Friday, 15 June 2018

"I Have a Dream"

“I have a Dream”

As many of you know this is a famous quote by Dr Martin Luther King Jr from his iconic speech at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963. Well I too have a dream, and whilst it may not bring me fame and hopefully will not lead to me being shot,for me it is no less ambitious.

My particular dream started back in 2016, when I took a few days annual leave from work and decided to visit Scotland with my then girlfriend. We choose to visit Oban and the surrounding islands of Mull, Staffa and Iona. Oban is a lovely part of the Sottish mainland, however nothing could have prepared me for the beautiful Isle of Mull. I was in total awe of the isle as we trundled along in our tour bus. I believe I have Scottish ancestory, going way back, the Johnstone name being associated with Dumfries and Galloway, so maybe this Scottish heritage called to me, regardless I fell in love with the rolling hills and glens, the wildlife and the overall beauty of the place.

Upon arriving home from our short trip, it was all I could talk about and I began looking at different parts of Scotland with property and land,it became an obsession, a sort of waking daydream,followed by the usual night time dreams, my imagination running riot. Obviously my passion is still afire, probably more so. And when browsing the web I discovered this house,

  
Dream Big
THE house, is situated in a place of unrivalled beauty. I have never been to this particular area, however I know it is just me and deep inside I feel I belong there. Hopefully in this life, if not I will have my name down for first dibs in another. I can just see myself standing proud outside the front door "Johnstone" kilt a fluttering in the breeze...calm down ladies.

Mentally I can fall into the scene of images I have printed off. I can envisage every detail. The smell of the pine needles from the nearby woods, walking beneath the canopy of trees the sound of gravel beneath my feet the waves of the loch gently lapping at the shore. There I can taste the early morning dew, licking my lips against the chilly morning air. An eagle flying above hills and rolling glens. His view far superior to mine and yet I am more than content to just be there. The sky a hue of various blues, with white fluffy clouds, which all reflect upon the loch,creating a mirrored image which takes my breath away. All of my senses attuned to this natural magnificent gift. The scene plays as if on a giant screen in my head. Time paused,mentally I capture the image as if taking a photograph within my mind.

  


Over the years I have been through some tough times and faced quite a bit of adversity. There have been times in my darkest days where there was no rock bottom, it went far beyond that. I felt as if stood on the precipice of a dark chasm. Endless, eternal darkness before me, a stiff wind at my back. It was as if I was on the brink of being lost mentally. Somehow there would be no return. With the support of some fantastic people and arming myself with various bits of knowledge, taught and read I was able to fight back. I have learned that your life is mainly guided by your mindset. If you are feeling lost, negativity can shield you from the light and  when you expect bad thing to happen, then guess what you are going to get exactly what you expected. Yeah some things are out of our control, but hey it doesn't half help if you can change your mindset and try and see beyond the here and now and discover a more positive you.

A simple analogy...

Imagine you have your alarm set for an early morning start, it doesn't go off, you get out of the “wrong side of bed”, stub your toe as you frantically get ready for work. You hobble through to the bathroom to give your teeth a quick brush and drop toothpaste on your clean, now dirty top. As you rush to get down stairs you stumble and sprain your ankle. Now you can't find your car keys and when you finally do, on the way to work you hit every red light. Wow a pretty bad start to the day it can only get worse...Right? WRONG!


Lets look at this morning again. Your alarm doesn't go off, “crap I am late”...“Oh well I had better get ready”. You stretch, it takes a few seconds. You get yourself out of bed, thinking “Mmmm I got out of the other side this morning”. Off to the bathroom you go. “Oops I dropped some toothpaste on my top”, no big deal, “I'll either give it a rub up or change my top”. You take your time down the stairs and discover your car keys are not where you usually leave them. “Ahh that's right I got in late last night and left them???”  Soon you are out the door and off to work. You appear to hit every red traffic light, “ah well I am late anyway and it is a lovely day, plus I am almost there safe and sound”. You get into work a little late,apologise and no one bats an eye. Bonus no bruised toe and no sprained ankle. The rest of your day goes smoothly.

