Thursday, 4 February 2016

A Few Days Holiday

I have been off work the last few days as I had some annual leave to use up before the end of March, so I only worked Monday and Tuesday of this week, then I have had the Wednesday, Thursday and will also have tomorrow off. Come the weekend no rest for the wicked however as I am off down to Darlington to do my Level 1 coaching with British Triathlon. I have been very kindly invited to take part in some coaching sessions by the head coach and my good friend Graeme Moore along at Phoenix Triathlon in South Shields. In order to do this I obviously need the relevant knowledge, experience and coaching certificate. I have helped Graeme out in the past with a few minor sessions and although I don't feel I do much, well Graeme always appears very happy to see me and that counts for a lot.

Truth be known (those of you who read my blogs know I always say it how it is lol) I have been feeling less than motivated. I am terribly critical and quite cynical of my performance, so when I am feeling I am not doing my best or just feeling quite unmotivated or lethargic I have a go at myself. Obviously this leads to feelings of being miserable, less than adequate and also that feeling I hate which is of failure. So I decided with my days off instead of just sitting in the house I would at least try and do something. So yesterday I went for an enjoyable yet really hard and cold ride out with my friend John. We rode locally and covered just over 23.5 miles, my furthest this year. I always find it amazing that we can still discover new places to ride locally and yesterday was no different.

Up The Black Path

Saturday, 16 January 2016

A disastrous morning for poor John

John arrived at my house at around 7:30 am like we had arranged, he was not in the best of moods as his bike was cold lol. I think it must have got frozen during the night in his little shed as he was complaining of his rear brake and gears not working. I told him to bring his bike into our utility and had a quick check of his rear brake. It was  just a quick fix as the cable had come out from the brake lever.

It seemed to take me ages to get ready this morning, finally we were on our way. Just as I set off I discovered my adjustable ankle had seized. I gave it a few thumps but it wouldn't budge so I just thought 'Awww sod it'. As I caught up to John at the bottom of my street he said to me 'Awwww man I can't get me gears'. A quick look and I could see in his impatience and frustration he had stretched his gear cable, it was dangling down below his frame.

We carried along to the foot of the farmers trail and as John fiddled with his bike I set off. I hate stopping on banks, hills or inclines, especially where it is muddy or in this case covered in snow and ice as it is just so difficult for me to get a start again if I stop. So I was off, a nice steady pace to the top. John was unable to ride his bike and as i stopped at the top and looked around he was on pushing his bike up the hill. As we both approached the top of the farmers trail we had another look at John's bike. It became apparent that the inner cable for the rear gears had become stuck within the outer. A bit of poor maintenance on John's behalf there. John you need to make sure you look after the cables, it's not just a case of washing your bike, you also have to sometimes lube the cables. I can't talk of course, at one time I really didn't mind cleaning the various cars, motorcycles and push bikes I have owned, now I just cannot be arsed and only do it out of necessity.


As John couldn't really do anything with his gears we said our farewells. John headed home and I  ventured out alone. Bloody hell it was freezing and how I managed to ride a whole 10 miles without falling off is beyond me. I mean here's all this black ice which makes things more than difficult and I stayed on board my bike. It's ironic because come the summer and I am sure I will have a few spills when the weather is find and dandy lol.

Today's excursion was a somewhat muted one. I am still not feeling 100%, but cannot put my finger on what is up. I just feel a bit numb and desensitised to everything at the moment, a bit like I know I should give a shit but I don't. Kind of just on autopilot. That said even though my heart was not in continuing after John went home I pushed myself. Again thoughts of just how lucky I am sprung to mind and that inner voice which says 'don't quit, just head out and do a bit' came to mind.

I decided just to go down towards Beamish and although I did not get any pictures I did shoot a little bit of video with my GoPro. It's nothing spectacular, but hey I  was out and made the effort so instead of being overly critical I gave myself a bit of credit.


COLD RIDE OUT JANUARY 2016 from Glenn Johnstone on Vimeo.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

I'm back in the New Year...2016

Hello everyone, wow it feels like a lifetime ago since I last blogged or really did anything of any real merit come to think of it. Whilst 2015 was not exactly the year I had planned I refuse to class it as a total right off. As in life full of ups and downs, new experiences some good some bad, the major factor being I am still here to bore you all to death with my continued adventures.

   
South Moor Park was a bit muddy

 I am not going to bang on about the chemotherapy, but will say it took more out of me towards the end than I was expecting and the last few months have been tough. I don't really like this time of year, not sure if I get that Saddo Affective Disorder...Oh sorry Seasonal Affective Disorder, or if I just always prepare myself to be miserable around this time of year. If I get reincarnated it will probably be as a bear or a hedgehog as they hibernate around this season. Anyhoo I have figured I am not feeling depressed I am just a bit wiped out, which I am told by my Cancer Nurse Specialist is to be expected.

Good to be out
Today was to be my first ride out of the New Year 2016, bloody hell what a simply lovely day to go out for a ride. My mate John had to really work hard to convince me to get my ass out of bed this morning. I went out more for John than anything else, Oh and my boss at work Annie who had also tried motivating me all week saying "dude you need to get back out on the bike". I have been back to work around 3 weeks or so now, on a phased return. It has been tough, however such a relief to just get back in the swing of things. As I rode around today, freezing cold and soaked to the skin I said to John 'You know what sometime we don't realise just how lucky we are'. I then went on to explain that the reason I feel so lucky is in my job I see less fortunate people each day. People who have  undergone such life changing illness and I think to myself 'what would they give to be able to just carry on with life as normal'. 




Simply lovely weather
I remembered to charge my lights
John loves playing in puddles
Heading towards Chapman's Wells

 So although today was wet, cold and very muddy and both John and I were proper out of shape after each having a long lay off the bikes it was a great morning. I actually like being out in the rain. I love the sound of the rain drops as they pitter patter through the trees and create little splashes and circles in the puddles. It was proper foggy today and quite a few of my pictures came out with water splashes on the lens, captured in the images. Still managed to get a few not so bad ones.

Came across this wellie, just in the middle of the trail. I wonder if an amputee had been out for a quick hop and left it behind...




