Friday, 20 August 2010

costa del aboyne

One of my meds has run its course and I'm not going to be asking them to renew it. Furosemide was diagnosed because of the edema in my legs and whilst my weight is around 79kgs, the leg bloating has reduced greatly. But this last month has been awful for dizziness and i haven't been able to exercise due to this. With the end to this course I hope to become more active.

My sister, Kate, is currently visiting Aboyne Manor and she's brought the good weather! A few roasters have seen a lot of time in the garden and a lot of time on the bikes! Poor Kali suffers in the heat at times, but still loves lounging outside then inside on the rainy days.

On the rainy days, I have spent them in the garage. I stripped the brakes and now they are far better than they were on the Sprint. It got its MOT this week, no problems in passing.

We are off to Wales soon to see some relatives and enjoy the Gower coastline. Really looking forward to that. Just wishing I could take the bike, but until we get asidecar for the dog it's not feasible ; )

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Aboyne Highland Games

It has been a busy weekend at Aboyne Manor. Last week wasn't the best as i was tired a lot and my blood pressure must have been high. Just going up the stairs was causing my legs to burn. I didn't exercise much at all.

I gave blood and had urine checks to measure the albumin levels - effectively my kidney function. I expect to hear back if there is anything of concern, but no news is good news. I have dropped a kilo which I believe is a result of the water tablet, which i also think is causing a certain amount of giddyness.

I have had several runs on the bike which certainly lifted the spirits and, while i get used to the Speed I cleaned the Sprint t0 a degree I haven't done before. That too is running sweet.

At the weekend it was the Aboyne Highland Games and a great weekend it was too. We had several people staying at the house and we all attended the games, had a great meal and a wonderful time.

Friday, 6 August 2010

To be or not to be– that is the question

I have been asked to help a Major Drugs company lobby the Scottish Government to make a certain drug available on the NHS. More about this will be discussed later on this year, however I mention it now in qualification in my comment on this article in the Independant today.

The spin by recent politicians to put Cancer treatment at the top of their list may make a nice cheap soundbite but the reality is that, in an environment of cuts, cuts and more cuts, that its nothing but patronising bs.

There are people who do not have access to funding who will be denied the treatment that could be part of the recipe towards their survival. These are not lazy b*ggers who couldn't be bothered to work or whatever other cheap attack may be used to portray them,. These include people who give up their selfishness to care for elderly, handicapped or sick relations. People who have worked in low paid industry on the back of which fat cats in the City may have made a fortune on spread betting.

I do not want to be part of a society that sees a seperatist system based on financial privilege concerned in at least the treatment of health.

If the politicians are serious they should also be looking at the profit margins pursued by drug companies which pushes the prices soaringly high during the period of patent.

I'll certainly make politicians aware that I was lucky to get treatment that, along with the attitude discussed throughout this blog, took me towards cure. I'll tell them I'm still struggling with the toxicity of that drug but at least I'm alive with a quality of life to pursue. I'll tell them to stop taking the free lunches and gifts and start taking the subject seriously, rather than a flippant press attractive bit of spin.

To be or not to be– that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And, by opposing, end them. To die, to sleep
No more – and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to – ‘tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep
To sleep, perchance to dream. Ay, there's the rub,
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th’ oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of disprized love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th’ unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country from whose bourn
No traveler returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.—Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remembered.

Thursday, 5 August 2010


Blood pressure is still high and kidney function playing up so i wont be enjoying these thee little beauties right now. If I go up the stairs I feel fatigued and I had to take breaks whilst mowing the lawn this afternoon.

Saying that I rode the bike into Aberdeen and back this morning and then cleaned it's chain and rear chain ring, so I've had a full-on day with no catnap! It's the Highland Games weekend and we will have visitors at the house, so I look forward to the company!

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Zen and the Art of Motorcycles

Last Tuesday I went to teach my class. As I was in early, I got one of the lads to hold the focus mitts for me and did three rounds of hands. Everything came together and I was quite happy with them, looking to increase speed and endurance over the next month!