Armed with positivity I am now trying to attract more of what I do want and a little less of what I don't into my life. Yeah the dream or vision of achieving my goal is a very ambitious one, however if I doubt myself then I don't stand much chance. I am sure you have all heard of this Law, it is called the law of attraction. It is a proven scientific phenomena. How many times have you actually thought something was going to happen, or focused on something and as if by magic, not necessarily immediately that thing appears in your life. The majority of the time we don't give it a second thought. 


A bit like the earlier example think bad thoughts and poor me and bad stuff will start flowing to you as that is your current mindset. Start thinking positive and about what you do want and you are more likely to see good things come into your life.

Ok back to this dream thing. Of course, my dream is not just about having this place of exceptional beauty. Although it would be amazing to live there I would still want to do something with my life. It would be no good just owning a house in a beautiful area and saying “well that's it, Job Done”, all I am going to do is retire and find the odd job or go for a ride or walk now and again. 




I have gone on to think ahead, what would I find rewarding and fulfilling. Could I possibly share my dream or parts of it? Yes of course I could. There are many places of natural beauty in Scotland. I would like to invest in some kind of guest/holiday accommodation, within this area I have discovered. From there I would like to go on and offer the opportunity for people to visit, walk, ride or even paddle in the loch. Over night camps and just a real sense of adventure, taking in the sites with amazing photographic opportunities, as well as learning some of the history of the area. I would like to create some sort of retreat, accessible to all, so that people can gather their thoughts and just relax.

It's nice to have peace and quiet at times, however I would not really want to be socially isolated as I enjoy meeting new people and hearing their stories. I could imagine sitting around a camp fire upon an evening and listening to various tales and adventures.




Many of my family, friends and work colleagues think I am off in La La Land. I have even spoken to complete strangers whilst out and about, some of which have gone on to wish me the best of luck with my dream. I am teased openly at times, all good fun. I guess the majority of people never have their own dreams come true so how can they expect mine to. I figure I am putting in so much more effort than most so lets just see. Hey this could be a kind of “I told you so”, watch this space LoL

I wake up on a morning and the first thing I do is think about this house off on the shores of the loch. I have a “dream board” which has various pictures pinned upon my wall. First thing on a morning and last thing at night I look at each picture and visualise, being there and add to my plan. Because I am thinking of this so much and talking about it, yes even to myself lol it kind of feels real and obtainable.

I will leave you with a few of my favourite quotes of the moment.


Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)
“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions”.
Henry Ford (1863 - 1947)
"Whether you think you can or you think you can't, either way you are right."

And in ending I started with 

Dr Martin Luther King Jr (1929 -1968) so here is a quote from him.

“Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step”

Oh and hey this is my dream, so go get your own LoL

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Time to say goodbye

After much thought and consideration I have decided to thin out my fleet of bicycles. It's a bit of a sad day, well from a blokes point of view, as we tend to build up more of a bond I guess with inanimate objects, such as cars and bikes.


For sale on Pink bike

Ns Soda Air 2013


Transition Klunker 2013 

NS Analog 2011


3 bikes for sale


Looking through some of my old photo's it surprised me at just how long I had had each bike. It was nice to peruse some of the images as it brought back some nice memories of fun times, with both family and friends.

All in good fettle

All 3 bikes, a 2011 NS Analog a 2013 NS Soda Air and a 2013 Transition Klunker are in really good fettle and a real credit to me in how I have cared for them over the years. Yeah there are a few chips here and there, some of which poor Ern got blamed for as he tends to be more wreck less than me when moving my bikes around or putting them away.

Of course I will be continuing to ride, as even if I manage to get these 3 bikes sold I will still have another 5 to pick from. Oh plus my little Benneli TNT Monkey bike if I fancy something motorised.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

How many beautiful messages the kintsugi technique conveys

I discovered this rather interesting topic and page on-line. The art of Kintsugi can convey many beautiful messages about resilience and how even though we can become damaged throughout life, it can make us more beautiful, unique and precious.

