Monday, 28 October 2013

Worksop Half Marathon

Its Over
The Big Day came for the Worksop Half Marathon, everything that I had been training for over the past few months comes down to the next 2 hours of effort. My niece, Emily was on the night shift patrolling the streets with Notts Police so was unable to make it so I was on my own. How was I feeling? Well it felt like my cold was almost gone which is surprising after only a week, so it must have been the advice from my On-Line Coach to take Vitamin C and Zinc that shortened the duration but it had cost me valuable training time. I clock a warning on the race instructions, hoping that Sue does not see  it but she does - It says "If you have had a cold or virus in the last 4 weeks it is not advisable to run", "Yes but that is for everyone else, Not me!"
On the day I'm feeling reasonable and when we set off we are all running too fast, it happens, it's the adrenaline and the event. 4 miles in and I'm Ok but know I'm not over my cold, I'm sweating far too much and my legs are like lead weights. Six miles in and the sponge stop is welcome to cool me down. By the nine mile marker I'm beat, not out of breath but legs so tired that I have to walk a short while, which is something that I have NEVER done! At Manton Lodge Nigel and Rachel Jackson are there to cheer me on and raise my spirits (thanks guys) The next three miles are hell with loads of people passing me. 12 miles and its all down hill, and I make some ground but I have lost so much time. As we run down the the finish there is so much support, lots of people that I know, all cheering and the all important sprint finish is there. Sue and Graham are both there to greet me, and I have to say that I'm beat. The last hour was one of the hardest hours of my life but it is over. The time was disappointing with 2.06 being recorded but on the day but I could not have done any better.Up to now I think that I have raised around £900 for Macmillan Cancer support so it has got to have been worth it! Most importantly the event and the training towards it means that it is a major landmark in my physical and mental recovery, many would say that I'm still not of sound mind.
Get In
Back home we have a snack and I'm off  to bed - I'm just so tired in both body and mind, but sleep peacefully and content
We met some people dining in the Parish Oven a few nights ago and they said that Sue and I reminded them of someone they knew to which Sue replied "No that's not possible, there is no one else on the planet like Dale" I will take that as a compliment but I knew what she really meant - "He's a Nutter"
So is this the end of my running - I don't think so, not yet anyway.



Monday, 21 October 2013

Give Me a Break Please!

We have just had a week away in Majorca where I was proud to unveil my stoma free belly and go for my first swim in a couple of years and not that there was much competition for beach bodies at our hotel. Whilst there I also ditched my morning Fybogel, managing reasonably well without and still continuing to do so.
Back home and with just a week to go to the Worksop Half Marathon I came down with a cold (probably caught on the journey home) the first cold in over 2 years. It started on Saturday when I felt the scratchy throat during my run and by Sunday I was as weak as a kitten with a raging temperature but I was still out in the Peak District giving a Walking Group Leader refresher course from which I promptly went straight to bed as soon as I got home. Went straight to bed? It must be Man Flu!! So why now? Months of hard work, training towards this one goal and another curve ball is thrown my way.I can only assume that I'm still being tested in some way but some divinity.
So will I make it to the event? Well after much trawling the internet for advise the consensus of opinion suggests that "If its in the head Go Ahead and If in the Chest then give it a Rest". It hasn't gone to my chest yet and I have 5 days to go so I have time to recover although I doubt fully. When Sunday comes you can be sure that I will be at the start line - it may take a while longer than planned though to cross the finish line.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Walking Group Leader Refresher

I had a day on Kinder Scout today with Chris who was a teacher from Chesterfield. The aim was to brush up on skills prior to his assessment the following weekend. Anyway we started up Blackden Brook navigating to various features using timings, pacing, contours and tick off points. Typically returning from a Mediterranean holiday I have a cold just starting and I'm burning up with a raging fever but this is important so we will carry on. Bits of geology and flora were thrown in to the refresher before reaching the summit plateau. More micro nav took us to Madwoman's Stones followed by more tricky targets during the decent back down to the brook. I think we achieved the goal. Back home I'm showered and straight to bed. This cold is bad news for my Half Marathon in a weeks time.
UPDATE
Chris sent me a text to say that he had taken all of my advice on board and had passed his WGL assessment with the assessor commenting that he was the strongest candidate on the course. Well Done Chris!