Wednesday saw me visit an old friend in Bridge of Don where I lived before our move to Aboyne. Kali enjoyed the reunion with doggy pals and the walk around the moor that she grew up in!

Thursday night I caught a train down to Edinburgh, staying overnight in a fleapit of a hotel. I went as light as possible, with my leathers and helmet. It was a muggy night and the window had to stay closed due to the noise of the silly season in the capitals streets. I was absolutely knackered but could I get a decent sleep? No! Maybe it was because I felt like a little boy on Christmas eve?

First thing in the morning I jumped into a taxi and got to the shop just as it opened. I was served a cuppa and we went through the necessary paperwork and then I was handed the keys and left to my own devices.

I drove down to the bypass, feeling the new bike out, over the Forth bridge and up the motorway to Perth, all with a relative ease as long as i stayed below a certain 'alleged' speed where the wind became too uncomfortable. After Perth it was all A roads and that's when i knew I had a beauty of a beast.

Stopping for refreshment at the cafe at the Glenshee cafe, where the ski resort is, it didn't take long before i was winding through the Deeside roads I knew well and arriving home with a huge grin on my face. The ease of the bikes effort and its ability to corner effortlessly saw me home in a manner I wasn't used to!

With the weeks events so far I had to spend a good deal of the next day in bed.

Having taught the children's class on the Saturday morning, I came home accompanied by my son for a weekend of drizzle which spoiled the plans for messing about in the garden. Had a nice meal down at the local pub, watched a movie on DVD and generally chilled out.

We walked around part of Loch Kinord on the Sunday, getting somewhat wet on the latter part. It' great to see Kali on new walks as she really does enjoy it and was often jumping into the Loch for a drink. Her fear of water has really gone now. In the evening I dropped Perry off in Aberdeen where Caz and I went to see the film Inception. Very good film.

I've been sleeping in the late mornings for the last few days, although it is doing me good. i still have the edema and they are looking hard at my kidney function which still hasn't returned to full working order. After today's snooze, I look forward to teaching tonight and the weekend brings the Highland Games to our village, when we will also be guests to visiting friends.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Triple Visitors

Loch Kinord
Thursdays clinic visit had a couple of repercussions I can live with. Healthwise, everything was fine although my blood pressure does remain high. It's funny because I parked the car and was feeling great but as I walked in through the entrance just below the ward I was in, I felt my stomach tense up and the stress coming on. I think my BP reading was high because of that.

The edema was talked about and I have water tablets to help. A week later and it doesn't seem to have made much of an impact. I've been tired since the trip down and really could do with a long sleep. My weight has been steady at 79.4kgs but I look like I've filled out. I've been feeling a little bit low and quite ratty. I really need to get focused again on my praxis.

The other repercussion is that I went for a test drive and will soon have a new bike to play with.

Boys love their toys!
The Triumph Speed Triple is a 1050 triple that has been top of the naked's in virtually every motorbike publication for the last 5 years. It's still there, but the one in the photo will be with me for a run soon. Hey! It's a sign when the Triumph dealer is next to the clinic!

It's a dogs life!

We have had some visitors at Aboyne manor recently. Hilary and Darren were up with their daughter Elle at the weekend and popped out with Tracey for a pot of tea on a hot sunny Friday. Then this afternoon, Paul came out with his son James and were a welcome sight on a drizzly afternoon! An old friend and an AMAG black belt is up visiting this week and will be popping out on Wednesday before heading up to Shetland to visit family.

This months Combat magazine, the July issue has an interview with yours truely. I think editing has altered it a bit and i think it was done about a year ago, but it's good to see it get in there!

I've had to monitor the comments to stop the prat who keeps posting Asian p o r n site links.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

I will be...

"First, say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do." – Epictetus

I saw the works Doctor last week as an initial assessment in order to return to work. She has requested info from the Liver Transplant unit and I see her in 3 weeks time in order to, hopefully, return to work on a part time basis. She wants my blood pressure to drop as well which does sit rather high. In the meantime I can enjoy the rest of the summer, free from the office!