A Random Wellie


I think we did just over 10 miles today and in typical fashion I took John on some of the muddiest trails locally that I could find. We finally arrived back at my house where we both gave our bikes a quick hose down and then John said Bye and he headed up the bank home, whilst I went in and had a lovely hot shower. I then set about looking through my pictures, editing a few and writing my blog.

   












































Here's to a Great 2016, already got a few things in the pipeline and it's only January. Must get out on the bike more, get back in the pool and of course get this running blade sorted.

 

Best wishes for a Happy new Year to you all...

Me

Friday, 13 November 2015

Morning walkies, followed by family cooking and baking, with debates and laughter...

I awoke this morning around 9am. I had had a bit of a bad night last night, feeling quite nauseous and with an upset tummy, obviously I put this down to my treatment so got up and took some of my prescribed medication. I then dropped back off but had a fit full night. Anyhoo like I say up at around 9 am I decided to take wor Baxter for a walk. At one time Baxter hated walkies now he relishes the prospect so he was raring to go. Baxter is a right little bugger in that as soon as you pop his leash on he tries to grab it and then runs about tugging and jumping all over the place like a right hooligan. The only way I can get him to stop is by saying 'what's this' and reaching into my pocket for a treat.

Out the front gate and down the path, boy it was a little windy and cold, good job I had put my new North Face beanie on and my woollen gloves. We had just walked a little way down the path when Baxter decided 'oh I need to go for a poo'. I was using his extendible leader and callied to him 'Baxter wait, wait', you see the leader was under his tail. Yeah well I don't have to explain what happened next, but guess I will, dog crap all over the leash....Ewwww. I then had to get the dog bags from my pocket and one task I hate and always struggle with is trying to open the bloody things. Ok poop bag opened. Just then Baxter pulled on his leash and Omg! the dam thing snapped. See that's what happens when you chew on it, bad dog. I was passed myself as we were near the busy main road that runs just outside our front. I kind of panicked and started shouting 'Come here', I then calmed myself and remembered I had trained Baxter from being little to come to 'where's he at'. As soon as I said this in a calm voice and showed him a treat he came to me like a good lad. I got hold of his collar and then had the unenviable task of trying to tie a shit covered leash onto what was left of the other end, again Ewwwww. Good job I wasn't far from home. We went back home where I almost scrubbed the skin off my hands and I had to find another leash.

I then took Baxter out again and we headed over towards the allotments near the Millennium Green. There are some horses in the fields and nearby enclosure and Baxter likes to go and see them. He is one of the most friendly dogs I have ever known, so very gentle and playful.



Saying Hello

Saying Hello



   


         
 















 

Thursday, 12 November 2015

The end of something and the start of something new.

Today was a bit of a landmark day as I have completed my 6th and final cycle of chemotherapy. Now I am positive I will go into remission as they call it and stay fit and healthy for sometime without fear of the 'C' word coming back to haunt me for quite sometime. I have to undergo 2 years of antibody treatment, this requires me to go and have a drug named rituxiimab  infused into my body and statistics have shown this drug helps keep the Non Hodgkin's at bay for much longer. You see the malignant cancerous cells have a unique protein surrounding them called CD20. The rituxiimab is designed to hunt down this protein and destroy the cancer cells with out harming good healthy cells. So the drug is a lot gentler than the chemo which just runs rampant and kills everything.

Short term plans are return for blood tests in a months time and then go for a scan to see if I am okay. Treatment wise it has not been as bad as I suspected. I mean sure I have had a few side effects, like feeling nauseas, tired, low blood counts and the latest one developing spots and pimples which are really annoying and quite painful.


I am now looking forward to this being the end of something and the start of something new in many aspects of my life. I have always been driven, maybe not academically, however if I want to achieve something or get something done. If I focus my attention on it I have what is known as a can do attitude and can generally achieve my aims and goals. I have learnt a valuable lesson in some respects as I have gotten older and that not everything has to be perfect or in some cases you can start things yet never have to complete them. This can be for a variety of reasons, things like you are just not really as interested as you thought you were in the given subject. Other people get in the way or lose interest or they have different views, or some other aspect of life comes along and the stuff or thing you were doing just doesn't feel as important. I have come to understand it is better to have a go and fail than just say 'I cannot do that' or not even attempt to try it. Trying is not failure it I simply a way of discovering if you really want to do something, or learning something, then doing it better each time until you are happy with the outcome. I have also discovered I cannot posssibly Fix Everything or everyone no matter how caring or understanding I am. I think one of my biggest problems, again I'm learning is that I see only Black and White, yet other people have a myriad of different shades of Grey and even some other colours coming intro play and well this can just totally confuddle me. How the hell I have got off on this tangent I do not know lol. Top tip, stick to black and white it makes things so much easier lol.

Anyoo the something new bit for me is a reflection of putting all this crap behind me and learning from it and whilst I will be continuing to do a lot of stuff I used to do I will be moving on to new things. Well this is what I envision. Is this not life for all of us any way?

Whilst chatting to a very close friend I asked her a totally random question, saying 'So if you could think of a mythical creature or animal to represent you,  what would it be?'. She had to think a while and in the meantime said, 'Oh I am not sure, what would yours be'. I can of course answer immediately as for me it would have to be a Phoenix. The way I figure, this creature represents me perfectly because it is born, has a period of fun, then the shit hits the fan, it is then born again with a new sense of purpose out of all the ashes and the chaos that caused it's demise. I am in no way complaing so don't think this is a sob story, my life has been full of ups and downs, it has brought me to exactly where I am supposed to be and made me the person I am today. I actually feel rather fortunate in a weird sense.

So on to my recovery. I am going to take the next month or so real easy, see what it brings my way and whilst I am off try and relax and not over think things. I am however going to start thinking of short, medium and longer term goals, as this promotes positive action. I am already looking forward to new sockets, trialling new knees and feet/ ankle combo's. I am looking forward to getting back to learning to run and of course swimming again. I am also very excited about working alongside Graeme Moore, a really good close personal friend of mine. Graeme is a triathlon coach over at Phoenix Triathlon and has very kindly asked me, would I like to help out within the club. I am not sure at the moment of my role, however have helped out on a few sessions with some children from a special needs school. I found this experience extremely rewarding and fun so maybe a volunteer coaching role would suit me down to the ground. I would recommend voluntary work to anyone as it gives you a tremendous feel good factor and also brings communities closer together.