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Nurse Led Clinic No1

"Hello Mr Bloomer, we are the team that will be looking after you from now on"
"Hello - I'm sure we will get on well provided you don't want to push anything up my arse"
So that was the introductions over and now down to business. Endless questions from them prompted positive replies with no problems from my side with the exception on my sleep pattern. Nothing to be done there then! A feel of my now nice flat tummy (it's all that training!) followed by a blood test.
"Everything looks good so we will see you in December then"
"That's it!!?"
Knackered after my big run
Obviously sleep is the main issue at the moment but I'm beginning to wonder if it is because I have had enough after 4 or 5 hours. I'm not particularly tired during the day but whacked at 10 in the evening, then I'm up at 4 am writing this blog. Yep I'm mad, the chemo has done something to my brain cells.
So how is the training going for the Half marathon? - In a word GOOD. Yesterday afternoon I managed to knock out a 13 miler, averaging 8.36 minute miles, OK I'm a little achy in my groin but otherwise I'm good however I was ready to stop and couldn't have done much more on the day. I suppose that I'm taking the run today lightly but it is another milestone and the longest run that I have done for about 6 years.
Back to bed now as I'm walking Derwent Edge from Bradfield tomorrow (sorry I mean today!!) with Graham and Andy (oh and Bailey Bear the Labradoodle)

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Just Giving for MacMillan Cancer Support

Its 03.30 in the morning and as usual I'm having trouble sleeping through the night, so rather than just laying there scratching all my bits and bobs (oh yes Bobs not there anymore is he?) I may as well get up and make a brew and catch up on my blog. I have a nurse led clinic this afternoon at the NGHN just to check me over and work is manic which is probably the reason behind some of my insomnia. I have been working hard away from work too running every other day between 4 and 12 miles. My knee problem seems to have settled down so now that my training is going to plan for running the Worksop Half Marathon I've decided to try and use the event as a fundraiser for MacMillan Cancer Support.
Anyone who want to support me can by visiting my Just Giving site http://www.justgiving.com/Dale-Bloomer

Saturday, 21 September 2013

I'm Lost Without a Goal

First of all in order to maintain the theme of my Blog and keep anyone who is vaguely interested up to speed on how I'm doing then I can report that I'm feeling great. My loo habits have settled down to almost normal and I'm only taking 1 Fybogel in a morning along with a low dose Aspirin and a Turmeric tablet. Aspirin because of its ability to protect from strokes and heart attacks, plus new research seems to suggest that it helps stop cancer cells spreading to other organs and I' also taking Turmeric because it is supposed to be a very powerful natural anti inflammatory. The other bit of good news is that the lump that I thought was a hernia has now gone but the stretch on my scar is getting wider - so much for the perfect beach body when I strip off by the pool in Majorca then!!! I had a company medical last week and although the nurse performing it didn't seem to have a clue I came out with a lung age of 38, a resting pulse rate of 51 and borderline high blood pressure which is unsurprising considering I'm at work and in a stressful job. All in all I'm in decent shape, surprisingly good according to the nurse! Although I'm spending lots of time at work, more than usual, I'm still getting out walking at weekends and running 4 or 5 times a week in preparation for the Worksop Half Marathon although I have had a minor set back with a knee injury and I still wake at 02,00 every night but I'm managing to drift back off after half an hour or so. I suppose it is fair to say that I'm more focused now than I have ever been or is that driven?

Thursday, 22 August 2013

What am I trying to Prove?

Had  a letter from my surgeon a couple of weeks ago - Blood test Completely Normal 0.9 therefore you will be referred to the nurse led clinic.
Last October I watched my niece Emily run in the Worksop Half Marathon which is a race that I have run twice before. I promised myself then that if everything went well that I would run it this year with her.
So now I'm in training! I won't say that it has been easy however I have been power-walking to work and back for at least a couple of months so when it came to my first run 4 weeks ago I stepped out of the door for a short jog and surprisingly carried on running and eventually managed a 5 miler. It just goes to show the power of walking! The following 2 weeks I carried on with the same 5 mile circuit along the Chesterfield Canal until I was comfortable enough to push the mileage up 1 mile per week. So I'm now up to seven miles and will be pushing for 8 this weekend which takes me to the Norwood Tunnel portal near Kiveton Park Station and back to Shireoaks. I also need to get that half marathon entry in to make it official!
Sue keeps asking me the question "What are you trying to Prove"? Well I suppose it is a couple of things.

  •  Firstly it means that I'm back feeling fit and as well as I can be for my age of 38! for those that don't know me I'm actually 54. 
  • Secondly it's a bit of throwing down the gauntlet to others who are younger and who haven't been what I have been through to say "well if I can do it then so can you" 
  • Thirdly  it is a message for people who have stage 3 colorectal cancer that you can come out of the other side almost as good as new!
I say almost as good as new because I still occasionally have a few minor issues with frequent visits to the loo and it looks like some of the numbness in my feet and partial loss of sensation in my fingertips will be permanent. A small price to pay is what I say!
So I'm now waiting to meet those lovely nurses at the Northern General Hospital for my first nurse led clinic