This week the weather has been rather wet, which has seen me in the house a lot more. At one point I started to go stir crazy. I've pottered about with the motorbike, taking the fairing off and on several times. The weather has improved for the weekend which is a blessing.

go on! fall off!

Caz got a new bicycle last weekend, so on the Sunday we both rode to the shops with Kali running alongside. The first experience Kali had with me on the bike was just when I'd put new Shimano clips on and they weren't quite right. When I stopped, i tried to take my foot out and of course it wouldn't release, resulting in a fall to the ground. This amused Kali who licked me all over my face and since then she's associated the bike with fun and runs enthusiastically alongside, forever hopeful of another fall!

She slept for the rest of the day, exhausted.

Ive been exercising more, putting in some 30 minute sessions on my Spinning bike and the other day I did some swings with the kettlebells. It's been a mixed week where I have one day felt good and the next been under the weather. i have been sleeping heavily but I still get up at a decent time and have walked the dog a lot. I'm still carrying fluid though and sitting at 79.8kgs. I hope this will get rectified with the clinic visit this Thursday.

Cherry's from our tree

Can i give a heads up to two Mac experts who have given me advice from the goodness of the hearts through twitter.
First Jon Bradbury who is located in Chesterfield and runs Bramley computers. He does Apple Mac repairs and is a keen amateur photographer & car nut. keep an eye on his ebay shop for some bargains.
Secondly, the Mac Doctor, who for anyone in the London area should be your first call.
Thanks you two for the advise you give unselfishly!

The thinker is not separate from the thought - JKOnline Daily Quotes

The thinker is not separate from the thought


Is it possible not to name a feeling? Because, by calling a particular feeling `anger', `fear', `jealousy', we have given it strength, have we not? We have fixed it. The very naming is a process of confirming that feeling, giving it strength, and therefore enclosing it in memory. Observe it and you will see. It is possible to be free fundamentally only when the process of naming is understood - naming being terming, symbolizing, which is the action of memory; because memory is the `you'.

Without your memory, without your experiences, the `you' is not; and the mind clings to those experiences as essential in order to be secure. So, we cultivate memory, which is experience, knowledge, and through that process we hope to control the reactions and feelings which we call distortions. If we would be free of any particular quality, we must understand the whole process of the thinker and the thought, we must see the truth that the thinker is not separate from thought, but that they are a single, unitary process. If you actually realize that, you will see what an extraordinary revolution takes place in your life.

By revolution I do not mean economic revolution, which is no revolution at all, but merely a modified continuity of what is. But when the thinker realizes that he is not different from thought, then you will see that radically, deeply, there is an extraordinary transformation; because, then there is only the fact of thought, and not the translation of that fact to suit the thinker. - New York 1st Public Talk 4th June 1950 Collected Works, Volume 6

Sunday, 11 July 2010


May I send congratulations to two couples who have chosen to express their love this weekend.

Firstly Dave and Mira, former students at AMAG who now live in Norway announced their engagement whilst high up in the mountains. Dave was a great student, an instructor and a fighter at AMAG and is greatly missed.

Secondly, my Sifu and friend, Marc McFann has just announced his engagement to Jennifer, who recently travelled with Marc on his February visit. To say he was doted on her would be an understatement.

To you both, our BEST wishes!

Stripping away

Change comes from within. You can join all the protests groups in the world campaign for peace or seek security through arming yourself, but UNTIL you deal with the issues within yourself you will not achieve the changes around you.

I had a heated discussion with someone recently. It was heated for him but not me. The reason being is that the person perceived something in a way that was rooted in his own insecurity, his own fear and so that emanated to the perception of what was happening around him. Therefore his heightened anxiety coloured everything that was being seen only through his extreme anxious perspective. Stress is what the doctors tag it as.

Some of the most conflict ridden people I ever met were on the peace camps in the early 80's. Somewhat of a paradox but an important lesson for me, in that it's not just what you do but what you do with emotion behind it. So if your a pacifist and want to see peace in the world around you, then unless there is peace within yourself, it's simply not going to happen.

