice. 
Once in Tatton, Al rode ahead to take a few photos: 
Nice. Thanks Alan. 

After the ride, it was back to Polocini Coffee Shop for some delicious soup and to meet the wife, patiently waiting for me. Then home to a warm shower and clean clothes. Chill for the afternoon then a game of Monopoly with the family and their respective boyfriends and girlfriends. 
(I make a poor winner, ever worse loser ;))
Lovely tea, bubble & squeak with the leftovers from yesterday, and now chilling on the sofa watching Jurassic Park 3. 

Symptoms today? I'm definitely losing hair, it's coming out in little clumps when I run my fingers through my hair, and I feel a little sickly today. Not too bad, just not 100%
Easy pace in the saddle tomorrow I think. 

Good night all xx

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Day Nineteen - Merry Christmas (Day 2 of the Rapha 500)

Resting heart rate - 53 bpm
Body temperature - 36.3
Miles ridden - 23.7 miles (38km)

MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone :) I do hope you've all had a great day with friends and family. 

Joh was up first this morning, prepping the food for the feast ahead. We all got up around 9:30 to open presents and drink fizzy wine. The presents were excellent, and we all got what we wanted. Thanks to everyone who gave us them. 
Time to ride. Richard kindly accompanied me this morning, for a brief out and back along Macc road. We rode together side by side, which is perfectly legal: see highway code rule 66 and we were both amazed and disappointed to hear the amount of people in cars beeping horns and shouting at us to ride single file. It would seem very few drivers are actually aware of the rules of the road these days, and are very selfish when it comes to sharing it with others. If you're one of those miserable, selfish twats, take a deep breath as you come upon the cyclists causing you untold delays, and by the time you've let that breath out, you'll have passed them and be on your way. 
Rant over. 
Time to start Christmas dinner. And what a dinner! Johanna has done me proud, with a spread fit for a family of four who are quite hungry :) Which we were, and it was good. 

I'm stuffed now. 

There was a time, before I started my chemo, that we discussed our plans for Christmas day. Cycling 23 miles wasn't on there, nor was eating a full Christmas dinner, in fact, the plan was that we had no plan. With the treatment so far, I've been able to eat a normal meal, and still have the energy for the cycling. 

All the best everyone xx

Monday, 24 December 2012

Day eighteen - day one of the 500km challenge

Resting heart rate - 55 bpm
Body temperature - 36.3
Miles ridden - 48.6 (78.2km)

Today was the start of my challenge, to ride 500km (310mi) for the Rapha Festive 500. A number of friends from the Wheelers and Polocini have signed up to accompany me over the next 8 days to help me complete the challenge. 4 Wheelers turned up today, although one had to abandon before she started as she had trouble with her bike. So the 3 left, Rob, Scott and Pat, all headed for Alderley Edge and the flatest route I could think of to get the groundwork laid for the miles.
I did say I wouldn't ride in the rain. Bollocks, it was peeing it down and it didn't stop all the way round. We eventually arrived at the gates of Tatton Park, which were unfortunately locked. So we couldn't get in, worse were the 7 riders on the other side of the gate who couldn't get out! :)
We ended up going around, which all adds to the mileage, so no problem. By this time though I was getting tired and a little hungry. We stopped at a corner shop for a snickers bar, which did the trick and gave me the boost I needed to get to Wilmslow. Rob and Pat gave me a tow up this bit. Once into Wilmslow the guys took turns leading while I stayed at the back for the protection from the wind. Rob and Scott then peeled off at the A6 in the Grove, and Pat came with me down to Otterspool. He headed back to Glossop via Marple, and I went down Chadkirk and ended up walking up Burymewick. Getting tired by this time.
Once home, it was straight into the shower, lunch and rest. I ended up back in bed for most of the afternoon, not because it had wiped me out, but because I just needed the break I guess.
Up and about for tea, then off to the pub later with our lovely children. Wish me luck!

Tomorrow I'll not be doing so many miles. Out about 11am for a 2 hour ride at the most.

Later xx

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Day Seventeen - Lawrence of Arabia

It was a slow start to the day today. We had breakfast in bed, kindly made by Joh, then when we eventually got up, we walked over to Bredbury Hall with the dogs to collect Joh's car from a wedding we attended last night.
I felt pretty sluggish today. Way off 100% that's for sure, and probably the worse I've felt for a week. I've had a dull ache in the back of my head all day and felt a little lethargic.
Joh has wrapped all the xmas presents today, iced the cake and made mince pies. She's also made spag bol for tea, she's a hive of activity while I lay on the sofa entertaining Rab from work while watching his copy of Lawrence of Arabia. What an amazing film! And it looks gorgeous on the projector. Definitely one to buy.

The big ride week starts tomorrow, so I've stayed off the bike this weekend. Tempted to go out sometime today as the weather has been really nice, but thought better of it. I'll be doing plenty of miles in the coming days. Thanks again to all of you who've already donated by using the link up there in the top right of the page. If you can't do online giving, you can text WILK47 to 70070 with whatever amount you can afford.

Soon be Christmas! xx

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Day Sixteen - What happened to Day Fifteen?

Well, it was another long day, but at least this time I managed to take my meds on time.
I've got to remember that the reason I'm doing this blog is to keep my family and friends up to date with what treatment I'm having, and also to document the effects of the chemo on my body and mind. To that end, the last few days have been difficult to write, mainly because there have been no effects on my body and mind.
I started the chemo 16 days ago, and like everyone, I was told chemo will affect me in lots of different ways. Hair loss, sickness, lack of energy, muscle aches, hand and feet soreness ect ect, but apart from a little queasiness in the first week, my hair growing slower and not having as much energy as before, I've not had any really bad adverse side effects.
Which I find worrying to be honest. I feel that I'm being lured into a false sense of well being. The chemo has got to be worse than this surely?
Still, while I feel well, I may as well make the most of it, weather permitting. I had a nice ride on Friday on the new bike, popped over to the Royles clearance sale in Wilmslow. Amazingly I didn't buy anything. I figure there's not much point buying new cycling clothes when I'm going to lose all the weight I've put on, and then some, when I have my oesophagus out in the new year. I'm sure I'll lose a little weight at that point.

So, nothing to report over the last few days. Just carrying on as normal.
Don't forget, I'm set to do the Rapha 500 challenge starting Monday, so if you can join us for a ride, we'll be heading out from the Polocini coffee shop in Romiley around 09:30 every morning next week, bar xmas day. Let me know if you're coming along. If you can't come, then please donate a quid to my cause over there on the right hand side of the blog.