Monday, 15 July 2013

Ehhhh - Looking Good

I had an appointment at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield this morning to see my surgeon. It was nice and early 08.40 so to miss the M1 rush hour traffic it was an early start of 07.15 for the 13 mile journey. The usual standing traffic did occur plus that feeling of being in the wrong lane when cars are moving on either side, anyway I eventually got there with 30 minutes to spare but was called into the corridor outside the consulting room almost immediately and just when I had found a national Geographic that I hadn't read! When my turn came to go in it was nice to see the face of my consultant rather than one of the Registrars  however we were not strangers and he hadn't forgotten me. How Could He? I'm the one that gave him the thinning and now slightly grey hair. Whilst looking through my file he noted that all was going very well, that my Colonoscopy was normal (which I already knew) and the best thing of all was that my CAE (Carcinoembryonic antigen)Tumor Markers had actually gone DOWN from 1.9 down to 1.1 - Normal he said was anything below 5 but 1 was very good! So brill news!!!
When he asked if there were any other problem I told him of my lump around where Bob, my Stoma used to be, which I thought was a small hernia. After examining the area he seemed to think it was a stitch and maybe a very small hernia but nothing to worry about.
"I can fix it for you want" he said
"Well what do you think? - Look People trust me in my job and I trust you in yours" I replied,
"I'd leave it and see how it goes"
"OK that's what we will do then. It isn't really causing any major problems, just a little sore now and again." Anyway he said that if it caused further problems then I could get it fixed quickly if I mentioned it at one of my nurse led clinics. So that's it but before leaving the hospital it was another blood test.
I'm supposed to sign off with a POSITIVE after lots of negatives which has caught me off guard this time - Where are the negatives?? - Arghhh it's the reverse BACK TO WORK!!

Thursday, 27 June 2013

A Minor Problem

Just an update on progress so far - well in a nutshell I'm feeling great! I just have a minor problem that I think that I have developed a small hernia where Bob used to be, just at the top of the scar but that was always a risk especially since in the early days of the reversal I did a fair amount of straining. Anyway I'm seeing the Consultant in the middle of July so they can take a look.
Things have settled down with my loo habits provided I take my regular dose of Fybogel and I'm not taking my Loperomide unless I have a really important and long day where I'll be away from a loo. Fitness wise I have walked to work and back most days for the last couple of months which is 2.5 miles there and 3.5 miles back by the scenic route. The best thing is that last week I did my first run since February and banged in a 5 miler straight away and without feeling tired so I must have kept myself pretty fit. last night I did another just to make sure it wasn't a fluke and did it with ease, almost sprinting on the return leg - So is the Worksop Half Marathon and option in October - well yes if my body holds out.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Being violated Again!!!

I'm just preparing to go to the Halamshire Hospital for a follow up colonoscopy.
Last night I took 2 sachets of Kleen Prep each mixed with 1 litre of  water and taken over 2 hours. I knew what would follow so I was prepared with my netbook and the iPlayer placed on the cabinet besides the loo.
I'm busy at work so went in for 2 hours this morning to gather data and copy files so that I could work from home whilst I took the next 2 sachets with another 2 litres of water. Anyway now that I've showered I'm clean on both the outside and inside but also pretty hungry since I have not eaten for 25 hours.
So will my arse be any hairyer and just like last time will I be in agony as I get blown up like a balloon?
I will update later.
UPDATE
OK I'm back home and feeling a little uncomfortable but nothing major. I was promptly dealt with as soon as I arrived and noting that I have the blood pressure of a sixteen year old I was soon on my side with my knees up. I did ask them to be very careful and gentle with me prior to insertion, explaining that I certainly didn't like having my arse tampered with by anyone and I mean anyone! I really don't think the consultant took any notice cos there was a really sharp pain which really startled me and had me gasping on the Entonox. Was it because there was not enough lube or what? I didn't see much on the monitor so I'm not sure if I can live up to the name of Hairy Arsed Climber  - well I'm NOT a climber that's for sure! As the scope got further in it felt like the alien of the film Alien was about to burst out of my chest. By the time I got to view the monitor it was almost all over. I guess it had taken less than 5 minutes compared to the 45 minutes or more the first time around
The result was that everything appeared normal however the pain I suffered was as the scope past the anastomosis (joins in my colon from the op last year) So it looks like everything is going OK for now.
The nurse did warn me that I would probably fart like a trooper but in the recovery room I never did and have not since -
Well what would really cheer me up after that violation? I know - a visit to Meadowhall (thank goodness I wasn't farting) enroute home  and then get stuck in traffic for 30 minutes on the exit slip road!
Never mind it 's the quiz night tonight, I hope they don't forget to pick me up!