Upon reading various pages on the subject of  kintsugi, or kintsukuroi, literally golden (“kin”) and repair (“tsugi”). It has made me think of my own journey and the adversity I have faced. From an amputee point of view many of us go on to display our limbs, as a kind of badge of honour. I believe the psychology of this could be as a result of us just trying to say "Yeah I may have lost a limb, however look at how I am overcoming this situation". Of course many people suffer from hidden disabilities, this can include mental health problems. A daily struggle with one self and the world about them.

Hopefully by sharing this, once read it will bolster some people and give them a little room to reflect. What ever they have or indeed are facing, should be with the knowledge that they are unique and although they may feel broken, they can be repaired and are a one off beautiful creation. We can only really receive love and respect from others when we love and respect ourselves. Those that do try to bring us down are generally insecure about themselves.

Hope you enjoy the read., which you can find below


Kintsugi

The Japanese art of kintsugi teaches that broken objects are not something to hide but to display with pride.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

A couple of articles about my journey.

Hi guys...

Silverback Synergy Fat with BTK Crossover
Out on my Silverback Synergy Fat with BTK Crossover
A few weeks back I was approached by Silverback Bikes and their Brand Communications Specialist Temarah Galant. I recall mentioning this in an earlier blog. Well today I got an email notifying me that a couple of articles had been released about my journey. From taking ill to the years of pain and misery and finally electing to have my leg amputated. Both articles are just a short time lapse affair, however for those interested they are a canny read.

I hope there are some people that can take inspiration and discover that you do not have to be super human to find the support you may require in wanting to achieve your goals. There are genuine people and companies out there that are willing to offer support for the ordinary guy or gal in the street. Of course you get nothing for nothing. You have to prove you are not a quitter and that you are tenacious, motivated and have the ability to accept your failures, learn then move on to your successes.

I cannot thank everyone mentioned in the articles enough for their support, as well as quite a few people who are not mentioned, but who have helped me achieve my victories along the way.

Anyhoo hope you enjoy


https://spycycle.uk/


http://ablemagazine.co.uk/able-gets-the-latest-from-silverback-cycling-ambassador-glenn-johnstone/

Friday, 11 May 2018

Blowing away the cobwebs

Went out for a little bimble on my Silverback Synergy Fat this morning. Man it was colder than I anticipated. I wouldn't care I even checked the weather and it said "sunny" with temps around 13 degrees. Upon checking my Go Pro footage it looks very muted and at the start quite dark. The sun did not really burn through this morning and so the sky looked dull and grey.


 

Really all I wanted to do was head out and get a bit of fresh air. Due to this long standing cough I have had I really struggle on a morning. You would think I was a 40 a day man. 

Ern has tried sorting the top edge of my socket out, however after only 10 or so minutes of riding I could feel the socket biting into the top of my thigh and hip. I am now sporting a proper red and sore stump, so will have to take it easy tomorrow so that I am in shape for work on Sunday. Unless you are an amputee I guess it is hard to understand the constant battle, along with frustration of having to try and make the best of a bad situation. Of course everyone has their own personal battles, some of which I will not have any comprehension of.
 

Anyhoo rather than focus on all the negatives, it's good to be able to say "I got out".
 

I bumped into one of our old neighbours whilst out. It is so long since I saw Karen, that I actually got her mixed up with one of the community nurses who used to come and see me, back in the day. We reminisced and I reckon the last time I had seen her was when I lived over at South Moor. We left there when I was 18 so that is roughly 32 years ago.

Oh almost forgot, a little challenge I am doing this year is for my friends over at Arctic ONE. It's called Arctic ONE's Summer of Fun. All you have to do is donate £10 and then over a set period record your activity and achieve the goals set by Arctic ONE. This can be running, walking, swimming or cycling. To find out more information why not visit  Arctic ONE on Facebook or go to their website www.arctic1.co.uk to see the fantastic work they do. All funds will go towards the grant system that Arctic ONE provides. A very worthy cause indeed.