Later xx

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Day Fourteen - physcopaths

Well that was a long day. Hence the lateness of this blog entry.
It started with getting woken at 05:30 by Toby wanting to go out. It was review day at the christie so I got up and had a quick shower, bit of toast and a coffee, and headed off into the dark wet morning to brave the rush hour traffic.
Which actually wasn't so bad. I got to Christies by 07:50 and then waited till 08:40 before my bloods were taken. At 09:35 I saw Doctor Mansoor's registrar who asked how I was? Feeling ok. Any side effects? Only what you've already read about in this blog, and to carry on as normal.
My next infusion is on Saturday 29th December. Meanwhile, keep taking the chemo tablets. Bloods and vitals are good.
Left there and did a little shopping on the way home. Had a spot of lunch and took the dogs out for a walk. Stopped at polocini for carrot cake and a coffee.
Cleaned up my summer road bike. Gave it a bit of a polish.
Made tea. Chicken in black bean sauce with noodles. It was very nice but I ate the noodles too quickly. They lodged in my gullet. Just a reminder I guess of what is going on down there.

And so to the evening. Took joh to her works Xmas party at county's ground in Stockport then went to the cinema to watch "7 physcopaths" which was rubbish.
I then went into work for the first time in 8 weeks. I must admit I was nervous about going in. I needn't have been as the welcome I got from everyone was amazing. I really do work with some very nice people. The messages of support were very uplifting. Thank you so much.
I didn't leave there till 00:15 and I was late picking joh back up. I also forgot to take my chemo so had it when I got in.

Phew! Like I said, a long day.

Good morning xx

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Day Thirteen - Ribble

What a busy day. Woke up this morning at 6 as usual, and had no side effects whatsoever. No sickness, no lightheaded spells, nothing. That is pretty good when you consider the powerful chemo drugs I'm on. I reckon my body has got used to what I've had so far. Still, I'm deffo losing my hair now as its not growing. Oh well, it'll save me a few quid at the barbers and shaving stuff for a while.
So feeling fine this morning, I took Natalie, from polocini, out for an off road ride. Nice easy pace, flat route around the river, and even managed to avoid the rain. Once home, it was a quick lunch and then a dash up to Preston to collect my "winter" bike. A lovely Ribble. I've been wanting one of these for years, relaxed geometry so it's a bit more comfortable to ride long distance and in bad weather and full mudguards to keep the worst of the road crap off you. For the price, you can't beat it.
Took some time setting it up when I got home, and its now ready to go. Unfortunately I'll not get chance till maybe Friday as I'm at the christie tomorrow for my first review.
Finally today joh and I went to the excellent Indigo for tea. Once again eating with no problems and at normal speed now.

Good night xx

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Day Twelve - Another ride

Good evening blog readers, how you doin? All ready for Christmas? Just remember, Christmas is not about how big and expensive a present you can give or receive, it's all about the family and friends around you, and also about maintaining your health. The two things I can safely say about getting a life threatening illness like this are:
LOOK AFTER YOURSELF - everything in moderation
LOOK AFTER YOUR FAMILY & FRIENDS - give them a ring, ask how they are, invite them round for a coffee.

Lecture over :)

And so to today's events. I spent the best part of this morning catching up on my mountain of ironing. I also did some of Joh's, but why the hell does women's clothing have to be so fussy? I can iron a t-shirt or pair of jeans easily, but when it comes to frilly blouses, they're a pain in the arse. So I left them.

After that session, it was out to meet Dave over in Poynton for a little bike ride:
Pretty tired after that, but good to get out again. Dave did most of the work on the front, and he's a great big bloke to shelter behind so it felt at times like I was on a turbo trainer, hardly did any work! Thanks Dave.

Home via Polocini, it's the law. Gorgeous chicken and mulligatawny soup and a cappuccino. Still not a test team member yet, but I'm saving hard, honest.

Home, shower, sort out my washing, and chill on the sofa while watching my boxset of Battlestar  Galactica, had a little doze.
Up at 6pm, fed the dogs, made tea for me, Joh and Paige (Isaac is out) chops, mash, peas and carrots. Did the pots. Bloody hell I'm domesticated!!!

Tired after all that, so another chill on the sofa, bit of surfing while listening to Radio 1, write this, bed.

Oh, nearly forgot: Felt ok today, not 100%, but ok. Think I may finally be losing my hair.

Good night xx

Monday, 17 December 2012

Day eleven - Beechwood

Day two of my eight week course at beechwood. Another day of relaxing and concentrating on me. We all lead such busy lives that we tend to forget how to stop and relax. Going to beechwood forces you to do just that. No tv, phones, radio or other media to distract you from the simple pleasure of relaxing.
I had my first reflexology session today as well. That was bloody lovely. Like a foot massage on steroids and very relaxing. Highly recommend that one.

The staff at beechwood are just incredible. They can't do enough for you. So, once again I'd like to remind you I've chosen beechwood as my charity for you lot to donate to. You can give as little as a quid or as much as you want by going here; and giving what you can.

I'm still off the sickness pills and the eating is going fine. Ate a meal as quick as joh & Paige this evening. No issues.

Good night xx

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Day Ten - Ride time

Seeing as though I didn't take my anti sickness last night, I thought I'd give it a go today as well. It seems to be working. I don't feel sick. I'm still having bouts of lightheadedness, which I guess is down to the chemo drugs, but otherwise everything else is ok.
I've not lost any hair yet, but the hair on my head, what little there is, feels kinda weird. Even after washing, it feels greasy and very fine. It's only a matter of time I guess and it'll be gone.

I felt well enough to go for a bike ride today too, and Jon Swindells kindly came out to look after me. We went with Alan from Polocini Coffee Shop. We've done the route before, and it's actually one of my old training routes, so I know the area well. There's not much climbing on it, but enough to keep you honest. Normally I could do the route at the pace we did today with my heart rate not going above 155 bpm, today on those little climbs it was up to 175 bpm. Quite a difference and shows what a strain my body is under at the moment.
Here's the ride on Strava:

While I'm on the subject of cycling, today I set up a page on the "just giving" site for donations. I've never been one for turning my pedal strokes into money through sponsorship or donations, but I feel all the fantastic people who have helped me through this journey deserve something back. All I can do is use my personal goals for their benefit.
To that end, my first goal is to complete the RAPHA 500. Basically, I'm riding 500km from Monday 24th - 30th December  Obviously one of those days is Xmas day, so I don't expect to get many miles in then, and I'm also at the Christie on the 27th having my next 10 hour infusion, so I'll not be doing any miles then either. So it's going to be tough to get the miles in that week. I just hope the weather holds out and stays mild. Stop praying for snow! :)
If you feel you can help out by joining me on a ride, or by donating a quid or more to the cause, please do so.
Finally, well done Bradley Wiggins! SPOTY WINNER

Good night xx

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Day Nine - Happy 18th

This is Saturdays post, although I only got round to writing it on Sunday.