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Tip - Don't Miss your Fybogel

Yes that is the lesson that I have learned because I suffer if I miss this added medicinal fiber.
The reason is clear looser motions DO give me clusters especially in a morning but that also makes sense since the Fybogel that I have accidentally missed are prior to the evening meal. So my dose is one sachet in the morning with breakfast and the second at teatime / evening meal.
Otherwise it is going reasonably well - I'm managing to do most of the business in the morning before and after showering which gives me a trouble free day and I'm trying to keep away from foods that give me wind. If I'm out for the day I take just one Loperomide.
Exercise wise I'm walking to work most days - 2.5 mikes there and walk back a longer way via the canal which is about 3.5 miles, plus I'm getting out walking or climbing the odd weekend which can be seen on my other blog.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Please Don't Mess With Me! Please!

Had a consultation yesterday at the Royal Hallamshire. The Registrar checked out my wound and noted that it looked good "And so it should do. Took the staples out myself after brushing up on the technique on Youtube" I said. "You're joking aren't you? You're NOT are you? - Well that's all we do" he replied, laughing.
"We usually do a Colonoscopy at this stage but your Gastrofin looked good so I'm not sure whether we need to do one, or would you like to do your own?"
"Rather you didn't unless it is absolutely necessary"
"Right just a blood test then we will book you in for that Colonoscopy" - Bollocks.
So that's where we are - awaiting another violation of my arse! can't wait!!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Six weeks on

It has been six weeks since I had my reversal and I've been back at work for over a week. My wound has now healed nicely and the skin around it has stopped itching and feels like normal apart from the hollow where Bob used to be.
Exercise wise I have been out winter climbing 3 times which can be seen on my other blog as well as a couple of runs and lots of walking.
Diet - I'm following my plan by taking Fybogel in the morning and again with my early evening meal, plus the prune juice in a morning followed by porridge and a hot drink and with the exception of a couple of mornings I have been getting most the business done before I go to work plus minor motions when I get back home so it's all going nicely. If I'm out for the day and away from loos I have been taking 2 Loperomides which has also worked a treat.
The cluster have almost gone and I will put that down to thickening things up and slowing the food transit by using the Fybogel. I have also found that foods that cause wind also give me cluster motions with nothing to show for them, the most notable food for this of late has been Dates, which I love but I'm keeping away from them in future.
I'm still not back to normal (if I ever will) but it is not controlling or dominating my life. Hopefully there is more improvement to come
I have an appointment with the surgeon at the Halamshire tomorrow so will let you know how I shape up

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Dealing with my reconnected Plumbing

I have been asked to reopen my blog in order to share my experience of the associated problems after an ileostomy reversal when part of the rectum has been removed. These things are quite personal and sometimes embarrassing however I will try to be open and honest. Everything below has been researched through the Internet and the information is there if you are resourceful enough to find it but who knows maybe my story could help by pointing someone in the right direction or by learning from my mistakes.

Email from my consultant - "You are on the waiting list and we will get you in as soon as possible for your ileostomy reversal, If that's what you want!" - Why would I not want a reversal??? Is someone not telling me something?
Yes there is! The constant urge for the toilet and the feeling that you are pushing so hard that you are going to force yourself inside out. But come on, Stay positive, It will get better, won't it?

HOW AM I COPING?
The reasons for the problems that follow are due to the removal of the part of the bowel that stores the waste prior to going to the toilet which means that the re sectioned piece that is is now joined is not capable of storing the usual amount of waste and does not have the same type of nerves to be able to sense the same feelings as before. Having a double resection where part of the normal bowel was also removed means that bowel is shorter therefore motions are more fluid since there is less time for moisture to be absorbed into the body.
So how does one manage looser motions, less capacity and cluster urges?
It's been five weeks since the operation to reverse my ileostomy and at no time had anyone prepared me pre or post operation as to what could be expected and the challenges ahead "Eat normally and it may take a while to settle down" was what I was told as I was discharged from hospital.
The thing that you are not ready for are the Cluster motions where I was visiting the toilet several times an hour and doing very little however the straining and feeling of deification was very real. My first reaction was to visit my GP and ask for laxatives in order to completely clear me out. The GP openly admitted a lack of experience in the matter and gave me what I wanted.
The clusters did not get any better and it is only by researching on the Internet did I find that cluster motions could be reduced by increasing the amount of medicinal fibre in my diet in order to slow down the transit time through the bowel and to make the stools more solid. At the moment the answer to this could be Fybogel which when dissolved in a little water and drank twice a day after meals adds bulk, absorbs liquid and binds food waste together.
Other pieces of research mainly from USA based hospitals suggested bowel retraining so that motions could be released at a predictable time of day and reduced to twice or even once per day. One of the suggested program involves.