Wearing my band with pride
Arctic ONE

I only got a few pics with my mobile phone today, have to say I am very impressed with the camera. I have not edited any of the shots, they are just as they came from the mobile camera itself.


Silverback Synergy Fat




They have cleared all the beautiful trees :(

Saturday, 5 May 2018

A little ride out in Grandma!

Wow I was up early this morning, around 6 am, however at the time I did not realise it was so early as I never checked the time. It was not until I came in from washing both cars, Tango my little Night Orange Smart car and my new ride the VW Beetle GSR,which for the moment I am calling Grandma. Yeah I know Grandma is a weird name, but there is some thinking behind my bizarre name for my Bug. It's not weird to name your cars, or is it...who cares?


vvw beetle gsr
Out in "Grandma"
Anyhoo after watching an episode of Jay Leno's garage on Youtube I noticed during Jay's review of the new Beetle he said "This car is a bit like a wolf in sheep's clothing". Man that is what I thought the first time I set the car away. For some reason I immediately thought of Little Red Riding Hood and the Big bad Wolf who dressed as her "Grandma", hey what can I say, maybe I have too much time on my errrr brain. "My what big exhausts you have", all the better to expel those exhaust gasses and "My what big wheels you have", yeah well they do look pretty dam fine... All I need to do now is lower my car as she is sort of showing off her knickers and sitting a tad high. I may have a bit of a dilemma when it comes to lowering the car, as I found out just the other day.  You see the alloy wheels that are fitted are what's know as staggered. This basically means the fronts are narrower than the rears. To get the look that a lot of VW owners go for, smaller tires are stretched over the wider rims. Looks great, however it makes kerbing an alloy very easy as the rims have no rubber to protect them. I was hoping popping new tires on all round may solve the problem, for instance going from a 235/30/R20 to the correct size of 265-275/30/R 20, however this may make the tires way too big to fit under my arches when the car is lowered. Plan is now to seek some more advice and maybe even see if a friendly tire place will pop a larger tire on so I can see what the alloys look like. I just want some rubber protecting the edge of my rims. Worst case scenario is a complete set of alloys 20 x 9's running 245/45/R20's.


 
vw beetle gsr
VW Beetle GSR @ Tunstall Reservoir



vw beetle gsr
The Ern such a cool cat
vw beetle gsr
Whey Hey
vw beetle gsr
Loving the Bug
vw beetle gsr
Beautiful over at Tunstall Reservoir
vw beetle gsr
VW Beetle GSR
vw beetle gsr
VW Beetle GSR
As for suspension thinking of popping KW Variant coil overs on to give the car a much better stance...

Ooh back to this morning. After washing the cars I detailed "Grandma" and The Ern and I had a blast out. Intending on heading up towards the moors, but then deciding to check out Tunstall Reservoir. I pulled in over towards Castleside and popped the name of the reservoir into my Sat Nav. The friendly lady behind my dash, found the location very quickly. The new updated Sat Nav disc I purchased on-line appears to be spot on. It's the first time both Ern and I have visited Tunstall Reservoir, boy it sure is beautiful in that area. The roads up towards the reservoir are a bit skinny like and my car feels FAT so I was a bit on edge.


For sometime now I have been... what's the best way to describe this? I suppose dreaming of purchasing a house up in Scotland. This is ever since my visit to the Isle of Mull. Now when I say house I probably mean mansion, country retreat or huge bolt hole. Hey you can afford what you want in your dreams right? Anyhoo each of the houses I have seen on-line, even including small islands at one point, have been sold or taken off the market. I have now got my eye on a house way up in Inverness. I cannot give too much away as one of you may head off and buy it just out of spite, well if you had £800,000. So just a heads up if I win the lottery any time soon I will be heading to Scotland and you may not hear from me for a while. I have it all planned in my head, even have my own family Tartan LoL