Somewhat bizarrely, some of the most capably violent people that I have met in my martial arts career are also the most peaceful people, devoid of conflict within themselves.

This leads me to the conclusion that violence is not the act itself, but the emotion behind the act. I can react to an attack without being 'violent' even if I strike and incapacitate my foe. Yet I do not have to actually throw a strike in order to be violent and create fear in others.

What this means is that what is around us emanates from within us. If there is chaos around our life, its a result of confusion within us. If there is shouting and anger, its eminating from conflict in ourselves.

Conflict is a result of imbalance. A tumor is a result of an imbalance in cells, between the alkalinity and acidity. So balance is very important to our well being and our perception of the world.

Now, when i think of those I know who join every protest group there is, I wonder why they keep accumulating as it seems to clutter up everything. What it would seem to need is simplification, core work that strips away the unnecessary. Now you put this concept into your fitness regime, your martial arts (where its simply Jeet Kune Do) and therefore in your life and you'll be you and you'll be certain and you'll not be confused and be much happier.

I recall Gary Snyder in Turtle Island talking about how work should not be separated from play. Once there's separation there is conflict. Theres only one opprtunity to live life, so dont spend a huge amount of it doing things you really don't want to do. Be unified, be at peace!

Is there a Divine Plan?

Question: Is there, or is there not, a Divine Plan? What is the sense of our striving if there is not one?

Krishnamurti: Why do we strive? And what are we striving after? What would happen if we did not strive? Would we stagnate and decay? What is this constant striving to be something? What does this strife, this effort, indicate? And, does understanding come through effort, through striving?

One is constantly striving to become better, to change oneself, to fit oneself to a certain pattern, to become something - from the clerk to the manager, from the manager to the divine. And, does this striving bring understanding?

I think the question of effort should really be understood. What is it that is making the effort, and what do we mean by "the will to be"? We make an effort, do we not?, in order to achieve a result, in order to become better, in order to be more virtuous, or less of Something else. There is this constant battle going on in us between positive and negative desires, one superseding the other, one desire controlling the other - only we call it the higher and the lower self. But, obviously, it is still desire. You can place it at any level, and give it a different name; it is still desire, a craving to be something.

There is also the constant strife within oneself and with others, with society. Now, does this conflict of desires bring understanding? Does the conflict of opposites, the want and the non-want, bring clarification? And is there understanding in the struggle to approximate ourselves to an idea? So, the problem is not the strife, the struggle, or what would happen if we did not struggle, if we did not make an effort, if we did not strive to be something, psychologically as well as outwardly; the problem is, how does understanding come into being? Because, when once there is understanding, there is no strife.

What you understand, of that you are free. How does understanding come into being? I do not know if you have ever noticed that the more you struggle to understand, the less you understand any problem. But, the moment you cease to struggle and let the problem tell you the whole story, give all its significance - then there is understanding; which means, obviously, that to understand, the mind must be quiet. The mind must be choicelessly, passively, aware; and in that state, there is understanding of the many problems of our life.

The questioner wants to know if there is, or if there is not, a Divine Plan. I do not know what you mean by a "Divine Plan." But we do know, do we not?, that we are in sorrow, that we are in confusion, that confusion and sorrow are ever on the increase, socially, psychologically, individually and collectively. It is what we have made of this world. Whether there is a Divine Plan or not, is not important at all. But what is important is, to understand the confusion in which we live, outwardly as well as inwardly. And to understand that confusion, we must begin, obviously, with ourselves - because we are confusion; it is we who have produced this outward confusion in the world. And to clear up that confusion, we must begin with ourselves; because, what we are, the world is.

London 4th Public Talk 23rd October 1949

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

The Chai experience

Ajarn Chai teaches in Northampton every year

I caught the flight down from Aberdeen to Birmingham on Friday morning, hiring a car to get to Ewen's house for the Thai Boxing Association UK's annual seminar with Ajarn Sirachai Sirisute. As an Associate Instructor and Scottish Director, even though I couldn't participate physically I was determined to be there and I really felt up for it.