What a busy day it was. Apart from a little lightheadedness throughout the day, my symptoms were few and far between today. Which was nice. I did get tired early on while walking in Manchester, but a coffee stop at Nero's just by the Town Hall was all I needed to recharge the batteries and continue on our way.

So the day in full consisted of: Walking the dogs, stopping for coffee and soup at Polocini (have the meatball and tomatoe soup, it's gorgeous) a little cuddle with the missus (only the second one since chemo started) drive to Manchester, walk around numerous markets, eat mushroom and onions, bratwurst and a little beer, coffee at Nero's, cake from that delicious patisserie on Deansgate, then finally Paige's 18th birthday meal at Henry J Beans at the Printworks. phew!

I also took a bit of a gamble when I got home. When I have my chemo drugs, I've 5 tablets to swallow. 3 small and 2 large. I'm also able to take up to 6 anti sickness tablets during the day. So far I've been taking 2 anti sickness tablets. 1 with each of my courses of chemo. I think the anti sickness tablets are what make me dizzy, so when I got home last night I didn't take them, just the chemo. It's not a very scientific way of going about working out what does and doesn't work for me, but it was worth a try. I felt fine and have slept well all night. (I half expected to wake up puking my guts up)

I'll try again this morning, see how I get on.

Good morning xx

Friday, 14 December 2012

Day Eight - hairy

Hannah, the nurse who administered my first infusion of chemo 7 days ago, stated that I'd begin losing my hair after 7 days.
Well, I've not lost any yet.
Today was a good day. Got up early and took my tablets. Didn't feel sick. No feelings of dizziness until around one and a half hours afterwards. I sat down and chilled for 20 minutes and all was well. I've had no other symptoms today.
Ate all my food normally. Had a lovely visit off an old family friend, cheers Robert, and generally had a good day.
Weathers been shit though.

Good night xx

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Day Seven - settling in

Without boring you all with the minutiae of my day, I'll stick to the symptoms of my chemo from now on. Unless something of note crops up which may be relevance.

I woke feeling ok. I've still got a feeling of queasiness that won't shift. After my first tablets this morning I went back to bed again. Got up at 11 and did some running around. I felt ok by then, but still a little light headed.
Stopped by polocini coffee shop for lunch. Had the ploughman's pie, which once again went down no problem. I'm still taking my time eating though. I got a bit ahead of myself this evening though and was nearly back to square one.
I made a simple spag bol with pasta, and tried eating it at normal speed. Big mistake! Pasta stuck in the gullet is not nice. It eventually shifted without the need to help it back up, but it just reminded me that I'm not cured just yet.

Good night xx

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Day Six - lie in

A slow start to the day today. Everyone out as usual for 7:30 so I got up for some breakfast. All I could manage was a small bowl of fruit & fibre, which is just enough to have my tablets on. After that I went back to bed till 10 am.
Had some crumpet when I got up after having a shower and shave. Felt human again. Not long after I had a fried egg butty.
Food is still going down well, and apart from actually preparing it, I've not lost my appetite yet.
Took Isaac over to John Lewis to get his new camera. Stopped in SK at the indoor paintball to pay for his rugby teams game this Sunday.
Came home and chilled on the sofa for a while. Isaac took Ellie out.

Made a nice stew for tea.
Paul & Regina came by for a visit. Always nice to have visitors.
And now time for bed. Still feeling tired and a bit lethargic.
I can afford a little down time though. If I counted up all the exercise I've done this year alone, having a week or so off it while my chemo kicks in isn't going to hurt.

Good night xx

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Day Five - Fruity

I didn't feel like getting up this morning. Went to bed early last night, before 10pm, then was awake at 12, 3 and then finally 6am. Didn't feel tired as such, just kind of a lack of energy. Anyway, I waited till everyone had left, Joh to work with Paige and Isaac off to College, and got up. Had some crumpets for breakfast with Lurpak and Jam, which again, went down no problem, with no sticking in my gullet.
I then got a nice Tweet off Gary, the former 39 stone cyclist. We'd been in touch before about maybe going for a ride, but he's moved out of the area and we'd lost touch. He'd only just realized that it was me with the cancer, and the same person who'd bought the Cannondale bike off his mate. Small world :)
Pottered around doing some tidying up, then took Ellie out for a little walk. Stopped at Polocini for a coffee and chat with Claire, then came home and had some lunch. Potatoe and Leek soup with 2 slices of bread. Easy down again. Nice. I've not lost my appetite as yet, just the thought of making food is making me a bit queasy.
I was supposed to be at a support group at Stepping Hill this afternoon, but I'd got the date wrong. It was yesterday, so I missed that. Not to worry, I'd dropped off Isaac's camera gear on the way for him, so he could do some filming this afternoon, and took the time to do a bit of Xmas shopping in SK while I was out and feeling ok.
Still feeling a little spaced. Not dizzy, just not 100%.
When I arrived home, my neighbour had taken in a parcel for me. I'd no idea what it was. Upon opening the big box, it was a gorgeous fruit hamper from my fellow managers at Royal Mail. A massive thanks for that Gents and Ladies, much appreciated. The fruit is bloody gorgeous :)

Purchased the latest version of Rouleur and Cyclist magazines while I was out, did a little reading on the sofa, had a doze, little bit more reading, then Isaac came home, followed by Joh.
I fancied a curry tonight, but the Indigo only had tables at 6pm and 9pm, too early and too late for me, so we went down the Hare & Hounds in Otterspool instead.
I was so confident of my latest eating abilities that I ordered a burger and chips. The last time I had burger and chips was at the Mud Crab in Didsbury, and the chips all got stuck in my gullet and it took me over an hour to eat the burger! No such problems this time. The burger went down fine, and I even ate most of the chips. Result! I was still taking my time eating, but it wasn't even remotely as bad as it's been over the last 3 months.

So, in just 5 days, after a 10 hour infusion and 2 lots of tablets everyday, it would seem my gullet has cleared enough for food to pass through with only minor sticking. I've no idea why, but it's got to be a good sign.

Good night xx

Monday, 10 December 2012

Day Four - Beechwood Cancer Care Centre

I've spoken about our family visits to Beechwood in past blog entries, and it's a very good place to go. I went there today to start an 8 week course of relaxation techniques and group help. This is a fantastic place, full of professional nurses and volunteers, all there to help people suffering primarily with cancer to relax and forget about their daily troubles.
The day started a little slow as the cold start had delayed some of the patients arriving, and some just didn't turn up at all. There were supposed to be 12 of us there today, but only 5 turned up. Eventually there were 6 as a lady on an introduction got roped in too :)
The morning was spent filling in some paperwork, and having a one to one with one of the McMillan nurses. We then had a break before sitting down to a lovely lunch. After that, it was onto the demonstrations of the available therapy provided by the centre.
Reiki, aromatherapy and reflexology. I've chosen reflexology for my next 7 sessions, which I'm looking forward to.
To be honest, I was that relaxed by the time we got to the demonstrations, that I kept nodding off, which was nice. That was it for the day, after a little chat from one of the nurses to close the day, we were off.

