Seagull Massacre

It’s early Saturday morning, and as usual I can’t sleep. So I’ve decided to write a blog (in bed, from my phone – ooh, get me…).

I’ve been having sleep issues for a while now – I wake throughout the early hours, and then struggle to fall asleep again. This is largely the fault of seagulls.

Our bedroom can get quite warm in the summer, so it’s nice to open a window at night. However, open a window and from four in the morning one has to listen to screeching seagulls on the roofs of the surrounding houses. To be honest ‘screeching’ is a generous description of the hideous noise they make.

Several times while half asleep I have birdicidal (yes, I made a new word – that’s how language evolves, as Sally would say) dreams of buying an air rifle and ‘silencing’ them once and for all. Only when fully awake to realise that I have a very limited field of fire from our window – plus there are lots of them, and perhaps waging war against the entire local seagull population is a bit beyond my current energy levels.

Having said that, I have had a relatively active week. I’ve had two trips to London for hospital appointments, and on Thursday actually found the energy to do some DIY.

This took the form of screwing two flowerpots to the outside wall, and putting up a bracket for a hanging basket. Ok, so it involved a lot of huffing and puffing, sitting down for a rest at various (actually most) stages, and getting annoyed at badly designed pots that don’t allow enough room to get even the smallest screwdriver in to tighten up the screws. What should have been a simple job, wasn’t – although finding a solution actually just made my amazing feat of DIY even more rewarding (so in the end I was secretly glad that the pots were designed by an absolute moron).

For someone who a few weeks ago could barely shower without fainting from back pain, I was pretty chuffed with my day’s activities – it represents a big improvement (and earns me some guilt free Xbox credits).

So back to the hospital visits then. Wednesday I was in for my pre-chemo clinic appointment (chat with doctor, blood tests to see if blood counts have recovered, etc), and then Friday I received my second infusion of chemo and bisphosphonates. Which all went very well.

I seem to have tolerated this chemo pretty well so far. The doctor told us in clinic that he had given me a very high dose first time round. I think dose is dependent on height and weight, but also kidney function – apparently my kidney test came back with very good results (hoorah, part of me that actually works!), hence the high dose. He did say the pharmacist might tell him to reduce it for the second cycle, but when I overheard the nurses checking the actual bag of chemo yesterday, it was the same high dose.

Which I was glad about – although I don’t really understand the link between dose and response. When he said he might have to cut the dose he said this wouldn’t affect the response. You would assume more equals better, but I guess it’s not that simple. Either way, I personally would like to get as much of the stuff in me as possible, just to be sure.

Especially given the fact I seem to have had no identifiable side effects from the first cycle. That might well change, the effects of chemo tend to be cumulative with subsequent cycles. But so far since starting this treatment I have felt better, as opposed to worse.

It would be wonderful to believe that it’s down to the chemo working, and kicking the crap out of the cancer – but I’ve learnt too many times on this journey not to get my hopes up too much.

There are a number of other factors to consider; the receding side effects of the brain radiotherapy, the beneficial effects of my back and arm radiotherapy, the bisphosphonates, and an improved pain management regime, which could all be contributing to my improvement. But lets hope the chemo is in the mix there as well, doing something positive.

So what else have I been up to? Well, watching the Olympics. I was a big Olympic sceptic beforehand. I still think it’s a massive waste of money at a time when we didn’t need to waste a massive load of money. Having said that, I have got suckered in to watching it.

You might have heard that Boris Johnson has suggested that kids should do two hours of compulsory sport a day in school. At first I thought he had just got carried away with all the ‘Olympic mania’, then I realised he was onto something – only he hadn’t gone far enough. I realised that kids should do ONLY sport in school. I know that sounds silly but bear with me, I have a plan…

That way, all our kids will be REALLY good at sport, and every four years at the Olympics we can win ALL the medals. This will result in a huge surge of national pride and self-congratulation.

A huge surge of national pride and self-congratulation that will hopefully last just long enough to get to the next Olympics, where we will win ALL the medals again. And so on.

What this national pride and self-congratulation will allow is the populace to forget all the other issues in their lives – that the economy is screwed, the government is incompetent and we have Porky Pig as chancellor, innocent people are dying in Syria and around the world, university degrees are now prohibitively expensive and useless, our tabloid press is immoral and corrupt, people are denied life extending cancer drugs because they are too expensive, no one under the age of forty can afford to buy a house anymore, etc, etc.

No one will care about any of that. As long as our nation is the best in the world at making a horse prance round a sandy square in a hoighty-toighty manner to the sound of ‘Live and Let Die’, none of that other crap matters. No one will care because we will have all the gold medals IN THE WORLD, and that makes us the best.

The media have also been lamenting potential cuts to sport funding after the Olympics. As part of my plan I think we should divert more money to sport (if not all of it) to aid in this quest for medals. I mean, take the Cancer Drugs Fund for example – what a waste of money. Lets face it people with cancer are generally crap at sport (I’m not going to be winning any medals any time soon, unless they make crawling up the stairs then nearly fainting an Olympic sport). So for ultimate medal payback, scrap the Cancer Drugs Fund, and lets pour that money into something worthwhile, like horse prancing, or our beach volleyball team. It’s all about priorities, and investing where it counts.

Ermm… ok, might have got a bit carried away there. But then if I can’t use the blog for the odd (semi) tongue-in-cheek rant what’s it for?

