Sunday, 24 May 2015

Do you ever stop to think of others and not just pass judgement? Pass it forward!

I like writing my Blog as it helps me reflect. Sometimes it can be a reflection of what I've done good or bad and this in return helps me to learn and grow as a person.

I wasn't going to write about today as it's been one of my lazier, what I consider wasteful days. I find it hard to just chill you see. Years of being stuck in the house with my buggered leg and here I am where I can do most what ever I want yet what do I do, yeah that's right sit in the house. So pretty much put myself on a guilt trip.

Ern popped his head in my room around 11am'ish. Asking did I still want to have a look through to Start Cycles in the Toon. You see I have been experiencing a few problems with my new Road Bike, well not so much the bike more the pedals. I have to clip in using a Spd type pedal. I can manage my mountain bike TIME Atac's no problem. The TIME road pedals I have although I can use them I simply don't like them. You see they only have one point of entry and I find when I am going to try and clip in it's quite awkward. especially at junctions or traffic lights where you need to get your foot in sharpish. I always manage to twat my good shin with the pedal and as you can imagine that stings quite a bit. So I had this idea "I know I will buy a pair of Speedplays". These pedals have a unique way of clipping in and have a dual entry like the TIME ones I use on my mountain bikes. I got a really good deal on a pair of Speedplays from the friendly guys over at Bike Swanky and was well pleased when they arrived.

Speedplays fitted I attempted to clip in. My good foot went in no bother, but I simply couldn't clip my prosthetic side in. It's all to do with the angle of my foot. Obviously my ankle is fixed so I couldn't rotate it just that fraction to get it clipped in. I got in touch with Andy at Bike Swanky and he has very kindly agreed to take the pedals back and give me a refund. So I have decided to purchase a small set of cross country type pedals. They are again TIME's and although not road bike specific I guess as long as they work, well then they will work.

This brings me on to my visit to Start Cycles as I now needed a new pair of roadie shoes. Thing is as I was to discover there are not too many roadie shoes with a Spd type fitting.

Anyhoo this brings me on to what I really wanted to write about...

When Ern and I got to the Toon and drove up towards Start, there was no disabled bays. We drove around looking for a spot near by but there weren't any. So on the second time around my dad just pulled into an ordinary pay and display bay. I wasn't sure if we would have to pay the £2.50 for 1 hour charge and whilst reading the parking meter sign we discovered there was no mention of disabled parking rules. This is when this very kind guy came over with his staffy and just informed us "Parking is for an hour only and it's £2.50" I then explained I had a disabled badge and he went on to tell us we could park for as long as we wanted free of charge.

So Ern and I set off up towards Start and I purchased a new pair of shoes for £70:00.  As we came back i spotted this fellow who had given us the sound advice about parking sitting on the pavement cuddling his dog. Now I'm like the Queen, no I don't mean I wear hats, have tits and wave funny. I mean in that I don't carry money about my person. At this point I was sitting in the car with Ern and just felt really bad for this guy. So I asked Ern if he had a tenner on him, to which he replied "No sorry" all I have is a fiver. I thought that was better than nowt so I went over and handed the money to the man. He thanked me ever so much and shook my hand. It was at this point I took a knee and just decided to have a few minutes chatting with this man.

I asked him if he was ok and did he have somewhere to go. He was very honest and told me some stuff that if I hadn't stopped to talk to him wouldn't know or understand. In the past I have to admit I have been judgemental. The man told me he used to go to local hostels, but now didn't as he had once been addicted to drugs and alcohol and managed to get himself off these, however the temptation was always there in the hostel environment. He was currently living outdoors with a tent for shelter with a few friends. He couldn't afford a deposit for a house and in order to get a job or house you need a fixed abode so it's like a vicious circle I would imagine. He went on to thank me for my kindness and said in the past he had been spat on and attacked just for being homeless and in the street. This bloke didn't ask me for a hand out, he had no signs and didn't have to help me out. He asked for nothing in return yet saw me in a quandary and decided to just be helpful. I felt bad I didn't have more money to help him out. I purchased my shoes on my card you see. I know it was just a small kindness, but hey if we all just stopped to think now and again instead of passing judgement.

Real problems with 4K settings, TV and Youtube...Oh and I re-discovered an old video

Wow I have had some real probs with my latest video creations. Quite recently Ern treat our household to a nice 4K curved Widescreen TV. It has all the bells n whistles, in fact it's so Smart we kind of let it down as we are so dumb and don't know how to use all of it's features.

When we got the telly I decided it would be a good idea to get myself a new GoPro Hero 4 with the ability to shoot 4K video. In the past I had also been using Cyberlink Power Director. ahemm "Trial Versions", anyhoo as I like the software I decided to purchase the latest version PowerDirector 13 Ultra coming in at a hefty £80.

"Oooh" i thought I should get some lovely crisp and clear footage. Well errr that just hasn't happened. I can edit all the footage ok, it plays ok on my pc, however if i try playing it through my PS3 media player ( I am using my PS3 to stream from pc to TV ) well the video is glitchy and all pixels. This seems to occur when using Youtube too. I have even tried lowering the HD quality to 1080p, but it still just doesn't look right.

I'm now on popping the same video on Viemo to see if that looks any better. Thinking it may be how the video is encoded through Youtube, weird as I haven't really had a problem before. next video I shoot i'm going to do in 1080 - 120fps and see what that is like. I mean really to the naked eye you can't tell that much difference and it's not like any of my adventures caught on film are going to be block busters lol.

Whilst I was over on Viemo waiting for my latest video to upload I discovered this old vid I shot. The day was awesome and I love the soundtrack. The BBC even used my video in a news feature which I was very proud of.

Fat Biking at Sunrise from Glenn Johnstone on Vimeo.

PRE CHEMO RIDE from Glenn Johnstone on Vimeo.

Still not happy with the quality, think I'll give up on 4K. Discovered not much software can deal with the large file sizes anyhoo

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Pre Chemo Ride

Next week I start the first of my sessions of chemotherapy and antibody treatment. The Chemotherapy treatment will last 6 months and will be twice per month, whilst the antibody treatment is spread over 2 years and once per month. In some bizarre, really weird and quite fruit cake'ish way I'm actually looking forward to getting started. By that what I mean is I'm just fed up with watching and waiting and feeling crap. I am relieved that after 7 years of having this shitty disease it's now time to reclaim a big part of myself back and hopefully get that spark back which I feel I have lacked for some time now

As many of my friends know I'm not entirely sane and tend to analyse stuff. One of the thoughts that has come to me is that "wow even my own body doesn't like itself". I mean cancer is essentially our own cells attacking our own selves lol. Cancer cells although not what anyone really wants are pretty interesting. I'm no scientist, but if you think of a cancer cell as being a rogue cell and a one that doesn't die off, but keeps multiplying, then why can't a scientist reverse engineer the cells and create something to benefit us all. I mean if we had good cells that didn't die off maybe we would live longer and for some of us be even more beautiful. I don't think I could become any more beautiful so I'd be screwed. Sure some scientific boffin will read my blog and choke on their sandwich laughing on my neat concept lol.