However, all was not well on the way home.

After a day spent relaxing, the drive home was the complete opposite. Can you guess why?

Of course, I got stuck behind a Volvo driver! Talk about Mr Erratic, he couldn't drive for shit, all over the road, speed from 20 - 40, in a 30, the usual Volvo traits.

And breath.

All in all a good day. On the medicine front, I'm eating a lot better all of a sudden, with none of my previous problems with food sticking in my gullet. I actually had a full portion of oven chips tonight, with peas and a baby's head. That went down no problems. Well chuffed. I feel tired, but not overly so.

Good night all xx

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Day three - steady as she goes

Quite a mundane and easy day today. I'll do this one in bullet points I think:

  • Woke around 4 am with a hot sweat, not unusual as I've been having them off and on for a few months now. 
  • Woke again around 6 am very thirsty, had some water. 
  • Joh kindly brought me up some porridge around 8 so I could have my first lot of chemo tablets in good time. I have to have them 12 hours apart and within 30 minutes of food. 
  • I'd pencilled in a ride with Jon for today, but I wasn't feeling 100% so cried off that (Thanks Jon :))
  • Went to the gym for an hour instead, 30 minutes on the stepper x trainer thing, and 30 minutes on the bike, with some ab work in between. Felt tired after that little workout. 
  • Made myself a lovely bacon, cheese and mushroom omelette, made sure the eggs were fully cooked. 
  • Tidied up, took Ellie for a walk along the canal and stopped at Polocini coffee shop for a flat white and a gorgeous piece of chocolate fudge cake. 
  • Joh met me there for her lunch as she'd been working this morning and done a little Xmas shopping in SK. 
  • Paige met us there as well, after finishing work at Hewitts coffee shop, we all bundled into Joh's car for the drive home. Ellie likes going for a drive. 
  • Isaac was at Rugby today, and won his match, scoring one of the tries himself. Awesome!
On the subject of Isaac, he posted a picture of me wearing a hat he'd bought for me on Facebook. For those of you that have seen it, you'll see it's had an amazing response from his friends. Isaac, you have some incredible friends around you as I do, together we'll beat this shit.
  • Joh and Paige went to the gym, while I waited for Isaac to come home from rugby. When he did, I took him to SK to meet up with some of his skating mates for a film he's working on. Check out his channel on YouTube, he's really getting quite good. 
  • I then went to McDonald's and got myself a double cheeseburger and a medium fries. I parked up in Offerton and ate the lot, nice. 
  • Back home, and fed the dog and cat, tidied up again, watched a bit of telly till Joh, Paige and Isaac all got in. 
  • Had a nice tea of macaroni cheese, sausage, bacon, tomatoes and garlic bread, lovely. 
  • Had my last tablets of the day and settled down to watch the remake of "the girl with the dragon tattoo" Wasn't as bad as I thought it might be, although from memory it was almost a carbon copy of the original, which was excellent. 
  • By this time, Joh and the kids were all in bed, and I'm down here typing this and watching Homeland. 
At this time, I just feel a little light headed, and a little bloated, possibly from all I've eaten today as I had a mince pie and custard for supper. However, and I hope you're not eating while reading this bit, my bowels are loosening today. That's understandable I guess, and part of the after effects of chemo drugs, so nothing to worry about, just be careful when passing wind :) 

I'm off to the Beechwood Centre tomorrow for a day of sharing and relaxation. Looking forward to that. 

Good night all xx

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Day two - tablets

Up until 22:30 tonight, my day was going fine. Still no effects from yesterday's 10 hour marathon infusion, felt fine in myself. So much so that I managed some hoovering (dysoning?) this morning, sorted the washing and went for a little flat bike ride through poynton and around woodford. I had a nice lunch of a pork pie and spaghetti cheese, and then my dad and step mum came to visit for a while.
Joh got home around 17:30 and made a lovely paella. That took me a while to eat but it was worth it. Half an hour later I took my second dose of chemo pills around 20:30.
By 22:30, while watching "we need to talk about Kevin" (good film) my chest started to hurt, like I had acute indigestion. And I also had a small feeling of sickness in my stomach.
This was a bit crap as I had to go get my son and his girlfriend from a party in Bredbury. No problems. Son and Kate duly collected its straight to bed for me with two anti-sickness pills inside me. Time to sleep it off hopefully.
Good night all.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Day one - Chemo infusion

infusion /in·fu·sion/ (in-fu´zhun)
1. the steeping of a substance in water to obtain its soluble principles.
2. the product obtained by this process.
3. the therapeutic introduction of fluid other than blood into a vein.

I've had number 3 of the above definition today, for 10 hours. We arrived at the Christie this morning for 08:50am, for our 9am appointment. Thankfully the drugs had been ordered and we were directed to the waiting room while my chair was prepared for me. 
20 mins later and the chair was good to go, however, the nurse, Hannah, decided that as we were there all day, we'd be better off in a bed, a private bed no less in our own room with a lovely view of the front of the hospital. After yesterdays cock up, that was nice. 
So, cannula in, drugs assembled and the infusion can begin. Only 10 hours to go. 
The first bit is the hardest, as this is the very toxic and strongest form of chemotherapy drug that can be administered in this way, it's introduced by syringe manually as the fluids with anti-sickness drugs are going in. Bit by bit, Hannah pushes the drugs in over the next hour and a half. 
After that, there's another lot of fluids and then another bag of chemo drugs, this time going in the line normally over 4 hours. The manifest for my drugs is here: 
Then another load of fluids, interspersed with a spot of morning snacks, lunch, afternoon snacks and the occasional brew. 
And that was it, at 21:20 all done, cannula out, room tidy, bags packed and on our way back to the car and home. 

So, side effects? Non, nada, nothing, nilch. I feel 100% while I'm writing this at 22:47 on Friday night. To be honest, that's a bit of an anti-climax really. I was expecting to be puking my guts up by now, or feel some sort of nausea, but I guess the anti-sickness drugs I've had today have stopped that in its tracks. 
I've now got 21 days worth of chemo tablets to take at home, along with some anti-sickness and a few steroids to boost my system tomorrow and Sunday. After that, it's back to the Christie to do it all over again. 