Anyhoo my blogging friends watch this space as I am sure there will be many more adventures in the future and I cannot wait to share them with you.

I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who reads my blogs, this year has been a particularly tough one, not so much the chemo, more so that it has effected what I wanted to do and made me feel lazy and at times depressed. I don't like sugar coating things, so my aim was to be honest with anyone who kept up to date with me and peoples support has been amazing. It has really helped me get through on those crappy days and on the days I have felt good well, it's just great to know I have so many loyal friends.

I notice I don't get as many comments on my blog as I do upon Facebook, so hey leave your comments any time they are a very welcome read.

Take care guys

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

What to do when you cannot sleep?

Well this sucks, my sleep pattern is all to hell. I'm finding I'm tempted to go out for rides at stupid O'clock just because I am bored out of my tree. Either that or I am on my pc ogling bike porn and speccing up imaginary bikes, Mmmmm what carbon bars to go for and do those colours match. Maybe I could shave a few grams off there and should I go for another Fat Bike, or full sus trail or hard tail. Do I even need another bike, well of course I do you can never have enough bikes lol.

Yep I'm bored with being off work and just feel proper lazy. This whole 'you need to rest and take it easy', well it's just not for me. I need to be out doing stuff, challenging myself or at least being mentally stimulated. The days are becoming a blur and just fading from one day to the next.

On Thursday I see my consultant so I guess i will find out if my neutrophils are low again this month. If they are it means more delays with my treatment. If they are okay, it's whoopee as this will be my final chemo session. Then it's just a case of waiting for a final scan and my bloods to get back in order and I can start thinking of my return to work and gradually get back on track. I need to start doing stuff and just having some much needed fun.

Anyhoo as like I say I have been bored I thought I may as well bore you lot by writing a blog and let you know what I have been doing when I cannot sleep. I have actually been spending quite a bit of time on Spotify searching for potential tunes I can use in any bike video's I do. I love looking for obscure tracks by artists I haven't heard of. I find when doing a bike video one of the hardest bits is not actually editing the footage it's in finding a decent tune to go with the flow of the video. I have a plan for a nice winter video and already have a cracking track chosen, just need some snow lol.

I'm going to change how I do my video's slightly and try and pick a tune, then go somewhere and try and ride to the flow of the music. It just makes it that bit more interesting I guess.

Lately I have discovered a few artists I like. I have popped a few links to Youtube with their albums.

From Indian Lakes






Another group I have discovered and quite like are Dresses. Dresses is a band from Portland, Oregon made up of Timothy Heller and Jared Ryan Maldonado. Their sound can be described as bubbly indie pop, driven by the duo's intertwining vocal melodies and harmonization.





Have fun and get some sleep lol x

Saturday, 31 October 2015

When you just don't feel like going out!

The lads had been going back and forth with messages upon Facebook arranging a ride out for Saturday morning. I only sent a few short messages, saying I didn't feel like heading out, but hoped they enjoyed themselves. As the days go by I just feel weaker and weaker and everything feels like a chore.

Well Saturday morning arrived I hadn't set my alarm like I usually would and was awakened by our doorbell ringing. Thoughts ran through my head 'aww just ignore it, who ever it is will go away'. I  then thought I had better go and see who it was. As I hopped down stairs using my elbow crutches as i couldn't be arsed to pop my leg on I saw though our kitchen window that it was my friend John. I went to the back door, opened it and John came in while I made a cup of tea and had some toast. 'You not up for a ride out' John said, to which I  replied 'I'm just not feeling it mate'. Soon after our other friend Lee arrived. When Lee saw I wasn't ready he asked 'You not coming'?, again I just repeated my earlier comment to John, saying I wasn't exactly feeling good. Lee was gutted, well so was John as they love hanging with me and going for a ride. Lee always says 'I always have an adventure or something happens when I am with you'. This is pretty much true, it's very rare we go out and something either funny, interesting or bizarre happens. As I was just finishing up my toast I spotted our other friend Al pull up in his car. At this point I was feeling a bit guilty, here were all the lads and me being a pussy just because I didn't feel too good. Before All got his bike unloaded off his car I hopped upstairs and popped my bikey gear on and got ready to head out with the boys.
              

Up the mucky farmers trail with Teflon Lee

Got to love the mud


Almost a death in the family, well more of a murder really!

Yesterday was a very traumatic day for me. I was up my friends Ade and Amanda's when I received the terrible news via text from my son Kyle that one of my dearest friends, had almost lost his life. This friend has been with me for well over 20 years through thick and thin. He has been there through relationship break ups, seen me through bad times and has always been there to listen. Admittedly he never says anything back in return, but at least I know he's not going to give me shit advice, try and play me or steal any potential girls. He loves me unconditionally and never expects anything in return, well apart from the odd drink now and again.

It wasn't me

Yes I love my Groot. Groot is an umbrella tree I have had him since he was a baby. I can still remember bringing him home, aww bless he was just a wee shoot of a thing. But with love and attention he grew up to be a beautiful, though slightly weird shaped plant. The thing I especially like about Groot is he doesn't conform to other umbrella trees, he has a mind of his own and does his own thing. He sprouts his leaves at weird times and at funny angles.

I can recall when I used to have him in the living room near our sofa, we would watch films together and Groot would tickle my head with his leaves as they bent right over the back of the sofa.  I would often chat to him and tell him 'what a pretty boy, Oh yes you are' and I swear he would rustle his leaves and grow a few millimetres by the next day.