  • The introduction of medicinal fibre (as above)
  • Temporary use of imodium or Loperimide to slow the bowel movement down
  • Drinking prune juice
  • Eating a big meal (causes a peristaltic action in the bowel  which moves waste through)
  • Drinking a hot drink (also causes a peristaltic action in the bowel  which moves waste through)
  • Insert a glycerin suppository or if this does not work a Dulcolax suppository
  • Going to the toilet
  • Over a 14 day period reduce the imodium and suppositories
So where am I at the moment?
Well after a few weeks of messing around with no real plan I'm starting to get it together. My feeling is that if I can get myself empty in a morning then it will leave me virtually trouble free for the main part of the day when I'm out and later on this week back at work.
Therefore at the moment I get out of bed then have the following
  • Prune juice
  • Fybogel with a little water
  • Porridge
  • Hot drink
  • Toilet
  • Shower
  • Toilet
  • Brush teeth
  • Toilet - yes and wash my hands each time!
I'm finding that moving around in a morning encourages bowel movements so for me it is important to shower so that the bending and stretching promotes a reaction whilst I'm near the toilet.
I'm managing without suppositories - I just don't want to use them as I'm not one for having things pushed up my arse, however if I'm out for the day away from toilets I take two Loperamide (imodium) tablets with my breakfast and have found that this really works and keeps urges well away for several hours.
Later in the evening I'm going to the toilet again, not very often though, and this is fine for me since reducing toilet times from all day to twice a day is really acceptable.
I'm having a fair amount of wind at the moment which I cannot or don't want to hold in but this could be down to getting used to the Fybogel.
So although I'm having some good days I also have a few bad days especially when my motions are loose and / or when I'm close to the toilet. Being close to a toilet encourages me to go at the slightest urge rather that wait and hold myself. It may also be psychological.
I'll keep posting to keep anyone who is going through this informed.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

2 Weeks Post Bob


Well it has been 2 weeks since Bob (my stoma) and I parted after exactly 11 months together.
Removal of staples
Back at home my bowel movements are taking some settling down and I have been having the urge very frequently however with not much to show for them. It's OK in bed and whilst I'm sat but once I'm up and moving it is wicked. I'm doing loads of pelvic floor exercises but it isn't making much difference.
Day 10 was supposed to be the day that the District nurse was supposed to come and remove my wound staples however she did not materialise so I set about removing them myself after a quick recap on You Tube.
It was pretty easy and don't know what all the fuss is about.
I have been out most days for walks including a trip into the Peak District yesterday. Whilst I'm out walking and talking the urge is mostly at bay, so is it a mental thing?
Where has Bob gone?
Anyway I'm going to start to eat lots of fiber to see if that improves things or makes things worse however I am aware that it could take several months to get anywhere near back to normal.
So since the news of a clear scan, has my outlook on life changed? No I don't think it has really. I always had a positive "Can Do" attitude and I think that this has helped a lot. Have I learnt anything about myself - No not really! probably just confirmed what I already knew.
What Now? Well I have another 2 weeks off work and I'm intending making full use of it in the outdoors plus I'm at risk of a hernia around my wound area so I'm going to have to go steady with the exercise for a couple more months. Meanwhile hopefully my toilet habits will settle.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

The Last Post

Saturday 23rd am - 03.30
I suppose that I'm at the end of the journey with only one final part of the jigsaw to put in place which is What does the Future Hold?
Well the good news is that just before leaving NGH I found out from Rena the surgeon that my CT scans were  clear which earned her a nice big kiss - so the prognosis is good. This news was soon relayed around with one text message to multiple contacts "Scan is ALL CLEAR, Yippee" From then on the phone was manic.
There will be some follow up checks (I hope) just to make sure we remain that way.

Inserted update from our poet laureate John Swinglehurst (26 th February) He got up bright and early to write this (well early) so we hope you appreciate it for what it is.
Bobs gone home back to his zone
Now our Dale can sup lots of ale
So he can have the pleasure of farting at his leisure
The scan is clear so let us cheer with a glass of beer
The summits gained so let us hope things level off to a slope.
Eat your heart out Ted Hughes

You know looking back over the past year and having gotten away with it I wouldn't change a single thing. I don't regret having cancer or the months that followed having chemotherapy. I have met some wonderful people that have been both inspirational and for me life changing. I don't need to tell you all individually that you are fantastic - You all know who you are.
If anyone of the people involved below reads this blog then I want to thank
My Family and friends - I love you all so much and again you know who you are
Northern General Hospital Staff
Weston Park Hospital Staff
Friends and colleagues at work which certainly includes the shop floor lads.

I could not have done it without you all

This one has a happy ending but there are so many that do not. If you can afford it and every little helps then Please support any of the following in whatever way you are able- Cancer Research, Weston Park Hospital and McMillan Cancer Care. You can do this on www.Justgivging.com or by collection boxes or whatever

Friday, 22 February 2013

R.I.P Bob

Wednesday 20th February
I'm Theatre Admissions Unit bang on time (07.00)and given a bay with a bed. The lady surgeon came to see me to explain the op and risks. I think that she was a bit taken back and laughed when I told her that I had seen the operation on YouTube and if she needed help with it then to give me a nudge. She said that I was first on the list and that I would be having it done in about an hours time. 2 hours later I'm still there then There is a call to get me gowned up quickly. In the anaesthetic room a nurse wrestles with my arm whilst the anaesthetist taps the back of my hand for a vein. Cannula inserted followed by the mask, drugs and a stinging pain where the drugs are going in.

