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.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Just messing around in the woods

Today's adventure out with John on the bikes was a short one. I am having a few problems with socket fit, kind of changed shape once again so my socket feels rather tight. Not to worry everything is in place to get sorted by the amazing team over at Pace Rehabilitation. Really don't know where I would be right now without the support of these guys. Definitely not jumping around and acting like a teenager in the woods that is for sure.

Man why do I have to live in such a hilly area. No matter which direction I go, here in jolly old Mordor there is a hill. Hey Ho back up the farmers trail we go.

As John and I set off up the Farmers Trail we were followed by a
combined harvester and two tractors one of which was pulling a large trailer. We pulled over to the side and let them all get past and they headed up to start work in the nearby wheat field.

John heading up the Farmers Trail
Silverback Synergy Fat
Mid way up the farmers trail
Silverback Synergy Fat
Beautiful sky
John had been talking of seeing one of our friends on Facebook, Mark Peterson and all the cool pictures Mark had been putting on. Saying "I would like to go somewhere and have a play at maybe jumping off some stuff". Although we have beautiful surroundings, like woods and countryside I couldn't really think of anywhere to errr "Jump off stuff". I then remembered this little place down Beamish woods. Funnily enough it is where I actually attempted my first little jump on a bike after receiving my BTK way back in 2009.

Checkout the facials LoL
I had been loaned a Transition Blindside and man I can remember having a wide range of emotions going on. Everything from being real excited to absolutely bricking it. I mean I had never jumped anything since I was a nipper and as I was just getting back to cycling and the use of the Bartlett Tendon at the time well it was very nerve racking. It's kind of a weird feeling strapping what is essentially a bucket with an artificial knee joint and then relying on 2 elastic bands to be there when you take off and land. Obviously the BTK and especially the latest incarnation the BTK Crossover have so much more technology and design put into them, but never the less it was and in a way still is a leap of faith. No matter what you pop on to replace a lost limb, there is still the fact there is nothing quite like your own bits...So look after them and appreciate them people.

BTK Crossover
BTK Crossover

Knee in hyper extension, not good

Anyhoo we arrived at Beamish Woods and I showed John the little jump. "Ok you go first" John said. Yeah I could see what he was thinking, "you have a go and if you fall off I think I'll pass lol". So we set up the GoPro and just started messing around.

Silverback Synergy Fat

Silverback Synergy Fat

Silverback Synergy Fat

Silverback Synergy Fat

Silverback Bikes

Eventually John says "Ok I'm ganna have a gan". He pushes his bike up the hill and gets to the top and says "Bloody hell it looks steeper from up here like". I tell John, "you might want to drop your seat down. I mean you don't want to catch your nuts if...ahem! I mean when you land". John is cautious his first time down the hill, but enjoys it so much he attempts it a good few times, gradually getting faster and gaining confidence. We probably stayed there a good hour and had a blast, so much fun.

Silverback Synergy Fat
Coming through Beamish woods
Following on we rode through a bit of wood I had never been through until we came to this massive steep hillside that was proper rooted and gnarly. I couldn't see all the way down through the tress so wasn't sure what it would be like to ride down. There were 3 young lads at the top, so I said to them "What's it like going down?" Too which I got the reply "It's canny steep like mate". "Mmmm decisions, decisions"," Awww screw it" I just went for it. Fuck me it was steeper than I thought lol At one point I felt I was going to go over the bars. Just when I thought I was at the bottom, the trail turned and there was an even steeper bit. No stopping now, arse hanging over the back wheel, thank god I had put my Rock Shock Monarch on the highest  flexion resistance, as this allowed me to fully flex my Crossover and control my bike. Last thing I wanted was to be too far forward with a hyper extended knee, recipe for disaster. Once at the bottom, man did I feel like the cat that got the cream, a big grin all over my face. I know for an everyday mountain bike rider this would just be a walk in the park, however for me when I think back to when I first had my amputation I couldn't keep my balance on my bike and would fall off on the flat, in my garden. John congratulated me on my descent after deciding it was way too steep for him to have a go at and he pushed his bike cautiously down the trail.