Anyhoo back to this terrible text , it went : Kyle - 'Grandad just told me that Baxter just ate some of Groot'
 

Me - 'Is Groot ok'
 

Kyle - 'He says No, Groot is not ok, he is an amputee like you now, but has lost two limbs instead of one'

Baxter is a bad bad dog

Omg wor Baxter has tried to murder my best friend. I was not a happy bunny. When I got in Groot wasn't in his normal place and I panicked thinking Ern may have buried him or something in the back garden. 'Where's Groot' I shouted up our stairs. 'He is in the sitting room' Ern replied. I opened the door and was devastated to see my usually leafy friend was bare. Two of his wonderful stalks had been eaten and the leaves and branches gone.
 

Baxter came to greet me I gave him a 'You are a bad boy look', to which he returned my look with a 'it wasn't me, honest' expression.


Groot is now down to one stalk I do hope he recovers from this traumatic incident. I will be doing everything I can to nurse him back to full health. Even though the bloke at the job centre askedif my leg was going to grow back and it hasn't so far I have faith that Groots stalks will return.

Ok I have to go it's just all too much...

Monday, 26 October 2015

Sometimes not planning a route, turns out to be the best route.

It's been ages since I last rode with my good mate Lee. What with Lee working shifts and me never knowing where or what I am going to be up to and like everyone stuff just gets in the way from time to time.  Anyhoo Lee had given me a shout on Facebook Sunday night saying 'Hey I'm off tomorrow you up for a ride out?'. 'Sure' I replied as long as it's not an epic as I have been feeling really tired over the last week or so. In fact I hate to admit it but 2 days running I had hardly gotten out of bed. It wasn't the fact I was like sleepy tired, no more of a bone weary tired. After I had rode the 38 miles or so the other week when I went down to Tynemouth and back with my other friend John I just felt absolutely knackered and it must have lingered on. I am pretty stubborn and for me feeling like this is just not on, though I am learning sometimes I do need to give myself a break and rest and take it easy, other wise it takes even longer to get myself put right and this causes me to become even more anxious and frustrated.


Down the leafy trail

Lee


Monday, 19 October 2015

A Tootle from Newcastle to Tynemouth

****Update****

Decided to play around with some of my footage from my outing with John. There was so much stuff that I could probably make 3 or 4 small movies. May do more later but for the time being this crudely put together bit will have to do :)

 




Friday, 16 October 2015

Good news on the old White Blood Count

After having my bloods retaken on Tuesday I was very surprised to discover they had risen from 0.52 all the way up to 3.79. I'm not sure what I have been doing but it must have worked. My friend Ade reckons it was that trip we had to Holy Island lol. I have been trying to exercise (maybe a little too much at times) by getting out on my bikes and I have been eating plenty of mixed fruit and berries and drinking a lot more water.

Yesterday (Thursday) I attended Shotley Bridge chemotherapy day unit for my 5th cycle of treatment. When I was there the haematology nurse came over to have a chat and explained that as my Wbc's were not recovering each time I had treatment they thought it a good idea that this cycle I only have one session of chemo and antibody and this would also be the case for my next cycle. So I have today off from treatment and I have awoken feeling quite good. The side effects to the drugs usually kicks in around 4 days later, however last month I didn't experience hardly any, well apart from the dop in my wbc count.

The hardest part for me is having to try and take things easy and being off work, it gets so boring. I have never been a one for sitting still, yet due to unforeseen circumstances a great deal of my life has forced me to do just this. I think that is why I get so wound up at times now I just want to get on. Never mind just one more session and then normal service shall be resumed and I can ease back into the swing of things.

So much to look forward to and feeling well which will be a huge bonus. I never really seem to have a plan for life I rarely know what I am doing from one week to the next however I do know I want to achieve and accomplish more, doing what well I haven't a clue.

One things for sure my future will never pass me.

Have a great day everyone x

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Bad Boy Baxter

So my dad comes up into my bedroom and says ' Errr did you leave the downstairs toilet door open'. (that's where we have our shoe rack and my cycling jackets hung behind the door) 'No I don't think so' I replied 'Why'. Too which Ern said 'Well wor Baxter has been in and ate my slippers', ah well that's not so bad I thought. Then my dad said 'He has also ate part of one of your new road bike shoes', 'awwww crap that's bad' I thought. On further investigation yep Baxter has decided to chew off the ratchet strap and part of the ratchet on my new Spiuk roadie shoe.


Bad Boy Baxter

I went to his crate where he was lying, looking up with a slightly 'It wasn't me' look upon his cute little face. 'Bad dog' I said as I showed him my shoe.


These stink Anyhooo

Ern is now on sorting the downstairs toilet door making it Baxter proof. You see it did have a roller ball catch. Ern is now putting on a proper catch so that Baxter can't just nudge the door and get in. I can't be mad with him as he really is a lovely little fella. I guess if you aren't giving him 100% attention he gets bored and goes looking for trouble. Baxter loves attention, he is one of the friendliest and loveable bullys and such a character.
 

Huh it wasn't me Honest!

Friday, 9 October 2015

A very enjoyable adventure to Holy Island

Following my visit to see my friends Ade and his wife Amanda yesterday and being at a slightly loose end as I am off work, (supposed to be taking it easy) I suggested to Ade 'why don't we go somewhere tomorrow. I am useless trying to think of new places to go so asked Ade did he have any thoughts. 'oh I wouldn't mind a look to Holy Island, sometime', he said thinking that we could maybe do that sometime in the future. Ade really wanted to head up that way and get some shots of the Puffins that frequent the Island. So I suggested 'hey why don't we just go tomorrow'. I mean we both didn't have any other plans and now I have my little car, it meant I wasn't leaving Ern vehicle-less. 

Looking over to Lindisfane

Amanda checked the tidal times that evening and I arranged to come up for Ade at around 6am the following morning. I then headed home and ended up having a late night, so come 5:30 am when my alarm went off I had only had just over two hours sleep. Strangely enough I awoke feeling quite good, my niggley cough which I have had the last few weeks didn't seem as bad and I felt like I had a little more energy. I got up, washed and dressed, grabbed my gear and set off for Ade, no breakfast this morning I just didn't have time.
Arriving at Ade and Amanda's, Amanda had made me a lovely cup of tea and I only had to wait a little while, whilst Ade got his camera gear and other bits and bobs sorted, then we were off.