According to the weather dude it was supposed to be a nice day today and boy he wasn't wrong. I met up with my buddy John around 8:30am and we headed off along Fox & Parrot wood. I had asked John if he fancied helping me make a little video the night before and he was happy to help. It's handy having someone to use the GoPro app and as I was going to try and use my back pack WizMount, well it can be a nightmare when you are on your todd.

Thanks to John for coming for a ride and helping me out with my camera gear

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Why Me?

Well as the title to this blog says "Why Me?", well why not? I mean yeah I have suffered my fair share of bad luck and ill health, but hey illness and diseases are in the main quite indiscriminate (unlike certain people). You can try to eat healthy, not smoke or drink and take all your vitamins, but in certain cases if it's meant to be then it's meant to be. It could be a case of bad genes or just plain bad old luck.

I have to admit when I lost my leg after fighting for around 12 years to save the dam thing I never once said "why me". Sure I was devastated when I got the diagnosis, however after years of suffering was relieved to wake up with it gone.  A year after having my leg off I was diagnosed with NHL or Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma and although I thought I was dealing with it ok in the first few months of my diagnosis I can sort of remember having a meltdown as time went on and asking "Why me ?". Weird as in reality my NHL wasn't the worst cancer I could have got  and really other than a few lumps and bumps and the odd upset tummy, which in hindsight was more due to stress it wasn't that bad. It was at an advanced stage so incurable, but on a positive low grade and really slow to progress. 

Which brings us to 7 years down the line. And the slow progression of my NHL. Of late I have been feeling really tired. At first I put it down to taking on an additional job and maybe over doing it in my free time. You see the problem with me is that if I just sit at home and chill I then have a proper go at myself for being lazy. This I think stems from years and years of inactivity due to having a buggered leg, where my daily routine would be lying on a couch or bed with my fixed leg, leaking horrible gunk and hurting from getting up till I went to bed. Now I just feel if I take any "Me Time" well that's just not on. I mean what would people think. Seriously these are the sort of stupid thoughts that float around my brain. I have a responsibility to maintain this perception of what people actually think of me. Like I'm some superhuman or something. Obviously these thoughts are in my deluded world and of late through chatting to very caring  and supportive friends I have come to realise that actually who gives a stuff what other peoples perceptions are of you. What counts is looking after yourself, learning to love yourself, because if you push yourself to far and break, then how the hell can you support anyone else.

Errr where was I? Ahh yes, so 7 years on and feeling tired. Well I also had these painful node in my neck. So I visited my consultant, who sent me for a CT scan. The results showed my cancer had progressed and that brings me to today. Upon visiting with my consultant she went over my results, explaining the progression and what she thought would be the best option at this point. We both agreed it was possibly a good time to commence treatment. This is to be in the form of chemotherapy alongside antibody therapy. The chemo drug is called Bendamustine (Levact), whilst the antibody drug is called Rituximab (Mabthera). Both drugs although they won't cure my NHL have proven successful in keeping the disease at bay for a period of time. My consultant was very optimistic too explaining that cancer treatments have come along way and with further research and development well things can only improve.

I now have a few dates for my diary, an appointment to chat with my cancer specialist nurse this coming Wednesday, then my treatments will start on the 28th and 29th of May. I have never had treatment like this before so I'm not entirely sure what to expect. In trying to look at this in a positive way I guess I can say this will be a new experience which I can share. It is a means of feeling better, even though I may feel pretty unwell for a period of time. And who knows I may even get some super human powers from the freaky drugs, yeah I know that's highly unlikely but hey I can dream. Growing a new leg would be a start lol.

I'll be continuing my blog and try and write my thoughts from a personal point of view. Be wonderful to hear your comments or words of support.

In ending I would also like to point out I was hoping to take part in the Arctic ONE Triathlon this coming June. Unfortunately I don't think I will be able to take part now. I'm gutted as both Matt and Bex and everyone involved with the Foundation has been ever so supportive of me. I don't want anyone to donate money because they feel sorry for me. I would like to leave a link to my Virgin Just Giving so that if you can spare a few quid you can help other people out to achieve their goals.

Virgin Just Giving

Thanks guys

Monday, 4 May 2015

Short ride out after work, time to think!

I had agreed to work this Bank Holiday Monday in my new role as a health trainer. I was actually quite looking forward to meeting some of the new acquaintances I had made up at Quaking Houses Village Hall and of course representing the Health Trainer Service in speaking to other people within the community. I started at 11am and was done by around 4pm, the day flew over and was quite a success. This is my 5th week in the new role. I find chatting to people no problem, this is in fact my favourite part of my job. The paperwork side, well I'm slowly getting to grips with it, just so much to take in and remember.

As soon as I got in from work I would like to say I ran up the stairs and got ready, however it was more of a fast'ish limp, taking two steps at a time. Off with my casual stuff I had been wearing and straight on with bikey gear. The other week when I had been up to Kielder with the boys I had forgotten my under shorts so I had had to purchase a new pair at a local bike shop in this quiet little village, anyhoo I bought a complete pair of Endura baggy shorts along with liner and have to say I quite liked the fit. They also have a variety of handy pockets and appear to wash and wear well. So I popped the Endura's on complete with a base layer and my rather snazzy Troy Lee Jersey.

As I had came in I had mentioned to Ern (my dad) I was going to head out on my NS Soda just, fancied a change. The reason I mentioned it to Ern was I wasn't sure if he had been off tinkering with my NS. As I have told you before Ern has a habit of figuring it's easier to store my bikes by loosening the head clamp and turning my bars. So I just wanted to make sure my bike was in one piece and I didn't have to rebuild it from the frame up before I set off, as you never know with Ern, he may have decided it would store easier in bits in our loft or something on those lines. Anyhoo on investigation of my bike I soon found Ern on resetting up my bars and taking my hand actuated dropper post from my Ibis to pop on my NS, oh and there was a little matter of no pedals, so I had to steal a pair off my Fat Bike, which is currently without a rear wheel as Si my good friend and local bike mechanic over at
Cycle Solutions has my wheel and is going to sort me out a new free wheel hub as mine is a bit knackered.

Ok bars sorted,seat post sorted and a set of pedals. I grabbed my trusty Panasonic Lumix, the new shiny Blue one I had to purchase after wor Kyle lost my brand new shiny orange one in a lake last year. Weird as the cameras are exactly the same brand and model, however I feel the orange one took a better picture. I couldn't be bothered to fill my Camelbak bladder so just hoyed a bottle of ice cold pop which I had had chilling in the fridge into my backpack and I was off.