A grand morning playing
My mate John
 As we rode on the trail became more familiar and I knew we would have an epic climb back up towards home. Once we started climbing out of the woods, coming up the back of Beamish on the road towards the South Causey I could feel my stump feeling like it was going to explode. Man so fatigued and my hip was killing me. I had been riding today with more resistance in my tendons as Paul my prosthetist over at Pace  had relocated my receivers, as well as me putting my old tendons in place and then around 40psi in the shock. It's like riding, then doing a whole separate work out as you ride. I should probably have thought on and reduced the pressure in my shock and put the cams on an easier setting for the rest of the ride home. It's weird after all these years riding with the BTK and now the Crossover I am still learning what are the best settings for what ever I am doing. I had never really used the Highest flexion resistance setting, until chatting to another user and friend Jude. Jude does a lot of Down hill and I was interested to hear about how he sets up his knee, using the Shock on max resistance and to my surprise a relatively low amount of pressure in the can.

So only 7.1 miles or so covered today and lots of pain, but man it was so much fun and for me that is what it is all about.

Monday, 21 August 2017

A couple of little purchases

I cannot really call this a review as the couple of purchases I have made I have not really had a chance to use. I was just so excited on receiving the gear that I thought I would share my initial, well excitement at gadgety stuff...I know "Geek" right!

First off is my recent acquisition to hopefully protect me from the daily presence of Muppets as I go to and from work. Well not so much protect I mean for that I would need a Chieftain Tank, more cover my back...Oh and I guess my front too.

I purchased a HP f870g Dash Cam, which is full 1080 HD and also comes with a neat little rear camera which records in 720. I purchased the camera from here is the link HP Dash Cam 1080HD f870g

HP dash cam

I have only had the camera in two days, Ern has not finished hard wiring the complete set up, so no rear cam as yet. Initial thoughts. I like the size of the camera, it hides behind my rear view mirror and the GPS sensor is on top of the camera built in so no need for a separate gps, along with additional cable. The camera is very easy to set up and use, gives good warnings and the software does everything I need. The picture quality looks great. Only had a look at one recording of me going to work and that was in really bright sunlight. Some of these dash cams can be rather expensive, so for the money I think this is just the job and just gives me that piece of mind in case I get bumped again.

My second purchase are a pair of Lezyne Zecto Max 250 lumen front and rear lights. I am really excited to give these bad boys a go. The lights themselves are a little bigger than I though and also a little heavier than I expected. I bought them with the plan of affixing them to my back pack, to replace a couple of ordinary low lumen output blinkers ( which kept going flat). I would say my only concern with these lights is the way they attach. Not so much when attaching to a handlebar as the rubber straps provided would stretch over the bars and hold pretty securely in place. My biggest worry I guess is that because these lights are quite expensive, £47.99 Rear and £32.99 Front that I may lose one or both off my bag. I may have to think of a way to ease my mind and sort some way of adding a secure method of attachment.

Can't wait to try these out
Not convinced by attachment, when fitting to a bag
I have turned both light on and man are they bright. They also flash and blink in some pretty funky ways. I like the little power leds on the side to let you know how much battery you have remaining.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Short stroll out with Ern and wor Baxter on the BTK Crossover

I am due to head down to Pace Rehab's new HQ in Manchester next week, so that Paul my prosthetist can have a look at my current BTK Crossover socket. So this morning I thought it maybe a good idea to convert the Crossover into ambulation mode, so that I could give Paul a little bit of feedback on how the socket and knee are working together. Converting the knee from sports to walking mode is as simple as removing the tendons the tendon receivers and cams and replacing the protective shells on either side of the knee. Oh and then not to forget to adjust the Rock Shox shocker, both the pressure and rebound so as to be able to walk on the knee. It only takes a few minutes once you get the hang of it.

Out with Ern, Baxter and the BTK Crossover
Have to admit it has been sometime since I walked on the Hybrid BTK Crossover as I have been using it mostly on my bikes. It is a lot different to walk on than my Ossur 2100 Total Knee. It doesn't take long to get the hang of it, however it does feel like a bit more work in that the BTK has more resistance. I think with regular use it would be like anything else you would just become accustomed to how the design works and adapt accordingly.