I'm off on the final leg of the journey.

I awake in recovery and feel for old Bob. Oh dear he's gone! It's about 2 pm and I'm remarkably alert and wheeled off to the ward, crashing en-route into the lift door "Ouch". Sorry!
It's good that I've no tubes going to my private parts or anywhere else this time and considering I have just had a fairly traumatic operation I feel champion. The rest of the afternoon is spent just laying there with my mind just drifting from one place to another until my belongings come and I can start letting folks know that I'm ok by sending a round robin text. "R.I.P Bob. Nice flat Tum. Feelin Good. Love D". That covers everyone including our Anne with the D  for Dad.   From then on the texts are endless from well wishers. I look around and come to the conclusion that I'm too young to be in a ward of geriatrics I really should be with people more of my own mental age - that's right the teenagers! A mug of hot choc before bedtime.
It's a restless night with the shuffling noises, grunts, groans and coughs and I listen to my IPod most of the time. I'm comfortable with the back rest up and slightly raised knees managing maybe a combined total of  about an hours sleep.

Sent from my iPod


Thursday

I'm feeling a bit sickly but get up, washed and dressed and check out my nice flat tummy in the mirror Yes I can see that the Mad Shagger is still in there somewhere behind that mask. Back in my seat I almost vomit but the strain on my stomach is immense and I just manage to control it, not that there would be anything to bring up. Later Rena the surgeon calls around to say that in the end she managed the op without the need for my help after all and that once I have passed a trump or something more then I could go home. I've not eaten anything and my bowel was already empty so something more could be a few days.We will just have to try for the trump then. For lunch I have a small piece of flapjack with custard and then it is visiting time. Anne first then Sue and Graham. It's good to see them all
Tea is a bit of tagliatelle and a small spoon of rice pudding/ at this rate I won't be home until Christmas if I have to pass a motion
The nurses on Firth 3 are amazing and some remember me from last time, right at the beginning including the beautiful Maxine who is one of the stoma nurses. She gave me lots of compassion and looked after me and Bob when I was really ill just after my first operation.
My sister Kay visits in the evening and brings some marzipan bars and a bottle of aftershave from our Cheryl. That night is the worst ever. The old chap opposite is constantly calling for the nurse and is having trouble breathing, peeing and everything else, the guy in the next bed has his TV on loud until 1.30 then starts snoring. The other old chap opposite is talking and shouting in his sleep and to top it off the guy to my right is changing his ostomy bag so there is an awful smell. The aftershave does little to mask the unpleasantness but he cannot help it. Looking around I'm the youngest and fittest there.  I think I'm past sleep

Friday

The magic fart came at 04.54 followed bay another at 05.04 followed by another at 05.14. Yes I'm that reliable and always have been a good timekeeper. At 05.30 I'm shuffling out of bed, holding my wound from the strain and toddle over to the shower room. Wow it's great just to shower without having to wash around my pouch but there is a slight hollow under my dressing where Bob used to be. I'll never forget him, how can I when I will have the 3 inch scar to remind me
Yes the Mad Shagger is closer to the surface now than he has been for the past year.
A spoon of porridge and just half a slice of toast is all I want for breakfast.
Just before lunch my dear friend Helen pops out of work to see me. You know that warm feeling you get sat beside the fire on a cold winter day? That's Helen, She radiates warmth and you can see why she is so good at her job. Now I'm at the end I'll miss her.
Anyway time for home after only 1 full day in hospital. Who is this Superman? or if you take Helen's side then anyone who compares me with Superman clearly has a sense of humour!


Sent from my iPod

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

The Last Supper

Early Morning on Wednesday 20th
Well I didn't get that dreaded cancellation call yesterday so it's all systems go and I'm up at 4am to give myself time to get sorted and to prompt Bob to finish working on the last supper. I made it easy for him yesterday teatime choosing a low fibre meal of pasta and pesto. My brother and pal Phil will be picking me up around 06.15 to get me over to NGH nice and early.
The last Supper
I had loads of phone calls yesterday plus loads of well wishers knocking at my office door.
My old mate Graham who has stuck with me the whole way through came to visit and persuaded me (arm up my back stuff) against my will and the advise of others to go for that last pint - only one mind you and it was nice and early in the evening. In fact being honest it was my idea. And to top it off it was Jane who was on duty so there was plenty of banter. I suppose it sounds like I'm a bit of a boozer but that's far from the truth. I like to have the occasional beer with friends because it's the ideal atmosphere to talk and let my hair down which is growing back reasonably well I might add
Bob
I suppose it's a shame that the old lad is going (Bob that is and not Graham) because he's in decent nick at the moment and behaving pretty good. He's not sore or anything like that but he still gets in the way and he's still stopping me from getting a decent nights kip.
So the plan for today is to get showered and trimmed where it matters, make sure Bob is nice and clean and quiet, clean undies, splash some of the old Old Spice on, get there, book in and settle down and take whatever comes with loads of enthusiasm.
That Old Mountain Goat Graham
(looking very serious and hot in that big coat)
 He has stuck with me for the past 30 years
Obviously I'm going to be out of action for a few days but my plan will be to get up Thursday, washed, dressed, hair washed and ready for a roam around however in the past I haven't always shaped up well with the anaesthetic so we will see. How long am I going to be in? well 3 - 5 days and maybe they will want to see some movement from the rear prior to release. At the minute I'm not looking forward to that because it has been so long since I had that urge.
I'll make some notes on my ipod and load them up when I get out