In typical fashion, didn't have any real clue where I was going. Decided to head through glass wood, no that's not it's proper name I just call it that as it's full of glass, due to the under age Lambrini girls and boys, well I suppose the boys drink larger or cider. I could have just as easily chosen to call the wood tin wood to I suppose.

NS Soda Air

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Short ride in Beamish Woods

Over the past few months things haven't been going exactly how I would have liked with regards to getting out and about and maintaining my fitness levels. There has just been something amiss. At the beginning of the year I was struck down with a mystery virus and this had a huge impact on my whole well-being.

I have now been living with Non Hodgkin's lymphoma for around 7 years. I'm fairly lucky in that my NHL is classed as low grade, however it was diagnosed at a late stage, stage 3, so it is incurable. It is treatable however with things like chemotherapy and anti-body treatment. I think the biggest problem I have encountered with the NHL is like comparing it to having a dark cloud constantly over head. Your never quite sure when it's going to start thundering and lightening and splash down on your parade. When I  go to visit my haematology doctor or nurse I'm asked "How do you feel?" and here lies the problem, as I don't know how I'm supposed to be feeling.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Very Special Birthday Wishes

It's always nice to receive Birthday wishes. I have been particularly lucky this year as even though I tried to keep my birthday under wraps, (well I am fast approaching half a century) one or two of my friends at work remembered the day and signed a card for me and gave me a lovely box of chocolates. I also had a very warm welcome in my new job and received a few cards and a rather splendid Mud Cake. It was lush and didn't taste of mud at all.
Nothing beats a hand written message
 Today I received a very special belated birthday card and an even more  special hand written letter from my adopted mom and dad Sandy and Cliff. When I flew out to meet and stay with my awesome friend Mark Peterson in Ogden, Utah, this is when I became acquainted and fell in love with his amazing parents Sandy and Cliff Peterson. They proper looked out for me and gave me the most amazing tour around where they live. 

It's awesome to actually receive a hand written letter. I consider it important not just because of it's contents but in that Sandy actually took the time to write down her thoughts. Writing a message in this fashion is a lost art. What with modern technology and the advances in things like electronic mail and the various messengers, well to receive a piece of paper and know that someone has put time and effort into telling you how they are doing and how much they miss and care for you, it's something I  really appreciate. I myself am terrible at writing and like the majority of us tend to take the easy option and fire off an email.

Thank you
A huge thank you to Sandy and Cliff. I really miss you guys and I miss hanging with Mark who was a fantastic host and  continues to be a very special friend.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Text from John "Do you fancy a ride out in the morning"

My blog is all about my adventures, these adventures predominantly involve bicycles as hey that's what I do and that's what I enjoy. Of course I will write about other stuff as and when it happens and it may not involve bicycles, but I can never see it involving knitting.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Went to have a look at a new car yesterday

I have no been without a car since Ooooh 2006 as I recall. My last car was my beloved MINI Cooper S which I had a passionate love affair with. She was called Tena, because she was a Super Mini. Unfortunately Tena hardly got driven, in fact she only covered 3500 miles from new within 2 1/2 years of me owning her, this was due to me being ill with my right leg and finding it increasingly difficult to drive. When I knew I was going to have my leg lopped off I reluctantly put her up for sale as I knew I would struggle to drive a manual car and within no time I was saying a sad farewell to her.

I then gave Ern £6000 grand towards a new Honda Jazz with an auto-box and went out and bought a ridiculously expensive mountain bike to re-learn how to ride a bike with a prosthetic leg. Since then I have spent a small fortune on various bikes and just shared Ern's car which has it's own pet name. I like to affectionately call it the mobile skip. My dad and I are as different as chalk and cheese. While I have OCD tendencies and would polish and hoover my car and have everything organised, Ern believes a car is a work horse, so will think nothing of having a huge length of 4x4 laying up on the dash and pertruding out the back of the car, driving along with the tailgate open. Our little Jazz is covered with dents,scratches and dings from local kids and their bikes. As I point each new one out Ern will say his favourite quote to which he uses on most topics ahhhh it'll be alreeeet!". I usually get this quote on instances like where he has decided to loosen my bike handlebars so that he can organise my bikes in our shed more easily. I then go down the street almost kill my self as i didn't realise the bars were slack and Ern will say "ahhhh it'll be alreeeet!"

Anyhoo yesterday after I came back from the Lomabrd Clinic and seeing Paul my prosthetist from Pace Rehabilitation and being reunited with my running blade, Ern and I decided to call in at our local Jeep Garage. I have been fancying a car for sometime. Gone are the days of sports cars and speed. I'm getting old so looking for more practicality and comfort. Of course this doesn't mean I have lost my sense of adventure and after reading how well the little Jeep Renegade preformed off road I quite fancied having a look at one.

Jeep Renegade Trailhawk
   The Jeep dealership is on Scotswood Road, upon arriving we were greeted by a very friendly salesman and he went on to introduce both my dad and I to Ian Wilson the Jeep Moatability specialist. I explained to Ian I really would quite like to get a new Jeep Renegade on the Motability scheme and that I am in receipt of the higher rate of the Disability Living Allowance component for help getting around. I went on to inform him I had just got a letter saying this was an indefinite award, however I also informed him due to the governments draconian way of assessing people and with the new PIP, Personal Independence Payment coming along I thought I may loose my allowance.  Ian didn't seem aware that this was happening to genuine disabled people and was really surprised when I informed him approx 600,000 people according to statistics will taken off DLA and no longer get any assistance. This is going to have a huge impact on the whole country. Just think of those 600,000 people how many just like me need a car for work. How many need help getting around otherwise they will become totally isolated. Then of course there is the knock on effect to car manufacturers. They will loose a fair size chunk of their car sales.
Capable Off Road
 Anyhoo Ian agreed he would contact Motability and give me a call on Monday to discuss options and see whether I could use the scheme after talking to them. Of course another option for me would be finance, which would obviously be a lot more expensive.

Ian then showed us around one of the Jeep Renegade's. The model i am after is a Trailhawk, this comes fully loaded with extras, specific to taking the vehicle off roading. Things like slightly higher suspension and skid plates. The car we checked out was the sport in a nice bright Yellow colour. If I was to get a Jeep I'm caught in between either Blue or Orange.
Cool rear lights
Nice interior

The Renegade actually uses a lot of Fiat components, the chassis for instance is from the Fiat 500 XL and the engine is the same as the tried and tested one in the Alfa Romeo Giulietta. The Trailhawk comes with the 2.0 diesel Multijet II with 170bhp and a 9 speed auto transmission.