Sairs, Bill, Richy and Chris listen attentively during the Krabbi Krabong session.

We all went out for a meal at night at a local Indian restaurant, and I managed to get to sleep at a decent hour so was refreshed for the Saturday. That begun with Fraser Kyne teaching a grappling session. An experienced instructor and Full instructor and Black belt in the UFA, Fraser's session was excellent and enjoyed by all. That paved the way for Ajarn's session that was technical and excellent. Four hours plus later we were heading off to eat at a local buffet restaurant for a well deserved meal.

Sunday started off with Krabbi Krabong with Bob Spour. This was a well received session that saw a demo at the end recreating a battle scene! Grins were evident on every one's face!! Ajarn then took over raising the pace from the day before and keeping it very technical. The day was finished with Chris Moir, still living off the adrenaline of winning the Last Man Standing competition, sitting his TBA test. This involves scrutiny over the two days, showing his form, technique, Ram Muay and two rounds of hell!

Seven or so years ago, a young guy walked into my class and started training. He applied himself and here he was achieving yet another goal in a year of great achievement for him. This is what AMAG is all about and a moment of pride for me.

Ewen and Bob on Sunday morning

During the day i had some pain in the back that was, I believe, muscular. There were no pain killers so i took a low dose of Ibuprofen that was all that was available. This wasn't a good idea and Ive had a reaction in the side affect of bloating. I went from 75kgs up to 80, and today I was down to 87.5. My legs are showing signs of Edema. I was tired after the weekend and this wasn't helping.

I saw this in the paper about Young Cancer Victims blogs. It's great to see young people standing up and fighting their affliction!

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Back teaching!

Kali's birthday! 8 today!

Last night I taught my first class official. I have taught a couple of one off classes but this is me back to the regular timetable. I feel energised partly due to having two medicines taken off my intake. I have been on the mountain bike and have been more active. I still get tired but I'm doing more. The only way is up!

This weekend I head off to Northampton to attend a seminar with Ajarn Chai. The US based Thai Boxing coach is an annual event and I learn so much. It amazes me that its not better attended and I see people with his badge on their tee shirts but I never see them attend. Isn't that silly!

Teaching at XTS

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Sams birthday

Sam blows the nine candles out!

I took off to Edinburgh on Wednesday at midday in order to take my time. I hadn't driven that far since the operation, but it wasn't a problem and I got there just as England kicked off in the deciding Group game in the World Cup. It was also Sams birthday, he was nine and so after the match we all headed to a pizza place for his Birthday Tea!

Abbie & Steph
I arrived early at clinic and was seen first. Two my drugs were ended. Everything else they were happy about, with the kidneys function improving but the potassium is still high. Then I was told I didn't need to return for a month, which pleased me no end!

I then had a meeting with Professor Forbes about a potential participation in a trial, but he was concerned that, with my activity in contact sports, it was not suitable for me. He did imply that there were other trials that might be of interest and that I was an ideal candidate.

I made it home ok but was very tired later on, even falling asleep in the bath . In the morning I awoke feeling sick and spent a good part of the day in bed, perking up in the evening.

That must have been good medicine as today I went on a bike (Triumph) ride. Just an hour on some of the back roads, not too fast and getting used to the movement and feel again. I had a grin on my face when i got home. My old leathers fell off me when I tried them on first thing so they'll go on Ebay and I went and got a new set from Bert at Ecosse Honda, a set from BKS.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Last Man Standing

Respects paid before war commences

Im getting things in order before heading down to Edinburgh, a day ahead of Thursdays clinic. I have Sam's ninth birthday tea to attend and if i can set off early enough I can hopefully watch the football with England needing to win to stay in the world cup. I'm driving and am allowing time to take a break so I don't tire myself out.

It's been a busy time over the weekend and it took a few days to recover. We had the fights in Aberdeen and both fighters did really well. Allan won, stopping his more experienced opponent with a cut. Chris had to fight three fights and the second one was a bit of a war. He was still going strong in the third round of the final when his opponent could not continue because of a cut eye. His fitness was far superior to that of his opponents and he really was the Last Man Standing!