Sunday, 17 February 2013

Bob's Final Fling Take 2

Early morning 17th February
Yes It's still nightime



It's 3am, I'm on my third mug of tea, listening to my ipod and blogging. I think that this business of getting up in the middle of the night has just become a habit but I quite enjoy these stolen moments provided it doesn't wipe me out for the following day that is.

So could next Wednesday be 3rd time lucky for my ileostomy reversal operation? Well my money is on for it to go ahead this time so Graham and I nipped into the Peak District for a walk onto Derwent Edge via Agden Rocher from Low Bradfield.
My recovery from Chemotherapy must almost be complete because the ascent up to High Bradfield and on onto the moors went like a dream, never out of breath and feeling champion. We spent a bit of time checking out the crag at Agden Rocher  with a view to returning in the spring when I have recovered from having my internal plumbing put back together. Surprisingly there was still plenty of snow around on the moors from Dukes Road over to Back Tor which made the 13 mile circular tough going walking through tussocky heather rather than the snow covered paths but it was a good test for my fitness. The weather was fantastic, just how we like it in winter with clear, sunny skies. Back at the car I feel as fit as a butcher's dog and mentally topped up ready for the next step.
There is still no news about the results of my scan so there are still some uncertainties about my future. I'm confident they will be fine but also semi prepared for bad news.
It is going to be an interesting couple of weeks.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

CT Scan and New Operation Date all in One Day

Thursday 7th February
It has been a week of Ups and Downs, last Saturday in particular with lots of ups and downs walking the Castleton Skyline with my little girl Anne, her boyfriend Chris and my old mate Graham. The big down though was my Lumix TZ3 camera packing up with a blank viewfinder screen so the photo below was just a guess - not bad eh.
So yeh, I'm feeling pretty good with the exception of the finger numbness and almost ready for a day on The Ben. (Nevis that is)
Back Tor and Loose Hill
Today I have been to the Northern General Hospital for a 'Thorax , Abdo and Pelvis CT Scan with Contrast' (Computer Tomography) to see if any stray cancer cells have set up new homes in any of my organs (Metastasis), the results of which should be known in a couple of weeks. Stressful? - Well I'm trying not to think about it. Worrying about things that you have no control over is counter productive and for me no news is good news and that's proberbly why I wasn't overly concerned about the late scan, however I have put off buying that £350 replacement camera until I find out the results. No point wasting money is there? Plan for the Worst and Hope for the Best. During my visit to the hospital I also got to meet up with my pal Helen who supported me throughout my chemotherapy treatment and has just moved over from Weston Park Hospital. Strange I know, but I miss the routine and bonds that are built up during the fortnightly visits to Weston Park so it was lovely to see her again. I suppose it's a bit like the weekly meetings of local Women's Institute but we had Chemotherapy and not Tea and Biscuits. Sorry I mean chemotherapy with tea and biscuits
With such an early appointment I was back at work by 09.45

NEW OPERATION DATE No3
So to top the day off with another UP, I have had another operation date offered for the 20th of February. As the old saying goes 'I've heard Ducks fart Before' - and I haven't heard me fart for almost a year!
The news didn't even make Bob flinch this time.