Upon reading various car mag reviews the Jeep doesn't score highly on the road reviews, however does come into it's own off road, being best in group for it's capabilities. As I enjoy camping and mtb I can see myself doing a bit of off roading and after seeing the car in the flesh I really like it. Jeep has put some nice little touches, including what are know as Easter eggs  around the vehicle. These are hidden little accents relating to the history of Jeep.

Guess I will start saving a deposit and who knows may have myself a new car this year...

What's going on with me and quite possibly you may learn something new....

Wow the beginning of this year has been a real mixed bag for me and my family. My son Kyle has been feeling unwell for sometime now with an upset tummy. This resulted in him having to go for 2 colonoscopies and he has now been diagnosed with Crohn's disease. And me well I fell ill with a virus on the 19th of January and ended up being off work for 6 weeks, going off work on the 22nd of January and not returning until early March. Man the virus really knocked me for six, it took well over 2 months to sort myself out and really I still don't know exactly what I had. I just know it was painful, really tiring and very stressful. I hate being off work and letting my colleagues and of course patients down.  I don't really write about work as there is a lot of policies in place about confidentiality, so it safest just to write nothing. On this occasion what I will say is everyone within the Newcastle Upon Tyne Foundation Trust were awesome and I couldn't have asked for better support.

Of course there has also been good news this year. I started my new job for Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust as a Health Trainer. My first day being the 7th of April. No sooner had I started and a week later I was visiting my haematology doctor as I was experiencing really painful and swollen nodes in my neck. For those of you who do not know I have what is known as Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma.This "is an uncommon cancer that develops in the lymphatic system, which is a network of vessels and glands spread throughout your body" I was diagnosed with this in October 2008, roughly a year after having my leg amputated. At the time being diagnosed with the NHL had more of an impact than loosing my leg. I will readily admit not once have I ever said "why me" concerning the whole leg thing, but when I got the news about NHL for some reason it really knocked the wind out of my sails. On reflection I think it was because after years and years of pain and frustration, social isolation and feeling like a complete burden, having my leg off gave me a whole new lease of life. I was able to go out and do things and re-learnt how to ride my bike which took up a huge amount of my time. So to be hit with a new illness and then discover it was going to be with me for life, well at the time it just didn't feel fair, so in the early days I really struggled.

So getting back to this new episode and my painful and swollen nodes. My doctor suggested I have a scan within the next 2 weeks and we discussed possible treatments. These include chemotherapy for a 6 week period, which will be twice per week and also antibody treatment with a relatively new drug named rituximab. This treatment is over 2 years and is given once per week. Is it a shock? Well no not really I have been living with NHL about 7 years and as I understand it it was inevitable that I would require treatment, it has just come at a very inopportune moment, not that there is ever a really good one.

Once again I have been blown away by the support of work colleagues both over at Newcastle and within my new job for Durham and Darlington. Friends and family wise well I have always been very lucky and everyone rallies around. My poor dad (Ern) never complains he is one of the kindest, most reliable, stubborn old goats I know.

Now all that is left to do is await this scan, get the results and take it from there. If I do require treatment then all it will be is another challenge to complete as best I can. I aim to write about my experiences, hopefully other people can take something from it. For me my Blog is not only a way to share what I'm doing, but as I have said in the past allows me to reflect on what I have achieved or what I could do better or even in some cases just to fill a little time, though of that lately I haven't had much.

In ending I will leave you with a couple of links about both Crohn's Disease and Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

Crohn's Disease

Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma NHL

Treatment for NHL

Take care

Enjoyabel early morning ride, gutted GoPro and Camera footage is naff.

Freezing cold but sunrise was well worth the wait
I purposely set my alarm for 5am, intending on trying to capture a sunrise with my GoPro. I have just updated the firmware on my Hero4 and it now allows me to capture time lapse videos. I haven't really played around with  time lapse, so was unsure of the settings. I decided to try 4K and a 2 second interval on the video setting.
Up the Farmers Trail

Well long story short I have learnt something through trial and error today. Firstly never presume because it has been quite warm all week that you can head off early in the morning with only a thin base layer and a short sleeve jersey. Dear me I was absolutely frozen this morning and this chill then went on to follow me around the whole of my ride. Secondly I have discovered a 2 second delay for shooting stuff like scenery, for example clouds and a sunrise is pretty good. However when you are riding 2 seconds is way too quick on the time lapse setting. When viewing your surrounding pass by in the blink of an eye and obviously your audience then doesn't get a sense of where you have actually been as landmarks pass by far to quickly. So today's footage has been binned.

Digital camera wise well I don't know what the hell happened, almost every shot was out of focus and blurred.

Never mind I'll have another go another day, that's the beauty of digital you can record and erase. I just need to get out a little more and practice with my cameras, especially the GoPro as it has so many neat little functions. One thing I did try today was the GoPro app on my phone, this really helped compose shots and it is very easy to use.  Down side is battery life in both phone and GoPro.

On the way back home I called in to see John and his wife Kristina and of course the new addition to their family a beautiful baby girl who they have named Amber. John then asked "you up for a short ride", so I headed out with John for a few more miles. Now in feeling tired and still haven't warmed through. It was good to get out, just wish I could have shared a few more pics. Today I saw quite a few different variety of birds (yes the feathered variety), my favourite being the geese that flew overhead "Honking" as they went on their way.

Final shot of the day John captured on my GoPro using the mobile app and the continuous photo function. There are a really steep set of steps in South Moor Park so I thought it would look cool riding down them. I have to say coming down on the 29'er is far scarier than coming down on my Fat Bike. I always feel I'm up in the clouds, like perched riding the 29'er lol

As you get older you tend to think of the consequences more
Done in B&W
South Moor Park steps

Monday, 6 April 2015

First ride out of 2015 on my new Road Bike

Yay! finally  the weather has brightened up. Yesterday I had a short ride up to Consett and back with John and Michelle on the mountain bikes, today a quick blast out on my De Rosa Idol. I got the De Rosa late on in the winter months of last year so only got to ride it once, so I was looking forward to some finer weather so I could go for a pootle out on her.

De Rosa Idol 2015

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Keilder with a few of the lads

My friend Al got in touch a few weeks back to see if I was up for an overnighter up at Kielder with a few of the lads. At the time I wasn't sure,explaining I had had a bit of a long lay off, not doing much of anything at all, due to not being very well and that I wasn't sure I would be able to make it around the marathon length route of the reservoir. Never mind as it turned out I had been feeling much better up to the planned date and had even managed to get a few short but pleasant rides in towards the lead up to Kielder. So whilst not being exactly on top form and having to wear sockets that aren't quite fitting I made the decision "what the hell I may as well head out and try my best and have a bit fun with the boys".