Once again, I'd like to thank all of you who have given me messages of support over the last 2 days, and also those of you who've been supporting me throughout. Your words really lifted me out of the doldrums yesterday and gave me the support I needed. 

Thank you xx

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Fuck up!

5:45am, we're up. Joh has a quick shower, I wash and dress. Simple breakfast of a couple of crumpets and jam, Joh defrosts the car, kiss the kids and tell them how much we love 'em, and we're off to the Christie.
First infusion of chemotherapy today. This is what I've been waiting for since I was diagnosed. All the stories you hear of the side effects of chemo are about to become a reality for me. I've been mentally preparing myself for the last week and a half for this day. An 8 hour infusion of chemo drugs, steroids, fluids and other drugs, all in one sitting. Joh has taken the day off to be with me. I said she didn't need to bother, she could of  dropped me off and gone to work, but she wants to stay. We roll up nice and early, get to reception with 10 minutes to spare for our 8am blood test. I'm scheduled for my drugs at 9:30, so plenty of time.
Bloods are done at 8:20. We go get a coffee while we wait for the blood to be tested and made sure I'm ok to start treatment today. At 9:50 I get a call to report to reception, then asked to go upstairs to the treatment ward on the 1st floor.
A nurse asks us to come into the ward, saying there's been a problem. My first thought was that my bloods are not right somehow?
No, bloods fine, my Doctor has made a "clerical error", or in other words: forgot to put the order in for my chemo drugs.
Some peoples drugs need to be made up on the day of treatment as they have a limited shelf life. If you make them too soon, they'll "go off" and not be effective. Likewise, if you miss an appointment, you wont be able to come in the next day because the drugs will have to be remade. So to ensure you get these type of drugs on time, they need to be ordered the day before your treatment so they are made early on the day of your treatment. This means they are at their optimal. If they're not ordered, it takes over 4 hours to make the drugs up, and a further 8 hours to inject them, so you can imagine how long it would've taken today if they'd ordered the drugs at 10 am.
The nurse is very apologetic. She offers me the chance to go see the Doctor in his surgery. I don't see the point in waiting around any longer just to hear his excuses on why he's not done his job properly. I'm livid, pissed off and just want to leave. On the way out I punch the wall in frustration.
After all the preparation for today, I've been severely let down by the system.

We have a quiet drive back home.

I contemplate a bike ride, have the soup that we'd prepared for the day at the Christie, then have a doze on the sofa while Joh goes out.
It's now raining. I'm not going out riding.
Roll on tomorrow where we'll do it all again, Joh misses her friends wedding because she'll be with me all day, and I can finally start to beat this fucking cancer.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Not on the trial

It was back to the Christie this morning to register on the trial. This was a drug that is being trialed at the moment that somehow cuts off the blood supply to the cancer cells. I've no idea how that works, and it doesn't matter now as I'm not eligible. My cancer was initially diagnosed as ulcerous and this trial drug has the potential to make ulcers bleed which is not good. So I'm not on the trial drug.

Which means I'm to press on with normal chemo treatment.

So pop a reminder in your diary for next Thursday 6th December, where I'll be off to the Christie for an 8 hour infusion of my first chemo treatment, followed by a 3 week supply of chemo tablets to take home with me.

I'll not blog anything until then, maybe not till Friday 7th, but you're all out there praying and thinking of me, which is very appreciated. A massive thanks to everyone on Facebook and Twitter that has sent me messages of support, and all you phoning and texting me support too. It really is keeping my spirits up, so don't stop or think I'm not appreciative.

I'm off to get some miles in on the bike before I feel like shit :)

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The Christie

It's seems like ages ago that I was diagnosed with Stomach cancer, but in fact its only been 41 days. In that time we've had some major downs and a few little ups. My prognosis has gone from: cancer! I'm going to die! to: No, hang on, it's operable and relatively easy to beat.

Today I found out that in fact it's going to be a very hard battle. The doctor at the Christie, Dr Mansoor, spelt it out very straight and forthright. He said that surgeons have a way of looking on the bright side of things, and it's his job to set the record straight and lay the cards on the table. I've been dealt a shit hand.
My cancer is a type 3/4. 4 is the worst. It's also in my lymph nodes which makes it even worse. On a scale of survival, I'm at the bottom, something like this:

T1 95% survival
T2 65%
T3 20%
T4 4%
Lymph node spread reduces each of the above by about 20%.

I'm between T3 and T4. As you can imagine, this is a bloody shock. After dropping that little bombshell, Dr Mansoor then told me I'm eligible for a trial of a new cancer drug. He outlined the pros and cons of the trial and that there was no pressure to take part in the trial.
I'm going to take part in it.

So my next year is going something like this.
I'm back at the Christie tomorrow for confirmation of the trial involvement, I've then to have a heart and lung test and also further blood tests to ensure I'm eligible for the trial drug.
The trial drug is to be given alongside my normal regime of chemo and surgery, so that doesn't affect my chemo or surgery, it just adds to it.
I should start on chemo in around 10 days, with the first injection of chemo and the trial drug taking place over an 8 hour period on the first day. I will then take tablets of chemo over the next 3 weeks. As soon as one course of chemo is finished, I'll go back to the Christie and start all over again for 3 weeks, with no break, then once more, totalling 9 weeks of non-stop chemo and trial drugs.
I'll then get a chemo break for around 5 weeks to recover prior to the surgery. Hopefully by this time the cancer will be reduced significantly in size prior to its removal. I'll then have a further 6 - 10 week break while I heal and adapt to having no stomach etc, then start the chemo cycle all over again.
Boy am I looking forward to that fucking journey :(

I drove to the Christie this morning with a little spring in my step and a real sense of being able to beat this shitter. I knew there was going to be hair loss and feeling tired and sick and all that usual cancer bullshit you see and hear about, and I was more than ready to take all that on.
Now though, I feel I've been hit with a bloody great big hammer right across my head. It really has knocked me for six. I know I've got an amazing family behind me, and some cracking mates to help me through this, but at the time of writing, I'm scared shitless.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Happy Birthday!

45 today, hurrah :)
Thought I'd never make it since being diagnosed with cancer in some peoples eyes is an instant death sentence  Obviously that's not the case these days at all. I fully intend to beat this thing and recover fully on the other side. It's going to be a long journey though, which I've already started with various tests and meetings over the last month. There's a lot going on around cancer and the care of people with it. I've been to the excellent Beechwood centre three times now, most recently this week to be introduced to their eight week program for cancer patients. They run an excellent service where you go in from early morning and basically learn various relaxation techniques also relaxation therapies. I'm looking forward to a bit of acupuncture.
I've also been referred by my GP to the PARiS scheme run by stockport councils sports department. This enables you to get (keep) fit at your local gym with the help of a qualified instructor during the term of your treatment. Basically a personal trainer will assess your fitness, listen to your goals and tailor a workout to your personal needs. I'm back in tomorrow, Thursday, for my assessment.
Finally, today I went to the dentist. Yep, happy birthday, you've got a dental appointment :( However, after my check up today, all is well. Apparently your gums can take a bit of a beating during chemo, so the check up is to make sure they're in good condition before I start.
I'm pretty much all ready to go. I've just got to finish my course of antibiotics for a chesty cough I've picked up off the rest of the family, and we're good.