I'm getting to grips with the new head unit I have put into Tango. It's a canny bit of kit for the money. I bought the unit off Amazon after looking for head units with a Sat Nav function. The Unit is a Pumpkin 6.95" Android 4.4 Universal In Dash HD Touch screen Car DvD player with GPS Navigation, stereo Am and FM radio support, as well as offering SD/USB ,Bluetooth/3G/Wifi/OBD2/ 1080P


Nice features and seems to work well

A little play around with the Sat Nav and we soon had a route to follow. The unit comes with iGo maps installed on a micro SD card and once you get used to the format of how to input stuff the Sat Nav works extremely well. As I recall I think the Sat Nav said we had around 70 odd miles to get to Holy Island. 

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Time to think positive

The last few months have been difficult due to all this treatment, however even more so as my white blood count has been so low. Last month I was at around 0.72 and this month it had dropped to 0.14. On today's visit to Shotley Bridge and the chemo day unit my WBC (white blood count) had only marginally risen to 0.52. Ideally I need it to be at at least 1.5 so I can have treatment, this means I have a way to go.

At the moment I have a slight cold and this could be effecting how quickly my WBC comes up. I'm going to have to be a little cautious I guess as I really don't want to be spending time in some hospital ward.
 

After calling one of the G.P's at my local surgery I felt a bit better in my thinking as the doctor agreed I really should be off work and she had no qualms about issuing me a sick note. In my head i tend to think of this whole situation as no big deal and just wish I could get the bloody thing over and done with and get back to whatever 'normal' is for someone like me.

I've spent the last few weeks feeling rather down what with one thing and another I go through periods like this and always learn from them. Sometimes I need down time to allow me to reflect and appreciate 'hey you know what I can't always fix everything and it's not always my fault'. Sometimes things just follow a course or path that makes us sad or unhappy, but hey that is just life and no matter what we try to do fate or destiny or whatever you want to call it just keeps on coursing ahead.

I guess it's now time to regroup and think positive and get things in to  perspective and just do what I do best, dust myself off say 'Fuck it' and aim to be the best person I can be for myself and others.


As many of you will know I have a habit of writing from the heart and I think that is why so many people like my writing style. As I was out riding my bike the other day and was totally knackered, a song came on my mp3 player and  the lyrics certainly touched a chord with me as that was the way I was feeling at the time, they went as follows 'Wheeling through an endless fog', how the hell I managed to then get up that geet big hill amazed me, as I was feeling pretty depressed. It's funny how music can have such an impact on you and boy at times the fog is so thick.

Today however I feel a bit different, not sure why I mean things aren't exactly great, but I just know that the fog will never remain endless. Even when we feel life isn't exactly treating us kindly, change is occurring every second of every day, sure we can feel sorry for ourselves and try to slow it down, but it is inevitable, so why not go with the flow and move forward instead or trying to remain static. I think my biggest achievement is possibly in trying to give other people hope. Especially when they hear 'yeah I get down', I'm quite proud I can also get back up and learn from my experiences each time.


Just some thoughts from today :)

Monday, 5 October 2015

Does anyone really read this anyways

I haven't been blogging as much lately I mean I have still been doing stuff, just it doesn't feel important or interesting enough to really write about and lets face it who wants to read about negative stuff, because that's the way I have been feeling. Rides out haven't been so much about fun, but pushing myself way to far, because I feel weak and it's a kind of way of saying screw you to whatever bad is going on at the moment.

I really need to get out of this sort of self destruct phase, as although no time is good to be feeling like this, well it's even worse now that these stupid white blood cells are at zero and I need to be thinking and acting positively. Everyone always comments on how positive I am and in a way this just puts additional pressure on as I'm going through a hard time at the moment and just feel pretty alone.

And that's the negative stuff out the way no need to call the Samaritans just yet lol. I really need to practice what my headline says upon my blog page, just in a difficult place at the moment. Sure normal service will be resumed quite soon.


So dark in the woods had to have the flash on

Plans for this week, none. I just wake up and see what happens, so what happened this morning. My friend John messaged me asking how I was and did I fancy doing anything. We discussed either going for a ride in Tango, but couldn't think of anywhere, or an adventure out on the bikes. Bikes it was. John always leaves the route finding to me I don't know why as I always get us lost. Sometimes getting lost is half the fun though and today was no different. We discovered yet more new single track and had to ride up a long winding bank, great more punishment lol.

Taking a break

At Lamsley on a rock

John

I tried to pop my cheerful head on for John this morning, not sure I pulled it off. I have a really dark sense of humour, something John has now become accustomed to, so we quite often have a good laugh as my pessimism can actually be quite funny.

   

I think it's raining

Today's ride was a very wet one, we hardly saw anyone out, but I really enjoyed it. I love the rain, the pitter patter as you ride through the woods as the drops hit and fall from the leaves. The suck of your tyres as you go through mud and of course once you are wet, well it doesn't make a difference if you then ride through puddles and have a bit of a splash.



A couple of selfies on to of the Causey Arch, didn't discover any 'Cocks' today

Just me soaked through

I wasn't expecting it to lash down like it did, so today's ride probably wasn't the best idea. I'm in trouble if I catch a cold or bug.


Bright Light!

And that's about all I have to say for now lol

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

I'm at almost zero

So cycle 5 is due on Thursday 1st  and Friday 2nd October, or rather it was. Just been for blood tests and the nurse came back with an 'Oh doesn't look like you will be having your treatment this week'. She then went on to grab another two nurses who came along to see me and all 3 of them appeared really concerned, one in fact not even wanting to breath on me lol. I was then lectured on if you have the slightest cough,cold,chill or fever you must ring up and inform us.

'How are you feeling?' they asked to which I replied 'Err a little tired and down'. I had thought I was coming down with a cold early last week, but it's nowt really a few sniffles and I have had a sore throat for ages now, it's no big deal.

Today my white blood count was practically at zero, reading 0.14, this means my immunity is pretty shocking. One of the nurses commented on how weird it was that I looked so well. Anyhoo the results from today means more time off work and I have to be really careful. So I guess when I go out for bike rides I will just have to pull up my Arctic ONE Buff and this should hopefully stop peoples Cooties from infecting me.