Kielder with the Lads

Monday, 23 March 2015

Local loop wearing Swanky jersey's

As soon as my friend John discovered I had gotten him a Bike Swanky Jersey upon my trip down to Manchester after meeting up with Andy and Paul of Bike Swanky he wanted to try it on and head out for a ride.

Out on the Bike Swanky sponsored ride, my PYGA One Ten 29'er

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Bike-Expo at EventCity Manchester

I was very fortunate to be invited along as a guest and ambassador on behalf of Bike Swanky to the Bike-Expo which took place at Eventcity in Manchester. Andy from Bike Swanky had contacted me a good few weeks a go to see if I would be interested in attending, however at the time I wasn't sure if I could make it as I hadn't been feeling very well, having some sort of a freaky virus. I found it hard to get out of bed never mind drive down to Manchester and then try to make myself useful. Anyhoo as luck would have it upon Andy's second phone call I was feeling a lot brighter and really wanted to join the lads to offer my support in return for all of their support and sponsorship upon my Pyga and getting me sorted with a couple of demo bikes, one of which was the De- Rosa I did my first Triathlon on last year and the other was for a Mountain Bike Rider Magazine feature that I also did last year.

Checkout all those rides on the Bike swanky stand

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

It's been a while!

Over the last few months I haven't been around, well in the sense of writing my Blog, as you can see it was ages since my last writing and photo session. The reason being I have been feeling really poorly with some unknown decidedly nasty virus. It had wiped me out totally, physically and didn't do much for the mental side of me either in that it caused no end of stress. You see I have been through my share of pretty severe health issues, so whenever something happens to me now I automatically go into deep analysis mode and a virus, admittedly a horrendous one, in my mind becomes so much more. No doubt people will judge and think I over react, but hey to really do that you have to understand what a person has experienced throughout their life.

I was gutted to have to take 6 weeks off work and also the effect it has had on my physical fitness with not being able to ride, run or swim has been alarming. On my return to work I even struggled to walk up two flights of stairs without being out of breath. The first week back to work I ached so much, you would think I had been working out with heavy weights in the gym. One of the biggest downers for me has been that I have discovered none of my current limbs now fit. It's hard to explain to an able bodied person the depths of you're depression when you are actively maintaining you're shape through physical activity and diet and then "Bang" something comes along and totally screws up you're routine. I can't explain what it feels like to have to wear an ill fitting limb everyday, other than to say it sucks big style. This is no real comparison but try to imagine having to wear a pair of shoes that simply don't fit. Lets say they are 2 or 3 sizes too small.You have to go to work so you can't take them off even though they are blistering your feet and you're toes are curled up and constricted. Well this is similar but by no means exactly the same as finding out you're limb no longer fits. It's no ones fault, but it sure is frustrating.

Now to the positive side of things. I can workout and get back to doing the things I enjoy and hopefully get back to my regular shape. If not it's not the end of the world, new sockets can be made and it's certainly not a reason to throw in the towel and just quit. Don't get me wrong I'm like many other people out there the thought crosses my mind, but I've come to far and put in too much hard work to just quit. I'm sure I've heard a saying "it's not how many times you get knocked down, it's the getting back up".

This afternoon was a very enjoyable "getting back up" kind of an afternoon. Yeah it was really tough, it hurt and I was proper dismayed to see my energy levels. In my minds eye I resembled a sloth. However the main goal I achieved, just to get back out with my friend John and not concentrate on the distance but on being outdoors having some fun in very pleasant company.

Tomorrow  John and I might even go for a dip up at the local swimming pool.

Here's a few pics from today...
Out on the Pyga
The two trusty steeds
Quite a few large puddles about
Used the GoPro and the phone app

Thursday, 1 January 2015

First ride out of 2015, a sign of things to come?

A short blog. Short mainly because I can't be arsed to write a long one, secondly because I'm not entirely sure anyone reads my stuff, much preferring to look at bonny photo's and thirdly well because it was a bit of a nightmare camera wise, so not too many said 'bonny photo's' lol.

Today's first ride of the new year, 2015 was with my friend John. We had agreed to be ready to set off for 9am from my house. Now as I write this I am obviously trying to recall what happened as I tap away on my keyboard of today's events. What has just struck me is the fact that actually today was one of very few that I can remember where I have actually got up and everything has been where I can find it. This morning I had no drama's, no missing lights, or the odd glove or sock. I found my under shorts, the jersey and shorts I wanted to wear and of course most importantly mY bike was where I had left it last. Wow this has to be a first.

John arrived a little before 9am and we immediately set off. We had the briefest of chats about where to go and decided up Waskerley Way would be just about far enough. The trails shouldn't be too muddy and hopefully the weather wouldn't turn to cold and nasty.

Windy up at Waskerley Way

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Black Ice, Deep Mud, Froze to the Bone and a Wasp Sting...

I appear to have lost my MoJo, it has been stolen away, so I had to give myself a good talking too this morning and both motivate and inspire myself to ride. Don't get me wrong I love heading out on my various bikes, it's  just of lately I've been suffering a fair bit of pain in my good knee so it's took the shine off riding. After visiting the physiotherapist at my local medical group the other day I was informed I had what was known as Pes Anserine Bursitis, also known as Goosfoot apparently. I mean aww great as if having one plastic foot isn't enough, now I appear to also have a goose's foot. Well now I feel like a proper freak...

The physio gave me some advice on how I can treat the inflammation, basically it's a cold compress after activities, or when I'm getting pain. Also a little Ultra Sound may help and if this doesn't work some steroid injections, however this means no training or exercise for a while. Sod that I stuff to do so that isn't really an option. I'm just pleased it isn't anything serious. I mean yes it hurts, but it's not like having a tumour in my leg thank god, now that really hurt.

So to this morning as I gave myself a mental kick up the arse. Clothing fitted,check,camera equipment sorted check, good leg already attached,check, hop to get my Bartlett Tendon and pop on a Ccccold Liner, Ccccheck!!! Ok leg strapped on. A quick walk to the shed to retrieve my bike...Mmmmm I'll take the bike I'm sponsored on by Bike Swanky the PYGA today. I then propped my bike up against the fence and went to extend my Go Go Gadget Pylon ready for the off and my God Dam foot fell off. Awww crap. Now I really did have to hop to our back door and rang the bell. "Errr Ern we have a problem, my foot has dropped off". Don't worry just a minor hiccup in the testing phase of the pylon, Ern sharp fixed it and I was away heading up our street.  Wow it was cold.

I kind of had an idea of where I was heading to, a place called Hamsterley Mill. I figured i would try and get some nice footage on my new GoPro Hero 4. I really wanted to see what the 4K video quality was like. Ern has just treated us to a new Telly a 55 inch Samsung 4K 3D affair and it's absolutely fantastic. So like I say I thought if I got a good 4K video I could watch it on the new TV.