Johnstone Tartan

Friday, 4 May 2018

Baxter's Birthday and a little tootle oot on the bike

My little lad is three today, needless to say he got spoilt.I picked up 2 toys for Baxter last week, man pet stuff is expensive.  A Kong jumbo bone and a Kong cone, both in large came to £30, never mind he is worth it. I gave Baxter the bone this morning and he went mental, he even pulled poor Ern all the way around his walk so he could get back home to his new toy. The Kong cone I filled with biscuits and some peanut butter then froze it. Just gave Baxter this about and hour or so ago and he has been quite happily lying in the sun licking his make shift lolly.

Birthday Boy
Mmmmm I love peanut butter

Yum Yum

Friday, 20 April 2018

Been asked to take part in an article for Silverback Bikes

On Tuesday I was contacted by Silverback Bikes Brand Communications Specialist, Temarah. You see I am an ambassador for Silverback Bikes, having got my Silverback Synergy Fat Bike way back in 2016. Temarah went on to explain that she had seen some footage of me riding my bike using my prosthetic sports knee, the BTK Crossover and she wanted to know would I been interested in doing a short feature for Silverback's Media Centre.
Glenn Johnstone Silverback Synergy Fat
Love the Silverback Synergy Fat design, carbon front triangled frame
This involved answering a few questions to get a background, things like when I started riding, how I came to become an amputee and the journey I have been on since. Including how I came to start off on the Bartlett Tendon and involving the tremendous support I have had along the way. Of course when writing a blog such as this I have to mention my Good friends over at Pace Rehabilitation, Brian Bartlett, Fabtech Sytems and The Arctic ONE Foundation. All of whom have played a part in my life and adventures.

Glenn Johnstone BTK Crossover
BTK Crossover, just needed aligning
Temarah, also asked would it be possible for me to get some new footage that Silverback could use upon their media centre. So I decided to do that today. I explained to Temarah that I am just starting to get back out there. As many of you who enjoy reading my blog will have noticed I have neglected it somewhat. On reflection I can look back over the last couple of years and see I have had a bit of a nightmare health wise. At first when I started my cancer treatment I thought "hey there is nowt to this", however as time progressed man I was feeling more and more wiped out. Like proper chronic fatigue. It's funny it wasn't until just the other day when one of my good friends and work colleagues Jennifer said in general conversation "Glenn you have been really poorly for sometime", that I actually took it in. You see I tend to be one of those people that beat themselves up and won't give myself a break. I didn't think of myself as being ill, more like I was being lazy and I had lost motivation.


Never mind I turned down my last treatment and have had good news today from my cancer specialist nurse, she rang me whilst I was riding up our bank, so I was quite out of breath. I grabbed my phone and she informed me everything looks good on my CT scan.


I continued up the bank to John my mates house and after he got his bairn sorted with her Gran, we set off. Continuing up the bank and heading off towards East Stanley, with the plan to head down to Beamish woods.


Once in Beamish woods it didn't take me long to figure out my Crossover was all out of alignment. I had had to swap my new socket out for a much bigger old one, the other week as my residual limb has gained so much volume, another word for getting fat. Anyhoo I didn't have the best tools in my backpack so had to ring Ern to get assistance. 20 minutes or so later Ern rocked up with some decent allen keys and we were able to align my knee and foot a tad better. Only problem being the bolt for my pylon and foot wasn't the best so my foot was still out of skew a bit.

My bud John
Glenn Johnstone Silverback Synergy Fat
Coming down the trail
Glenn Johnstone Silverback Synergy Fat
Cracking day

John and I rode up through the woods chatting as we went. Finally we got to where we thought would make a good start. The video only had to be around 1:30 long. Got some nice footage as the sun was out and it didn't take long at all. Bit gutted as the final bit of recording didn't appear on my memory card. This was the bit where John and I were acting like little kids playing in the ford. Tell you what it was proper slippy and we both almost fell off.

