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 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


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


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
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

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