My daughter Kayleigh has been on the phone texting me. I have told her not to worry, this is just another challenge. The reply I got was ever so sweet and it shows how much she loves me.She said in a txt 'It's hard no to worry :( literally hate how everything shit happens to you! You don't deserve it :( xxx  I don't really believe in luck or misfortune, shit happens to good people all the time and I see people worse off than me almost every day of the week, so it makes me feel lucky for the things I do have in my life. Yeah I go through phases where I feel everything is against me and when this happens I tend to go into hiding to regroup which can scare some people as they must think I'll never return.

At the moment my worst fear is having to take more time off work. Not only do I feel I am letting my work colleagues down, as well as my patients, but being off means I have way too much time to think and analyse what exactly I am doing on this planet. Feeling slightly lost.com

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Support of your friends when you are feeling a bit down

This week has been a difficult one, what with going back to work and not exactly feeling 100%. I have felt in a low mood and add to the fact I'm a bit stressed over my forth coming treatment well it hasn't been an exactly great week. I hate it when I'm off work as I have far too much time to think and over think, then think some more and I end up becoming really tired and everything gets too much. The one thing that anyone who knows me knows is that I am very honest and I guess that goes for my blogging too. No good pretending everything is hunky dory when it's not. Sometimes things just don't work out the way you plan or stuff happens and it leaves you, well I can't even think of a word, maybe 'Lost' is as good as any.

Anyhoo after all the shit I have been through over the years I have discovered I am pretty resilient I just retreat behind my defences, learn from my experiences and try not to bring everyone else down around me. My unhappiness I pop in a little locker within my head and try not to visit it. I have always been the same I find it incredibly difficult to give myself a break yet, I'm great at shining a little light on others. My friends John and Ade have been very supportive this last week I'm not great at taking advice and tend to switch off. I have been told off by Ade as he knows I can so easily slip into hibernation mode and no one will see me for months on end.


I won on the Euro Millions this Friday and was already preparing in my head to move to Alaska, live in a cabin and become a recluse, unfortunately I don't think I can manage it on £2.90, ah well there is always next week.

My mates John and Lee were messaging me all Friday, arranging to head out on the bikes. Truth be known I just didn't feel like it. I had kind of lost my MoJo and have just been taking to my bed when I have come in from work, hiding under the quilt. I like sleeping when I can as it doesn't mean I am thinking. Anyhoo John mentioned I had to go out as a friend we had met on Facebook and who runs a group called simply 'Bike' wanted to head out with us and was eager to meet both John, Lee and myself. Not being big headed but David really wanted to meet me as he sees me as an inspiration. Again not blowing my own trumpet I get this a lot and I can't for the life of me understand why. I'm just a very ordinary guy, who makes the most of what I have got and can do. I often feel guilty as I think I have to live up to this idea of what people think I am and obviously I can't so it's a bit of a fail on my part. Again just how I perceive myself I guess, pretty sad really. On a positive I do try to be the best I possibly can and I am very warm and friendly and people do take to me pretty quickly. I am now very good at wearing this veil and hiding my true feelings and try to be bubbly and bright even when I am feeling crap, well it's not very nice bringing people down as they have their own problems and quite often as not they are ten times worse than mine.

So I decided to hook up with John and Lee and we arranged to meet David down at Rowlands Gill outside Maguire's Fish Shop the following day, Saturday at 9:00 am. I awoke pretty early and got all sorted, retrieving my Pyga from the shed. Si my bike mechanic had returned my bike all serviced and everything in good working order. I hopped on my bike and headed over the Font to retrieve some funds out of the cash machine, then decided what the hell I may as well ride up Durham Road Bank and go and meet John. Just as I got to the top there he was coming down. He greeted me with an 'Alreet mate how ye dee'in', to which he got a slightly subdued 'ahh am ok'. We then headed down the bank to call on Lee. A quick chat with Michelle, Lee's wife and we were off. Across to the farmers trail and up, the start of another adventure for the 3 Amigo's.

It didn't take us all that long to get to Rowlands Gill and we only had to wait 5 minutes or so before David turned up. It was then hand shakes all round and brief introductions oh and I grabbed a photo of us all. David saying 'aww man a hate me photo taken', tough mate when you are with me you got to have your pic taken it's how I recall memories.
 

David,John,Me and Lee

From the chippy we headed down the road and were soon on the Derwent Walk and heading up to Blackhill and Consett. It was nice taking it in turns to ride with one another and share a bit of banter. I rode much quicker and even though I was knackered today felt I did ok, it's probably because I wasn't on my Fattie which drags like hell. It was great hearing a little about David and just having a bit of fun with friends old and new. My mates mean everything to me as they are so supportive and even when I am feeling down put up with me and offer words of wisdom and encouragement. I really tried to be upbeat today as it was my first time meeting David and obviously I don't want him thinking I'm  a miserable twat.

 

Photo by John -Lee, Glenn & David

Soon we were at Blackhill, it was only like 10:10 or something so I suggested we head on up to MacDonald's for a cuppa and we could have a chat outside. Everyone was up for this so we set off again. Following on from MacDonald's we headed over to the sculptures as David wanted to grab some pictures and this is where we said our farewells. John, Lee and myself headed down towards Lanchester Way,saying what a canny lad David was. We will definitely arrange another ride out soon and David would like to meet wor Baxter and get a few photo's of him.

Just as we got down to the big red tug before the Hownsgill Viaduct I spotted a couple of lads at the side of the trail. One of them was on a  very nice Trek Farley Fat Bike, so I had to stop and say hello as you do. As I spoke to this very friendly gentleman John said 'Oh hey we have met affor man'. It turns out we had spoke to Ian once before at the Toon. he was on his other Fat bike at the time lol small world. Ian introduced us to his friend Steve and we shared a canny bit craic. Ian and Steve asking where the tea rooms where at the Gill. We showed them the way and then said goodbye, two really canny blokes, if you see this lads hope you got back safe and sound and it was great seeing you again Ian.