I was cornering along with the team of Leigh, Peter, Scott, Chris and Ray and we had a good day at the office. It takes it out of you and because you dont get to fight, you dont get to burn off the stress thats built up.Reward for all that hard work!
So a couple of days of relaxing in very nice weather, where the greenhouse has gone up, the dog panting away trying to find shade and the world cup entertaining us in the dramatic end of the group stages. Feeling good!

Things to do so I'm off! ciao

Friday, 18 June 2010

Friday 18th

They have dropped my Tacrolimus as the blood results were better from Monday. I'm now down to 0.5mg at night, still on the 1.0mg in the morning. It's not been a great week, but I feel I'm over the worst of it. Next week at clinic I hope that most of my meds will be ended!

I have received many mails of support and it amazes me to discover how others see me. Gary wrote an email, which I'll pass on:

Hello my old friend I'm in shock to find out about ur condition and in awe about the way u have handled it. I was 13yrs old and a white belt when I first met u. You was a brown belt if memory serves me correct at Jav's WU SHU KWAN class at Gilcomstone school away back in the early 80's. In them days there was not much martial arts clubs to pick from apart from Karate,Judo,Lau Gar and Wu Shu.Thanks to u thats all changed now. I guess thats why Im writting this now as not only through martial arts but even working as a door steward u was a great inspiration to me and to alot of others aswell. I wish u and ur family the very best of wishes and Im privaleged to say thats my old friend PAT A TRUE WARRIOR.

The fights are on tomorrow. I'll be involved for as much of it as I can, but I have good people around who can help with the cornering as well. Chris has an 8 man comp, so he needs to win 3 different fights with a possible 11 x 2 minute rounds. He needs to reserve his energy, targetting point scoring techniques to get to the final with energy left. Allan needs to be calmer, be more efficient and try less to 'knock out' as he's sacrificing speed. They will both do well. Marks opponent pulled out so at the moment it doesnt look like there is an opponent, but that might change later today.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

The ups and downs

Fighters training session
Sitting in front of Dr Marianne Nicholson, a consultant in clinical oncology with NHS Grampian, was a wonderful experience. She was ecstatic and was grinning from ear to ear. In her job, she rarely has success stories. Mostly she prolongs life by a few short months, but here she was in front of a patient who had told her he would survive and he'd done it. This is exactly what she lived for in her professional capacity. As she shook my hand goodbye, because it is very unlikely that we will meet in clinic again, I left her walking on the clouds.

That was Monday lunchtime. Earlier at 8.45am i had been in to my local GP for blood tests. I then went home for a sleep before heading to the Oncology appointment in Aberdeen. I have to sleep most mornings, a clear reaction to the potassium levels. My blood pressure on Monday morning was 170 over 110! Whoops!

My weeks medication

I did have a busy weekend. Bob Spour had arrived on Saturday am and we went to the gym where he taught a 3 hour workshop in Muay Thai Boxing and Krabi Krabong. Heading back we ate whilst watching England's opening World Cup game. I feel Capello got things wrong selection wise and the 1-1 flattered the USA but the world cup has been great for my recuperation as it has sent me to sleep many a time!

Sunday we were up early and up to Aberdeen for a fighters session followed by a Self Protection workshop. Bob went south and we went home. Football on and sleep commences!

Kali was meant to be in today for surgery but got a last minute reprieve when a more experienced vet considered that one 'growth' was a cyst and the other a fatty lump. We are to watch them closely though. It was noticeable that Kali was relieved!

Caz and Kali at the vets this morning.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

King of the Castle

Dalhousie Castle

Caz and I set off to Edinburgh on Wednesday, taking advantage of a deal and staying at the plush Dalhousie Castle. We had Kali with us and the place wasn't busy, so the cheap deal had us in the Lodge, separate from the main castle. As it wasn't busy they had moved us into one of their themed rooms (four poster bed - the lot), but as we had the dog, we got a basement room instead. We took advantage of the spa for 50 minutes, which degenerated into a water fight between Caz and myself! We still nipped round to see Rob, Steph, Abbie and Sam though!