On a sad note, I went to Darren Mountains funeral today. The service was very nice, simple and effective. There was a great turnout from Royal Mail, friends past and present, and obviously from his Barnsley based friends and relatives. It was a very moving occasion.
Rest in peace Darren, you'll be sorely missed by everyone who knew you.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

The 28th November

The 28th November is the date I go to the Christie. After the speed of the diagnoses and further tests, I've got the feeling of being slowed to a grinding halt. It seems so long away. I know I've been lucky with the way I've been treated by all the excellent staff at both Stepping Hill and the MRI, but the Christie works to it's own timetable I guess.
So, while I wait for the blood tests and the right chemo cocktail for my particular cancer, I'm working on putting on weight and getting fit at the same time. However, that is not as easy as it sounds. Eating is getting harder, with food and now even liquids getting stuck in my gullet. Meal times are particularly frustrating, both  for me as I take ages to eat the simplest meals, and for Joh as she tries to prepare something that will go down easy. In fact, the only thing that will go down easy is cake, which is nice, oh, and custard. I'm getting sick of them already though. As for the fitness, I've done a few sessions in the gym, most notably a hard circuit training session on Monday this week, and am slowly increasing my stamina on the bike again, weather permitting. But on a number of occasions, after those exercises, I've had a quite acute pain in my chest, right at the site of the tumor  which is not good. I don't want it to stop me doing anything, but I'm aware that I have to be careful what I do. I don't want to be collapsing on the road while out cycling, or passing out in the gym during a core session!

So, everything in moderation (except cake) and taking it easy and listening to my body. In the meantime, everyone else in this house has a bad cough and a cold. Everyone sounds much sicker than me. The irony is not lost on any of us :)

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Darren Mountain

I received the very sad news yesterday that Darren had lost his fight against cancer.
I'd known Darren since working at Green Lane Mail Center. We shared a love of cycling, although he was a gravity junkie who would scare me with stories of his Sheffield woods downhill exploits, while I'd tell of my adventures across country.
Darren was a plain speaking Yorkshireman, and always spoke his mind. Never one to allow anything to slow him down or get in his way. He tackled his cancer with the same attitude. He wasn't going to let it change his life. He made all the changes he had to, moving house to be nearer his children, stopping driving and cycling, and returning to work as soon as he could and carrying on as though nothing had changed.
On his return, as his friend and line manager, I asked him what he wanted to do? Sit down on letters or flats? Less hours? Whatever suited him. Typically he opted for the "business as usual" option. Tipping bags like the old days. This eventually proved too much for him, and after a particularly bad week of not eating much and feeling poorly, Darren had a bad turn at work one night and was taken away by ambulance.
Unbelievably he was back in the next night! We sat down again and I told him this time that he was no longer tipping bags. He acknowledged that he'd been trying to do too much and settled for sorting instead.
That's the last time I saw him. The next week he was off, then I was off sick fighting my own cancer. The last I heard Darren had taken another bad turn at work, this time off for good, and never to return.
I was going to phone him today. I'd been putting it off all week for no reason. I regret not speaking to him massively.
I'll miss you Darren.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Beechwood Cancer Care Centre

As a family, we all went to Beechwood today. There were a few tears, not as many as I thought there would be actually, and we got some things sorted out. All in all it was a good thing I think. The kids need clearer signals on my mood changes, which have been quite frequent of late, and I need to know that I can trust them to do the basics, and then look around to see if they can do anything else.
I think the main problem we've got as a family at the moment is that I'm not really ill as such. If I hadn't had my Laparoscopy last week, I'd probably be back at work now, albeit in a reduced capacity. I don't look ill, in fact, with the weight I've put on recently, I look pretty healthy. I'm not limping or lost the use of any of my limbs, I'm not slurring my words or lay on the sofa slobbering, so outwardly, I'm fine.
It's all mental really at the moment, and it's weird the way it creeps up on you. One second you're sat watching TV, reading, texting, whatever, the next you're thinking of your own mortality, wondering what is going to happen when the chemo drugs hit? What will I be able to eat when I've got no stomach? Will I be able to drink beer again? Can I go for a long bike ride without stopping for a pub lunch or snack to keep me going?     and so on.

And in the meantime, life goes on as normal as we can make it. Which is another part of the problem when trying to deal with this cancer. Life is not "normal" anymore. You have to acknowledge it. Burying your head in the sand and trying to pretend it doesn't exist is pointless.
Stand up, face the fucker, say hello then beat the shit out of it with the help and support of everyone you can muster around you.

That's my plan. Hope you can all stay with me till I've beaten this shit.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Good news, but hold the bubbly

Had a lovely ride out this morning. Headed along a route that normally takes me around one and a half hours at a good pace, but took me over two hours today. I wasn't rushing, just taking it easy, but my heart rate was higher than the faster time, and my average speed was way slower. It just goes to show how soon you lose any fitness you've gained. I've been working hard to increase my average speeds and improve my climbing, and watching all that slip away at the moment is frustrating. On the flipside of that though is the fact that I'm riding around with the shitty cancer inside me, I've just had keyhole surgery, and I'm putting on weight nicely ahead of my chemo.