I won't bore you with the route I took, other than to say part of it was past the 3 stones, which are now only one stone...I know this will mean nothing to a lot of you, however for me as a youngster it was a local landmark, between where my grand parents lived and where we lived at South Moor. I then went down  towards Harperley and came to the cross roads intending heading straight up the bank coming out near Flint Hill. Well as I attempted to ride up the short but steep bank I totally lost all traction and slipped off the narrow country road having to put my good foot on the grass edging. The bank was sheet ice and there was no way I could ride up it, in fact I struggled to walk up it pushing my bike.

Anyhoo at the top of the bank a nice steady ride into Flint Hill and heading towards Dipton I took a right and this took me down a lonely, bumpy side lane all the way down to a farm which is situated at the end of the lane. I had a few styles and gates to navigate before coming to Hamsterley Mill and the woods there. Wow getting over the styles was dodgy, the wooden styles being iced up and very slippery.

PYGA OneTen sponsored by Bike Swanky

The styles were real slippery
Letting the air get to my foot
I began filming just before I got in the woods. As I entered the top end of the woods I could tell I had a very muddy and difficult time ahead of me. At one point I felt something wasn't quite right with my foot, no not my Goosefoot, my plastic one. On closer inspection I discovered a bolt had come loose so I had to whip out my tool kit and set about tightening up the bolt.

Boy today was hard work, shooting a video when you're all alone requires you riding and walking back and forth to set up you're camera and then riding and then retrieving you're gear again, then doing it all over for the next shot, so that you can piece your footage together and hopefully get something that looks fluid and fun. Well let me tell you by the time I had got halfway down through the woods and used up one GoPro battery my heart sank when I noticed my camera was set on 1440/25fps and not 4K. I was gutted. I'm sure I had set the dam thing on 4K a few days earlier. Well this put a dampener on my enthusiasm. I couldn't be bothered to head all the way back up the trail, not only that the beautiful sunshine had faded. So I decided to cut my videoing efforts short, make do with what I had and set off for home.

Whilst riding through the woods on this muddy trail I saw up ahead what looked like a particularly boggy muddy area. I also saw there was a huge tree stump to my prosthetic side. Now all this went through me head in a nano second..."Do I stop and push my bike over?" or "Do I go for it and try to avoid falling off especially on that big tree stump, as I reckon that would hurt if i fell on it". So decision made "Go for it". I pick up my pace,approach the quagmire full steam ahead, hit it and stop almost instantly..."Agghhhh, just a bit further so I miss that big tree stump", yay made it and proceeded to fall off in the thickest, dirtiest mud, coldest mud you have ever seen. My bright green Lumi Troy Lee glove went all the way into the mud right past my wrist. I was lying there fully clipped in and stuck in this geet big clarty mud hole. I managed to un-clip my good foot and had to squirm in the mud from under my bike. When I got to my feet I looked at my gloves, one bright green one and one that was anything but green. "Bloody hell that's cold" I thought.

No more calamities on the way out of the woods. Soon  I was on the Derwent Walk and heading for Consett. It was a good way along here that I started thinking should I just call Ern and arrange a lift home. I just felt knackered and was really cold by now. I hate giving in so just pulled up my Buff a little further, remembered I had my Seal Skin gloves in my bag so swapped my gloves over and put my head down and grinded out the miles.

Soon enough I saw the sign for Consett 1 mile and felt a little better. Still had a fair way to go. I had intended bringing my mp3 player, however it was flat, and as I started thinking of this I got one of the songs from Guardians of the Galaxy stuck in my head, it was  Come and get my Love by Redbone. So from around about Consett this song was on a constant internal loop. I say internal, closer to home I began humming and singing.

As I got home Ern was in our kitchen he immediately came out and gave me a hand get some of my dirty gear off. Boots, Bartlett Tendon etc. He then set about giving my bike a quick wash down. I was way too cold, my fingers feeling like little logs. Everything needed washing including my back pack. By this time I was hopping around in our kitchen, with only my cycling shorts remaining. I found it a bit difficult trying to empty my back pack standing on one leg so sat down on our kitchen floor. This is when I felt a really sharp pain and at irst thought I had pressed the back of my stump onto a sharp staple. It wasn't until I lifted my stump and saw this wasp lying there that I realised I had been accosted. As I gave off a manly man scream, with some choice vocabulary and verbally abused the wasp wor Kyle came trotting down stairs. I immediately informed Kyle of the perpetrator and at this point sentenced the wasp to death, ordering Kyle to "kill it, kill it". I don't like wasps, but in hindsight did feel a tad guilty for having it exterminated. I mean I did attempt to sit on it.

Shortly after this as I was telling my captive audience on Facebook of my encounter with the wasp...I mean come on who gets stung by a wasp at Christmas and in the winter, it could only happen to me I went to pop my good leg back under me as I usually do when sitting in my computer chair and  "Agggghhhh" No i didn't get stung again Pheww!!!, but I did have the worst cramp ever, right in the back of my hamstrings. I proper panicked as it felt like my leg was going to explode or snap or something. Ern to the rescue, helping straighten my leg out...Jeez now that really hurt.

So there's another one of my adventures over, now sitting writing this with one stiff good leg that isn't so good and a really sore, itchy stump where a wasp abused me...

Sunday, 21 December 2014

A little more running practice...

As we are in winter and the weather isn't exactly kind I have found it increasingly difficult to get any real running practice in. My dad has been scouring our local vicinity to try and discover a running specific track and we have even looked at  trying to find somewhere indoors, large enough to have a jog around.
One of Ade's images which I played around with using Snapseed

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

The Saga of my Sandman cranks and bottom bracket, plus a little test ride cut short.

Yesterday I was very pleased to be reunited with my much beloved Sandman Hoggar Fat Bike. Si my new found friend and bicycle mechanic over at Cycle Solutions returned her complete with new e.Thirteen TRS the Hive cranks and bottom bracket.
New e.thirteen TRS cranks and BB

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Decidely dodgy riding weather

My friend John on his trusty steed
My friend John has been going stir crazy of late. It's understandable as he has now been unemployed for over 2 years after losing his job at our local Citizen Advice Bureau. John has to attend this pointless agency through the government. Constantly writing and re-writing CV's and not actually being assisted with finding a job at all. The threat of being sanctioned for the slightest thing hanging over him each day. 

Last visit of the year to the Lombard Physiotherapy Clinic

Due to the weather being so horrid, what with this so called 'weather bomb' I simply haven't been able to get out a practice on my running limb. It has been either windy, wet, slippery or freezing. So yesterday was the first opportunity I had had to run since visiting Pace Rehab and Paul my prosthetist over at the Lombard Physiotherapy Clinic.