Steve and Ian

It didn't take us long to get down to Hurbuck Cottages and from there we joined the road  and headed along to the turn off for Stoney Heap. Here there was a canny climb, Lee was off in his typical Wiggins style, whilst John and I huffed, puffed and whined all the way up. John describing his ass as being off the Richter scale. As we rode up the bank I was his inspirational and motivational coach, saying 'you can't get off, just keep going m8, get to the next post'. A quick breather at the top and then we were off again. It didn't take long to get to Stanley a quick dodge down the Front Street past all the waifs and strays and before long Lee and I were saying bye to John. Lee and I then whizzed down the back streets of Durham Road, Lee actually slowing down for the junction this time as last time he almost went arse over tit as a car approached the road. I was shouting 'Watch oot for the road like'.

Got home and Ern was in the shed fixing kids bikes lol, his normal daily routine really.


A quick shower and it was almost time to head back up for John along with my dad and Essi my friend who has been visiting a few days. We were all going to have a ride through to the Mercedes dealership so that I could pick Tango my Smart Car up. Tango's been in to get a few bits and bobs done under a recall after the alternator belt snapped and disintegrated. A little chat to the service guy and one of the car salesman and John and I jumped in Tango. I've been getting a new radio and dear me it took me ages to connect my phone so I could play a few tunes on the way home. Soon on our way though.


I think John was impressed with the performance of my little car as it can whizz along considering it's only a 1 litre. It's such a fun little car to drive. When I got home I had a bit fanny around with the radio and think I have it sussed. I even popped a movie on a memory stick and was well impressed it plays.
 

Various stuff going on that has given me a different perspective on everything, not sure whether it's good or bad, maybe it requires more analysing, something I am very good at. I hate it when I can't fix things, me included.
 

A huge thanks to all my friends for your on going support and trying to cheer me up...Sorry this isn't as positive a post as usual, a lot going on and struggling for answers.

The End!



Oh Ps David has promised me some of his photo's as I just wasn't in the mood today.

Monday, 21 September 2015

A lovely afternoon out, over at Wylam.

Friday evening and my usual venture up to my good friends Ade and Amanda's. It has become a part of my weekly schedule to go up on a Friday evening and there we have a catch up talking about the weeks events and Amanda makes me several cups of tea and plies me with various cakes, biscuits, bags of crisps and even on occasion ice cream lollies.

Anyhoo on Friday I mentioned to Ade I would really like to try and get some decent photo's of Hagg Bank Bridge as Rachael had mentioned she liked the bridge as it used to be on her daily commute on her way into work each day when she was on the train. So I arranged with Ade that we would have a drive over that way the following day.

After having a bit of a nightmare getting my new car, "Tango" taxed because of this cherished plate transfer. I was over the moon to have been able to sort it all out on Friday morning. So my little Smart car was all road legal and I was looking forward to a blast out in her. The little Smart is so much fun to drive and quite pokey around town, in fact it surprises quite a few drivers just how quick it is. Quite a few people have a habit of pulling out on me as they think "Oh it's only a Smart Car".
 

Tango


Thursday, 17 September 2015

Continuing to get out

It's all just about getting out, it doesn't really matter where. I'm happy as long as I can try to retain some semblance of fitness and not just sit in the house feeling utterly fed up and bored. I have had way too much of that in the past and whenever illness creeps up I panic.

I'm going to keep this a short blog as I think people get fed up with just reading about me going out on my bike and writing about it all the time. I mean I do always try to put a bit of something in my writing, whether it's humour, a little history now and again or just how I'm dealing with stuff and others may take something from that...I don't know. Writing these blogs is therapeutic for me and it also gives me something to look back on. Sure some of the memories aren't fond ones, but the majority are. Sometimes we have to go through the bad times to truly appreciate just what
a good time we are having.

Beautiful skies

Moo cows in the lush field

Down the Trail


Today's ride out was a 20 miler with my friend John. John and I are regular riding partners and although we haven't been out as much this year I know all I have to do is give John a shout and he is there to go for a ride and brighten up my day. We chat about anything and everything, mainly me doing the talking as well I'm good at it.


It was a cracking day for a ride. I don't know where John got his weather forecast from the night before but it was most definitely not raining and windy.

Rather than explain exactly where we went I will just say it was a local loop taking in the Lanchester Valley route and back home. We stopped along the Lanchester Valley Route to eat the berries I had brought along. Raspberries,black berries and blue berries. By the time I was finished with the blue berries my hand were all stained. I am trying to maintain eating lots of berries in the hope my bloods remain high, unlike a few weeks ago.

Lovely Berries

As we started back along the trail I informed John I was really socket sore. At the moment I have a really tender area where I weight bare on my sockets and wow is it hurting. So a little further down the trail I stopped and retrieved a Mepilex border which is a kind of plaster out of my bag. I then found a hidden spot between some bushes and proceeded to drop me draws and stick this plaster on my ass. They don't take away all the pain, but do give a little relief from the constant chaffing when I'm riding. The soreness and pain is one of the biggest limiting factors to my distance riding, well that and I am knackered from the chemo at the minute.

 

Berry stained fingers

As we came off the Lanchester Valley we headed up to Consett and got a coffee and a chocolate doughnut each from MacDonald's and sat out side and had a chat over them. We then headed back. When we came to near the Transformers sculptures I bumped into one of my old school friends dad. Dennis and his friend Doug are always out walking. I spent a good 20 minutes asking after him and Steven and the rest of his family and also about some of the places we have ridden and visited locally. Dennis likes history and walking so it was nice to share some of the trails we have been on. John and I then said our farewells and we continued on our way.

   

Lots of pretty flowers this time of year

As we got to the Ox Inn I called in. I am after some glasses you see. I want to get them for Rachael as she likes the design and the drink called Old Moot. It's a cider made in New Zealand I believe. My daughter Kayleigh had said the Ox may have some so I thought I would just go in and ask if they had any spare I could buy. The lasses behind the bar were very friendly, telling me they thought they had a few but the bar manager wasn't in and it would be up to her if they could sell the glasses. I just left my name and number on a piece of paper however haven't had a call as yet. Hey if you happen to have any old Moot glasses you don't want you know where to send them lol.