UPDATE 12/02/13
Well I needed that new camera for recording the outdoorsy part of my life and I want to capture as much as I can (they also add a sparkle to the blog) so I bought an updated version of my old Lumix yesterday the TZ30. I had loads of use from my old one and it didn't owe me a thing. This new one has a lot of gimmicky bits and I'm hoping to try it out this weekend  before I go in (maybe) on the hills around Derwent Edge. Anyway the adventure that I have been on this last 12 months puts a few quid into perspective. 
Later during the evening Dave Wright, my old climbing and kayaking mate came over from the other end of Sheffield to see me. He's moving house next week just over the border into Scotland. he dropped me off a couple of old photos taken when we climbed Troutdale Pinnacle in the Lake District. he's been with me all the way following this blog, I'll miss him being so close.
The traverse before the crux on the far wall
Me belaying, sat on the pinnacle


Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Op Cancelled Yet Again

That's Right - cancelled again! No Beds.
I had a dream last night that Bob had started his own petition to save himself, encouraging loads of people, most of whom were at my Birthday Bash, to march with placards outside Downing Street. The "SAVE OUR BOB" campaign or "SOB" for short, drew huge crowds, the National press and a statement read in front of No10 by my mate Ducko (aka Graham Duckmanton) supporting Bob's cause.
Anyway I awoke in a sweat with Bob's pouch full of wind and almost at bursting point. Must have been the the casserole we had for tea and luckily it was a dream. Or was it a premonition?

So believe it or not I was prepared for the news and would have been more surprised if it had gone ahead. Logically it was never going to happen with all the snow and ice around and people falling over, A&E admissions would be through the roof. Next time I'll offer to bring in an air bed and duvet.
Never mind at least during the conversation it gave me the opportunity to give them a nudge about my follow up CT Scan which is now being arranged.
UPDATE
At least the reprieve has given me a chance to build a Snow WOMAN before it all melted
Note that the boobs were modelled on our Sue's from what I could remember the last time I saw them many years ago


Saturday, 19 January 2013

Another Date for my Op but not Holding My Breath

I have just had another date through for my operation which is 24th January with the proviso that it could get cancelled due to A&E admissions or ward closures with Norovirus so I'm not holding my breath. I will only believe it when the needle goes in and I awake without my little friend Bob.
The view over to Lindrick from our back door
It has been a tough few weeks at work, working long hours and under enormous stress, making difficult decisions that affect employees lives when most cancer survivors would still be off work recuperating. Obviously being under such extreme duress, sleep has been difficult but hopefully I can get things wrapped up before I go off again.
The thing that I have learnt over the past year is that many things in life aren't fair and if you think that you are bad off then go to Weston Park and take a look. We just have to do the best we can.
I've had a slightly sore throat and a bit of a blocked nose over the past few days but it doesn't seem to be coming to anything, on the other hand this morning I may have strained the weak part of my stomach where Bob comes through the muscle wall, whilst shovelling snow. Will I ever learn? Hopefully it may all get sorted next week meanwhile I'm going to keep my fingers crossed, cabin up and take it easy for the rest of the weekend.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Operation Cancelled

Well if I want my operation to go ahead tomorrow then it looks like I would have to sterilize the kitchen table and do it myself. So yes it has been cancelled only 15 hours before I was due to be there. Looks like it is something to do with norovirus and no spare beds but other than that I don't know any more.
Yep I am disappointed especially since my first operation to remove the cancer got cancelled back in March and had to be rescheduled, so I suppose I should be used to having my hopes dashed and maybe should have expected it even at this short notice. So Bob has had a reprieve for now and I have to scrape the bottom of the barrel for another positive in order to keep my chin up - What is it? Oh yes that's it, I can go to the pub quiz tomorrow night instead.
I've come to the conclusion that Madness is the ability to go from one disappointment to another and still remain optimistic.
So it's business as usual until I get another date.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Bob's Final Fling

The last two mornings Bob has been unusually small in size having retracted back a fair way into my tummy and looking a bit like a button - He must know what is coming on Thursday. I have watched the procedure on YouTube and it looks so simple that I reckon that I could do it myself if I had an extra pair of hands, check it out yourself "Closure of Loop Ileostomy" So it looks like I will be out of action for a while with 3 - 5 days in hospital followed by a recommended 2-3 months off work however I'm intending getting back after just 1 month. Getting Bob in the first place was life changing just as getting rid of him will be and it will take time to adjust I'm sure. One one hand I will be glad that I don't have to tend to him by cleaning, changing and emptying but on the other hand I feel apprehensive about the return of the urge. Sounds strange I know! The operation itself doesn't bother me in the slightest, it's no different to going to the dentist and I know I will be well looked after by the best.
The lads at Arbor Low

Saturday I took the opportunity to have my last decent walk in the Peak with Graham, John and David. It was OK, not much of a roughty toughty, hairy arsed mountaineers walk but good socially especially when doing a survey with passers by on the likability of Marzipan. Eventually Marzipan won by 7 to 4 with the last votes being collected in the Gate Inn near Cutthorpe whilst having a pint. Anyway I felt really good, almost like my old self, in fact there seems to be a slight improvement in the numbness in my finger ends.
I need to report to the NGH Theatre Admissions at 07.00 on Thursday ready for the operation, So the plan from now on is to tie up the loose ends at work, go steady on what I eat on Wednesday and get up at 04.00 for a shower and so that Bob is nice and quiet before our Phil picks me up.
I'll make some blog notes whilst I'm in hospital and post them when I'm back at home.