Dr Andrew Bathgate saw me in Clinic and has just phoned me on my return. There is still concern about my potassium levels which are high at 7.9 and the creatinine levels are still at 200! They have told me to reduce the Tacrolimus and increase the MMF to try and solve the issue. The kidney issue is caused by the Tacrolimus. My hand has tremors and right now i am very salty in the mouth. It leaves me feeling that I have no energy and giddy at times. There will be several blood tests next week to measure the progress.

On my next visit, which should see the medication greatly reduced, I will meet Professor Forbes and discuss my involvement in a trial. Once i have digested the information I'll discuss it in a later post. I also had an ultrasound scan which seemed to go well.

It was a good clinic and I bumped into James who had been in for the weeks assessment with me. He's 4.5 weeks post transplant and looking very well. It was great to see him in this state as when i was in with him, he was struggling with it all.

I asked about the size of the tumor at the time of the removal of the liver. I was told that there were in fact THREE tumors which if that had been known would have discounted me from Transplant immediately. The sizes of theses tumors were 3.7cm, 20mm and 5mm. There was no intrusion into arteries or veins, meaning that there is virtually no fear that the cancer spread.

Monday I went up and took the Filipino Martial Arts class. I really enjoyed it but Tuesday i was tired. I made it back to the gym to work on the roller door that has broken but was exhausted at night.

World cup starts tomorrow. I'll enjoy that. I'll support England but the African teams will no doubt excite. Argentina should be great to watch depending on the Maradonna factor - genius or madman - but the favourite, Spain, I don't think will win it. Watch out for the dark horses Holland and Brazil. It is going to be a good one I think!

Mother Theresa once said: "Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person."

Monday, 7 June 2010

Kali the Deer hunter

This is our evening habit. We walk down to the Dee and we 'hunt' the deer. It can involve just staying still for 10 minutes, something that wasn't natural to her at first. However she has learnt to stay quiet and be patient and the deer will move. As you can see, she's ready to go at the slightest movement. She's not fast enough for the deer so they are safe.

In the second video, she's trying to find her bone. She hid it somewhere but can't remember where.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Postcards fae Aboyne

The old Deeside Railway route.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

sunday get together

morning breakfast

Caz invited a group out from AMAG to celebrate my birthday. A nice surprise and it was a lovely day where people relaxed and simply enjoyed each others company. We had gone to a local restaurant on the Saturday night in Aboyne and had a lovely meal. Unfortunately the weather wasn't the best on Sunday but being stuck inside with this bunch wasnt so hard!

I'm currently around 74.8kg, probably the lightest I have been since the age of three. I've had a 24 hour stomach bug (lets hope it's just 24 hours) so I'm probably lighter today. Still, its been a great week weather wise.

Friday, 28 May 2010

t-Week 8

Recuperation's a chore at times

I get anxious when I attend clinic and I will have seen that I don't know the Doctors running it. Familiarity is important, at least for me, where I don't need to feel that I must 'educate' the Doctor to see me in a different light than they might do with the rest of their patients.

I'd traveled down the afternoon before on the train and was picked up outside Waverley station by Rob and taken off to his house outside Dalkeith. Steph (his wife) and Abbie and Sam were there although the kids were off to Guides and cricket practice respectively. While they were out we ate and chatted around the table for most of the night.

Up early in the morning and Steph dropped me off at the hospital having sent Rob and the kids off to their schools. I was in before 9 so I nipped up and said Hello to the Ward Sister. I was then in early with my book waiting for the 9.30 start of clinic. Whilst my appointment wasn't till 11.30am, I had been assured that if you get in early you tend to get seen earlier. I hoped that would allow me to jump onto an earlier train home.