Baxter such a good lad
Having a little gargle in the stream
Ern (aka me dad) decided we would go for a tootle up Quakies (Quaking Houses) and up past the fell, taking in a small part of Chapman Wells nature reserve, before looping back through the woods to Quakies again. Wor Baxter is in his element when he is off the leash. Ern lets him off regularly, me well I always keep him on as I cannot exactly run after him if he buggers off. Not that he really does. Baxter never seems to go too far, well unless he spots a deer or a rabbit. I guess I am more cautious as I always worry some other dog sets about wor Baxter and he gets the blame as he is classed by many as "one of those dangerous breeds" I say "Poppy Cock" this is what is wrote on Wikipedia about the Bull Terriers Temperament

Can you spot the ickle wee Ern

Such a Poser


 "Bull Terriers can be both independent and stubborn and for this reason are not considered suitable for an inexperienced dog owner. A Bull Terrier has an even temperament and is amenable to discipline. Although obstinate, they are particularly good with people. Early socialisation will ensure that the dog will get along with other dogs and animals. Their personality is described as courageous, full of spirit, with a fun-loving attitude, a children-loving dog and a perfect family member. A 2008 study in Germany showed that Bull Terriers have no significant temperament difference from Golden retrievers in overall temperament researches".

My 2 best mates
We were originally going to call Baxter Vandal
Leave, Leave
Determined to carry a stick

Managed to get a few pics using my GoPro whilst out with Ern and Baxter and although the walk was just a short one with a few stops here and there, really enjoyed being out with my dad and Baxter.

Usually likes saying hello to horses, but today had a stick
Such a handsome boy
Happy Lad

Saturday, 12 August 2017

A canny ride through the park

I am back, well never really been away, just been neglecting my blog. Not really much interesting going on...All "Rock n Roll" ... NOT!

Had a few short yet pleasurable rides out over the past few weeks with my mate John. Nothing to strenuous, more just getting out and sharing a bit of craic, that's "craic" as in banter, not as in we light up a pipe and get shit faced. Oh and plenty of laughs. Playing in puddles at almost 50, well you are never too old really are you?

Now decided after editing my photo's and video to write a short blog. It's going to be short as I am dying for a wee and cannot be bothered to hop through to the bathroom and back, yeah got my leg off you see. Also need to grab a shower as have not been in since coming in off my bike and I am hacky of said puddles.

We had a lovely ride through South Moor Memorial Park this morning. Lots of new path ways, bridges and signs being put in place. It's all to do with funding for what is known as the Heritage Trail. 


Oh there is also lots of dog shit. John is very good at discovering this. Come on John it's no laughing matter it's every bloody ride man. 

John on his Fattie
John with Poo Stick in hand
I am surprised this bloke is not the luckiest man in the world

Bimbling over one of the new bridges

Lovely morning
I have been Tango'd

Playing down the park
On my Silverback Fat Bike
Love just messing around

I think wor Baxter wanted to join us this morning. As a pup he could squeeze under our rusty yard gates. Now he is older and a bit of a porker he can just get his head under.

I still have dreams of winning the lottery and buying a place on the Isle of Mull. Somewhere with a bit of land all fenced off so wor Bax can run around till his hearts content. Hey everyone needs a dream right?

Add caption
Been a canny morning weather wise, did not start raining until we were on our way home. John has been a star, acting as director and cameraman for today's bit play about. Have to say not too impressed with my little Panasonic Lumix today. It usually takes a cracking photo, yet last few outings the image quality has been lacking. Very blurry shots. Of course blame the camera, nothing to do with my camera skills. It is a typical point and shoot when I have it, as nowadays I cannot see if the picture through the lcd screen looks blurry in the first place as everything looks blurry without my glasses on.

John avoiding the mud
Me attempting a track stand

And failing lol
Tried my new Race Face cycling under shorts today, still got a dead sore arse. Decided to order a SDG Bel Air 2.0 saddle as I think I owned one a few years ago and it was ok. Really what stops me riding more and further is the fact I always get a sore butt. Must have spent hundreds on various saddles over the years. Even been for my ass measured, but no joy.

Ok must wee so will let the pictures and vid tell a kind of story....