Off the back of the bike with the Crossover
Close up of the Crossover flexed
John playing in the stream
John having a right hoot
Man it was slippery coming across the ford
Splish Splash
Where we come from
Managed to grab a few pics today. The ride home was torture. When I say ride I will admit I cheated a little and had to push my bike up the Shepherd and Shepherdess bank, even when I am fit that bank is a killer.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Out for a blast on little Nelly

Wow where has this weather appeared from? Not complaining in fact it gave me the opportunity to head out and finally test the new brake and clutch lever set up on my little Benelli TNT. I have had the bike for quite sometime now, however not really had the chance to head out. In fact the bike had only covered approx 15 miles, then had been sitting at the bottom of our stairs in the hall.



Glenn Johnstone
Boys and their Toys
Originally I paid a small fortune for a Brembo master cylinder thumb brake. However working alongside Ern we just could not get the thumb brake in a comfortable position, plus the feel of the combined brakes was awful. I struggled to not only stop, but also in actually trying to pull in the clutch, whilst using the thumb brake. Ah well back to the drawing board.

One of my mates, Des sent me a link to Youtube of this kid who had incorporated what is know as a stunt clutch on his Grom. Essentially it is a small clutch lever that can be actuated by a single finger. I researched the levers and discovered there was no way I would get one to fit with the original brake levers that were on the bike. This meant ordering some new radial type brake levers from Aliexpress. This would allow me to use one lever on the left hand for my rear brake and the one on the front as normal for the front. Plus I ordered a (RSC) Righteous Stunt clutch lever, medium length. It was rather expensive, however appears to have done the job. The fit to get all the levers and switch gear is tight and as I will go on to explain requires a little tweaking from a comfort/ use point of view.

Glenn Johnstone
RSC Stunt Clutch and Adelin radial levers
Ok so like I said earlier this is the first time using this set up. It takes a little getting used to. I have discovered I am automatically going for the rear brake, which is now on my left handlebar thinking it is a clutch lever. This means at first I clunked a few gears. It also meant I slowed down quite dramatically as I pulled on the lever. Then I got comfortable using the small clutch lever and the opposite happened I mistook it for a brake and instead of slowing I just disengaged the gears. Also set up wise the levers feel as if they are in the wrong position. It's totally different going out for a ride compared to just sitting on the bike in the back garden. Due to the lack of space on the bars it can be difficult to adjust the position of the levers on the left hand bar, they are just so close together. Luckily there has been a little room for movement and on returning home Ern gave me a hand to adjust the levers. The radial brakes also have screw in/out adjusters for lever travel and this has helped a lot as the levers are now within reach.


  
What's it like riding as an above knee? Errr scary, well for me it is. I have not spoken to any other above knees, but what I am discovering is I am perfectly confident turning left, but I do not like turning right at all. It's weird as normally when you ride you wouldn't put a foot down and you use the power of the engine to pull you around or through a corner. Maybe it's psychological. I have noticed the same thing when I am out on my mountain bike. Left turns are fine, however rights can prove tricky. It would be interesting to hear from fellow above knees on this.

I covered roughly 50 miles today, heading up to Smiddy Shore and around by Stanhope. I pulled in at the petrol station at Lanchester to fill up...When I say fill up I put all of £4.08 in my tank. I felt so guilty and was not sure if the attendant would accept anything under  fiver that I bought a bottle of water. I then discovered I had no where to carry it so stuffed it down my jacket. It kept falling down and I almost lost it a few times.



Glenn Johnstone Benelli TNT
Learning curve today
Little Nelly
Benelli TNT
Over on the moors
Benelli TNT profomance exhaust
Bike is canny loud with pipe on
All in all I had an enjoyable ride out, the weather has been ace. I figure if I can work out how to get to somewhere purely by doing left hand turns I will be fine LoL. In reality it's just a case of building up my confidence and learning this brake/clutch set up. Another reason it was scary today is a lot of where I rode was hilly and well I am running my bike in. It's not good when you have a bloody huge artic up your arse as you tootle along at 40 to 50 mph. Plus when he passed me I thought he was going to suck me under his truck. The only thing I managed to pass today was a tractor, mind you he was doing 32mph as I looked down at my clocks.