As I came out of the Ox I bumped into another cracking lad I know. So Steven and I shared a canny bit banter outside, me telling him about my new pup Baxter and Steven saying I would have to call along his sometime to show him Baxter. Again said our goodbye's and John and I continued down to Stanley and through the Front Street, then under the subway  and down Wear Road to  where John lives. "catch you later mate" I said  as I rode off down towards Durham Road and home. I even managed to get in our back yard without falling off, bonus.

   

The old Fat Bike is in need of some tlc

Whipped my BTK limb off and popped my everyday one on and then washed my little Smart car and gave her half a polish. Yeah I only polished the bonnet, roof, wings and the drivers side door. I was then knackered. I used Maguire's 3 stage stuff so had to go over each panel 3 times. Stage 1 a paint bringer backer upper'rer . Stage 2 a polish and stage 3 some canuba  wax. Tango now looks half shiny.

I'm a bit pissed off at moment car wise as I cannot use my little car. The car came with a private plate and I don't have the log book slip so cannot tax her. The previous owner wants this private plate back so I am not sure what the cars new registration will be. It's a right pain in the arse and very frustrating as I want to go out for a spin lol

What do you do to relieve stress?

So the other night I was feeling slightly stressed.  I had intended on heading out for a ride all day, but just never got around to it, busy sorting this daft bedroom out. When I did decide to finally go out I couldn't find my under shorts and then when I finally did find them I couldn't find my rear light. This just compounded my frustration and led to more feelings of "Aghhhhhh" I can't explain so that kind of sums it up.

Eventually I found all my gear but was so demotivated I decided to put it all away safely and just lie around feeling decidedly unhappy with myself "Pffffff".

This chemo has had some weird effects on me. I get really emotional and with being off work me being me I feel lazy. I'm not as active as I was and this gives me way too much time to over think every single situation and detail and generally get it totally wrong, creating more problems and complexities within my lets face it pretty simple life. Oh and did I mention my eye sight is horrendous now. I spoke to a MacMillan nurse and she informed me it may be due to the treatment. Driving on a night is the worst, as car lights feel like laser beams, they are just so bright. I quite often have to squint.


Looking out over Stanley at all the lights


Thursday, 10 September 2015

The 3 Amigos ride again

It's been sometime since the 3 Amigo's have ridden together. I haven't seen Lee in months, what with not getting out and riding as much and then of course we all have our various jobs and different lifestyles and things to be doing. John on the other hand I see quite a bit of, well when I have been feeling well.

Anyhoo today was to be a special day and a chance for us all to have a catch up. Lee and John had done most of the arranging via Facebook and I just said "yeah I'll come along". The weather was supposed to be nice and we decided a route which would take us to Parkhead Cafe. It's round about a 37 mile there and back and the stop at the cafe halfway is always a welcome treat.

John arrived at my house for about 7:45 am and in typical fashion I was late. I always and i mean always lose something. This morning I couldn't find my Endura shorts and Arctic ONE Buff. Ern has been on sorting my inner wardrobes shelving in my room and everything is disorganised so my Ocd type layout of clothing which goes something like long sleeved shirts in colour order, short sleeved shirts with collars, T Shirts, Jeans, then casual shorts and then mountain bike gear colour organised was in total disarray. At the moment I have mountain bike gear with long sleeved dress shirts and shorts with other shorts that aren't mountain bike ones...Ok I'm going to stop writing about that as it's stressing me lol. You get the idea chaos in my room.

Eventually I discovered my Endura shorts hiding on the bottom rail and my Buff was where I had last put it in my Camelbak. Job sorted. I got my Fat Bike out and John and I headed over for Lee. Lee was almost ready and we were soon on the roll, heading over to the Font so that lee could grab a few quid out of the Post Office Speedbank.

We rode up past the entrance to South Moor Golf course and past the new housing estate, going up towards South Moor. A quick ride up Popular Street and we were soon at the bottom of the Black Path and heading up it to the top and Langley View. Soon we were over the road and up to the Morrison and his is where we got on the C2C. From there it's straight up to Parkhead, taking in Leadgate and Consett, before coming to Waskerley.
 
The 3 Amigos

Tango!

Me n Tango!
Upon visiting Ade and Amanda on Tuesday afternoon, talk came around to cars and my lack of one. I haven't had a car now since I sold my MINI  COOPER S way back in ooh I think it was 2007, a good few months before I had my leg amputated. Part of the cash I got for my car I gave to my dad to put towards our little Honda Jazz and the rest well I bought a rather expensive mountain bike.
Love at first sight
Anyhoo I was chatting way to Amanda and she asked me what did I fancy car wise. I have always fncied a "Smart Car" and had even done lots of research into getting one and then having it modified with a Hyabusa motor. The problem I always encountered was how to make the car semi automatic as I struggle with a clutch.

 Amanda happened to look upon Auto-trader asking me "what colour are you after", "Oh an Orange one I jested". After a few moments Amanda said "Hey there is one here in Orange". So I had a look and thought "wow that looks cool and it's not badly priced". Amanda sent me the link and I didn't really think anything more about it until the following day whilst out shopping with Ern.

"I'm just going to ring that garage and see if the car is still there" I said. I spoke to a lovely lad named Dean and pretty much decided then and there, you know what I'm going down to have a look at this car this afternoon.

Tango!
So that's what I did. I rang Ade asked him did he fancy a look down with Ern and I and we drove to Bradford. The garage was right next to Bradford Football ground and the Smart was in the forecourt, gleaming away. Dean invited me to check the car out, which I did and then it was job done. Make payment, sort out insurance then we had a drive home.

I'm very pleasantly surprised by this small shoebox on wheels. It is quite pokey for a 1.0 litre. I'm not sure I like the auto box as it is slow to change, however I have heard a remap can help with this. The interior is funky and has loads of room and I can get in and out with ease. It's also great on petrol and very comfy and fun to drive. The engine sound canny for a little car and the whole car feels like driving a go cart.

Rachael has decided to name my car Tango, it seems to fit as it is quite a bright orange colour.