Which brings me nicely to today's hospital visit. Back to Stepping Hill to see Dr Decadt and the results of my PET scan and a final decision on my treatment path. The PET scan, you'll remember if you've been reading this blog, was to find out if the cancer has spread anywhere else. My PET scan says NO, the cancer hasn't spread anywhere else, which is PRETTY AMAZING NEWS! So, treatment:
CHEMO first to reduce the size of the tumour, this should start within the next 2 weeks. This will last around 2 months, and if successful, should reduce the tumour to the point that surgery will be easier.
There is a small risk that the chemo wont do anything to the tumour, or even make it worse, in which case we'd go straight to:
SURGERY, which will remove pretty much all of my oesophagus and some of my stomach, then turn the remainder of my stomach into an oesophagus, which will mean quite a radical change in my diet after that point.
To be fair, I'm pretty scared about that. I thought about the surgery bit last night, and I was quite upset by it. Still, I'm not facing this alone, and I'm in very good hands with Dr Decadt.
In the meantime, there are no more tests, HURRAH!, and I can eat all the shit I've been putting off for the last 2 years, my jeans are already getting tighter.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Driving again

Relief. I'm finally back behind the wheel of my own car, although it has developed a leak and I'm having to wear my wellies inside the car :(
Nothing to report on the battlefront today. Results of last nights scan wont be with us until Wednesday or maybe even Thursday, so no point worrying about that for now. Chance to have a semi normal day.
Spot of shopping to start. Popped into stockport with the intention of buying Halo4, but ended up with 5 blue ray discs for £30. Bargain.
Four Lions
In Bruges
Then off to Cheadle bikes for a copy of Rouleur, the worlds greatest cycle racing reportage magazine.
Finally to Mud Crab Cafe and Diner in Didsbury.
Where I faced this:
The excessive amount of sauce and mustard was my attempt to enable me to eat it without it getting stuck in my gullet. It didn't work. It's times like this that are really frustrating. Here's what happens: I'll take a few chips, coat them in sauce and mustard, chew, chew a bit more, then swallow. All seems fine, so I'll do the same again, take a small drink, then a few more. At this point, my gullet is full, and nothing is dropping into my stomach, so even drinking something to help it go down, makes it worse. All I can do is stop eating and start hoping that the food will eventually pass into my stomach. In today's case, it didn't. The only way I can then eat again is to empty my gullet of the food that is stuck there. So it's off to the toilet, close the door, fingers tickling the back of my throat, tears in my eyes, sick the contents of my gullet down the toilet, rinse and wash and back to the table to start again. 
This time I avoided the chips. The burger was bloody gorgeous! I started a lot slower this time. (Joh told me later that the waitress had come by while I was in the toilet asking if everything was ok?) 
After I'd finished the burger, and not had another chip, I ordered the cheesecake. Funnily enough, that went down no problem. The McMillan nurse did say to get fatter on puddings :) 
I'd highly recommend that diner, we'll be going back for sure. 
After that, we went off to the cheese hamlet in Didsbury, for a spot of Wenslydale Blue and STRONG CHEDDAR. 
Then to Freeride in Disley to collect my mtb, which has had a service and geometry fitting. 
Home and relax. Spot of cheese, radio on, reading Rouleur, coffee. 
Driving Isaac to rugby training later then an early night I think. 
It's been a long day today, or at least it feels like it. I think yesterdays ride and PET scan took it out of me. Felt tired all day today. It's taking me longer to recover from exercise, that's for sure. I am getting older though, 45 on the 21st! 

Monday, 5 November 2012

Doctor manhatten

Another day and for now, my final test. Just being driven back from my PET scan by Johanna. I'm currently radioactive. Glowing in the dark on bonfire night. Kudos :)
The test went fine, I'll know the results on Wednesday.

Had a great ride on my new road bike today. First road ride in about a month actually. Probably went to far @ 26 miles, but what the heck. Worse part was being nil by mouth and only able to drink water since 11:30 this morning.

Quiche is waiting.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Losing weight and getting fat

Two years ago I made the decision to actually lose weight and hopefully get faster on my bike. This was brought about by cycling with Dai and watching as his fitness and speed on the bike came quickly up to my own, and then briefly matched and passed me. I wasn't having any of that! So I set about doing something about it. Having a smartphone helped a lot, as there are a raft of apps out there to help you lose weight and get fitter. The one I chose at the time was the Livestrong calorie tracker app, and a website that outlined a core workout on a weekly basis. Using those two, I started tracking my calorie input, and doing regular core exercises at home. Combined, I quickly lost weight and began to feel the benefit of the core workout every week. Over time, I've not been very regular with the core workout, but I have kept up the calorie counting, much to the sometime annoyance of the family as I work out the calorie count at mealtimes. I've allowed myself 2300 calories a day. I know some of my work colleagues will disagree, but I do have quite a physical job, and with my regular exercise regime, can sometimes get through over 4000 calories a day. Obviously, if you're burning that much, you have to put it back, otherwise you'll lose weight. So, don't put it all back and you do indeed lose weight. My starting weight was around 18 stone 2 years ago, and I was just over 14 stone when diagnosed with cancer, so its been working a treat. I've been getting a bit quicker on the bike as well :)
Now, in the last few months, I noticed a 3-4 lb drop in my weight that couldn't be down to doing more exercises or eating less, but I didn't pick up on it at the time. In hindsight, that was probably a warning sign that something was amiss. My weight had settled around the 207lb mark, and wasn't budging.
Until now.
I've now to put on weight, and quickly. I'm in for a course of chemo in the next week or so, which by all accounts will knock my appetite for six, make me feel sick and sap all my energy. So I'll not feel like eating or exercising. Not what I want to hear. However, I'm looking on all my past weight loss and fitness gain as the means to fighting and beating this cancer. Here's me thinking I was training just to get faster on the bike, when in actual fact I was training to beat this cancer. I'm fit enough now to take it on and beat it.

So, after a few days of rest after my Laparoscopy, I've been back to the gym today to start to regain my lost fitness from the past few weeks of tests and probing. My calorie intake is up to 3200 a day to gain weight, and I'm counting the days when I can get out on my new bike and start climbing hills again.
I'm not letting this crap stop me doing what I love. Bring it on.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Decisions and driving me mad.

Another day, another Doctors meeting to discuss my results and eventual treatment. After discussions this morning the MDT team are going with Chemo and then surgery. There is concern that my tumour is bleeding into my stomach, and Chemo could aggravate that. If it gets worse during the therapy, then there's the option to stop the chemo and go straight to surgery instead.
I've still got to have my PET scan on monday next week, which will hopefully give us a better picture of how the cancer is located in my body. Then there's another MDT team meeting the following wednesday, followed by a meeting with me, then off to Christies to start my chemo. Can't wait.

Joh and I went over to the Beechwood Centre today and had a lovely chat with a counselor. We'll be going back next week once I know for sure what the treatment regime is going to be. In the meantime, I had a go at Joh's driving. I've never been a good passenger at the best of times, and as I can't drive anywhere at the moment, Joh is doing all the running around. I am most grateful for this, but I've got to learn to keep my mouth shut and stop criticizing her skills behind the wheel.

Meanwhile, the Cannondale is back with me :) New tape, new stem, same handlebar. Geometry set up for a more upright position to start with, as my stomach is not up to cycling just yet. Gave it a polish when I got home, so she's all ready to go when I am.