As it was, I wasn't seen till 11am, mainly due to unforseen delays. I was called in by the more senior of the two doctors, in this case Dr A J MacGilchrist. Straight away I was put at ease when he introduced himself, saying that whilst we hadn't met he had been aware of me from the initial application. He explained he was going to change some of my medication, mainly the Azathioprine, replacing it with Mycophenolate(MMF). This will be better for my kidneys and will allow them to reduce the Tacrolimus quicker.

Generally he was very happy with my progress and with a month to go before many of the medicines are stopped it is encouraging to see someone with his experience tweaking the medicine in order to get the best out of it for me. A great clinic visit.

A taxi to Waverley and there was an earlier train, but because I'd taken advantage of a cheaper fare I couldn't change my times. I had an hour to wait which ended up with me buying a pair of 32" jeans and some kids toys for a birthday coming up - not mine I should add which is on Sunday! I'm eating well but I am down to 75.1kg! I'm wearing clothes in sizes that I haven't been able to get into since my teens!

Last Friday we had an abrupt end to the sunny scorcher with a monsoon type rain fall. Caz was unable to get into Aberdeen as the roads were closed around Aboyne. Elsewhere they never had a drop but that is the micro climate of this area. After a great weekend where we had a lovely meal on Saturday at the Longino's, I drove in to Aberdeen on Monday for the first time and went to the gym. Perry came past to see me and I gave some advice to the fighters training. Three people didn't recognise me at first! That was my first trip in by myself and I managed it ok. I was a bit tired the following day but I was visited by Kenny - an old doorman colleague, club student and friend - before he shoots off to Abu Dhabi for work. Big thanks to those who make the effort to visit - it gets boring at times this recuperation lark!

Today, I went up to my work and popped in to say hi to people. I had a chat with pals, colleagues, bosses and HR. It is only roughly a month away before I could return gradually to work. Its been a long journey for me and some of them have been on that journey with me in the sense that they have been impacted from the day I told them that I had cancer. It was good to see them and the place was busy and healthy too.

In the morning, I am going up to the gym and will cover the class and teach for the first time in a while. I wont do anything other than speak, but it should be good to do!

Friday, 21 May 2010

Burn O'Vat

Caz and Kali
We went to the Burn O'Vat for a walk yesterday on another gorgeous day. The Burn O'Vat is next to Loch Kinord at Dinnet and is a beautiful area to experience. The Vat itself was used as a hiding hole by robbers who stole from the Royal estates, whilst it was often visited by Queen Victoria.
Do pets look like their owners? ; )

I have noticed my nails that had become thin and brittle during the cancer medication, have become thicker and stronger. I'm also have hair on my forearms again and rough stubble rather than the bum fluff that had developed.
Burn O'Vat

Loch Kinord

Find out for yourself


Questioner: Why are some people born in poor circumstances, while others are rich and well-to-do?

Krishnamurti: What do you think? Instead of asking me and waiting for my answer, why do you not find out what you feel about it? Do you think it is some mysterious process which you call karma? In a former life you lived nobly and therefore you are now being rewarded with wealth and position! Is that it? Or, having acted very badly in a former life, you are paying for it in this life!

You see, this is really a very complex problem. Poverty is the fault of society - a society in which the greedy and the cunning exploit and rise to the top. We want the same thing, we also want to climb the ladder and get to the top. And when all of us want to get to the top, what happens? We tread on somebody; and the man who is trodden on, who is destroyed, asks, "Why is life so unfair? You have everything and I have no capacity, I have nothing".

As long as we go on climbing the ladder of success, there will always be the sick and the unfed. It is the desire for success that has to be understood, and not why there are the rich and the poor, or why some have talent and others have none. What has to be changed is our own desire to climb, our desire to be great, to be a success. We all aspire to succeed, do we not? There lies the fault, and not in karma or any other explanation.

The actual fact is that we all want to be at the top - perhaps not right at the top, but at least as high up the ladder as we can climb. As long as there is this drive to be great, to be somebody in the world, we are going to have the rich and the poor, the exploiter and those who are exploited. - Life Ahead Part One Chapter 4
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