I know it's early days, however I'm a born worrier, yes I said worrier not warrior I'm way to soft to be a warrior. Anyhoo my main concerns at the moment are that I'm not getting enough practice in, my fitness is atrocious and I have this very worrying niggle in my good leg around my knee area. All I want to do is get my head down and get some serious training in, there always just seems to be something that gets in the way. You see there I go again looking at all the negatives. But me being me it doesn't take long to then take a step outside of my sub -concious and give myself a good talking to, some what like what a good friend would do. Trying to focus on all the positives.

Paul tinkered and tweaked a few settings on the running prosthesis and each time I would go for a short run, back and forth in the car park, finally retiring inside the Lombard Clinic as it was brass monkeys outside. Yes I can run on the new blade, it's stable and safe, however Paul is very enthusiastic, has a real passion for his job and would like to get it perfect. So what he was trying to figure out was where exactly the small whip I have going on was coming from.

I am quite different apparently to a lot of AK amputees in that my adductor muscles are very strong. I don't know if this comes from riding bikes for a long period, or if it's my Bartlett Tendon as I work against resistance using that knee. So what Paul was investigating was whether my socket was being internally/externally rotated as I took a running stride. We did quite a bit of work in between the parallel bars, along with Tracy the Lombard Physio. Tracy then gave me some more exercise to do using a Theraband. These would help promote the use of muscles in my glute's and I think in hip abduction. A little while ago Tracy put me on to a very handy little app from Otto Bock, it's like a mini work out with your own personal fitness coach and it's aimed at lower limb amputees. So hopefully if I carry out the exercises in a routine I should see increased strength in those areas where I am lacking at the moment and this should help in my control and position of my residual limb when running.

This was my final visit of the year to see everyone. I now have a month of hard work and will return in January to see the guys, including Donna Lombard's new receptionist who is a lovely lady. Donna always looks after me, giving me the occasional hug and making sure there are plenty of beverages on the go. Just one big happy team really. I love the atmosphere as it is so relaxed and friendly and quite often I get the opportunity to speak with other amputees which I always find very rewarding.

Merry Christmas to everyone at Team Pace and also to the Lombard Physiotherapy Clinic and their clients.

Friday, 12 December 2014

MBR Magazine Feature

Say Cheese
A little while ago I got an unexpected surprise in the form of an email from a lovely guy named Jamie Darlow. Jamie went on to explain that he worked at Mountain Bike Rider Magazine (MBR Magazine) and had come across my blog. He asked would I be interested in tbeing featured in an article for the mag, going on to say that he thought it would be an inspirational and interesting story for MBR's readers.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

What a day for my new bikes maiden adventure

Just got my Bartlett Tendon along with new check socket back from Paul over at Pace Rehab on Friday. Due to some technical issues (mainly due to me changing shape in a short period of time) I have been without a riding limb. Obviously this has meant my fitness has dropped off and though I have been out practising both with my running blade and also swimming it's a totally different kind of fitness so today's local loop was a cold, wet, muddy and relatively short 8 miles or so.
John and Glenn

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Ok the weather isn't going to get any better I have to get out and run...

Practising in the car park @ South Moor Park
I have been in a kind of limbo of late. My body is changing shape and I have discovered each of my various legs just aren't fitting. That's my NHS everyday leg that I wear for work, my running prosthesis which is in it's infancy, so I'm only at the check socket phase and my Bartlett Tendon which I have found to be way too big.  Pace Rehab are on the job, though it's been a difficult time getting fitted as like I say I change shape so quickly. Imagine if you will, when I'm really active I tend to loose weight, even though I am building strength and indeed muscle, it still means my residual limb shrinks. I then have to be re-fitted, however the time I then spend not doing any exercise I then put on weight and the original socket I was cast for then becomes obsolete as my sizing changes once again. It's very much a vicious circle which almost every amputee goes through. Don't get me wrong I'm not whining here, as I am very fortunate in the support and sponsorship I receive, it's just very frustrating when you want to get out there and get down to business only to have these small but annoying setbacks strewn across your path.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Positive Outcomes

As many of you know it's very rare I write a short blog, some of my friends say "Glenn you don't half waffle on, we much prefer to just skip the text and move along to your photo's". Well in this case I don't have many photo's. The pics  Ern (my dad) had taken came out pants. Not really Ern's fault, it was just that the camera is a small compact, under artificial lighting, late in the afternoon so it was dark and indoors.

Really I should have got more shots when my two new friends Si from Cycle Solutions and Andy from Bike Swanky arrived. But taking pictures was the last thing on our minds as we came in doors practically as soon as Andy and Si pulled up in Bike Swanky's logo'd up van. We just had so much to talk about.

Si (Cycle Solutions),Me, Andy (Bike Swanky) and my new De Rosa Idol

Friday, 24 October 2014

'A leap of faith' - Running Prosthesis Stage 2

Really enjoyed the whole day working with Paul. His positive comments go along way
My appointment to head down to Pace Rehabilitation and their Cheadle clinic to meet with one of my prosthetists down there Paul Richardson, had soon come around. I had arranged with Paul a week earlier to get down to Pace pretty early. This would give us plenty of time to experiment with the next stage of my running prosthesis.

I had my alarm on my mobile set for 6:30am, though in the morning discovered I didn't really need it, as I was already wide awake, probably due to the excitement at the prospect of seeing all this new prosthetic kit. I'm sure there are some people out there who just don't get why anyone would be excited at what essentially they would  just see as "a leg". Thing is in the majority of cases as an above knee amputee you need a different leg for each activity you choose to do and without a specific limb you struggle. They are also very expensive and this means quite a few amputees resign their selves to a life of giving up on what they used to do, or want to do, even though they have the potential  in some cases to go on and do even more than they could as an able bodied person.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Running prosthesis stage 1

I'm on my holiday's, not going anywhere tropical or warm or even anywhere in particular really, though I do have some pretty exciting stuff going on in my life at the moment which is a bit closer to home and will involve travelling down to Manchester next week. But hey lets not jump the gun, let me start at the best place the beginning.
Paul blessing my stump lol

I love this shot it's so funny and I'm sure Paul will also see the funny side. I wasn't sure if he was blessing my stump or was a practising faith healer with the promise of "I can make it grow back".

"Hey Paul I'll just settle for one of your awesome sockets m8"

 As many of you will know I have been trying to raise much needed funds along with Arctic ONE to put towards the completion of a running prosthesis.