Oh yeah, keeping you all updated about cancer… oops.


Filed under Battle with Melanoma

9 responses to “Seagull Massacre

  1. Graham & Sandra Harding

    Always good to read your thoughts, heyt does that make me a mind reader!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, pleased beyond measure with your progress, however I MUST WARN YOU, you are due for a big reversal, MOTHER IN LAW IS COMING DOWN ON SUNDAY!!!!

    Stay positive love to all of you

    Graham & Sandra x x x

  2. Ron and Nancy Wilson

    Hi Ben,
    Received your blog this morning.
    I have a comment which isn’t original but I thought of it as I read your blog.
    “If I had a fairy godmother, I would ask her to use her magic wand and kick the crap out of anything that is standing in your way of good health and happiness.”
    I hope with the various treatments and many “Fairy Godmother Wishes” along with positive thoughts and prayers this is happening for you.
    Much love to you, Sally and Saskia

  3. 6/10 for a rant. Score let down by.

    #1. Lack of poor spelling and punctuation.

    #2. Lack of racism.

    #3. Lack of random capitalisation.

    All in all not a bad effort, but could do better. Some examples of what you should be aiming for can be found on most newspaper comment sections.

  4. June and Colin

    Hello Ben,
    Ive been away in Los Angeles, its about a 400 mile drive…Drove highway 5 , took about 8 hours…Once i arrived i had to check into a hotel and get ready to meet some contacts for my business..chinese, korean, mexican, and indian…Not one american!. As you know, China has all the money now and I can see why….The weather was hot around 90 degrees very hot, and its so busy with people . I was at the garment district downtown LA.. what a crazy and interesting place….My first stop was a contact named diego…He has a factory that puts bling on anything you want..Bling is crystal stones very popular at the moment…. anyways, while diego and I were talking business, i mentioned to him, im looking for a new factory to sew my designs….The factory ive been using is closing down after 30 years, partly because of the economy and partly because my friend is 65 and retiring a millionaire. Hes had enough and wants to travel the world. Hes from Tawian and takes me to places for lunch that serve Dim sum which is horrible.kind of…ha. Anyways, Diego who owns the Stone(crystal) factory , told me his uncle Santos owns a sewing factory down the road….So my next stop was there. Well let me tell ya ben, what a rough place that was…I had to walk 5 stories to the top of this old building and when i opened the door, tons of mexicans and chinese sitting sewing on machines all over the place! i hit the jackpot!!!! This will be my new factory….So i was pleased.:) so after all that, i continued on my journey to see around 7 more contacts and the very last one, who was closing down his factory, wanted to do a deal with me on all his left over inventory! Yep, i also deal in liquidation and act like a broker( middle man) I started thinking this is my lucky day…So the bidding started and we went back and forth until we agreed on a figure and all i can say is, i scored big time!!! Anyways, i just wanted to share alittle of what ive been doing the last week..:) x
    I hope things continue going well for you… Stay strong! and Im always thinking about you every day…. Its crazy i havent seen you in all these years, but i do have great memories and remember you well…Do you ever remember that goat with those horns that kept fighting with me in the front garden? Such a long time You are such a strong person ben and i admire your strength, one day we will meet and catch up on everything and not leave it so long…We are family you know!!!
    take care,
    your over seas connection.
    c x

  5. Claire & Phil

    Hi Ben, great blog as always. So very proud of you – just a few weeks ago you didn’t have the strength to get out of bed and now you’re feeling a little bit better you’ve pushed yourself to do some DIY which is pretty amazing and in the theme of the Olympics – I award you the GOLD!! I hope and pray that the improvement is down to the chemo. Loads of love from us all to you, Sally and the very gorgeous Saskia! xxx

  6. Chris and Ivan

    Vote for Ben! Ben for Prime Minister – sorry, National Pride and Sports Tzar for Team GB 2016!
    Glad you are feeling well enough to produce such an entertaining post.

  7. Janine

    Hilairous, Ben! I assume that you have also sent a copy of this to our local MP. Glad to hear that the chemo has been going well, we are keeping our fingers crossed that you continue to feel good. Love from the Pommer family x x x

  8. June and Colin

    Hello Ben, I think the Local MP should be replaced with someone smart! Stop taxing so much and get rid of V.A.T and make a smaller Government, get rid of the dole and half the welfare, suddenly you’ll see a profit! and things will be much cheaper too! 🙂 Too many lazy people around. Socialism does’nt work! 😦
    Ok enough ranting and raving! hope you recieved my last letter mate…Stay well and if you need to talk, im around the corner so too speak! 🙂
    Your over seas connection/family
    c x

  9. Ben

    Hi Colin, thanks for your message. Though I have to say I’m not sure I agree on scrapping the dole and half of welfare. I’m not saying there aren’t people who abuse it, but for the vast majority it provides a vital safety net – and it’s a shame that those who genuinely need help get tarred with the same brush. If it weren’t for the welfare state in this country I’d either be paying for expensive health insurance or expensive medical bills – all my treatment is free (at the point of need). If it weren’t for the benefits we now receive due to my illness we’d not be able to pay our basic outgoings, including our mortgage. Also we wouldn’t be able to afford for Sally to take time off work to care for me, which would leave me in a pretty awkward position trying to look after Saskia on my own while needing support myself. And finally without the benefits I dread to think how we would fund Saskia’s crack cocaine habit.

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