Broom Broom!!!
Over at Wagtail Lane
A big part of why I can get out on my bikes, both motorised and push is down to Pace Rehabilitation. Paul Richardson my prosthetist designed me an everyday socket and it just shows that having a decent socket can enable you to do a lot more and just get on with life... The only thing I am really disappointed with after today's outing is that my socket has rubbed a small hole in my seat. To be honest the material used on the seat is not very thick or of great quality. It's just another small challenge to sort out. Hopefully if I get the seat re-upholstered in something harder wearing it should resolve the issue.

Monday, 16 April 2018

A birthday treat to myself

Well I am the big 50 today, half a century no less. How have I celebrated my birthday? By getting up nice and early and continuing with decorating the house. Oh yeah all rock and roll me. No birthday wishes from Ern or Kyle this morning, even wor Baxter didn't pay particular attention. My aunty Claire and Uncle Dave called in yesterday like, bringing along a delicious home made chocolate cake, em-blazed with "Happy Birthday". To be honest I prefer to fly under the radar when birthdays come up and kind of pretend I am not getting any older. I am sure I had my date of birth hidden on Facebook, however I have had a number of birthday well wishes from old school friends and other friends and family. Lovely people one and all and thanks to everyone.

Glenn Johnstone,VW Beetle GSR
Awesome Birthday Treat

Sunday, 17 December 2017

man I feel worn out...

As the title to this particular blog post states "man I feel worn out". It's not just a case of being or feeling tired, nope I just feel completely fatigued and no amount of sleep appears to do the trick. I go to sleep at a reasonable hour and awake feeling wrecked. 

As I have viewed my blog seeing if anything needs tweaking or I can add anything interesting I noticed my blog posts had dwindled over the last couple of years. I mean it's not just a case of not having anything interesting to write, as there is always something or other to tell you. I mean isn't that the whole point of a blog, allowing people snippets of your life, or I guess in some peoples cases "their whole life"...."Today I ate a Jaffa Cake" sort of thing.  No I can see a down turn, both in my interest to write about my adventures and also in how I have been feeling. Basically things have just not felt great since having chemotherapy back in 2015. 


Now as far as chemo goes, the 6 months treatment I had whilst I was on a drug called bendamustine was not too bad. This particular drug, meant I had no hair loss and apart from a dicky tummy now and again I was pretty much ok. I mean my bloods did drop to 0.5 at one point and I became neutropenic, which basically means I was very susceptible to infection as I had a real low immunity, however I did not catch any nasty bugs, meaning I did not require any hospital over nights stays to be monitored.


The combination of bendamustine and rituximab has been very successful, as my non Hodgkin's lymphoma appears under control and the horrible large nodes I had in my neck have shrunk right down.


Following the chemotherapy I was informed I would get 2 years treatment of the rituximab, this is called a maintenance dose. The treatments are supposed to be given every 2 months. Unfortunately I have been experiencing some issues and this can really only be put down to the rituximab. Things like a low white blood cell count, more infections and picking up bugs easily and the biggest one to date for me this lingering feeling of fatigue and just not wanting to do anything.

It has taken me ages and I mean ages to put my finger on why I have been feeling so crap. I mean most people think "Yeah I will feel shit during, then after my chemo, but give it a few months and once I am in remission I will start to feel a lot better". Yeah I thought this, so to be 2 years on more or less following my chemo, well I just thought "Glenn, you are a right lazy sod, who needs a kick up the arse"...."Come on pull yourself together".

Anyhoo after going in to work today and feeling absolutely wrecked and asking if I could take a half days annual leave. I came home and researched the drug rituximab. My findings are from the Cancer Research UK site and you can follow the link if interested. The top 3 common side effects I have had, which are feeling sick, being at a higher risk of getting an infection. I have had a terrible couple of years picking up stuff and the biggest one for me fatigue and tiredness.