How all this came about was after visiting the US, last year and getting some really great advice from a gentleman named Scott Clark who is a prosthetist over at Baker Orthotics and Prosthetics who are based in Dallas Fort Worth TX. Scott had asked would I like to progress into doing other activities other than riding a bike and my reply was "sure, however as you know prosthetic gear is very expensive and I just can't afford that kind of layout". I went on to explain that our health system works entirely different to the US and indeed many other countries. I had tried contacting various companies and people, but always came to a dead end, so basically I had put the thought of ever being able to run to the back of my head, much preferring to concentrate on what I could do, rather than waste negative energy being consumed by what I wasn't able too (Notice I said unable to and not can't ) That's the thing with a lot of people they quite often get worn down by the whole health system when they don't have some kind of funding in place, and aren't able to obtain the right equipment to help move them along in their chosen direction. These people quite often then get a Negative "Can't" attitude and as we all know it's pretty much down hill from there.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Welcome to the North East Pace Rehabilitation

 A few weeks ago my good friend Scott Richardson who is the P.R Guru at Pace Rehabilitation informed me that they were going to be having an open evening at the Lombard Physiotherapy Clinic, which is situated in West Moor, Newcastle and would I like to attend as a guest on behalf of Pace along with a few of my friends and my dad, Ern.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Kielder with friends old and new...

What a cracking Crew
 Right to Left -Steven Hackworth ,John Chambers,Al Roberts,Luke Troy,Mark Boon Purvis, Steve (Scotty) Scott,Kevin Turner, Carl,Mark Eagan, Glenn Johnstone,Lee Sheridan,Ian Carr, Davey (twice around) Purvis.

My friend Al said

As you will see it's been a little while since I last wrote a blog. There's been a lot going on, however it's not really been stuff I've felt like writing about as it's been mainly depressing,sucky and bad stuff. My friend Al says I should still write about this kind of stuff as it gives other people and insight into how things aren't always rosey, even though I am very lucky in being able to do more than most what with having great support and sponsorship in my prosthetic needs and being also supported in my future endeavours. Al went on to say I wouldn't be surprised at just how many people may relate to how I go through things and then  always find the strength to bounce back. I have to admit at the moment I don't feel very bouncy, never the less here I am. As I have said in the past, popping stuff down also helps me reflect a little and can help me figure out just where I'm going and what I should be doing to get there.

This of course won't be one of my most exciting blogs, however I do hope for those that read it you can see that all I am trying to get across is that there is light at the end of any tunnel.

One of the hardest things for me when I'm feeling depressed less than motivated, un-enthusiastic or can be bothered to do anything is knowing I'm being an asshole. It's as if I can step out of my own body mentally and I'm screaming to myself "Omg just pull yourself together, your an absolute nightmare to be around and I don't like you". I suppose this message must get through, however it doesn't pull me out of my mood, no it just makes me realise that yeah actually I am not much fun to be around so I tend to cut people off, don't go out as much, don't blog, don't Facebook, in fact I don't do much.I guess I don't want to be a burden and if I can't stand being around me, then why should other people have to put up with me. It's weird as it almost always happens around winter time. It's like some seasonal clock that ticks away and then come that time of year bang, happy head off, root around in the bottom of the wardrobe and pop on my seasonal downer head.

Even as I write this I'm thinking "yeah but it doesn't have to be that way" and "hold on a minute give yourself a break, there has been a lot of shit going on over the last few weeks". Anyhoo the purpose of my blog isn't to have you all feeling sorry for me, but I suppose it is a bit of a place to share what's going on in my life and that of some of my family and friends and of course that isn't always going to be good stuff all the time.

As anyone who reads my blog will know I lost my best friend a few weeks ago. Mr Hink's has been such a miss around our house. Well this didn't help how I was feeling. Following that I discovered I had 3 lymph nodes up in my neck. One of which has been there for years, right in my clavicle area. I hadn't ever been able to feel it before, even though it was the first one I was diagnosed with way back in 2008. Now though it's up and I can feel it. They are quite small, only being around 1cm in diameter. I managed to get in and see the specialist, had bloods taken and everything appears ok. I do have to keep going back for more regular check ups. You know what scares me the most about this Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma? It's not the treatment or the disease, No it's the recovery period. I hate it when your relatively healthy and then you have that whole period of illness. Recovering is the hardest part. But anyhoo lets not spend valuable time wasting energy pondering something that hasn't even happened. Something I have learned is that way too many people live in the past with the what ifs or wishing they had done something different, or look to the future planning ahead for events which may never happen.The "Right Now" totally slips by and they are unaware's, and its the Right Now which really counts.

A good few weeks ago both Al and myself decided to go biving.  John and Lee our other friends couldn't join us, John having done something to his back and being in lots of pain and Lee having just undergone surgery for a hernia. So Al and I set off ourselves and camped up at Smiddy Shore. I didn't blog about it as this was the start of me feeling crap. Anyhoo that night we were camping out I realised I had forgotten to bring my medication for my phantom pain. I had left it in my other back pack. "aww never mind I will get some tomorrow when I get home". So biving trip over I was feeling decidedly unhappy. My riding socket had rubbed me raw for some reason all the way up and all the way back home so I had a nasty sore on my hip. At the moment I'm riding with a check socket that Pace has made me and as with any check socket it's a temporary thing to iron out the areas where it's not fitting and then when this is sorted move onto what should be a comfortable final socket. So moving on I get home and figure "you know what my phantom pain isn't that bad I'm just going to quit my Pregablin". Now I should have known better as I once did exactly the same thing with another neuro drug back around 2009/10 and it sent me mental.

So long story short over the last few weeks I have done cold turkey coming off these bloody awful tablets. I've had all the usual withdrawals, but at least now I am drug free and aim to try and keep it that way. Yeah I have phantom pain and it's horrible, but I would much prefer to have the pain than be addicted to something that screws with my mind and even when I'm taking them doesn't do a great deal to help.

Well anyway there is a little insight into why I haven't been around. If anything I hope anyone who comes across my blog and reads stuff like this can see that just because I have all this good stuff going on, what with being sponsored by both Pace Rehabilitation and Brian Bartlett and then of course also being aided in my fund raising to help get me a running blade by Arctic ONE, that everyone can go through dodgy patches in their lives. Everyone is entitled to feel a little sorry for themselves. Saying that I would be a hypocrite if I didn't then go on to say one of my mantras in life is "that out of every negative, there is a positive, you just have to look hard enough". So what is it in this case? Well I don't have to think too long and I can come up with lots. For one when you're on the bottom the only way is up. When your down, you discover what good family and  friends you have, oh and you also discover that people don't just like you because you try to put on this act of being happy all the time and being the life and sole of the party. They like you for you and all your quirks.

I've found it's been really helpful chatting to my various friends near and far and when they ask "Hey Glenn how are you doing?", instead of replying in typical fashion "Oh yeah I'm ok thanks", actually saying "you know what I haven't been feeling so good". I guess I'm of the opinion if no one really knows then how can anyone help.

After all sometimes all we need is a friendly ear and someone to talk things through with,someone who doesn't say "pull yourself together and stop feeling sorry for yourself", but rather says "well we are here for you".

It's to those people I say a huge thank you too...