Time for a rest. Brothers coming round this evening. Only the 2nd visitor I've had since going sick.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Had some pretty amazingly good news today. Nothing to do with my health mind, this is bike related. much more important :)
Back at the beginning of October, I put my road bike into my LBS for a new stem and handlebar to be fitted after I'd had a bike fitting there. There was also a new chainset to put on. While they were sorting all that out, they discovered 2 cracks in the frame, bummer! I took the bike back to Evans in Manchester and they sent it to Cannondale UK to assess the cracks and see if they'd replace the frame under warranty. I got a call back a couple of weeks later from Evans saying that they would indeed replace the frame, under warranty and FOC, but for an extra £250, I could have the HI-MOD version of the frame, which is essentially the pro bike. I wasn't bothered about getting the top of the range, just that I'd be in possession of a road bike again, god I missed it, so waited until they called to say the bike was in. 
So yesterday, not only did I get the good news that my cancer was smaller and less mobile than at first thought, I also got a call from Evans saying my bike was in and ready for collection, Double bastard good!

Joh went to collect it today, and to both the shops and my surprise, Cannondale had gone and sent the HI-MOD version of the bike FOC. I couldn't believe it. That really cheered me up after the shitty week I've had. 
We dropped it off at Freeride in Disley later today for the new longer stem and wider bar to go on, new chain and chainset and new bar tape. She'll be ready to ride by weekend, which is a pity cause I won't. I'm still sporting a sore stomach from my operation on Tuesday, which makes me look like I've been in a drive by shooting :) 
Hopefully I'll get a little potter out on the bike next week, before the chemo starts. 

Wednesday, 31 October 2012


The laparoscopy yesterday has found a quite different picture to the EUS and CT SCAN.
Dr. Decadt has stated that in his opinion the tumour is in the lower oesophageous and upper stomach. There is no spread to any other organs in the area, particularly the liver, pancreas, heart or lungs. He also reckons its a T3, not a T4 in size, which is operable. He's recommended chemo for 3 months, then if that works to reduce the tumour still further, surgery to remove it.
The MDT team are meeting on Friday where Dr. Decadt will put forward his recommendation.
Good news.

Home now. Spreading the news, and resting. Stomach is sore, but I'm sure I've more of that to come.
Had some great news on my road bike, which has doubly cheered me up today. Pity it hurts to laugh :)

Tuesday, 30 October 2012


Had a nice walk with the dogs this morning. Stopped by the barbers for a haircut, which might of been a waste of money if I start chemotherapy soon.
Nil by mouth from 8am, so had a big breakfast of 2 toast with peanut butter and jam and 2 portions of Quaker oats with extra syrup and yoghurt. Yum.

Got a lovely email from Dave at work and then a call off Barry. Great to hear from you both and everyone's good wishes from work.

On the way to hospital we stopped off to get some new slippers. Nice moccasins.

More than anything in this journey, it's the waiting that's the worse. It'd be ideal if they could say;
Cancer-diagnoses-treatment-cured, in a week, two at most. However, from discovery of the tumour, I've waited for the ct scan then the first meeting to discuss my case then the EUS then the laparoscopy and now sat waiting to go for that. I'm not complaining about the speed of the NHS, because they've been nothing short of amazing in all this, just how long things take to happen. Talking of which, at 18:30 I finally went down for surgery.

Considering I was on the emergency list, I was lucky to get in so quickly.
If you've never had general anaesthetic before, it's a strange sensation. They put a cannula in your hand, a small dose of something to relax you, then the main anaesthetic. I watched the second hand clicking by as I drifted off and only remember 2-3 clicks.
I woke in recovery. My stomach felt like the alien had just burst out of it, done an Irish jig and stomped off! The nurses gave me some pain meds. The alien didn't come back.
Within a short time I was transferred back to the ward where I got as comfy as possible and tried to sleep.
Tomorrow we will have the results

Monday, 29 October 2012

Better or worse?

Went over to Manchester royal infirmary today for an EUS. That's an endoscopy with ultrasound which gives a better picture of what size and spread of cancer I have.
Turns out it's bigger than first diagnosed at T4 with the same lymph nodes affected and a possible spread to the pancreas. It's also now being called stomach cancer, not oesophagus. A more detailed look tomorrow when I have a laparoscopy.
Feel pissed off tonight.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Nice day so far

Had a lovely day today. Nice little ride this morning, dropped my bike off for a service at Freeride bikes in Disley then went for a spot of lunch at the rams head. Picked up my supplements on the way over too. 20 days supply!
Dad and v popped round for a coffee, which was nice.
Bit of tea then a drink this evening in Romiley. Good day.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Decision day

Doctor Ducadt and others will be meeting at the MRI to discuss my next treatment this morning. Meanwhile, I'm trying to decide what exercise to do today. Gym? Bike? Run? Probably all 3 in the gym. After yesterday's performance on my Mtb, I've noticed a definite drop in fitness since my road bike went into the shop.

Gym it was. 30 min cycle, 30 min run and 20 min weights with stomach crunches in between.

Aileen, the specialist nurse from the MRI called at 10:30 with the results of the MDT meeting. This is where everyone involved in my case decides on the next course of action. It's been confirmed that my cancer is T3N1MO, which is apparently good. I was cleaning my Mtb when they called so joh had a chat.They've decided on a few more tests first. PET scan, EUS endoscopy and a laparoscopy. After all that I'll start on chemo to reduce the size of the tumour then eventually surgery to cut the bastard out.
Good news. The battle begins.

Out for dinner today at Osteria Mauro with my bezzy mate Dai Jones. I've been told I've to fatten myself up in preparation for the chemo, so it was carbonara to start:
Followed by sticky toffee pudding and cream, washed down with a nice Peroni. 
Thanks Super :) Owe you a fiver. 

Back home, walk the dogs, wash Toby as he rolled in cow shit (well Joh washed him, I just hosed him down :))
Off to see SKYFALL tonight. 
Monday will see me starving for 8 hours prior to my EUS ENDOSCOPY at the MRI, then Tuesday is the LAPEROSCOPY at Stepping Hill, with the PAT test hopefully by the end of the week. Busy times ahead. 
Thanks for all the messages of support via Twitter and Facebook, email and text, very much appreciated. 

See you all Monday. 

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Not me.

Today started early. Around 03:30 this morning when joh and I woke up. We dozed, had a brew, a little adult cuddle, another brew and some toast and finally another brew and got up.
Joh went to see her dad, I went for a mountain bike ride. I had a route in mind, but ended up going further and climbing more hills. It's been a bit of a dull day, weather wise and indoors, although the views were still nice on the tops.
Got home and went through the usual process after a ride. Had a lovely dinner of spaghetti cheese, very filling.
Bit of a doze this afternoon. Both of us chillin on the sofa with the radio on. Watched rick stein in Asia and decided to go for a curry tonight.
Woke up after the doze and it took a minute to remember I had cancer. Still nowhere near sunk in yet.