I now kind of realise that may be I shouldn't be so hard on myself, as it just piles on additional stress. I have just had my treatment on the 7th December. I will now wait 3 months before my next one which I am pleased to say will be the end of my course of treatments. There have been a few delays so I have crept into my 3rd year. From there I hope I will start to get my Mojo back, recover my strength and start living again.

Never sure who reads my blog, but hope anyone reading this who may be going through the same thing can take something interesting or informative from the information.

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Not a great day to try out the Buzzraw and yet proper enjoyed myself...

My dad Ern, has been feeling rather unwell the last 3 days...Man Flu it appears. He has been in bed 3 days now, so I have been handed the duty of walking Baxter. As an amputee it is not the best weather to be out walking, or should I say attempting to walk. Baxter doesn't help as he has four paw drive and has a tendency to not just go in one direction. This means it's a constant battle trying to pull him back and also stop him from tangling the leash around your legs. Then of course add to the mix all this ice.

Kotz68 Buzzraw
Out on the Buzzraw

Friday, 1 December 2017

My Buzzraw has arrived

"Buzzraw" You may be thinking, "what the hell is a Buzzraw". Well it's a unique, funky, somewhat retro styled bike, some may even say a scooter (How dare you)  I prefer the term bike, as a scooter to me is one of those little things that you kind of push along with one foot and I once had a bad experience as a kid, on one of those when I face planted and got gravel rash.

Glenn Johnstone Buzzraw
Coast Cycles Buzzraw in Coast Blue

Saturday, 23 September 2017

The 3 Amigos Ride Again

As the title to my blog says "The 3 Amigos Ride Again". I cannot tell you the last time I had a ride out with both John and Lee. Put it this way it has been way too long, as this mornings local trail adventure was sooooo much fun. According to Strava we covered 14.1 miles the majority of this being off road, on either farmers trails, parts of the Chapman Wells nature reserve or in the local wooded area surrounding Chapman's and Quakies. As I still do not feel 100%, being able to get a little off the beaten track and yet stay close enough to home, so that I can bail at any point is spot on.

The 3 Amigos

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Had my new drone all of 10 minutes and crashed it Oops!

An exciting afternoon, as my big boys toy has arrived. It is a DJI Spark drone. Upon opening the box I was greeted with this very cute little blue drone.

DJI Spark
Everything you get in the combo bundle
I eagerly got everything out of the box and began charging him. Thank god for Youtube as the instructions came in 7, yes that is 7 small booklets. Even with my gigs on I couldn't read them. Mind you not that I am one for reading instructions. I figure if something doesn't work straight out of the box, well it's broken isn't it? I have therefore left Ern reading the vast manual which he has printed out from online.



So Cute, but very angry
Appears well made and has loads of features
So far following the Youtube guides I have managed to update both the drone and it's controllers firmware. I have also managed to get the drone started and hovering, well before I crashed it into the wall of my bedroom and thought I had broke of a rotor blade...Ooops!


  
Whilst in firmware mode, it makes some weird tunes
Rotor Guards in Place
Second attempt was much better ( I put the rotor blade guards on this time). I could get the drone to go up and down, and circle left and right 360 degrees, however could I hell get it to fly left or right and could only get it to come towards me by flying backwards, ie the camera facing away from me. Mmmmm more practice required and must get Ern reading faster to get me up to speed.

Apparently my little drone also thinks it is in China according to the on screen display, so that needs sorting. I certainly do not want it returning to base in Beijing. Batteries only last around 16 minutes per flight I think so it would be pushing it anyhoo.

So far I have just had a little bit play around in doors in my bedroom, man this little thing is loud, it kind of sounds like it's pissed off when you fly it around. I swear it had a go at poor Ern and buzzed him, wasn't me!

All batteries on charge now and I will try and figure out how to use it and get some footage, so watch this space.